Punishing the cheater can slow the infidelity recovery process, thereby extending the pain you are working so hard to reduce.

punishing the cheater

By Linda & Doug

Today we have another guest article for you.  This one is from Dr. Jim Hutt, Ph.D., MFT.  The article deals with how punishing the cheater can possibly stall infidelity recovery.

Dr. Hutt is a therapist in the San Francisco area and specializes in couples therapy, marriage counseling, individual counseling and parenting.  His website is http://www.counselorlink.com/.

Though I never purposefully tried to punish Doug for his emotional affair (though I at times sure wanted to), there were times that he felt I was.  I found that when his frustration surfaced it would help if I explained to him that I was not trying to punish him, but that I was hurting and that I needed him to be sympathetic rather than defensive or frustrated.

Eventually he was able to become more aware of his actions – or reactions – and the negative effect they had on both of us.  By being aware, he was better able to control his emotions and better able to give me what I needed.

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Infidelity Recovery – Consequences of Punishing the Cheater

By Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

punish the cheater

In this article I want to focus on one particular aspect of recovering from an affair: punishing the offending partner.

I am frequently asked: “How long is this pain going to last!?” That’s impossible to answer, but I can give you one way to shorten the life span of your pain, and perhaps shorten the recovery process: If you’re punishing your partner, stop. Why? Because punishment can slow the recovery process, thereby extending the pain you are working so hard to reduce.

Frequently in my office the injured party will tell their partner, “I want you to hurt for as long as possible, just like I do, so you’re just going to have to take this punishment and deal with it!” And the punishment begins, in a wide variety of forms which, in the end, prolong the injured party’s pain. In the early stages of recovery dishing out punishment seems to provide the injured party SOME semblance of control after feeling profoundly powerless, helpless, deeply wounded, and out of control.

However, punishment has some downsides:

It can lead to bitterness in one or both partners. Bitterness is swallowing a poison pill hoping the other party will die.

Second, it delays recovery due to the need for more repair. Punishment causes additional pain to a relationship already suffering on several levels. More pain means more recovery work. More recovery work takes more time. Inflicting emotional pain in someone else seldom leads to relief from our own pain because our brains are simply not wired to do that.

Punishing the offending partner means the injured party is working at cross purposes, and here is what that looks like: Part of you wants to stop feeling so terrible and get your life back, perhaps save the relationship, or try to figure out whether or not the relationship even CAN be saved. Another part of you wants your partner to suffer, so you punish them. But, punishing your partner, although understandable, only adds MORE pain to the relationship.

The pain you feel as a result of the affair is real, it’s deep, and it’s pervasive. Adding pain to one side of the relationship while simultaneously trying to reduce it on the other side of the relationship simply will not work. It is impossible to repair something that is simultaneously being damaged.

Try these alternatives to punishing your partner:

First, realize that your desire to punish is normal, but it’s the consequence of your own pain.

Second, understand that purposely causing pain for pains sake in your partner will not relieve your pain in the long run, even if it seems to provide a short-lived sense of satisfaction.

Third, talk with your partner in detail about YOUR PAIN! Expressing your pain gives you a greater likelihood of being heard and understood. It also provides an opportunity for your partner to experience their own pain derived from losing your TRUST, damaging their CREDIBILITY, and losing their INTEGRITY, not to mention the realization that the relationship is in jeopardy. Punishment may divert them from facing those all-important issues.

Fourth, remember, bitterness and punishment are damaging.

So think about it. If punishing the offending party must play a role, try to make it short lived and limited. For when it persists, bitterness may take over, individual and couple repair is stalled, and your pain and recovery will be prolonged.

Recovery from an affair for many couples is a long, arduous process.  But if the punishment stops, you can shorten the recovery process. If need be, find a good counselor to help out.

How do you find a counselor who has an understanding of infidelity recovery? Ask if they have read Peggy Vaughan’s book The Monogamy Myth. If not, look until you find a counselor who has. And if you haven’t read it, do so.

Limit the punishment, reduce your pain, shorten the recovery process.

Please share your views on Dr. Hutt’s article and his opinion on this aspect of infidelity recovery.  Also, we’d like to know whether or not punishing the cheater has been an issue in your own situation.  You can share your views in the comment section below. 


