Rebuilding a marriage is all about wisdom, discernment, taking positive action, such as prayer, and finally moving on if it becomes clear that the situation will only get worse.

rebuilding a marriageBy Sarah P.

Making this D-Day your last has three key components or considerations. Making this D-Day your last requires activity and honest assessment on your part. I will first discuss the elements that help in rebuilding a marriage after infidelity.

If those don’t work, you can still stay if you choose to. However, there are times when it would be wise to leave and I will address those as well.

Since we cannot control others, we can only do our best to literally do our best. The rest is up to the wayward spouse. But sometimes the wayward is so damaged that it is not wise to stay with him or her.

Finally, as many of you have found out from experience, there is no real full-proof plan to affair proof a marriage if one party is dead-set on committing infidelity.

Effective Strategies and Spiritual Influence in Preventing Infidelity

Still, there are always things you can do to lessen the chance of infidelity occurring again in people who are more or less “normal.”

There have been studies done in the past examining specifically what can be done to optimize your chances of rebuilding a marriage with the wayward spouse by enacting specific behaviors that help deter infidelity.

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In a study in 1988, different mate guarding behaviors were analyzed according to which ones were most effective in deterring infidelity. Jeremy Nicholson from Psychology today notes:

“In the study, Buss focused on perceptions of the effectiveness of each mate guarding behavior. From participants’ rankings, the researcher found that some behaviors were more effective in preventing infidelity than others. Tactics such as emphasizing love and caring, enhancing physical appearance, resource displays (for men), and sexual inducement (for women) appeared to be most effective techniques to keep a mate faithful. In contrast, techniques that were violent, negative, or directly controlling tended to be less effective. Thus, partners were able to keep their mate from cheating primarily by positive inducement – motivating them with various rewards to stay faithful.” (1)

Exploring the Spiritual Dimension in Marriage and Infidelity Prevention

Yet, in another study, the researchers wanted to examine the spiritual dimension of marriage. They wanted to gauge whether or not prayer for one’s spouse could serve as a deterrent for infidelity as well as strengthen the marriage. What is interesting is that they discovered the large role that prayer plays in preventing infidelity.

Several studies were conducted in 2010 that specifically focused on the role that prayer plays in romantic relationships and their findings are quite convincing. Nicholson describes how the studies were performed as well as their outcomes: “In the first study, the authors looked at correlations among a partner’s prayer behavior, relationship satisfaction, and extra-dyadic romantic behavior (cheating). They found that individuals who prayed more, specifically for the well-being of their romantic partner, appeared less likely to cheat. Furthermore, prayer was an even better predictor of fidelity than the individual’s level of satisfaction in the relationship. Thus, even when the relationship was unfulfilling, those who prayed were still less likely to cheat.” (2)

The Power of Prayer and Other Spiritual Practices in Fostering Fidelity

Another study by Fincham in 2010 sought to examine whether or not asking for prayer from one’s partner could reduce cheating behaviors. Results from the study were extremely encouraging and the group that prayed had much better outcomes in terms of reducing thoughts and behaviors associated with infidelity than the participants in other groups in the study. “Through subsequent analysis, the authors found that a feeling of sacredness mediated this effect. In other words, prayer for a partner helped an individual feel that their relationship was more sacred, special, and spiritual. That feeling then reduced their motivation to cheat.” (2)

I encourage you to read the entire article on Psychology Today and you can find the links in the sources section at the end of the article.

This is great news for anyone who believes in the power of prayer. But, what about those who don’t subscribe to a religion but still have an equally valuable and meaningful spiritual life?

There are other ways to create a feeling of sacredness such as meditating together on a positive thought, lighting candles together and asking for protection for your spouse’s well-being, having a weekly gratitude session where you each tell each other about the other’s unique qualities for which you are grateful, or even looking at natural beauty (such as a sunset) together in silence while holding hands.


Rebuilding a Marriage: Positive Things You Can Do In the Wake of an Affair

Even though infidelity can hardly be described as a positive experience, (more like an experience where you would rather shave your tongue daily at 3am and 3pm than go through an affair at the hands of a wayward spouse), there are positive things you can do in the wake of the affair. These suggestions are not for the weak at heart.

Discuss attraction to others.  

I actually know of one couple that put this into practice as a preventive concept. They were the parents of a friend. This couple was enlightened enough to know that just because a wedding ring goes on does not mean attraction to others will end. (Some people have very little problem with seeing a handsome or beautiful person after the ring goes on while others have a crazy-difficult problem when they see an attractive person walk by or at work in their office setting.)

