bad newsWe all make mistakes after infidelity, but it sure seems as though the unfaithful spouse is the person making the lion’s share of them.

By Doug

I made my share of them for sure and I talk with people all the time who communicate to me the mistakes they and their spouse have made after infidelity.  Usually these mistakes aren’t made on purpose or out of spite, as there is a healthy dose of ignorance and the placing of one’s head in the sand that occurs.

That said, here are a few things that most unfaithful spouses wish they would have known after their affair was discovered. (I wish I would have known these things!)

I wish I would have known these things!

Your own guilt and shame pales in comparison to the pain your spouse experienced.  Because of this, you must stop hiding behind that guilt and shame.  Own up to your mistakes and direct all your efforts towards helping your spouse heal and recover.  This isn’t about you anymore!

Forgiveness isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card. Forgiveness doesn’t let you off the hook, nor does it mean that your spouse is over the affair and you don’t have to talk about it anymore. It is your spouse’s own personal decision and is not about you.  Rather, she/he has made a choice to not hold your betrayal against you any longer.  That doesn’t mean you still can’t discuss/work on/investigate the issues that were behind your affair.  And by-the-way, forgiveness does NOT equal reconciliation.

Tell the truth from the get-go.  I wish I would have told the truth from day one.  It would have hastened our recovery and Linda’s healing by a lot.  Don’t be afraid of the possible consequences by trying to control the flow of honest information.  Instead, face the music, give your spouse what they need and let them make their own decisions.

See also  Do People Who are Unfaithful Lose 50 IQ Points?

Triggers and memories of the affair don’t just go away.  Your spouse has suffered a trauma due to your affair and there are going to be reminders and intrusive thoughts on a daily basis for the foreseeable future.  I wish I would have known how powerful these were and how long they were going to last.  That way, I would have done a better job at being aware and addressing them and protecting Linda from them, while not getting so frustrated and impatient.

It’s important to get off of the fence.  Whether you want to stay married to your spouse or leave for a life with your AP, make up your mind and just do it!  Your fence sitting ambivalence is not fair to anyone.  It just prolongs the pain and hinders any true healing.  Just be aware of how your decisions will eternally affect you and those you love.

Real love is nothing like affair love.  The feel-good ego stroking that I received from the OW was nothing compared to the unconditional love that was gracefully given to me by Linda after I broke her heart.  I surely didn’t deserve it back then.  Affair love was me being selfish and only made me feel good about myself, while the real love from Linda made me feel cared for in spite of the asshole I was back then.  She didn’t have to do that and I’ve learned a lot about love as a result.

Don’t be afraid to figure out who you really are.  Infidelity transforms a person in many ways.  Some good, some bad.  The important thing is that you figure out what makes you tick and why you do the things you do.  It took a long time for me to confront my own deficiencies but when I did, I was able to become a better person and Linda and I were able to create a better marriage as a result.

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

Now it’s your turn.  What are some things you wish you would have known, and what were your mistakes after infidelity?  You don’t have to be the unfaithful person to answer this either.  Anyone can chime it!

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Guidance and Understanding for the Ex-Unfaithful

Typically at some point after their affair, the ex-unfaithful find themselves getting off track, feeling lost and not knowing what to do or what to say throughout the healing and recovery process.  It's normal.  

If you are an unfaithful person - or married to one - and are looking for some answers, some direction - this bundle will do the trick.



    68 replies to "I Wish I Would Have Known That!"

    • Shifting Impressions

      Thank you, Doug….I’m not sure if you even realize how powerful this post really is. It really says it all. This depth of understanding from an unfaithful partner would go a long way to healing a relationship.

      Every point you made, touched my heart to the core…..this is the level of understanding from my husband, that I crave. Slowly, slowly we are making headway….baby steps.

      Thank you again.

      • Doug

        Thanks, SI. Really happy for you that you are indeed making headway. It’s a long road for sure, but you’ll get there.

    • Scott

      The minute you blame anything at any point on the faithful spouse you go straight back to the beginning. No matter what indiscretion you may think your faithful spouse has committed it’s nothing compared to the pain of your betrayal. I was the faithful spouse. I heard plenty of blowhard, no truth, imaginary, and flat out lies as blame shifting. It’s a major reason why I didn’t stay to work it out. All the finger pointing, the lack of ownership, the lack of actual logic, blew me away. The word “perfect” was thrown around a lot. Good luck finding perfect. The excuses were a thousand fold. And every single one of them was her projecting her bad behaviors on me. She was less than attentive to the kids. She was lazy. She was short tempered. But the truth didn’t matter, just blaming me mattered. So if you’re a cheater, and I’m skeptical cheaters can change, be aware that every time you think you’ve got one in your win column with your betrayed spouse, you’ve actually just lost all you’ve gained.

    • antiskank

      Doug, thank you once again for a great post! Reading each point, I was declaring “Yes” to myself and wishing that my H could feel the importance of them. To me and probably most of us, these points seem like no-brainers, yet the betrayers just don’t seem to get it. Like SI, each of your points struck a chord with me and left me feeling an array of emotions.

