life after an affairA lot of people refer to the affair discovery day as D-Day or Armageddon or something such as that to describe how your world gets turned upside down, and it’s so alien from what it once was.   

During this time- and for a long time afterward – it is so common to feel completely out of control. So what are some of the things that you can do to regain some sort of control in your life after an affair?

Well, we asked that question a while ago and received some wonderful responses and we wanted to share one with you that kind of stood out.  This person was able to take control of her emotions and feelings so that they couldn’t have a negative impact on her.

Here is her story of how she got control of her life after an affair…

I initially felt out of control and with my personality (structured, focused, driven etc…) the feeling of being out of control was totally unacceptable. But I had to realize that there are some things I have no control over however, my emotions and my feelings are things that I will not allow anyone else to control.

So I needed to step back and look at things differently. I had no choice in a way as my husband’s emotional affair had me looking at things differently – both good and bad. But I did have the choice to decide whether I was going to allow the bad to come in. Yes, my feelings were hurt, yes I was angry and yes I could not believe that my husband would ever do something like that to me.

And as hurt as I was I had to realize that I can and will overcome this and work on improving myself and my relationship/marriage with my husband.

It was hard initially especially when all the feelings of anger, hurt and betrayal came knocking at my door but I had to focus and not allow those feelings to take control. I have seen a side of my husband that I have not seen for quite some time – the attentive, loving, thoughtful, caring and sensitive man I fell in love with. Funny, I didn’t realize that I held the keys to those attributes. I brought them out in him.

Not only do I ask myself why I allowed myself (“it”) to disappear but why I allowed my husband to disappear. My husband is not a perfect man this I know and I am not the perfect wife (well…maybe…all right… I’m not). I only know that both my husband and I have found each other again.

This past weekend we celebrated our 8th anniversary and spent the past three days at one of my favorite resorts on the coast and we talked, laughed and enjoyed each other immensely. My husband sent me a text this morning and told me he has never felt closer and in love with me as he does now.

He leaves the house before I wake up and leaves me love notes each morning, makes my coffee and has my morning paper on the counter. These are all things he used to do a year ago – why they stopped, but most importantly why I didn’t care that they had stopped, I’ll never understand. I just know I’ll never let that happen again. Correction: We’ll never let that happen again.

Just because I sound as if I am in La-La-Land does not mean that I take my husband’s emotional affair lightly nor will my husband forget that he almost lost me. It will always be a reminder to me to not lose focus on those things that are important to me–my happiness and my husband (they go hand in hand–sure one can do without the other but I prefer to have them both). I have no doubt that my husband feels the same.

With everything we have a choice and I made a choice that I would not allow my anger or my husband’s emotional affair to take my power and or control my happiness. It was not easy. What worked for me may not work for everyone else as their situation is different (EA vs PA, length of time, still involved in EA or PA etc….).

Yes, we all share the anger, hurt, betrayal and disappointment and how we decide to move forward may also differ (should we decide to move forward with or without our spouse).

In my 1st marriage the anger of my husband’s physical affair consumed me. I hated the way that I felt. I did not want that to happen to me again. I no longer loved my 1st husband so walking away from an unhappy marriage was easier for me.

When my ex-spouse saw how I became an independent, strong and happy woman he wanted me back. I on the other hand had already moved on to the next chapter of my life and wanted nothing to do with him, but I still had the anger.

One day I decided to let go of the anger and I could not believe the relief my body and mind felt releasing the anger. It felt as if a load had been lifted off of my entire being. I felt much lighter as the chains of anger were no longer holding me back. That was twenty-five years ago.

In my current situation, I love my husband and I want our marriage to work. Again, Mort Fertel’s e-mail entitled “How to move from ME to WE” sums up what I was feeling. I am not to blame for my husband’s emotional affair but I am also not a fool to deny that our marriage had gone to the wayside.

The anger I felt towards the EA was worse than my 1st husband’s infidelity and I could only surmise that it is because I love my husband. But I had to let go of the anger – it was taking over and I didn’t like it.

My trip that I took to get away helped me/us. We talked and we listened to each other. I had questions about the OW/EA which my husband answered over a series of conversations. Also important to letting go is destroying all evidence of the EA (e-mails etc..) which I did.

I noticed that every time I went back to re-read their e-mails the anger swelled up again. It was not doing me any good holding on to the e-mails so I deleted everything.

My husband deleted all contact information off of his phone and e-mail account (yes I checked and if he missed anything I went in and deleted it myself). He canceled two trips he had booked in September that would have taken him back to his home state (OW lives there). One was a high school reunion and another was a football game of his Alma mater.