My friend’s parents knew this and it was the husband in the relationship who had more of a problem with this than the wife. So, they agreed that if either one developed a deep attraction for another and felt they were vulnerable to an affair, they would talk about it.

Low and behold the husband of the couple became crazy-attracted to someone at work after he and his wife had been married 25 years. (What’s up with that 25+ year mark?!) Anyhow, thankfully, he did tell his wife and never acted on it.

My friend said it was very hard on his parent’s relationship for a little while, but ultimately they developed a new level of trust because the husband in the couple did NOT act on it. The only problem with this suggestion is if a wayward spouse has a low self-esteem in the first place. He or she may not talk to his partner about external attractions and fall into the arms of the other person. As everyone on this site knows from experience, no plan is full-proof.

Be open about triggers.  

Triggers include triggers for you (the innocent spouse) and for the wayward spouse. As an innocent spouse, your triggers could be anything, so common sense dictates that you figure out what they are and you do your best to avoid them.

For example, is there a chance the other person could be at a Christmas party for work? Then, skip the Christmas party along with your wayward spouse. Seeing the other person would be a trigger for both of you.

Triggers for the wayward spouse can be defined as anything that might weaken him or her enough to go back to the other person. It is best to change departments if the wayward spouse and other person work at the same place, block all phone numbers from the other person, take a different route home, no longer eat at restaurants where the wayward spouse took the other person, throw out gifts from the other person, delete all emails, photos, and texts from the other person.

Once again, both spouses need to be active participants in identifying and avoiding triggers. If the wayward spouse half-heartedly enacts these behaviors or does not enact them at all, then there will be a BIG problem.

Create a vision for your marriage and your future.  

Creating a marriage vision is kind of like creating a bucket list, only the marriage vision includes things you wish to do as a couple both in the now and in the future. Items can be taken from your buckets lists but must be activities you can do together.

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A marriage vision could also include things like weekly date nights, practical things that can be done to improve your marriage such as more snuggling, more home cooking, more alone time (if you need that.)

Rediscover a good sex life.   

Allow me to preface this section with the idea that sex and affairs are two different things. Affairs are generally not about sex, even if they include it. Also, a lack of sex does not excuse an affair. As always, an affair is a choice that a wayward spouse makes and the wayward spouse cannot have an excuse for his or her affair. There are no excuses.

Sex is a type of communication that is unique to marriage. Marital sex is a sacred bond and when that bond has been breached, it makes a sexual relationship extremely tricky. A sexual relationship needs to be re-established in its own time and rebuilt along with the marriage. Sex involves trust and when trust has been breached it colors everything in life, especially sexuality. Don’t allow a wayward spouse to rush you into a sexual relationship and start from scratch if you wish.

Adapting Intimacy: Cultivating a Fulfilling Sex Life at Every Stage

Having said that, having a good sex life is absolutely essential to a good marriage. Having a good sex life also has a broad definition. It can range from including kissing and snuggling to trying new things together. Having a good sex life is all about nurturing touch and physical communication. It does not have to involve penetration and can be as simple as having positive, physical communication.

A good sex life is also defined by one’s stage in life and one’s desires. A couple in their 60’s will likely have different needs as opposed to a couple in their 20’s. This, this relationship needs to be re-negotiated with age, stage in life, and other influences.

Cultivate a particular kind of sexuality that is specific to your marriage and remember that compromise is key. It is wise for the partner with the lower libido to try to compromise with the partner with a higher libido. (But, if you don’t compromise, this does not excuse a partner having an affair.)

Sex is ultimately about sharing, communication, nurturing touch, and loving one another. I strongly encourage you to cultivate a new sex life on your terms, when you are ready.

Make time for meaningful conversation.  

This one is self-explanatory. Really get to know each other and allow the wayward spouse to talk while cultivating an air of acceptance. Try to be as non-judgmental as possible and try to get to the bottom of irritability.

You can even have meaningful conversation about the affair because you can get to the bottom of what makes your spouse tick. Of course, this first involves your spouse having to have enough insight about his/her own behavior as well as enough courage to let you in. Try to achieve a type of zen-master vibe during important conversations.

For men, the best thing they can do for their wives is to listen carefully and ask open-ended questions without trying to fix anything. Us women mostly need someone to hear us and we like to feel heard. Therefore, saying “uh huh” from behind your laptop and not making contact with your wife won’t cut it. It’s time to really listen to her, complaints and all.

