open mic discussion #32

We’ve been hanging out in Vermont and surrounding areas for the last several days having a great time.  Not to mention escaping the heat and humidity that exists back home. 

So rather than another article this week, we thought it was a good time for another Open Discussion.  Besides, it’s been 2 months since the last one!

In case you didn’t know, or are new to our site, the open discussion is where you guys call the shots and discuss the topics that you want to discuss.

We know there must be some things that are going on that you can either ask questions about, share your experiences – or maybe just do a little venting.  Anyways, the floor is all yours!

Feel free to discuss anything…

  • What’s on your mind?
  • What are you struggling with?
  • Have any success stories to share? Big or small. (We especially want to hear some of these!)
  • Wanna share any lessons you’ve learned recently?
  • Got a question? Ask it.
  • Do you have any problems or situations that you’d like the community to offer their opinions on?
  • Any good books you’d like to discuss?
  • What’s your favorite movie of all time?
  • What are you and/or your spouse doing to further the healing and recovery in your relationship?
  • What’s working or not working?
  • Has your therapist given you any good advice or exercises that the rest of the readers might benefit from?
  • What has your spouse done lately that really pisses you off?
  • What has your spouse done lately to make you really happy?
  • Tell us a little about yourself.
  • Everything and anything is on the table for discussion!
See also  The 2021 Emotional Affair Journey Reader Survey

Please don’t be shy. If there is anything whatsoever on your mind, please leave a comment below.


Linda & Doug

    34 replies to "Open ‘Mic’ Discussion #32 – What’s On Your Mind?"

    • Nearly Normal

      Hi, everybody.

      Just a few things in my life to share. I have been enjoying a visit from children and grandchildren recently, so I have been in cloud nine for the most part.

      Not everything is perfect. Sometimes I still fall into the same old patterns of turning to negative thoughts. That will perhaps never go completely away.

      But communication is going well. I have been talking to my wife much more often when things bother me, instead of bottling up inside. I think we have a good thing going, and the more we communicate, the more I see her as the woman who loves me instead of the woman who betrayed me.

      I think often of how things could have gotten, and for many of you reading this, you have a more painful path than mine, for whom the betrayal was too great and things have not worked out for reconciliation. I am lucky (blessed, if you prefer) that my long journey is going somewhere better. If that path is not yours, I hope a better one comes along for you.

    • Puzzled

      That’s great to hear Nearly Normal. Small strides get us moving forward and that’s the direction we need to go. Great statement about your state of mind concerning your wife: “…I see her as the woman who loves instead of the woman who betrayed me…”

      That speaks volumes in your recovery and reconciliation. I hope and pray that she feels the same way.

      I have a small victory to share. June 13th is D-day #2 for me. In 2015, that’s the day that I caught my wife. It’s been a thorn in my side that would bring back a rush of emotion and anger. But…somehow it crept up on me this year and it was a week later that I thought to myself, “well, that’s a nice change this year”. My wife & I continue to build our marriage. I don’t like to say re-build because I don’t want what we had. That marriage died in 2015. We are working on building something great.

      • Nearly Normal

        Outstanding, Puzzled. Key to my recovery was getting free of the strong emotional connections like anniversaries. Glad you’re doing well in that area. Happy building.

    • Rose

      My doing the 180 and detaching is working for me but not H so much. I did this for my own sanity and because I can’t leave for multiple reasons. The other day H exploded with rage (his MO anyway) because I didn’t flatten a box the way he wanted. Seriously. When he started to criticize me for this incredible trivial thing, I dropped it on the floor, turned and walked away. He couldn’t stand that I wasn’t going to argue with him so I let him stand there ranting out loud in our yard. I just don’t engage anymore. Its been 6 months since he was too “overwhelmed” by my email to answer it or be concerned about my concerns so I just don’t bother anymore.

      • Hopeful

        Good for you. It reminds me of dealing with toddlers or even our puppy. They thrive on the attention whether it is good or bad. My husband also has told me especially when our kids were young to remove the emotion since they feed off of that or even enjoy it potentially. I can see when I am very matter of fact with my husband it hits him. He also cannot say oh there you go crying or getting upset or whatever the reaction is. I also feel better when I handle things this way. And in the end we can only control ourselves. Way to go!

