As the unfaithful spouse, if you want to repair the foundation of your marriage, you have to know how to become trustworthy after the affair.

How to Become Trustworthy After the Affair

By Sarah P.

Betrayed spouses report that one of the most harmful things about infidelity, if not the most harmful thing in some cases, is the loss of Trust.

The reason I capitalize the word Trust is because you haven’t just become semi-untrustworthy, but rather completely untrustworthy after you have been unfaithful.  Trust is one of the very foundations of marriage and you have completely destroyed the foundation.

It’s always amazing to me how some cheating spouses simply cannot empathize with the betrayed spouse and wrap their minds around the utter harm, indeed absolute destruction, they have caused.

From the CS’s perspective it may have been just a physical thing – just a diversion – kind of like skydiving, just to feel something different. They cannot understand the big deal about cheating.

Well even if it does not feel like a big deal to the cheating spouse, it feels like the end of the world to the betrayed spouse. And once again, it all goes back to Trust being lost. Because this is not the type of situation where your spouse cannot trust you to pick up the dry cleaning on time. That is an easily forgivable minor irritation.

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Journey to Trust
Rebuilding Trust after an Affair

Discover that trusting again is indeed possible and is a natural process, if you both are committed to putting forth the effort that is necessary.

Follow our own journey to trust and the exact steps and experiences along the way.

No, it’s not that type of thing at all. Because your spouse no longer knows if she/he can trust anything about you, in addition to the uncertainty of not being able to trust the past with you, the present with you, or even the future with you. She or he wonders if the whole marriage with you has been one large lie. She/he doesn’t see how she/he will ever be able to trust you again or to feel emotionally safe with you again. And if she/he cannot do those things, then there is no marriage.

If you want to repair your marriage, you have to become trustworthy. In order to become trustworthy, you have to be absolutely honest – and this includes not withholding information because withholding information  is a type of lying. But, most of all, you must behave in ways that are now trustworthy.

The first thing you’ll want to do is to engage in full disclosure. I talk about the importance of this in a prior blog post. The second thing is, you must not lie about your feelings for the other person or what drove you to do it. Don’t make up some kind of sugarcoated story just to please your spouse because it’s going to backfire. You must get to the bottom of what caused your actions and to look at all of your insecurities and your drives as a person.

See also  He Said, She Said: When the Wayward Spouse Plays the Victim Role

You must also change your actions. This might include becoming a completely different person than you were before. You must determine your triggers and the things that cause you to be weakened and therefore susceptible to an affair. Having friends of the opposite sex is one of the things you will have to stop and likely never return to. Because, no matter what people say, I truly believe that men and women cannot be good friends.

Things a Cheating Spouse Can do To Rebuild Trust After an Affair

Another thing you will want to do is to stop having any hidden email accounts or Facebook pages and allow your spouse to access them. If you are ashamed to let your spouse see it, you should not be doing it. No more lunch with coworkers of the opposite sex without other coworkers. No more exchanging text messages and getting too friendly with someone of the opposite sex.

You must behave in ways that are full of integrity whether your spouse is looking or not. Because only when you act with a motive based in integrity will you start to become a trustworthy person again.

Being trustworthy is a behavior that you constantly need to engage in and it’s not about merely saying the right thing or appearing to be a good person on the surface when you’re not one on the inside.

There is nothing worse than opening a beautifully wrapped package, only to find that, on the inside, it contains rotting food. This is like the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. Stop being the wolf.

Clueless Alien Syndrome – When Your Spouse Becomes a Person You No Longer Recognize

If you don’t like my rules about cutting off contact with the opposite sex, it’s time for you to do some soul-searching. You see, marriage involves obligations. It involves giving up whoever we were when we were single and it involves selflessly dedicating our lives to another person. When we get married, everyone else is off the table, even in a friendship. You have to switch from being “you focused” to doing everything for the sake of your spouse and your family.

