Open Discussion: How Did You Handle the Affair?

This week’s question for our group discussion is an interesting one:

How did you handle the affair when you found out, and what could you have done differently, if anything? What were your reactions both physically and emotionally? How did/do you cope?


If you were the one in the affair, how did your spouse handle it and what effect did it have on you?

Again, please feel free to reply to each other in the comments. Each person leaving a comment is not an isolated incident.

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22 Responses to Open Discussion: How Did You Handle the Affair?

  1. Ang March 17, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    I was the one in the affair..and my husband (not legally married) didn’t take it very well. He lost it and felt like he wanted to tell the whole world. It was about 2 1/2 months ago that he found out and now he is trying to work things out and we are doing well I think…there are times where he does tell me that he can’t get it out of his mind and thinks about it constantly and that makes me feel horrible. What can I do for him no to think about it so much? I feel like the worst person ever…how could I do something to hurt him like that. I took responsibility for what I did and accepted I was wrong and apologized, although I know it just isn’t enough. This has really affected our relationship..I’m 100% willing to do anyhting it takes for our relationship to work. Please help!

    • admin March 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

      Ang, Thanks for commenting and welcome! Believe it or not, 2 1/2 months is a really short time for him to forget. Some experts say it can take 1-4 years before a victim will totally recover. In the meantime, do whatever you can to show him the love & empathy. Communicate through your words and actions to him that you are truly sorry and are worthy of his trust again. If you haven’t already, there are many posts on this site you can read that address this issue. The important thing is that you have admitted your misdeed and want to make it right. He will come around in time. Telling the whole world probably wasn’t the greatest thing for you, but it must have made him feel better. Good luck.

  2. Giving Up March 17, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    I have handled it every way imaginable. I lost it in the begining and begged him to stay. I cried everyday openinly, hung on everyword he said, got into a horrible rut. Then I started to try to change everything he said was wrong with our relationship. As I started to get frusterated with him and his, I love you its never too late stuff I called the OW. I asked her intentions the first time. She said she would back off. When that didn’t happen I called her a second time. Again to ask her intentions. She is married as well. I threatened to tell her husband if she didn’t leave mine alone and so on. She always made me out to be a bad guy and these things did not help but hurt my relationship with my husband.
    I then told him I would let him go if thats what he wanted. Go seek out and see if he can find what he was looking for with her. That I would always be here if he decided to come home. I think that was wrong as well.
    He moved out, then back in, then out again finally last month. Since he has been living with her they have argued quiet a lot. She has asked him to leave a few times. I think twice since he moved in with her and she called it off twice before that as well.
    Right now, I am just being his friend and shoulder when he needs it. He comes over everyday (except one day a week when they spend the entire day together) and we text througout the day. He never says he is coming home, just that he is scared for the day I don’t love him anymore because he will never feel that way. This last time she was telling him that it was over he said he did not want to come home right away because he didn’t think it was the thing we needed. But then all is better next day and he has unpacked his suitcases and stayed with her.
    Now I don’t know what my reaction should be!

    • admin March 19, 2010 at 7:56 am #

      Giving Up, After reading this comment, I can’t help but think that he will soon come back to you. Heck, he’s already having troubles with the OW. Now, perhaps Dorothy is correct in her assessment that he is “playing” you, but it seems that he is maintaining a tremendous amount of contact with you and it is obviously not sitting well with the OW. Hang in there!

  3. michael March 18, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    At the time I found out everything was kind of confusing. She had friends bring her home from a party I didn’t go to. She was completely drunk so I put her in the shower to relax her. She was crying and hysterical. And I didn’t get everything but enough to be shocked.
    That morning as she slept. I went through her phone and read the nights back and forth text she had with him. Needless to say that’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks. Here was just one afternoons conversations with him and I felt numb. I didn’t know what to do. Who to talk to and what to say or ask. I knew I needed to talk to my best friend.
    My best friend has cheated on his wife more than once and I wanted to get his advise and support.
    I have been through every emotion and feeling in the world, anger, hurt, helpless, betrayed, vengeful, forgiving, loving, alone, supported, fear, safety, loss, gain, empty, full. Just to name a few. And that was just the first month. What a roller coaster that was. Things have a much slower pace now four months later.
    As for mistakes. I think that not letting her just have it allowed her to continue the communications with him. She asked and mentioned several time that she would just leave and figure things out. She said she would do that to keep from hurting me more. I told if she left, she wasn’t coming back. And I stood my ground on that one.
    I’m still up in the air on whether or not I should have texted him. The things he said showed no feeling of love for my wife and were very hurtful to hear. And the thought of calling his wife. What would that have accomplished. What’s everyones opinion on that? I have her number and still think about it once in a while. I had it ready when we went to his city for the show. Just in case he did show up.
    That’s what comes to me right now. My older post may have a little more in them that I have let go of. I find that speaking my mind give me an opportunity to move on with things a whole lot better than her just burying them inside.

