There are many hurdles to cross when trying to recover from an affair.  One of the biggest and most difficult to overcome is the letting go of resentment.

What is resentment?

My good buddy Wikipedia says that…

Resentment (also called ranklement or bitterness) is the experience of a negative emotion (anger or hatred, for instance) felt as a result of a real or imagined wrong done.

Do we all carry resentments normally?  Tough question, but I think that certainly all of us do to some extent.  In fact, you may hold resentments of varying degree and not even realize it – or at least not think about them very often.

letting go of resentment
One of the biggest and most difficult obstacles to overcome in affair recovery is the letting go of resentment.

For instance, you may despise a certain athlete because he scored the winning touchdown against your favorite team.  You don’t know this guy from Adam but you know you hate him.  Do you think about it every day, or does it make you angry all the time?  Probably not, but it’s there nonetheless.

Heck, I can’t stand New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady simply because he went to Michigan.  That’s a negative emotion I have towards him (and many other Wolverines) for basically no reason other than I’m a die-hard Ohio State fan. Yea, I know it’s silly.

I also have a slight resentment towards Linda and my kids every summer when they are on break and leave the house almost daily to lounge around the pool, go rock climbing, etc. while I’m stuck at home working.  It kinda sucks because I want to be doing the same thing, but it certainly doesn’t occupy my thoughts, make me angry or affect our relationship in any way.

Here’s how resentment works in real life…

An action is committed by someone else, either intentionally or unintentionally. Or perhaps the person didn’t even commit an action. Maybe they are just rich, beautiful, lucky or lead some kind of a charmed life that you wish you had.

You determine that it harmed you whether they intended it to harm you or not.  How do you determine this? On the basis of certain standards of behavior that you have, plus the sting you feel on the basis of their intended or unintended behavior.

See also  Infidelity and Suicide

Living with extreme resentment can be harmful to your health.  It stresses you out and as long as you feel resentment you will never feel better.  We all know what stress can do to us from a health standpoint.  It can cause daily disruptions, depression, anger, exhaustion, frustration, sadness, and a host of physical ailments.

When people feel stressed or have the feelings mentioned above, they tend to self-medicate and turn to alcohol, drugs, smoking, overeating and countless other mind-numbing vices.

Resentment can take over your life, dominating it to the point where you feel powerless and insecure. 

Its dominance can cause you to focus on it rather than things that are more beneficial or productive.

What’s less obvious to most of us is the fact that if you are so driven by resentment, grudges or anger, it can affect you deep within your soul in the form of loneliness and sadness.

Your anger might mask the true hurt and fear you feel that your life may forever be changed due to the events that caused your resentment to build within.  This can be especially true when it comes to the resentment one feels after finding out their spouse/partner cheated on them.

You become acutely aware of the anger that you feel towards the object of your resentment – the cheater – and you wish that they too can feel the pain that you feel.  Now that would be justice.

In our own relationship, both Linda and I carried resentments toward each other prior to my emotional affair.  With the benefit of hindsight, we now realize that many of these resentments could have been extinguished with effective communication and/or marital counseling, followed with a high degree of effort on both our parts to make the necessary changes.

Certainly after the affair, Linda no doubt resented the hell out of me.  I’m fairly certain she probably still carries some resentment even today.  I believe it’s fading, but sure, there has to still be some there.

See also  The Change is Coming

Letting Go of Resentment to Feel Better

letting go of resentment
Letting go of resentment can help you feel more of an internal calm in the circumstances of your life.

So how do you move past these resentments to a point where all the rage and grudges evaporate, or at least seem more manageable?

How do you get to the point where you feel more of an internal calm in the circumstances of your life, where you realize and accept what’s important and valuable to you, but at the same time let go of the things that don’t help or support you in your life?

I wish I had the absolute answer for everyone, but I feel there is no single way to accomplish this.  For some, forgiveness might be the answer.  For others, it might just be the ability to accept what happened and move on.  And yet for others it could be something completely different.

What I am quite sure about though is that you must find a way to release yourself from the bonds of resentment, grudges and anger and get yourself refocused on your own wellbeing.

