The reality of a marital affair hit our neighborhood this month.  Across the street lived a couple in their forties, who we have known for twenty years.  They have two college aged children that lived at home with them.  They were a nice couple, who pretty much kept to themselves.  They would spend most of their time with their children and were involved a lot with their activities.  The husband played a very active role in his sons’ lives and appeared to dedicate his time to his wife and children.  The wife would often sit outside and keep her husband company while he worked in the yard.  From our perspective they were a happy couple.

Two months ago a for-sale sign appeared in their yard, but we didn’t think much of it, as we just figured since the boys were getting older they decided to downsize.  Unfortunately,  we were wrong.  According to the wife’s explanation, the husband decided he didn’t want to be married any longer and there wasn’t really anything the wife could do to convince him otherwise.

When you hear something like this the first thoughts that pop into your head are that he’s having a mid-life crisis, an affair, or he has completely gone over the deep end.

The house sold quickly and we saw the wife and her two boys move out alone.  The wife has never really had a job outside of the home so she was faced with the reality of trying to not only find a place to live, but also a job.  It was obvious that her sons were staying with her to help her through this crisis.

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Less than a week after the wife moved out, the husband appeared at the house with another woman and they began staying at the house that he shared with his wife and family for twenty years.

I can honestly say that all the emotions that I felt during Doug’s emotional affair, came pouring back and I wanted to go over and kill him.

First of all, I couldn’t believe that he left his family, and secondly, he had the nerve to bring this woman to their house.  I truly thought he had lost his mind.

The marital affair has lasting effects on the family

I think often about the effects these actions are having on his family.  I witnessed my neighbor’s heartbreak as she moved all her belongings out, knowing that her life that she had treasured and thought was secure was over.  I felt bad for his sons because they will never have the same respect for their father.  All the years he dedicated to them will be somewhat forgotten, as they will focus not on the good things, but on what he did to their family.

I wonder if it is all worth it.  How will he feel after all the dust settles?  Will this new relationship be better?  Will it last?  What about all the events he has to look forward to as his children enter adulthood? Will the importance of the events go to the wayside because of the awkwardness of the situation? Where will the mistress sit when his sons get married?  Will she be included in pictures?  Who will be at the birth of their first grandchildren?  Will his sons even want him around?  What about Christmas?  The list goes on and on.

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This event made me think about our situation and how that could have been our kids and me trying to find a new place to live.  I think about how hard it would have been for the kids to leave the only house that they have ever lived in and truly loved, to go somewhere else. I think about how hard it would have been for them to forgive their father and accept the new woman in his life. What would happen to all of our holiday traditions, our Sundays together watching  football, our family camping, hiking and rock climbing trips, and the loss of the relationships with our friends and our extended family.

It is hard to believe that Doug’s emotional affair could have changed the lives of so many people he loved, and that he thought that perhaps someone else could offer more than me.

I look across the street and I am filled with sadness for the family. However, I also feel so grateful that Doug and I made the decision to stay together and save our marriage.  The journey has been long and difficult but when my whole family is sitting around the table enjoying one of Doug’s terrific meals there is nowhere else I would want to be. Our life is perfect.



    14 replies to "Marital Affair Shatters Neighbor’s Lives"

    • Sonja D

      I had a similar thing happen with one of our neighbors. Except when the wife and kids moved out another man moved in. The wife after 12 years of marriage found out her husband had a secret life.

    • Klady

      I am living proof that a marriage can survive an affair, 36 yrs. later. It takes two to make a marriage and two to break a marriage. It also takes a lot of dedication, work and faith to work out the problems, but it can be done.

      • admin

        Klady, It’s good to hear from someone else that has survived an affair. Thank you for your inspirational comment.

    • ruth

      I was the women who moved out of the house, but my childeren are grown. I move one hour away where my childeren live. My husband stayed behind and I think he was trying to decide between me and her. The thought of her in my bed, my home watching tv on my couch make me sick to this day. He has sold the house and move back with me but he continued to have the affair for about 5 mos. It has been only a few months since my husband ended his affair but I still check to see if he having contact with her or not, as he promised,but his promises are not worth anything right now.He refuses to talk about it at all so I feel in limbo wandering what to do. I still have a sick feeling I am being fooled. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. He says he wants to move forward and to keep the past in the past and if I bring it up he gets very angry with me. I want to make this work between us more than life its self but I cant do it alone. I have been reading your blogs and I have to say thank you. I Love my husband so much we have been married over 35 yrs its hard for me to see my life without him in it.
      My husband was having an affair for over 2 yrs and he fell in love with his mistress but he decided in the end to stay with me. With that thought we have something to bulid on.

      • admin

        Hi Ruth, Thanks for sharing your story. Yes, I can’t imagine what our neighbor’s wife must be thinking knowing that another woman is in her house. I’m happy that he has decided to stay with you. I know that sometimes it gets frustrating when Linda wants to talk about things, as those in my shoes would rather forget and move on. That being said, I also know that it’s important to her and she needs to know certain details and information. Remember, that if he was having an affair for over two years that he is also feeling a sense of loss and it’s tough for him to get over it.

    • ruth

      Thank you, I am trying very hard to understand. He has said that he has 35 yrs invested in me and only 2 yrs in her. I know he thinks about her a lot. He try to see if she is online every once in awhile, He did tell me that she ended it not him which also concerns me, that’s why he keeps trying to contact her again. Then what do I do? But I know that time is on my side because she is over and hour away from us. You know all I want is the truth and end all the secrets. I need to know that its really over. That’s all I want. I cant seem to move forward when he still has all the secrets. I hope I am not setting myself for another fall. I don’t think my heart can take it. I want to believe in him so bad.

