This is why I decided not to leave Doug after his emotional affair.

emotional affairBy Linda

The other day one of our readers emailed us the article 10 Reasons Not to Take Back a Cheating Husband by Kiri Blakeley. 

I realize that the thought of potentially kicking the cheating spouse to the curb is in the minds of many of our readers, so I thought I’d post a comment I made over 3 years ago that explains why I decided not to leave Doug after his emotional affair.


Here’s my comment…

I believe that a cheater is being selfish while searching for something they believe will be better and they are definitely not displaying love or compassion while involved in their affair.

I totally agree that when a spouse chose to break their commitment and go outside of their marriage it should not be something to be taken lightly. The results are devastating to everyone involved and often it is a deal breaker.  The betrayed spouse has every right to leave the marriage.

However, I believe the decision should lie within the individual and the particular situation. I do not agree that everyone should leave their spouse if they decide to cheat. They need to assess the situation and do what they feel is right for themselves and their family.

I cannot speak for everyone but I would like to tell you why I decided not to kick Doug to the curb – even though the thought occurred to me almost daily.

Aside from the obvious reasons that we had been together for almost thirty years, we had a good history together that included three children, I still loved him and had very strong feelings that we could save our marriage. In addition, there were other circumstances that affected my decision.

See also  That Loving Feeling

In the beginning I didn’t kick Doug out because I felt that I was not in an emotional state to make such a decision. I obviously was going through to much denial, guilt, pain, etc. to think clearly and assess the situation properly.

Next, when my emotional state settled I made the choice to try to do everything I could to heal from his affair and repair our marriage. I made that commitment to myself and silently to my children. I am not a person who gives up so I put my heart and soul into our relationship.

If there was a time that I should have given up, it was when I was definitely putting more effort into our marriage than Doug was. It was a very frustrating and painful time for me and honestly I began to believe that my life would have been much better without him.

Fortunately something happened that made Doug (as he puts it) get his head out of his ass. I don’t know if it was this website, my effort, or just the passage of time, but whatever it was I began to see an amazing change in him. I believe he truly looked within himself and figured out how he got into this terrible mess. The changes that I witnessed were gradual but significant. There were changes in his character, the way he reacted to stressful situations, his response to me and the children and how he acted around other people.

I truly saw that he was making an effort to repair the damage that his affair caused. These were changes that he figured out on his own. I never gave him an ultimatum or told him what he needed to change. I believe he did the soul searching that was necessary and figured out what was needed in order to become a better person and husband.

See also  Discussion - How Did You Catch Your Cheating Spouse?

I decided that I would rather spend the rest of my life with a man who had fallen and had displayed the courage to make up for his mistakes, rather than a man who has never failed. I believe that he (we) have learned so much about ourselves and each other and it has made us stronger, closer and wiser.

I often think about what would have happened if I had given up too quickly or had made the decision not to forgive. I know that I would have missed out on an opportunity to have a marriage that I have always wanted but was too naïve, comfortable or afraid to ask for.

I also believe that we have given our children an opportunity to witness a couple that has made it through a difficult situation (even though they may never know the specifics or the severity) and persevere.

This was my personal choice and while other people will never understand or agree (though I think that many of our blog readers are in similar situations), this is what I felt would make me the happiest and most fulfilled.


You may want to read Kiri’s article as well – and then please come back and share on your thoughts and/or experiences in the comment section.  It would be great to hear from those on both sides of the fence – those who kicked their cheating spouse out and those who did not.

Also, here is a discussion post from a while back that addresses this issue:

    13 replies to "Why I Decided Not to Kick Doug to the Curb After His Emotional Affair"

    • Paula

      Wish I could say the same things. I had a man who worked his bum off to try to help us heal, and I truly wanted us to be the ones who got to the other side, maybe even have parts that were better. But, alas, my mind would not release me. Still won’t. And now I live with the very real possibility that despite my very best efforts, this may well be my constant companion, these sad and distressing thoughts. I just put one foot in front of the other every day, forcing myself to be mindful, to notice the minute good stuff. I am emotionally exhausted and very disappointed in my lack, my struggle to heal, just a little, from this sad time. Time and huge effort have not been the healers I expected and worked for. Weird.