Take a marriage seminar in a non-denominational setting.  

I love marriage seminars. There are many ones to take that are religious in nature, both for Christians and Jews. But, there are also great marriage seminars without a religious agenda.

I remember listening to a story where a man thought he could hide his affairs indefinitely. He and his wife ended up taking a marriage seminar and that was the beginning of the man’s repentance as well as the beginning of their “real” marriage. One cannot have a real marriage while maintaining an affair. In Matthew 6:24 the Bible instructs us not to serve two masters:

No one can serve two masters, for either he

will hate the one and love the other; or else

he will be devoted to one and despise the

other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon.

Universal Principles for Leading a Moral Life: The Golden Rule Across Cultures

Even though this verse is talking about the one God versus false Gods, it can apply to everything we do in life. Is what we do in life for the glory of God (or goodness, morality, and justice) or is it for engaging in things that are of this world? The answer is plain: in your daily activities, do everything with the intention of glorifying God. Follow the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Every major world religion or philosophy has some form of the Golden Rule.

As the Jewish scholar and teacher Hillel instructed: “That which is hateful to you, do not do unto your neighbor.”

Buddhism says: “Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.” (Udanavarga 5:18)

Hinduism says: “One should always treat others as they themselves wish to be treated.”

Confucianism says: “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others”

If you are not religious or do not follow any particular philosophy, it’s plain and simple: do everything that is moral and upright, but most of all, don’t do hugely bad things like commit adultery.

There was a reason that in ancient Judaism adultery was punishable by death. Adultery is the murder of love, the murder of the sacredness of marriage, an assault on the innocent spouse, an egregious breach of trust, and the thieving of something that was not another’s to steal. 

Think about it—if everyone did only what he or she wanted and never took others into consideration, we would have a world worse than the world we have today. So many people in this world don’t care how large acts of betrayal, such as infidelity, impact others.

Dealing with Triggers

Triggers are not fun, but they must be dealt with because try as you might, you cannot avoid all of them. A couple of articles ago, I mentioned Rick Reynold’s view on triggers. He believes that it is important for the wayward spouse to see the betrayed spouse in full meltdown after the betrayed spouse has been triggered.  The reason he says this is important is because it forces the wayward spouse to really experience the harm he/she has done.

He believes this is helpful for the wayward spouse because it forces him/her back into reality, it pulls the wayward spouse out of denial, and it forces him/her to be present with the harm he/she has caused. Rick really believes this is an essential part of the healing process. Thus he recommends that when a betrayed spouse is triggered, the betrayed spouse needs to show the wayward spouse the full, dirty, awful mess that he/she has caused.

So, don’t be afraid to become aware of triggers and remind yourself that events from the past cannot hurt you. Often triggers affect our frame of mind but remind yourself that the only power they have over you is the power that you give them.  Encourage your thoughts to be directed toward the present moment and cultivate a presence in the now.

Reframing the Past: Embracing a New Mindset to Empower Your Future

But the most important thing that you can do with triggers is to realize that the strong emotions you might feel do not define you, your spouse’s affair does not and did not define you, and you define your life by defining your thoughts.

Thoughts define your reality, so welcome an inner voice that says gentle things to you and uplifts you. We cannot change the past but we can change how we think about it as well as what conclusions we make or don’t make based on past events. 

“Thus we are asked to reframe the past and to use triggers to remind ourselves that the past does not define us, hold sway over us, or harm us. Since we cannot change anything about the past, it is more helpful to change our mindset about events in the past. Reframing does not mean forgetting, since you cannot forget these things; reframing does not mean trusting, since trust needs to be rebuilt; reframing does not mean letting it go and then walking happily on your merry way. Reframing simply means that you get a kind of perspective that allows you to be empowered despite what occurred, rather than allowing the past to control you.”


Is It Time To Move On?

Maybe you have tried all of the above. There are three types of wayward spouses that will probably not be good candidates for life-long spouses:

  • Wayward spouses with narcissistic personality disorder
  • Those with borderline personality disorder
  • Those who are emotionally, physically or sexually abusive
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Often, narcissists and borderlines are emotionally abusive by nature. Some of them can also be physically or sexually abusive, but there are also people who have anger disorders such as intermittent explosive disorder that cause them to act out rage when they are triggered.