    • Carol

      Hello –

      I’m at just over 2 years from the day I became terribly uncomfortable with the relationship between my ex and his employee. I stood my ground for 5 months, asking him to fire her and end the emotional affair (he claimed there was nothing going on physically or otherwise). He never relented in his stance to not fire her and stated repeatedly that we would have to get a divorce. The day after I filed for divorce he acted as if he had no idea why I had filed.

      She still works for him. He has dated others since. I’ve talked to him about this and he asked me “how do you explain the affair now…I did not end up with her”. I told him that I never felt she was interested in him, other than the financial support he was throwing at her and the favors he did. He still til this day denies his feelings for her. I believe he loved(s) her and she used it to take advantage of him (us) financially.

      I still, after all this time deal with anger and the fact that he has never admitted his behavior drove our marriage to ruins. He has blamed me…telling everyone I left him for another man. I did begin a relationship with another man after 5 months of dealing with him not changing the situation and refusing to get rid of the employee. However, I am firm in my belief that had he made genuine change and shown any concern for my feelings, we could have saved our marriage. He was and maybe still is in the affair fog.

      He recently told me he missed me. I have mixed emotions regarding this…I’d like to cry for the lost relationship…Id like to scream at him and say, “why didn’t you miss me then and give a crap about what you were doing?”…I’d like to throw him off a tall building…I’d like to hug him and tell him everything will be ok and that I miss him too.

      I can’t and never will be with him again. The last time was the 2nd time in our relationship that he lied to me extensively about another woman. That’s more than enough for me to know that I can not be with that man. So my question is this…even with a new love in my life, I find myself still in mourning and still sometimes heart broken over the failure of my marriage…what have others done to put the past behind you and allow yourself to love fully again?

      • Hopeful


        I think whether you stay with or leave a marriage/relationship we go through similar/same feelings. I am still with my husband but I have thought a lot about what would happen if I leave him and worked through this with my therapist. I would say after working through it that the feelings and issues are very similar. I came to the realization I would have to cope and work through everything for me so I can resolve it no matter what my husband chose to do.

        And I think affair fog can be very powerful for the cheaters. My husband had two sporadic affairs with two different women over 10 years. He maintained for a long time there was zero emotional affair that it was only physical. I mean he swore it was that way. He said he knew it since he never wanted to leave me. Well I think he just wanted to preserve his easy home life and the image he presented to the outside world. But he got to be immature and cut loose with zero worries with these women. I told him I did not buy it since the one he said always contacted him first every single time. He maintained that for a long time. After a lot of work he gets it. I don’t think he will ever say he was in love or loved them but for me that is not what an emotional affair is. He was making it very black and white to make himself sound better. I never knew these women even existed he kept it all a secret for 10 years. To me that on many levels is an emotional affair. I think from what I have learned many men think if it is not physical then it is not an affair. This gets at the crux of it all. Both people need to be open, honest and transparent and agree to the boundaries and expectations for the relationship. It has taken my husband a long time to get to where he is and a lot of work. He is also in the mental health field and broke up with both ow 15 months before dday. It has still been really hard.

        I would say TFW is right get help for you. Find a great therapist who is a good fit for you. In the end we all have to take care of ourselves and do what is right for us whether we stay or leave our marriage. And as Esther Perel says most of us will have many marriages throughout our life will they be with the same person or many people. And as was stated above we are not rebuilding our marriage but starting over. I personally have very high expectations, much higher than if he never cheated.

        • Puzzled

          Hi Hopeful,

          You stated that you never knew these women even existed. I’m curious for myself: did you find out who they were or did your husband just say two women? Many of you know that I still don’t know the who in my wife’s affair. I’m just interested to hear if anyone else is/was in the same spot.

          • Hopeful

            Puzzled, The night before dday my husband was out of town and left behind his iPad. He had never done this before. It started pinging and woke me up around 1:30-2am. What I saw were texts with his friends and a woman. The texts were flirty. Not acceptable but it was obvious someone he had just met. At that point I was confused and did not understand/know what was going on. I did not want to call and confront him since he had been out drinking. At that point I went through his entire iPad taking photos with my phone for evidence. I honestly did not know what I was looking at. I did figure out that night he had a fake FB account. But in the interest of time I just took photos of everything I could find. I knew something was off but could not tell at face value that he was cheating.

