We discovered a couple of things that allowed us to make 2 subtle shifts that helped us turn our affair recovery in a more positive direction.

our affair recovery


By Doug

Recently I’ve been mentoring a lot of people who are struggling with this whole affair recovery process. Up until now, about 95% of the people I speak with are betrayed spouses (almost always women) who are trying to figure out what the heck could be going through the minds of their unfaithful spouses.

However, for the last few weeks I’ve seen a significant uptick in the number of unfaithful people that I’ve been speaking with.  Today I thought I’d shed some light on a common issue that I’ve been hearing from the unfaithful partner and maybe try to make some sense of it.

Here is the typical scenario…

Usually the couple is several months into their attempts at affair recovery, but find themselves stuck at the moment.  The betrayed spouse (BS) feels they need more from their partner so as to better help them heal. 

These could be things like showing more remorse, having a better understanding of their triggers, acknowledging and having a better understanding of the pain that they’ve experienced…to name just a few.  The BS often expresses their displeasure at how their recovery and healing is progressing.

The cheating spouse (CS), on the other hand, is usually trying their best.  They are remorseful.  They are being honest, going to therapy, talking about the affair and trying to reconnect.  In short, they feel they are doing everything they can. 

They now find themselves having trouble understanding what the BS needs and how to give it to them and feels frustrated that their efforts are going unnoticed and wonder whether or not they will ever be able to do enough.

Often frustrations mount and arguments ensue because of the perceived unwillingness of the other party to do what is needed, or to try and see their point of view.

So what I’ve noticed is that there is a disconnect between the parties that basically amounts to neither one knowing what the other wants and/or needs, much less what they’re thinking and/or feeling.

It seems like such a simple thing to overcome…Hell, just tell each other how you feel and what it is you need and then do it!  But it isn’t always that simple.

See also  Survive and Thrive after Infidelity

Let me offer a short story in an effort to illustrate this common problem that I’ve been seeing and how we were able to overcome it. 

The Affair Recovery Timeline – Shorten It With This One Shift by the Unfaithful Spouse

2 Subtle Shifts That Helped in Our Affair Recovery

Several months back Linda and I were on our way home from a weekend camping trip, when all of a sudden Linda blurted out “DON’T LOOK!!”  

I was a little perplexed as I wasn’t sure what she was talking about, but she immediately said, “There was a real estate sign in that yard with her picture on it”  – and then she started laughing.  (The “her” she was referring to was Tanya, the other woman, who is a real estate agent).

I never saw the sign as we had driven past it already.  Anyways, that was the end of the little humorous moment and nothing more was said about it, and we were soon talking about something completely different.

Now, a few years ago, there would have certainly been a much different outcome to the same situation.

She would have still said “DON’T LOOK!” but then she would have been triggered, she would have gotten emotional and we would have had a long, drawn out conversation about Tanya and about other  affair “stuff.”  And the truth be told,  I would not have handled it very well.

I would get frustrated, angry and defensive – among other things.  Then after several minutes of this, we probably would have driven the rest of the way home in silence with resentment building inside of us all the way.

This sort of communication dance happened regularly and it was causing us to be stuck.

Then, we discovered a couple of things that allowed us to make 2 subtle shifts that helped us turn things in a more positive direction.

Now, if you’ve ever talked with me for a mentoring session, you’ve probably heard me tell these two short stories…



The First Shift

Quite often Linda would approach me to talk about affair stuff and she would do so in a way that came off as being argumentative or accusatory.  My first reaction would be to establish a defensive position. Yelling, stonewalling and anger were my primary weapons.

See also  Struggling to Heal? You Have to Reach!

This would cause Linda to get emotional and eventually shut down – which was exactly what I wanted to have happen.  I didn’t want to talk about the affair – again!. Geesh, we’d been over it a million times! (That was my mindset back then, by-the-way.)

Understanding and Empathy in Communication

However, I learned over time (and especially from one particular conversation with Linda) that though she needs to have details and answers regarding the affair, most of the time she was simply approaching me to express her feelings and to reach out in a way that she knew I cared for her.  She needed to know that I understood and empathized with her feelings.   She wasn’t trying to punish or attack me at all.

There were times when she just needed to express herself and release some emotions and all she wanted me to do was listen and hold her.  Then she would be over it.

Previously, I didn’t realize this.  Instead I thought I was being attacked and as a result, my fight or flight instincts kicked in big time.

A Shift in Approach Leads to Better Conversations

So from Linda’s standpoint, she learned to approach me in a more relaxed manner.  More from a position of understanding, rather than accusatory, blame, or an interrogation.  She learned that approach didn’t work well with me and caused me to react in a counterproductive manner.  

As a result, our conversations about the affair became much better as I was able to shed my defensiveness and frustrations, which allowed me to open up and communicate more effectively about whatever she wanted to talk about.

This little shift made a huge difference in the way we communicate, and it still holds true to this day.

Shift Number 2

During our recovery process I was doing what I thought were all the right things.  Mainly sucking up to Linda at every opportunity.

I was making her breakfast, helping her around the house more, taking her work stuff out to the car and starting it up each morning, calling and texting her during the day, and a lot more.

These were all nice things and many were ways through which I was showing my remorse and that I loved her.  But they weren’t necessarily the things that Linda needed at the time.

See also  The Most Horrific Sentence in the English Language: I Love You, But I Am Not in Love with You.

Identifying True Needs

She needed affirmation, appreciation, romance and for me to show her that she was really the one I wanted to be with…and more.

So I had to adjust my approach.  But before I knew to do that, she told me that she wasn’t really happy.  She had to tell me what she needed and why. Basically I needed a road map to her heart. And I needed to get busy!

Perhaps I was more thick-headed than many other ex-unfaithful spouses and couldn’t figure it all out on my own. Things seemed to be going well—we weren’t fighting, we were having fun, and it seemed like we were reconnecting. However, there was still an emptiness inside of her, and she had to be the one to help me see it.

Communication: The Key to Our Affair Recovery

You see, sometimes we try to go through the recovery process by guessing what to do or what to say. Quite often couples refuse to let one another know what’s going on inside their heads (and their hearts).  Instead they feel as though their partner has the power to read their mind. Meanwhile, frustrations build.  Tempers rise.  Resentment festers.  It ain’t good!

So if you’re the ex-cheater, don’t be afraid to ask what you need to do to help in the recovery process.  In fact, and just do it if you’re unsure.  Your spouse will appreciate it.  Similarly, if you’re the betrayed spouse, don’t be shy about communicating your needs during the process.

If you’re both committed to recovery and reconciliation you need to work together with one goal in mind.  It helps to be on the same page knowing what the other person wants and needs and what tasks must be performed to accomplish that goal.

(Perhaps you will notice that this post is somewhat familiar, as it has been adapted from an email that we’ve sent out in the past.  A reader suggested we post it to the blog for further community discussion.)

**Please share any similar experiences and/or breakthroughs that you may have had in the comment section below.



    79 replies to "Our Affair Recovery – Two Subtle Shifts That Made a Difference"

    • antiskank

      “If you’re both committed to recovery and reconciliation you need to work together with one goal in mind.”
      Ah yes, therein lies the rub!! Not eveyone is as committed to fixing the mess they created as you were, Doug. I can only speak from my own experience but I think my CH expects me to fix it all on my own. After all, that’s what I’ve always done when met with a problem. He did his part – He said he’s sorry for “it all” and he’s here after all! What more can I possibly want?

      I can see some of my own habits in your stories, After such a long time waiting for him to do his part or even talk to me, I do get very frustrated and discussions can become a little emotional. If I try to express how I feel in calm, quiet ways, he still shuts down and changes the subject or ignores what I have said. We can sit and try to talk for 2 hours and he basically says nothing of value. Mostly more questions and declarations of memory loss, affair fog, not sure, don’t know, etc. That is even more frustrating. I have to walk away!!

