3 steps to get the cheater to help you heal after an affair.

heal after an affair

By Doug

There’s rarely a day that goes by that a betrayed spouse doesn’t tell us that their cheating spouse isn’t doing what they need to heal after an affair. 

We hear often that cheaters will not talk about the affair, they will not go to counseling, they will not change their destructive behaviors, etc.   

Basically they are in denial and are being stubborn, insensitive and hurtful.  Their actions (or lack thereof) have caused a stalemate in the relationship and in recovering from the affair.

So often it seems that the cheater puts up a wall between their affair and the devastation that it caused, thinking that it will all just go away on its own over time. The betrayed however, is stuck in their reality and is in real need of assistance from the cheater to help them get over the pain and hurt.

For those stuck in this same situation, here is a three step approach to get the cheater to help you heal or to stop their destructive behaviors.

3 Steps to Get the Cheater to Help You Heal After an Affair

The first step is to just ask.  There’s not a whole lot to explain here.  If you desire your spouse to help you in some way or to stop a behavior, simply ask them to do so.  This gives your spouse the opportunity to respect your request.  If they fail to respond to your request then you can either let it go, or you can go to step two.

The second step is to tell your spouse to do what you need them to do.  Sometimes the cheater needs more of a nudge.  Perhaps they are not responding to your previous request or maybe they’re just not doing it fast enough for you.  They may fail to see the urgency in the request that was made or they just don’t get it.

See also  6 Defining Moments That Made Reconciliation Possible - An Email From a Reader

In that case you can tell them what you need in a loving, caring and direct way.  Many betrayed spouses that we talk to seem to be afraid to do this.  They feel that they are walking on eggshells enough as it is and to tell their spouse to do something might make waves that they feel they cannot overcome.

Boundaries After Betrayal – Everything You Need to Know

However, if the cheater’s actions are hurtful or harmful and are affecting you and your family in a negative way, you have every right in the world to tell them what you need.  You also have the right to fight for your relationship. So why not give your cheating spouse an opportunity to do the right thing by having the courage to speak up and tell them what you need?

Don’t attack…

When doing so, it’s important to tell them in a way that does not come across as a personal attack.  Clearly make a statement of what it is you want.  For instance, if you have been unsuccessful in getting your spouse to talk about the affair after asking them to do so, you may need to tell them what you need.  The statement might go something like this:  “Because I want our marriage to recover from this and because I have the need to understand things better, I really need for you to open up and talk to me about your affair.”

Notice that it is a statement and no longer a request.  Start with a positive statement and end it with a statement of what it is you need.   Then shut up.  Let the cheater respond.

See also  32 Questions to Ask Yourself if You Are in a Marital Affair

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The Cheater Must Become the Healer
“The Unfaithful Person's Guide to Helping Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair”

If you want to discover the 24 healing ‘tasks’ that the unfaithful spouse needs to carry out, then you should check this program out now.

To give you an example…

There was a time a while back when Linda was having a hard time with comparing herself to Tanya.  She needed me to help her to get past it but I was too thick and I didn’t figure things out on my own like I should have.  So eventually she simply told me, “Look you’re doing all the right things, but I really need to hear these things from you.  I need to hear that I’m attractive to you and that you want me, and that Tanya isn’t perfect…” It was very non confrontational, yet very much to the point which made it very clear what I needed to do.

Now should the cheater still fail to take the necessary action that you first asked for, then told them to do, the third step (and last resort) is to demand that they do so.  When doing this you also give them the consequences should they still refuse to take the action that you desire.  In other words, it’s pretty much an ultimatum.  Obviously this won’t make the cheater very happy and that is why many betrayed spouses have a problem with demanding things.

The demand statement…

A typical demand statement may go something like this:  “I need for you to ___________, and if you do not, then I will_____________.”  The demand must carry some weight and you must follow through with any consequences that you tie to it.

See also  Mona & Gary Shriver on Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity

Keep in mind though that you cannot abuse the power of the demand.  The demand should be made out of love and for the sake of healing and recovery – not as a way to abuse your spouse.  It is not a form of control but a form of warning.  The cheater still has a choice but now knows the possible consequences that are associated with his/her failure to act as demanded.

As stated previously, I feel that the demand should be used as a last resort. If you’ve begged, pleaded and told your cheating spouse to cease their destructive behavior and/or what to do to help you heal after an affair, but they still have not done so, then it may be time to demand that they do.  If you fail to do so then it’s like you’re giving up on your spouse and your relationship.

Do you have a hard time asking or telling your spouse to do what’s necessary to help you heal after an affair?  Have any of you had success with this type of approach?  We’d like to hear your story…so leave a comment below.

Opt In Image
The Cheater Must Become the Healer
“The Unfaithful Person's Guide to Helping Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair”

If you want to discover the 24 healing ‘tasks’ that the unfaithful spouse needs to carry out, then you should check this program out now.


    89 replies to "How to Get the Cheater to Help You Heal After an Affair"

    • Greg

      In the begining I would walk on eggshells and was affraid to ask for what I needed and my waife was unwilling/unable to give me what I needed. Eventually I got to the point where I cared more about my mental health than what she wanted and force the issue to where we talked about it. i never had to get to the third stage but did get to the second stage a few times. It helped tremendously in calming my mental state and relieved some of the pressures we had both been feeling.

      At this point we have dealt with the EA to the extent that it is a small part of our issues and is becoming a side note. Now we are dealing with teh underlying issues that led up to it. This is actually a lot harder becasue we had gotten so far seperated in our indiviual lives that it is taking a lot more work to deal with those issues. Just last night I had to force my wife to talk to me again about what was going on in her mind because she was pulling back again. She is having a lot of emotions and fears about where and how things are going but is unable to talk about it unless I initiate the conversation. I have built up an emotional strength going through the EA that I am able to do this for her and myself. It still pains me that she is unable to touch or be with me but as i told her last night i am commited to making both myself and her happy no matter what it takes, be it a long time in therapy or a need for us to divorce. It’s not worth being in a marriage if you are going to be unhappy for the rest of it. We are not sure how long it will take or what the result will be but are comitted to get an end result.

      • Ness

        My husband OW has college age children that he got involved with while in the affair. He doesn’t want to end the relationship with them but I feel it’s the only way I can heal…If he is helping them and seeing them behind my back then he is still somewhat involved in the OW life…how is that fair to me and our children who know nothing about his affair and wonders why he has this relationship with these other kids not his own??? I haven’t gotten the courage up to tell him what I need because he once said he would not give them up I was hoping if he started showing he loved me again that when I asked him to give them up he would see how he has hurt his own family and want to commit to us not them. Ness

        • Lynne


          Please forgive me in advance, as I can tend to be a little bit no nonsense when I sense the ridiculous. If your H is staying connected to the OWs college age children (come on, really!), he is keeping himself connected to the OW. I’m sure the OW is completely capable of managing her own adult children. What can your H possibly offer them that they can’t get from their mother, father and other relatives and friends. The fact that he ever got involved with her children while in an affair is absurd!

          If you are choosing to stay with your husband, you DO have the right to ask him to end this connection. It is disrespectful to you and your own children, and especially when it continues to contribute to your pain. It seems that you have two choices here–to either speak up and tell him that this is no longer acceptable to you, or continue to allow it and learn to accept it. Yes, you run the risk of him choosing the OWs children over you, but even if he does, can you stay married to him and live with this for years to come? If not, you need to draw a line that says this is not okay with me. If he’s unwilling to disconnect from the OW’s children, then you may need to take a stand that says it’s over with me until such a point that you get your head back on straight (right now it seems to be stuck somewhere else!).

          Please don’t compromise what feels right for you and your children in the hopes that you won’t lose him. This is the time when you need to put your needs and desires first. If you don’t, you are telling him that he can easily get away with this.

          • Shirley

            If something doesn’t sound right it usually is not.
            I would bet there is more going on than meets the eye. I would be asking if these children are his? Are you still having relationship with AP? WHY are you still connected to these people?

        • Cee

          Oh Ness,

          Don’t believe him. Tell him no relationship with her children or no relationship with you. Men that have affairs continue their Lying ways.