            The next morning he came home and I said we needed to talk. I said he left his iPad and I saw the texts he had sent. That was then he told me that was not all and just the beginning. On DDay he told me about both women but minimized and lied about the length of each affair. We did not get into who they were. I knew one was in town and one was from out of town. I continued to push over the next day or two. I felt I should know just like you expressed you thought it was important. I wanted to know if it was someone he worked with or had regular contact with. He assured me that was not the case but I did not believe him. He had told me he broke up with both of them on his own 15 months before dday and only replied to them if they reached out to him. He let it slip like where one lived and the other’s profession. I figured it out in a matter of a few minutes within days of dday. I think he had gotten so used to lying he did not know how else to act. I also think he was protecting himself. Once I figured out who they were I saw he looked at their FB page on his secret account multiple times a day and also who they dated and their family and friends.

            I am sure this is who he had his affairs with. And I had never heard of or seen either woman. It is interesting one of his friends introduced him to both women. And that friend never liked me. That friend is no longer in our lives. We had many serious conversations about who these women were, what their relationships were like etc. It was not easy or pleasant. I suppose since I don’t know them it did not cause any issues. I have been able to not obsess over them and track them. I did at first but that got old. I made it clear to my husband that he had one chance. If either woman contacted him about anything he had to tell me. We will decide together how and if to respond. If I find out differently it will not be good for us or our family and it will be 100% his fault. He has taken that very seriously. Both women have contacted him and some of their friends. He has admitted it ran through his mind to not tell me since that would feel like the easier option not to rock the boat. However he has told me and I was glad. It sucks dealing with this but by him doing this it proves his loyalty and transparency towards me and our marriage. He won major points. I know before dday he would have swept that under the rug.

            Why will your wife not tell you who it is? I only know our experience and I am sure my husband has held back some of the graphic details which I am fine with. Without my investigation skills of cross referencing phone bills, FB searches, emails etc. I would have no idea who they were. That would have driven me crazy. I do not think it is fair to sit and wonder who it was. Unfortunately they have their reasons to project themselves but for me what I dream up in my mind was worse than what he did. I explained that to him. It was a huge wedge between us. Now my husband said he loves that there are no secrets and he tells me everything. He said he lives his life with 100% transparency and authenticity. And part of that is working with me and what I need even over 3 years after dday.

            Sorry for the long post and i hope that helps a little bit!

    • TheFirstWife

      Carol I’m sorry for your pain. It is so hard to let go when you have feelings for someone.

      It sounds like (to me) that you have unresolved issues with him b/c he would never admit he did anything wrong. But your head tells you differently.

      Do your heart still loves the person he was – the person you married. However your logical side cannot overrule yiur heart.

      Your anger at him stems from his lying to you. His refusal to admit what he was really doing.

      Have you sought professionL counseling to help you process all of this? It can provide a third party (neutral) to help you move forward. It’s been two years and maybe you are stuck for a variety of reasons that you may not be aware of.

      Just a suggestion. But I was in your shoes with my H’s first EA. 4 years long. He lied denied and stonewalled me. When I found out almost 15 years later he knew it was wrong all along- I was furious and that has caused more damage in our M than his last A.

    • Nearly Normal


      Besides the fine suggestions by TFW, I’d like to point out what is probably very obvious to you. This jerk of an ex was clearly showing that he was not willing to put you first. Even assuming that he was not having an emotional affair (which I do not doubt for a moment), he was still treating you very badly. A good husband should have said, “Oh, you have problems with my relationship with this woman? Okay, you are much more important, so I will do whatever I can to reassure you. Consider her gone.” And the other woman, if she was a decent human being, would have understood and moved on.

      I hope you find (or have found?) a man that treats you right.