    32 replies to "Consequences of Punishing the Cheater"

    • livingonafence

      Really? I don’t know of anyone intentionally punishing a CS. I know of plenty of CSs that think they’re being punished, that the actions of the BS are a punishment. That’s just more selfishness really. It’s the CS making the BSs pain about them. It’s the CS thinking everything is about them. If they don’t like what’s happening, then it’s because someone is punishing them. It couldn’t be that someone is hurting, right? No, it must be about them.
      Sorry if the pain they caused feels so bad that it’s a ‘punishment’, but if they don’t like the outcome, then maybe cheating wasn’t a good idea.
      Other than someone having a revenge affair or throwing the CS out, I’ve never seen anyone say what they were doing was punishment.

    • Gizfield

      I agree, LOAF, it would be helpful if the author had specified what they consider to be punishment. I know my husband thinks any sort of negative outcome to be punishment. Accounting for his time, anything less than complete happiness on my part that he is around, any reminder that he had done anything wrong : punishment, in his mind. In my mind, the only real “punishment” I could have doled out was cutting him out of my life, leaving him free to persue a tramp he didnt even want anyway. In order for an “affair” to occur, threw only thing it takes

    • Gizfield

      Oops, hit wrong button as usual. Lol. Anyway, the only thing it takes for an “affair” to occur is 2 weak-willed, insecure individuals who have, at least momentarily, lost their values and sense of decency. I know that no one would like to be reminded of that. I’m sure someone will take exception to that comment but that is just the way I see it. people tend to make things complicated but I just try to simplify things in my mind.

      • livingonafence

        You got that right! Two people that took the easy way to finding some ‘happiness’. Of course, it’s all about them as individuals, not them as a couple. Each will do whatever it takes to make the other happy so that they will be made happy in return. It’s the laziest way out of a problem, and to me it shows what kind of person you’re dealing with. Can they change? Sure, but at that time, you’re dealing with someone that can’t see beyond their mirror, and honestly they usually don’t like what they see staring back at them. So what do they do? Run to the AP to ‘feel better’ again. At least this person makes them feel good, but deep down they know it’s a false good. Deep down they know what a sleaze they’ve become. It’s an ugly cycle.

    • Healing Mark

      Sorry guys, but you now know of at least one BS that for a time tried to “punish” his CS. I intuitively knew that doing this was not helping anything, but almost always I did things anyway. I know it’s a cop out, but I really believe that I just couldn’t help myself. It was incredibly frustrating and perhaps as damaging to our relationship as the discovery of the EA itself.

      I agree that CS’s view many things post-affair as “punishment” which are not really that. Transparency was viewed by my W as “punishment” but it really wasn’t, of course. I would classify calling my wife a “cheater” as punishment, but perhaps some will disagree with me on this one. However, doing this hurt my W, so when I did this in order to hurt her (I feel terrible for having done this, and haven’t done this for a long, long time), I feel as though I was trying to punish my W for having hurt me due to her EA and the lies and deceit that occurred.

      There aren’t too many men commenting on this site, but any man would know that refusing sexual advances is a form of punishment for not only the CS, but the male BS as well [ 🙂 ]. I didn’t do this very much, but sadly I did do this. Finally, I feel as though I tried to punish my W at times by bringing up the EA as an excuse to not be accountable for not “fighting fair” at times following the EA discovery. The fact that my W had an EA should not be, and now is not, a sort of “get out of jail free card” that I, as the BS, now held in my hand.

      Can a CS change? I think so. My W has changed. Mostly by returning to the loving and respectful wife that she was before the EA. She now recognizes how she let her feelings for the OM impact our relationship, and swears that all the good she got out of her EA is far surpassed by all the bad that came of it. Could she have another EA? Of course she could, but I believe that the likelihood of this happening again is actually less than the likelihood of her having an EA before the first EA discovery. She views her EA as a huge mistake that she does not want to make again. I’ve long since stopped worrying about whether this nightmare might reoccur, as life is too short for that. I will say that if for some reason I had not been able to forgive my W for her EA, or if I still worried about her having another affair at some point, I would likely not still be married to her.

    • Hopeful

      I tend to agree that conscious attempts to punish the CS is not good for anyone, despite the desires to do so. For me, anything I did that was truly horrible (punch my H hard, call him names, etc.) just made me feel that much worst.

      That said, I agree that there are lots of things that ARE NOT punishment, I think that the CS might respond to with a, “why are you torturing me?” Like, needed to continue talking, asking questions, asking for needed details, asking for help processing triggers, asking for transparency, seeking reassurance in numerous ways, asking for tangible evidence of change, and so on. I feel like withholding the truth from me was a massive torture to ME and set back to our relationship healing, yet he would constantly turn it on me, “why do you need to know that. let it go. you must move on. why are you doing this to Me. and so on.”