      Interesting title too! There are soooooo many things I wish I had know at the beginning! There are many things I wish I knew now and many things I will probably never know. I wish I had known he was cheating, that he was a liar, that he continued to “love” her for over 2 1/2 years, that he had depression issues. The list just goes on.

      If I had known that I would still be feeling unloved, unsafe and abandoned or that he would still be stone-walling after this length of time, I would have ended our marriage long ago.

      I will be showing this post to my H. Although I have tried explaining to him in every way I can think of, nothing seems to get through to him. Although I don’t think that my H is still in “the fog” after 3 1/2 years, he seems to think that the mere fact that he is still with me is enough, that nothing more is required. That just doesn’t do it for me!! I think the difference for you is that you not only realized you had screwed up but accepted responsibility and did what you could to repair the damage. It appears that not everyone feels that is necessary. What is it in you that is so different from the majority of unfaithful spouses? How can we get through to them?

      I haven’t given up yet even though some days it would be the easier route. Your post does give me hope. Maybe it is the kick we need to get out of the rut we are stuck in and move forward, ever so slightly…….

      • Strengthrequired

        Doug, great post, I too wish my husband would feel like you do. Maybe he does, I can’t be sure at times.
        Yet there is one thing I wish maybe I didn’t do, and that is not try so hard to save my marriage, not throw myself in the deep end, all that hysterical bonding, just made me feel cheapened, especially considering that he still ended up sleeping with her, I guess I hoped the more love I showed him the sooner he would end things with the ow and not make the mistake of sleeping with her. It was like trying to stop a ticking time bomb and in the end it still going boom.
        One thing I realised during the affair, was it didn’t matter how hard you try, what blame you take on your own shoulders, the problem isn’t with you, you are putting all the effort into keeping your family together, your cheating spouse is just along for the ride, no heavy lifting being made on their part, that they feel entitled to cheat, they felt entitled to deceive, there is nothing you can do about it, it is up to them the cheating spouse to make a decision. We can’t stop them, they can lie get caught, then find a new way to lie until caught again, all the while we are making ourselves go crazy, thinking we can change the way they are acting, that the so will be easy to get the AP out of our lives, truth is it isn’t easy, it’s damn hard. It can take a long time and several ddays, before the AP or yourself leave.

      • Doug

        Thanks for the kind words AntiSkank. you asked…”What is it in you that is so different from the majority of unfaithful spouses? How can we get through to them?” Well, I can tell you that I really don’t have anything in me that’s really anything special. I guess you can say that I was at the edge of the marital “cliff” and was able to get my head straight and realize that I had to take responsibility for my own stuff and for what I had done to Linda. I made the right choices – for once. In our case, it took a bit of tough love from Linda along with a lot of reconnecting along the way.

        • TheFirstWife

          You can’t get through the affair fog. That is the point.

          Unless the cheating spouse wants to change or realize what they are doing and WANT to stop, you are wasting your time.

      • Jane

        I feel your pain because i have been in the same spot before…i was at the verge of giving up when i actually met someone who helped me by showing me how to get my husband back. And since then life become love again. Don’t give up because you have the power to change the situation and enjoy life again with your husband.

        • TheFirstWife

          Glad you had success. I am lucky because my H finally realized all that he had done. He is working hard to make up for what he did.

          But during the fog I was trying hard and fighting a losing battle.

          When he almost left and divorced me I was powerless to stop him. But he did come to his senses (finally) and we were able to recover.

          We are lucky. My H gets it. Truly does.

    • Dion

      I’m with Strengthrequired -hysterical bonding- i hate myself for it. I was too clingy, too forgiving too soon. I wish i knew what was happening. I get that those reactions are normal but a wish i knew to back off. I wish i knew it was okay to get seriously angry. I did but maybe not enough. I wish i knew just how intense and crazy the affair fog was. There is no clear thinking, no reality, no logic, and no point in arguing with someone in the fog. Even now I’m sure she still believes all the feelings and experiences she had during the affair were real. I wish i new that even a few years later she would see the loss of her affair partner as a loss. I wish knew the reality of what having your past rewritten meant. I wish i knew that i would never get it back. I wish i knew that the affair would forever taint how i look at every aspect of our relationship.

      • Strengthrequired

        Dion, I had no idea why I was going through the hysterical bonding, I didn’t even know there was a word for it, until I came here. I couldn’t understand why I was not walking away, why I just wanted him to be closer to me. It is definately a confusing time, yet I felt cheap, he was having the best of both worlds and I was taking his seconds, whatever leftovers he had left for me, after spending his time with the ow. Giving her what I had been asking him for, for years, yet he was too busy with work, yet gave her that time without any effort on her part. how is that, you can feel cheap when it isn’t you who is cheating, you are with your spouse.

        • Strengthrequired

          I actually thought that there was something wrong with me, for not acting differently.
          Let me just say, it was a huge relief to find out that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, that so many people go through those same emotions.

      • TheFirstWife

        Amen. Glad to hear I am not alone.

        The only thing different was that a few weeks into the affair fog we had an eye opening event/occurrence. I knew he was still in contact with the OW. I could see all phone calls and texts via my wireless account. After about 2 weeks of the charade with my H I confronted him.