    • Patty

      My D-day was 14 months ago. My husband lied and lied and lied and lied some more. He’s still lying. If it were not for my detective skills two months after D-day, my downloading an app to retrieve deleted texts (Dr. Fon) I would have NEVER known the awful truth of this emotional and physical affair (only for her though…ha!). One way or another these trickle truths have continued to spew forth up to a year later. My husband says he wants to only be with me for the rest of his life, yet does no work on us or our relationship. We went to a PHD marriage therapist for 4 months (I arranged), after I had found out, but I discovered 4-5 months ago he lied through the whole thing! OMG, who does that? He is very kind to me, and for the most part very understanding of my feelings and triggers, but basically he has swept this affair under the rug. I have begged him for the truth but he just can’t seem give it to me and each time has sworn vehemently, that he WAS telling the truth…then I discover he hadn’t! Endless! He continues to lie about stupid stuff now and I’ve caught him in many of these recently. These lies trigger me and throw me back into trauma over and over and over.. He keeps saying he will not lie again, then lies AGAIN about stupid things I find out about. I’m ready to give up and walk away. If there is no honesty in our relationship going forward through this….what do we have?

      • Hopeful

        Patty, This is all so hard. One thing that I found hard to understand was that I figured my husband would cope well with all of this. My husband is also a mental health professional. What I realized is he had justified and repressed everything he possibly could. I think he created a narrative in his head that minimized everything. I am 3 1/2 years out from dday. And it has been so hard for me but honestly this has been harder for him. I am not saying this to be nice to him. But after a lot of work individually and together when I look at everything objectively he damaged and betrayed himself most of all. My husband due to his education, training and work experience was in a unique situation. He is far from perfect and I had to push and challenge him through this process. But he has transformed himself. But this has taken a lot. And first and foremost he had to allow himself to go there. Most men struggle with this. He has in many ways. He still struggles with the why, what he did to me, us and our family. He has been open with me and what he has shared with me was all horrible and shocking. And I am not talking about what he did with either ow. I am talking about where is state of mind was. I think it was hard for him or any many to go there. For him it could have been any woman. He used them. And he has said when he left the house he repressed that he was married or had kids and did whatever he wanted in the moment. If that meant sleeping with a woman, drinking too much, staying out all night, really whatever he felt like. He has said on dday was the day he woke up and he is a changed person.

        Saying all of this though it took a lot of time, work and insight on his part. His goal has been to live his life with transparency and authenticity. He maintains that since dday I could literally be next to him 100% of the time and I would be okay with everything he has done. He said he is the happiest he has ever been and at about two years he finally started to consider he could like himself again. This has all taken a lot of him to get to this point and there were ups and downs through this.

        He has said this has helped him professionally. He feels he is better able to work with patients who are dealing with either considering, in an affair or recovering. He feels he is really able to help others more now. I guess it is sort of the same when we did not have kids he could treat them but after having kids he felt he was better at working with kids. He does not self disclose at all related to affairs. I know he has more empathy than ever for the betrayed. But he is able to really zero in with the wayward. I know it is impossible to know who has been through this but has your husband seen anyone individually. My husband claims he calls people on the carpet and pushes them especially the wayward. For me I traveled over 1 1/2 hour away to my therapist since they were a specialist in recovery after affairs.

    • Lotus

      Hi there,
      I thought this might be the place to seek some advice. 4 months ago I found out my husband had an affair with a coworker. They became involved in a sexting relationship for 2 months initially whilst we were away on holidays. Their affair become physical only days after we had returned home from our holiday. It lasted a week and then it ended. However, I found out not only did it happen at her house, it also happened at mine. We are currently living separately (I moved out of home). I was ready to have a baby and now my world has come crashing down. We had a wonderful marriage prior to this. My husband was suffering from depression at the time and he claims he lost his mind and cannot explain how he lost himself in all this. He has taken 100% ownership, is very remorseful and is doing everything he can to save us. I however am so torn. We have been together for 12 years and I am struggling greatly with the fact he chose her over me and had no thought whatsoever for myself. No respect for what we had built. As of late, I have been trying to see him more often, spend time with him and see if we can survive this. I am sometimes hopeful it may work and other times (more often than not) I feel so violated and betrayed I can’t even look at him and immediately think I should end it for good. I am so emotionally drained. I wake up with anxiety and think of the affair first thing in the morning. I can’t seem to stop thinking about the whole betrayal. Am wondering…Will this ever stop? How can one move forward from this, let go, forgive and be truly happy? I don’t want to be miserable forever. I hate the feeling of being in limbo. My emotions are crazy at the moment. One minute I am okay and the next I’m fueled with anger. I just feel so damaged.