    • admin March 19, 2010 at 10:27 am #

      Michael, Certainly your summation of the emotional aspect is very accurate. It really is a roller coaster ride for the first several months. Thankfully that does go away. I was so emotional I would get sick, lost weight and didn’t sleep very much. I was becoming a physical wreck. I’m so glad that is over. BTW…we already thought about posing the “contact the OP” question for next week’s discussion. We are on the same wave length!–Linda

  4. Giving Up March 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    Calling his wife at this point, or any is pointless. If you want your relationship to stay together at least. All it will do is cause problems for both families. Take this from someone who has been there. I thought that it would force them to separate. At the point I decided to call her husband, I found out that he had caught them that weekend prior. We talked and I found out information that made me so mad that I actually did damage (not physical, but emotional damage) to both my husbands relationship with the ow and with myself. In the long run none of it worked. None of it made me feel any better or brought me any closer to my husband. It did nothing but put a bigger rift between us, one that without, I can honestly say, I might have had a much better chance at keeping him.

    When he thinks about coming back its that specific thing that he says has stopped him from thinking that way. It was hurtful and if I could take it back I would. But I can’t so I sit here on the opposit side. Mine has left and says he is not coming back at this point but that he can’t ever say forever.

  5. Dorothy March 18, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

    Giving Up… he has been playing you. Just like my husband plays me. I guess it has always been me working at , trying to hold on. I have called the OW. More than one time.Made no difference. To say she is a cruel calculating person is an understatment. He finds it hard to believe the things she has said.
    Trying a counselor this time..he won’t go back says he felt like he was the bad guy.He is out of the house living in his car, sleeping at his business office.I told him he can come home if he ends it with OW, gets help for his drinking and commits to our marriage. At this point he says no.He can’t do the things I ask. He is mad at me, says he won’t stand for ultimatiums. I guess at this point I have to realize, our marriage is over. 31 yrs is hard to walk away from. But, it is hurting me and making me physically ill.

  6. michael March 19, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Now if I could just get my wife on board with fixing our marriage I would be a happier person.
    I know this is the hardest part for me. And probably for her also. But she lacks the communication skills that I think we need. I wonder daily what she is thinking. When she is quiet. When she doesn’t call or text.
    Things were better while we were getting past what happened. But now she doesn’t text me as much as last month. She doesn’t hold my hand as much. And yesterday I felt left out of her feelings a little.
    Yesterday we spoke about a friend of ours going to a amusement park. And she mentioned “he isn’t going with me”. I asked about the me and she repeated herself, so it felt odd. Then later she mentioned “I want to go to home depot”. I asked again because the last time I invited myself along when she spoke this way she got mad and said she wanted time alone. This was while she was communicating with the OP. Again she said “I want to go today” than another text “I want to go”. So I replied ok no problem ill take the kids to practice. Then she came back saying she meant all of us. I told her it didn’t come across that way. She said she was sorry that it felt like she was leaving me out. That’s not what she meant. That was good. She understood how I felt.
    Later though, she was real distant. I know its not gonna be there overnight. But that was a good step.

    • admin March 19, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

      Michael, It sounds like your wife has a lot on her mind and is internalizing it, but that’s good news that she wanted to include all of you in her trip to HD.

  7. Giving Up March 19, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    Sometimes I think he is on his way back and sometimes I think not. I really dont’ know and it tears me up. I had a date last night and he seemed upset about it. But everytime he has problems with her, it lasts a couple days and then its over like nothing happened. I don’t know what to do from day to day.

    I don’t want to be played, but I don’t want to shut him out either. He obviously needs me in some capacity.