        I told him if he wanted to contact or speak to her to please do it in the open. Stop trying to hide it. I let him know that I knew what was going on. He then told me he was going to end it. It took a 73 minute phone call to “end it”. And then there was the confrontation.

        One week after the 73 minute call I came home from therapy session and asked him point blank of he still wanted to be married. He had told me 3 weeks earlier “he wasn’t sure IF he still wanted to be married”. So I asked him point blank. I got a yes of course.

        Well that turned out to be a lie b/c he went running back to her 6 weeks later for affair part 2. And then asked for a divorce twice in one week. I tried everything possible during the fog. It is like dealing with an addict. Yes all sense goes out the window. All respect to family. All morals. Everything is changed. You are not dealing with the person you know.

        When I found out of the affair part 2 from the OE (I called her) I had enough. I asked him to leave. And I finally had enough and he knew it.

        Almost 2 years from DDay2 – I have had PTSD from it. I trust no one, I am ready financially to be a single parent b/c I no longer feel on solid ground with this marriage. I wonder how many other affairs occurred in the 25+ years of marriage. And I look at him differently.

        I still love him and wish no harm but I wonder how you can treat your spouse so poorly? Mid life crisis my butt, I never did anything to deserve it. Depression, mid life crisis, money problems, dissatisfaction, are all justifications for selfish behaviors.

        If you are that unhappy then leave. Divorce. Separate. Cheating is a coward’s way out. Just like drinking and drugs. All self medicating behavior.

        I am lucky in that my H has the same feelings as Doug. He deeply regrets his actions. He is trying everything to make it up to us. He is doing s good job.

        But I want to move past it. And I will. Therapy has helped tremendously. I am lucky to have found a great one. It made all the difference. Without therapy I would have bailed 3 weeks into affair part 1 and would have been divorced.

        Hoping to get to the other side of the rainbow real soon. I am almost there.

    • exercisegrace

      Here is one I would add: Don’t dismiss the betrayed spouse’s truth. In the throes of the affair, your focus is elsewhere. Your family is an annoyance, something you have to deal with until you can be with/speak with your affair partner again. Therefore, you pay little attention to the way you treat and speak to, not only your spouse but your children. If you are a decent human being, you are likely going to be horrified by some of the ways you acted and the things you said to the people who truly love you.

      My husband astonishingly saw himself as still being a good husband and a great father during his affair, and he continued this perception after. Thank God we had a good therapist who shut him down when he said things like “I just don’t believe I said/did that”. Some examples: he “remembered” that he attended ALL of my daughter’s soccer games during the year of affair. He actually attended ONE. He was hurt when she called him out on this. Second example: he became obsessed with my “lack” of housekeeping skills, and once woke me up at 2 am having a fit because the kids and I had dared to go to bed and leave the kitchen “a filthy mess”. He demanded it be cleaned. It was spotless except for a rinsed dish and spoon in the sink that one of the kids had used for a late night snack.

      Affairs are irrational. They are the epitome of bad judgement, emotional abuse of your family, and completely lacking in self-respect. Do not doubt what your family tells you was said and done during this crazy time. Accept what you did, apologize humbly and move forward to live a better life.

      • Strengthrequired

        Eg, how true, my husband too thought he was being a wonderful husband, especially after all, he chose me over the ow and moved back home after a month of him moving out, it didn’t matter to him that he was still seeing his ow, and providing me with several ddays after that. He thought he was being a wonderful father, he actually thought he was spending heaps of time with them. Well if your in the throes of an affair, then yes, if the children see their parent luckily for 30 minutes a day, then yes, your doing a great job. (Saracsim). I was actually terrified if my husband left us to be with his ow, how my children would feel seeing their dad at the shopping centre, or elsewhere, spending time with the ow and her children, and not them. How it would be like a kick in the heart for them. They missed their dad so much at that time, to have her and her children running around with their dad, taking their place would have been the worse for them.

    • TryingHard

      The only thing I can add is do not believe anything the cheater says to you while he is still in contact with the AP. Do not believe their actions either. Until the AP is gone and he has established NC there is NO reconciliation and nothing they say or do can be trusted.

      Do not believe that it’s not the affair that’s the problem, but rather problems in your marriage. There may or may not be problems in the marriage, but that is dealt with way down the road. The problem IS, at the moment, the affair he is having, not you or your marriage.

      Do not give him any excuses or reasons for HIS bad choices. Do not take the onus for his bad behavior and total disrespect he has for you while having an affair. It’s all him, not you.

      And do not blame yourself for being stupid not to “know” he was having an affair. Cheaters are very good liars and gaslighters and blame shifters. How could you possibly “know” something when you have total trust in someone and you know you, yourself would never cheat. Hating yourself for not “knowing” is a waste of time and energy.

      Do not stand in the driveway till 4:00 in the morning telling him, or anyplace else for that matter :/ “it’s her or me, make your choice right now”. Set your boundaries from the beginning and stick by them. Then turn around and walk away.

      Do not think because you are tech savvy and he is transparent that the affair is over. If he wants to contact the AP or she him, if there is a will, there’s a way. Only he is in control of his moral compass and commitment to the marriage and relationship. No amount of marriage policing will protect you. The only way to be certain is to spend some money and hire a private detective if you have any inkling that the affair is not over. Do not play PI yourself.