If you’re somebody who wants to have one foot in the marriage and the other foot playing footsie with a stranger under the table, then it could be that marriage is not right for you. In this case, it’s best to let your spouse go if you cannot be the person that she/he deserves. And it’s best to be honest with your spouse about your true nature so that she/he doesn’t believe it’s because of her/him.

I don’t care if you have been married for ages and have children. If you cannot be an honorable person and will spend your life having affairs, you prevent your spouse from finding someone who will be an honorable person.

See also  Put an End to Mistrust After the Affair

If you feel that all of this is unfair, it’s time to see a therapist and to figure out why you’re so needy of attention from the opposite sex. Because if you can’t give it up after you’re married and won’t give it up while kicking and screaming, you definitely have a problem that needs to be addressed. Otherwise, you will go along hurting people.

Now, after the tongue lashing, I want to talk about some exceptions to the rule. Occasionally, a cheating spouse finds himself or herself in a marriage where the other spouse is not holding up their end of the bargain. For example, I was reading a popular advice column this week. A woman wrote in because she was in extreme emotional pain. She was in pain because her husband of 20 years had refused to make love to her for over five years.

The Pain of Betrayal – Do We Have Adequate Words to Describe What it Feels Like?

She had done everything in her power to address it. She had lost weight, kept up her appearance, tried to seduce him, asked him to get his testosterone levels checked, and even offered to get a better paying job to pay for a Viagra prescription. She let him know constantly that she was desirous of him and made herself available. But, for five years he had ignored her and refused to engage in even basic kindness, such as holding her. She had not cheated on him and was asking for advice on what else she could do since her husband was physically able to make love but simply refused to do so.

The person answering the advice recommended that she openly speak with her husband and ask if she would discreetly be able to take a lover on the side. Or, the person giving advice mentioned that, as another alternative, she might want to pursue an amicable divorce. Sometimes it’s possible for some people to live in a sexless marriage. But, unless both parties are completely with peace about the arrangement, I would NOT recommend it.

So, this is the one occasion where I do have a small amount of sympathy for cheating spouses. That is if a situation is as cut and dry as this woman’s situation, then I can slightly understand why someone might cheat. (As for me, I think I would be someone who would likely get a divorce before I cheated.)

These situations are the exception and they also seem to be uncommon. Because there is a big difference between someone who wants sexual variety when they have a willing spouse, and someone who wants physical attention and she does everything to try to make love to her spouse, yet the spouse refuses. Because I believe every healthy marriage has some sort of sexual interaction. This could mean simply holding hands and cuddling and telling the other person how much they are valued. But, it’s a big deal when someone who is a sexual person is blatantly refused for years by a spouse who is physically able but unwilling. For these people, I feel very badly. Each of us is wired for human touch. Human touch has been shown to be healing and to have so many benefits, both emotional and physical. To withhold human touch is an atrocity.

See also  Do Women Who Have Affairs with Married Men Destroy the Sisterhood?

If you have cheated because you have a spouse who does not want to make love, I can understand where you’re coming from. However, in most cases, cheating spouses claim this is the case, but it usually is not. It’s usually just something they say to themselves to alleviate guilt and therefore extend an affair.

The 8 Pillars of Trust  – Ways the Unfaithful Spouse Can Help Rebuild Trust

Coming back to trust…

It’s time to do some soul-searching and to figure out why you had an affair and to figure out what your triggers are and if you were one of these people who simply needs sexual variety and is not naturally monogamous (even though you have a good sexual relationship with your spouse).

If you want to stay with your spouse, you’re going to have to give up the opposite sex, even as a casual friend or a lunch partner. This is the only way that you are going to be able to behave in a way that is trustworthy.

M. Gary Neuman has written some excellent books about how to improve one’s marriage. He is of the exact same opinion as myself in terms of casual relationships with the opposite sex. As a husband and therapist, Neuman has very strict boundaries in place from which he never deviates. It is the thing that keeps him focused on his wife and keeps their marriage absolutely special.