By utilizing the energy that you’ve wasted on resentment and anger and instead devote it passionately towards things that you really care about, I can’t help but think that you will certainly start to feel better.

Quick story…

I have a friend that has had more bad luck from a health and personal standpoint than you can imagine.  Not to get into a long story here, but he is a colon cancer survivor as well as a survivor of two life-threatening operations for tumors deep inside his brain.  He also had an extremely challenging childhood upbringing that I won’t get into.  Let’s just say he’s been to hell and back several times throughout his life and he has a lot to be pissed off about.  But he’s not.  He has an inner peace about him that is hard to understand.  He holds no resentments or grudges and as a result he is happy and successful and on top of the world.

I can only surmise that at some point he made the choice to realistically but positively deal with the situations and not let them get the better of him.  I think he believed that something good and valuable and positive would come out of all he had to endure and he was eager to see what it was.

See also  Reader Shares His Affair Recovery Success Story

It was his belief system that got him through his painful experiences.

On the other side of the coin, have you ever been exposed to people who are caught up in their own rage and resentments?  How did you feel when you were around them?  Did you want to get away from them as quickly as possible, or did you feel inspired to deal with your own disappointments, resentments and frustrations in a different way?

I think that you will agree that you are a product of your beliefs.  Who you are and everything that you accomplish is the result of what you believe you can and cannot do in life. Your life is a direct result of the beliefs and thoughts you carry inside about yourself, other people, and the world around you.

Ultimately you cannot escape the influences of your belief system, but you can focus your attention to those that you feel are more beneficial and move you towards the results that you really desire.   Results such as more confidence, inner peace, and positive effectiveness in your life.

Letting go of resentment and moving past it does not just happen by itself.  It takes a conscious effort.  The cheater can do everything in the world to make amends for what he/she has done.  But unless you make the choice to let the anger and resentment go, anything you do to try and mend your relationship will just keep you going around in circles.

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Journey to Healing
Surviving and Thriving Post D-day

Healing and thriving is an active process, it is a choice, and best of all, it is in your power.  But how do you get past the anger and despair and on the path to healing?

Is there a system or “hack” that can guide you?

There is, and that’s exactly what this program is all about…


    26 replies to "Letting Go of Resentment"

    • livingonafence

      Asking a BS to not resent the affair is a fairy tale, imo. We can all accept what happened, and maybe even forgive, but to not resent the CS dragging this nightmare into our lives, which takes years to move past whether you stay or leave, is a pipedream.
      Affairs are intentional. The CS intentionally brought this pain and chaos into the BSs world. No matter what happens, I can’t imagine a BS truly thinking “oh well, things happen”. It’s an immense, life altering pain, and it wasn’t an accident. How is that something that isn’t on some level resentment-worthy?

      I’d say offering the opinion that letting the resentment rule ones life is sound advice, but not having any? I don’t think it’s possible, ever.

      There was no need of the pain that was inflicted on the BS. If someone shoots me intentionally and I spend years in physical therapy to recover, I might forgive the person and I might not spend hours a day obsessing over the shooting, but I’ll alway have resentment for the hell that person forced me to go through.

      And even if that person and I remain friends, a part of me will always think less of them for being so careless as to just shoot me because it seemed like the thing to do and they thought it would be fun.

      No resentment? No, that isn’t going to happen, ever.

      • livingonafence

        To continue with my shooting analogy:

        The person that shoots me may feel bad and question what kind of person they are that they would just shoot someone because it seemed like something to do and they wanted to see if they were a good shot, but that’s nothing compared to what I’m going to have to deal with because I was shot. I’m in excruciating pain. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel normal again. I’m worried constantly. I relive being shot again and again. I need medical attention and I can’t trust anyone anymore. I have a massive scar that hurts, often. I wonder why he shot me. What did I do? Why didn’t he care enough to not want me shot? Why did I have to suffer this pain?

        The shooter has it MUCH easier than the person that was shot. If anyone saw the shooter sitting around crying to the person he shot saying how bad he felt, would anyone say “Gee, they’re both hurting. They both need to understand.” No! People would say “Too damn bad you jackass! You shouldn’t have shot her!”

