marriage after an affair
Marriage after an affair can never be the same, but if a couple really desires it, a new marriage can be built from the destruction.

Especially in the early days, marriage after an affair is anything but happy.  In fact, happiness can seem like an unachievable goal.

Many times a couple might find themselves feeling happy only to have a “Why are you happy, he/she had an affair?” type of moment.   But through hard work and a little luck, a couple can see these thoughts fade away and actually have true feelings of happiness.

After three plus years, I think it’s safe to say that Linda and I are indeed very happy.  The person I was prior to and during my emotional affair doesn’t rear his ugly head anymore and I think for the most part, I am the person that Linda always knew me to be – yet a different person in many ways.

When we discuss the affair, which is pretty rare these days, it is with a shared feeling that that was one horribly miserable period in our relationship.  Yet we are happy despite it all. This tells me that since we have weathered the worst of times, we certainly must have a strong relationship.  I’m sure, of course, that Linda would rather we didn’t have that as part of our history (as do I), but we do, and despite it, we are happy.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when Linda suffers a trigger or has feelings of sadness every now and again, because she does.  When they happen we do our best to talk and listen our way through it which typically results in her being able to move past it much easier.

Let’s be clear on one thing though…the affair did destroy our marriage – the previous one that is. Our marriage after the affair is totally different. It has a different feel to it and it includes lots of open and honest communication about each other’s feelings and needs.

We’re happy just sitting with each other and talking, watching our favorite shows together, having a drink, listening to a band, working around the house – basically just hanging out.  Oh, and the sex is really great too!  Yes it does suck more than anything that the reason we’re in this better marriage was due to an affair, but here we are.

We have even more progress to make and our journey has taken different turns along the way, but we are happy to be in the place that we are right now.

This place is very far from where we were just after D-day.  Those days were miserable and we never want to repeat them, but they were also days when we learned a lot about each other and helped to show us the path to happiness.

It takes a long time for a marriage to recover from infidelity – and a lot of work on both sides to do it.  But it can be done. One of the first things that has to happen is a re-opening of communication between the couple that was shut down during the affair, or even prior to it. They have to learn to talk to each other again – even when it hurts. Perhaps especially when it hurts.

Marriage counseling can go a long ways in helping to rebuild this, though that wasn’t the case in our situation.   I guess you can say we self-counseled with the help of numerous books, websites and through Linda’s strength and perseverance during those initial months after D-day.  Her understanding and her toughness helped to save me from the destructive path I was traveling and was responsible for saving our marriage.

Truth be told, there were a few months after D-day that I was not happy.  It wasn’t until I ended the affair and no contact was established and I started to really think about what I wanted in life that I really started to reinvest in our marriage.  It didn’t take very long for me to realize what a blessing it was to have our marriage back on track. I believe Linda and I both were faced with the possibility of losing each other for good and when faced with that reality we knew we wanted it to work. So it wasn’t until BOTH of us wanted the marriage to work that our marriage started to gain strength and love again.

Marriage After an Affair Doesn’t Have to be Miserable

Sometimes we read comments from people who feel that their marriage will be nothing but misery and unhappiness until the end of time. To me – no, to us – that doesn’t make any sense.

Linda and I have been together for over 32 years and have had our share of tough times.  Outside of the normal ups and downs married people experience, we have shared financial troubles, miscarriages, job losses, injuries, accidents, operations, floods, problem pregnancies, etc.  My point is that our life together didn’t begin and end with my affair, and we won’t have a life of misery for the next 32 years because of it.

If a cheater is truly remorseful for his/her betrayal and is more than willing to do everything possible to save the marriage, work on him/her self, and the betrayed spouse is willing to be the bigger person for a while, together perhaps with the help of counseling, it’s possible to have a better, happier marriage after an affair. Who’s to say it can’t happen? It requires both spouses to look at themselves with a magnifying glass and be willing to face and change those things that are necessary. It requires cold hard truths that no one will like but will appreciate in the end. It requires work to forgive the bad things and to remember the good. It requires doing things differently than things were done in the past. It is a conscious choice made every day.

Marriage after an affair can never be the same, but if a couple really desires it, a new marriage can be built from the destruction. Besides, is the old marriage something you really want in the first place?