The bottom line is, in order to repair your marriage there must be trust. But, before there can be trust, there must be a change of heart and a large change in behavior. You must cast off that part of yourself that needs to have attention from the opposite sex (outside of your marriage partner). Or, if you’re in a marriage that has been sexless for many years, it might be time to get out of the marriage.

If you do want to rebuild, doing the work necessary to be trusted again will bless not only your spouse, but I believe the world around you. Becoming trustworthy means living a life of integrity and that has wonderful far-reaching effects that bless everyone around you and will make your marriage flourish.

Finally, here is a video by therapist, author and speaker, Esther Perel, with some additional tips for both the unfaithful and the betrayed:

Originally posted on 5/1/2015 and updated on 6/1/2021

    25 replies to "Cheating Spouses: How to Become Trustworthy After the Affair"

    • TrustingGod

      It’s so sad to me that there are so many articles like this that are helpful and fair, but that most CSs will not read. I have already made the mistake of trying to get my husband to read things like this so that he would understand me more and help me to heal. When he has done it, he completely fails to see how it applies to him and ignores the main point about how I feel now. A few days ago I got the brilliant idea of forwarding him an article in Spanish, and was kicking myself for not trying that route earlier, since my husband is not as proficient in English as he could be. I thought that if he read it in his native language he would be more likely to pick up on what he needed to know and understand–mainly about how long it takes someone to heal from an affair and why–but I was soooooo wrong. When I asked if he read it, since he had been at work and could’ve read it during his lunch break, he said that he had read a little, maybe two paragraphs, but it was so long that he didn’t have time to read it. But since I had already seen from all of the open apps on his phone that the last thing open was the Hulu app, I knew that it wasn’t true. He would just rather continue to ignore everything and let me work at healing myself, by myself, with no outside help. He doesn’t care enough about me to even read an article so that he can try to help me. He doesn’t want to admit that he is responsible for what has happened between us. And any other CS who isn’t ready or mature enough to face the truth won’t benefit from this article, either.

      • Shifting Impressions

        That has been a huge disappointment for me as well…..the fact that my husband has been unwilling to educate himself about infidelity. We have been making fairly good progress but your comment just reminded me again of this fact. Something I plan to address again sometime in the future.

        Makes me so mad….since there is so much helpful information out there.

        • Strengthrequired

          Ladies, you are not alone, my h won’t read them either. I get the same, ohh it was too long, just read a little of it.

        • tabs9

          My CS won’t read any articles because he “doesn’t like to think about it.”

    • TrustingGod

      Even though it’s a really good article!

