Moving On from the Affair Too Soon

moving on from the affair too soonWe love to hear success stories from readers. We recently received an email from a person who was rejoicing about how she and her husband have been able to put his emotional affair behind them after just a couple of months.

At first I thought, “Wow! That’s fantastic. Amazing! I’m so happy for them!” But after thinking about it for a little bit, I question as to whether this was actually a good thing.

There’s no doubt that the pain associated with an affair motivates most people to want to move away from that pain as quickly as possible. The betrayed partner’s hurt is so great that he/she wants to eliminate it in any way possible, while we all know that the cheater would like nothing better than to move on. Life would be great if they didn’t have to deal with the affair any longer.

However, I don’t think that it’s really possible to do this so quickly. When a couple tries to put the affair behind them and move on without fully dealing with it, they are basically sweeping it under the rug, and are setting themselves up for failure in the long run. They have to take a sufficient amount of time to thoroughly discuss the affair and understand it as much as possible.

Is a couple of months long enough to do that? I suppose for some it might be, but I’m skeptical.

I’m guessing this couple simply chose to brush the issue aside and get on with things. Again, you can’t blame them for wanting to do this.

Even if they do succeed in their attempt to move on by avoiding talking about the affair, you would think that there has to be residual pain and/or anger that will continue on indefinitely. The result I believe will be resentment and other harsh emotions that may manifest themselves in other areas and situations in their relationship.

When she yells at him mercilessly because he left his shirt on the floor, is it really because he’s a slob or because she’s such a neat freak, or is it some sort of lashing out due to resentment or anger? Will they ever even realize it if it was?

I feel that the affect of avoiding the massive elephant in the room will only serve as a barrier to a trusting, loving bond and connection in their marriage. And though they may indeed remain married, how good of a marriage will it be? Will there be any real meaning to it? I don’t know, I suppose it’s possible they can have a wonderful marriage, but again, I’m somewhat skeptical.

I just don’t think you can simply sweep something as significant as an affair under the rug and pretend it didn’t happen or doesn’t have a lasting impact.

It’s not enough for an unfaithful spouse to say they’re sorry for their actions and make promises that it will never happen again. They need to take responsibility for their actions by being willing to answer questions and talk through the whole situation.

Conversely, it’s not enough for the betrayed spouse to accept this without first processing the pain, understanding the affair and finding the meaning behind it.

Only when a couple can gain information, understanding, and perspective are they prepared to overcome the anger, resentment or depression – and truly forgive. And I feel that any effort at forgiveness or “moving on” without fully addressing the whole situation will be an exercise in futility.

I really do wish the best for this couple and any others who are trying to recover from infidelity. I can only hope that they are the exception to the rule and will be able to rebuild and have a successful and meaningful marriage, even though they’re sweeping the affair under the rug. My gut tells me however, that they are probably jumping the gun and moving on from the affair too soon.

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33 Responses to Moving On from the Affair Too Soon

  1. Paula October 24, 2014 at 6:27 am #

    Been a long time between drinks for me. But I am incredibly sceptical. I want healing for all. But it doesn’t really work the way you imagine. This is a lifetime scar. Borne better by some than others. But a scar nonetheless.

    • Doug October 24, 2014 at 6:53 am #

      Hi Paula! Long time no hear! I hope that life is treating you well these days.

  2. Tryinghard October 24, 2014 at 8:15 am #

    Doug
    I agree with you. If the affair is forgiven too quickly I know there is a sense of “well, that was easy. Got away with that” attitude.

    I guess also it depends on the age of the couple and the type of affair. I think for some younger readers there is the idea that if there’s no sex well it’s only a small blip. If it’s only texts and suggestive emails maybe it’s even a sense that the marriage is good because it didn’t turn into a physical affair. He loved his wife and family too much to take the affair further.

    Frankly I’m very skeptical about the truth for some that it was only an EA an not physical. I think some are too quick In wanting to believe that it was emotional and not physical as well.

    There may be more dynamics going on in the marriage where forgiveness happens too quickly. Yes that elephant doesn’t just go away if ever.

    • Doug October 24, 2014 at 9:38 am #

      TH, Yes it’s especially hazardous if both parties choose to sweep it under the rug. We know that the unfaithful spouse wants to, but the BS can’t be blind to what has happened. (BTW…You’re agreeing with Linda, not me. 😉 )

      • tryinghard October 24, 2014 at 11:27 am #

        OMG
        Linda no disrespect intended! Didn’t even look at the author, assumed it was Doug.

        Yes the cheater has the propensity to want it all to go away and can’t we just move ahead, I said I was sorry. I don’t blame them. Who on earth wants to discuss how tacky and low brow and deceitful and pretty generally awful they’ve been. Seriously I think a couple hours would be enough for all of them, right:) I know I wouldn’t want to discuss it and THAT’S WHY I WON’T CHEAT, or do any other things for which I know I would feel utter shame and embarrassment were my friends and family to know.

        I have personally experienced forgiving too soon and not getting the whole truth. I’ve said my H cheated many years ago. We were young and our marriage was pretty miserable. I know I was emotionally moving away from him. I tried and tried to talk to him to NO avail. We had two small children and I had no education and little prospect of getting a job to support myself and my children, but eventually there was a straw that broke the camel’s back and I asked him to leave. I was ready to move into a trailer with my children just to be away from HIM. I didn’t care I was miserable and he was making me miserable. He left for a couple months but was begging daily to give him another chance. I knew nothing about any affairs. I just thought he had turned into a monster asshole! But now looking back he was an asshole, a cheating asshole and that was the reason he was making me miserable. He was not engaged with me or our children. It was an awful time. I wasn’t even 30 yet!