A new marriage after an affair is just that, brand new. If that’s what both partners agree they want and work hard to achieve, it is not only possible, it is probable as evidenced by those who have achieved it.  If a couple is committed, they can work out anything.

 

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    41 replies to "Marriage After an Affair – Can it be a Happy One?"

    • justbecause

      We are only 9 weeks past my husbands EA of 18 months duration. All contact has stopped & he has stopped drinking. I still have tough moments and days of course. He is not good about talking about “it.” He just wants to move ahead, not go over and over it he says.

      But things are so much better than they have been for a long, long time. It makes me both sad and angry to think of all the bad times we’ve had. Not saying I don’t also have room for improvement, but if had quit drinking and vested the time in us that he spent on this EA, (yes, I felt devalued!), perhaps we could have been spared this turmoil and had happier times in this short life.

    • Healing Mark

      So true! Hard to imagine a marriage that exists where one spouse is able and willing to conduct an affair being one that either spouse wants to have going forward. Developing and temporarily maintianing an EA with a now former friend of mine was a real wake up call to my W and me that there were certain things missing in our marriage. It caused us both to reassess what we wanted out of our marriage, and whether we even wanted to remain married to each other. It also caused us both to better understand how important it was for us to be more than just H and W, but also to be the best friends to each other like we were when dating, engaged and for the most part during our marriage, and to not let things like work and children get in the way of paying attention to our various wants and needs. Finally, it cemented in our minds how important trust is to a close relationship, and highlighted things that are damaging to that aspect of our marriage and thus best avoided if at all possible.

      I think it is also important to note the statement about the fact that your marriage has weathered many other traumatic events like job loss, etc. Until enough time had passed after D-day, my W and I were unable to also see that our marriage had also survived traumatic events which, while they did not always cause us at the time to reassess whether remaining married was the right course of action, still required the existence of a fairly strong relationship to get over them. With this type of perspective, I think it is easier to see the affair as something very bad, but perhaps not fatal, to the marriage, as well as to see that it is, in fact, possible to move on and establish a new marriage that is even better than the discarded old marriage. The new marriage is hopefully bolstered by the fact that now both partners have an undoubtedly better understanding of just how damaging an affair can be, and of feelings and actions/inactions present in a marriage that can make it possible for the CS to stray, which feelings and actions/inactions are then hopefully avoided or timely addressed in the new marriage.

    • Teresa

      I agree with everything you wrote, Doug….its a great article, and you and Linda give others hope that it CAN be even better!
      I found that part about the self- counseling very interesting….my H has been to counseling for a month now….and when he comes home and tells me what he and the therapist have talked about, and what the therapist recommends he work on this week, I get a bit frustrated with him…because its EXACTLY what I have told him we need to do as a couple, based on my OWN self counseling!
      The work you and Linda have put into this blog, the recommended books to read, imput from others, has helped me to grow and to see where I need to change….and my H is now in therapy, paying this guy lots of money…to be told what he COULD have learned on here…for free!
      So pat yourself on the back Doug and Linda..you are both doing A LOT of people an amazing service…and in the process, saving a lot of marriages!

      • Doug

        Teresa, Thanks for the kind words. It’s hard to say that self-counseling is the way to go in most situations. We were lucky I guess, though it is possible that our recovery took longer as a result of not going to counseling. Of course like everything else, there are good therapists and there are bad therapists and the key is finding the right one. When Linda did go to a therapist for a brief time, she really knew as much or more than he did, and therefore it really wasn’t effective. Even so, perhaps a therapist can help the couple stay on track by holding them accountable in some way and by reinforcing certain strategies and techniques. Also, some folks think that if there isn’t a Ph.D. or some other initials after a person’s name, then they don’t know squat.

        • Anne

          Counseling has been critical for both me and my H. Like Linda, I went into it thinking that I needed to fully understand affairs and my H’s mindset. What I’ve come to realize, though, is that the counseling helps me understand my own patterns of behavior–not just regarding my handling of the affair, but in other ways. Linda is more knowledgable than most people (counselors or otherwise) about infidelity. I suspect her recovery is/has taken a new form: less about understanding the reasons and mechanics of an affair, and more about her patterns of behavior and life strategies that might have contributed to a marital dynamic that made the relationship vulnerable–and how those patterns impact other areas of her life.