    • Scott

      Articles like this unfortunately fall on mostly deaf ears. This site for example, with 85% participation by betrayed spouses, barely scrapes the surface of the cheating population. The reason is simple, very few cheating spouses want to face the actual hard work they’d have to do to fix themselves and the damage they’ve done. What would drive them to obsessively research on the internet? Heck, all they did was sleep with someone else. Sex is natural after all, and geez, why do people make such a big deal about it anyhow. Right??
      Keep in mind, these are mainly lazy minded people, who seek answers in the arms of others, and fail to communicate their needs. We can’t realistically expect someone who lives a narcissistic existence to ask, “what’s wrong with me” and then actually act on that in a positive way, can we?
      Most of the time it’s defensiveness, entitlement, and cake eating that these people turn to. Manipulation and gas lighting is easier than owning the problem.
      If you say, “you’re affair partner is a pig”, then the cheater takes this as a personal affront, “why…how dare you, I chose them”…and of course put aside the fact the affair partner is actually a pig (assuming they knew the cheater was married), the cheater won’t own the fact that they turned your identity upside down. They don’t want to hear about the fact you made many efforts, or tried to engage them in communication, or counseling, because you felt them pull away.
      For years I chased my ex-wife (which I will never do again), for years I watched her walk away from her son and leave for entire evenings, sometimes 5 or 6 nights out of the work week, and the other times she would just be home to sleep. I’d set up times to go to dinner and she would cancel. I’d find out she was hanging out with other men, large groups of people I didn’t know, and spending money beyond her and my means.
      What, in the entirety of that equation, is my fault? Nothing. Zero. And yet, to this day, she paints herself as a victim, and spins fantastic tales about how I was distant, or business like, when most days I just wanted my wife to come home and be with her family. Actually be a family. But that was not to be. More and more men, less and less time with her kids and her husband, and the recipe was complete, the dish was cooked, and the result was divorce. When she handed me a list of things she would “do” to restore the marriage, there was a few bland attempts at removing her own temptations, but nothing about my trust, mostly, it was for her benefit. Go to school. Get a degree. Quit working. None of which was bad, but that wasn’t, and still isn’t the issue. I was at my wits end. So I went through with the divorce, gladly by that point, and to this day, I believe it was the right decision. But I’m always curious with articles like these. The author describes a woman at the end of her rope, who hasn’t cheated, but whose husband has not slept with her for 5 years. Poor thing! And yet, we hear only her side of the story.
      This is what frustrates me. We are so willing to fall into the trap of whatever drama is being handed to us, that we really don’t explore the truth. Cheaters are, by definition, people who dishonestly engage in sexual and indiscrete acts without the knowledge and approval of someone they have committed to. In order to cheat and get away with it, they must lie. So this woman could be lying while basically asking permission to cheat. Oh, she’s so abused, no sex for five years, yes deary, go ahead and cheat, and tell that jerk husband of yours to learn to appreciate you!!!!! When in truth we don’t know what she’s like to live with, what efforts her husband has made, what issues stand in the way of intimacy, what the dynamics are that drive their inability to connect. Maybe she’s on the couch with her bon bons while he works a 10 hour day, then coaches the kids soccer team, then goes to school and studies until 2 am to get his PHD, all in an effort to give her the life she screams at him about when they’re behind closed doors. Extreme, sure, but does this ‘type’ of scenario happen? Yes. It’s pretty tough to get sexually excited about someone who rips you to shreds. So before we pass judgement on the husband, we need to hear both sides.
      I applaud articles like this because they do tell the cheaters to stop looking elsewhere, start looking at themselves, and own what they did. Do the hard work because you were the one who broke the marriage in the first place. All good. There’s very few of these articles that don’t swerve into the area that I call the ignorance zone. Telling a cheater to fix themselves and giving them tools to rebuild trust is a good thing. But most end up telling the betrayed spouse about fixing something they did wrong. This is fixing by ignorance. “I know your roof is leaking, but staple those papers or else the house will collapse.” It’s ludicrous. The only thing I would ever counsel a betrayed spouse to do is heal. The cheater broke it, the cheater should fix it. This is about the cheater’s weakness. This is about the cheater’s behavior. This is about the selfishness and arrogance of the cheater. It’s not about the betrayed spouse. They are, truly, the 100% pure victim.
      Now, notice I didn’t say the betrayed spouse is a saint, the betrayed spouse is sitting at the right hand of God, or the betrayed spouse should be given a medal. There are bad people who are betrayed spouses. That doesn’t mean they deserved to be cheated on. A kid knocks over a mailbox and the owner shoots the kid dead. Was the kid perfect? No. Was he doing something stupid? Yes. Did he deserve to get shot? Oh, hell no.
      Cheaters always have a litany of excuses. He was this, she was that, he didn’t this, she didn’t that. This is justification. In their minds, these ‘issues’ (half of which are invented by the way, or exaggerated), required the nuclear option. Blow up the world in order to step on an ant.
      Some people are actually offended that I’m not buddies with my ex-wife. I just choose not to be around her. I have no urge to be her friend, to be in her life, to ask or know what she is doing. She murdered my love for her. There’s no use staring at the corpse. What’s funny though, is even after the terror she put me through. I gave her chances. Partly because I didn’t want to believe she was this monster. Time however, has proved that she is, in fact, that monster. The self-deception is still there, the excuses, the blame game. All still there after 2 ½ years. I read so many articles where cheaters have epiphanies about their past, and years later they gnaw on their regrets. Tim Tedder noted that he was asked, if could go back to his first marriage what would change. “ME!” he said, he would be more open, more about the marriage, more engaged. How refreshing it is for someone to admit, who cheated that is, that they were and are the issue.
      So read articles like this one and know the truth is, the cheater did it, the cheater can fix it, or not, their choice. But you as the betrayed don’t own it. If your cheater won’t read and do the simple things suggested in this article, then just know that’s what they think of you, and move on.