      • admin

        Ruth, It’s not over until he lets it/her go–completely. He is having withdrawal symptoms and the only cure is to quit cold turkey. Demand that he do so, and set appropriate boundaries. Then figure out what you need to do to give him what he needs. Work on yourself and stay strong, and he will eventually come around.

      • Cheryl

        There is a lot of truth in years and time. New and forbidden always feels exciting and sometimes harmless. The cheater rationalizes the pain he causes you and makes excuses. This happened to me in our neighborhood and everyone was so blinded by the lies he told that they verbally attacked me to defend him and rescue him. When I got to the point of being truly done and ready to leave,he changed. Not all at once but wrote a text to all the neighbors and then he told me the truth. Through therapy and tears and an effort for the 30 Years we had, I can say it is much better. We have learned to fall in love again. He sounds don’t heal overnight and you have a right to set boundaries and he must be an open book. But it is possible to find your way back to each other if both parties put in the work.

    • michael

      How long did it take you to realize just wanting to move on and not talk about it, wasn’t helping Linda deal with it. Its been almost four months and we still haven’t talked about What happened. I keep hearing.” Don’t worry. I’m here with you.” When I express my feelings. But she won’t talk to me about hers. I keep thinking of the saying, showing up is only part of it.
      Yesterday we had a little spat and I was upset about the way she treated me. Afterwards I got the feeling she was scared that I was mad and said and did what she could to say sorry. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but it seemed she was overly worried that she upset me. It didn’t feel right.
      Like I said its been four months and we still don’t have, talk about us, conversations. I still don’t feel as trusting of her ( gut feeling). She doesn’t pursue any type of help. But the days are getting better. I don’t think about it as much. And she seems happier most day. But I do have this empty feeling that she’s not quite filling for me yet. Still feel a little unloved.

      • admin

        Michael, In our situation we talked about it extensively from day one. Linda wanted to know everything–and rightfully so. I talked about it, but admittedly didn’t disclose everything upfront, so these conversations went on for awhile. Eventually, everything was disclosed but yet Linda wanted to re-hash things over and over again which became frustrating to me. You can only go over the same things so many times, you know. In my opinion, in your situation, you have waited way too long. I think that you deserve full disclosure at this point. Perhaps you can agree to talk about it, ask anything you can think of, and then be done with it. Get mad, tell her how you feel and move on to what you guys need to do to fix your relationship. The experts will tell you that it could take a long time to get over it, but at least the cards are on the table. I also think that because she was overly worried isn’t necessarily a bad thing. She’s probably feeling guilty for everything that has happened and is trying to be considerate of your feelings considering what’s she’s put you through.

    • michael

      I feel it has been too long. I know she doesn’t want to bring it up again. I understand that it might make her feel like a bad person. I understand that we seem to be doing better.
      But I still have trust issues. And when I act in a not so trusting way, she gets defensive or shuts down and doesn’t talk. I still have questions about things that she told me in emails, text, and out of rage or despair. I have questions about her feelings. For me, for him. Things she told her friends. The list goes on and on.

      I don’t know what she fears the most in talking about it. She says she doesn’t know. But I can only wonder if she thinks if we talk about it she will feel worse. Or I’ll feel worse. Or that ill hate her etc….

      I have every text and email that my wife and I have had from the day she told me. I have the phone records. I have some communication back and forth from him. And some with her friends. And I have all these questions. But her favorite answer is
      “I don’t know”.

      So like I’ve said before. I have a hard time getting past it all. Without some type of repairing / rebuilding effort on her part. She is trying to change the way she is now. I do see that. But we haven’t got to the core issues of what brought me here to this site in the first place.

      I see distance growing between us again. I don’t want this to happen again. But I fear its inevitable. She is too attractive and sweet hearted for me to not question every guys motives for talking to her. So if she crossed the line once it will be easier the second time.

      • admin

        Michael, Somehow you need to be firm and tell her that in order for you to heal, you need to talk about this and get it off your chest. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out affair, or an inquisition on your part, but at least a discussion –or series of discussions. I’m sure it’s painful for her, and perhaps she thinks by not talking she is protecting you–or at least not hurting you further. After all, the details of her affair can be hard for you to hear. Linda was great in that she would say that “at this point, it doesn’t matter, because it can’t get any worse.” Or something to that effect–along with expressing her extreme desire to know and understand the affair details. And that allowed me to open up more. I know it hurt her to hear details, but she needed that in order to move on. Be happy with the positive changes that she is making, no matter how small they may be. They are positive steps in the right direction that will eventually snow ball into something better.

        You and your wife may want to might want to read (or re-read) After Infidelity: Renegotiate Your Relationship

    • kristine

      I go through the same thoughts when I hear of an affair close to home or otherwise. The pain cuts through me and then I’m thankful we worked through things. I always pray for marriages every night. There IS an epidemic. Families are falling apart and the fall out from it all is horrible.

    • VeryHurt

      Not really a response to the above, but just looking for some advice. Husband had an affair with a woman who lives down the road from us for over 3 years, and I believe he is still doing so. He has been adamantly pushing me to sell our house and move, BUT he also hides that he is at OUR house. He rides a motorcycle & parks it on the patio so it is not seen. He has a truck, but its currently parked at his parents house. I have asked him to prove to me that he is over her and park his truck where it belongs but he insists that its NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL.

      I know I am not the only one who believes this would be HUGE sign that she and him are over.

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