        Cheaters really get a free pass on a lot of things. If there was a visible wound from cheating, instead of this emotional wound, no one would EVER, for a second say the BS should try to figure out why they were shot or that they shouldn’t have resentment. The shooters would never say “well, if we are to remain together, you can’t be angry or upset that I shot you. I don’t want to talk about me shooting you.” The shooter wouldn’t dare try to say they had their reasons. They wouldn’t act as if it wasn’t a big deal. They wouldn’t pretend everything was fine just because the victim wasn’t crying or yelling about being shot.

        Cheaters get away with a lot more than they should given the severity of their actions and the damage they’ve caused…just for fun.

        • Teresa

          LOAF, I’ve said that for quite awhile now, that the CS really does get off pretty easy, all things considered.
          The CS wants it to all go away, and does pretty much nothing to help the BS in the first months after DDay, so the BS is all alone in their suffering.
          The CS had their “fun”, the BS keeps their “fun” a secret, because they are either to ashamed to let others know that they couldn’t keep their spouse happy, or because they don’t want others to know that they aren’t the “prefect” couple everyone thinks they are, and they are embarrassed that this could happen to them!

          My H and I were just talking about that last week…I asked him how HE has suffered because of the EA…he told me is that he hates seeing me in pain and it hurts him to see me cry and feels ashamed that he did this to us.
          Of course, I then listed the many, MANY things that I am feeling, and to.d him that there is NO way he could be feeling anything near to what I’m feeling, and he agreed.
          So I asked him again, just HOW have you suffered in all of this?
          You got to have your fun with the cow, got the admiration, told how “wonderful” you are…then when you were busted, you had me, falling all over you, buying sexy lingerie, having the so called “honeymoon” phase….and then again, ME, reading books and articles on how to heal our marriage and how to be a better wife, feeling like I had to win you back, like I was a freaking 15 yr old, etc….
          So yea, you’re right LOAF…the CS has it pretty easy all the way round, IMO! They unload the EA on us….then ask us to forget about it!
          Sure there’s resentment….A LOT of resentment, but I do believe that when the CS finally starts doing the work, some of that resentment does go away….does it ALL go away? I dunno…I’m 19 mos out and still have some resentment when I have triggers….I HATE triggers, and when they happen, yes, I totally feel the resentment towards my H…as good as we are doing now, as much as I know he loves me and is sorry for what he did, I still feel resentful, because if he would have just said NO there would be no triggers, no pain, no anger, no fear…

        • Peggy

          I just love you, Livingonafence!!!! We completely see eye to eye on every subject. Thank you for saying exactly what I was going to say.

          My CS walks around sulking all day long and says my PAIN that he has to witness makes him so depressed he can’t function. Well get the hell over it! You did this to me. You walk in my shoes for one minute and you would be out the door faster then you could take them off.

          Forgiveness is not on MY table. And I’m getting more and more resentful as the days go on with his sulking behavior which is his way of gulting me into not discussing the situation with him which I need to do.

          I asked my CS just last week if he could possibly consider putting at least as much passion and commitment into my recovery as he gave to his lover and his affair. I really don’t think that’s asking too much.

          Not harboring resentment to me is a serious trap. Resentment is a reminder to be aware, in the moment, and not forget what the CS is capable of. I completely believed and trusted in him. Resentment will help me to protect myself from further pain.

          That doesn’t mean I will walk around reminding him of what he’s done every day for the rest of his life. It means that I’m not going to be a victim again. I don’t like it and I seriously will never be as naive as I was prior to his affair. And seriously there are consequences to be had from having an affair that need to be recognized and lived through. What gives a CS the right to feel he should get a pass on this, the most devastating event of my life, which has caused me more pain then losing three babies to stillbirth.