          Counseling has given me tools for handling situaitons that I didn’t choose and didn’t want. I’m finding that the further I get in my recovery process, it’s less about affairs specifically, and more about how I am going to augment my emotional skills to better equip me for the inevitable challenges of life (illness, death of loved ones, issues with marriage/children, job problems, etc.). Same is true with H. They don’t focus on the affair or on the OW, but on how he can develop more emotional tools so that he can communicate and find appropriate outlets for what he needs.

          As the saying goes, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice.” Counseling is helping me cope with pain, but not wallow in suffering.

    • Recovering

      I am hopeful that we can truly be happy again after his affair. I will never say our marriage is better BECAUSE of the affair, but it is better because it opened his eyes to what he could really lose if he continued to be so selfish! He actually appreciates me now, knowing that I wouldn’t be taken advantage of like that! I had always said I would leave if he cheated… and then he did… and I did.. and I kicked him out, and I think he freaked out. He never thought I would find out! Thought he could have his cake and eat it too… though judging me harshly for nothing, while adoring the OW who was lying and cheating on HER husband – never once stopping to think that SHE was cheating on HIM with her husband too!! I didn’t lie, I didn’t cheat. I was there for him, day in and day out. I took care of him when he was sick. I didn’t care what kind of car he drove or how much money he made. She wouldn’t have even been interested in him if he had been in the financial state he had been when he and I met. WE forged our lives together and made it so HE could do well. Everything I did was for HIM and OUR future. I gave up my career for his… He never appreciated my sacrifices… until now. Maybe if I had tried leaving earlier he would’ve opened his eyes earlier, but I can’t go back. Our marriage and OUR relationship is priority #1 now! We can’t put it on the back burner “until he gets that promotion” or “until he is done with school” or “until the kids are a little older”… US is first. Had we done that from the start, I don’t think we would be here trying to recover from “the biggest mistake of [his] life”. We CAN be happy again, and really are some days, and other days being happy makes me miserable because it reminds me of what he almost destroyed. I guess I am lucky that he saw the light – even though I’ve had to live in Hell for so long now. Wouldn’t want to be in Hell, or Heaven, with anyone else….

    • justbecause

      My H and I go to couples counselling. When we started (about 5 weeks ago, 3 sesions), counselor asked if we wanted some separate sessions. My husband said no – if he were to go alone he would just say everything is fine. This is so him – to want everything to be ok, no confrontations. At counselling sessions is the only time he seems willing to discuss the EA. I actually do most of the talking. I think I will bring that to all’s attention this week and let the counselor draw him out.

      I have needed to talk in our counseling sessions. Now I also need to hear my H. I’m not sure that my H realizes that this is necessary for us to have a better marriage.

    • Anne

      I just uncovered an article from a few years ago in the NYT about the amazing way in which a woman handled her husband’s midlife crisis. I thought it was inspiring. See link:
      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/fashion/02love.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

      I believe a happy marriage is possible after an affair, and if I didn’t, I would end the marriage. I also believe that spouses aren’t responsible for the other person’s happiness–and not just cheating spouses think this. Many betrayed spouses look to their partner to heal them. This might help, but ultimately, the path of recovery is one of self discovery–and our spouses can’t do that for us.

      • Linda

        Anne, that is an amazing article, I remember reading something similar to it three years ago. I also remember when Doug told me he wasn’t in love with me anymore and wanted some time to think about things. He wanted to go backpacking into woods for a long period of time and I encouraged him to do so, I also encouraged him to go live at his parents house in Florida or get a hotel, I really wanted to give him the space to figure this out on his own. I loved him enough to set him free.

        However when I found out that there was another woman involved I stopped encouraging him because I felt I was pushing him further into her arms and giving him more opportunity to be with her. This woman’s actions displayed courage and confidence and I hope that anyone who is going through something similar will learn from this story.

        • Anne

          I’m glad you found it helpful. I identified with this article–I also “wasn’t buying it” which is why I waited for several agonizing months while he got his act together and ended the affair for good. But what I wish I could have mastered, as this writer did–and what I continue to struggle with from time to time–are bouts of anger. Sometimes it will be triggered for reasons I can predict, and other times, it hits me from out of the blue. I really need to take the author’s advice to heart: Sometimes it’s better to duck than to return the blow, or throw the first punch by drudging up every lousy thing said in done during the affair.