Now what really set everything in motion was reconnecting with my husband on an intimate level. Yes..sex..I know…I know…I initially felt why should I give him the pleasure but I needed it too. It’s hard to describe how it made me feel but I felt alive and sexy!!! My self-esteem shot through the roof!!!

I put away the comfortable full coverage undergarments that I had become accustomed to wearing and invested in more (much more) appealing undergarments. My husband had always found me physically attractive but for some reason I (and what woman doesn’t) didn’t see myself the same way. No more!!!!

The great sex we have been having helped bring us closer. I’m doing things that I hadn’t done since we dated and you know what–I’m enjoying myself…and yes my husband is enjoying it as well.
I’m driving him crazy again…and I love it!!!!

I know great sex/lovemaking will not erase the fact that the emotional affair happened but it has made me/us aware of what we needed to do in moving forward and not dwell on the past ( I don’t want to go back to that dark hole). Our relationship is our number one priority–family, work etc..take second/third place.

I started my counseling this past week (it went well) and my husband starts his this week. I’m hoping that in a couple of weeks we can start going together.

This blog and the e-mails I get have helped me focus on what is important– “we.” Your blog and the contribution from others have helped me tremendously as it has helped me view each day as a new day for “we.”

 

So, what do you think of her story?  Were you able (or do you think you can try) to regain more control of your own life after an affair in similar fashion? 

None of what she says is very easy.  It’s darn tough to be able to control how bad things affect us. 

To help bring this stuff more in focus, marriage and family therapist, Jeff Murrah offers the following 5 ways to help regain control of your life after an affair:

1.  Try to make a conscience change in your thinking to go from assuming that the affair is a crisis to looking at it like it’s a problem. There’s something about the way that we think when we’re in crisis.  We feel like we are out of control, we can’t deal with it and we’re helpless. Yet when we start looking at problems as if they are problems, our mind starts to find solutions to these problems.

2. Focus on what you need to do. Many times what happens — with that sense of being out of control — is that people have lost their sense of focus. They’re either looking too far into the future or they’re looking into the past and they’re not taking care of what they need to do right now.

3. Let go of unrealistic expectations. Many times we still have this magical thinking that we want somebody or something to come along, wave a magic wand and we’ll be back in love again like Prince Charming or Sleeping Beauty. This Disney movie mindset is something that gets in the way when it comes to regaining control.

4. It’s important to find a good support group.  A good support group is not the people that keep you out of pain. Good support is going to be the people that are going to be by your side going through the pain. They are the people that are willing to tell you the truth.

5.  It’s going to be important to focus on overcoming separateness rather than reducing the pain. After the affair there’s distance in the relationship between a husband and a wife. It’s going to be important to look at what’s going to decrease that separateness as opposed to what’s going to get you out of that pain.

We would be curious to hear ways in which you have been successful at regaining control of your life after an affair.  Feel free to leave your comments below.

Click this link to download a PDF copy of the email, “How to Move from ME to WE”  from relationship expert Mort Fertel that she refers to above.

 

    27 replies to "Life After an Affair – Regaining Control"

    • Name (required)

      She is a fortunate betrayed woman if this is truly how her relationship is. But it is not a reality for most of us. And I do believe there is a significant difference between an emotional affair and a sexual affair.

    • Exercise grace

      This attitude would be so much easier for me to adopt had the affair not been PA for nearly a year. It’s easier for me to see how his emotions got carried away, especially the thrill of texts and emails, which seem so easy to escalate emotion in an oddly detached and impersonal way. But sex? It adds a whole other layer of battered self-esteem, fear of comparison, and sadness over just how very much was given away.

      Having said that, I am trying much harder to focus on the here and now. What was……..was. It can never be changed or undone. He views it as the biggest mistake of his life and I need to accept that and trust he has learned from it.

    • lost

      I’m not sure if it hasn’t been long enough, but My H is so sorry and tries hard everyday to make me feel his love. But, I still feel that I don’t know the whole truth of what happen and how he felt abt OW, so I wonder everyday. It was just an affair over texting & FB, but, just recently he told me that if she lived local, it probably would have turned into a PA, but it would have meant nothing. Just the fact that he would do that, makes me wonder his feeling for the OW. It is so hard to focus on today when I still have so many questions of what happen. And my H never has an answer, its always that he can’t remember or forgot what was said. HE only wantd to focus on us today and work on getting better, but I live with a pit in my stomach everyday wondering. So, I’m not sure how to move on, I can’t just act like it never happen

      • Strengthrequired

        Lost my h can never remember or has forgotten something, every time I have a question. I know that he has a good memory, so I dont believe him forma second that he forgot. It’s either he doesnt want to bring up his feelings, or he doesnt want to upset me by what he says, like protecting me, or he is still hiding something.
        It drives me nuts trying to work out what it is.