      An affair breaks that team of “we” and creates a separation where nobody quite knows where they stand anymore. Cheater isn’t sure they want to be there, isn’t sure they will be forgiven or taken back. Betrayed isn’t sure if they are loved, if they are being lied to still, if the affair is over, if their life together means anything. That’s not a good position for recovery. It isn’t enough to merely stop the affair; that’s just a small part of the picture.

      In general, it sounds like possibly the betrayed does the majority of the work to repair the damage done to the relationship. If there is a way to get the unfaithful person to understand all of the issues and do the work required, I thnk life could be pretty sweet for the couple again! If anyone can answer how to do that, I would be forever amazed and grateful!

      • TheFirstWife

        Anti. I certainly do not have the answer. Nor The ability to wave the magic wand and have things drastically change. I wish I did because I think it would help so many people that are on this recovery path.

        I don’t want to say that my husband wasn’t trying after everything came to light.however he wasn’t doing anything to help the situation by continuing to lie but in his mind he felt that if he provided details or answered questions that it would only make matters worse. I guess he didn’t have the confidence to believethat he could be honest and I would still love him.

        I’m not sure where the change came in our relationship but I just know that I was ready to give up because I just felt we were not making any progress.

        It took a family emergency for him to see exactly what I have been facing for so long. He saw his family (siblings and such) interacting in a way that forced him to face reality. He finally understood the frustration I had over the past 30 years when he came to communication between us.

        It was like looking in a mirror for him. He finally got it.

        I do think that recovery comes in so many different ways for the betrayed spouse. From my experience I can tell you that when my husband was in helping in any way I definitely felt I was not moving forward in the ways that I should.

        However at about 18 months after DDay point, I finally stopped looking for him to help. I realized I was banging my head against the wall trying to effect change and it was only making me feel worse.

        Once I started trying to make sure that I was moving forward on my own and was less focused on our marriage and him, I finally started to feel differently and saw some of the burden lifting from my shoulders.

        I wished I would have done that sooner but there late than never. Now I would counsel any spouse to not let the recovery focus as much on what the CS is doing to help (or not help) during the recovery process. I would say focus on you healing you. Not your spouse healing you.

        I think when you’re partially healed and in a better position of strength and understanding, you may see a different response from your cheating spouse.

        I’m not sure why that is, but it seems as though once the anger and frustration disappear, sometimes the CS can participate more in the recovery process.

        The CS just cannot see what they need to see or truly understand. My H never ever had a girlfriend cheat on him. There is no way he can understand how devastating it is.

        • Hopeful

          TFW, I do think at least for us even though my husband was not still involved in either affair as of dday 1 that he was still in a fog. His lifestyle and behavior were not what they should be even though he had made up his mind to not cheat anymore. However, he was not invested in himself, us or our family still. Only through dday was he able to start that process. He really was so focused on my healing for the first year. Once I started to make decent progress and we worked through the hardest parts for me he started to relax and really look inward. I think he honestly has a lot more work to do. I am not sure he agrees with that. I think some of it relates to how we handle our emotions and express ourselves differently.

          I do think that taking care of and focusing on yourself is crucial. As far as my husband goes I am the same person doing the same things I always did. But he treats me differently now and I react differently so our relationship is on another level and much better. But he had to make those changes. I requested specific boundaries in order to stay together, but he had to make it happen. My husband has said many times he cannot really understand my position since he knows and never has had to consider me cheating on him. He knows it has not and never will happen. He said he has that comfort and unfortunately I do not have that with him. He understands this is a second chance and if he has any issues he better bring them to me rather than make a poor decision and lose everything.

      • Shifting Impressions

        That paragraph about breaking the team of “we” just says it all. As I approach the three year anniversary of d-day I do find this a fairly difficult time.

        Much of the crazy drama has passed….but getting to that deeper understanding is an extremely difficult process.

        • Hopeful

          That is so true. The “we”, best friend part of the relationship is tough. And yes once past the initial pain and work this deeper long term part is so difficult.I thought it would be easier after the initial phase. No luck with that.

          • antiskank

            That seems to be a major struggle for me too. I have always been able to deal with problems and move on. This is just not going away as I had expected but seems to get more difficult and complicated 🙁

      • Jen

        OP says “Cheater isn’t sure they want to be there”. and then assumes that the betrayed has other issues, implying that the betrayed has issues that do not include that the betrayed is not sure “they want to be there”. I am the betrayed, and I can assure you that I spend most of my day trying to figure out if I want to be in the relationship or just dump him. Seems like this OP has jumped to the conclusion that the betrayed is so desperate that they are only working on other things and that they are not considering leaving. That is far from the truth and IMO, he/ she better wake up and realise that they are replaceable, just like they replaced the BS.

        • Jennet

          Hi Jen absolutely agree with you. The BS has the choice to make for themselves either stay or go. I don’t think t he cheater realises that at all ,because it’s all about them and what a wonderful person in the AP is!!! Until the penny drops. I’m my case about 6/7 months after DD I made my husband leave. I told him I would give myself two months to make up my mind about whether to stay or go. Reality kicked in then for him!! I went on holiday on my own, I met friends for days/evenings out started on my keep fit work and generally enjoyed myself because I didn’t have to see him every day and I have to say there wasn’t a day that he didn’t phone or text asking to meet for coffee/Lunch sometimes I’d see him and sometimes told him I had other things on. At the beginning of that two month period we agreed to meet once a week for an evening out and we’d agreed to not talk about the affair just enjoy the time together. I don’t think that in those two months he knew what I was going to do, he was very remorseful and sorry for what he’d done. I decided to stay with him I wasn’t prepared to lose 52 years of my life for a trollop like her. It wasn’t easy by any means we had many ups and downs over the next two a d a half years but now I’m as sure as I can be that it was the right decision for us. I think it takes time to get over infidelity (I read somewhere that it’s something like 3-5 years) I do think that the cheaters think they hold all the cards but in reality they don’t.
          So good luck to you in whatever you decided to do Jennet

    • Hopeful

      I can understand this post and feel there are a lot of truths in it. I think as antiskank stated above for us one of the most pivotal changes was when we were able to move our conversations away from being emotional. It did not mean we did not express feelings but mainly as the betrayed being more in control of the emotional aspect. I found writing daily helped me decide which questions and topics were a priority. I figured out quickly if I bombarded my husband with all of my thoughts it did not go so well. It worked better if I thought about my priorities for discussions. On the flip side I asked him to be less defensive and also not to try and go into “fix it” mode. Really I did need to sometimes just have him hear how I felt even if it made him ashamed. And some of this cannot be fixed. It needs to be processed.

      I do think when both parties are committed to continuing to fight for the marriage there has to be a better chance for success. For me I feel like this 18 month- 2 year past dday period is really hard. I feel like I am past the first year issues. I felt really good at year one. Now I am not sure how I feel. And I feel like there are not a lot of resources or support for this stage.

      • TheFirstWife

        Hopeful. I agree not a lot of support for this stage.

        I think people think you are over it.

        Being 3 years past DDay 2 I can say I am over some things or aspects but not sure I am “over” other things. I just feel like I am numb some days because I just don’t know how I feel.

        I know I have some unresolved anger at his choices and behavior regarding some issues (both affair related and not affair related).

        Once in a blue moon I just want to slap him. Hahaha

        • Hopeful

          TFW, So true. I find as we get further in this process of healing it is less about the affair specifically and more about us as individuals and our relationship. I think for my husband he sees it as the affairs are the problem and in turn how he was not a bad husband and father. Now he feels like he is a good husband and father so that should make things better. And yes they do but honestly after so long there are a lot more layers to this.

          I do realize that this is something I/we will deal with for the rest of our lives even if we were not to stay together. I see his progress and efforts and feel like it motivates me to want to stay and continue with making what we had better. I know there are no guarantees with anyone so I choose to invest in myself first and then our marriage second.

        • Shifting Impressions

          TFW….I kind of get that slapping thing. Good thing I don’t give into it. Lol!!!