        I gave in and decided to try again. I felt between a rock and a hard place. He moved back home. He admitted to a “more than one night stand” while out of town at a training conference. I believed him. We went to counseling for oh 6 weeks and I decided I had bigger fish to fry. I had two small children that needed me and a father. We didn’t have money for trivial things like marriage counseling and besides the counselor was an idiot. I had to move on, I had no choice. I swept the affair under the rug, he learned his lesson, and life was good for the next 25 years, not great but good.

        Fast forward 30 years and well it happens AGAIN. I’m miserable and there’s all kinds of later in life things happening like parents dying, selling houses, business moves, you name it but something is NOT right in my marriage and again I make up excuses refusing to see the red flags. Refusing to believe my gut instinct. No way after last time he’d do it again. I was being needy and dramatic. What was wrong with me thinking he was cheating???

        Well turned out it was true and like the return of cancer the infidelity came back bigger and stronger. He had gotten away with it the first time with little to no repercussions. Life went on pretty good for him for the next 30 years and when the most recent affair came out so did the rest that he didn’t bother to tell me about the last time because well, what I didn’t know didn’t hurt me, right? WRONG!!

        So maybe that’s why I come across as a tough love type of poster here. I’ve been there and done that to the MAX. Brushing it under the rug, forgiving too soon, not making them answer questions is all bullshit and just asking for the same bad behavior to happen again.

        My H has paid the price for this. It’s been 3 years and we still discuss it. Matter of fact just found out this week one of the people from an affair from 30 years ago her husband just dropped dead while they were in a foreign country on vacation. I laughed said Karma’s a Bitch and I got to see it work. This woman was a friend of mine. He had an affair with her and never told me until this last one came out. Allowed me to do things with her, talk with her during our earlier difficulty and the whole time she was part of the reason for my misery. Doesn’t get much lower than that. Talk about stealing my reality!! I asked him if I had anything to worry about now that she was a widower and probably a pretty wealthy one at that!! He said NO but what the fuck else was he going to say??? Actually a pretty stupid question but at least I said it.

        Anyway, yes you need to talk about it. Maybe you think it’s ok that it was “only on line”, not physical, etc, but trust me that’s just the tip of a very dirty iceberg. There’s more, there’s always more. Get to the bottom of it and make a decision if you can or can’t live with it.

        I’ve heard there’s a statistic out that when a person gets a DUI it isn’t the first time they had driven drunk, it’s just the first time they got caught. I believe the same is true for infidelity!

        My life hasn’t been easy with my H. Too many lies and betrayals. There’s always a reason to forgive. Whether it’s children, finance, business, sick parents, etc. and yet here I am again going through the same shit I did in my late 20’s at a time when I should be “enjoying life”. So I guess in the end I don’t so much question what the hell is wrong with him, now it’s what the hell is wrong with me?!?!? LOL that’s a much tougher question.

  3. Redemption October 24, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    Trying Hard: I felt your response was as down to earth as they come. Thank you for sharing. And I resonated with your last line: ” . . now it’s what the hell is wrong with me?!?!? LOL that’s a much tougher question.”
    I too have similiar thoughts and feelings and we have now been 2 1/2 years post d-day. I still have many questions that have not been addressed by my H and wonder if I’m not the coward by not being more forceful in addressing those questions and demanding answers. My H wants to concentrate on the future and our counselor recently said I needed to look at why I was still dwelling on the A and not looking to the future. That has put me into a slow boil because if my questions were acknowledged and addressed, then I could move on. And I have made it perfectly clear my questions are not about the AP but about the state of mind my H was in at the time. He believes I am somewhat obsessed with having to “understand” the A.
    LIfe today is peaceful, for the better part – but if I don’t understand the A, how do I protect myself from being duped again sometime in the future?

    • Tryinghard October 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

      Redemption
      This makes me crazy with counselors.. Ok so focus on the future. What do you need the counselor for if your focusing on the future. What to talk about how you and your h are going to hold hands and skip thru the daisies?? So stupid. Who ever doesn’t understand and learn from history is bound to repeat it

      That said I think BS spend wayyyy too much time trying to get into the heads of the cheaters. It’s time wasted. We also spend too much time asking the why questions for which there is truly only one answer. Because they could and they didn’t think they’d get caught. Simple as that.

      Now if you’re still asking those why questions or trying to get in his head your counselor has a point. If you have more concrete question ie Who, What, When and Where those are legit questions which can be followed up with questions that are yes or no. Like, how many times a week did you meet? I don’t know, not acceptable, he fucking knows. How many times a week did you meet? Four to five. How did you have time for that? Those are valid questions that can and should be answered. Not questions that we women llllove to ask, well how did you feel….? They don’t feel they just do. Frankly he wNts to say, it felt great, but that’s the last thing they’ll say, right:).

      So yes mines a big story and I did lots of things wrong the first time. One being giving him way too much credit to assume he would act with integrity.

      Honestly Redemption you need to see your own councillor and ask yourself the hard questions, not him, like why are you staying after being so disrespected. That’s the point I’m at after much reading and therapy for the past three years. And im getting stronger and smarter. I know who and what im living with. I don’t need to get in his head anymore. Frankly I don’t give a shit what he’s thinking or need anymore answers to the whys. My marriage? Who knows it could all end tomorrow and I know I’ll be just fine.

    • exercisegrace October 26, 2014 at 11:22 am #

      Redemption:

      We reached a similar point in counseling. Our counselor kept telling me that there was no amount of information, no amount of discussion that would ever bring me to a point of “understanding” the “whys” of the affair. I agreed with her and said my issue wasn’t “understanding”, so much as it was “Knowing”. I finally said that if I was going to move forward and offer true forgiveness, then I needed to fully comprehend exactly what I was being asked to forgive. We agreed that we could schedule a two hour session with our counselor to have an open, honest discussion regarding things I needed to know. I took about a week, and wrote down a list of questions. Mostly it had to do with understanding the missing pieces of MY life. The life I was living while husband and whore were constructing their alternate reality. At our next session, I made some VERY clear statements that I expected TRUTH, I wanted to know anything that was being withheld from me, and if I didn’t GET THAT? I was done. It was not about punishing him or shaming him. It was about no more secrets. No more details that belonged only to the two of them. It was a turning point for us.