        • Anita

          Linda,
          You mentioned “This woman’s actions displayed courage
          and confidence”.
          I guess I see the other woman in a different light, I see
          them as weak and desperate, with no self respect. A
          confident woman wouldn’t get herself involved with a
          married man. However someone desperate wouldn’t
          care if they were married or not, they seek a relationship
          to fill the empty voids in they’re life. So what you may see
          may appear as acts of confidence, but its actually desperation and they don’t value themselves.
          Someone who values themselves wouldn’t settle for
          being a affair partner, instead they would want a whole
          relationship that isn’t hidden in shame.
          Linda you are more of a woman “Lady” an any affair
          partner, and you value yourself enough to never to put yourself into that position.

          • Anita

            Linda,
            I have a true story I want to mention.
            I know this young woman who is a few months older than
            my daughter. This young woman had a very sad childhood.
            As a young adult she would sleep with married men, and
            tell others “If his wife would take care of his needs I wouldn’t have to” , this went on for a couple of years.
            She also would sleep with other guys. She was a mess,
            however some of us older ladies cared enough about her
            to take her under our wings, and with much patience and
            loving her slowly she began to change. After couple of
            years she changed into a wonderful young lady. She’s
            married now, and we are all happy for her
            She’s now a confident happy young woman.

            • Anita

              Sorry Linda,
              I took a couple of minutes to read the article. It sure was
              a different approach to save a marriage, and I could see
              this womans courage and confidence. Whatever was
              disturbing her husband must have resolved itself, maybe
              not knowing is what gave her strenght to be able to do this.

          • Anne

            I don’t want to speak for Linda, but I think she’s referring to the woman who wrote the article as being confident and courageous. I completely agree that the OW is neither of these things. Anyone who knowingly settles for the status of being one of two women is not only desperate, but lacks standards for herself.

            • Doug

              Anne, that was definitely whom I was referring to, the wife in the article not the other woman.

      • rollercoasterrider

        Thank you for sharing this article, Anne. I think the author is so right, most affairs have to do with a problem in the CS whether it is short-term (like mid-life crisis) or long-term. I love how her strategy worked, and I believe even if her husband hadn’t found his way back to the family, she would have used this marvelous approach to create a life for herself and the kids.

        Linda’s right, though. With another person involved, the whole dynamic shifts. I still think it is possible to decide to courageously face what has happened and to choose to create the marriage both partners want. We can get stuck in our pain, and so a decision must be made to move ahead and maybe, hopefully, that’s what we all are doing here.

        As for a new marriage, that is exactly what I want. And both my H and I decided to end our first marriage of 35 years legally, in order to lay the groundwork to start afresh. Sometimes I have a hard time being patient, because it’s sort of weird and I just want to be with him. But I remember that the goal is one that is worth working for and waiting for.

        • Linda

          rollercoasterrider, you are correct, this strategy is more difficult when an AP is involved. I believe it is important for the cheater to take some time alone to think things out for themselves. They do need to process what they want and need in their lives However that is usually impossible when there is a third party involved, they possess to much power, which leaves the spouse out in the cold looking uncaring and uninterested. It is difficult to balance being too controlling and allowing the cheater to think on their own. Often times the cheater needs the strong hand of the spouse to end the affair. It is almost like dealing with a young child.

      • Paula

        Wonderful article, Anne. I am interested to note that it did not include any details – maybe there was another woman, maybe there wasn’t. I guess it is insignificant to her story. I wish I could be as serene, but the fact of the affair is the sticking point for me. If he had talked to me and said he wanted other things, I probably would have encouraged him, also. I just hate that he didn’t talk to me. I asked him if he didn’t love me anymore, during the affair (which I was completely unaware of) and he denied this. At one point, when on our way to a gathering, he said he didn’t know if he loved me anymore, that was when I tried to get on with my life, as I knew I could not affect how he felt, only how I did/do. I wish for the strength to make myself happy again.

        • rollercoasterrider

          Paula, hang in there; you will get there, I believe. My H just this morning told me that due to some marriage videos/workbooks we’ve been using, he just realized he had stopped caring about me and about the marriage (during the affair), so even now, eight months post D-Day 2, the lightbulbs are still firing.

          You are a wonderful woman with so much to offer others. Just give yourself time to grieve and be open. Your ex made the worst mistake of his life, but you don’t have to pay for it with the rest of yours. You are deeply loved.