    • TheFirstWife

      Hello friends. I read something very interesting this morning. Believe it or not it was a link to a website on Facebook. I normally don’t read these types of things but for whatever reason this morning I was compelled to open the link and read.

      The list was basically titled 15 reasons couples divorce and it was written by a number of divorce attorneys across the United States.

      There was one item that sort of stuck out for me. One of the Reasons that spouses cheat or divorce is due to acceptance. What the author was implying was that the cheating spouse doesn’t look elsewhere for sex or money or for a better looking spouse or a younger spouse, they look elsewhere for acceptance – support – understanding WITHOUT CRITICISM.

      wow did that open my eyes.

      I wonder if I have been overly critical or harsh at times when I should have been more understanding or less vocal with my opinion.

      I would like to think that I was not a nag or a shrew. However it is how I am perceived versus how I think I really am.

      To me this explains a lot of the”why” The affairs happened. While I thought we were a team and work together, in reality I was the person that was not approachable or understanding in my marriage.

      I’m not excusing the cheating behavior in anyway. What I’m saying is that the cheating spouse looks elsewhere for something that should have been inherent in our marriage in the first place.

      I thought by moving past his affair from 20 years ago and not mentioning it was a sign of support and acceptance. However I realize that I allowed him to manipulate my feelings and lead me to believe I was just misconstruing his prior EA.

      So it is apparent to me given all that has transpired that I have done a poor job of providing the love, understanding and emotional support to him.
      Where do we go from here – feeling deflated.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Oh please don’t do this to yourself. I am sure you made mistakes as we all have but you are always the first one to jump in and offer all of us here your support. If your husband felt criticized and unaccepted it was his responsibility to communicate that.

        After D-day I went down that dark hole as well….thinking was I so uncaring and critical, that I deserved this??? I pick up from your comments that perhaps you are feistier than perhaps your husband. Am I correct in that assumption? Well I am that way as well….I am spunkier than my husband and am open with my feelings. But I’m not mean as I’m sure you are not either. On the other hand he keeps things inside….to his own detriment.

        I asked my oldest son (40 yrs old) was I critical and unaccepting all these years? At the time I asked him he knew nothing of the affair. I was moved to tears when he told me “Mom, it’s your voice I hear telling me, you can do it”. He said your voice is still the one I hear, telling me I can do it. Does that sound like the description of an uncaring and unaccepting person? I loved my husband with all of my being…..and I know I accepted him. Hell, I even really liked him.

        Did I fall short and pick at him sometimes?? Of course I did. Did we struggle sometimes? Of course we did. What I am trying to say is that our spouses aren’t always able to receive our acceptance and our love…..for whatever reason that maybe. He said I didn’t believe in him and that couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

        Relationships are a two way street. We all feel unloved and unaccepted or misunderstood at times…..of course we know an affair is not the answer. Please please do not be to harsh with yourself. Look at the other relationships in your life….are you caring and accepting?? Like I said you do show an awful lot of caring to all of us on this site.

        Take care

        • Hopeful

          TFW and SI,

          I agree with SI. It is easy to go back and look for understanding. I know my husband has admitted he looked at me as the nag and all those things. But he was looking for a way to not look at me in a favorable light. If he thought I was amazing then he would have been an even bigger jerk for what he was doing. By turning me into the bad one in the marriage it made it easier for him to justify his escaping to the affairs. I have not changed how I treat him at all and he has never been happier. What has changed is how he is engaged in our marriage. No it is not perfect and I can get on him for different things. But he has a new perspective now.

        • Rachel

          Great comment Shifting Impressions.
          We as the BS seem to take the blame. Your words are so true.
          I felt unloved, unimportant. I tried like hell for him to notice me. Nothing worked.
          I’m the one who should have had the affair!!!!
          Those narcissist should be on their own island. My ex will be the president.

          • Hale

            I believe they are looking for acceptance of being an idiot. I was not accepting the bad decisions my husband was making for his business or our family. No one who genuinely loved him thought he was making good decisions or doing business with good people. Enter the mow who told him he was awesome. That having sex with her didn’t make him a bad person at all! So for sure she was non judgemental and accepting. But his failures benefitted her. She accepted him not being with his family, lying to his wife. She accepted the lies he told her. She mirrored back everything he said and made him feel like she really got him. None of it was real. Being accepted for acting like a complete heel lost its charm. He was in the sewer and like attracted like. The light shown down there and the rats scurried away. He thought he was using her, she was actually using him just as much.

      • Down but not out

        TFW This is an interesting observation. My wife left me out of her guilt and shame after I started putting pressure on her about her devious behaviour. We’ve been separated for 7 months now and have only met twice during her lunch break. Both have been very recently and we are starting to communicate with each other but she is still very avoidant.

        On a phone call this week she mentioned that she felt controlled by me. She knew that that was not what I was doing, but that didn’t change the fact that that is what she felt. And this is, in my opinion, one of the major factors that led her to have the affair. We had a very hectic way of life and we were struggling to keep things together, but we were madly in love with each other and were strong as a couple. But obviously there was something else she needed and wasn’t getting from me. I became the problem-solver and stopped listening to her to understand her emotions. I fixed the issues, instead of just allowing her to express herself.

        Its not an excuse. There is nothing that will ever justify an affair. Betrayal is betrayal. But understanding what she was going through does change my mental picture of her and her actions.

        She moved in with him a month after I moved out, but can’t be honest with me about them being together. She has finally admitted to cheating on me. But that’s where it stopped. The lies about the reality of the situation are so much more painful and damaging than the actual truth itself. Because I do want to save my relationship, and she admitted to me when we met up that there is potential, but we can never move forward if we are living a lie. And it does feel very unfair that as the betrayed, I need to comfort her in order to attain any sort of healthy progress. That my issues are to be neglected. That is a very bitter pill to swallow. I’m not sure how long it will take until we can actually start talking about my hurts. For now, reconciliation still feels like it’s a long way away. But she is the one that I want to spend my life with, so this is the journey I must walk. I just wish I was able to handle the highs and lows better. Because the lows destroy me very quickly.

    • Doug

      Thanks for the comments everyone.

      What I run into most often with ex-CS and BS who describe their situations to me, is that there are 2 main general factors typically at play in the relationship several months post D-day (assuming the affair is over) that seem to keep couples stuck: avoidance and ineffective communication. And usually these issues were problematic to an extent within the marriage prior to the affair as well.

      Avoidance encompasses a whole myriad of things from not wanting (or refusing) to talk about the affair, to not doing the work at figuring out the real reasons behind their actions, to hesitancy in being vulnerable, to sweeping things under the rug, to reluctance enforcing boundaries and consequences – and everything in between. It’s often driven by some sort of fear…

      “Gee, if I tell the honest truth about my affair, my spouse is going to leave me.” Or, “I’m afraid that if I demand things from my CS, he/she is going to run back to the other person.”

      Ineffective communication is often reflected with the typical scenarios I describe in this post – as well as many others. I cannot honestly remember a case where the person(s) I was dealing with didn’t admit that there were some sort of communication issues at play that caused problems in some fashion during their healing and recovery process.

      On paper, it seems so easy to apply a logical problem solving perspective to overcome these issues: Discover and acknowledge the trouble points. Then create a plan to improve/fix/eliminate those points. Work the plan. Monitor progress and make adjustments as necessary.

      Of course we all know it’s not that simple. It takes work, time, a little give and take, and it’s tough, painful, emotional and frustrating.

      • Shifting Impressions

        All so true….actually a monumental amount of give and take. To me at this stage (three years in) the lack of complete honesty and deflecting make it so much harder than they need to be.

        • Doug

          Lack of complete honesty and deflecting with respect to the affair, or just about your relationship stuff in general?

          • Shifting Impressions

            Interesting question, Doug. Mostly about the affair, I think.

            My husband is that nice guy that everyone likes, and in the past was often out of touch with his own needs. Since the affair he has really been working on that. Realizing that he needs to communicate what he wants an not just “people please”. This is in all of his relationships.