          If he really wants you and his family, he will honor your request. Remember, if you leave him, his children will have to be told. I don’t think he wants them to know

          Sorry to be so blunt. The very best to you and much happiness

    • Disappointed

      My H had a month long EA primarily via text with a friend of ours who is married with kids. A few days after I confronted him he moved out. That was 4 months ago. He sees EA as postscript and does not think he has to do anything to help me heal. He blames me for it, saying I did not tend the marriage. H says he wants to come home but that I need to change. He feels like I am grilling him if I ask him anything. Has told me this is all he can do now and I will have to make the decision if this is not enough for me. Dont know if he is doing all of this to force my hand. I want to be married and share things with him. I no longer know what to do. He thinks affair should be a nonissue, but it is one for me.

      • Cee


        Tell him to stay where he is. You will mention the affair anytime you want to in order to heal and that you need to know why it happened. I would, also, ask him to see a Therapist in order for you to find out why he did it.

        You are not at fault in any way, he is 100% at fault. I get so sick of these men that have their fun and then blame you.

        Be strong, it seems he really wants to come home, so make him stay there. It won’t be pleasant for him. My best to you

      • Shirley

        Hold strong to your boundaries. Men will treat us the way we allow them to. Let him know the ball is in his court. He is the one that chose infidelity and justifying it and blaming you is not taking responsibility for it. . He is sitting on the fence.
        If you let go of boundaries this behavior will continue.

    • Lynne


      Is it more important for H to be right about all of the above issues, or does he want healing for both of you to make every reasonable effort to save the marriage? He is witholding himself from you with conditions about what YOU need to do to grow–and even if he’s right about how he perceives your negativity (Is this a true possibility? Or is this his way of stonewalling you?), he is not working with you toward his own personal growth.

      Do others you are close to describe you as negative? If you take your own personal inventory of yourself, do you see yourself that way? If not, then don’t fight the battle on this one….make it a non-issue in your conversations. In other words, set a boundary with him that says, I will not continue to discuss the idea that my negativity has caused you to have an affair. If you felt I was so negative that you could no longer live happily with me, then you should have fully exited the marriage before your EA. We have shared responsibility in healing our marriage, but if you continue to distance yourself from our mutual growth and learning, I will need to move on alone. This is setting a firm boundary with him about your expectation that you will work together on this–or not!

      I obviously don’t know your situation, but from what you write, it sounds to me as if you’re being manipulated.

      All the best to you–you deserve to be treated with respect and great care, and you do deserve to have the answers you feel you need about his affair.

      • WriterWife

        This is a fantastic response Lynne! In my situation my marriage had issues which neither of us saw or realized and it wasn’t until my H had an EA that it came to light. Looking back on the past year or two, it’s easy to see there were problems in our marriage but at the time it wasn’t so clear. So my H and I both have responsibility for our marriage deteriorating before the EA.

        However, that doesn’t mean I have any responsibility for him having an EA. I think this is always a very important distinction to draw: it’s a good thing to self-examine, understand, and accept responsibility for the role you may have played in the deterioration of your marriage, but the BS does NOT bear any responsibility for the CS’s EA.

        The BS does not drive the CS into an EA — that is a choice that the CS makes completely on their own. An EA is not an acceptable response when a marriage faces problems (unless your own personal marriage contract allows such behaviour).

        Disappointed – Linda and Doug have had a recent post where they’ve flipped the “you didn’t tend to the marriage so the EA is your fault” justification on its head and asked what the CS was doing to tend to the marriage?

    • Greg

      In one respect your husband is correct, you will have to make the decision on what you want to do. It sounds like you are going to have to move up to at least the second stage and most likely the third stage. Maybe not yet because I think you need to work on yourself right now and get yourself to a stage where you can decide what you want. I can see how much you are hurting and how confused you are in just reading your posts. Right now I get the feeling that you aren’t sure what you want, well that’s not completely true you seem to want your husband back but you also want to heal and he doesn’t seem willing to help you heal. You are going to have to decide if you want to get him back without the healing or if you mental health is worth more to you that he is. Only you can make this decision for yourself and it will possible be one of the toughest decisions you will ever have to make because it is going to define how you feel and see yourself in the future. My personal opinion is that you need to draw a line and let him know that you need certain things done for him to come back or it’s over, but I can only say that because of where I am mentally at this point and because it is not my situation to deal with. Right now I would recommend talking with trusted friends/relatives, writing things out on here or in a journal, and meet with a therapist to get yourself where you need to be and then make a decision on what to do.

      • Disappointed

        Thank you to all who commented on my post. I know what I want. I want my husband back with me and committed to improving things between us. I want him to let go of his feelings for her. He wants me to believe that he was in love with her with the same intensity he was with me in the beginning and says he falls in love easily. I can’t believe it. Maybe if I could I would be mad enough to end our marriage. I think it is a big self deception. I think this is a classic midlife crisis and a woman who was mad at her workaholic husband played it to her advantage. They would never work as a couple – especially since she has two kids and he never wanted children. My regret is that I would be a mom if I had not chosen him.
        I am seeing a counselor, but not sure that it is helping. I’ve made a list of what I need from him re: the EA and just in general as a partner. The problem is he needs to agree to come home first. I have told him very basic things: I need to know you are done with her, that if she contacts you you will politely decline or not respond at all, I need to know that boundaries will be kept with others in the future and that he is committed to me. He decided to keep his lease thru the end of the year, but says he wants to come home and just cant because he wants my behaviors to change. He says nothing about his. For over ten of 17 years I carried him financially and he let me handle everything. He would even call me at work and have me cancel and reschedule his students because he did not feel like it. He never once told me he appreciated all I did so he could pursue his dream. Instead he told me I never did enough. My father died in 1999 and he left the funeral luncheon early to meet a friend for dinner and his idea of comforting me was to take me to a couples motel but included watching porn when all I needed was him to hold me. I learned quickly that my feelings did not matter and over time I had little too say. What I did say would be twisted around. I gained weight due to medical issues and anxiety. Walking on eggshells. At the worst points he said “you need to lose weight to look like a woman again” or my favorite “if you’d been a better wife and companion I would have been willing to have a family with you”. He says I went into a coma and he tried everything to get me out of it. He is the one that put me there with his lack of support and constant criticism. It was not my dad dying, it was his lack of empathy. If anyone told me these things I would say to dump him. And yet idiot that I am I still love him. Even after an EA and him leaving after being confronted. Ironically since then he expressed appreciation for all I have done, admitted that he never pulled his weight financially and said he never tried to make my life easier. All of which I so longed to hear. He has also told me how beautiful I am and says I love you every day. I’ve lost weight and even tho I have done that before and he said I still looked horrible, this time he is encouraging. None of this makes sense. He could have been supportive all along. He was supportive of her. He finally told me how they were similar in viewing relationships: she has decided marriage doesnt work. If she did not have kids she would live separately and never cohabitate again. Which he says is his ideal. I will try to make additional changes so I can say I have done everything I can. But I think he will just add to the list indefinitely. And worst of all, in our talk this weekend he said he doesnt think he needs to meet my EA list. Says he already had to meet too many of my expectations and sold himself out ie getting married and in church. I am so frustrated. There are many things that are good about us and most of the bad is his constant need to push me away or make less of me which only triggers what he hates in me. Both of the therapists I have talked to say he is a narcissist. He says he does not want to say goodbye to me but is unwilling to do the opposite. I am not strong enough yet to say goodbye for him, but I am working on it. I have never been abusive to him and I cannot say the same for him. The OW should thank her lucky stars… Sorry for the long post. Getting too many conflicting statements from the H and feeling hopelessly stuck. I dont want to give up, but this could make a person crazy!

        • Anita

          Your husband stated he” already has met to many of your
          expectations and sold himself out getting ie married and in the church.”
          It seems he saying and doing things to make himself feel
          better about himself and justify his actions of having an
          affair. The problem is, that kind of justifaction doesn’t
          help the marriage, its a form of sabotage to destroy
          the marriage.
          If your husband really wanted to be married right now he
          would do everything within his power to save the
          marriage, instead of sabotaging it. He wanting to replace
          you with another woman, in order to do that he has to
          belittle you so he can feel justifed in his own mind to
          have you replaced.
          Disappointed, you stated the “other woman should thank
          her lucky stars.” Actually you may ened up thanking her
          someday for taking this so called prize off your hands.