      Finally, we broke through and it was when my questions were calmly answered and fully and with earnest remorse and responsibility rather than defensiveness or dramatic bouts of guilt that we actually begin healing.

      So, yes, direct torture like name calling or flirting with people yourself or making excuses for your own shitty behavior, is not good. We didn’t ask for it as BSes, but once we decide to stay, I think we always must man and woman up to behaving as respectfully as possible even when being denied what we need. Calling thing out crap remains critical though.

    • Gizfield

      Healing Mark, I think your honesty is absolutely refreshing! One thing that is helping me with this article is distinguishing between “consequences”.and ,”punishment” because I consider them to be two separate things. The dictionary says consequences are “the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier.” Punishment is “a penalty inflicted for an offense, or to subject someone to pain or loss for an offense.” So as an example, if you dont pay your electric bill and they cut it off, that is a consequence. Making you pay additional fees to get it back is a penalty. Actually, it’s both but you know what I mean. Consequences are what you choose by choosing an action, the penalty is something added on by someone else. If someone lies to you, the fact that you no longer believe then is a consequence, not a penalty. One of my friends husband left her and married his co-cheater. After that, my friend told me he could not even go to Hooters because the new wife did not trust him. Thats a penalty, added on for not trusting a cheater. Hope that makes sense.

    • Gizfield

      I just had a thought. The cheaters are not the only ones who are “punished” for their behavior. The Betrayed Spouses are as well, for their perceived offenses against the cheaters. My personal offenses were that I “gained weight” and that my “housekeeping” was not up to his standard apparently. The consequences for this should be that I was overweight and that the house was messy, neither of which it’s surprising with a preschool child in the house. The consequences were that I was ignored and treated as unattractive. However, he decided to apply a penalty of adultery against me, by sneaking around behind my back with someone who I’m going to assume was not overweight and was a good housekeeper, lol.

    • tsd

      My husband had his punishment by watching me to thru all the stages and not doing anything. I believe that was good for him to witness. He saw me cry, scream, shut down, get angry, lose weight, drink, lose my mind, yell at kids for no reason, deny sex, kick his ass to the curb, spit in his food, sorry I did…, trash pctures of us, call. Lawyer, called someone he admired and I laundered his trashy behavior, ignored him, and more….he cheated in me, and I chose to stick out our marriage by standing by him, good, bad and imperfect.

      His EA and mistakes were his, and he was responsible for.,that and his reason why. Ill never know..and at this point dont care to know cuz he didnt come to me for help. Yes the above emotions and actions were my actions, and I’ve apologized for some, but he caused the demise of our past marriage. he won’t repeat. We must forge ahead to create something new. Not what he wants, or what inexpect, but someing we both deserve….

      He is sorry, he has made no contact. We are working on our marriage, or I should say, what is working now is…I’m letting go.. It makes no sense to keep punishing ourselves and letting our future suffer. I want stability and peace and comfort so I’m letting go. I forgave him, and I believe I trust him. Do I forget? No…do I look for repeat mistakes? No…I’m trying to reward his good actions, small and smaller but he is making progress in showing he can be trusted and that he loves only me, and us…I will protect myself by making myself happy and loyal…what he does is on him. What my kids see, he can blame himself for the bad, and I will take credit for the good!!!!

    • Jamie

      All I can say about this subject is this: I have reacted as a normal human being. I have reacted as would have at any stage in my life, when learning that the person I love and have promised my fidelity and honor to for life, has decided; very consciously to devalue his own vows and promises to love me and value our union and family for selfish, childish and extremely disrespectful purposes to “escape reality”.

      I will not apologize to my CS for my behavior for “punishing him”…I’m sorry that he feels like he’s being punished..and I suspect that most cheating spouses see any kind of negative reaction; especially when it’s “crazy” or over the top from their husband or wife as being punishment after an affair.

      I call it science.
      There’s this law of nature….for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Simple.

      I’m not sorry for one second that I yelled, screamed, and otherwise “acted out” at being hurt by my husband’s affair. I am ashamed that I didn’t have enough self control to “suffer” alone, because that is what is seemingly expected from the “public” and “society” in general; that women just take this kind of hurt and “deal with it”.