  4. lost October 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    Forgiving too soon allows the BS to to hold most of the.blame, while the cs never has to realize it was their own issues. While I am sure there may be some out there who make a horrible.mistake and want to make it better, but what does that do for the BS? The CS never has to feel like they were wrong, or that they have issues that cannotbe bblamed on the BS. They need to realize the quick satisfaction from an affair cause emotional damage, trust issues, among many others. I can’t speak for all, but I too was ready to forgive and forget, but then it opened the door for the continued blame to fall on me as to why he was not happy. 3 years later and we are divorcing. And I am so glad. Because now I can finally move on and take care of myself emotionally. Don’t forgive so easily, there’s nothing wrong with being sure your CS doesn’t blame you, that they are truely remorseful, and that they can be completely open and honest.

  5. Cherry October 25, 2014 at 9:58 am #

    It seems as though this is the ONLY thing I have done right! It has been 482 days from D-day and my husband, of 10 years, and I are STILL reeling from his affair. Because he chooses to not “remember” anything of his 15 month affair, we have gotten nowhere building back our wonderful marriage. That’s right, wonderful. Both of us do agree that nothing was wrong in our marriage (we never even had an argument) and I can’t understand how this marriage can be anything better now. He wants to let it all be forgotten and move back to the place where we were so happy, but how can I? If he would only answer my questions honestly I’d be able to process the affair and find him human again. Now, I feel like I’m married to nothing more than a piece of lying, cheating garbage. He wants me to believe that NOTHING was going on during those 15 months where 43,000 text were sent…500 phone conversations and 90 pics (of his penis). Nothing going on? He told her he loved her and they BOTH were wishing things could be different so that they could be together. He was begging for sex, yet they both swear NOTHING happened! He wants me to believe that he was just playing with her…just wanted her to THINK he wanted her. They never missed one day of communicating. She was an old girlfriend, the same one he cheated physically on his first wife with 38 years ago. Nothing going on? Really? He is the one keeping me in a whirlwind. Why won’t he just be honest? It couldn’t get any worse! It keeps me thinking the worst scenarios. I’m weary. Will this ever end?

    • Tryinghard October 25, 2014 at 10:34 am #

      Cherry
      I am so sorry you’re going through this. It is nothing short of de sating. More so whe the cheater refuses to talk and answer questions.

      There’s lots of good info here particularly on the Higher Healing portion of the blog. It’s money well spent.

      482 days is a few days short of 18 months. I love how we all know the exact day and time:). You have to chunk the problem down. Look early we are all in a state of shock and subsequent anger. Oh t he anger. Women avoid it but it’s a very powerful tool. I advise use it. Get angry and fe d up and REFUSE to accept his forgetfulness. Call bullshit on it. Also you have to draw a line in the sand. It is imperative that he understand and get that you need answers. Not answers to those obtuse why questions or questions about what he was feeling because really you know the answers to those questions right? Make a list of concret questions you need answers to and tell him you will give him some time to think about the answers since his memory seems to be fading. Wait but don’t let him off the hook. Sit down calmly and ask him for the answers. Still no answers well that in itself IS the answer and then you get to decide what you’re going to do.

      No you can’t grow and repair your relationship alone. I know there’s advocates of that but they are snake oil salesmen!! He has to humble himself and put your needs ahead of his own pain and need to keep his secrets.

      Hope I’ve helped:)

  6. Flowergirl October 25, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    My husband and I are the prime example of this. We are back in therapy a year later after sweeping it under the rug for the last year basically. There is still smoke and mirrors, lying and denying about what occured. I thought I could honestly forgive and move forward. Since I know the truth regardless of what he says..I thought I’ll let him know that I know and move forward. A year later and I’m just angry and distrustful and sad. Its like a dull ache it never gets better. Why won’t he do what it takes to heal from this affair…or move on without me?

  7. lost October 25, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    @flower girl…
    In order for him to either of those things he has to accept blame and he has to own up to the damage he caused. Both scenerio you gave leave him in a state where he doesn’t want to be. As tryinghard said, you need to be true to your pain and true to the damage he caused this relationship. My personal advise would be to stop waiting for him start fixing yourself. That way in either scenerio you are we
    Emotionally ready and stable to be yourself. Good luck to you. I know.how hard it is. I still can’t believe I stayed 3 years..I wish I could go back to the one year mark oh how differently I would be!

  8. exercisegrace October 26, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    Early on in therapy, I remember crying to our counselor because I had read a couple of blog posts by people who had put the affair behind them in record time and seemed deliriously happy. They were over it and sailing on into a bright future. Or so it seemed. Our therapist was quick to set me straight on this. Sweeping things quickly under the rug is vastly different than healing. If you want to heal an affair, and move forward with a healthy marriage, you have to walk the hard road bit. The cheating spouse must take the time to understand what broke within themselves and allowed them to make such a devastating choice. The betrayed spouse must have time to give voice to their pain and understand they are in NO way to blame for the affair. Last but no least, the couple together needs to understand how to better protect their marriage by improving communication, agreeing on boundaries, etc. This doesn’t happen in a couple of months. Even if it was “only” a one night stand, there is complex emotions and issues within the cheating spouse that drove that behavior. Rushing past it only puts the marriage at higher risk of it happening again.

    • Shifting Impressions October 27, 2014 at 12:48 am #

      EG
      I couldn’t agree with you more…..well said. We are close to approaching the one year d-day anniversary and we are still standing, but I am the first to say we have a long way to go. Over the past few weeks I’m in a better space, the pain is more manageable. At the moment the emotions are not quite as raw…..there is almost a strange calm. I’m not sure if that is just part of the process or what. I so agree with this post…..one has to go through the pain and all it entails, as long it takes.