    • tryinghard

      We’ve all learned lessons and the biggest is: Never say never. No one ever knows what one is going to do until they are in that situation. OK so Doug, (not picking you Doug, just using your mistake as an example) cheats again, say 20 years from now, (don’t laugh I have a friend whose husband was 70 and was cheating on her AND wasn’t the first time, old fucker could have died of a heart attack!!) anyway, do you leave, do you stay?? You sure won’t be surprised or maybe you will. I liked Kiri’s article and I think it is wise for the betrayed spouses to read these. At least take them into consideration. We should have also learned that it is unwise to walk through life by denying these are valid points. But you/I have valid points for staying too.

      There’s another article similar to this in the Huffington Post. Ten Reasons You Stay Stuck with a Cheater. Good sticking points and who knows now that we are in a good emotional place one never knows when we just might change our minds 🙂

    • emotionalrollercoaster

      My cs decided to leave for a month it has been a week and a half I am going crazy. He is still in contact with ea but not me. I think he has made his choice. I texted him what I thought last night which was not good. He said I am driving him crazy. Yet he feels divorce is final and he would be a failure. I am so confused about all this. I am going to try to back off and wait til he makes a decision. Hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

      • Strengthrequired

        Erc, within a week of me finding out about my h ea, we separated for a month. He didn’t stay with the ow though, but was with her everyday. The kids and myself, well we only saw him at times about 30mins.a day and at times only the same amount of time every few days to start with.
        Now I had told him that he needed time to think, I will give him his space, I won’t contact him unless it is about his children. If he wanted to see his children I took them to his sisters place, and he spent a could of hours with them there, and I would pick them up, wouldn’t say anything at all to him, made out he was invisible, and he me.
        It was killing me inside. The ow he said he would give her a break too, yet he didn’t, now that didn’t surprise me at all. Yet I figured, by giving him the space he needs to figure himself out then that is what he needed me to do, and that he would see that as a failing in ow, eventually.

        Towards the end of the month of us being apart, we started spending more time with each other, and at the month mark he was home again. However he was still communicating with the ow, behind my back, the ow not being able to let go, (even now two yrs later, she still doesn’t stop, yet i think she is getting to the end of her infatuation with my h, as they are becoming less frequent, so fx). So hang in there, let him miss you…. Take care of yourself. This whole ea thing is not an easy ride, it can be long and complicated, but those little positive steps of progress, hang onto them when you see them.

      • tryinghard

        I am so sorry you are going thru this. I don’t know if it helps but there’s a book (of course!) called Runaway Husband. It’s on Amazon. It’s a short read but may be helpful to you. Backing off is a big part of what this author recommends. I know it’s hard and your brain is on overdrive. I know you want your marriage back but it’s always smart to look into “Plan B”

        Hugs to you. You can do this, you can do this, you can do this,…

    • Strengthrequired

      Linda, my reasons for not leaving my h were the same, I had to try for my family, I knew my h pretty well, so seeing him act so stupidly and him saying that he didn’t love me, I just couldn’t believe it. I didn’t feel that he didn’t love me. I also had a motive too, and that was to not let this ow near my children, now that was a real driving force at keeping me sticking with it especially when the ow just wouldn’t let up, and it could have been so much easier just to walk away. I also could see my h was not well, I couldn’t hold onto the knowledge of me walking away from him and seeing him drown further. I needed to try and help him.
      Yet at times I too was the one doing all the work, he offered me very little comfort at times, and it was a lonely journey for a long time, especially when you keep getting lied to. I just wanted to leave, because the pain at times was just too great. Yet I guess my love for my h was more stronger, which is why I allowed myself to wait for each positive change. Honestly when you look back to the first day, to where you are now and you know you made the right decision for yourself and your family, you see just how far you have come as a couple.

    • Healingperson

      Both my father and step-father cheated on my mother. Their nasty separations just about destroyed my brothers and I. It has taken me years to recover. My brothers are still struggling as they have learned not to get committed into any relationship out of fear!

      I strongly believe this particular issue is NOT a one-size fits all!

      When the commitment to my marriage was damaged by the EA, the commitment to my children is what kept me going. Initially, I was just buying time for a couple of reasons– First, I did not want to make an emotional decision by getting a divorce without a plan–Second, if/when I made the decision to kick him out, my children’s’ well-being had to come first. I knew I could endure the consequences better than my kids, even in silence. Our 15 years old has down-syndrome. His mom and dad are perfect. If one of us isn’t home, it shakes his world…

      To be honest, it was simply buying time. Time took care of my choice. My H has turned it around. It is not easy, but no relationship will ever be. Some deal with infidelity, some with gambling, alcohol, other addictions just as bad as EA. Overcoming it, is the real victory!!