      • Hopeful

        Lotus, I am at the 3 1/2 year mark past dday. You are so early on in this process so I would suggest not being too hard on yourself. I had a dday 2 at 5 months after dday. I think trickle truth is very common. I hated it and honestly dday 2 was much worse and about destroyed me. What was crazy was that it was not a lot of new information but on dday my husband minimized and lied about the actual dates of the affairs. I knew things did not add up after dday. I asked him a million questions and said to him he needed to tell me the truth. He kept lying and gaslighting me making me feel crazy. Well I knew things did not add up especially as I found more and more details he had not disclosed. Some by accident. So for me that was more crushing that he had lied to me for those 5 months after supposedly coming clean and then the treatment of making me feel crazy was hard to even cope with.

        Things have gotten better. My husband’s affairs were both sporadic but lasted 10 years. Things would be off at times but then seem normal. I could never understand. I asked him many times about other women but he always told me to my face looking me in the eye never would he do anything like that. I will say he hid a lot of who he was and his feelings. We have both worked really hard. He is a changed and transformed person in all aspects in his life. I would say it took me the first year to not be in constant turmoil and pain daily. After that and seeing I was in a better place I think was when he started to work on himself. And honestly it has been hardest for him. I never thought it would be that way but as I stated above he betrayed himself first and foremost. And that has been really hard to face. I think in general most men want to fix things and take care of their wife, kids, family etc. He has always been amazing at his career and excelled as the breadwinner. For a long time he used that to justify his actions and doing whatever he wanted. He has said he is happier than ever now that he thinks of others first. But he has told me before dday he never considered anyone else, only what he wanted. He just was selfish and did not care.

        This has all taken a lot of time and work. I could go on and on with details. But time is a big factor. I also found an amazing therapist that is an expert in this field. It was so helpful to have someone with that specific experience. My husband is a mental health professional and chose not to seek help. My therapist agreed that it was okay and supported it based on my husband’s work he has done. I think in any other situation both people should seek out individual and couple therapy. I think it is worth seeking out an expert and make sure they align with your thoughts. Some do not think the betrayed should stay with the wayward no matter what. My therapist felt strongly that if there are kids especially and no abuse is taking place it is best to make every effort to preserve the marriage if both people are willing to try. That was my thought.

        Personally I decided early on I was going to give 100% of my effort to preserve my marriage. I knew I needed to give it my all. If my husband fell short that would be on him. If we did not have kids I am not sure what I would have done. I set very firm boundaries early on and those were the ground work to considering to trust him. I think the idea of trust is gradual and takes a long time. I honestly trust my husband. I do not think that he will ever do anything again. I know he could but honestly he is so different now. I see it every day in all he does. I still have hard moments and times and so does he. I am triggered, have memories, people bring up things that set me off. Watching a movie, tv show or reading a book can cause me to be triggered.

        Saying all of that I am glad my husband told me. He actually considered leaving me and making up a fake reason just so he could preserve his reputation in the community. We are closer than ever before and we were really close even with everything he did. He is so connected and dedicated to me, our marriage and family now. I struggle the most and push him away at times. He shows empathy and is patient with my feelings. It is hard but I feel it is worth it.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Hopeful has given you some excellent advice. The betrayal of a spouse cuts so deeply. It’s a painful process that takes time. She is right, do not be too hard on yourself.

        Do you have some support….someone you can talk to?? Have you considered going for counseling?

    • TheFirstWife

      Patty. It seems he has a serious problem with lying.

      Has it always been that way in your M?

      Or is this something he just started or something you just realized?

      Most cheaters lie – about the A and it’s details. That is to be expected. You may never get the full truth – I doubt any betrayed spouse does.

      But why lie about other things?