  9. 2nd Time Around October 28, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    First I agree with Linda it seems they simple sweep many things under the rug and one day it will come back up.

    Linda I have a question for you. Out D-Day was only July of this year well that was the first D-Day we had another one about a month later because my husband only gave me the information to answer my questions. So as so many of us do I continued to dig and came up with more questions hence the second D-Day.

    In the beginning my husband admitted to having several EA’s with women at work. By the end of August things were so bad that I told him either we get help or I am out of here. S we started both individual and marriage therapy. Since we have started therapy he has got it in his head that since the majority of his actions were only in his own fantasy world he did not have any EA’s.

    This has become a real point of contention between us. He has repeatedly gone down the list of things on the website that constitute and EA and since he doesn’t meet all of them he insists that he did not have any EA’s.

    His biggest point is he did not share personal information. My husband is a very private person and always has been especially at work. His whole family is that way. They only discuss “happy” things. I call it the sunshine and unicorn conversation. They all avoid any kind of conflict even if it is only a perceived conflict.

    With that said anything that is remotely personal like what he did over the weekend, what he grilled for dinner, future plans, etc are all too personal to discuss with anyone according to him. So he may not have shared his inner most feelings (he doesn’t share those with me or either of his therapist most of the time) he did share the kinds of things I mentioned. Yet he still insists that he did not have a EA!

    I have tried to explain to him that because his fantasies took so much away from our marriage and he pulled away from me that even if he only shared small things in his mind he was having an EA.

    One example is one particular woman Karen who was the cause of our second D-Day. During the first 7 weeks after our first D-Day he told me very little about this person. The only thing I really knew was that they would take during smoke breaks and on day he was telling someone about something and called her his work wife. This was just a couple of weeks before D-Day. He said that when he heard himself say it he was scared and he stopped talking to her.

    Well it turns out that he did not stop talking to her and told me that prior to our first D-Day they had an “unspoken, mutual understanding”. What that means I still don’t know each time I have asked he can’t seem to explain it. I also found out that he was making a point of going out to smoke anytime he saw her outside, that he had a lot of personal information about her like the fact that she was divorced (that one knocked me back a few steps), and finally the month prior to him “breaking it off” he spent fantasizing about what life would be like with her.

    There are six women at work that I know about that to some degree he has had some kind of fantasy or real interaction with. He is still working there but part of my willingness to stay and try to work things out is that he either gets promoted so that he no longer is at that location or any location for that matter but works out of the house and only visit locations. The other option is to find another job and start over fresh but only if we continue in both personal and marriage therapy.

    I personally think he just wants to sweep it all under the rug and act like it never happen. He doesn’t want to have to face the ugly things he has done to me and our marriage. He would rather stay in a blissful state of denial!

    Have you ever encountered anyone like this before? Basically he believes that because it was only fantasy it doesn’t count!

    Like I said we are in marriage therapy but as I am sure you know it is a long process. In order to keep things together while we work on fixing things I had to agree to not ask questions about the things he has done. I like our therapist and believe that she knows what she is doing but here I sit two months into therapy without any answers.

    I guess the thing that is making is worse is that it was around this time last year things really started getting out of control. With the pieces I have I am able to see a kind of timeline and at this time last year he was already on the prowl with five women (two of which are no longer work there but he added two later in the year).

    He hit the high point between Halloween and New Year’s which continued until D-Day. During the holidays he appointed himself as the company photographer. So there are lots of pictures of several of these women. After the holidays were over he started to watch a lot of porn and write erotic stories. He had written a couple of stories before but in the span of nine months he wrote eleven stories. I knew he watched porn but at this point he was watching it almost constantly. I was able to get the cell phone records and see that he was watching it on his way to work, when he traveled for work, during work, not to mention the history on his computer which showed that he was watching it first thing in the morning and just about every night. It was completely out of control.

    He has always said that he had a very high sex drive. Here is another funny thing that maybe you can help explain. He claims that since we started therapy all of this has come to a complete stop. I still check the history on his computer and the cell phone and I find nothing. But where there is a will there is a way! He swears that he is no longer interacting with these women unless absolutely necessary for work. Masturbation was also a big issue he claims he can’t remember how often he would masturbate but from the information I have it appears that he was doing it every chance he got! During certain times at least once if not more times per day. He says he has not masturbated since we started going to therapy. But the only time we have had sex is the handful of time that I initiated it! Am I missing something?

    I am incredible frustrated!! I have been working with my own therapist and up until this week things have been going well. She has me doing a lot of reading and things just for me! As a matter of fax I have a sign on my computer that reads “Take care of me!!”. It is my constant reminder to do something to make myself feel better. I don’t know if it is because this was the beginning of the end last year or because over the last two weeks something just feels off with my husband all I do know is that I feel like a ticking time bomb!

    I don’t want to let this get to the point where I just explode or shut down but that is the direction I feel myself heading! Tonight we go to marriage therapy and I plan on letting the therapist know what is going on. I know that my husband has issues that he needs to deal with that go way beyond our issues and I know that he is working on them. But what do I do in the meantime???

    HELP!!!

    • Linda October 29, 2014 at 4:49 am #

      Hi 2nd Time Around, Based on your comment it would seem to me that he is simply rationalizing his actions (EA) as “fantasy” so he can avoid facing the hard realities. In my opinion, if there was deception and you feel deceived, then there was an affair. Pretty simple. (Our post on Friday actually addresses this to some degree.)

      The fact is that you are hurt and this whole situation has caused you much pain, loss of trust and who knows what else, so he should be on his knees begging you for forgiveness and showing much remorse. The fact that he would rather argue about semantics indicates that there is some form of gaslighting, passive aggressive behavior or something else going on.