Narcissism and Affairs

There is an interesting study that was done intended to uncover whether or not there was a correlation between sexual narcissism and infidelity. James McNulty of Florida State University and Laura Widman of Duke school of medicine conducted the study. They did indeed find a correlation. Here is a summary of their findings as told by Susan Krauss Whitborne, PhD, for Psychology Today:

“Using a sample of 123 newlyweds, McNulty and Widman requested that participants complete a set of questionnaires to measure narcissism and its relationship to infidelity, marital satisfaction, and sexual satisfaction. Facets of sexual narcissism, in addition to expressing grandiose thoughts about your sexual proficiency, include sexual entitlement (feeling that you deserve to have the kind of sex you want), lacking sexual empathy (failing to know what your partner wants), and being sexually exploitative (using people to satisfy your needs). As they expected, the research team found that those high in sexual narcissism were indeed more likely to be involved in an extramarital affair. These findings held even when controlling for general narcissism, satisfaction with the marriage and with sex in the marriage, and partner’s scores on each of these measures.” (3)

Understanding Sexual Narcissism and Its Link to Infidelity

How does this apply to you? In the study it appears that the study controlled for general narcissism versus sexual narcissism and marital sexual satisfaction. Sexual narcissism is a sub-set of general narcissism and it appears that one can be a narcissist without being a sexual narcissist.

So what is a sexual narcissist? A sexual narcissist is someone who extends general narcissism and takes it to its extreme form in terms of the narcissist’s sexuality. A sexual narcissist feels entitled to removing all boundaries around his or her sexual morality and doing whatever he feels he needs to do for his own pleasure.

He or she is willing to inflict extreme harm on his or her partner and engage in mind-games such as gaslighting. So, we all know that relationships with narcissists are notoriously difficult, whether one is with a general narcissist or sexual narcissist. But, the main difference is that a study proved that sexual narcissists are prone to infidelity.

Borderlines and Affairs

While there has not been a major study that connects Borderline Personality Disorder with infidelity, the issue that I see is that there is little chance in working it out with them after they have had an affair.

Someone who has BPD is notorious for having bad relationships. Add to that the fact that they have an impulse disorder as well and they have difficulty making a connection between their actions and consequences.

BPD is more common in women (and narcissism is more common in men) but both genders can have either disorder or both. Personality disorders occur across a spectrum and an individual can have features that overlap with one or more disorders. “People with BPD often have an intense need to feel loved and accepted, along with a lot of ups and downs in their relationships. And, when they are feeling abandoned or rejected, they may engage in impulsive or risky behaviors. This means that they might do things without considering the consequences of their actions, just to “feel better” in the short term. Certainly, infidelity could fall into this category.” (4)

Navigating Affairs with BPD: The Path to Understanding and Healing

From my perspective, I think it would be very easy for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder to engage in an affair. They often deal with chronic loneliness, even if married and in a loving relationship. They struggle with unhealthy feelings of abandonment and often feel empty inside.

Since they are easily upset, are extremely impulsive, and have labile emotions, it would be easy for them to have an affair. People who struggle with BPD have difficulty getting their needs met even when in what others would consider to be the perfect relationship. They attract and crave drama because it is a distraction from their emptiness. No one is ever able to fill the void for people with BPD, even the most saintly of people.

As you can imagine, after an affair has occurred, working it out will be a struggle. They must have insight and they must seek therapy. Otherwise, the pattern of seeking affairs could develop.

General Abusers Versus Intermittent Explosive Disorder 

Before I get into this, I wanted to bring up the concept of infidelity as a form of abuse. There are some who see a correlation between infidelity and abuse. For example, Cathy Meyer from YourTango says this about it:

“Unfaithful husbands are often insensitive to the pain they inflict, just as are other abusers.  In many instances, betrayal through infidelity can be very close to what we term domestic violence. Unfaithful husbands, especially if your husband has passive aggressive tendencies, are often insensitive to the pain they inflict, just as are perpetrators of physical and psychological violence. Often a wife is as vulnerable and dependent as the victim of repeated beatings. The behavior patterns of ongoing infidelity often parallel the well-documented stages in the cycle of domestic abuse. 

Infidelity and domestic abuse can both become an ongoing aspect of marriage. There is a recurring cycle in which the abusive or cheating husband is repentant and the marital relationship functions well. Then there is another episode of abuse or infidelity. The wife suffers from low self-esteem, a sense of worthlessness, a lack of control over her life, a dependency on her husband, and a distorted sense of reality in which she believes that what happens is her fault. Women who stay for significant periods of time with partners who are unfaithful, often display the same psychological and social symptoms exhibited by victims of systematic abuse.” (5)

Meyer actually makes some very good points, and seen in that light, infidelity does meet the criteria for a form of emotional abuse. But, the author is referring to people who have recurring episodes of infidelity. I believe that this is an important distinction to make since not all affairs would, in my opinion, necessarily qualify as emotional abuse.