        • Recovering

          LOAF… this is why I don’t believe that I can actually FORGIVE either. I can accept and chose to move on, but when you purposefully hurt someone, how can that be forgiven? I will always harbor some resentment I am sure. I can’t drive by the whoretel without it making me feel ill… sure some days my reactions are worse than others… and why I get SOO angry and get up and leave the room when a movie is on where there is cheating involved… why I am more jaded where love is concerned, and where I don’t necessarily believe that people are inherently good anymore. This resentment has changed me. I love my huband. Our marriage is getting stronger. We are still together, though we should’ve been anyway, so the fact that there was any question angers me. I was ALWAYS a good wife to him. I told him that yesterday when we drove past the whoretel… He had no right to portray me in a different light to ANYONE (not that I care what the whore thinks – she IS a whore after all), but it is INSULTING to me that HE was the one who did such a sick and disgusting thing, yet I am the one left to carry the burden of shame and pain. You are right. His feeling bad about hurting me… maybe he really DOES feel bad, but it didn’t stop him. It scares me that he could lie so easily. Resentment will keep me safer in the future… will keep me from ever trusting him the way I did. Keep me from allowing him to hurt me again like he did. It will also make me always harbor a little bit of hate for who he was – though I hope that man is gone forever!! Yes, I want to continue the relationship, but he did something SOOOO against who I am, knowing full well what I thought about cheating. I resent him for changing me in a negative way, and I resent that it is now my responsibility to try to get back who I was. I don’t think he meant to change me, but he did. I can’t even say that I let him, because there is no way I could be the person today that I was 14 months ago. I had hope. Now I have reality. They are NOT the same thing. My hope for our future is not the same. I see it as work and not with the rosey glow of love. I hope to not always be angry about that, but how can I not? I always wanted to be with him… I feel used and abused. He CHOSE to do that to me. Damn right I resent that. I won’t focus on that resentment. I will try to look at the more educated man that I am married to now. The one who says he is sorry. The one who swears he never thought he could do such a thing, the one who swears he could never hurt me like that again… I will carry this scar forever, and hopefully over time it will fade. He will carry nothing, except maybe a new attitude… His is a positive result… mine not so much. Getting back the man I married… sometimes I wonder if it is all really worth the effort… sometimes I know it is…

          Today is a HEAVY resentment day for me… trigger of course… am working at the main office of the workplace of the OW’s husband… who doesn’t know about the affair… so not a good day for resentment talk, eh? LOL!

    • tryingtoowife

      Letting go off resentment is part of the process of healing, moving on, and forgiveness, I understand that. I also believe that this is the hardest part of the whole process, as the inflicted injury removes/destroy the capability of any feelings of compassion from the BS (at least I find hard to feel compassion for my husband, after what he has done). The injury caused by betrayal takes away from us, the security we had of making decisions we felt it could be the right one and the best for both parts, as our other half, lacked of it towards us.
      If my husband could not let go off resentments to avoid getting involved in the affair, now I am left with the hard work, of letting go of resentments that he, in first place did not grant me, when things would be simpler to be worked on, instead he went on to get involved with another woman, carried on involved with the OW and behaved with me as if all was fine, ok, ended his affair but did not disclose it to me himself. Blamed me in the first few days after DDay, all for his resentment towards me.
      Now If I want to move on and heal, I have to accept that I have to achieve the hardest learning process in my life. Let go off resentment in order to move on without the feelings that knots my stomach and saddens me so very much. A very hard call, but necessary, independently if with him or without him.