      • Hopeful

        Lost, this sounds familiar. I don’t know how far out you are but I felt like this for a long time, and in my case, it was because I indeed did not know the truth and nothing added up because things just didn’t add up. My H was similar and was back in our relationship but won’t provide what I needed to feel safe and to understand and to feel that HE understood. In our case, I knew MOST important details early on but he guarded the truth, won’t directly say what happened in a simple story, admit to how many meetings, what was said generally, how he felt, etc. He was always vague and weird. It took a long process of near breakdowns of our relationship to finally get to a place of him fully reveling everything. Again, it wasn’t a ton of gory details that came out about what they did, but the truth about how he felt, acknowledgement of the selfishness of the betrayal and how much he hurt me and importantly and very deep sense from him about WHY AND HOW this happened which meant that he had to really look at himself and he surely didn’t like what he saw so he was resistant. What I get now is that this process (while we might say CS deserve it) is very embarrassing and humiliating to admit the picture. It takes a strong person to do it and one that is very committed to self-growth and the relationship. It also takes a lot of time.

        I guess if I said anything to you it would be: if you feel you don’t know everything …you guys need to do more work. This “let’s move one” bs is not going to work. Read Shirley Glass’s Not Just Friends.

        • chiffchaff

          Hopeful – that’s very true. My H was also like that, very resistant to telling the truth, slow drips of information and great avalanches of it when we really hit the buffers. He has also admitted that he couldn’t stand the pain of looking at what he’d done. He hated having to recall what he’d done as to do so meant admitting how selfish and ridiculous it all was to blame acting so badly on someone else. someone else who trusted you. because that meant you were a horrible person. someone not to be trusted. it took him a very long time to realise that who he disliked wasn’t me but himself. some people are too weak to even see that no matter how long it takes.

          • Strengthrequired

            I told my h today that what upsets me is that for him to tell me that cousin it has been to see him and that she keeps pleading for him to be with her back in feb, it took him 4 mths ti admit to it, he couldn’t just be upfront and say he saw her the day it happened, and when he does tell me he leaves alot out and always can’t remember.
            He said, I truly can’t remember. He said he doesn’t want to remember, because it’s finished.

    • Gizfield

      Ok, let’s see. If I get “happy”, pretty much forget all this happened, buy some new “undies”, “work”on myself, and have a lot of sex with my husband, I’m going to have a great marriage. Super. As long as I do all that, every day. I’m glad this is working so well for this lady, but it just all seems so SUPERFICIAL. Sex is fine but it’s really overemphasized on our society I think. I’m gonna get personal here, but my sexual life with my first husband was much better than with my current husband. All my early relationships were based on how I “felt” about someone and the biggest influence on that was our “sexual chemistry.” All I can say is this. If you see someone in a a “bad” relationship and wonder why they stay, 90% of the time it’s probably due to a sexual component. I love my husband, and love having a sexual relationship with him. That said, if I were with him to have a lot of “great sex” I’d probably have to leave cause it’s not happening. I have a friend who is in her 40s, who dates guys in their early 20s for this reason and convinces herself they are “in love.” Let’s just say it’s really not going well for her, and she doesn’t understand WHY.. Ok, thats my daily ramble, lol.

    • forcryin'outloud

      Question for all or maybe even an idea for a post. Does anyone else find themselves looking at EVERY card in the store to give to their H/W? I went to purchase cards for my H, Dad’s day and B-day cards. They all seem to wax poetic, “you understand me like no other, we have a deep trust that time has built, i admire you because our family is always the most important thing, I respect you as father, friend, lover…
      Don’t get me wrong there was a time I believed all these things, but now I just feel sad when I read these cards. I feel like the odd (wo)man out.

      • ataloss

        FCOL, I know exactly what you mean! Where are the “why did you rip my heart out?” cards??? Seriously, I had a very hard time picking out an aniversary card because I don’t know if he’s my soulmate, doesn’t feel like my rock, or have my trust.

        • forcryin'outloud

          Anniversary cards are the worst. I buy the ones that talk about the ups and downs of being married for so long. No more soul mate crap or together forever malarky either.
          Oh well…live and learn and keep learning!