    • Trying2Reconcile

      I am scared to post this but I don’t know where else so I will just put it out there in hopes I do not get trashed to bad. I am the wayward spouse and deeply extremely hurt my wife. Many Many years ago I had 3 EAs at diff times. They meant nothing and at the time didn’t actually know what I was doing was wrong or at least tried to tell myself. And then the last one escalated into kissing. Things phased out and there was no real final acknowledgement that it was over because it was wrong etc. etc.

      It is D-Day plus 6 months. Many ups and downs. I have learned that I have done things that I didn’t even know I was doing like gas lighting. I have never heard that term until my W said in one of long nights of “talking”. I have read and follow many blogs and more and more do I realize what a complete Asshole I was/am. All my lying and denials made everything worse. My W had this gut all those years ago and even tried confront me. But of course I got her to think she was crazy and that I would never do that, blah blah blah. One night 6 months ago all the lying to her got to me as she asked. “Tell me, I know something happened. It’s the only way we can fully move on.” At that point I thought if I told her than we can build this awesome marriage we both have craved. But BOOM that was not exactly how it went. I did that next Bullshit game of the trickle effect. Instead of just laying it all on the table, days went on where I would let out the next piece and so on. I truly thought I was protecting her feelings but have now realized I made it worse once again.

      How will she ever believe anything I say again? How will I ever fix this?

      We have 3 kids (2 teens at home still) and they know. It has made them think about things but they are glad they know so they understand what is happening between mom and dad. We are currently in an In-House separation and its hard. I want nothing more than to be by her side and lay next to her. But I know it’s not what she wants or needs. The marriage is over she said and the memories are tainted based on my lies and actions. She said that if this will ever work we need to start from the ground zero and build a new foundation because I destroyed the other one. I actually fully understand that and am trying to take responsibility. I no longer wear the ring I once did and feel so naked it without.

      I am not looking for anyone to feel sorry for me or even understand me. What I want to learn is what can I do to re-build this foundation I so absolutely want. Those choices I made so long ago has come to haunt me like a cliché. I love this beautiful woman more than my own life and cannot believe I have done this to her/my family/my kids. I became the man I swore I never would be.

      I know right now my needs do not matter here and that I need to help her heal. I am struggling with how to do that? She says I say the right things but she does not believe me because I have not been able to put much into action. Sometimes I feel alone in this as she is not ready to work on us a couple. She says she needs to heal herself and I need to work on myself on learning from and how to never allow anything like this to happen ever again.

      The even harder part of this is we do all the same things with family like dinner, shopping, going out and spending time but I sometimes get confused thinking we are rekindling but then I realize it was just a good day.

      I know there is not one single answer that will magically allow her to believe, trust or better yet love me again.


      • Shifting Impressions

        My suggestion is to give your wife what she needs not what you”think” she needs. In order to do this you need to ask and to really listen.

        I don’t know if the CS ever fully understands the pain and devastation they have caused. You need to allow her to express her pain…..if that is something she wants to do. The process has to be on her timetable….not yours.

        You spent years lying and deceiving her. You shattered the trust. One of the worst things you can do is imply that “you just want to move forward”. You must take full responsibility for your actions and figure out why you would make such hurtful choices.

        • Puzzled

          Well put SI. I agree with all of your points. The one that really hits home for all of us who’ve been betrayed is the third. Trust has been shattered and it’s not simply forgetting and “move forward”. That’s a huge mistake by the CS. They want to just forget the pain and destruction that they’ve caused. It’s the out of sight, out of mind mentality.
          As I said in a different post, TIME is your friend. As long as you’re in the house with your wife, use that time wisely. You have the opportunity to prove to her that you are sincere.

    • Puzzled

      Trying2Reconcile, to put things right out there: This is on you.Your choices, your decisions, your betrayal. But, it’s good to know that you are owning up and ready to man up.

      This is not something that will magically disappear. It will take time. It will take more effort than you can imagine on your part to win back your wife. No matter how hard you pursued her when you were dating, that means ZERO. You must be ready to start over and win her heart. You must be absolutely honest and answer her questions. You have to understand that it will be years before she heals. You want your marriage? You better do everything possible to save it and rebuild it. You are responsible for the destruction of your marriage but you can also be the catalyst for resurrecting it. It will never be the same. Your previous marriage is gone and the new one can be a beautiful thing. But it will take time.