      And most important is be the adult in all this.

      • exercisegrace

        Really good stuff TH. Your last line made me think of one more. Always put the kids first. They may not know their father is cheating, but they DO know something terrible is going on. If they are teens, I would bet money they know. I thought I was “protecting” my kids by making excuses for their father’s failure to participate in their life at this time. I backed up his “have a big project due, have to work crazy hours” crap. It ended up damaging MY relationship with them and it dented their trust in ME. In retrospect, I would have acted on my feelings and suspicions much, much sooner. For THEIR sake, if not for my own. I would have confronted him more about his lack of involvement in the kids’ lives. I would NOT have made excuses for him. I would have flatly told my kids…..I don’t know why he isn’t coming to your game. I agree, that really sucks that he isn’t going. Much more validating of their feelings. When it all came out (thanks whore, for contacting them!) we were both horrified to hear they believed some very terrible things that weren’t true. And believe me, the truth of our story was bad enough.

        • TryingHard


          I could not agree more. My kids are adults and I called them over when my H was dumping the whole shit show on me. There was never going to be any hiding the truth from them and what’s more for what??

          If they are young and at home and especially teens, DO NOT LIE OR MAKE EXCUSES FOR THE CHEATER!!

          Not saying you have to get explicit or denegrade him to them but be honest. “Dad’s dealing with some really crummy choices he’s made and we are struggling right now. I’m sorry this is affecting you as well” But don’t lie. For crying out loud no.more.lies.

          • Strengthrequired

            Eg, th, I agree, it is better it comes from you, then from someone else like the ap. no one deserves to be lied to.

    • Falling Ash

      I wish I would have listened to my gut more in the early days post DDay. I believed he was telling me the truth about this wonderful woman who he had a “melding of minds” with. I allowed myself to be sucked into the fantasy of this perfect OW and felt I couldn’t possibly compete with this paragon. I also didn’t argue when he said he felt he couldn’t talk with me about the things he talked to her about. I felt so inadequate. Of course I no longer feel that way and even he says he now concedes that she manipulated him and there was nothing special about her. There was nothing she gave him that he couldn’t get from me, and with a more fulfilling relationship. He admits it was a totally selfish way of behaving and was purely an addiction to the ego-stroking that he couldn’t resist. We have a very long way still to go and he knows I will never trust him absolutely and naïvely as I did before. That is his loss due to his choices. He knows that I have reached a point where I would be able to survive without him, and it is up to him to live a life filled with honesty and transparency for evermore. If not, he is out on his ear! I refuse to spend my life with a liar and a cheat, so he can’t afford to be either of those any more.

      • TheFirstWife

        My H had a mid life crisis which led to his affair.

        How sad just like in the movie It’s A Wonderful Life that something “bad” has to happen for the cheating spouse to see what they really had. Right there in front of them.

        Only now it has changed. It will never be the same relationship as before the affair.

        How sad.

    • Really Happy

      Hi Doug
      Incredibly insightful post. I guess in a way I’m lucky that my husband was completely honest about everything from the get go and told me EVERYTHING. however he was in the fog for a while and sat on “that” fence for longer than I would have liked. Well it felt like forever (2 months of not knowing where he wanted to be was like a living hell for me). However through therapy he finally emerged with a complete understanding of what had happened. He knew who he wanted to be with and never looked back. It was me. I chose to stay in the marriage as I truly love him. Again I’m lucky that he understands triggers and helps me deal with them when they occur but the memories seem to constantly plague me. Not in massively impactful ways. But they always lurk far in the back of my thoughts. Never too far away.

      It’s been just over a year since D-day and things are much better than they’ve ever been. Therapy certainly helped us both achieve a better understanding of our marriage and each other. It’s been phenomenal.

      As I said earlier he was honest about everything and when he came clean about his affair he also told me of two one night stands he’d had over the years. Both women I knew (he worked with them both). I never really dealt with the blow of that info as I was literally trying to survive the new found knowledge that he wanted to leave me and was “in love” with his affair partner. The info about the other two women barely touched sides with me at the time.

      Now, however, one of these women who knowingly slept with MY husband is getting married to my husbands brother. (Very Jerry Springer!!!)
      She doesn’t know that I know. Nobody in the family knows. We’re a close family and I’ve kind of had to put on the happy smiles. But inside I feel so awful. Everytime I see her I think of what happened between them. I was asked to design her wedding invites. I’ve been asked to help with her kitchen tea. My 2 little girls are going to be flower girls in the wedding and it makes me sick that she is so friendly with me knowing she slept with my husband a few years ago. The thoughts never go away. I cannot really tell anyone as people would think there’s something wrong with me that I’m helping her out so much. Sometimes I think there’s something wrong with me! I have this internal fight with myself to just try and NOT BE NICE TO HER. But people would start asking questions or just think that I’m being a bitch.