      I do find it hard to believe that all of his porn related activities would all of a sudden stop just because of therapy. As Trying hard said, he seems to have a pron addiction of some sort or at the very least a problem separating fantasy from reality. It does sound odd that if he has such a high sex drive that it would all of a sudden stop. I’m not an expert on porn addiction but perhaps that is a normal thing when in treatment, but I would tend to doubt it.

      As a side note, I also believe that by agreeing not to ask questions of him will only make your own personal healing drag on indefinitely. I think that maybe you should consider switching the process around and work to heal yourself (likewise for your husband) before you work on the issues in your marriage. Linda

      • 2nd Time Around October 29, 2014 at 9:39 am #

        Linda,

        Thanks for your response. I will have to check out last Friday’s post.

        You hit on some very key elements he is by nature passive aggressive, he does have issues with separating fantasy from reality, and he does have an addictive personality.

        I agree that until he works through his own issues it is near impossible to work on our marriage issues. It is also true that I need to heal myself as best I can by putting the marriage issues aside and just focusing on being the best me I can be.

        As a new day dawns so has my emotional state. I was in a rage yesterday it was triggered by the time of year and recognizing some behaviors in him that felt wrong. I not only know that this is normal I expect this to happen during the healing process. Because he is still so out of tune with his own issues the person who I should be able to share my deepest feeling with is also the person who has offended me.

        All of this is really an uphill battle. I have seen in his actions positive changes but not enough to make me feel able to trust him yet. He gets so upset that I question him and truly doesn’t understand that I need to do certain things just for me.

        One of the things that is one the table is taking a break from our marriage. Financially we cannot afford to live in two separate residences but because we don’t have children at home and we have a spare bedroom we could very well co-exist under the same roof and lead separate lives. The concept was suggest by our marriage therapist and initially we rejected the idea we felt it would do more harm than good. But at this point after doing a good deal of research on the subject it might be something that would work.

        It would require some very strict guidelines so say the least. It is by no means a free pass for either of us to go out and start new relationships with other people. Because of his choices I would have complete access to his world but since much of my therapy is done on my computer his access to my world would be limited. The only interaction we would have would be appointments set in advance to discuss specific issues like finances. Otherwise we would operate independently.

        Like I said this is something that is still under consideration and we will continue to discuss.

        As for the whole porn and sex drive issue I agree as does my therapist that it is not normal to go from a very high drive to nothing at all. My therapist also did point out that like any other kind of addition it is possible to stop the behavior if you choose to do so but that would not necessarily impact his sex drive. Her question is where is that energy going? If it is being directed towards his therapy that is a good thing but she questions that since that is not something he is specifically working on in therapy chances are there is something else going on.

        Here is her take on it! She believes it is one of two things either he is still doing something to meet that need even it is only masturbating with or without a component of fantasy but it is possible that there is more to it than just that. The other option is that although he is acting out towards me and not admitting to the harsh reality to me it is possible that he is admitting it to himself. If that is the case it is possible that he may be so disgusted with his own behavior that the thought of any kind of sexual or intimate act my be repulsive to him and therefore he basically had killed his own sex drive.

        I don’t believe that even if he was using masturbating exclusively for a release of tension he would be willing to tell me about it. Because of what I know as fact I believe it is a combination of things. I think that there is some element of sexual release happening and I also think that he is disgusted by his actions and feels unworthy of receiving intimacy from anyone. I am no expert by any means but that is what my gut is telling me.

        The one thing I have learned over the last year is that if it feel wrong it probably is wrong. if my gut tells me something I need to pay attention and figure out what it is trying to tell me. That is the mistake I made when this all started I knew something was wrong and I choose to ignore it for a long time. I have learned from that mistake.

        Thanks to both you and David for being brave enough to share your story with all of us and for creating a safe place for us to share our stories and find life changing information!

  10. tryinghard October 28, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    2nd time
    Sounds like your husband definitely has a porn addiction. And is of course in denial, big time. I hope you don’t go to denial with him. Stay smart cause someone’s got to be! Like any other addiction these folks do exactly what your H is doing. Denying and thinking they have it under control. Of course they don’t, not even a little bit. Big time psychological problem.

    Also you can check his computer history and he can also erase his history and even set it so his history doesn’t track. Get a key logger. There’s also covert software to install that tracks history and chats.

    I hope you keep going to therapy and work on yourself. We knock our collective heads against the wall trying to get into the offenders heads and it is frustrating and fruitless!

    • 2nd Time Around October 28, 2014 at 11:23 am #

      tryinghard,

      No not going to denial land!! Yes it is a BIG psychological issue!! It’s funny one of the things I am doing for me is going back to college. I have spent my life working and raising my daughter so I didn’t have time until now. I have always been interested in psychology and I am planning on getting my MS and maybe a PhD in clinical psychology.

      As for checking the computer trust me I have thought about all the different things I can do to track what he is doing including putting a GPS on his cell phone which he never goes anywhere without. But I had to stop and ask myself “is this the kind of relationship I want to be in?”. The answer is no!

      For almost two months I hardly checked his computer it at all and I download the cell bill just for our record and only scanned through it. The past couple of weeks I have found myself checking both more frequently. I know that if there is a will he will find a way and since he knows I am checking both of these things he will be careful not to make that mistake. Hence the reason for me to be back online posting.

      I can express how I feel and get feedback. I have written pages and pages in my journal, talked to my confidants, and my therapists but you can only do that so much. It is nice to be able to have contact with people who have been there and done that!

      You are so right about knocking our heads on the wall!! I actually tell my husband to just take me outside and beat my head on the driveway instead of not giving me an answer to a question! LOL

      I think what I find the most comical in all of this is that as he learns new things about himself and his behaviors and makes changes at this point the changes are very small in the big picture of things he gets upset if I don’t pat him on the head for doing the right thing!! Are you kidding me??? I am not perfect but I am not the offender here and last time I checked he wasn’t patting me on the head every time I did the right thing!