      What really pisses me off is that my CS believes that my reaction to his actions (weeks of lying and cheating) is somehow prolonging the issues we now face in repairing the marriage.

      I’m of the old school…”You F%^$$$% broke it, you F^%$#$ fix it”.

    • Jamie

      I think the CS should be remorseful and feel his/her guilt DEEPLY. And when they just shut off and deny that the “affair isn’t a big deal” or “it didn’t mean anything” or “we didn’t have sex, so it wasn’t an affair”…all it does is devalue the betrayed spouse’s feelings and fidelity; and ultimately it makes the betrayed spouse feel as if the entire relationship; be it 20 years or 1 year, is a sham, a lie…a rouse.

      Being accomodating is not going to help your CS, in my opinion. This article basically says…”be a doormat”. And I’m not liking that at all, mostly because I “WAS” a doormat..when I didnt’ even know it.

      If my husband isn’t willing to get real, be real, be honest, talk with me about his most intimate and difficult fears and issues then I don’t want to be married to him. I certainly don’t want to be married to him if he finds it easier to “talk to someone else who isn’t in our relationship,” and he claims that he NEVER once discussed that he had a wife and child on the way. So, I guess what I’m saying here is….
      IF my husband wants me to love him…then he better start loving me. I’m not doing it first this time. And I’m not giving an inch.

    • exercisegrace

      I can honestly say that I have never said or done anything to purposefully punish him. I have done things that others “might” see as punishment, but I am going with Gizfield on this one and they are consequences. Example: on d-day, I bagged up every article of clothing he owns and gave it away. I did go out before that, and I purchased him some new clothes. The reason? I did not want to have to look at, launder or even touch clothes that had been taken off of his body by another woman. Clothes that had potentially been thrown on her bedroom floor. While some might call this punishment, I choose to see it as consequences and could even say that it was symbolic of a fresh start!! I might have just bagged up his clothes and tossed them out the front door! As it happened, he never spent even one night outside of our house and not one night out of our BED. At the time, this was a deliberate choice on my part to keep what was going on from our four kids.
      Have I been angry? Yes. Have I expressed that anger? Again yes. I know that he feels punished by the look in my eyes and the sadness he sees in my face. He knows I have nightmares, I don’t sleep well, I don’t eat well and I have lost a great deal of weight. I know that in some ways, he feels punished by that. It has been hard for him to see me be so much more suspicious of his phone and his email. Excruciating to go to the doctor and have to explain what he did and get tested for STD’s. All consequences of HIS choices. I think perhaps that sometimes the difference between consequences and punishment is simply ONE individual’s perception. It will NEVER be ok with me for him to go out to eat alone with a member of the opposite sex. Ever. It will never be ok with me for him to have conversations with a woman that involve personal information, or discussions about our family. Punishment? Consequence? Perception.

      • DJ

        Too funny, EG – I did the same thing with his clothes. Not all of them, but the stuff I knew he took on those business trips. Most of them were favorites of his – I suppose that’s why he wanted to wear them for her – but too bad. A consequence for ripping my heart out. Punishment – no. I just couldn’t walk into that closet every day and see those clothes.

        • justsad

          I did something similar…I shredded the shirts he was wearing in pictures I found of the two of them together at various business events. A least one was a favorite shirt of his and I absolutely destroyed that one. I had at first told him to donate them to the Salvation Army. Then when he did put them in the donation pile, I just decided to destroy them instead.

          • Natalia

            A year after Dday I realized I had been laundering an ugly shirt the bitch had given my H a few years back for his birthday. I told him I was donating it along with a flower vase she gave us on our 20th anniversary. He totally agreed. I ended up selling it at a yard sale. I felt ecstatic when I made $10 for both items. Not only did I get rid of her junk but I was $10 “richer” than the day before! I no longer felt stupid washing and seeing my H wear that shirt. I was also glad he didn’t object to getting rid of it otherwise I would have shred it to bits right in front of him along with smashing the vase on the floor.

    • Spongerob

      As the CS I can say that it absolutely FEELS like punishment sometimes. But as CG puts it – punishment or consequences is perception and whenever I FEEL like I’m being punished (often for things unrelated – there’s another perception topic cuz in reality, after the damage done, it’s ALL related), I have to get over my defensive or victim reactions and recognize how much she is hurting from what I did. Sometimes when feeling punished, I just look at her and remember how punishing the affair has been to those I love.

      • DJ

        I appreciate your thoughts, Spongerob. It helps to know that there are CSs out there who understand.