      • john smith

        Damn brother i could not have said it better myself… regardless if the betrayed spouse is a douche bag with plenty of problems that prolly pushed his wife to the point of not being happy or not being in love w/e excuse the cheating spouse wants to use… the CS always has the option to divorce their spouse BEFORE starting an affair… the fact she didnt was she wanted that cake and to eat it too…my wife told me ALLLL kinds of things about how i was always angry or i never did X X X but at the end of the day you know what i didnt do? I DIDNT CHEAT AND HAVE AN AFFAIR and risk destroying our entire family and lives… there is no justification to having an affair or cheating if the CS cant come to grips with that then your going have to let them go you cant force someone to be remorseful or sorry and you cant force someone to love you and be transparent and honest thanks for this post scott

    • TrustingGod

      Scott, I feel like you can look at your divorce without regrets because you know you did try, and you were trying to keep your family together. As for other people thinking you ought to be friends with your ex? Ha, those people don’t know what she put you through, and have no right to tell you how to act around her. My first husband was such a terrible person, who got to the point of physical abuse, and I am delighted that, even though he still owes me 16 years of child support for my oldest son, who is almost 22 now, he left and disappeared, so I never had to put on the polite, mature face for visitation. I needed at least 15 years to stop being afraid of him and seeing him in my dreams/nightmares. But I overcame that, and had worked on myself a long time to get to where I no longer saw myself the way his verbal and emotional abuse convinced me that I was. And I was married to my current husband during all of this time, and had to hear him complain about why it wasn’t fair that he had to pay for someone else’s mistakes—because I didn’t trust him enough, because I got scared if he stood next to me when I was sitting down, because I expected him to try to understand why I had issues and to help assure me that things were different. And after a few years I started to trust him more, even though I never felt like our family was a priority to him. I changed, and stopped feeling so terrible about myself. And just when I most needed him, when I was working to fix my part in what I knew was a terrible marriage, I had D-day, and I found myself turned into the most insecure and often suicidal person you can imagine. My faith, and realizing that my sons will not be okay without me, is the only thing that has helped me sometimes. I’ve been working to heal, and have been the one to do the majority of the work to repair a marriage that I didn’t even want to stay in. I stayed because I didn’t think it was right not to give him a chance to repent for his behavior, and because I realized how many things I had ignorantly done had been pushing him away. I think you’re right about us only listening to and believing one side of the story. I could paint myself as fully innocent, but I know that I did a lot to seriously disrespect my husband when I felt unloved and neglected by him, when my sons and I spent weekend after weekend waiting for him to come home so that we could do something together, while he spent it with other relatives or friends or supposedly helping people. And he did a lot of things that hurt me and were wrong by almost anyone’s standards, and that I had finally been able to forgive him for, but all the trust I had finally given him was completely betrayed. When I look back I feel bad that I didn’t behave better, that my reactions didn’t do anything to solve the problems we had. But I know that I didn’t deserve what has happened to me now. I could still change more in order to get my husband to love me, to actually appreciate me and want to be with me. I can seriously work, as one marriage counselor suggests, at least a year on my marriage before giving up. It is so hard, though, to have the attitude and confidence to do what is necessary to create a good marriage out of the ashes of a bad one. Plenty of people have thought I should just leave, and if I’d have had a job and some money I would have. I want to believe that my husband is capable of changing and that it isn’t too late. But I know that it will most likely continue to be a one-sided effort, and I need a lot more strength for that than I have had so far. If I didn’t already know how terrible it is to be a friendless, poor single mother, I could probably just leave and have some dignity and respect. But I do know, and so I was hesitant to put my children and myself through all of that, when my husband works two jobs and it still isn’t enough. I want to be grateful for what I do have. But without him doing his part, it doesn’t seem like trust will enter the picture again any time soon.