            So, I guess the answer is about the affair. There were actually two EA’s. One over fifteen years ago that I discovered almost a year after the first d-day (three years ago.) Getting him to talk about that first one has almost been like pulling teeth. (It was so long ago etc. etc…..)

            I have really backed off and tried to keep calm when we do discuss……but as we all know it is a long arduous process. There is real remorse and we work hard at not doing further damage. I just think if the BS knew the damage they do by withholding info etc. they might think twice about behaving that way. Once you have been lied to by the person you love the thought that perhaps they are still lying about even the smallest details becomes a huge road block.

            That was rather a long winded answer….sorry. Once I get going on this subject, it’s hard to stop.

            • Hopeful

              I struggle with non affair but marriage related issues where I feel like my husband is not totally transparent. He will say I was going to tell you. He will say it is different. But none of it feels different. And yes for me the trickle truth made all of this hard. Two ddays made trust that much farther away. It feels so hard to go there. And he feels great about us. He just does not understand that damage he did.

            • TheFirstWife

              Hopeful. I hear you. The CS thinks they can say “sorry” and it’s over. We forget. We move on.

              Well “sorry” it doesn’t work like that!

              I ever got an apology for his first EA and he refused to admit it even occurred.

              Now he is dirty for it all but I sit here just not feeling it. Csnt put my finger on it. I know it is me but not sure why I am feeling “off” right now. Everything is really fine – no complaints.

              Just feeling bothered having to live with affair fall out all the time. I mentally torture myself and I over analyze everything.

              Never did that before. Making myself crazy

            • Hopeful

              TFW, I feel like that a lot of the time also. I think this current political climate, social media, tv, movies does not help me. I feel like we cannot find a show, movie, book or anything it does not come up. It does not bother my husband like it bothers me. He is able to watch the debates and the coverage no problem. Me I have to leave the room. It makes me sick.

              I feel like for my husband it is his coping mechanism saying sorry or feeling like we have talked about it and are done with it. I just feel like it is present in every single day of my life. It is intertwined in my life choices, memories, celebrations and every single aspect of my life. I wish I could erase it and start over. He just has this way about him that allows him to look back and only see the good. i am an optimistic person and always have been. But this is like a dark cloud that overshadows the good in my life. I do see the good aspects of what I have but it is hard to persevere.

            • antiskank

              I feel so bad that you are doubting yourself and feeling unsure. You have been so much help to me any everyone else on here. I know I can always count on smart, well considered, logical advice from you!

              You are an amazing woman and in no way to blame for your H’s affairs.He is so lucky to be given another chance by you! There are no “if only” answers, we can only move forward and try to do better for ourselves in future.

              One of my H’s complaints was that I never nagged him. I would tell him what I expected or needed done once and the rest was up tp him. He felt if I had nagged him that he would get a lot more done!

              I know what you mean about living with the fallout. It never goes away, it follows you like a dark shadow no matter where you are or what you are doing. It is so disheartening to think that it will always be there and I will never get beyond it.

              I am finding that as more time goes by and our relationship isn’t where it shoudl be that it becomes harder to deal with and brings up doubts and questions. As many have said, there is little support at this point. The friends that know just expect that I should have it resolved by now and be over it. They just don;t get it!

              I love the slapping idea too! I have felt that way several times!! Glad I’m not the only one, lol… Of course that alternates with wanting to hug him when he has done something good!

            • Shifting Impressions

              Hopeful Anti TFW

              Sounds like we have a lot in common. TFW we hear you and believe us when we say we appreciate how you are aways ready with support and advice

              I have been mulling this over all morning….the thing is despite all our spunk and bravado……and everything we have done to overcome counseling, reading etc etc. our hearts were broken. Even though things might be going fairly well there is a barrier that we have to overcome. We are being asked to give our hearts back to the very person that broke it in the first place. The betrayed spouse has to be vulnerable and honest about the affair……but we have to be vulnerable to the one that shattered us. I know slowly this is what needs to happen to move ahead but I don’t know if I’ll get there. So much courage is required.

            • Hopeful

              All of these posts are so right. And it is comforting to have others to relate to. My therapist said even though our progress is amazing not to be too hard on myself or my expectations. He said since there was at least 10 years of damage that I have to take that into account. I am so thankful for all of you and my great therapist. It makes all of this manageable.

            • blueskyabove

              I’m not someone who tries to lure people to another website, and I don’t mean any disrespect toward Linda and Doug, but sometimes a change of perspective can make a difference in people’s lives. For those of you who have been living with an intimate betrayal for a few years and are feeling ‘stuck’ and looking for help I would like to recommend a young married couple who have a blog dealing with life. As they say: “The goal of this blog is to give you the tools to identify and transform the limiting beliefs that keep you stuck…to help YOU think better, feel better, and live better.” Their names are Marc and Angel Chernoff and they’re from Austin, TX. Marc likes to include quotes from his grandmother. One of my personal favorites is:

              “An entire body of water the size of the Pacific Ocean can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, all the negativity in the world can’t bring you down unless you allow it to get inside your head.”

              To see if this might be something you are interested in reading, I have included a few brief examples of their work. (These are not in their entirety.) Bare in mind they don’t focus on infidelity, they focus on helping the individual be their best in all situations.

              3 Sexy Character Traits of Happy People
              1-Consistent Self-Responsibility
              They believe their own happiness is a byproduct of their own thinking, beliefs, attitudes, character and behavior.

              2-True (and Humble) Self-Confidence
              Happy people have faith in themselves and in their ability to develop the skills and qualities needed to become highly competent at living life well.

              Self-accepting people look their weaknesses square in the eye, accept them as they are, then go to work growing and improving and transforming them into strengths.

              And also,

              Let the opinions of others inform you… don’t let them limit you.  Don’t let anyone’s ignorance, hate, drama or negativity stop you from being the best person you can be. 

              I first found this site from a betrayed spouse on another site that dealt with affairs. I remember many days, weeks, etc. of feeling stuck. It’s helped me a lot. I seem to need reminders of how I/myself want to live.


    • Sam

      The other day when I got back from going out and when I came back there were lots of packages on our back garden (yard) that were open and I found a false purple nail on the ground… I was sure it was one of my dad’s stupid mistresses, so I called him – and he called me a liar and said I was stupid. I said some evil things about the mistress (which I won’t say on here), and he didn’t even defend her – I fact whenever anyone says disrespectful things about her behind her back he never ever defends her: why? I had been texting ‘the’ other number that he had been texting during 1am in the morning (that isn’t her’s), I asked the mystery number who it was and they said that it used to be their husband’s phone, and he had gotten it from a woman before who she doesn’t know, (which I am still waiting for a reply…). During our blazing he told me to stop “playing detective”… who obiously the secert number has contacted him… he threatened me to get his friends on me (…which is laughable since all of his ‘REAL’ friends have disowned him). During our argument I said she will probably bleed him dry, cheat and leave him for another man (preferably his best friend, who apparently she is very close too). I have since deleted and blocked both his + her numbers…. so therefore I am not temped to call or text them when I feel angry or sad. I was in a takeaway place today and I am sure it was [HER] who was working behind the counter serving. She appeared to be avoident with her, and let the other person serve me – is she ashamed??? Now she has uploaded a photo to her Facebook of him and her kissing, however it doesn’t look very convincing on his part – like he’s NOT that into it TBH, and it looks completely forced by him. – I hope his is truely unhappy with her….
      she doesn’t know she’s dealling with a Full-Blown Narcissist; which he is covering his controlling traits at the moment, but his bitterness and recentment will come out with her eventually.

      Recently I was reading an article about ‘Limerance Affair Relationships” and the data and supposed facts are quite intreasting.

    • TryingHard

      I don’t care who you are dealing with. It’s all in your approach and of course the old adage “you catch more flies by honey than vinegar” right? This approach is always more constructive and relationship building.