      I have never been a needy person. My dad always told both me and my sister that we should never depend on a man to do anything for us. He made us learn to change the oil in our cars, do repairs around the house, go out and get jobs that could support us and our families. He didn’t give us a pat on the back for doing any of it but left it to us to do it for ourselves. It was a great life lesson!

      That was one of the primary things that attracted my husband to me. He liked that I wasn’t a needy, whiny, and helpless woman. He had married two of those and hated it! He said it sucked the life out of him. What neither of us realized at the time was that in return they stroked his ego to get what they wanted from him. I have never been one to stroke a man’s ego! Grow up!! I will be your biggest cheerleader, the most supportive in someone pursuing their dreams, but I have no time to tell someone who wonderful they are a hundred times a day and that my world would end without them!

      I know that may sound harsh but the world is a cold harsh place! I take great pride in the fact that I was a single mom for many years, was always a superstar at work which allowed me to be promoted, and have always been a leader. That does not mean that I am not a girly girl! I love to have a mani and pedi, I am a cloths and shoe diva, and I can purr with the best of them!

      Just having a minor meltdown! This too shall pass!!

      • tryinghard October 28, 2014 at 11:54 am #

        2nd
        Now is not the time to stroke his pathetic ego. Look doing the right thing is normal and therefore HE should be getting his own satisfaction in realizing he’s doing the right thing. If anything these folks need to be humbled!!

        Good for you going back to college and pursuing YOUR dream. Be the best person YOU can be. He wants to cooperate and have a nice life he will want you in it.

        I understand the need to check up on him but all I was saying is just checking the computer’s history can give you a false sense of security. I GPSed and I am NOT sorry I did. Sometimes he knew and sometimes he didn’t know. There’s lots of software out there that can be used that’s safer and more accurate than the typical checking history and the phone by itself. No that is not the kind of relationship you want but it’s also stupid to blindly trust. That’s what got us into this mess the first time, and for some the 2nd and 3rd….

        I don’t talk to anyone personally about my story. Lots of people know and I have one good friend that I sometimes talk to be very short and not deep conversations. I said something in a casual conversation with a BFF and she was shocked that my H and I still talk about the affair 3 years later. They never lived it, they don’t get it and it does me NO good to talk to them about it. Yes here and other bloggers who have been through the same thing IS the safe place. I compare it to talking to a stranger on an airplane. You say stuff cause you know you will never see them again. Also I think we have a better perspective. Yeah we may judge from our own experiences but the main thing is we all get. So meltdown away. And “this too shall pass” is one of my most gnawing sayings. Sometimes no, it doesn’t pass. No gets over infidelity, we just learn to live with it.

        You will become stronger and better the more you focus on yourself and not his problems that he obviously cannot face up to. EA or PA if he’s doing something that he doesn’t want you to know about, it’s wrong. Let’s all quit letting them off the hook with semantics and excuses of well “..at least I didn’t do that….” I call BULLSHIT on that!!! Be honest and be authentic if for no one but yourself and if he can’t do that, move the fuck on pal!!!

        You know you are in charge of your happiness and satisfaction with your marriage and life? The ball is so in your court. You keep someone in your life that continues to hide shit, obfuscate, stonewall, etc well that’s your decision, right? And we have to own those decisions.

        Some times I look at my decision to stay and I think WTF is wrong with me?? It’s not all sunshine and rainbows but it’s pretty good. He doesn’t deny or try to hide things. He takes responsibility and there’s a lot of days I still want to pack up and get out despite his great attempts at making things right. Sometimes there’s just too much damage.

        • 2nd Time Around October 28, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

          tryinghard,

          Thanks!!! You are so right if you have not been through it you will never understand it!

          Oh trust me if I could put a GPS in him with both video and audio some days I would do it in a heart beat! Your are correct blind trust is what got us here and I have no intention of trusting him any time soon! He knows it and so does our therapist. She gets it and has told him that it is his job to prove he is trustworthy. He really didn’t like that session!! LOL

          Fortunately for me he would be a horrible poker player and I am a great one. Even when he thinks he is hiding something I know it’s just a matter of if I want to admit it to myself. I struggled with that for almost a year and finally came to terms with the fact that I would rather know instead of being blind sided.

          My husband is far from the classic image of a good cheater! He constantly makes stupid mistakes or rats himself out. He is a horrible liar! He like that kid that you can tell just by the look on their face or their body language they are lying.

          When I said this “too shall pass” I didn’t mean that I will get over it and move on. Some things you just never get completely over you do just learn to live with them. I am still trying to figure out what I am willing to live with and what is a deal breaker. Obviously the big things like cheating, lying, etc are all deal breakers. But the little things how many of those before I say enough is enough!

          Only three years later!! LOL I am sure I will be talking about this at least from time to time the rest of my life! You are right if you have never been there you don’t get it! I am surprised that I am not in a pissed off rage everyday at this point!

          I love it!! I do call BULLSHIT!!! He hates it!! I don’t know which expression he hates worse Bullshit or “That’s enough unicorns and sunshine”. Both piss him off but that is his cross to bear not mine!

          I know and so does my personal therapist that my marriage is in a holding pattern but my life is moving forward. The marriage will stay in a holding pattern until he either gets his shit together or I have waited long enough. I get to decide not him. In the meantime I refuse to stroke his ego or pretend nothing is wrong.

          He tries to play the blame game with me because I feel hurt and I show it. He tries to tell me that the more I am upset or angry the harder it is for him to be open and transparent. Sorry he created this mess now he needs to grow a pair and deal with it!

          Another thing that cracks me up is I have been telling him stuff for years about how to overcome some of his personal issues. Now that he is in therapy and his therapist is telling him the same stuff he swears that I must have talked to her! LOL But the other thing is that now that it is coming from a professional he believes it! UGH!!! Sometime that just pisses me off!!