      • Scott

        It’s all in what you’re willing to live with and go through. For me, I pretty much knew after DDay that it was virtually impossible for me to live with her. But I was hoping for a hail mary for a while. Mine, like yours, didn’t seem to want to participate. It wasn’t long before I knew she would make me do all the work, and never face herself with honesty. That’s all I needed.

        Here’s the thing, and I’ve said it until I’m blue in the face. You can say, “I did X or Y or Z and it pushed my husband away, or it made him feel unloved”, or whatever. Where in that sentence does that say in any way shape or form that his infidelity was legitimate? He should have asked for counseling. He should have spent his energy on his family. He should have loved you like you deserved.

        This you did not deserve no matter how he perceives your issues. This is all on him. 100%. Yes, you can survive and would be strong without him. That’s something you need to understand regardless of your decision to stay or go.

        I did the individual counseling thing and it was great. Marriage counseling after the affair, sucked. I’m 2 months out from DDay and all I can think about is what a horror show my wife was and the MC wanted me to write down all the stuff I loved about her. “Truth dude?”, I asked, “I don’t love a damn thing about her right now. All I see is someone hell bent on harming others and feeding her ego.” It was the only time I went to MC. He was terrible. But IC, fantastic. Helped me a ton.

        I think you’re right. I regret very little when it comes to my marriage and family. I spent years being mom and dad. I tried every technique in the book to get her to wake up and be a good mom (hell, even if she was a lousy wife, my kids deserved a good mom), and nothing worked. Now all I hear from her friends (when I bother even listening) is that she had to live a passionless life, a loveless marriage. It’s all excuses, and funny, when she was home she was screaming, threatening, raging, and spending her days and nights on a cell phone and never engaged with her family. Hard to have passion with your husband if you spend every minute devising ways to avoid him. But even so, I just look at it as a waste. She had a great life, someone who wanted to be engaged daily and hourly with her, but she was too busy running from that to recognize what she had. Whether she regrets or not is her business. Whether I do or not is my decision. So yes, TrustingGod, you’re right, it’s not something I look back on and regret. That’s not worth my time or effort.

    • loveheals

      My partner is working hard. The other day he had an insight and said he wants think of himself as not like those other cheating partners, then added, “But I am one of them.” He watches himself for signs of flirting, which can be a slippery slope. He read one of Linda MacDonald’s books. He comes to this website. There are certain things I wish were different but he’s trying.

    • 2yearsout

      Scott, I want to say thank you for addressing the point of view of the non sex wanting husband. I was that person. After two kids tearing stem to stern, I had no feeling and no desire. I had no vacation days, a baby to breastfeed, and to work fulltime as a major contributor to the family. I was so stressed, and tired, I had no desire. As stress mounted with change in work, I had no desire. My husband would not communicate with me, which was the intimacy I desired. I was not told of family finance issues, I was not shared with, what his family was up to, I was excluded from his life, but I was a mom with a job to do so I did it. Not to fulfill my desires, but to fulfill the lives of two young boys. Does my inability to voice my needs mean that I deserved to have my psyche, faith, and heart destroyed? He is justified in a 5 year affair because he didn’t get sex? I hope the author of those statements rethinks the position. An affair is NEVER justified. A divorce, yes, affair, no!