          • Anita

            Why do you even want him? He clearly is telling you that
            he doesn’t value you or your marriage. Why do you want
            to stay with someone who treats you with disrepect and
            chases after another woman.
            Your worth and value are so much more, than trying to stay
            with someone who belittles you.
            There is a big difference with someone who cheated, than
            has remorse and does everything possible to rebuild
            a marriage, and treats their spouse with dignanty and
            repect. It appears your husband is not in a place within
            himself, to even see how his actions are so hurtful to you.
            But you are also responsible for your choices, if your
            wanting to stay within this type of relationship, than your
            putting yourself in a situation where you can only hope
            with time he will get his act together. Otherwise you
            could be free from this unhealthy relationship.

            • Anita

              Its time for you to put your foot down and draw boundaries
              with him. If he wants to be married to you let him be the
              one who chases you. Until he see’s that you will not
              continue in a lopsided relationship, and he wants to be
              with you, he will be forced to change. Until then tell him
              to keep his lease and you want no part of him.
              Disappointed it time for you to go forward with your own
              life. If your important enough to him, he will need to change
              and show he’s worthy to be with you.

            • Holdingon

              You ask why she stays in her relationship, did you really need to ask that, I think it’s perfectly obvious, she still loves him, we all face the same thing, maybe she just loves him more then most love their spouse, I know I do mine, I know I can never stop loving her no matter what, but that doesn’t mean I’ll show her. Loving someone doesn’t come with an off switch for me.

            • Diane

              Actually, the reason some, and many people stay in abusive relationships is because it takes strength and courage to move on. It also takes a level of high self esteem. Often people allow abuse because their self esteem has been chipped on. It’s extra hard when the person who is suppose to love you unconditionally, and protect you, is the person that is emotionally abusing you. It’s extra hard when the person who you are suppose to be on the same team with is only out for him or herself, and don’t make your healing (after what they have done) their priority. The faithful spouse needs to put m ore energy on self respect, and their own self esteem. They have to love themselves first and foremost. Focus on why you won’t leave people who abuse you. There are remorseful cheaters, and there are cheaters who have deep seeded issues, and their own level of low self esteem, along with other negative forces, like denial, guilt, etc., that they can not focus on your healing. If you know you have been a good wife, why do you think you are putting up with nonsense? If your husband is rotten and not going to do right, he simply is not going to do right. Stop being afraid to lose him. Be more afraid of losing your self respect and self dignity. Only God has provided for you, and if you have been a good wife, then you have done what God expects of you. I am in no way a religious person, but throughout the bible it tells you that God allows and understands when a person wants to divorce a cheater. Why do you think that is so? You are entitled to a faithful husband. There are so many men looking for good faithful women. Start focusing on what strength you need to move on and why you are so scared to move on. This nonsense about people staying because they love someone is just that: nonsense. What’s love got to do with it? Nothing. Love yourself before loving someone else. Don’t allow someone to beat you down.

        • Lynne


          I so see the pain in your words above. YOU do deserve all of the things you are asking for, and here you are working so hard on yourself, too.

          If he’s telling you that “he doesn’t think he needs to meet your EA list”, please hear him loud and clear. He’s telling you his truth about what he is/is not willing to do right now. With his bad attitude, this is not someone who should be returning to your home, at least at this point in time.

          He is clearly telling you it’s ALL about him! And the things he is saying to you, while knowing the poor decisions he’s made, speak volumes about his ability to give you the love and care you need right now. For the time being, I would get as far away from him as possible–he’s not helping you, he’s continuing to heap more pain on you. Please save yourself from this–you deserve so much more.

        • Lynne


          In addition, if you haven’t read up on the characteristics of a narcassist, please do it. This push and pull you are experiencing with him are the exact things that a narcassist does…..as soon as they get you close (feeds his ego), they push you away out of fear of intimacy with another.

          And what he did when your father passed is exactly what an “N” would do. He’d think about his needs, not yours. If I knew where he lived, I’d go over and smack him myself!!!

          • Disappointed

            Thank you all again. This site has been a blessing. Tonight I asked the H t go to my next counseling session to say what I need to change so my counselor can help me. I wanted someone else to hear what he says. He flatly refused and became very angry. “I dont need to work on anything with you or by myself. I am done explaining myself to you or anyone else.” Told me I was only hearing what I wanted to hear. Said there are many reasons for him to come home but none outweigh the cost to him of being around me. Does not see me changing after ruining the marriage for 15 years. He is breaking my heart again. I know all of you are right – if I had any sense, I would run screaming in the opposite direction. My brain knows what I should do, but my heart… I truly believe he has a problem, some type of bipolar or manic depressive issue. He does not see reality. Please bear with me as I battle myself. I know he does not treat me as I should be treated. But I know that person existed and I am having trouble accepting he may be gone forever.

            • Greg

              You may find a book that both my wife and I read called Attached useful . It deals with a newer theory in relationship dynamics called attachment theory. The basic overview is that how we relate to others has to do a lot with how we related to our parents when we were children and also that we actually have a predispotition toward how we deal with people. In doing some of the tests in the book we discovered that while she had an avoidant attachment type, I was a borderline confident/anxious type which got pushed toward anxious by the EA. Turns out that the avoidant and anxious type are somewhat like oil and water, they don’t mix too well. There are strageties for dealing with the natural conflicts of these two types in the book and it says that a persons attachment type can change due to changes in their life. I know for me I went from secure to anxious due to the EA and am working very had at getting back to secure. It sounds like from your posts that your husband and yourself may be the same types that my wife and I are. This by itself would make cvommunicatng difficult and the the affair thrown it may be making it next to impossible. Give the book a try and see if it helps at all

            • Holdingon

              I hope things have worked out for you by now, one way or another, but I really hope they worked out how you wanted, I hope your happy by now.

        • suziesuffers

          Is he an alcoholic or sex addict by chance? Everything you say sounds like those symptoms, although a narcissistic have some of the same characteristics. I know exactly where you are….People, those I’m brave enough to tell about my circumstances, think I would have to be crazy to want to be with my husband. He is divorcing me because the affair discussions make him crazy!! Think how I feel. He doesn’t seem to have any sorrow over the loss. He sounds like he has a personality disorder. I know my husband made me jump though enough hoops and it was never enough because when I needed him he was NEVER there for me. He was there for the other woman, but of course that just “playing” house and having fun, but that won’t last forever. He needs the security from US but wants the puppy dog infatuation of a high schooler to give him the “dopamine” high just like an addict does.

    • WriterWife

      Great post Doug! I’ve been a pretty big reader of romance novels over the course of my life and in many of those stories the hero or heroine always seems to know what the other is feeling/thinking/needing. It made me think that if someone loved you enough, they’d know what you need and give it to you.

      It took me a long time to realize that people aren’t mind readers. It’s not fair to expect your spouse to just know what you want/need and just because s/he doesn’t know doesn’t mean s/he doesn’t love you! It’s like my grandmother used to say: “if everyone forgets that today is your birthday, it’s not their fault for not remembering but yours for not letting them know. Don’t set up people to fail, help them succeed.” Which is why everyone always knows when my birthday is approaching 🙂

      So I learned that though my initial inclination is to wish my husband just “knew” what I needed, I actually need to speak up and give him the chance to succeed. Which also means I have to spend the time examining my thoughts and feelings so that *I* know what I need. Because sometimes what I think I need isn’t what I actually need when I start really focusing on it.

      • Doug

        WW, Thanks! Great response, btw. I also think that people in committed relationships for some reason feel that it’s difficult to step on their partner’s toes or hurt their feelings by telling them something that might be difficult to hear – even though it might be for the good of the relationship.

    • Roller coaster rider

      This post reminded me of how many times I tried in the past to get my H to work on our marriage, to no avail. It wasn’t a lack of love for me, or even a lack of desire to have a good and fulfilling relationship. He just couldn’t get there. Now, after some intense therapy, six months of separation, and a pending divorce, he has made and is making significant change. I know that communication has always been the problem for us. Now if we don’t communicate, there will be no more ‘us’ and I truly think it was the affair and the resulting pain, my being willing just to end our marriage after 35 years plus of unhealthy patterns, and his facing the rest of his life without me that helped him see the light. On my part, I had to get past the fear of being without him, and believe me, I did. I have no desire to ever go back to the old us.

    • Eva

      I can’t heal when he has yet to break contact with OW. It’s difficult to control my emotions. On one hand, our communication is improving but I can’t stand that they have yet to break contact. I’m having a hard time controlling my myriad of emotions- anger, anxiety, sadness that my H would place another woman before me. At one point, he sort of came to his senses and wants to keep the family, at times, he is still struggling with his double life.