    • Peggy

      Today is my 3rd anniversary of D-Day. Three years waiting for my H to show up. His affair was only EA because she decided three men were too many to be having sex with at the same time. He thought he was her only one. He told her he was in love with her and would divorce me. This was after fantasizing and lusting and flirting after her at his office for 4 years and he spent the last year prior to telling me, seriously pursuing sex and a life with her. He told me that if he had gotten his wish of sex he would have divorced me. He’s never had a hard time telling me his hard truths. The only reason he told me about the affair was because she broke his heart and left him for what he thought was another NEW man. I was his go to girl that could help him. She was involved with three as I mentioned so he didn’t win the PRIZE. He is regretful for the affair. He’s trying to make better choices. But it’s still a day by day process. No real relief or any feeling of safety for me.

      It’s been three years of total hell. The last time he lied to me was a week ago. Not a huge lie, but a lie. There has been no consistency at all except for him saying he’s sorry every time he screws up. No help with recovery. I’ve learned to ask for what I need, but that doesn’t mean my H is going to give it to me. He still can’t have a conversation about his affair without him being defensive. But, in the last 2 months I have seen a shift in him. We aren’t young. I’m 62 and he’s soon to be 59. By the way, that sucks, too, since she was 10 years younger than I am. He’s been who he was for all his life and he’s slow to change with anything. So to see a small shift in him is a positive thing for me. I still can’t trust him with my heart. I am very distanced from him emotionally because I just can’t risk it anymore. I’ve been thrown back to day one more times now than I can count. I don’t know what it will take for me to feel any sense of security in this marriage. I’m working hard at be available for anything good knowing how guarded I am now.

      Why do I stay? I’m responsible for my granddaughter. She’s 17 now and her Mom decided last year was the perfect time to take a leave of absence from being a Mom. I have two other grand children near by that both have babies. Yes, I’m a great grandma. I know that’s the reason I haven’t left. Not to mention my 88 year old Mother who has decided I need to be her everything now that my Dad is gone. Don’t take this wrong, I’m not happy at all that I am needed so much. I’m practicing every day to create my boundaries. I am one of those that gives too much I have learned. I would very much love to be alone and heal without all this distraction. But this is life.

      I’m also a realist. I don’t want to have to get back into the work force at my age. I have nothing to lose by staying because he desperately wants me to. But, we all have our breaking points. I’ve lost so much respect for the male species that I know I would be alone until I died if I left this marriage. I’ve spent 3 years studying the psychology of us. I’ve read everything out their on the why’s and what to do’s to recover from an affair. I know none of this had anything to do with me. Which by the way is a real issue for me. Why didn’t it have something to do with me? Shouldn’t we have all been considered before they decided to use us so they would be free to play? A lot I just can’t accept that has been written and said about the affair issue. That is what happens when you read everything. You are able to begin to form your own opinions.

      I’ve given birth to three still born babies. I’ve been raped at the age of 8 before I even knew men had penises and 16 by a family member. I’ve had traumas in my life and none have caused me so much pain as being betrayed by the one man I KNEW was everything I had ever wanted.

      Having to get in touch with my issues of being everything for everybody has been good, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that in no way did I contribute to the demise of my marriage. That wonderfully loving partner died three years ago and someone else stepped in who was way less naive and way more protective of my heart. My softer side that patiently listened while he talked endlessly about his job is no longer present. His pedestal has forever been kicked out from underneath him.

      He wants the me that loved him so well to come back. His being loving and caring for me now and after three years making a small effort to join me in the healing of our marriage finds me having to now deal with bitterness and resentment. My new thing that I have to fix that was never there before his affair. My revengeful side wants to be mean and tell him that he can take the next three years to work at saving our marriage alone now and I’ll be in denial and absent, but what a waste of time that would be.

      Three years and I feel as if I know so much and understand so much, but no one can change another person. Not by example or the obvious pain that they have caused. Certainly not by talking to them. Only they can make the changes. My changes have come from the need to be alive and breathing every day. I’m forcing myself to get back to the easel where I might be able to revisit the kinder, softer me. I may be too stubborn now to allow for a new and better relationship. Another new issue for ME to work on. None of these issues I have to deal with now were present prior to his affair other than the being too nice one. I had never experienced jealously prior to his affair. That’s an ugly feeling that I now have to deal with and get past. Feeling less than is a big one. Being used and taken for granted is huge. So many new issues after I had taken care of so many other issues. I must have been a bad ass in my last life to need to deal with all of this life now.