      • Anita

        Are you educating yourself in skills in order to help you make better choices in the future.
        Your wife will heal in time, but its very important for you to
        develop the skills that are needed within your relationship
        to enable you to make better choices.
        Your feeling the harvest of your past choice.
        Your spouse in time will heal with or without you, however
        you need to also do healing. God is the only one that can
        fill that empty void within you. Your happiness comes from
        him. There is no way an affair partner can bring you that
        kind of happiness, nor is your spouse responsible for
        that kind of happiness. Yourself worth comes from God,
        and I can assure you that an affair partner will only bring
        you misery, which your now feeling.
        However now its time to man up and own this, and make
        better choices for yourself in the future. Hint: A an affair
        maybe sweet in the beginning, however in the end it is
        bitter as wormwood. Read Proverbs chapter 5.

    • Gizfield

      I think my soon to be ex husband is beginning to feel some punishment, i.e., “consequences.” He and my daughter just left for a dinner at his fathers house. They will pick up his mother and possibly his sister. He will get to attend to our daughter, which I always do when I’m around, as well as explain where I am. I’m sure his skills as a liar will come in handy indeed.

    • Rachel

      My two boys told H to move out. You wanted the divorce Dad, so why are you still here? You stay out till all hours at night and clearly you are with someone else. You are never here so leave.H thought that eveything would be fine with the kids” because everybody divorces.” Well, mr. right is wrong. My boys have no respect for their father at all.
      So finally he’s been moving his boxes into his truck and bringing them somewhere. The secrets continue. But he did make the comment that he doesn’t want me and he is happy!

    • Anita

      There is no way with him planting bad seeds, will he reap
      good seeds from his harvest, its not possible. His so called happiness, well lets just say in time he will discover
      his harvest of his bad seeds, and discover that it only takes one seed to produce many seeds ( one corn kernal produces many ears of corn from that one seed.)
      Rachel in the end, you get off this merry-go-round, and
      your life will stablize, with many good seeds from your harvest. We reap what we sow.

    • Bambi

      Ha! The punishment will never end. It’s the, ” OLD SCHOOL justifiable righteousness” decreed by a very flawed notion of marriage. It’s not gender specific, but it is power-based. The affair means the “institution” and vows were celebrated in a “wedding magazine” style, typically immature and unrealistic to begin with. Get over it. Split. There is no recovery when one gets to hold the socially approved “conch.” No matter how psychotic they are, or how dysfunctional the marriage, BS abusers get the power once the CS victim is caught trying to regain the self-esteem their BS abuser ripped away fro them by finding a haven in a true friend.

      Love the clever nomenclature….”BS”…. bullsh*t

    • Laten

      My H cheated on me for 20’years with the same coworker. He was also very abusive both emotionally and occasionally physically. I was a doormat, although I have only recently realized it. We have been married 38 years now. He has drip fed me the truth over the past 4 years, and been extremely emotionally abusive. He does not want to talk about his affairs. Therefore, I can’t heal. The pain, even 4 years later from Dday 1 is still extreme. I am in therapy and getting better. I no longer really love him, but I will be damned if the other woman will get her filthy paws on everything I have sacrificed and worked hard for during this marriage! I can not sleep with him. So I stay upstairs and he stays downstairs. We only talk about superficial things and any mention any affair stuff and he blows up. I know it sounds crazy to stay married to him, but we are in our 60’s and frankly, I simply don’t want to start over. The way I see it is this: he CHOSEnto have the affairs over 2 decades, he has given me a life sentence for pain knowing he chose her over me. This has been traumatic. I have PTSD and depression. I also know I will never have the pure loving marriage I envisioned on my wedding day. Our marriage is now impure and dirty, soiled, tainted. His emotional abuses came on so gradually that I always thought it was just the “for worse” part of my marriage vows. since he has given me what amounts to a life sentence of knowing that he allowed another woman into our marriage and that I was not important enough to him or worth it to him to stay faithful, then his punishment is no trust ever again, no intimacy, no respect…it is simply too risky to open up my heart to him ever again. He changed me irrevocably. He will
      Have to live with the new, harder hearted, non sympathetic me. The new non- doormat me. My view is–you play, you pay. If he wants out, fine. I will take Him to the cleaners. If not, he is stuck with me as I am Now, a product and consequence of his bad choices. I have been a faithful wife and have forgiven more times than I can count. I’m exhausted. If he does not want to be punished, He should never have done what he did.