      • chiffchaff

        That is a very interesting article and I agree with alot of the sentiments. That lady was certainly alot braver than me. My H seems to have experienced significant loss of pride in himself and blamed me and our marriage for it for such a long time. He seems to be recovering some of his self-esteem but he does seem angry with me still and desperate to be ‘right’ about even the smallest thing. An example was only yesterday he was convinced that there was a branch of a supermarket in a town where I was sure there wasn’t. He was so utterly convinced he bet me he was right. I agreed. he checked, he was wrong and lost his bet. Yes, it was a bit of fun, but he exclaimed afterwards that he couldn’t believe how utterly convinced he was that he was right. I wanted to remind him that in the same way he was utterly convinced that I was incapable of change and our marriage was over then used that to excuse sleeping with someone else. I didn’t, but I see it as very much part of the same problem. Although many people believe that a midlife crisis is a fiction, a period of self-assessment and chaos does seem to happen for alot of people.

    • chiffchaff

      There are so many aspects of our marriage post-affair that I really like and enjoy. As my friends that know have said recently, we’ve come such a long way from Easter when I kicked my H out. Things have changed alot but frequently I feel like my H isn’t putting in anything like the same effort as I am to change those bit of hinmself that caused us problems.
      For example, I had become fearful, unfit and angry, dismissive of him and unappreciative. I am now 9 months into a fitness regime that has meant I can take on new challenges I thought only last year I would never be able to do. I am enjoying parts of my life in a way I didn’t think possible. Our marriage is better as a result (and mainly as a result of my H eventually giving up his OW) but I am frequently disappointed at how slow my H’s recovery is. He still seems selfish alot of the time, his focus is on all the things he thought he’d never do for himself, not us. Sometimes I feel like a companion not a wife and lover. I feel like he’s still looking for that massive passion he got from his secret life and I will never be able to provide it. It’s very hard to feel so far down the road to my own personal recovery and see him still so far back and still looking back to what he had with the OW.

      • Linda

        chiffchaff, I feel this is very common in affair recovery. The BS moves ahead with great strides, they improve themselves as well as the quality of their marriages. The cheater often remains stuck, they don’t really know what they want or how to obtain it. I think they believe what they had during their affair was the representation of a real, intimate relationship. Little do they realize they haven’t become to experience what real love is.

        I know in our case I became Doug’s playmate and Doug thought that we were doing really well. I think he was try to emulate the dynamics of the affair. We were having a great time, removed much of our responsibility and were talking alot. However we were not really being husband and wife. We were talking, but we were not communicating and when we did communicate about important things it fell back into our unhealthy patterns.

        We stopped being responsible parents and homeowners. We stopped doing necessary things around the house and spent way too much time pretending we were 18 again. There finally came a time where I needed more of a commitment from Doug. He needed to really look within himself and make some changes and we needed to really look into the dynamics of our relationship and find out how to build more intimacy.

        This step was long and hard, and at times I felt I was dragging Doug by the feet. He was very comfortable living in his fantasy world and continued using “our affair” as a diversion. It wasn’t until he really woke up and looked within himself that we were able to move our marriage to what it is today. It takes the work on both partners, unfortunately they are not usually at the same stage in their progress.

        • Teresa

          Linda…that’s what has happened to us! It’s like my H wants us to have no responsibilities, just do what we want…when we want, even though we still have three kids at home!
          I’m glad you wrote about this..I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me, because to be honest, it’s wearing me down emotionally!
          Just today, when he left on an errand, he looked at me and said ‘ Hey, when I get back, maybe you’ll surprise me and have on something red”….meaning a sexy, red outfit I bought recently… NOT that I mind a little spontaneity every now and then….but I homeschool so it’s rather hard to get the kids doing math while dad and I disappear for awhile!
          This happens A LOT and I feel guilty now because I really feel like the kids have been pushed aside for the last 17 mos. when we WOULD disappear for a little “fun time” and worked on rebuilding our marriage…I’ve told him that we aren’t newlyweds, we just can’t abandon everything like we’ve been doing since DDay! It gets very frustrating…

          • Linda

            Teresa, For a time I felt like I was going crazy, I was trying to be perfect, a carefree wife, while holding a full time job, maintaining the house and kids. And for awhile I was able to do so, I believe the constant fear of losing my marriage allowed me to go nonstop. My anxiety was on overload. Eventually I just crashed and realized everything around me was falling apart and we can’t continue doing this anymore. After that we settled into a partnership, taking more responsibilty around the house and stopped being so wild and crazy. I like where we are now, even though I would love to get away for a few days and really let loose. Like everything you need a balance.