    • chiffchaff

      I agree that longheld resentment is toxic to the person holding it. As TTW said above, these unspoken resentments of the CS became toxic to them and resulted in them having an inappropriate relationship rather than talking about it rationally and sensibly.
      I still harbour lots of resentments and they pop up with about the same frequency that flashbacks occur, which is, less than they used to. Last night we were discussing the irony that my H’s resentment that we didn’t see friends very often was used by him as an excuse for his affair, in that it was my fault we didn’t see friends and family enough. Not that we had busy jobs with massive commutes and barely any free time. Or that he didn’t contact his friends to arrange anything. The irony is that as a direct result of what he did we now see our main friends that we did have hardly at all because they hate him for having an affair and behaving like he did to me afterwards. It’s a resentment now for me that he chose not to see that very obvious outcome when deciding whether or not to put on a condom and sleep with a stranger almost 2 years ago.
      My resentments are entirely about how he could be so selfish for so long. He is miserable about how he could do such a thing now and how stupid he was for not taking the time to think through the consequences that were there for anyone to see.
      I resent that he put me and my family through this just because he wanted to screw someone he’d just met. Yes, I accept that he did it and we cannot undo what he did. Doesn’t stop me getting angry about it but I don’t choose to share that anger with him unless he’s trotted out something patently ridiculous (he can frequently forget things that he did or said to me, which I do not tolerate as I fear that would lead to gradual complete forgetting and whitewashing of what he did over time). I cope with those resentments, I don’t beat him down with them, I suppose that’s the difference. I choose not to let them ruin what we have but it doesn’t mean I go as far as forgetting. Forgetting would be wrong on so many levels.

    • CookieMomster

      TTW, it sounds like you and I have a LOT in common with respect to how our husbands are viewing their responsibility for their EA’s. My husband feels that resentment he carried for me before his EA was justification for it. Can I say that one more time and EVERYONE LISTEN… BS’s and CS’s alike? YOU CANNOT POINT TO ANOTHER’S BAD BEHAVIOR TO JUSTIFY YOUR OWN BAD BEHAVIOR…. EACH STANDS ON IT’S OWN!!! And each MUST take responsibility for THEIR OWN BEHAVIOR. How anyone behaves is their own personal CHOICE and if the behavior is such that it has consequences, then MAN UP (or WOMAN UP) and take it!!

      • tryingtoowife

        Cookiemonster, I agree with you, but my husband takes full responsibility for his affair, NOW, after his resentments, after his affair, after his vision and participation of the pain he caused us. He takes full responsibility for his choices and does not blame me anymore in his clarity of the situation, BUT the clarity he has now, does not make any easier for me to let go off my resentments, created and accumulated by his acts, one by one.
        My statement is that we BS, have to achieve something that we were blatantly denied in first place. We now have to be the one with higher, stronger standards and strength. It is one more demand in our fragile self. We, did not deserve this burden, but it is the one we carry, and we have to learn to do it to our best. But the one who made the choice of betrayal, is fully responsible for amendments, definitely! (with our help) And has to take the responsibility of THE bad choice they made.
        But as chiffchaff said, a toxic relationship isn’t good either, so there we go, always at least keep trying!

    • Hopeful

      As I wrote yesterday, briefly, this let tin go is really hard. Wow, I’ve been with my H for nearly 10 years, married for 3. We’ve been through a lot. There were precursors to his EA of last year (weird semi secretly too intimate relationships with female friends, innocent flirting and the like). It was a constant source of turmoil for me for years prior to the EA. I would say, I just want to be part of this. I want to understand this friendship or AT LEAST have coffee with you guys from time to time. HE would stonewall, say I was unreasonably jealous, that it was normal, and that he would ‘be fine if the tables were turned” (the later being the biggest defecting lie ever which I knew at the time and constantly challenged him on).

      So, my resentment includes not only the EA but all that struggle that came before. Thankfully, for the first time, I feel like a huge wall has fallen between us around this issue and that we can be honest and that I am being heard a strong and reasonable woman with really good intuitions and normal needs around these things (rather than a needy, weak, inept, controlling person, which I was made to feel and began believing myself after awhile).

      Again, letting go is letting go of the affair, the hatred of the OW, the disappointment, the fear it will happen again, the anger that I was made to feel weak and crazy and allowed myself to believe it, the lies, the emotional abuse, and on and on.

      So many triggers. As I said, this is tough. I’ve fought like mad to let go. I know very well that allowing myself to tease through the details and indulge the EA ins and outs long since played its therapeutic value. Initially, that brain analysis and working through inconsistencies was important and led me towards reintegrating reality and finding the “truth” or as much as I needed of it to heal and for my H to be truly accountable to what he did. Now, doing so is just reinforcing and strengthening those networks in my brain, making it hard to let go.