      • csb

        FCOL…I can’t believe you posted that……just yesterday I was trying to find a card for my H for our 31st anniversary. it’s about 1 1/2 yrs since D-Day for us (EA with his ex girlfriend started on FB, went on for 1 1/2 yrs till I found out). All I could do was run from the store crying. Every card seemed to scream at me “look….these are the words you used to say, these are the cards you used to buy”! It was like rubbing salt in the wound. I did find a hallmark card line called “just between you and me”, and they do have some cards for troubled relationships. On one hand, I thought maybe I should buy one of the mushy anniversary cards as an attempt to move on, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I even had the twisted thought of buying one and red lining all the words that meant something at one time, but I thought that was going a bit too far…yeah, guess I still have some issues!!

        • Strengthrequired

          IRS better to just buy blank cards and write yoir own words and for what it’s for.

        • forcryin'outloud

          Your red line idea gave me a chuckle. I’ve though about writing HAHAHAHAHA at the end of some of them. I’ve decided to buy the generic versions. No more “For my husband,….”
          Maybe we should come up with a new line. We could call it the “tortured soul” series. Sorry, that was a little dark.

          So sorry about your cry!!!!! Know you’re not alone.

    • gizfield

      I’ve never been a fan of sappy cards, giving or receiving, so I go for cute or funnny. Or let my daughter pick it and make it from both of us .

    • tweet

      The OW’s husband told me on D-day of my husband’s amazing “love poems” to her. He always gave me cards on my birthday, mother’s day, our anniversary, writing what a wonderful wife/mother I was. No more – he gets nothing from me, and he knows that if he gives me a card, it will be burned before I even open it. Sadly, one of the things that the OW stole from me which can never be recovered.

      • chiffchaff

        Tweet – the OW didn’t steal it from you, your CS gave it away. which is worse.

        • forcryin'outloud

          Good point CC. My H would get so pissed when I would tell him his exGF/OW is now part of our marriage. She is no longer just his old HS GF, now she is the 3rd party in our relationship. He allowed that to happen.

    • Strengthrequired

      I can’t hel. But keep saying to my h ” marriage is between two people not three, i want my marriage back where there is only two”

    • Gizfield

      Last month was my 10 year wedding anniversary. I had kind of daydreamed about having a nice little reception, or a special dinner, or something but just could not get any excitement or motivation. I did not get him a present, or even a card. I didnt even mention it to him. Later that day he said “isn’t this our anniversary?” Guess since it’s no longer on facebook, it’s difficult for him. He took me to dinner at my favorite restaurant, and got me a card. I can’t even remember it. It had a $100 bill in it, which I liked. Bought my self a Nicole Miller purse and a Fiestaware bowl. :~)

    • Strengthrequired

      Giz, this year we celebrated our 22 wedding anniversary, my birthday just a few days earlier. I received no card for either, no present for either except taken out for dinner. He wasn’t even home the day of my birthday. Last year he threw me a birthday party, my friend had pressured him into doing it, only a few showed up, He gave a nice gift, but I dint believe it was from true heart, that he do this celebration for me, as it was only the early stages of his ea coming to light and hismundying love for her.
      I kept telling my friend I dont want to celebrate anything, I didn’t want him pressured, if he wanted tomreally do something for me, it wasn’t done out of guilt or shame, it was done out if love for me. He was still seeing her at the same time, we had also stayed a weekend away for our wedding anniversary the following weekend, it was beautiful, but it was still tainted.
      Each birthday, each anniversary, each valentines day, each fathers day, I always give him a card, a gift, yet it does feel one sided.
      Yet I can only imagine how much he did for her, to keep her interested. He went out and bought her things just for being her wonderful self.
      Mothers day, he actually bought me something this year from the kids.
      To be honest, I really don’t want anything from my h, I’m not in it for materialistic gain, all I want is his honest true love, and just to be thought of, being thoughtnof goes a long way.

    • Rachel

      I never got cards from my not soon enough ex. He said that picking cards out for his parents was enough. Hello!! Red flag!!!
      I’ll never forget one year I picked out a mothers day card for the mother in law. She opened it and said ohhh he always picks out nice cards for me. I said, I picked it out. If looks could kill! Hahahahaha!