      • Doug

        Hi Eva, Sorry that you are going through this. If you haven’t already, you might try the steps in this post. When faced with the reality of what he stands to lose, he might come to his senses.

      • WriterWife

        Eva – this was the hardest part for me too. My husband wouldn’t completely break contact with the OW (which is complicated since they work very closely together). It made me feel the same way as you, including feeling like he was placing another woman before me.

        I gave him time to let her go and get over her, but it never seemed to happen. It was so horrible — I hated it. Finally, I sat him down and told him that he needed to move out and couldn’t come back until he was through with her. It just wasn’t fair to me anymore and I reached a point where I realized I deserved better than the way he was treating me.

        It wasn’t easy and thankfully we don’t have kids because that would really complicate things. It took me a long time to get to the point of asking him to leave — I didn’t want to do it hoping that he’d beg me to stay. I needed to know for myself that if he walked out the door and never came back that it was still the right decision.

        Our therapist supported the decision and called it a “therapeutic separation” (we had no contact except pre-arranged checkins every few days) and suggested that we use the time to focus on ourselves and grow. He moved back in two weeks later but it was still a couple of weeks before he made the emotional break with her (which he’s done… knock on wood his feelings for her don’t come back).

      • Lynne


        There’s that old saying that says, “we teach people how to treat us”. If you’ve given your H a fair chance to break off contact with the OW and he hasn’t, what else is there to know here? Hoping he’ll understand your pain and see the light doesn’t sound like as if it’s working. There comes a time when you have to stand up for yourself and say ENOUGH…..I love you, I want this to work, but I will no longer accept your continued contact with this woman. If he is unable to honor this, or refuses to change this situation, it would seem that you know all you need to know to make a decision for yourself. Hoping it will change will only set you up for additional pain and delayed healing. If you don’t want him to have both of you, you have to tell him he DOESN’T get both.

    • ChangedForever

      I, too, was hesitant at first to ‘ask,’ and let my counselor direct our path thru the chaos. That ‘seemed’ to work as our MC said things that i couldn’t, the shock of even what i knew then was too great.
      Even progressing thru all the steps, it truly is yet another choice of the cheater…to do the right thing. In my case of retrospect, i provided the correct, ‘safe’ environment, but the 9 week PA with someone almost 30 years younger than he, took priority. We were able to ‘progress’ (even though extremely difficult,) thru that, but still, to this day, almost 18 mths after the 1st Dday, H still makes ‘positive’ references to the OW. He feels that is him ‘sharing’ how he feels…his true feelings i assume. This still hurts so much. Marriage counseling with the inital counselor is pretty much done, because the counselor sees H for what he is I assume…he has judged him and we are not progressing. My Mc wishes to continue to see me alone and sees no need to meet further with my H together with me, or separately (as i have requested he do.) i see hope though, as i have researched intensely about addictions, and i now know my H was extremely addicted to a very destructive person, extremely selfish & destructive. I am presently searching for my own counselor as the damage that i have incurred is extensive, far reaching, and i need to continue my own healing now…but with a counselor who has not judged and written off my H…if in fact couples counseling will resume with the new counselor… I would welcome that.

      • Doug

        CF, the one thing that really struck me with your comment is that you feel the MC has judged your husband. Perhaps I’m naive here, but isn’t it an important aspect of their job not to judge their clients? Perhaps you need to see a MC whose expertise lies more with addictions. Just a thought.

        • ChangedForever

          Yes Doug, i feel the same…but i have fortunately NEVER had to speak with a counselor (other than for my children’s guidance counselling reasons!) so i can only pull from my own business experience: having been a company director for years within my industry ( hospitality,) it is ME who has been the ‘go to’ person for my staff & colleagues. I felt i was always pretty resourceful & fair when it came to providing guidance & a ‘resolve’ to a problem, situation or dilemma. Hell, every once in a while, i even have to guide staff accordingly when the indicators point to martial affairs at the workplace! I just never thought i’d be on the receiving end of the advice i formerly doled out to others. I’ve found it impossible to be the King Solomon for myself in my case, but the farther time distances me from my own trauma, strength has been returning and with it, the means to logically sift thru this mess i’m in…Good advice from you re: finding a counselor well versed with addictions. Wish me luck & thx.

          • Anita

            I understand your need to help your husband find a counselor who deals with addictions. However your
            husband is a big boy and needs to take responsibility
            in helping himself also. You can supply all the help he
            needs, however he has to make the choice to overcome
            his addictions. Sometimes letting them fall is best when
            they get sick and tired of dwelling in that pit, the only
            way out is up. If he wants to continue to live in his pit he
            created, then let him.

            • ChangedForever

              Thx Anita, i am with you there and, if he does fall, i just dont want to be taken down … Again. My H has been made well aware that his choices are his and there is nothing more i can do for him. I still do not know how our story will play out.

            • Anita

              Yeah, I do understand your not wanting to be taken down
              with him.
              My ex had some addictions of his own, and I understand
              your frustration.
              I remember when my ex had a problem with drinking and
              he would stay half the night drinking, come the next
              morning he had to be up for work, so I would try and
              wake him up several times so he would be on time to
              get to work, only to be met with his fowl moods and
              and his crappy temper. I felt like I was in between a
              rock and a hard place, if I chose to let him alone,
              he would have lost his job which would have put
              my children and I in a hardship, and if I woke him
              up I was faced with his smart@$$ attitude.
              If I hadn’t had children back then, I would have left
              him sleep and let him face the music, of his choices.
              My very best to you!

            • Anita

              Sometimes instead of feeling like his wife, I felt like his
              mother, a role I did not want. But as I have mentioned in
              previous posts, I felt my ex wasn’t ready for marriage nor
              was he settled down, our marriage felt lopsided from
              the very beginning, and it was just a matter of time before
              we completely grew apart into different directions.

            • Anita

              Back when my exhusband and I were dating we both were
              footloose and fancy free, we would go out and kickup are
              heels and have a good ole time, we got along very well.
              However I ended up pregnant and the days of my youth
              were changed. We got married because of the pregnancy
              and we thought we were doing the right thing, or so I
              thought at that time.
              I was the one who changed, I went from going out and
              kicking up my heels to changing baby diapers. I setttled
              down and took joy in parenthood and being a wife. My ex was a good
              father, but there was a part of him that never settled
              through out our 20 year marriage. Overtime we had
              become 2 complete different people, and we were no
              longer compatable. Also his affairs added more stress
              to make matters worse. So I am not at all surprised
              we divorced. It hurt at the time, however looking back
              I can now see what I couldn’t back then during that time of
              our life. Again, my best to you and your husband.

    • Surviving

      You need to work on healing yourself it sounds like he’s not willing to help you at this point. You need to take care of yourself first both emotionally and physically, maybe he will come to his senses or maybe not either way living in limbo is not healthy.

    • Eva

      Thanks for the support! I do realize that I can’t go to my H for comfort now and living like this is simply too tormenting for both myself and my young daughter. I did state firmly to him that I’m not giving him permission to continue the affair but rather, giving him the time and space to settle it by D Day anniversay. OW is very clingy and refuses to give up, always threatening suicide to hold him back. He says he’s afraid but I told him that by maintaining contact, he’s giving her hope. Maybe it’s also his excuse, not able to let go yet.

      I’ve told him that the hardest thing that I ever have to do in life was not even about discovering the affair, it’s watching it continue! It has been so tormenting and frustrating.

      @Doug, when did u cone to your senses? I’m still waiting for the process of hoping that he wld end it when ‘the pain outweighs the pleasure’?

      • Doug

        Hi Eva, The turning point for me is when Linda said pretty much the same words to me that Lynne mentioned in her comment. Realizing what I stood to lose – wife, family, etc. – also helped me to get my head out of my a$$.

      • Lynne


        I hate to say this, but if you gave him until the D-day anniversary (how much longer is this?), then he is only doing what you gave him permission to do. Also, it would seem that giving him time and space to settle the EA is on some level giving him some kind of permission to continue it. And if she claims to be suicidal as a way to hold on to him, it seems to be working, so why would she change anything about her own behavior—she wants to stay connected to him and this IS KEEPING HIM connected.