      Yeah easier said than done when your hairs on fire and about the most coherent thing you can get out is WTF!?!? It takes time to get here and I advocate NOT being controlled and nice and cooperative at first. They need to know you’re pissed, beyond pissed. Conceding and cooperation is not in your best interest. It’s best if the cheater knows right from the start what they are about to lose or gain by coming clean. The BS can try to force it but it may or may not work. But what doesn’t work is allowing the status quo. It does not miraculously go seaway and no one moves on. Demand the answers YOU need. If they are not forthcoming then sometimes it’s time for plan B

      Once you’ve gotten reasonable dialog, then and only then can you both progress to renewal and reconciliation. But first all affair questions need to be answered

      • Hopeful

        I feel like what is hard is I was genuine and open for the years. I asked the questions and worked hard at the marriage. I have been the same person for 20+ years, genuine, honest, hard working. I am an upbeat, dedicated, optimistic person in all aspects of my life. I love fitness and cooking. I have always been a hard work and responsible with money. My kids are great kids that have been taught to do well in school and be responsible and respectful. Not every minute is everything perfect but I am struggling with the fact that how is it that I could hold it all together and do everything the right way and it still didn’t matter. All I can think is some of the best most famous most gorgeous, most talented people in the world are cheated on. In the end it is all on him. He knows this. And he owns it. But it is hard for me to get over. My husband has made an amazing transformation but it just feels too good to be true. I feel like I am doing nothing different. I do see our relationship as different since he is acting differently so the dynamic has changed. But in the end can he ever be the changed man he needs to be for me to accept him and that I deserve?

        • TheFirstWife

          Hopeful. Great thoughts. I am in the same boat as you at the same time.

          Yes my H has made changes. Yes he is trying to undo the past.

          But now I am struggling.

          I am wondering will he do this again?

          I fear the humiliation another (third) affair will have.

          I torture myself every day with why did this happen?

          I over analyze our interaction – is he upset about this or does he think I meant something I didn’t?

          What more could he have wanted? Pretty much the fin loving honest hard working person he married. Raised good kids. Don’t waste $ etc.

          I also wonder HOW I could have been married to someone who thought our marriage was not good and I am thinking it is really good? What the hell?!!

          And I now wonder what will happen when the day comes when he quits trying and gives up and just leaves out of sheer frustration with it all.

          And I sm just angry that he betrayed me. He complained he took me for granted. Good – he Didn’t abuse me but I was happy he knew I would always be there for him. He could count on me.

          I felt we were a great team.

          Until we weren’t (in his eyes).

          I am not sure what else he could possibly need or want. He had a great life – very little tension between us, a wife who accepted him as he was, ability to play golf almost whenever he wanted, a good family, a nice place to live and people who loved him.

          What was missing???

          I just dont get it.

    • Hopeful


      Ditto!! I feel like I am grieving a death but there is never closure. It is a vicious circle or like Groundhog Day over and over. I feel like I keep going through stages and just repeating it all. I feel like if I let my guard down and become vulnerable again I will end up in the end feeling naive. It feels as if I do not question everything then I will get burned. I was the major reason for his academic and career success, I was the one that created this great family life he could be proud of and brag about, I was always there for him. All of it hurts so bad and the future seems like a joke to me most of the time. He talks about our future together affectionately and I think really.

      • TheFirstWife

        Yup I hear you. I don’t even think my fabulous therapist has any answers for this one.

        I just wish I could hit the reset button.

        Thank you Hopeful. I know you completely understand this.

        It helps to have someone to commiserate with on this.

        • Shifting Impressions

          TFW and Hopeful
          The roller coaster ride is all too familiar to me as well. It helps when I hear about your struggles…..I am not alone and that helps. I believe that so much of the battle goes on inside ourselves.

          There was a huge breakthrough with my husband the other day…..something I have been waiting and waiting for. But the following day I fell apart. Go figure.

      • Jen

        Same. My husband keeps talking about the great retirement we will have together. Every time he brings it up, I just say something noncommittal, like “do you think so?” I have not agreed to participate in any of his retirement plans.

    • Rachel

      The First Wife,
      I hope that you understand that it’s not you, it’s your husband. It’s too bad that at these situations make us believe it’s something that we did.
      I hope your husband opens his eyes soon and realize what he has before it’s too late. Sometimes they don’t understand until it’s too late.
      Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Your husband should feel that he is blessed with someone like you in his life.
      Stay strong.

      • TheFirstWife

        Thank you Rachel. He does feel lucky we are still together and he is doing everything possible to turn this around.

        It is me who feels this way and he is trying to help me but I just cannot shake off the feelings I have.

        I think deep down I am just resentful & angry he tossed me aside and was ready to divorce me (2x) over an affair that “meant nothing” to him.

    • Rachel

      The first wife,
      I can completely understand how you feel. I ask this question daily of my ex who emailed me again today asking me to go for a drink with him tonight. Now he shows me attention?? I wanted this attention while we were married but he gave it to any other women that he could find!
      I keep reading don’t over think. I am definitely an over thinker.
      It is so hard to understand. Just breathe easy, and take some time for you.
      Have a good day!

      • TheFirstWife

        Thank you!! My biggest problem is I over analyze everything now. It makes me crazy!!!

        I need to stop and breathe. ?

    • Hopeful

      My husband brought up that he is concerned that since we have kept this between the two of us I am feeling the way he did during the “affair years”. The entire process of keeping it a secret. He feels it is taking a toll on me. He feels like I might benefit from telling friends and family. I would receive empathy and understanding from them. I would not feel alone. There is some merit to what he says but I also think disclosing it is no guarantee it will go was we need it to of feel it should. There is no way to predict how friends will handle it or how it will affect those relationships. And with our family my parents would not handle it well. His family I think would be shocked and it would take a toll on them. I think it would damage many relationships. And we would need to tell our kids. I am just not in favor of that if we are committed to staying in this marriage. We have always been open about challenges in any relationship and that life and relationships are not always perfect.

      So I sit with this thought of is my difficulty at this point (19 months) due to the secrecy. Hmmm. I do know he has wanted to mention something to his friends and supposedly has not, he has changed his behavior with them. He has cut back on going out and has planned no new guys trips except 1 night here or there. This is a huge change. His friends have cancelled and put off trips to include him and he is still saying no unless they are couples trips. But his friends do not want to bring their wives. So I wonder then if some of this wanting to not keep the secret is for his benefit. I have told him if he tells anyone and our kids find out through someone else it will not be good. There are some serious discussions we need to have which he has not made time for yet.

    • Carol

      My H and I discussed the 2 “subtle shifts” this morning as we still struggle with major marital problems 6 years after I learned of his multiple affairs (1 lasting 9 years) throughout our 30+ year marriage. He wanted to know exactly what Doug did – I said “He asked his wife what she really needed – a roadmap to her heart”. He said “Well, what do you need? What’s the roadmap to your heart?” I gently reminded him that I had given it to him- a written list of all the ways he could really help- including Doug’s list of 24 ways to help- numerous times. Each time, he managed to ‘lose’ the list- or do one or two things, then ignore it. His face clouded with anger. “Oh. So you want me to READ,” he said sarcastically. It’s ironic that I have him an exact roadmap to my heart, and he ignored it, just as he ignored our GPS last weekend (“it’s wrong!!”) and proceeded to drive 22 miles in the wrong direction! I have decided to stay in the marriage (unless he deceives me again) but still struggle to accept the fact that our relationship will always be strained. Sad.

    • Recovered

      When I told my H how upset I was about him being in touch with his ex, and them flirting with each other, he raged about my small-mindedness, emotional immaturity and went on to find fault with my housekeeping skills (I am bad at that I know), my relationship with my father (I am close to him, and I believe all girls are close to daddy) and in general made me feel like I am a schmuck. It took me a year to believe that I am not a schmuck. The EA ended right then, but I have closed my emotional part down from his eyes now. I never communicate my feelings with him because of the three hour yelling I endured that day.