      She’s a monumental trigger to me for all the affairs. Seeing her face reminds me of everything my husband did. And brings with it pain. And unlike the affair partner that he was considering leaving me for, where there’s been no contact at all, I get to see this charming person frequently. And she’s becoming part of our family. It makes me nauseous to think about the longevity of her presence.
      Husband understands this and had been very helpful in listening to me talk and rant and cry and be weird at times.
      Thankfully he really cannot stand her anymore. It was clearly a one night stand that was a big mistake. I’ve always wondered why he has such great dislike of her.

      I would love to hear from anyone else that might have to deal with something similar and how they’ve coped.

      As I said before, I never really dealt with this one and she’s a reminder of everything that happened. ??

      • Shifting Impressions

        Really Happy, that sounds like a nightmare. I could be wrong but it sounds like all the secrecy is giving this more power.

        I would talk this over with the therapist but if it were me I would let her know that you know. Also in all fairness shouldn’t your husband’s brother know as well. The truth has a way of coming out in the end… would probably be better now than later.

        But as I said I would sit down with the therapist and your husband and figure out the best approach. Secrets can do so much damage… shouldn’t have to carry this alone. This woman needs to know that you know.

      • TheFirstWife

        Wow! What a nightmare. After reading this I really have NOTHING to complain about.

        It probably feels like you can never get away from the reminder of the past because the past will always be right in your face.

        You are a very kind person. You clearly have your entire family’s best interest.

        On one hand she may have changed and regrets what she did in the past. People can (and do) change. Time will tell on that front.

        This is like the movie She’s The One with Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz. One brother engaged to Cameron Diaz & break up before wedding b/c he finds out she is cheating on him. Other brother married to Jennifer Aniston is now having an affair with former fiancée of brother. It gets ugly. But the one thing that comes out is that there are boundaries.

        In this case I would be in the same boat. What to do.

        But I can tell you something that I (personally) would find unforgivable. And that is the fact that my family knew something and did not tell me. Like if every one of my friends saw my H out in bars all over town and knew he was cheating and no one told me. It happened to my cousin. Everyone knew he was a serial cheater except her. Work friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc.

        How did your brother in law meet this girl? it seems really really odd – such a coincidence. If it were me and I was in her shoes, the SECOND I found out who the brother was if the person I was dating and knowing what I did, there is no way I would show my face again.

        I suggest you give HER the opportunity to tell her future H before the wedding. If not, then someone should. His family owes him that respect.

        This is just my opinion after all. But the unknowing brother has the right to know in my opinion.

    • TryingHard

      What a predicament. Is there anyway you can pull her side for lunch or something and tell her you know what she did? She’s got to be assuming you dint know otherwise why would she get you si involved? Maybe if you talk to her she will agree to keep her involvement with you to a minimum.

      I’ve got to say this is a train wreck waiting to happen. Someone is going to slip at the wrong time and the shit will hit the fan.

      Pretty sure the brother is unaware right? I’m just saying if you can get her by yourself and speak to her and let her know you are only acting nice out of duress she may reconsider your involvement. Maybe she’d be willing to give you a wider berth so to speak. Maybe she is remorseful for sleeping with your husband those many years ago.

      My heart goes out to you.

    • Lynsey

      Really Happy, Your brother in law needs to know that his fiancé is a woman who has no qualms about cheating with a married man. It’s best he knows now to spare him the possible future heartache from her having another affair. Yes, she may have “reformed” and not cheat on him, but something about this whole thing seems wrong. What is her motive?

      • TheFirstWife

        I agree 100% with you.

      • Strengthrequired

        I feel sorry for the brother marrying this woman, I couldn’t think of anything worse not knowing the history of the person your marrying, the only to find out several years later that this was kept from him. I believe if it was me, I would prefer to know before I married, so I could make an informed decision about my own future for myself, no secrets. Knowledge is power, and to have something so huge kept from you would be devastating when it eventually comes out, especially when you know someone could have said something sooner. I truly feel for this man, and also what really happy is going through. Affairs can truly break families, and it isn’t just your spouse that suffers.

        • TheFirstWife

          I agree.

    • Tryinghard


      As I think about this predicament, this is not something you should have to deal with, it’s your husbands mess he has to clean up, not yours. He’s the one that slept with her not you. It’s HIS brother that’s marrying her. He should be the one to talk to his brother and tell him he slept with the woman the brother is about to marry

      For all anyone knows maybe she was honest and told him, doubtful, but maybe he knows. Maybe he doesn’t care. Husband should tell the brother that your family should have minimal involvement with them and the wedding given the fact that he slept with this woman.

      Maybe way down into the future you can be around them if he goes ahead with marrying her, but certainly not a year after discovery of another affair. It’s your husbands responsibility to you and his brother to have a talk with him.

      This is just more of the mess your husband made that he has to clean up, not you. As I said this is a train wreck waiting to happen and your husband is responsible for it. Time for him to put on his big boy pants and deal with it. Maybe this will be another hard learned lesson for him. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes. He’s the one that shit in his nest, he’s the one that cleans it up

      • Strengthrequired

        I agree th, the really happy husband needs to be the one that breaks his silence, and man up with his mistakes. This has to be done by the husband to his brother, definately a train wreck in the making. i feel for this family, how sad. What a situation to be in. I agree too, who is to say, the she hasn’t told her fiancé already, at least if she has he has had the chance to accept the fact his brother slept with his fiancé. Yet another person who is going to be hurt by this cheating. A gift that just keeps on giving. I wish this family all the best, and loads of strength.