  8. Dorothy March 19, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    Giving up, all I can say is I keep holding on to what he tells me. Such as he wants our marriage to work, he loves me. He said he has not talked to OW in over a week. These are lies. Turns out he is paying her bills, buying things for her children. Asking me for money to pay our bills when she has been having access to withdrawing money from the account. So yes I feel played. He can’t have it both ways. It is you or her. I know this is harsh. But again I am in this corner, too. He knows how badly I want to remain in our marriage.I can’t heal or move foward if he tugs at my emotions uses them against me and remains with the OW. I found a group called I am going to join. They help you heal.Even if you go back to your marriage.

  9. Carla (worried mum) March 21, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    Michael, I think your wife is suffering from the same syndrome as my Daughter in Law. Unfortunately my daughter in law doesnt want us to go to the house; we havent seen her since just after Christmas, although they only live 10 mins drive away. Anyway, he phoned tonight when she had gone to visit her parents and told me that she is still ‘very subdued.’ This has been going on since after Christmas – in fact since she knew that my husband and I knew about the affair. I asked my son if he thinks she may still be in contact with the ex boyfriend but he says she hasnt been out anywhere or staying late after work. The odd thing is that when he knew she was definitely ‘up to something’ before Christmas she was acting really nice towards him. Is your wife suffering from guilt/depression. My daughter in law (according to my son) is very vague about things and just generally very quiet around him. She actually agreed to go on holiday with him – he said he was going anyway – and the fact that she has agreed to spend a whole week with him with no distractions surprises me. My guess is that daughter in law could be suffering withdrawal symptoms from the affair that never really was an affair because the OM didnt seem to want the involvement. It transpires that he ended their very brief relationship 7 years ago because of the age gap (21 years). However, according to her last years diary found by my son this guy is the man of her dreams. After she had lunch with him in November she had written that she wanted him to come back into her life and never leave her as she had never stopped loving him. I seriously question my daughter in laws state of mind. Surely this cant be normal? Is this not incredible emotional immaturity. It’s not as if she was married to the guy, or even engaged. A MONTHS relationship for goodness sake…….

  10. Last2know March 25, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    Like evryone says “it hit me like a ton of bricks” I was sick to my stomach couldn’t eat or sleep for days (I work full time). I was in a daze. I didn’t get angry at first just very sad and disillusioned. When my H saw my reaction he was needless to say kicking himself. Not only had this happened (her husband found the emails and told me) but they were texting from their work phones and work email and her home email. I told my husband “as if this isn’t bad enough do you realize you could both be fired ” At that moment I saw in his eyes the shock if what he had done. The OW’s H is an IT guy he can pull anything. The OW’s H and I both decided the it wasn’t in either famliy’s best interest to report them. I told my husband his secret would have run rampant because this a big company where everyone finds out why people get fired. To date very few people know.

    • admin March 25, 2010 at 11:58 am #

      Last2know, Thanks for sharing. Fear of loss is a powerful motivator isn’t it? So do the two still work together?

  11. Last2know March 25, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    Doug, my concern is that my husband hasn’t seemed to grieve his relationship with her. It’s like as soon as he was discovered he just turned off a switch and it was over for him. I told him it was ok to grieve and as much as it hurts I understand it is part of recovery. But he just says no one is ever going come between us ever again. Could he just switch it off like that or is he grieving alone? It’s been six months and there is no contact only work related matters and it’s in an open enviroment and I have lots of friends there. Yes I do check his phone and I hate it. I trusted him completly before but it’s just something I have to do. He knows I do it and he says he has nothing to hide.

    • admin March 25, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

      Last2know, It sounds as though your husbands situation was similar to mine. I can honestly say that I did not go through a grieving process. I realized that I had more to lose than what the affair was worth. Perhaps he feels the same way. T hen again, maybe he is grieving alone as you suggest. Has his demeanor changed? Is he acting depressed or withdrawn or anything like that?

  12. Last2know March 25, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    He is acting better than before, hasn’t been depressed or withdrawn, he was withdrawn while he was in “the fog” but since the discovery he has been so attentive and affectionate. This has changed me in so many ways (all for the better). I have never thought about going outside the marriage for anything. When this all started were you ever afraid Linda would change her mind about making the marriage work. Staying and working at it is very challenging but worth it. Don’t get wrong I have my “it would have been easier just to walk away” but I love him so much that I would never do that.