          For right now I am just doing the best I can and taking care of me. Going back to school was the best thing I have done! It was funny I didn’t talk to him about it before I already had things in motion. He was shocked but supportive. A few weeks later we were talking and he was using his “feeling” words (part of what he has to do for his own therapy) and he told me that he was a little jealous. So I told him that if he wanted to go to school he should do it. Now his is going to school too.

          One of his big personal issues is that he has difficulty multitasking. I mean to the point that his therapist had him tested for ADD and ADHD. Once again his issue not mine. So because I know this he expects me to back off or do things for him. WRONG!! If anything I have become more demanding about him doing things in our relationship and do nothing for him that he is able to do for himself. He is so upset by this we spent one marriage therapy session talking about it and he spent another session with his personal therapist talking about it. He didn’t like what either of them had to say!

          It was an intentional decision on my part that we have three therapist. One for me, one for him, and one for us. The therapist didn’t like the idea because they were afraid that it would cause a conflict. I had to really push them to do it. I explained to them that if we saw one person both as a couple and individually anytime something was hard he would find an excuse not to do it. But if he had two people telling him the same thing he would trust them. So far it is working out well. Our marriage therapist know nothing outside of what she hears in our session together so she doesn’t give him any excuses. His personal therapist backs up the marriage therapist so he has no where to go.

          I give you credit! Three years and you are still working at it! There is hope! I don’t know if I have three years of doing this in me but we will see. It all depends on how hard he is willing to work at fixing himself and our marriage. I know it’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows but that is life. I just hope he figures that out for himself if not well that will be the end of this relationship.

          At this point with what I know for fact, what I imagine is possible, I don’t think there is too much damage for me to recover from. But and this is the key if he doesn’t start to live honestly and transparently soon it will just continue to create more damage. I am not sure how much more damage it will take before we reach the point of no return.

          The one thing I do know for sure is that if I do decide to leave it will not be out of anger or resentment. I refuse to carry that with me into the future.

        • Strengthrequired October 28, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

          Th, ” sometimes there is just too much damage”. I said something similar in a post yesterday. It is so true, whether we love them or not, is nolonger the issue, when it comes to battling the urge to not just pack up and call it quits. It’s the damage caused that ends up being just too much..

          • 2nd Time Around October 28, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

            Strengthrequired,

            How long since your D-Day? How are you doing??

            • Strengthrequired October 28, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

              2ndtimearound, dday has been 3 years come January next year. We had so many ddays, that I lost count. We are doing well now, I guess taking each day as it comes. I miss trusting him that’s for sure, I’m not ready to feel safe with him, I’m not ready to let my guard down. Probably why I often question myself on why I stay. Yet we are in many ways happier. We are slowly but surely rebuilding our lives and repairing the damage, yet I am unsure whether all the damage can be repaired. Which is why I at times fight that urge to just give up, because the whole ordeal has been draining. The ow has definately tainted our life, and the way I see my h.

              • 2nd Time Around October 29, 2014 at 7:43 am #

                Strengthrequired,

                I am sorry to hear that you have had to relive D-Day over and over again! I can’t imagine the pain it has caused you. I know doing it twice was a horrible experience for me. I really think the second was worse than the first time. It may be because I was prepared for the first one, I had hall my fact and evidence and I initiated the confrontation. The second time after spending a great deal of time over a month talking and trying to get to the heart of the issue on day he just drop a bomb on me that I wasn’t expecting.

                It’s a very fine line we walk between wanted to trust them and needing to feel safe. I know that my husband has violated my trust in ways they he doesn’t even understand. We talked about the very issue last night. I read another article yesterday about the “innocent things”. This was not a new concept we have talked about this for many years.

                He just doesn’t get that sometime even if his motive is innocent the person on the receiving end of the gesture may not see it as “innocent” Other times he makes “innocent” gestures in order to get some need met. He justifies in his own mind that he has not done anything wrong because he didn’t cross the boundaries he has set for himself. That is an entire different issue.

                You said that the OW has tainted your life and the way you see your husband. This is something that I have struggled with in my relationship for a long time. My husband’s ex-wife of over 20 years has repeated made appearance in his life since their divorce.

                Because he shared the story about her with me very early on in our relationship I knew that this was something we would have to live with the rest of our lives. My stance since the beginning has always been don’t let her in, don’t give her an inch because she will take a mile. She has been remarried since a year after their divorce and the only way to get her to back off is to threaten to tell her current husband what she has been doing all these years. She is a true gold digger and doesn’t want to lose what she has so it works with her.

                I have expressed my concern about the same thing with these women he has chosen to get involved with over the last year at work. What’s to say that they won’t try to invade our life? He doesn’t know any of them well enough and even if he didn’t he would not recognized if they were capable of this kind of behavior. Not only could they cause issues with our marriage but because of the work thing they could go after him for sexual harassment and he could potentially lose his job.

                It certainly has made a difference in the way I view him. I find myself asking “is he really that stupid”, “how many times does this have to happen before he get’s it”, and the biggest question “is this his passive aggressive way of trying to destroy our marriage?”.

                When my view of him changed it made it even harder to try to trust him at all and in many ways I have a level of disdain for him as a person which makes me question is this the kind of person I want to be in a relationship with.

                Does any of that sound similar to your situation?