        Remember, if this is too much for you to take right now, you do have the right to change the ultimatum date. I worry for you that you are working to be too kind to them, while effectively destroying yourself. Were it me, I would take a strong stand for myself and my daughter, and let his chips fall wherever they may. I just wouldn’t wait to see what he chooses–I’d choose the person I could most count on, ME!!!

      • tryingtoowife

        Eva – I have not been posting here lately but I had to let you know that my husband tried for months to end his affair to a dysfunctional and needy OW as the one you describe your husband and you are dealing with. She threatened shaming him in public, and at his job, letting me and all his family and friends know about what was going on, and, to suicide. He says that, as the letting go off smoothly did not work, he ended the affair and and lived through few weeks of abuse. She went mad, but did not act on any of the threats, apart from “informing” me and trying to destroy him and family, through me. She did all she could to destroy me, but in the end we are still together and slowly getting stronger. He in the other hand, hates her. He truly believes that she is a egocentric narcissist and hateful person. He is embarrassed to have been involved with such a person. I also think that giving your husband nearly a year to end the affair it is almost as giving him too much time to keep indulging into the madness. I am sorry if I am over stepping here! I believe it should go mostly on the line of: I am not accepting your behavior, You are hurting me, I love you but….
        I also believe that affairs just have to end, abruptly or not, no dead lines given. Dead line is when you tell yourself, I deserve more than this. How much can I take of this. Do I deserve it? Good luck and make yourself strong.

      • Holdingon

        I wish my wife’s AP would threaten to kill himself, I may even go help him. Sorry, I have no sympathy for the guy, I could really care less if he died, I wish he would.

        • Holdingon

          I don’t think it would bother me half as bad if he actually wanted her, but she was just a conquest, someone to boost his ego, he was seeing 3 other women at the same time.

    • Surviving

      The OW sounds very unbalanced if she’s threatening suicide then the proper call is to 911, that is if your in the US. Those people are better equipped to handle these type of issues. By stringing her along he is giving her false hope, unless that’s what he wants to do.

      • Anita

        Surviving is right.
        Who is your husband stringing along you or her????
        If its her, then any, I mean any threat of suicide, 911
        needs to be brought in immediately, no second guessing
        if its a ploy or not, any mention of suicide is a serious
        threat and needs to be handled accordingly. It is up
        to the doctors to determine if her threats are real or not.
        This is a serious matter and not to be taken lightly.
        Many times threats are ignored, only to be a fatality
        If she is unstable at least she will be under the care of
        medical supervision.

        • Anita

          Until he resolves his issues with this other woman, move
          on with your own life. You need not get involved with her
          issues, this is his problem to handle.
          No sense upsetting yourself over her threats, just move
          forward and create a good life for you and your daughter.
          Maybe someday he will return to his senses and want to
          rebuild the marraige, but for now until he frees himself
          from her and has shown you he’s changed, continue
          forward with a new life, free from him and his other woman,
          and their drama.

    • Lynne

      We do what works for us, right? It seems unlikely that this OW is going to wake up the day after Eva’s D-day ultimatim and suddenly decide to stop being manipulative. I’d venture to guess that she’ll wake up the day after and tune it up even higher. If it’s working now, why would she abandon the plan?

      • roller coaster rider

        I so agree with what Lynne (and others) are saying here, and Eva, I completely understand how frustrating and frightening this whole experience must be for you. My H was also involved with a very manipulative OW, and one whose neediness made him feel very important and cherished. I gave my H an ultimatum after D-Day 1, but he still got sucked back in when she began again to contact him. I sensed that something wasn’t right during the months that followed, although it wasn’t out of character at all for him to be depressed and self-doubting. He really wasn’t able to come out of the fog until after I left and since I decided for my own welfare to have no contact with him at that time, I’m not sure exactly when that was. It may have helped that one of our four children said she was also through with him should he decide to remain in that relationship, and another of the kids established no contact with him, including no contact with our young grandson who is adored.

        Bottom line is that an unhealthy relationship thrives on bad stuff: manipulation, co-dependence, poor communication, even all the way through threats, lying, blackmail. After infidelity, the road must include healing and desire for change. This may be limited to the cheater, but could include the BS if his or her own patterns have led to this point in the couple’s history (as mine did). If the cheater doesn’t come to grips with the bad stuff, not the least of which is the horrible aftermath of their selfish choices in the one they promised to love and cherish until death parted them, there isn’t any real hope for a solid and satisfying marriage. Eva, take care of yourself and your daughter because you deserve nothing less.

        • Holdingon

          I sure wouldn’t want my kids giving my wife ultimatums like that, threat of not seeing a child or grandchild could make him return for the wrong reasons and I would never know if she stayed for me or them.

    • Eva

      Yes, I’ve decided to get away from their drama. My ultimatum for D day is til Dec so I’ve got 9 more months to bear. I’m going to focus on my self-healing and can only hope and pray that my H would join me. I understood what went wrong in our marriage and do not wish to give up without giving my best to save it. Abt a month after D day, my H was able to express remorse and realized what a huge mess he had gotten involved in and don’t know how to get out of it. I’ve been reading so much and learnt that long term emotional and physical affairs take a long process to break it off. I’m listening to his needs and trying to meet them so that the OW could no longer fulfil them. It’s like getting the playbook back.

      I’m trying to use this one year to help him become strong and rational again and believe that we can have a better and more loving marriage. I guess I should also prepare to move on if things are still not settled within one year. With his fear of OW’s emotional instability, he is just waiting for her to break it off with him. But like what u all said, a manipulative person would not change her tactics because they worked on him all the time.

    • Surviving

      Has your MC judged your H? Or feels the therapy is at a point where you and your spouse are not progressing? Perhaps you should have one last closure appointment without your spouse.

      There does come a time and it’s going to sound selfish but where you need to put you first, your therapy first and let go of trying to fix him.

      • ChangedForever

        Hey Surviving, good idea about the last closure appt with the MC. At least out of respect for the person who pulled me out of the worst place i’d ever been…and crafted my path to recovery. Our MC seems ‘done’ with my H, seems to have been preparing me to live without him…just my opinion but it seems spot on with each subsequent appt….i am pursuing another personal counselor…for myself…maybe that ‘start anew’ approach will get us out of the counselling rut we are presently within…gotta try something.

        • Surviving

          Along this journey there will be people to help us along the path, and for each segment different people. Glad to hear you are considering a closuremeeting, it’s possible the MC also knows the next step or steps don’t involve him.

          Please keep us all posted so we know how your doing.

    • Anna

      I am in such a mess right now. It has been a month since I had confirmation of my husband’s EA/PA. They broke off contact initially, well, the OW told him it had to stop because I had found out, but then he’s since emailed her as a sort of ‘goodbye’ (which he told me about and let me see) but then yesterday she went into work to see other colleagues and he saw her in the canteen and they went for a walk together, just to talk. He again told me straight away and I am trying to see this as a positive thing but inside I am falling to pieces all over again.

      He loves her. Every time he says that I hear in my heart ‘I don’t love you’. We have a little girl and I am almost 7 months pregnant with our second baby. He says he is staying because he can’t figure out the logistics of what it would mean to leave…which again breaks my heart because I want him to say he’s staying because he wants to fix this, because he’s sorry.

      I have read about the withdrawal period. I know I have to wait. I know he isn’t sorry (which hurts) and I know that right now he isn’t committed to making our marriage work, even though I am in every way. I just don’t know how long it’s going to take, and today it just feels too hard, not knowing how long the wait will be…

      I have been understanding. I have listened to him talk about her. I have tried to express my own feelings and fears without going crazy at him. I feel that I am bending over backwards, but getting nothing in return…

      @Doug – what is he thinking/feeling right now? Should I be content, for now, with the fact that he’s at least here and at least being honest with me about the letter he wrote ending it and the fact that he ran into her yesterday?

      I feel so very lost and alone, and I’m terrified of the harm I’m causing to the baby with all this turbulent emotions that are churning inside of me…

      • Doug

        Hi Anna, I do feel that it’s probably a little too soon to expect much from your husband, though I do consider it is a positive thing that he is telling you about his contacts with the OW. If his relationship with the OW was ended rather abruptly (which it sounds like it was), it will more than likely make the withdrawal a little tougher for both of them. He may start to show some resentful feelings and get agitated easily. Hopefully there will be no future contact between the two of them, which will help things, and I really hope that he can turn his attention to what should be his highest priority right now – you and your soon-to-be-born baby.