    • admin March 25, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

      Last2know, Well it sounds as though he’s doing all the right things, and you guys are headed in the right direction. I think that all along Linda wanted to make the marriage work. Sure, she had her days where she just wanted to give up and let me go, but deep down I never thought that she really meant that. She still goes through emotional bouts where she is burdened by just how hard recovery can be. I think you and Linda are a lot alike in that respect.

  13. Last2know March 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

    Linda and Doug, thank you for sharing this experience with everyone while still going through recovery yourselves. It’s gotta be tough and rewarding that you can help so many. You have made recovery easier just letting us ask the questions and getting honest answers. Linda, you’ll like this one. There is a close friend (to both H and I) that is aware if the EA. She Works with H and OW and has been an Angel for me through all of this. Anyway the OW told this mutual friend that she (OW) is seeing a therapist (says herself she has issues-Hello). The mutual friend asked OW how therapy was going and OW said “ok except the therapist looks just like his wife” ME. Can’t help but think my Gaurdian Angel is definitely a woman. I have to get at least a smidgit of joy out of all of this don’t ya think?

    • admin March 25, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

      Last2Know, Thank you for the kind words! That’s a funny story. You’d think she would find another therapist! Lol!–Linda

  14. Angela November 12, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

    My. H was having an online EA. I told him he could keep playing the game they played together, but that they were no longer allowed telephone contact. In the game, they were in a public forum, so I know there was no inappropriateness going on there. He appeared he was going along with the no-phone rule but I woke the next morning to find him outside behind the house on the phone with her. She had no idea he was married. I slipped up behind him and when he realized I was there he turned toward me. I snatched the phone from his hand before he could even speak and put the phone up to my ear and said “Goodbye _________!” and hung up on her. Then I sent her a text as if I was him that said “my wife is mad at me”. She responded exactly like I thought she would with ” YOUR WIFE??? “. I told him he could still play his game because of the reason already mentioned plus now she knew he was married. However, he spent the next two weeks continuing to lie and cover up and hide contact with her. At that point, I had become numb from shock, pain, anger, (just excruciating pain)and 4 weeks later I found he had bookmarked a half naked picture of her in his device. I never went snooping or I’d have found it earlier, but the day I found the picture, I programmed our network where it could not access the site he was using anymore and forced him to delete his character and game, email and all other accounts where he could be using for contact while I watched. He still to this day says he did not have an EA, but I go back and forth on believing him. I paid IT Specialists to retrieve every word they ever spoke to each other online (yeah I spent half of an inheritance) and I began doing the usual things that every BS goes thru, trying to be perfect, etc, etc, all of it. Finally told him ” until you “get it” I want nothing to do with you! Don’t touch me, don’t talk to me, don’t look at me unless you “get it” and you’re kissing my ass.” Now that sou D’s all brave and bad-ass but I’m telling you, I went through endless pain first before I got that bold. Three years later, He now says “He gets it that he created a situation that looked like he was in an EA, but still swears on his life it was no such thing. I’m stuck because I don’t know what to believe. Some days I believe him, some days I don’t. I will never forget how he acted like a junkie getting his heroin taken from him, and he stonewalled me for so long that I can’t honestly say one way or the other what was happening between them. I learned through phone records that he’d only had contact with her by phone for a week, but the texts I saw between them sounded like lovers and I knew they’d been on that game daily for 3 months 10-12 hours a day. He fought me like a rabid dog over it and neglected his marriage every minute of the day for whatever he was getting out of it. None of the chats I read give away anything very detailed, and most of it can be taken in whatever way you want to take it, but the solid two weeks of lies and betrayal to me, and his refusing to go along with appropriate boundaries I tried to make him set with her convinced me it was an EA. Besides that, once I started questioning their relationship, he would reverse-attack every time and complain about me not meeting his needs. Is it possible the man is so ignorant he didn’t he even know he was in an EA (he said “what’s an EA? You can’t have a real relationship online!” But he sure fought hard and massively betrayed me to keep doing it. I just live in a state of not really knowing, but eventually emotionally disconnected from him to the point that if he doesn’t do his part to heal this, its been 3 years, so I won’t cry too hard if it doesn’t work. I’m just not doing it anymore. I told him I was putting him in charge of our healing and if he found me gone, he’d know he didn’t do it right. I’m sick of hurting and refuse to try to fix it by myself anymore.

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