            • Blue

              It seems to be with some of us that this ‘hysterical bonding’ is common. We grasp at everything trying to recreate something better than the dynamics of the affair. But it’s unrealistic, because the affair partners only had to show thier so called ‘deep’ or wild side for short periods of time -they knew there was a dangerous game going on and we were in it unknowingly. They didn’t have to deal with all the interuptions that happen in real life. For the author of that article Anne suggested, she did what she felt would work for her family, stayed calm and grounded, but I’m sure she went through many painful emotions too wondering what the fate of her family would be.

              Linda, I think it would be nice too, if my husband who cheated would step up to the plate and plan a ‘just the two of us trip’ like an ongoing message to make us feel special to them. Just every few months or twice a year, even for one night. I guess I get a bit frustrated and saddened, because he said he had an affair because I was unaffectionate so now I am affectionate- without him ever having to ask. I said he was never romantic and we never went away alone together so although he brings me flowers once a month, it just feels kind of crappy that I should have to ask for this other gesture of us being alone. The bar was raised because of his choices but maybe I raised it too high? Funny thing is I had set the bar so low before the affair thinking I was being the best wife ever.

              PS- I’ve been having a ‘woe is me’ week (month?year?s?) I want to stop digging that hole and I hope one day I’ll post something enlightening for someone….

            • Linda

              Blue, you are correct, sometimes I just want to be Doug’s OW. I only want him to see to part of me that is over the top, more fun, exciting, carefree and perfect than I really am. No interruptions of real life, because they tend to ruin the perfectness.

              In turn I also would like to have him as my OM. I want to see him as perfect, someone who didn’t show his selfish and impatient side. Someone who hadn’t hurt me, and at times was difficult to love.

              Sometimes I feel terrible that I can’t be over the top with compliments or affective, like Tanya did. I really beat myself up about that, but I am human and no one can be that way all of the time. We are living a real life and sometimes it just is always so rosy.

            • chiffchaff

              Linda – I feel that too. I would LOVE to have the focused adoration that my H gave the OW even for a few hours. I would like him to put that extra attention and activity into our relationship but it’s also true that he didn’t have to do it for very long with her as she wasn’t there for most of the time. He could text sexy with her because he didn’t then have to perform and deliver on his promises. I hate that he’s frequently too tired to be fun with me. It’s a ever present resentment that I imagine he was never too tired to be fun with her. But she never saw him tired, down, miserable or truly relaxed either. She never saw him as a whole person, and him her either. She was 2 dimensional and it’s always been interesting that when he lived with her in her life for a week he said he hated it and wanted to come home. No doubt she couldn’t keep up the front and the magic patina was dulled during that time. When they were both ‘on holiday’ together it was different. As it’s different for everyone when they’re on holiday and routine can be put to one side.
              Real life is harder, but I wouldn’t swap it really for the crumbs of a life that my H and the OW had in reality.

    • ChangedForever

      “Often times the cheater needs the strong hand of the spouse to end the affair…it is almost like dealing with a young child…” wow Linda, so true. But like Paula, i too (continue to) wish i’d been ‘let in’ on what my H felt he ‘needed,’ instead of my being punished unknowingly, during the years he’d been rationalizing his inappropriate behavior on his way down the slippery slope. To me, even more than the PA itself, the dealing/living with the knowledge of the undercover plans between the 2 of them as dribs & drabs of these plans continue to come out to this day, is so difficult to live with. These are my ‘lapses back,’ more than the anger…it’s more the ‘disbelief.’ Just how does one conjure up a ‘love’ for someone who knowingly coerces you to ‘rid’ yourself of your life? And not be able to ‘snap out of it,’ … ?At least for a fleeting moment or two? And then to go thru ‘withdrawl’ from that and then continued contact? I’m working very hard in all aspects of my life to gain ‘acceptance’ of that…not there yet (and may never be…) i, too, pray for strength everyday, to ‘learn’ how to deal with this, and to find ‘my’ version of happiness is, for the remainder of my life…