    • Eva

      @Anna I guess I can offer u a virtual hug…it’s good that we have a support network here. I also always wonder how long more do I have to wait, is my H staying with me out of obligation and so on. He said so many hurtful things to me which I now learn from Linda’s posts not to take their story seriously. I think it is good that your H is transparent with you. Mine is not as forthcoming but will reveal if I ask, which often I don’t dare, because I can’t bear to hear anymore.

      Let us focus on building internal strength for our sanity and our children. I like to think that my daughter has only 1 childhood and I do not wish to waste it or have her see me as being weak and always in tears. My mantra now is ‘Today is my only day’. I set out tasks which I have to complete so that I do not dwell on the past and fear an unseen future. I like to focus on my marital relationship with my H right now so as not to obsess over the affair details and OW. I will not be manipulated by her!

      in the beginning, he felt it was impossible for us to be a couple again but yet I sense him getting closer to me, albeit slowly. To me, that is already progression from being ignored. Before D Day, we hardly communicate and he seems to avoid me, can’t even look me in the eye.

      It would also take time for us to rebuild our marriage and time for them to get over OW completely. Do take care of your health, our children need us.

      • Anna

        Thanks Eva and Doug. I felt a bit wild earlier today when I wrote but have calmed down since then. I know I need to be patient. It’s just hard.
        Eva, you’re right, I am trying to give myself little jobs to do that keep my mind occupied or at least partially occupied to make it easier, and when my little girl is home from school it’s easier to be busy, and happy spending time with her.
        I understand what you mean about it being hard to ask sometimes, but I feel at the moment it’s better to ask about the things that really weigh on my mind, otherwise I assume the worst. It’s hard not to take their story seriously though, to hear of the love for someone else and try to be objective and not allow it to crush you. One day at a time I suppose…
        You take care too.

    • Eva

      Anna, ask when you feel strong to accept. In the beginning, I hear more abt how he loves OW and all and only with me because of our daughter. After more rantings, he reveals more about what I’ve not been doing for him rather that how great a person she was. Their affair has made me realised my shortcomings as a wife and person. I’ve allowed too much anger and resentment to overwhelm our marriage. Resenting him for not becomng my ideal husband but never once reflect whether i’ve been his ideal wife as well. Thus, OW feels she deserves to have him since I’ve never been there for him.

      It’s good that the OW in your case has the decency to let go so u just need to wait for your H to come to his senses.

    • Disappointed

      Please can any CSs help me understand. My H told me last night that he cheated simply because he wanted to, it felt good and made him happy. We are separated but he makes sure we see each other 3-4 times per week. It has been almost 5 months of NC with OW. He says he still loves me but was in love with her. He is blaming me for the affair and I have said I will not take the blame. Asked him to go to counselor with me to talk about what I need to change for him to come home. (have to start somewhere) Since then he has been stepping up defense of his actions and says he will never be sorry for what happened or how it made him feel. He has convinced himself I was never there for him. Can you help explain the contradictions? Which is true, that he loves me and wants this to work, or I am the anti-christ that ruined our marriage singlehandedly? I am trying to make changes, but is is hard with the browbeating and no admissions that what he did was wrong and not justifiable. I am to the point where I want to bear the EA triggers alone and never talk about it again.. I just want him in my life and us on solid ground. Is there anyone who was separated and found their way back from similar circumstances? Has anyone survived being blamed for it all and found a way back to each other?

      • Lynne


        I just hope that you will get to a point where you ask yourself (deep down), do I really want to be treated this way. I tend to believe that actions will always speak louder than words…..his extending his lease, his unwillingness to look at himself in this, and his pointing the finger back at you, says that you should expect this to continue.

        There is a real difference in the kind of love where someone owns up to their mistakes and wants to help you heal, and someone who is defiant, blaming and takes NO RESPONSIBILTY for their actions. When your H is saying “that he cheated simply because he wanted to, it felt good and made him happy”, this should be a huge red flag for you–no remorse, no responsibility, self serving, narcassistic–the list is long.

        I know you love him, but the question is, are you willing to trade your peace of mind and self love for someone who CONTINUES to attach so much pain to that love?

        • Disappointed

          lynne – I know you are right. I think all of that every day… And yet I still love him. Maybe it will just take me time to accept I cannot fix this and that his reality will never be anywhere near mine. I want to be sure I have done everything I can. In my mind I am telling myself have to reach conclusion by end of 2012. Which will be a little more than 1 year from D day.

      • Better


        Your still at the very early stages of the process.

        My H was the same way, blamming me for his EA. Supposidly I pushes him into it because i was not there for him (Was wrongfully diagnosed yrs ago w/bipolar and the meds made me withdraw from life) He would tell me that he took care of me (financially) because he knew I could never do it in that state of mind. And he did love and care about me. But he fell out of love because i was not there emotionally. I take 1/2 the blame for our marriage deteriorating but it took me months to get to this point. In the begining months after dd I blamed myself completely. Hook line and sinker, he got me to feel as if it was all my fault. But it didnt feel right to me. So I told him, I take partial blame of what led up to the EA but YOU made the disision to find someone else outside of our marriage and give all your time energy and love to without whole heartedly fighting with everything you have to save us.

        It might take time for your H to see this, he might still be in the fog. But you need to keep telling yourself that you didnt deserve what he did. I even went so far as to ask my H “did i really deserve what you did?” answer: “NO”

        You can make it through this. Time and talking about what led up to it will help. I dont find that setting time limits on things is very helpful. Ive done it many times and it alway seems like the CS needs more time.
        What has helped me is to not back down. If you have questions or feel that he is blamming you completly, stand up for yourself! I always would tell myself “it cant possibly get any worse” and i would tell my H how I felt. The most destructive thing I could have done initially is blame myself completly. No matter the circumstance of your situation..NO ONE DESERVES TO BE CHEATED ON IN THEIR MARRIAGE!!!!


    • Better

      In the begining days of discovery I could’ve cared less about what my H of 17rs needed! (we are now 1yr from dd)

      I was so hurt and confused and in shock to really care about what he needed from me. I lost 35lbs in 2months, was already in the process of gettining off dibiltating meds that ruined us to begin with.

      I imediatly got right inbetween their friendship. I texted her when I felt the urge to do so. I pretended to be her friend to get answers from her. I stalked her and him on FB. found his secret FB account. found out about his secret phone (the Ow helped with this one) and I got her to break off contact with my H.
      Im not proud of it…but its what felt I had to do at the time. To just get them away from eachother so WE could rebuild what we had lost. I know my H wanted to still be with me but he was hooked on her and not strong enough to do it at the time. so I (being the jealous hurt wife) made his life (and mine) a living hell of emotions! I also got the OW to see how there friendship was killing any chance that we had of fixing our marriage. I honestly dont think the Ow had love feelings for my H. But he deffinatly had them for her. She finally (thank God) came to a decision to end it with him by reavealing his secret phone to me. Boy was he in shock!!

      I still wonder however, if she did have some kind of feelings for him. She accepted gifts from a “male married friend”. and knew how he felt about her. How she could even think she was helping him in his troubled marriage is still perplexing to me, considering the feelings he had.

      Back to the subject…I never got thru to my H what I needed to heal. I wrote him letters telling him how much I needed to hear him tell me he loves me. I cried. I pulled away. I pushed him away. Nothing seemed to really work. And to be honest, even if he did everything I needed It would have never made the pain go away. the only thing that has worked is time!

      This whole recovery process is just that…A LONG PROCESS!!! Painful too!

      Last week he finally told me what Ive been needing to hear for the past year…that hes completly in love with me again.
      And ya know…yes it made me happy…but the pain of the EA is still there! It didnt magically disappear like i thought it might.
      Im tired of thinking about it. Im tired of wondering if hes gotten good at hiding her. I just want to live my life with no fears about the man Im married to and be truly happy. No matter how tired I am, I still feel the pain.
      I dont think that the CS is able to give the BS what they need to heal. They are going thru their own type of pain/guilt/insecurities. They dont even know what they really want or need. I know this has been said many times on this site that the BS needs to back away a little and work on themselves. Much easier said than done. I know after a year Im finally at a place where I am starting to do that little by little. Finding that balance to being completly aware of what your spouse is doing and feeling and trying to figure yourself out is exhausting(then add kids and being a parent)

      But I will say this…Everytime I pull away from my husband and he gets a gllimpse of the woman I am underneath all the pain and emotions…he ALWAYS steps up his game…this is when he gives me what I need, and I never asked. Like I said…this is exhausting. I get to a point mentally where Im worn down and feel like giving up and I start to relax and think “f…it…Im not worrying about him anymore” Thats when he comes around and gives me what I needed. Some days I try to get that feeling of (I dont care) but it takes alot of him doing “nothing for me” to get there. Like I said…no matter what I tell him I need, he will not do it. He does things when hes ready or feels like it. (As Im writing this he sounds pretty selfish)
      He shows me he loves me. We dont fight about money like we use to (use to get pretty bad sometimes) Hes a better father..etc….HEs showing by his actions that he loves me and everything else in our lives.
      I guess I just want the romance that hes shown to have with the Ow. Want and need him to be romantic!! Is that selfish of me? Am I suppose to just wait and see if it will happen? Im sure the OW didnt ask and tell him that she needed it…it just happened..Do I need to stop wanting it and it will just come naturally?