    • Really Happy

      Thanks everyone for your support and advice. It’s great to have this support system.

      Just to be clear, at the time that my husband slept with this woman, she wasnt involved with his brother, she wasn’t his fiancé.
      Would this change anyone’s advice?
      Would it be a potentially unnecessary family upheaval to bring this knowledge out? The only person really wronged here is me. Not his brother.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Really Happy
        My advice still stands. You are not the only one wronged here. You and your children were wronged. Also, your brother in law will be marrying someone who is capable of sleeping with a married man…..perhaps he knows, but if he doesn’t, I believe he has right to know. She also needs to know that YOU know.

        Your husband and his affair partner already brought the “upheaval” to the family. The pain of the truth is better than the pain of a lie.

        What does your husband think??? This really is his responsibility. What does your therapist think….I believe you mentioned you had some therapy.

    • Fragments of Hope

      Really Happy, this woman is going to be involved with your family in the long run, you will keep meeting her, she will be a trigger to you of your husband’s infidelity not just with her but with everyone else. This is too much of a burden for you to carry into the future. Best case scenario perhaps she made a simple mistake that she regrets but for you to have to help out and be nice and have your children help make the day special for this OW, it’s difficult. I really understand that you want to keep the peace and don’t want to hurt your family but I agree that your husband should speak to his brother and in turn he should speak to his fiancee and somehow that you can step back from being heavily involved in the preparations should they continue. Your husband too must have some feelings about the fact that this woman will be appearing at family functions into the future, I don’t think they should get to keep their secret between them, there will always be tension and you will always feel vigilant and ill at ease at family occasions. Someone needs to take some of that burden off you. It’s best if the brother knows.

    • TryingHard

      I stand by my assessment as well.

      Try putting the shoe on the other foot. The brother deserves to know. Your in laws are welcoming this person into their family. They have no clue. Every time all of you are together and your h even addresses her or glances her way your stomach will turn. Resentment will build as she will be a constant reminder of your h betrayal. Trust me, even many years from now. That’s not to say you can’t come to terms with it later and you could take small doses of them, but to be expected to put on a happy face and work with this woman through this sham of a wedding is beyond having to put your big girl pants on and dealing with it. I am shocked you seemingly cooperative and understanding husband agrees to all this!

      Look the brother knows and he’s ok with marrying someone his own brother slept with, regardless it’s before they became engaged, then it’s on him and you and your husband can make decisions together as far as the family togetherness goes. Either way the air has to be cleared of what the history is so no one, particularly you is vilified. And trust me you WILL be the one vilified if you do not totally accept this new family member with open arms. No one else in the family will understand why you don’t “like or make nice” with the new woman in the family. And you shouldn’t have to make nice with her, she slept with your husband knowing he was married to you.

      You h may be over the affair with her and put it in the past, but YOU have just found out about it. It is NOT in YOUR past. You still have to deal with it. A LOT. That’s not fair to YOU. This is part of your husband’s mess that HE created and he should be the one dealing with it.

    • theresa

      There is no “comfortable” way out. And , once again, the betrayed spouse is paying the biggest price.
      I think the fiancé should be told, and your husband should do the telling. (Are your SURE the fiancé doesn’t know?)
      I also think you should confront her. Not in anger. More of an FYI . Once the decisions have been made, tell or not tell,,, confront or not to confront I think you and your husband have to have a strategy for the long term effects.
      Confront her first and give her the ultimatum to come clean to your b- inlaw first or you (you and your husband) will do the telling. ( Should your husband be a part of the confrontation? Mm mm.)
      I would find it excruciating living with the knowledge that she is holding this card over your head. Her smug attitude of having this nugget and getting satisfaction from it, at your expense.
      Take this power away from her. This you can and should control. You could not change the past, but,you can control your future. You will do the family stuff, for the sake of the family. You will be hypervigilant in protecting what’s your’s, your children your husband and your self esteem.
      You will hurt, but you wil be in control. And she’ll be outside looking in.

    • theresa

      Just one more thing that makes this kind of an affair, can it get any worse category.
      One of the top 2 reasons for a relapse by the cheater is opportunity. In other words, a failure to keep the condition of NC. NO CONTACT,
      How can you do this without forsaking your family?
      The cheater’s trigger, maybe not today or tomorrow but maybe some time in the future, he’s having a bad day,,,,,,,,,,
      I think the farther out you go, the more likely he’ll be able to justify a relaxing of the rules.
      Just this once..
      Nothing will happen…
      I know my limitations……..
      I’m just testing myself…..
      You’re not the boss of me…..
      It’s your fault….

      Time heals all wounds. Including the injuries he suffered as a result of his actions.
      He can downplay the effect on you. He forgets how much he hurt you.
      The fallout was not really so bad.

      It would be soooo easy…
      One stumble and the affair fog starts creeping in.