      I decided that some of letting go is time and emotion and trust and my H’s behavior, but some is plain ole chemistry in the brain. These knotty neutral links that fire when triggered and make my body feel a particular way and take over my brain occur without me wanting or needing them now.

      So, how to unlink and unknot. This has been some of my labor.

      Cheesy things I never thought I’d do. Thought stopping. Literally, I start thinking about the EA or feeling shitty or resentful and I say (more and more), “NO!, NO! NO! and physically get up move, think of something else. There is somatic therapy around the body that helps dissipate the knot of firing neurons. Is it bunk? I don’t even care, I figure if I commit and do it and believe it, it’ll help. I meditate. One that helps me is when I start feeling the trigger emotionally, I’ll sequester myself for a bit if possible, close my eyes, allow myself to feel the full intensity of the thoughts for a moment, and then visualize pulling out the networks of thoughts like silly string and throwing them out, cutting them up, yanking them free. I know, nutty, but it has helped. Bascially, I would’ve thought all this kind of stuff was bonk before, but I am so commitment to moving on and being a full and happy person who does bury the resentment but faces it and lets it go head on. This is hard. And, I fail and it has taken a year and I still fail on some days, but those days are now like 1 or 2 days a month, down from 5 times a day. And this was with a H who eventually did a 180 and got with the program and worked on himself.

      Hard stuff.

      As I said before, this letting go is my promise and recommitment to my H for him, for us, and for me. It is the work I must find a way to do. Only I can really do it.

      Burying it for me is not an option.

      • Holding On


        Thanks for sharing the ways you are trying to move forward and let go. I am a year out and am finding it really hard to move forward with so many thoughts, but I think I will try some of your suggestions.

        I haven’t forgiven, I have the hardest time with just acceptance of this is what my husband did, and I carry lots of resentment. And the resentment builds, because it has been so long and such a hard year, that I have lots of resentment over the loss of time and of ME that has occurred.

        Yes, hard stuff.

    • Gizfield

      I just read the article “The Expectations Trap” in the Higher Members area and it is excellent! Highly recommended, and very relevant to this topic.

      • Linda

        “not enough people today are willing to do the hard work of becoming a more mature person. “They think they have a lot more choices. And they think life will be easier in another relationship. What they don’t realize is that it will be the same relationship—just with a different name.”

        Here is a good quote from the article “The Expectations Trap” great article, summarizes why so many affairs happen.

    • CookieMomster

      Gizfield… having trouble finding that article. Can you guide us?

    • Dave

      I resent what my wife did to me and us. I resent that my best friend tried to take her away from me using lies and charm. I resent her for falling for it and wanting it and him. I resent that both of them lied to me for years, especially when we renewed our vows and both promised to go forward with a clean slate.

      However, I know resentment is unhealthy, so working with my therapist and our marriage counselor, I’m try to let go of my resentment.

      My goal is to be able to do this through forgiveness, but I would happily settle for acceptance if that is the best I can do.

      • Dave

        Tomorrow is one of my most painful trigger dates – D-Day #1, the day I caught her leaving his house. At the time I didn’t know it was the day she broke up with her affair partner. All I knew was that I saw her in his arms as she was leaving his apartment. Last night the entire scene played out in my dreams, but this time when I caught them, she ran back into his arms and into his apartment.

        I was sleeping alone since she sleeps in another room. Waking up in the dark, alone, it took me several minutes to tease apart the nightmare and reality – neither of which are pleasant.

        I’m hoping that this is the last major date on my calendar until D-Day #2, the day she told me the truth – January 1st. I would really like to let go of my resentment by then…

    • KelBelly

      I had a huge turning point a couple weeks ago with my husbands EA and the resentment that I had been feeling. Our 14 year anniversary was July 11 and we had a new beautiful great niece born and I cried the whole day from joy! Joy that this sweet baby came at the time that she did but also from joy that my husband and I were actually still together and celebrating our anniversary..

      See for almost a year before the EA, I felt that my husband was leaving me but just didn’t know how to tell me. No matter what I did, he pulled further away so when I found out about his affair, I was very surprised to find that he wanted to work things out between us.