      This whole process is exhausting and confusing and it fricken keeps me up at night..ugh!!!!

      • changedforever

        Wow…’Better,’ I was so moved by your story. I applaud you on how you ‘handled’ everything as you did…so brave you are. As there is no ‘script’ or ‘standard’ to follow when an affair comes to light (even if there was one, the trauma is much too much to ‘know’ what to do,) I again applaud you for the tactics you took. So relentless you were/are. I relate to your pain, unfortunately. And I wish you continued strength.

    • Surviving

      Does you H and the OW work at the same place?

      • Anna

        @Surviving They used to. She has since left for a new job, thank goodness. I don’t think I could cope if they were there together every day…

    • Surviving

      Have you told him you want those things too?
      If you haven’t let him know I’m jealous of what you gave, did, planned with the OW.
      I want and need for you to plan dates, send flowers but me special presents.
      I’ll bet he will step up him game and feel good doing these things you want.

      • Better

        Ive told my H many times that I wish he would make more of an effort to show me his romantic side. He definatly knows how upset I am about him buying her an expensive piece of jewlery (he hasnt done that for me in 7 Yrs…a$$hole) Found out when the “thank you” card came in the mail…broke a picture of us and walked out the door…he called me for hours and I wouldnt answer(I had to pull my car over on the side of the road to vomit I was so upset). This was VERY painful to digest to say the least. I told him not to give me ANY jewlery for a long time (i knew it was a trigger) Sometimes we would go to malls etc.. and if we passed a jewlery store I couldnt even look in that direction, Id start feeling very neasious. He did tell me that he noticed, but has never said he was sorry! Just said he wish he never did that! However on our vacation we stopped at an island and he bought me a nice ring. Asked him how he knew I wouldnt run out of there, and he said “you didnt seem to be objecting and it felt like the right time” (I guess its something) I think no matter what he gave me I will always be sick that MY H gave something like that to another woman!!!
        It really made me feel worthless and unworthy. Im better now..but its still a work in progress.

        And he KNOWS how jealous I am, because hes the same way with me (not unhealthy, just enough that we know we both still care)
        If the shoe was on the other foot…he would not be able to work it out…I know he wouldve left and Ive told him this.

        I do wish he would step up his game more (romantically speaking)

    • csb

      Better – I so agree, I am exhausted and I don’t know how much longer I can feel this way (6 months since dday). My CS seems to think that as long as we do things together, hold hands, etc. things are better. Like you, when my inner pain bubbles to the surface he gets nervous and then is willing to have open discussions.

      I miss that feeling of security, trust, comfort and just the general “ease of a healthy relationship”. I mourn for the passion and intimacy that’s missing from my life.

      What’s done is done, and I know it has changed us forever, I just want to get to a point where the “new us” is acceptable to me.

    • Better

      Im glad you are doing things together. That has really helped my marriage. We do a lot together! My H is always asking me to tag along (his line of work requires it sometimes). I really feel that spending as much time together as possible helps with getting that bond back.

      I really dont like talking about the EA so my emotions do tend to become backed up and then I explode on him. I just dont want to push him away with all of my negative thought…but I CAnt help it! (very frustrating)

      I need answers..and I feel like if I dont ask than our relationship will become like it use to be before the EA..I dont want to ever go back to that so I explode instead!! Not good, and Im working on it. But I must say the last time it happened he was very considerate and understanding…and he still loved me after (he actually told me that when I do that to him it takes him 3 or 4 days to feel close to me again) but…the very next day he was still very loving, so I think he suprised himself!

      I remember the 6month period…and we were still in the “should we, can we fix this-stage” He actually left our house for 3 days because my emotions were “killing” him. When he came home I told him I couldnt do it anymore and that I told him in the begining it would take me a long time to get over this and I knew I would be emotional. I gave him the choice, if he wanted “US” he would have to deal with all of the emotions I would be going thru for however long it took. So, anyways, I told him when he came home that I thought we were too broken and I wanted out, I couldnt stand feeling like this anymore…He didnt want out! So here I am a year into it and the pain is getting less, Im feeling closer to him, communication is still a work in progress, we have a lot of fun together…and the blow ups are less!

      Hang in there…if hes worth it, it will get better!

    • Karen

      I don’t know where to begin. I’m reading all these stories, so like mine yet different. I want to believe it’s possible to reach a point of “normal” again but frankly don’t believe that right now. There wasn’t one OW but dozens. I havne’t caught him once but over and over. Why then, you may ask because I ask myself, don’t I just leave. I don’t know and that’s what bothers me the most, that I’d rather stay than leave, even with the heartbreak and total loss of trust.

    • Karenjzj


      I feel the same way. We are a year from d-day and I still explode at triggers. I can’t deal with my own emotions.
      He has made so many improvements, but he threatens separation every time I react to a trigger. I try to explain. I try to leave to deal with it on my own, but I still explode. I tell him I’m stuck on this, but he doesn’t get it. He tells me I should ” deal with it” and I ” should have moved on” from these emotions by now.

      • Ifeelsodumb

        You will not be able to get “over” your H’s betrayal until HE decides to help you heal….that’s a proven fact! The best book I have read is one that is talked about on here a lot. It’s by Linda Macdonald “How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair”. I suggest you buy it, read it, then ask your H to read it. If he starts to do the things suggested in the book, you will find that healing will take place…if not, you will be stuck where you are now….accepting that this happened to you, but not able to forget.
        BTW, one of the main points of the book, NEVER tell your spouse they need to “get over it”!!! That is VERY selfish thing to do…considering THEY are the CHEATER and have brought all this pain on to you!! He needs to be a BIG boy and OWN it!!

    • Better

      My CS has told me many times to “get over it”
      Last time I had a blow up was a month ago. I too left (just a car ride) to get my emotions under control. H ended up calling me and we talked for over an hour. I cried, asked questions, and yelled because some of the answers.

      Ive been trying to get to the point where I feel safe enough to bring up his EA without blowing up. My biggest fear is that the conversation always seems to go no where when we talk calmly, he continues to lie or deflect. It seems as if the only time I get a straight honest answer is when I do BLOW UP! Does this happen to you as well?

      Its been a year and last month I found out that something he told me in those early months was not true at all, he just told me that to make me feel better.
      Why does the CS seem to think that lying is going to me the BS feel better? The truth will come out! and the lies make it harder and longer to heal!!

      I just want honest answers to ALL my questions so I know what Im dealing with and can heal and move on! I know someone else posted on here that the truth comes out gradually and over time….I hate this trickling of the truth!

      This website is the BEST on the net. Ive googled EAs and this site and all the BS’s on here are my lifeline to sanity!

      • Notoverit

        Hey Better, been there, done that have the t-shirt. I am sixteen months out from D-day but about four months ago my H decided to come clean about how he really felt about the OW. For an entire year he had been saying that the EA was just exciting and fun but he felt nothing for the OW. Then, blam, he tells me he thought for a while that he was in love with her. He didn’t want to tell me at the beginning because he was afraid I’d leave. So, major set-back on my healing. He had to tell me because he said he didn’t want to lie any more – kudos for that but seriously? I don’t get the lying at the beginning except because of the fear. You aren’t alone and now I am back to wondering how much more he lied about. I just keep plugging along every day; that’s about all we can do. My H knows now that I want the truth but somehow I sincerely doubt I will ever get the whole truth. My counselor told me that, given the progress my H has made and my own ability to see things as they are, maybe I should try to move on – forgive – for my own well-being. It’s hard but I try. I can’t keep reliving the past and trying to find the truth. Either I let go or it will consume me. That is where I am now. I know this doesn’t help but think about it. It is getting better for me with this new attitude.