    • TrustingGod

      I don’t know that the author is excusing anyone’s affair due to the other partner refusing to have sex. I read it as finding it easier to understand (in the rare case that they have actually done all they can to get their spouse to resume having sex with them), but not actual justification. I think before all of this happened, I might have felt the same, but not now. I am more recovered now, but was sick for a long time from mold poisoning, which caused me hours and hours of stomach and muscular pain on a fairly regular basis. I was not able to have sex a number of times that my husband wanted to, and even had to explain to him once that, even though I was a lot better than I had been (near death), I was still in pain a lot and exhausted and just didn’t feel any desire. I remember this because it was his angry outburst of “you know, I can go have sex with someone else if you’re going to keep turning me down,” that prompted my explanation. But I didn’t know then about all of his online flirtations, never suspected he’d do something like that to me. I was more concerned about his understanding why I couldn’t sometimes, and that it wasn’t that I was rejecting him. When I say that I wasn’t innocent, I mean in terms of not doing my part and making him feel loved, which makes for a difficult marriage. But I in no way feel that what he did was an acceptable response to that. It wasn’t justified, in fact, considering everything I went through and how little support he gave me, which actually makes him look like a colossal jerk. But he’s not that way with other people, which is why I have held out hope for him to change. It feels like I have to change too much and accept way less from him in the relationship, though. And maybe I do need to change a lot to help bring him to the point of wanting to be a better person. I’m not sure. If he were an addict or a gambler or a continuous womanizer or physically abusive I would know I had to go, but it’s these borderline cases, where your husband is just working a lot now because of the financial situation, and avoiding you and any mention of his past behavior, that make you think that there is hope if you can make yourself treat him better than he deserves. It is just really hard to do it and not become a doormat. I don’t know how to find that balance yet. I hope everyone whose spouse does show true repentance and makes every effort to change and help them heal realizes how blessed they are, despite their pain and the damage to their marriage. Sometimes I feel like it is easier to forgive the betrayal than the lack of effort to repair the marriage. I am just so tired sometimes of being the more mature and understanding one, the one who has changed, and keeps changing, when I want to be able to be a coddled crybaby for once. Being the strong and selfless one just gets so old.

    • Damaged and regretful

      I’m a wife that had an EA with a stranger I met online. He lives on the other side of the world. My hubby who is great at separating male/female friends and seems to handle them well. I on the other hand avoid men friendships since my teens, for obvious reasons. My dear husband of 13 years (8 years dating/5 years married) have had our share of ups and downs. In the entire time I had never spoken with a man (friend), looked at men, or cared to. My hubby was on my mind all the time. we were generally happy and had a good relationship.

      He recently opened an account for me with an app that allows you to meet people all over the world to help with learning languages. The gist is you help someone learning your native language, and vice versa. In my case it was English/Japanese. I met Japanese men and women, and texted with everybody. One Japanese man my age in particular was very intriguing to me and we made small talk, which led to friendly flirting, which led me to send selfies (my face only!) and fishing for compliments. It literally started consuming me. I used to be a totally transparent person with nothing to hide that turned into a cheater! Usually I would say, Oh I’m married, but with this one I was vague about it. Its horrifying of me. We continued on this way for two weeks, until this guy said “Come to Japan, I’ll show you around, You’re my type.” Then I said I only wanted friends and that I was married.

      Let me tell you this is the most surprising thing that I have ever done. I stopped the messaging and my husband was suspicious seeing me all of a sudden check my phone a million times a day, so he logged into my account and was reading everything that this guy and I were texting. He was waiting for me to confess, but confronted me the day I asked the OM to stop. The day “you’re my type” happened and I said I couldn’t continue, I was in too deep, way too late. We never met in person obviously, hell, I don’t even know what his face looks like! And any mention of actually meeting freaked me out. But sadly, re-reading our exchange disgusted me and I felt so sorry for my husband. This stupid fantasy world I was in.

      I’ve been cheated on, I never thought I would be the one doing it. And re-reading these texts really hit home what I destroyed instantly all the hard work and our good relationship, gone in a flash. When I read what I wrote it was so awful and the erasing and hiding… thats when its a straight up emotional affair, no matter what anyone says! You should be comfortable with your spouse seeing everything. If you’re justifying or hiding, thats a major flag!!

      So now Im trying to regain his trust that I have broken- and let him know that I will be patient, and give him enough space, be transparent, and not get upset when he gets upset later about all this. I was in the wrong, and messed up maybe permanently. If we don’t end up salvaging this I don’t blame him. Its all on me.