      So for me to see him so remorseful and trying to do everything to prove to me that this is where he wants to be, I don’t really feel resentment. What I do feel is extreme loss, fear and a feeling of it all ending any minute. Like it is all too good to be true.

      • Natalia

        KelBelly: Congratulations for your great niece! And congratualtions for working on your marriage with the help of your husband. It’s understanble to feel extreme loss and fear, however you should hang in there, appreciate all his efforts to win you back and never take a single day a happiness for granted. I wish you the best!

        • KelBelly

          Thank you Natalie, I do cherish my husband and what he does every day to show me that he wants to be with me. We have much to still work out and he is dealing with PTSD and slight depression as well as dealing with his EA and the pain it has caused his family but he is trying very hard to place it all.
          I just try to hold on to the many years of happiness we had before he went to Iraq and keep working toward a better us.

    • Hurt and incensed

      There are some posts that just hit a nerve at a time when you feel sooo lost, low and out of hope….this is one of them for me! My husband’s physical, emotional and basically the worst type of affair possible; ended when I finally confronted the OW on 3rd March 2011. My husband had ended the affair the month prior and was just hoping I never found out, but I am not one to turn a blind eye if something isn’t sitting right! We have been in a relationship for 24 years, together since we were 20 and married at 29. We have two children aged 17 and 14 years. We have had a very turbulent, passionate, painful and profound recovery to date and everything he is and has done; I love, appreciate and could not ask for more (except that he never did it in the first place!!!). I have sent him to the OW’s house twice to set her straight about his feelings and loyalties as she lives close by and we bump into her a lot. I was truly scared about doing this but I thought, if he decided it was her and not me….so be it, at least I would know and be out of the misery of trying to save my marriage! He made sure he rubbished everything about the affair to her, everything he said and did, told her how cruel it was to treat me so badly when I confronted her and how much he regretted betraying me for a cheap thrill when I was the most important person to him in the world. When she tried to contact him after 8 months, he text her saying he had showed me the text, we were completely happy together and that he thought he’d made clear how embarrassed and ashamed he was to have ever been involved with her. He found a counsellor that we have been seeing on and off. He has made every special date and anniversary, really special. He txts me everyday to see how I’m doing or if it is a trigger date, has answered many of my questions etc etc. The trouble is, I can’t decide whether my ongoing pain and hurt about each of his terrible actions is part of the process, a character flaw in me that I am resentful and unforgiving or if what he did is just too much and has thus damaged our relationship beyond repair? Every time I get triggered or remember each traumatic incident, I feel anxious, sick, tearful and so hurt in an instant! I grew up in a family where my mum betrayed my dad and left him for another man, with the care of four young girls. Although I was bright, I was second eldest and I took a lot of responsibility for my dad and the younger children and subsequently my school attendance and education suffered hugely. After leaving school, I trained in childcare, then did a social work degree than finally a Master of Science in Family and couples psychotherapy (ironic or what!!). I never felt I fitted at University with the bright, middle class people but of 50 students, I was miraculously one of 5 to achieve a distinction in my degree! I feel so resentful that this affair has even crapped on that, “if you know how to help others sort out their marriages, how come yours was in such a terrible state?” Furthermore, “if you can help others fix their marriages, how come you can’t navigate that process more successfully yourself?” My husband swore on our children’s lives several times that my discovery of a secret friendship with a woman from our kids sports club, was only that and had never gone any further even though he had been having sex with her for 6 months! When I finally got to discover it was more than he’d promised, we had just come back from a very intimate and romantic holiday in the Pacific Islands where we were so connected (but I obviously didn’t know what had been going on at that time). I begged him to tell me the truth so many times because things just did not add up; but he still would not man up. I arranged on the phone to go to her house and rather than tell the truth, he still trusted that she would not throw him under the bus and was a person of honour and integrity (LOVL)….well she did, at my expense!!! Providing all the gory details about: hotel rooms, concerts, romantic meals etc and handing me a bag of sex toys, lubricant and gifts he had bought her. She was cruel beyond belief and quickly claiming a victim status for herself! Can you imagine what it is like to be told such personal, shocking and intimate information about your best friend and partner of 24 years by a complete stranger?? I have never been soooo humiliated, ashamed and destroyed in my life. How do you stop feeling resentment about that? I know it is not good for me, for my health, for my marriage. The fact that I never left him the minute I thought he was messing around is because we have immigrated and I have no family or close support here! That makes me feel inadequate and weak, taking so much terrible treatment, it is not me….that makes me resentful beyond beliefl!!! I want my family, I want my marriage, but the knowledge I am fighting for my marriage with today, makes it the toughest ask of my life!