        • Anita

          You are very much right, about letting the past go, and focus on the here and now. However it is a healing process, and it does take time.
          Look at forgiveness as being for you, it never ever makes
          what they did right, but your also not swallowing the poison
          of it either, nor letting their past wrong choices get to you any longer.
          God also gave you a life to enjoy, without it being centered
          around someone else’s affair. When I realized my life
          was also important and my exhusband’s wrong choices
          were his problem, and all I had to do was to forgive, and
          get back to living again it felt so good.
          Even though I am divorced and your married we both
          suffered the same hurt. However its important for both of
          us to go foward and live again, and let someone elses
          past wrong choices be in the past.
          We both have a full life ahead of us, so lets press
          My very best to you.

    • Anita

      I know you would like to know the full truth, however does
      it really matter, an affair happened and you were hurt.
      Knowing all the details will only bring more insult to
      injury. What’s important is to be able to forgive and let the
      rest go.
      Better, I been divorced for a few years and I’m currrently
      waiting for my annulment to be granted. Even after all
      this time I still do not know the full truth and I never will,
      time as healed those wounds, so I no longer care.
      In time it may not matter to you either, but what’s important
      is to let it go and live in the here and now.
      The past is over and your future is ahead and someone
      else’s past wrongs should be left in the past, and forgiven,
      so it doesn’t get dragged along, unforgiveness is a
      pretty heavy weight to drag along with you each day and
      its very tiring and that energy could be used for something
      more productive. Do yourself a favor and let it go, and
      feel how less tired you will be, because you will have
      renewed energy to live again. Also God gave you a life
      to live, so forgive and leave the sorrow and pain behind
      you, and live again. Life is to short to live in the past,
      and no matter how many times you revisit the past its
      not going to change, so let it go, and live again.

    • Kate

      My husband had a 10 month EA with a coworker 40 years younger than himself. It actually was physical, too. A lot of kissing, texting, phone calls and love letters. I have been piecing the torn love letters together, because I need to know what really happened. He has told outrageous lies about them being together. I was gone on a trip and she came to our house for over an hour. He told me that they “sat on the front steps”. Really? They also met several times at our cabin up north. She started carrying condoms in her purse. I feel like if he doesn’t tell me the truth then the secrets are still going on. How do I get him to talk about it? He just gets angry.

    • Tryingtogetover

      I am struggling today with how much I can keep bringing things up. We have been over everything in the last year and a half and have done so much healing but there are days when I really feel like I need to point out a past hurt. And then I wonder, what am I trying to accomplish? Do I just want to be sure he hurts as much as me? Or that he knows I hurt? Or do I just want to puncture our current happy bubble? Do I want to speak up out of anger? Why is the past so hard to let go of and why is it so hard for me to live in the present? I am wondering how to balance my need to share what is on my mind with my desire to move on.

      • 2nd time around

        Sometimes we just need to get something said out loud. Is there someone you have gotten support from recently, who knows the situation, that you could talk to without jeapordizing the current positive relationship you are having in your marriage? I find this helpful to keep me on track if you honestly feel it’s not a reoccurring problem.

      • Shifting Impressions

        I struggled with the same thing for a long time. If I am truly honest with myself….there were times I wanted to punish. I wanted him to feel the same pain he caused me. But other times I just needed to him to “understand’ what i was feeling.

        For a long time we set aside an hour once a week to talk about the EA…..It was quite helpful, but I often had to fight for that hour as things had a way of coming up so it didn’t happen (how convenient for him)

        I agree with 2nd time around….having some backup support is truly life saving. I don’t know if I could have made it without the support of a few close friends. My adult children (especially two of them) were unbelievable. Of course it doesn’t hurt that my daughter is a psychologist with a very soft heart….we are very close. I also cried on my oldest son’s shoulder more than once.

        I don’t know if it’s just about letting go of the past….it’s just as much about going through the grieving process. I sound like a bit of a broken record on this site….about how this is a long hard journey that just can’t be rushed. You think you are doing really well and things are going smooth and then BAM something knocks you back down flat on your ass. It’s okay….you will get back up and keep going. Until slowly you don’t get knocked down so often. Slowly you are able to get back up a little faster. Slowly you don’t cry as often. Slowly the sadness starts to lift.

        Something precious was lost….it takes a long time to put the pieces back together again.

        • Brian

          The pain never goes away, its been 6 years for me and she still won’t be honest. She lets ne look at her phone if I want and always tells me where she’s going but she’s still lying about everything.

    • Tryingtogetover

      Thank you 2nd, that is good advice! There is no current problem and my husband has been working hard to regain my trust for more than a year now with no backsliding. He is doing everything I ask and being super sweet but we hit “anniversaries” that trigger me and I just want to mention them even though I know it just reopens wounds. Maybe I will just text a friend. Or now I am thinking I will explain this all to him: “ I want to mention past hurts not to drag us down, but just because I need you to know it is still on my mind. I just need you to listen patiently while I recount how bad things were two years ago.” I think saying something is probably better than saying nothing.

    • Tryingtogetover

      Thank you, Shifting! I think the desire to punish may be exactly what I struggle with. As things get happier, a little voice inside me wants to say, “but do you remember what you did?!” And now I think it is dripping out as tiffs about other things, like his mom, instead of me being straightforward about the fact that I am having flashbacks. So, I think I just need to talk honestly a bit. I can see how setting a designated hour aside could be hard, but I will work it into some alone time tonight! Better to have a few heated minutes about the past than to keep messing up the present, I am deciding.

    • Mary

      It is 47 days days since discovery day of my husband’s 2 month affair with an aqaintance of mine and we are now slowly rebuilding our 25 yr old marriage. Nothing floored me more than when I found out and I’m shedding tears reading all the posts on here as it is still very raw to me. I identify with so many scenarios mentioned and my heart goes out to you all.

      In my case I felt a victim for about a month the tears, anger and sense of utter betrayal consumed me. I had known something was amiss in the preceeding months as H was horrible and behaving totally out of characters. I initially put his strange behaviour down as the result of my depression which had been going on for 6 months. Ironically I had refused meds from my doc as felt it reduced my libido and this might tempt him to go elsewhere! However after the gaslighting (him accusing me of horrid behaviour towards him and of having an affair) I made it my mission to find out what was going on. I confronted the AP only to be viciously verbally attacked. She had bought into all the excuses he had made to justify the affair…I was a “narrcacistic b*tch” whose husband didn’t care for me and hadn’t for years. I treated him badly and she told me to grow up and get over it etc etc and accept he was leaving me. All in all a pretty vitriolic attack on the night of affair discovery.

      However, he has never left the marital home through any of these 47 days except for two nights. One being when he refused to tell me what had gone on so I asked him to leave. Next day he returned and confessed all. The second time was when again, I created boundaries that he had to end the affair or we were done. He did, remained in affair fog and mourned the loss of AP for 3 weeks and finally this last week he has begun to smile and open up about it all and show total regret and remorse.

      I put the success thus far down to tough love, charging neutral and boundaries…but open and clear about my expectations if our marriage is to move forward. We have discussed what led to the affair and our individual parts we played that led to his affair. He knows I love him unconditionally and am prepared to forgive but that trust and respect for him will have to be earned all over again. I hasten to add that if he had not come round so quickly I would not have had him back. For two months he had been lying, manipulating and betraying me. I had to hasten up any self esteem left ( there wasn’t much) and go into battle to keep the man I loved. Tears and tantrums did not work so I changed tactics, put my make up on, bought some new clothing and played the part of a woman who could manage perfectly well without him despite feeling as though my heart had been ripped out. He needed to see the person he had fallen in love with originally, not some needy sad, codependent wife when tbh, he was busy dealing with his own emotions.

      Yes we have a long way to go, yes I have triggers all the time and he is making the effort finally to be understanding, accountable and truthful.

      When I first came to Doug and Linda’s blog, I had no hope and was totally overwhelmed. These last 47 days has been a steep learning curve and I will forever be grateful for their support. I do not intend to dwell on this as we must move forward together and I know in my heart he very much regrets his conduct and affair. Tough love, charging neutral and boundaries plus allowing the betrayer a voice will always be what saved my marriage.

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