      I still hurt very badly (It has been 1.5 years since D day) because of all his yelling. Now he is very very (in fact too much so) overtly affectionate towards me – does romantic things – hugs me all the time, gives me compliments, etc., but they do NOTHING to me anymore. I stop myself from rolling my eyes overtime he does something nice, because words once spoken cannot be taken back.

    • Barbara

      I told my husband that, in order to make me happy and fix our marriage, he had to treat me the way he treated her.
      Example: put me first, have more sex with me, talk to me as he talked to her everyday for 1 year when he wasn’t with her, for over 1 hour per call, take me on business trips, take me to nice restaurants, take me for cocktails, do every and anything to be with me (driving 50 miles to have sex with her, then 50 miles back in one night). I could go on!
      But he never could. After years, decades, he never could.

    • Seenthelight

      Though my husband could figure out how to manipulate me rather than be honest about his cheating for more than 24 years, he was unable to do the things I specifically asked of him to help me through recovery after decades of lying. The few things he was willing to do didn’t come immediately, he did whatever, whenever. A year and a half of lack of interest on his part was enough for me to get the picture. So, it doesn’t always do any good to tell the cheater what you need or want from them.They can say they want to repair the marriage til the day they die, but when there is little or no action, never mind no sense of immediacy in their actions there is no use for the betrayed to try. It’s time to move on, as I did at a year and a half after discovery.

      • Dedelight4

        This is a good article. After D-day, my husband just wanted it to “go away”, and not talk about it any more. He kept saying “It’s OVER, just let it go”, and that was it. He said a quick “I’m sorry”, and “I wish it never happened”. That was it. He wouldn’t talk about it any more.
        It put the ENTIRE responsibility of healing on my shoulders. When I had times of feeling insecure, and unsure of everything, I couldn’t get any reassurance or help, or communication from him at all. I KNOW he felt bad and ashamed, but NEVER letting me bring it up again was even more hurtful than the original betrayal, which was lasted over 4 yrs. We’ve been married over 35 yrs.
        The silence from him was just as deafening and hurtful as the affair. And, it had a major negative affect on me. Sadly, I turned into someone that I don’t even recognize any more.
        When the questions aren’t answered, and there’s no “talking out” of very important feelings and such, I just didn’t know where I stood as his wife, OR his friend. I was lost, because he put ALL the “healing” on my shoulders to deal with it. Just saying “It will never happen again”, is not a reassuring thing to live with, when that’s all I got.
        I needed to hear good, positive and loving messages, (which I didn’t get) reasons why he wanted to stay married, and why he wanted ME. I even told him (rationally) that if he didn’t love me, he was free to leave and go his own way. But, I wanted and NEEDED the truth from then on.
        My self esteem disintegrated. I wasn’t ever a “nagging” or bitchy wife. That’s what also puzzled me, about WHY he turned to someone else. She was MUCH younger than us, and was even younger than our daughters. The OW really chased after him, which I DID see, and at a weak point, he gave in. It really fed his ego and made him feel like a college kid all over again.
        BUT, loved him, showed him love, and kindness, and helped him as much as I could in his business AND in life. The affair about broke me in half, which also then shamed me. I felt SO “weak” and ashamed for wanting him to love me more, and to SHOW me that. But, no questions getting answered……just WHY? I don’t think I will ever know.
        The past 2 years, I pulled away from him emotionally, and I know he feels it. But, I had to. Even after 15+ years, I’m not the person I used to be. I used to be bubbly, happy and showed my husband and family a lot of love. It’s harder to do that now.
        At times I feel like a husk, dried up and withered, and lonely.
        The past year my husband has been trying VERY hard to be a good husband, and doing LOTS of nice things for me, but it’s ME that’s having the hard time now, being reciprocal. I don’t feel the same, or feel much of anything.
        Now, I REALLY don’t know what to do. It’s very hard to understand.

        • StillSoSad

          I feel exactly the same! 4 years out and I’ve never gotten questions answered…was not allowed to talk about it, etc.
          Staying for the kids… can’t and won’t do this forever. There is nothing TRUE about us any longer.
          Still so sad and still grieving my marriage…but closer every day to the end. Where else can it end up…unless you want to feel like 2nd place for the rest of your life.
          Nope! I’m number 1 or I’m none!
          I’ll be number 1 to myself instead of living the rest of my life wondering who I am to this man.

        • Shifting Impressions

          Betrayal does break one deep inside……there is no shame in that. My heart goes out to you. You sound like someone who has no voice in this relationship….correct me if I am wrong. You have had to push down all your pain and grief all these years. Again I’m just speculating but it’s what I’m sensing from reading your heart wrenching post.

          It’s never too late…..I would be tempted to show him your post and say that he needs to hear you out. He doesn’t get say it’s not up discussion. I’m not sure if you would be willing to put yourself out there like that. But what do you have to loose…..holding it in is no way to live.

          Have you seen a counselor or had anyone that you could confide in??

    • Kittypone

      Well…..it’s been 4 years after DDay for me and my h lack of “throwing himself into it” with our recovery and rebuilding has resulted in my stopping loving him. I no longer care If he does things to rebuild the marriage or not. I no longer feel any kind of feelings toward him. I feel this low grade “humming” of irritation whenever he’s around me. I have started going to bed earlier and earlier just to not be sitting in the same couch as him. I no longer cook dinner and I no longer care to go out on a date with him. I simply DON’T CARE ANYMORE. Several months after DDay, I was paranoid trying to get his passwords to his devices (he never has given me access to them, claiming it’s his right to privacy) and it’s been a couple of YEARS since I have bothered to try to find anything in his phone…….one of the biggest issues for me was whenever I found out he had befriended an unknown woman on Facebook and even Messengering her, that would make me blow up nuclear time and he STILL couldn’t understand how that was such a boundary break, considering that his affair with the harlot started EXACTLY that way!!! A few weeks ago, I caught him AGAIN being friends with a Miss Universe look-alike and he said that she is part of a “coffee lovers group” on Facebook so he figured it was ok to personally friend her from there; he even tagged her in a video he had made where he tagged me and other family members…..like, WTH?!?! Who the hell is this woman that you feel she can be part of something only your family is tagged in??? This is where he ended up killing whatever speck of feelings I might’ve still had for him: HE MESSAGED HER THAT HE WAS HAVING TO UNFRIEND HER BECAUSE *I* WAS GIVING HIM A HARD TIME ABOUT HER……who the hell advertises to the person that they are about to be unfriended?!?!? 90% of the time people don’t even NOTICE they have been unfriended!!! Anyways, after a session with my therapist, h asks me how it went and I said it went good and bad. He asks how and I said “good because I can see clearly what needs to get done and bad because I don’t like what I see”. I said to him that I am throwing the towel in, that if he can’t respect my boundaries and I have to make a freaking melodrama about him friending strange women in Facebook and he STILL can’t hear me, then I am done trying to be heard. Go ahead, talk to whoever the gel you want, I no longer care. Go back to the harlot if you want, I am DONE with you and no longer will move a finger to rebuild this relationship. Work on it if you want, I know that *I* no longer care. I even went online looking how to file for divorce and filled out paperwork (that I haven’t turned in yet) but I believe that this marriage that I fought so hard for the last 4 years is in life support and I am very likely to pull the plug on it sooner rather than later. I appreciate all of you people for your experiences, advice and insight; it shed light on my very dark journey, but I think that my marriage couldn’t survive being worked on just by myself and very little involvement from my h. I love you all and wish you the best. THANK YOU SARAH P. you truly were a life saving raft in my ocean of despair and I couldn’t have made it this far without your wise intervention! Doug and Linda, this site was what kept me from attempting suicide because of all the wisdom you imparted. You will always have a blessing from my heart.