      Staying may be the first time I have done something just for my own self, selfishly. It would be better if I did leave him, for him. He could try out his new self on someone who didn’t have my history with him. But I’m still in love with him. It would be so much easier if I just didn’t like him at all. There are definitely aspects of his personality that I now do not like, but none of us are perfect and I don’t need perfection. What I have discovered in this process for me is that I need space to be me. That is much more important to me now at this age than finding a perfect marriage. There aren’t any.

      If I could give all of you any advice at all it would be that no one will ever be perfect for another. Don’t leave for that reason. You will be disappointed. You know what you have now. If he’s an asshole, yes leave him. If he is simply tolerable, stay. Definitely stay if you have children still in the home, but only if the two of you can be decent to each other and not throw your stress on the children. They will be affected and they do need both of you to secure their identities.

      Love comes in many forms. I can honestly say I love my dog more than I love my H. He is completely loyal to me. And I love myself more than I love him, too. My job is obvious. His job is obvious. It’s my wish that we can come to have a mutual respect for each other and be able to find joy in some way inside our marriage. I’m not there yet, but I do love a warm hug that I get every day. I do have compassion for him knowing that he’s doing his best now to be his best self. But I will always be sad that my feelings have diminished because of his choices. It took too much to be who I was for him when we married. I know myself well enough to know that the trust I had in him will never completely recover and that’s sad. But I can be a better person to be with and that’s my focus.

      Good luck to all of you. It’s very sad that the world we live in has to be so hard. I loved being naive and believing that all people were basically good and that love could concur all. The best we can all do is take the good when it’s presented and fight against being less than what we know we can be.

    • gizfield

      Peggy, I’m sorry to hear of your trouble. A 52 year old woman sleeping with three men (or more)is just creepy. Sounds like the Band Whores who sniff around the guys in my husband’s band. Completely disgusting. I always say “there’s no whore like an old whore”, aka Granny Whore.

      I don’t think any man who is still married after pursuing another woman for four years can be pursuing her in a very serious way. And what is this , if he got sex from her, he would divorce you. Sure thing. Don’t believe a word of it. I wouldn’t if I were you. by the way, I’m 55 myself so I’ve earned the right to talk about people being old, lol. It doesn’t really matter anyway.

      • Peggy

        He would have left if she had actually wanted him. That was him then. I have no fear of him leaving me now for her. He had already emotionally detached himself from me prior to pursuing her. He has had some real issues with commitment that’s working on now. The only reason he stayed with me was because she dumped him. I was the good friend that he always brought his shit to so why not this. That was his maturity at the time. The shock was that he was so good at pretending to be mature.

        I’m not sure what you mean by, “it doesn’t really matter anyway.” Just what exactly doesn’t matter anyway?

    • gizfield

      Being old, or being young. Or middle aged. Age is what doesn’t matter. at least not to me.

      One thing I’ve noticed that most cheaters say is that they are “leaving”. They don’t have to put up with “it”, they can do better, etc. There is a world of difference between saying and DOING. I’m not sure of the statistics, but the percentage of those who leave is astronomically low. It just seems that your husband might have told you that to hurt you when he actually wasn’t going ANYWHERE. It’s their ego boost or something. Who knows, maybe he really was.

    • tony

      I agree with Kiri, but in my case, it’s a cheating wife.

    • Kittypone

      5 years from DDay. Whatever love I felt for my h is long gone. I stay for my own selfish reasons, and he can deal with it (or not) and the door is wide open for him to leave if he so chooses. He just turned 59, I am 52 and he cheated on me with a woman 17 years his junior. On our wedding anniversary of that year, we were intimate and I recorded him a couple of days after the fact saying to her how nervous he was the whole time, as he was only seeing her face on my body and scared her name would slip from his lips as he was having sex with ME. Talk about a downer!! Having had my heart shattered in a million pieces, him not showing any remorse/brokenness about the affair, no sorrow for his actions, just desperate to bury the past and turn the page without any real intention of reflecting/repentance has a way of hardening one’s heart toward their cheating h….like I said, I stay for my own selfish reasons, he can go fuck himself for all I care now….

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