                • Strengthrequired October 29, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

                  2nd, my h ow was not someone he worked with, yet basically what you say does sound familiar.
                  I don’t view my marriage like I used to, I don’t view my h like I used to, and I definately find it hard now to believe his sincerity when it comes to how he feels about me. I guess the after math of an affair.
                  My h affair came from him going through a midlife crisis, and depression, no excuse really, because I too was going through a depression after the birth of our last child, yet I didn’t go chasing after another man. My h on the other hand chose to make himself feel better by doing the opposite of me, and instead of me dropping him like a tonne of bricks and standing by him, I chose to try and help him through it, he did not do the same for me, with my depression, just through it in my face as a reason for him not feeling loved by me. Maybe now he sees that when someone you love is going through a hard time, you don’t abondon them, instead you stand by them until they are able to stand on their feet again. ( unlike making them pay for being depressed so, let’s make them suffer more, by making them feel even worse about themselves)
                  I think in some ways that’s why I look back now and think, what a selfish person he became, he through me under a bus for his own survival, and let a skank help him do just that.
                  Funny though, all the things he told me, all the things I heard from others that he had said about me, now he says he never said any of it, he always spoke highly of me. I call bs, because if he thought of me so highly, that affair would never of happened, and I would never of heard what I heard.
                  A friend of ours h had an affair, and he was told all the things her cs said and did about her. My h feels terrible for her, even though she has worked things out with her cs. He told me how he treated her so badly, he made her out to be such a terrible person, I never did that to you. Clearly he does not remember what he put me through, because what her cs did to her, was far worse than what he did to me.

  11. Rachel October 29, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    Strength,
    After reading what you said that you miss trusting and feeling safe made me think of how I use to feel.
    I truly never trusted my ex. He would do and say things in front of me I can just imagine what he did behind my back. And feeling safe, I don’t think I ever felt that way.
    I look back and I believe I had blinders on or I just didn’t give myself enough credit that I could make it without him.
    He would be shocked if he knew me now. It is refreshing. I paint what I want to, plant what I like even if it makes a mess of the lawn. Yes, he was a control freak.
    His last email stated how he has made the biggest mistake of his life.
    I didn’t answer back but it does bother me. WHAT DID HE THINK?????
    then he always mentions that I didn’t want to take him back????? Is he CRAZY???
    Why in the world would I take him back when he said that he may not be with the soul mate right now but they will be together in the future???
    I guess I do feel bad for my kids. I was blessed with 2 good ones and I feel bad for them that this is how it all turned out.
    As for the new man I am dating, I truly trust him. And I feel safe. We enjoy each others company and it’s so relaxing and stress free. When he holds my hand I can feel his love for me. Something that I have never experienced before.

    • tryinghard October 30, 2014 at 11:37 am #

      Oh Rachel I can’t tell you how happy I am for you. Yeah the ex is a jerk and you know what even if you two would have stayed married he still would have been a jerk and a terrible father.

      Your children are going to be fine. Better than fine because you are teaching them a great life lesson and in some respect so is the ex. They have to be thrilled to see you are happy and that the new man in your life treats you with respect and dignity. That beats have an asshat sperm donor living in the house any day!

      Be happy, have no regrets. You did the right thing and always will my friend!

    • Strengthrequired October 30, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

      Rachel, I’m so sorry you never had that with your exh, that is so very sad. Yet you know something, you have it now, and you deserve it so much. You deserve to feel that hand holding, love and trust that comes with having someone truly love and care for you. I’m so very happy that your children get to witness you being cherished by someone that gives you all of his love. I’m so happy that you finally get to feel it. You deserve so much peace and happiness, and your cs deserves to witness it, by not being apart of your life. Being a by stander and seeing how he should have treated you for all those devoted years you gave him. Honesty sucks to be him. Enjoy yourself lovely.

  12. Miss KitKat January 15, 2016 at 7:53 am #

    I agree… You can’t push healing and you can’t get over an affair this quick! I forgave my husband for his EA in July 2011 by September he had a new one! We did counseling and I was lucky… Our counselor was good. He also said give it five years.. If you can’t move on and are still living in the past then it’s time to move on! Of course we all know that if the cheating spouse doesn’t do their part none of it matters. It will be three years this coming April that he’s had communication with her… That I know of.. Yes I still throw that in there. I think it’s my way of protecting myself… Silly I know…he has done a wonderful job but it hasn’t been easy! I also feel like my reality was stolen from me and at times wonder if there were more that I don’t know about… But I keep moving forward… Slow but still forward.. I have learned rushing things never gives you the results your hoping for!

  13. lynne January 15, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    This article is so right on. 36 years ago my husband fought his way out of an 8 year binge of one night stands and affairs. He confessed to some of the infidelities after I confronted him. I was 2 weeks before delivering our second child and had resigned from my job the day before. Because of the circumstances, we had only limited discussions about the betrayals over the next 2-3 months. I chose to try to not think about it and to try to keep the marriage together. But I also became emotionally numb and removed from him. Last year, after I was diagnosed with cancer, he wanted to confess to all infidelities associated with those 8 years and be completely honest with me. His remorse and guilt had tortured him for these 36 years, and he desperately wanted me to know his every secret. That was in January, 2014, and in 2016 we are still learning how to communicate openly and honestly, how to forgive, and how to develop a deeply satisfying intimacy. There must be no secrets between husband and wife to accomplish all of these.

  14. Chelsie July 19, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    Exercisegrace, you nailed it. I stopped going to MC because the therapist blew past the EA and into ‘how can we make this marriage better.’ I needed my CS to be honest and admit to the reasons that really led him to making his devastating choices.
    I never got that out of him or two tries at MC.
    During second MC attempt, my CS had a very different narrative and sounded like a saint. I sat in MC and thought WOW he seems so calm and levelheaded and his narrative of me makes me sound like a B$&@#%^*.
    I finally stopped going because I didn’t get what I needed from it, the safe environment for him to be completely open and honest.
    It never left me with the security of feeling he would not have an EA again. This was his second EA which he adamantly denies either were EAs. First one I found receipts for flowers sent to a woman and text messages. (Over course of a year)
    Second time, a young gal half his age approached me with the gift he tried to give her. She wanted no part of this, had done nothing to encourage him, and did the difficult and right thing to tell me.
    Although his attempt was unsuccessful, I consider it the onset/potential of an EA. Clearly, he had his eyes elsewhere.
    “But nothing happened.” I can’t stand to hear that lame justification. Can’t restore when he won’t dig deep within his own weaknesses.

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