    • Teresa

      When I read this article from the NY TImes, I thought to myself…” This lady is either a saint in human form or a fool” LOL!
      I know NONE of my friends would allow their H to disrespect them, their marriage and their family so that he could go “find” himself…showing up late for dinner or not not showing up at til much later, no phone call or explanation…blowing off their family party etc….
      I really cannot believe that the children didn’t have knots in their stomachs and major anxiety when dad’s plate was sitting on the table…but NO dad!
      Children can sense when things are wrong in the house, when there is tension….and I personally believe that telling her H to leave, and ” go find himself” all on his own would have been a much better scenario, for her AND their children…just my two cents worth. 🙂

      • Anita

        Teresa,
        You mentioned “None of my friends would allow their husband to disrespect them…”
        I am one of those people who told my exhusband to
        straighten up or get out. There came a point before
        I told him this, where I had to weigh everything out in
        my own mind. My children were older and very much
        aware of everything, my oldest daughter asked me
        why I let her dad treat me this way. I asked myself
        the hardest question of all, if he really loved me, and
        cherished our marriage, he would have never cheated.
        To chase another woman, and have my children watch
        him chase her was enough for me, that was downright
        the most disrespectful thing he could do, and for me
        remain in that kind of marriage, and have my daughter
        ask me why I let him treat me that way, was enough for
        to tell him straighten up or get out. He chose divorce.
        I forgave him, but for me that was no way to live.
        Several people told me after my divorce, that I was
        a strong woman for not putting up with a cheating
        husband.
        I think if a couple can save a marriage that’s great.
        However for me, I’m glad that part of my past is over.

        • Anita

          Teresa,
          I know and others have started a new marriage, and
          I wish you all the best.
          For myself, I knew with his last affair that I could forgive him, but I couldn’t remain with him. In order for me to
          stay in a relationship there has to be mutual respect and
          trust. Chasing another woman, and having my children
          see him do this was to much, there was no way I would be
          able to respect or trust him as a husband. Also my family
          told me if I ever went back to him again, and if he cheated
          then they wouldn’t have any sympathy. I have asked myself
          the question of, could I cheat on someone if I really loved
          them, for myself I couldn’t. For me its not love if I am able
          to cheat.

        • Blue

          I agree with you Anita. When you first find out about being cheated on some of us feel the need and possibly fear of the consequences to weigh our options more slowly and try to figure out how to repair the tangled mess. I stayed not only for myself but for my children’s sake. I thought I will try with everything I have to save my marriage and if he doesn’t work at least I TRIED! But I concede I forget to treat my spouse how I would want to be treated -in the present which is all we really have.

    • SamIam

      I had read the article that Anne mention much earlier in this process, but seem to have forgotten all about it. Again, it presents it’s self at just the right time.
      While we seem very secure in our desire to stay together (now 17 months post Dday) he seems to have quit doing any work evidenced by the fact that any relationship book had dust bunnies inviting more dust bunnies to live on the pile of books and sudoku has taken over his spare time (during the EA it was solitaire~ changes 🙂 ) I took this dust bunny situation as a clear indication that he has no desire to take care of the emotional aspect of our marriage so I put the books away~ he never missed them! I removed the Kindle from his computer, thus removing the books on helping the spouse to heal from the EA and how to apologize (sincerely) and how to diffuse a volatile situation (which would have been helpful for him at work) of course he has not missed the kindle either…….so d’uh!!! the message to me is “this is good enough, we are not fighting, so no more work is needed”
      Last week I decided to just let it be! I will let him know when he does things that bug me (good grief~ like talking to me as if I am a child because I have a cold “How are we feeling” or worse~ our typical conversations are “what did you eat today?” “did you sleep well?” “who did Chris Mathews have on his show today?” uuugh!!!) but I will not even tell him that he is not talking to me on a emotional level. I have had enough. If he doesn’t care how I am doing emotionally then I can’t force him to care. I will just back off and let him come to this on his own.
      As he has said when he was reading the books “it hurts”~ yeah it does hurt to know the truth behind the EA. But if he wants to know hurt, I can explain the effects of EA on me really quickly. (talk about a whole world of hurt)
      I am settled. I am waiting for the next stage. I am not unhappy (but I am not deliriously happy either.) I am okay. This too shall pass.