      So to all you possible opposite sex friends: it cannot be done. Theres ALWAYS some sort of attraction there. Period. Try to think about your spouses feelings and what if it happened to you and the roles were reversed? You would think twice about doing it! I know I didn’t think at all. It was all cowardice and selfishness for sure.

    • Amy

      My husband is such a loser when it comes to trusting him. After I caught him cheating for over two years on me with a co worker, We discussed the boudandries with the opposite sex. My husband clearly fails to understand it. In his current job he is over friendly with his female co worker who reports to him directly!!! When I objected , his answer was he is friends with her husband as well and we can socailize with them as couple. Secondly, he keeps refering to how hard he is trying to change himself but cannot change 360 degrees!!

      He blatantly lied to me when I asked about what he was ordering on internet, sitting next to me and casually mentioned the next day that he had ordered two items for his female co- worker as house warming gifts!!

      This , he does not consider as lying!!! For me the pattern has started again. I dont want to reach a point with him and go through the turmoil of emotional pain and betrayal ever again in my life.

      I have clearly told him to take a hike as lying to me again was a deal breaker and I cannot imagine giving him anymore chances.. I am leaving him for good.

    • Laura

      This is my first comment here. This article really resonates with me. My marriage was in a little trouble prior to the EA. Alot had been happening in our lives and I admit that I wasn’t as into sex like I normally was, but I was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after. That’s when I needed my husband the most, and when I thought that maybe it would bring us closer together. Nope. That’s when he chose to have the EA. While I was going through surgeries and chemotherapy and radiation. Sorry, no sex drive during that time. But, that’s what his answer was as to why he had the affair in the first place!! It’s been a year and 2 months since DDay. At first my husband was trying really hard to help me heal and help with the trust issues. Now he’s just not trying as hard. I have talked to him about that and he doesn’t seem to get it. I’m still struggling with the thoughts that go through my head. The affair would have hurt no matter when it happened, but to have it happen while I was going through cancer treatment is still really hard for me. That was another excuse for him, he said that he didn’t know how to handle what was happening to me. Really? So instead of stopping the affair and being there for me, continue to do it while I’m sitting under a radiation machine scared to death? I’m trying to forgive him. I love him. Some days are good. Some days I wonder if I made the right choice in staying. Some days I see a bright future and a better marriage, and some days I long for what we had before and completely fall apart in disbelief that this really happened. When you choose to marry someone, it is a life long commitment. Not just if you’re getting enough sex or whatever else you think you should be getting. It’s about sticking it out together, being a team. Choosing your partner above all else (except God). Having a physical or emotional affair is a choice, not a mistake. I wasn’t getting what I needed, but I would have never chosen to have an affair no matter what. I don’t know. Sometimes I feel that these articles help to excuse the CS’s bad behavior. You have integrity or you don’t. I’m still trying to forgive, I am trying to get past this, I’m trying to get the consuming thoughts out of my head. But some days I don’t think I can make it. Some days I don’t think I can ever get over it. My husband is trying, he is remorseful. I just keep going back and forth in how I feel. This wasn’t supposed to happen to me, to us. We had an amazing relationship for 23 years prior to the EA. It really was incredible. I trusted him completely. I guess that’s the hardest part for me. Sorry, I went a little off topic. The article is good, but I don’t think that saying that you’re going to get cheated on if you don’t have a great sex life is not true. That’s when you need to figure things out, not have an affair. Thanks to everyone here. It has helped me reading the posts. I don’t feel as alone, although it’s a club I never thought I’d be a member of.

    • The Unfaithful

      My spouse rightfully doesn’t trust me and probably won’t until I show signs for a long period of time that I am trustworthy. This could take years, but I’m in it for the long haul. Sarah, I appreciate you writing “absolute destruction” because that is what I did to my marriage.

      My spouse is allowing me time to get my head on straight — get counseling, attend 12 step meetings with different organizations, live in complete openness (no social media, no hidden email accounts, etc.), and fully cherish time with my spouse and our kids.

      Even if my spouse chooses to never trust me or opts to file for divorce, I am working my way back up to human status.

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