    • Val

      I read a great post from Doug last year, around June. It had a great cartoonist illustration and I am trying to find it. It went like this: two rocks at the beach, and the male rock tells his wife that he is leaving her for Violet ( a shining plastic piece) two people come along and throw ” Violet in the water…. it ends with the two rocks alone in the end. Does anyone knows which article contains that cartoon strip? It had such a great impact on how I preceived affairs.

      • Doug

        Hi Val, Thanks for your comment. For the life of me I cannot recall the article you’re referring to. Can you remember any key words in the title or content so that I can do a search for you? Thanks!

    • Jennet

      I feel so much like you all don’t know who I am anymore!! I used to be confident ,happy but not now.i feel like a shadow of my former self I’m insecure uncertain, emotional and so very sad. I feel I’ve lost my best friend,my lover, my other half and it breaks my heart every day.i thought we were beginning to make progress slowly after DD which was 22months ago. But today I finally got the truth about when the affair ended I needed to know.it was another 7 months after he told me it had finished. All my instincts were telling me during that period he was lying but he kept telling me it had finished and would get angry every time I asked .now I.know I wasn’t going crazy or paranoid so I’m not sure how I feel about him. Maybe I’ve lost respect for him because of the lies. I want our marriage to work but I can’t do it on my own. I think he will need to do a bit more than 2 subtle shifts to get this mess back on track. We’ve agreed to tell each other if we are having a bad day ,talk about it if we feel.like it or just accept it for what it is ‘a bad day,” after 52 years together I never ever believed he would hurt me this way but now I doubt so much I’m finding it very difficult to stay positive.it will probably take a few days for me to process this new information. Somedays I just wonder Who Is This Person I’ve been with for so long.
      Truly don’t know anymore.
      I’m going away for a week on my own to recharge my batteries its all so exhausting-!!one thing that does keep me going in my darkest days is that she will never have what I have and that’s my beautiful family, my many happy memories. All she had was an old man that thought he was 20 again stupid old fool.all this damage done for an ego trip.
      Thank-you all for being there for each other and good luck to you all in this truly horrendous time.

    • Malisa

      I am CS and my husband is hurting and I don’t know what to do. I amntrying to be supportive and loving but he keeps telling me my love doesn’t matter and he doesn’t believe it. I think he wants me to be intimate with him and initiate but he is so hard and so distant from me I wouldn’t even know how. I want to show him love, I don’t know how. I want to help him heal, I don’t know how. He won’t tell me when I ask and I’m crying everyday which just makes things worse. I don’t know what to do, I’m so sorry and I just want my husband’s love.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Hi Malisa
        You don’t say how long it has been since D-day? Is it early days yet?

        • Malisa

          Hi, it’s been 9 months. The affair lasted for just over 2 months and it was mostly emotional as we were only together once. Still, he found out and I ended things immediately knowing I wanted my marriage. I’ve apologized daily. I’ve tried to open and honest about what took place but my memory isn’t perfect so I am called a liar when facts aren’t perfect. Example, originally asked how long and I said a little over a month, actually it was a little over 2 months. Didn’t mean to lie, but he doesn’t believe that. I want to help him, I want out marriage to work and I really have recommitted my marriage to God and him. Just seems to be getting worse not better.

          • Shifting Impressions

            Chances are things will get worse before they get better. I’m not sure if the majority of CS’s really understand the magnitude of devastation they have caused their betrayed partner. I would caution you of minimizing your betrayal by using words such as “just” over two months or we were together “only” once. I’m afraid that once is all it takes.

            As a betrayed spouse I can tell you from experience that the road to recovery is a long hard journey with many ups and downs. Nine months is still very early days. I can list a few things that might be helpful.
            1) Educate yourself about infidelity
            2)Try to answer questions as honestly as possible
            3)Don’t make your pain more important than his…I doubt he will have much if any sympathy for you at this point.
            4)Take full responsibility for your actions…do not shift the blame to your husband
            5)Try to understand for yourself WHY you did this
            6) Try not to hurry the process. Allow your husband time to grieve what was lost. There are no shortcuts. Daily apologies won’t help.

            That’s a lot, I know. I’m glad you came to this site. Hopefully we can be of some help. I don’t know if you like reading but there are plenty of good books out there. The Book WHY DID I CHEAT by Andrew G Marshall is a particularly good book for the CS.

            It’s going to take time. There will be days you want to give up. Baby steps….one day at a time. The trust has been broken….it doesn’t come back easily.

            • Malisa

              Thank you for the advice. I definitely don’t mean to minimize anything. I read through the other comments and it scares me. I don’t want him to stop loving me. I am trying. I really just don’t know what to do. I will get the book, thank you for recommending. I’m trying everything I know to do, reading everything I can. I do try to answer all his questions but when I forget accurately and it really is a forgot then it starts the pain all over again bc he thinks I’m just a liar. I don’t want to or mean to, I remembered wrong. I’d give anything just for a hug from him and to somehow believe we might just be ok. I feel hurt and alone so I can only imagine how he is feeling and I do want to be there for him. I just don’t know how.

          • Shifting Impressions

            My heart goes out to you. It’s just that words like ONLY, JUST or I DON’T REMEMBER are like throwing gasoline on the fire.

            In my own case I was in shock….the pain was overwhelming. I couldn’t conjure up an ounce of sympathy or understanding for my CS. It’s been almost ten years since d-day and we are still together and we are in really good place with each other. Even though I have come to a place of understanding I have no sympathy …..I’m being really honest here.

            Do you have any support? A Counselor or perhaps a close friend. Would it help to share your story? Affairs are like weapons of mass destruction!!! Putting the pieces back together is a difficult journey. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I hope you get some support.

            I’m hoping that Andrew Marshall’s book will be of great help to you. It won’t be an easy read but he really has a way of getting to the heart of things.

            Take care Malisa….we are here for you

            • Malisa

              Thank you so much! I am trying to learn all I can and I need to hear it straight. I have a counselor but I can only afford once a month. I feel like all I do is cry to my friends and I’m trying nit to be a burden to them. I feel really stupid most of the time bc my brain really had blocked so much out. This makes it that much harder bc when he asks for details and I miss some then it is like I am lying. I don’t know why my brain is doing this and I really am wanting to be honest. He gets really angry and rightly so, but I am trying. He really is the love of my life and I hate that it took all this for me to wake up and realize that. Now I might lose him but I know I deserve that.

          • Shifting Impressions

            Hang in there…..it’s a long hard journey for both of you. Recovery is possible but there just aren’t any shortcuts.

            Dig deep and and try to figure out how you got to this place. Be as honest and transparent as you can. Be honest with yourself. Don’t try to hurry the process.

            • Malisa

              I was open and honest and he has now blocked me and deleted every memory we had. I’m trusting God for a miracle and would appreciate prayer.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Ah…that is hard. Something I learned during journey is that we have absolutely no control over our partner’s actions or reactions. But we have control over our own actions…..and there is power in that. We can’t make anyone stay with us or come back to us.

        IF you can, try switching the focus on your own life. Work at being the best version of you. Take care of you.

        Would you care to share a bit more about yourself and your story? How long have you been married. Do the two of you have children?

        Take care and yes, you are in my prayers

        • Malisa

          It’s been a rough few days and my husband and I are considering a post nuptial. He wants me to delete any male friends I have and I am not to have any in the future either. I 100% ACCEPT! I really do love him and as I learn more about the hurt I have caused it is devastating.
          We met on match and 13 days later we were married. My parents did not approve even though this is my 2nd marriage. They were hurt for being left out and that caused some drama in the beginning. We lived in different cities, 2 hours apart and we have kids. The plan was for him and his kids to move to my city but the kids didn’t want to and that caused custody issues with his ex. We traveled a lot to see each other and when he did move he was miserable. A couple years went by and his aunt who he loved dearly passed and that is when things really changed. He had to move. He told me I could stay if I wanted but he was moving out of the state. Moving meant my kids would no longer be mine as I would lose custody. It was horrible and I was broken. I moved. I cried…a lot. He was excited about a new place, new career and I had lost everything. Rough times for sure. He got a new friend who wasn’t a good influence and now I questioned everything. Let me now state that nothing he did justified my actions whatsoever. I was wrong. The affair started and ended and I tried to hide it. However, he found out and here we are. Trying to pick up the pieces. I respect him so much for not telling the world what horrible thing I did. I love him and value him more now than I ever even thought possible. Conversations are hard and I would love for him to just know my heart and us live happily ever after. But this is real, his feeling are real, the hurt I caused is real and I really am committed to my marriage.
          That’s our story. Praying it does have a happy ending.