      It will take a lot of effort by you to gain your wife’s trust, forgiveness and respect. Help your wife cope with your affairs as she needs. Be there for her when she asks you. Don’t push her to forgive or to forget. Healing takes time and you need to accept this fact. You’ve done the damage. Now it’s time to help pick up the pieces and hope that time will heal your wife’s heart. Be a better man than you have ever been. Be the man your wife needs.

      • Trying2Reconcile

        Thank you for your response, Yes it is a lot of effort and I want to be there for her and I’m willing to give her what she needs. I try to be a better man everyday.

        • Puzzled

          There a lot of good books that you can read to understand what your wife is feeling and what may help reconcile. Most (if not all) of us on here are the BS so we’ve been through the hell of an affair.
          Your sincerity and openness will do a lot to gain footing with your wife. She wants the truth and it is in your power to give her that. It will hurt but I think it’s crucial to reconciliation and rebuilding. My wife has never told me who her affair partner was and that is still a stumbling block for me three years out from D-day. Our relationship has grown stronger and blossomed but total trust is still lacking. I just want you to know that things can be rebuilt but complete transparency is necessary. Honesty is paramount to the process.
          I know that I strongly hope that you can work things out with your wife. We don’t know all of the details to your lives but I just feel that a long history can give you some hope to a bright future. Don’t give up and keep working to help your wife and kids.

    • TheFirstWife


      I think you have some good things – one you have admitted your faults. Two you have acknowledged the EAs.

      That takes guts to face up to it.

      I think one thing you can do is talk honestly with your W. You bring up the subject / do not avoid it like so many other cheaters. That is a bit like trying to sweep it under the rug. If your W constantly has to Bring it up then it gets to be like the BS is constantly doing the work and the CS is hiding.

      Tell her that you are sorry you did not understand sooner how disrespectful your choices were. Show her by actions you have changed.

      Let her know she no longer had to worry about EAs because you understand the issue it created.

      Most of all listen when she speaks to you and engage thoughtfully and rationally.

      • Trying2Reconcile

        Thank you for replying to me. This helps give more insight to what I can do for her. I am so broken because of what I have done. I am learning to do the hard things and not the easy things. I love her so much and cannot imagine my life with out her.

        • Hopeful

          Trying2Reconcile, I agree with the others you are on the right track. And with their advice so far. I do think the trickle truth is really hard. I to asked my husband for years if there were any other women and he always said never to my face and made me feel “crazy” for even thinking much less asking. Dday happened and I knew things did not add up. I continued to ask very specific questions. He stuck to his dday story. Well at 5 months past dday he finally said I was right there was more. It was not really anything new but he had minimized both affairs and told me they were shorter by a lot. He basically had two affairs overlapping for 10 years. He said they were not that long since they were not physical the entire time. I however count from when they met to dday. He did break it off with both of them on his own 15 months before dday. But I will tell you that second dday was worse, more damaging and harder on me than dday was. It about destroyed me emotionally and physically.

          I had to take the time to get through the trauma and even over three years later I still struggle. I went to individual therapy for the first 15-18 months. That helped me a ton. I would suggest if you are not in therapy even if your wife will not go with you that you should go. Find someone who specializes in recovery from betrayal. Mine was excellent and had lots of background and history since that was their entire practice. It helped me figure out what to say to my husband.

          Read a lot. It sounds like you already “get it”. But read more. The Gottman books are all so good. And I liked anything by Shirley Glass. There was an article in The Atlantic The Masers of Love. My husband actually brought that home and it helped him a lot.

          One thing that worked for us was we set a weekly meeting. That was the time we talked about the affairs, our marriage, anything about us. That helped a lot. I would journal each day. It helped shape my thoughts and I can go back and see how far I came.