    • FeistyPepper

      I’m sure I will get a lot of hateful replies. I don’t really care as there seems to be a lot of written from the other side and feel a need to balance it out. Yes I am that fallible “person” who had an affair. It is too easy to put people in a box and label them. Very simple and I get how it is easily done by so many people but I will tell you also I was one of those people who devoutly proclaimed I would NEVER have an affair and what I would do, feel if I was cheated on. I’m not going to go into the specifics of MY relationship and what contributed to the break down of it and finally the recovery but I will say some things so that maybe someone, a REAL feeling human being who made the decision and mistake of cheating knows that there is someone out there who knows what it feels like as well. There are those who are going to cheat there is nothing you can do to stop them but there are ALSO people who cheat because there is a breakdown in the relationship and unfortunately make the poor decision to cheat. Remember there are two people in a relationship, not to negate our own personal responsibilities but the person who was cheated on should look hard in the mirror as well and be truthful about what pushed that person to such an extreme decision. I am NOT condoning having an affair! I certainly am more compassionate and empathetic now for both sides having believed for a long time I was the one cheated on as well. But here is the thing… If someone is truly trying to change themselves, has done everything humanly in their power to make things right and better themselves as a spouse, a parent, friend and as a person you eventually have to let that shit go (and I mean that respectfully) but you have to. Because allowing bitterness and resentment to fester inside does nothing for you and isn’t healthy. No one can do that for you but yourself. It will only push people away and possibly something even better than what you had before away. I made a mistake years ago…and been trying my best to make it up but it will become a point where you can either choose to love this person and decide to stop lashing out on them (not that they didn’t deserve it at the time) but because you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t hug/ love a porcupine and yet wonder why no one wants to hug you, love you. Either move on IN your relationship or move ON. No one should be cheated on but also no one should tolerate years of abuse for something also. I will reiterate my point again….if the person is doing all that they can to change, be there for you, is genuinely remorseful and you want to work things out with them then you HAVE to eventually stop lashing out at them or they have no choice but to dissolve the relationship. The power is yours and yours alone to decide….work on it or let the person go if you can’t get past what was done. But don’t keep beating a dead horse expecting it to turn into a thriving horse-whether or not they were initially responsible. People from all walks of life and professions have made the poor decision to have an affair, people make mistakes and they either grow beyond them or continue to make more decision is theirs as well. Both people have to want it, both people have to change and grow hopefully together, stronger. My two cents. If you want to judge me that is okay cause I have already lived through enough judgements to last a lifetime on this but I’ve moved on and no longer that person. I own my mistakes and poor decision and have grown up. But either move on IN your relationship or move ON because you are wasting your time, energy and sanity.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Thanks for your honesty…..I think this is something I really needed to hear today. It is easy as a betrayed spouse to get stuck in “victim mode”. It has been three years since d-day for me and I do believe my husband has shown genuine remorse and is committed to making our relationship work. Letting the shit go is easier said than done, but you are right….it must be done.

        I was just asking myself this morning….is there really anything else I need to know??? I need to let go of all the questions and all the anger and make way for what is true today.

        thank you, your words just really spoke to me.

      • Carlos

        A betrayed spouse is not stuck in victims mode; she is the victim.
        Minimizing a victim is one of the cruelest things to do.
        Cheaters are liars and deserve little compassion. They werent asking for it when enjoying the affair.
        Cheating punishes the other partner and the choldren.

    • blueskyabove

      I only have a couple of pieces of advice regarding your comment.

      First, do not respond to any of the vitriolic accusations that will undoubtedly be directed toward you.

      Second, yes, you will be judged…unmercifully…by some. Some will believe they have the right to label you, verbally abuse you, make up stories about you, and proclaim that they are better than you. They will disregard that you were also a betrayed spouse and claim you should have known better because of it. How do I know this? Because I did the same thing to my husband’s affair partner, albeit not to her face. I thought that proved how despicable she was. Now, after years of dealing with infidelity and recovery, and a lot of soul-searching, I understand how vulnerable she was at that time of her life precisely because she had been a betrayed spouse.

      Please don’t continue to berate yourself further by giving total strangers an opportunity to behave inhumanely toward you. Nothing good can come of it. Not for you and not for them…which leads me to one more piece of advice.

      “Never get your sense of worth from outside yourself. Don’t let other people tell you how much you’re worth, decide for yourself. It’s called Self Worth not others worth.”

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