      • Natalia

        Hurt and Incensed: You said: “The trouble is, I can’t decide whether my ongoing pain and hurt about each of his terrible actions is part of the process, a character flaw in me that I am resentful and unforgiving or if what he did is just too much and has thus damaged our relationship beyond repair?” You relationship is not damaged it has only changed. You will never be the same but you can be better because of this. I also don’t think it’s a character flaw on you part. You were hurt by the one person who should have never hurt you and sadly but true he’s the only one who can heal your pain. Feeling the way you do is part of the process of repairing your relationship. And if you feel you can’t forgive him now, perhaps down the road you will, perhaps you won’t. In my case, 2 years after discovering my husband’s emotional affairs, I cannot yet forgive him. He knows it and accepts it. We are working hard on our relationship and it’s not easy. But I’m not giving up. We’ve been together for 32 years and I’m not about to throw that away. We have 3 children (26, 18, 18) and they don’t deserve to live through my hell.
        You also said: “Every time I get triggered or remember each traumatic incident, I feel anxious, sick, tearful and so hurt in an instant!” This is also normal. And he needs to know it. Everytime you feel this way you need to tell him and he needs to offer you support and love. It’s the only way to heal. Not a day goes by that a trigger pops up in my head. Sometimes they pop up on their own and sometimes my husband tells me he ran into one of the other women he had emotional affairs with. (I’ve asked him to tell me if he ever runs into them. I want it to come from him when it happens and not find out later by someone else or by him when it slips out). There are many triggers and I hate them! It takes a lot from me emotionally to make sure they don’t ruin my day or set me back to day 1. When I feel anxious, sick and resentful I tell him. I also have questions which he answers. After talking to him I always feel better because he shares my pain and tries to make me feel better and loved. Sometimes I think that by telling him and reminding him about what he did ruins his day. However I quickly remember that he ruined my life, my trust and he’s the only one who can fix it. So he doesn’t get to live without knowing what the triggers do to me. I didn’t ask for this life, he gave it to me. Also, don’t think your relationship is beyond repair, it will never be that same but you can turn this experience around and use it to make your relationship stronger. Together you can build a fence around your relationship to protect it and never let yourself be vulnerable again.

        • tsd

          This resentment and anger was a stage I stayed in. For one year or longer. I just held on to the pain and spear headed my sadness onto lashing out on my husband and sometimes my kids, even for e littlest of things. It just was easier to blame others for that stage than move on. But LoAF gave me advice that has helped. Just look for the small things…instead of what I wanted to see, I recognized his small baby steps…they weren’t what I wanted but his attempts were adding up. Don’t get me wrong, he still made a mistake but I believe pointing that out every weekend was not correcting his bad behavior. I believe he won’t stray again, I’m working on trust, but more importantly, when I work on myself, I become happier, he works harder and life moves forward. And that’s our goal…to have a successful recovery during our resentment can be a word rather than our all consuming emotion….

          • just sad

            This is where I am just over a year from Dday. I feel like I can’t get out of my own way due to still being angry, sad, and resentful. My DH is trying to do the right things but I think part of me feels like if I keep my guard up and stay angry then I can’t get hurt again. I miss him and our relationship but he is my biggest trigger. We had a big setback in February after he did something that I can not even grasp that he wouldn’t have seen what the consequences would be and I am now just stuck in this place of anger and resentment, which is so frustrating as I had felt like I was beginning to make some progress in a positive direction just before the setback occured. I am going to try and see the small things he is doing and like LoAF suggested, in the forum, aim for a happy week.

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