          My husband has done a lot of work. He is a mental health professional and he knew it was wrong before he did it and has all the education, training and real work experience to know better. He has all the resources at his finger tips to have made a better choice but he did not. It has taken him a long time. He has told me he hated himself for what he did. He said he went to bed every night hating himself and could never look himself in the mirror. I figured he made these choices he must have been happy. It was the total opposite. He has worked really hard and changed his entire personality. It started with setting boundaries that included whatever I needed to consider feeling safe and trusting him again. I mean very specific like call me on the way to work, during lunch, on the way home from work. I could go on but very specific and if any deviation it was a major discussion. He basically had to do whatever I wanted or needed. He checked with me before doing anything even going to the grocery store, working out etc. He explains it to me as since dday he has worked to live his life in an authentic and transparent manor. He says that I could be standing next to him at all times and I would be fine with how he is acting, what he says etc. He has never been happier in his life, sleeps so well now and says his head hitting the pillow with no secrets is the best ever.

          One thing that helps me is my husband is very good at verbalizing all of this. I would say maybe with a therapist you could find a way to start the dialog with your wife at least. Again on her terms but if she is open to it at all I think that needs to be your first step. Or if she is open to couples therapy. For me I made the decision I was going to do whatever I could to make it work first of all for my kids but also I was not going to give up my entire life. It is not easy and there are lots of ups and downs. I do thank my husband for telling me the truth so we are in a much better place. I also think it was critical he was there to help me heal. That has brought us closer. I don’t wish this upon anyone but it can bring you closer in time.

    • Rose

      No one has said this yet, but 1 EA is a mistake. 3 of them…you need therapy. You can’t heal your marriage if you don’t put the work into yourself first. Your wife will do appreciate that.

    • Carol

      Hello – I agree with Rose…once is a mistake…but 3 times, you need to take a deep dive into what you are doing and why. Not just for the sake of potentially saving your marriage but for the future of any other relationship you may enter.

      Coming from the other side of the situation…my husband had a first and second EA…I can tell you that while I still care for him, I will not give him the chance to do it again, regardless of how much he works on himself…but with that being said, he has NEVER been able to admit he did anything wrong. He has an excuse for everything he did and most of the time it comes back to being my fault. Maybe had he taken the path you have with owning his mistake, I could have gotten past the 2nd time, but had he taken that path, there likely would not have been a 2nd time.

      I hope that your wife can find peace and be happy despite the hurt she is feeling. I hope that you can figure out what has caused you to need attention from woman other than you SO and that you too can find happiness.

    • Doug

      Anybody see the story on ABC about the husband in NC who won a $9M Lawsuit against his wife’s affair partner for alienation of affection? Thoughts?

    • Rose

      Hi Doug, no but I did see that New Zealand is giving victims of domestic violence 10 days paid leave to get to safety. Of course NZ also has one of the highest rates if domestic violence in the world. And yep, if I could sue the last 2 women involved in my H’s EAs, I sure would!

    • TheFirstWife

      Read about it and saw it.

      Good for him!!!!

      every state in the US should have this option available to the BS

    • Forcryin’outloud

      It’s been years since I’ve been on this site. The reason I’m here today is because a friend of a friend found her husband cheating. They are still in the gaslighting, denial, lying stage of his affair. They worst part in my opinion. I gave my friend this site to pass on because without it I would have never made it to the other side of betrayal. I am 8 years post D-day 1 and 10 years post my H’s affair. On that note we are good. In fact we are 28 years happily married. We understand one another’s needs and boundaries. He also understands he got his one and only colossal screw up. 😉
      I will say this journey changed me for the better and definitely my H. He learned so much about himself because he had to in order for our marriage to survive.
      I however, would have never had the courage, strength or commitment to the long reconciliation process if it weren’t for the people who opened their souls by posting their stories on here. Their willingness to openly engage with me and others in a dialogue of healing (and
      B!+<#ing) was life and marriage saving.
      Thanks again Linda, Doug and all you old timers if any of you are still here. Newcomers you will survive better than before… together with your partner or not but most definetly better.

      • Doug

        Hello FCO! You are certainly a blast from the past! I’m glad to read that you and your husband are doing good. Thanks for your kind words and your words of hope for the newcomers. Take care and don’t be a stranger!

    • Dmm88

      Thanks you. I’m always looking for a post many years past d day and happily married to give me hope. Sometimes I wish I can fast forward my life through this.

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