          • Shifting Impressions

            Picking up the pieces is never easy, that’s for sure. I hope it works out for you.

    • Jennet

      Hi everyone, I’ve just read my post of October 2021 how things have changed since then .For the better. We are still together,happy,intimate and content with our life. But it took so much more than 2 subtle shifts get here.
      Many conversations,arguments, the main thing was I changed I stopped being needy, emotional started trusting him again very slowly. Came to the conclusion you can’t control anyone else only yourself. I got fit I walked miles everyday lost weight as a bonus. Went out with my girlfriends much more ,did many things on my own to prove to myself that I would be ok if it didn’t work out. I am my old self happy,confident and looking forward instead of constantly looking at the past.
      My advice to you all is look after yourself first and foremost,get information about infidelity and the hell it causes. Try and enjoy yourself in any way that you can.
      Take care as you can see it has taken me three very long years to get to this place of peace which had many ups and downs along the way.
      With love jennet

      • Malisa

        Well Jennett, I’m sure you will be thrilled to know that I have “gotten what I deserve.” If you believe that being physically abused is a justified consequence for betrayal bc according my husband, he is completing justified in hitting, bruising my arm from grabbing it so hard and smacking me in the face so hard I flew to the ground. But again, clearly I deserve that.
        I’m not a bad person. I do EVERYTHING around our home, I cater to his every need, I tell him I love him when he tells me he doesn’t love me.
        He has treated me like and even called me trash for over a year now and I have remained faithful, trustworthy and kind to him.
        Yes I screwed up royally over a year ago, but I don’t believe that justified his behavior since.
        We all have choices. I chose wrong and now he is choosing wrong.
        I didn’t ask for you to respond and I don’t need your judgment. I needed help. I needed support.

    • Jennet

      Hi milisa I can’t say I have much sympathy for you. You knew he was married ,you are married did you think that betraying your husband and his wife was going to work out!! Didnt you think of the consequences of what you were doing was going to have any effect on your relationship with your husband?? I just think you are selfish and delusional if you think everything is going to be ok because that’s what you want.
      Think again you have betrayed your husband in the most horrendous way the trust he had with you has gone probably everything he believed in has gone and now you want him to forget everything that has happened. Sorry to be the person to tell you it’s not going to happen Any time soon.
      Infidelity is the worse possible thing that can happen in any partnership and it takes a long,long time to come to terms with it and whether your husband forgives you or not it is still going to take a lot of time and effort on both sides to get over this. It is not going to happen in months it’s going to take years. In my case it’s taken 3 years of hell to get to the place of peace and none of it was my doing. The choice was always that of the husband/wife not something we wanted in any shape or form.
      i believe it’s a long long road for you to travel and I hope you find peace at the end of it.
      Whether you stay together of not.
      Just don’t expect it to happen overnight just not going to happen

    • Michele

      I would love for my husband to say to me. “Hey, Let’s sit down together and go through my phone/email contacts and I will delete any woman on my contact lists that you think is not respecting you and our marriage. If I receive any gifts from another woman, I will make sure she knows that I’ll be sharing them with my wife, and then I will share them with you. You will know about it and you’ll know what happened when I received it. She will know that I’m protecting you and that it’s now you and I only! I will remain professional and respectable to other women who are not my wife. And never personal and private with them.” Actions do speak louder than your words and I respect people who respect me when I’m not there to hear it or see it. Since I can’t be there to hear it or see it, I need some input on what he’s doing to fix it and protect our marriage. The saddest part is we shouldn’t have to ask this from someone who’s already taken a Vow in front of our family and friends to Forsake all others for. Who you hang out with or get close to does matter.
      Your chances of your own marriage ending in divorce increased by how many of your friends are also divorced. In other words, who you hang out with does influence your marriage’s fate. It’s okay to be supportive of divorced friends, but what you focus on increases. Who are you giving your care and attention to does matter. Your words and actions do have consequences. It’s not your betrayed spouse’s job to fix it. You need to prove that you are of your word and that you are doing everything to fix it. I need my husband to be my Hero, not hers. It’s not his job to protect and serve other women. Unless it’s his wife, mother, or sister.

    • Jennet

      I don’t think anyone deserves abuse of any sort whatever the circumstances. I’m sorry it has happened to you.
      You said you needed help and support.
      What about the help and support the betrayed person needs when you are happy to have the affair. That was your choice I presume everything was wonderful until you were caught out.
      Although physical violence in any circumstances is not acceptable in any way. I don’t know you I am not judging you in any way but I do wonder why you came onto this post did you not think you would get honest comments ??

      • Malisa

        Support, that’s why. Because even the spouse that does the betrayal could have had some serious junk they were dealing with to cause them to do something like that and now as they are dealing with their shame they are also trying to help their spouse recover as well. I own what I did. It was a stupid, shameful choice. I don’t need you telling me how stupid or hurtful it was. Again, my husband dies a Great job doing that every single day.
        I came here for support. Advice. Wisdom.

        Thanks a lot for doing the opposite and causing someone who has been hurting for over a year now to feel even more like a piece of trash…oh yeah, that’s what my husband calls me. You two would probably be great friends!

    • Michele

      There’s a really good book out there that you might find helpful, but I suggest only reading or listening to the audiobook when you’re ready for it. It’s simple but went against my own thinking. So you have to be brave and strong and “empowered” enough to try it. It’s called The Empowered Wife. It gives you some intimacy skills that I’m trying in my own marriage, and they’re working. It might be something to look into. Take care.

      • Desertcactus

        Would you mind sharing how it went against your thinking?
        We are just starting to discuss this in counseling. I know I am not ready yet but I don’t know how BS ever “desire “ the CS again.

        • Michele

          Start with just listening to the podcast “The Empowered Wife”.

    • Jennet

      Malisa maybe someone else can give you advice and wisdom but I can’t.
      From my point of view the BS has enough to deal with the pain and the heartbreak that has been thrown in their face after discovery of the affair. There is no energy left to think or be concerned about the person that has been thrust into their life in the most horrendous way. For me that’s the way it is. So get as mad as you like at me makes no difference to the way I feel about the ‘other woman’

    • Michele

      Cheating is not a mistake, it’s a choice. Cheating takes effort and time, those are choices that YOU made and HE made out of selfishness and disrespect to the unknowing spouse. The golden rule is to treat others how you would want to be treated. A High-Value respectable woman knows how to dismiss advances from a married man with grace, dignity, and respect. She doesn’t choose to disrespect herself, and her reputation, and disrespect his wife for her own selfish needs. Disrespectful married men play games and use other disrespectful women for the same reason. Know your worth so you are not used like this, and stand tall if not for yourself but for his wife and kids. Ignore him, (ghost him) DO NOT let users use you. He’s also an insecure man who needs his ego fed by you to feel his own self-worth. He is not a respectable man. If he does this to his wife, he’ll have no problem doing it to you too. How you meet them is how you lose them. That is not a soul mate that’s a soul taker. He’s broken too and needs to search inside himself not outside himself to fix that.
      You need better coping skills. If hearing the truth makes you feel more guilt and shame, then that’s your sign to get yourself right. Fix it. Stop blaming everyone else and find out why you are doing that. People jump from relationship to relationship like drug addicts in search of a new drug. They use people like a drug. STOP using people to feel good about yourself. You need to focus on taking care of your mental health, apologizing for DISRESPECTING your spouse, and cleaning up your side of the street.

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