    • downbutnotout

      Hi All – new to the website and this is my 2nd comment.
      My CS has never been transparent about his actions over the 18 years we’ve been married. Sometimes I feel like I am dealing with an 8 year old who got his hand caught in the cookie jar. i’ve always had to push, push and push to get a somewhat honest reply. We are 4mos out of the new DD as this is his 2nd EA with a co-worker. He works away from home and that just adds a whole different dynamic to our situation.
      I wonder if he really has the capacity to look at himself and I think that’s why he can’t be truthful and acknowledge his behaviour. I think he’s scared about what he might see. I still feel like there are parts of the EA that are just beyond my reach to fulling understanding what happened between them – especially from his point of view, I got the very familiar, ‘we’re just friends’, I can’t remember the details because it really just wasn’t important to me’, “it was just texting”. What a bunch of BS! I thank goodness that I have as much information about what happened as I called the OW the second I found out, have access to emails and phone records so I had some idea as to what happened over the 2 mos or so it was going on. I have to point out the obvious to him – that he was instigating about 90% of the EA, that the relationship was in fact important to him as she was his first and last contact of his day, the lies he would tell to pump himself up to look better – sorry but that says something loud and clear to me! The best was he tried telling me that things with the OW were slowing down out of respect for me, when in fact the phone calls were escalating and the content of the texts were just as flirtatious as ever.
      Sorry – I am spewing as I haven’t had much opportunity to share other than with CS and that feels like walking on eggshells as I try to keep my anger and frustration in check.
      As for the cards – I totally get it. His other EA was 5 years ago and I haven’t been able to wrap my head around expressing to him how I feel. If it doesn’t feel authentic I just can’t do it. I don’t think I ever got over the guilt and shame of being with someone who disrespected me so badly the first time around. Probably part of the reason I am here 5 years later. I let him bully me into not sharing my feelings about the 1st EA and we didn’t set up boundaries and protect our marriage. (Wow – I’ve been soaking up this website and the lingo is just rolling off the page!)
      Thanks for listening!

    • csb

      It seems so wrong to say “welcome to the group”, but I’m glad you found this site! it has been a life saver for me (H had 1 1/2 yr EA with ex GF he found on FB.) Spew away….it helps!!

      Actually today is our 31st anniversary and I’ve done nothing but cry all day. I still don’t trust him and am deeply hurt by his disregard for our life together and my feelings, and while I think he’d like to believe otherwise, we are just functioning as “companions” at this point.

      It sounds like you’ve had a hard road ahead of you for a long time. If I may ask, being this is his second EA – are you going to try to work it out again? I’m not 100% my H is being truthful, which makes it hard to heal and move forward.

    • downbutnotout

      HI csb. Thanks for the welcome. My heart goes out to you and I am so sorry for your rough day yesterday.( I would have responded earlier but the notification went to my junk mail!) I truly believe that being able to connect with people who know exactly what it feels like to be hurt and betrayed like we have been, will be beneficial in our healing process. It’s nice to hear that this site has been a lifesaver to you and has given you hope.
      You ask about staying with H even tho it’s the second EA. My goodness the thought that has gone into that – let me tell you. it’s been SO hard. I feel an intense amount of shame and guilt that I am still here after being treated so poorly. There is still a part of me that wants to run away and think that a leopard just can’t change it’s spots, but it boils right down to that I love him. I don’t think I’m trying to make excuses for him, but I think that had either of the relationships developed into sexting, sharing of ‘I love you’s’, etc I would feel much differently than I do. The first EA surely was more sinister and had more of a sexual nature to it than this one. I think I’m at the point where I recognize that the fundamental aspects of our relationship need to change. My H recognizes that and is working on it with me. Had he been like the first EA, and was in denial and not wanting to talk about it, I would be gone. When I first found the texts this time around, I wanted nothing more to do with him. He works out of town, and when I dropped him off at the airport the next day, I never wanted to see him again. Period. We had a cooling off period and starting talking. We had a month that we were physically separated which was for the best too. I think my H was surprised that I was willing to walk away from the relationship and that was the wake up call he needed to really come to the table. On some level he didn’t want our marriage to be over either, and he is trying so very hard to show me that now.
      You are right, it’s going to be a long road and as long as we are committed to making changes and growing I can see a bright future for us. This site, along with Linda and Doug’s story gives me hope.
      I hope you have had a better day today and I thank your for reaching out! Trish

    • JoAnne

      My H had an emotional affair, we’ve been together for 15 years. I found out by Instagram on a picture he had commented on! From there i dug deeper and uncovered so much! Boy was I blind! He spoke to this person 3-4 times daily even while we were on vacation! He picked her up from her surgery, paid for hotels etc……he even said he loved her. She on the other hand only wanted him to finance her but by the time he realized this the damage was done. Social media used the wrong way is the death of many relationships. My journey is still ongoing filled with days of wondering, causing arguments and just plain distrust. Don’t know if I can ever trust him again it’s too soon. What he has done has forever changed our relationship and me. I will never get the answers I want for he would rather forget so easy for him!

      • Doug

        Hi JoAnne, thanks for sharing and I’m sorry this has happened. Sure he wants to just forget but I think you need to stand firm in your quest for answers. Don’t let him off the hook.

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