    • chiffchaff

      Well, it was our wedding anniversary yesterday, first one post Dday. It was really nice and quite different to before. I had a very busy day involving lots of socialising for my business. My H was going to come along and join in after work. We were in touch most of the day including some silly flirty texting. I also did some chores that meant we could stay out and have dinner together rather than have to go home for the dog.
      It was a lovely evening and nice to see my H see me having fun with my colleagues and enjoy it too (I used to hate social work things).
      It’s hard to pin down exactly what was nice about it but it was just a nice, gentle, fun evening with lots of mutual respect. Felt like a landmark of sorts.

    • Gizfield

      Thats wonderful, Chit chat. Your husband went out for that “hamburger” then remembered that sirloin steak he had at home along, hehe!

      • chiffchaff

        I’m not entirely sure I understand what you mean, Gizfield, but thanks.

    • Jena

      you all sound so healthy. I still feel like a zombie walking arolund with little to no care left in my soul. I dont enjoy sex, i dont really want to be touched most of the time. I feel like he is tainted for his sexual activity with her and i dont really know if this is what I want anymore. It is 2 1/2 years since D-day and I feel like i want a change in my life. Nothing fills this empty void in me anymore. I too went on trying to be the perfect wife afterwards until one day i was brushing my hair and started crying at my reflection, i cant even look at myself for staying with him anymore. I just don’t ever feel that this will every be worth pouring my heart back into. But then again , this is affair number 2. The first was emotional and ended with a kiss (she didnt want him despite his efforts) the second was a 3 month affair, both while working at the same place and 2 different women. I went through this once, then twice my heart will not mend to what i could the first time around. I break down and cry eery few months because i am so miserable with myself. I can’t understand how to heal this time around. I REFUSE to let myself gain any ground because i feel stupid….a fool.

      • Greg

        Jena,
        It sound like you are stuck in limbo. Has your husband done anything to help repair the marriage or has he just said, ‘I won’t do it again.’ and wanted to move on? If so it is no surprise you feel this way. I would say that you are depressed and would suggest counseling, just for yourself at first and then couples later if you can get him to go. I don’t know if you have put up your story before but could you give some details and we will try to help you through it. Many of us have been there and we cn give you advise that may help you feel better.

      • Healing Mark

        Jena. I second the counseling suggestion. Your feelings and your moods are very real, of course, and should be closely examined. I would be surprised if you consulted with your doctor and were not diagnosed as suffering from symptoms of depression. Couple this with your understandable unhappiness with your marriage and your questioning yourself about whether you should move on or not, and it’s no surprise you feel like a zombie.

        I can only speak for myself, but I, too, felt very much like you at times after discovering my W’s EA, although I can’t imagine what it must be like to still feel this way two and a half years later. I am happier today and my marriage is healthier than ever before notwithstanding my W’s EA only because we took advantage of joint and individual counseling, determined that what we both wanted was to once again be happily married (indecision in this regard made us both unhappy and made it difficult to treat each other the way a marriage partner should be treated), worked on things that we were doing or not doing that were harming our relationship, and reached a point where the EA is now a “distant” memory and only now and again a painful one and where I could genuinely forgive my W for her mistakes.

        Life is too short to endure the emotions you describe for too long of a period of time. If staying married is making you this unhappy, and you are unable to change this after making whatever efforts you feel that you should, then perhaps a change for you really is the best course of action for you. Hopefully, you are communicating with your H the way you are feeling and thinking, and if he is not truly trying to help you think and feel otherwise, then it seems unlikely to me that things for you are going to change. If he does know the way you are feeling and thinking, and is trying to help you think and feel otherwise, then it seems to me that you guys need to try to understand why things are not getting better. Again, the assistance and guidance of an experienced marriage counselor is advisable in this regard.

      • Anita

        Jena,
        I do understand, I have been in your shoes.
        Give marriage counseling one last try, you have nothing
        to lose at this point.

      • chiffchaff

        After two and half years of feeling like this I agree with the others here, you need to look at things differently with some help, counselling or medication. Certainly you couldn’t want to continue feeling like this for another 2.5 years can you? Where would you like to be in 6 month’s time for instance (and going back to pre-affair days not being an option)?

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