    • Creston


      No matter how uncomfortable or painful it will be to confront her, I think you have to. She’s cheated with a married man… Doesn’t matter that she was single at the time. And there’s something so very coincidental that she is now marrying the brother of her affair partner. It will not get easier to be around her…she’s probably the type to relish the idea that she’s married to one brother and has slept with the other. A pure narcissist.
      I can’t imagine how difficult it will be but also can’t imagine enduring the rest of your life being around her regretting you didn’t call her out on it before they married.

      • Strengthrequired

        I can’t imagine there be many men that would want to marry ago an that there brother has slept with. I am curious though, how did this couple meet? Who introduced them?

    • TryingHard

      SR. Lol. You took the words from my mouth!!!

      Any guys out there have an opinion on this?

      • Strengthrequired

        Th, I’m amassed you knew what I meant, just re read what I wrote and I have no idea what happened. Lol
        Was supposed to say, ” a woman” not “ago an”

        I think it would be a good question for some of them men here. It would be interesting to see what they say.

    • Strengthrequired

      Here’s a question for some of you women here, if the tables were turned and you found out your soon to be husband slept with your sister, would you still want to marry him?

      I for one, wouldn’t. It would be a huge turn off.

      • TheFirstWife

        My H says he would expect his brother would tell him. And it should have already happened. And he would have made his decision then and there.

        We don’t know IF the bride to be has shared this detail with her future H. It very well may be he knows and can overlook it.

        However we all know if this marriage goes through that this situation will be difficult for family members.

        And we all agree the future groom should know. And if he does not then he should be thankful someone in his family tells him BEFORE the wedding. That is only fair. He has a right to know the type of person he is marrying. I would wonder if she would turn around and do it again.

      • theresa


    • TryingHard

      What Theresa said only add Hell in from of it 🙂

    • Untold

      I agree with TFW’s husband. I would have expected my brother to tell me…early…so I could decide before I got too far into it. Then probably no. Too much baggage.

      • Strengthrequired

        Untold, I wonder though, if there was a load of embarrassment about it, due to the brother cheating on his wife, do you really think that he would say something? I know we would like to think our family would watch our back and say something before things got too serious, but do you really think that the brother would say something knowing full well he would need to expose an affair?

        • Untold

          SR, no doubt the shame of exposure would be hard to overcome. But I would hope, expect my blood brother to do it, just to warn me. I think I would keep it between me and him if that’s what he wanted. If the table was turned, I think I would tell my brother. Especially after going through the pain of betrayal, I would hope to find the strength to do the right thing and warn him.

          • theresa

            Your husband may be embarrassed when he discloses his affair to his brother.
            So what!. This is what a “good” person, brother, friend should do. It’s time to pay the piper.
            And if the brother in law shoots the messenger, well, the motive for the disclosure was to protect him. Hopefully he comes to this conclusion. Maybe now. Or maybe later, but the right thing none the less.

      • TheFirstWife

        Also I want to mention this from my own experience. My H has basically told no one about his affair. The only friends that know are people that I told at s time when divorce was imminent.

        My H’s family does not know. My family does.

        My H would not admit it due to shame and embarrassment.

        So for Happy it may be difficult to get your H to tell his brother. That is what should have happened. But if not I stand by my suggestion that you speak to the future SIL- Bride to be and tell her that she has a set amount of days to inform him (if he does not know) or you will.

        • TryingHard

          I agree but also to add if h can’t talk to his brother Happy and husband should talk to the bride to be together. Not her alone. Who knows what the bride will say or do. I would keep the conversation short and to the point. Happy needs a witness. She also needs h to feel the pain and consequences of his actions. If Happy cleans up his mess by dealing with this by herself that action exonerates her husband.

          You would have to be a very strong person to face the AP by yourself. Don’t go alone. And it could be physically dangerous let alone emotionally. Have your script ready and don’t waiver from it

          Happy–I hope you let us know what you do. Good luck to you.

    • Rachel

      Well, the ex wants to meet me for lunch???!!! I told him we have nothing to say to each other.
      He said, I’m sure we’ll find something .
      I just don’t understand. He got what he wanted and won’t leave me alone.
      I shake my head constantly!

      • TheFirstWife

        He is playing this game. Seen it before. I call it the “I only want what I can’t have”.

        He had you and treated you poorly. He cheated. You walked away.

        He can’t settle for YOU walking away and in his twisted mind he “thinks” he wants you back.

        It is the thrill of the challenge or chase. Most people outgrow this behavior before they are adults. He apparently has not.

        He is interested in you because you are now a challenge.

        I personally would decline the invitation. As you said there is nothing left to say.

        Oh wait maybe NOW he wants to say sorry. A day late in my opinion

    • TryingHard

      Rachel!!! You can’t just stop there LOL!! Are you going?? When , where, why?? This guy is such a dork. So full of himself. He wants to put the schmooze on just so he can yank it out from under you again. Is he going to therapy? Not that it would help. Narcissism is incurable.

      Please let us know what happens

    • Rachel

      No I will not be going to lunch with the ex.
      This is all a show for my boys. The ex can now say to them that I invited your mother to lunch and she said no.
      My oldest son said his father is so lost. He has nothing. I said this was his choice!
      He told me if you do go to the lunch, you need to set some boundaries .
      1. No talking about the past.
      2. You are not to leave crying
      3. Bring money as you will be paying for your own lunch.

      • TheFirstWife

        Rachel I don’t know how old your sins are but you did a fine job as their Mom. For your son to say anything about boundaries isvvery mature. And you not leaving crying is heartfelt.

        I think when Scott was on this blog he had the same situation with his ex wife. She cheated and they ended up divorced. And then she started the “wasn’t our past so wonderful” act. He would just shut it down. Not allow her to try to engage him. I know it must have been hard to do when you still have to parent but it seems like you are in the same boat.

        I still say your ex wants you now b/c he cannot have you. He is lying in his own bed and not liking it. Oh well……karma. He had a great thing with you and didn’t want it b/c he thought the grass was greener. Haha he learned the hard way.

        Hope he finds some one else to chase. Bat least then he will leave you alone.

    • TryingHard

      Oh Rachel I can’t believe he keeps using his own sons for his own deviousness!! Thank goodness your sons got his number.

      Having nothing is the consequence of being a jerk I’d say. And that my friend is called Karma!!

    • Rachel

      Got another email from the ex yesterday . He wants me to pay half of the credit card bill that my youngest has used. I told him to quit bitching and moaning and take the card away.
      I am not responsible for that gave him the card!
      He told me that I should get a second job for extra cash!!!!!
      I told him I like to spent my free time with my boys! BAM!
      Yes I know I should never have fed into this moron, but he’s just such a moron!!!
      I can’t figure out how to block his emails. If anyone has any ideas please help!!!!
      Or should I go straight to my attorney for a restraining order?
      What doesn’t he get about DIVORCE????

      • TryingHard

        How about just a one word response, no justifications: NO!!! This guys a pro. He’s like the fat third grader who will do anything for attention, even negative attention. He’s a jerk, he sucks.

        I don’t know what server you use for emails. If it’s Gmail you go to your account settings. The little tool icon in the upper right hand side of your screen and you can block him there. But I think better is to give him one word answers to all his stupid requests. NO or if you’re really adamant HELL NO!!

      • TheFirstWife

        Wow. How clueless can he be?

        It is hard to know what to do – respond with one word, not respond, etc. since you have children. Not sure how old they are but at some point they will grow up and your parenting interaction will decrease (hopefully).

        I see you as just trying to keep the peace and him taking advantage.

        I hope he gets the message or you may have to take some drastic steps. But know he will always use the children as an excuse to contact you. How sad.

    • Rachel

      Thank you both.
      The kids are both in their 20’s. No reason to co-parent as he calls it.

    • Rachel

      I just noticed the date today November 13. Four years ago today my ex declared his love for his soul mate and they were leaving their families to be together.
      Today my ex is saying he never had a soul mate and they were never leaving their families.
      Now my son and I scratch our heads. My son said, what’s he saying, we all heard him!!!
      I believe that these cheaters are in that fog so deep that they have no idea what they are saying.
      For those who have the possibility of saving your marriage, be patient. Eventually they will com out of it.
      My only thoughts of this day is remembering my youngest, only 15 years old hearing his father declare his love for another women. How does a 15 year old accept this. My poor innocent boy.The sobbing in my arms and I could only hold him. I had no words. I had no idea what was happening to our family.
      And now 4 years later. I am a women that I never would have recognized. I paint, sand walls, hang pictures and don’t measure!! I have a smile on my face and am always complimented how great I look. And our family is just a bit smaller, but we are a happy family.

      • Doug

        Rachel, thanks for sharing. You are a testament to how a person can emerge from the devastation stronger and more confident. I hope your son has been able to recover from what his dad did.

      • TheFirstWife

        You rock!

    • TryingHard

      I can’t believe it’s been that long. I remember the day you posted you were going to court. You wore high heeled knee boots :)!!!

      You are a success story I believe. I know ex still hassles you but that is his problem. Poor guy finally realized too late what he lost. He knows what he says he just thinks he’s smarter than all of you and can continue to lie to your faces.

      I’m so happy you are doing well 🙂

    • antiskank


      I am so glad to hear that you are happy and doing well. That truly is the best revenge. I think we all try for so long to hold on to our lives and marriages and our cheating spouses that we lose sight of whether it is what is best for us or what will make us happy in the end. I applaud your courage in moving forward in such a positive way and recognizing that you don’t need him to have a happy life. You are an inspiration!

    • Rachel

      Thank you all!!!
      I would not have been able to get this far without this web sight and all of you!

    • Cynthia

      I feel so lost and broken. My life, my heart and dreams have been shattered by his affair. She lives right across the road. Constant triggers. He says he loves me and wants to stay with me but he has lied about the affair and says he ‘ can’t remember’ what went on between the two of them. She came to me crying and ‘sorry’ and then very angry, insulting and threatening. I had to call the police. He was blissfully uninvolved…. Ignored this even happened. He gets angry with me when I need support and to talk about it. Yet he wants to stay together. He can’t tell me why it happened and I so badly need to know. We have been to counseling extensively with different counsel lots. It helped some but my pain is real and it is so intense. I don’t know who to turn to or what to do. Please help.

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