Infidelity as Emotional Abuse

But, that doesn’t mean I don’t see a strong correlation. I believe that more affairs than not do qualify as a form of emotional abuse, even when a mate strays only once. The reason for this is because often the wayward spouse will become emotionally abusive to the innocent spouse during the affair.

In his mind he has to build her up as the bad guy in order to assuage his guilt. He can often become critical of his spouse and have a short fuse around her. In doing this, he convinces himself that there is a reason he cheats. He makes himself out to be the victim of his wife when she is actually the victim of him. This also applies to women to who on their husbands—they often become emotionally abusive toward their husbands in these situations.

But, to confuse it even more, there are many known abusers that also have affairs and when they do, I think that a person needs to leave the situation. Someone who is abusive and unfaithful is a really bad combination and there is no reason to rebuild anything. It is best to get out. This is your exit point as a spouse and I would recommend that you use it.

When to Leave: Recognizing Danger

So, some forms of infidelity can be abusive and some abusers are unfaithful. When infidelity is emotionally abusive but there is no physical or sexual abuse present, then I think in theory you could be successful in rebuilding a marriage. But the caveat is that the wayward spouse must see a therapist and must demonstrate a permanent change of heart. Even if he/she doesn’t do that, you could stay with the wayward spouse, but why short change yourself?

See also  Affair Recovery – Recommitting to One Another

For the physical and sexual abuser* who is unfaithful, there is no going back. That is the hard, cold truth. There is no reason to continue a relationship with someone who is physically and sexually abusive in the first place. But, add to that the idea that there is infidelity and now you have all the reasons in the world to leave. The situation could get very volatile for you because abusive people have very skewed mindsets.

A Sad But True Story…

Now, I am going to jump in to a very sobering true story that occurred and the reason I am telling you this story is that I need to underscore the point that it is never safe to stay with an abusive spouse.

When the abusive spouse finds an affair partner, things can get really dangerous even deadly, for the betrayed spouse. I am telling you this story because there are no making excuses for abusers, staying, and hoping it will get better. It will never get better and the sooner you realize this, the better.

Note: if you have a weak stomach or if you are easily upset by violence this story is NOT for you.

Several years ago, John and Andy had an intact family and their parents made a lot of money. Their father, who was significantly older than his very attractive wife, had been emotionally and physically abusive to his wife and to John and Andy.  John reported that his father would regularly have blow-ups at the dinner table and call his wife (John’s mom) a bitch and call John a son-of-a-bitch. Then it would often progress to hitting and worse.

A Tragic Outcome of Unchecked Abuse

Neither John nor his mom knew the triggers that set off John’s father. Just existing seemed to set off John’s dad and his anger never matched the reality at hand. It did not matter if the family walked on eggshells; John’s dad was extremely abusive no matter what was happening, even if what was happening was good.

John’s dad was a bald overweight man about 15 years older than John’s mom. His mom was very classy and beautiful woman of Italian heritage and she dressed impeccably. John’s mom was a good woman and loyal to the family, but John’s dad was constantly paranoid and he imagined things about his wife that were not happening and his paranoia was partially responsible for his rants.

One day John called in the morning and was choking tears back and trying to get the words out to explain what happened. John had left to stay in another city to study for the summer. He explained what happened while not at home:

While he was away, John’s mom and dad got into a huge fight and neither John nor his brother were there to serve as a buffer. It turned out that his father was having an affair and even though he was having an affair, he decided to take things out of his wife.  Let’s just say abusers are never rational.

The Final Straw

After John’s mother found out about the affair, this was the final straw for her. That morning, unbeknownst to John, his mom had packed her suitcase and decided to leave John’s father for good. She was in the process of packing when John’s dad came home from work. He had figured out that his wife might try to leave and so he came to intercept her.

John’s dad was so furious that his “possession,” John’s mom, was leaving him. So what do you think happened next? Do you think she got a black eye like she had on many other occasions? No, she did not. Do you think he called her a slew of demeaning names and threatened her? No he did not. Instead, the penalty for leaving John’s dad was her life.

John’s father removed his designer belt and strangled John’s mom to death with it. Then, John’s dad called John to explain he had killed his wife since she was trying to leave. John’s dad told John that his mother was a “bad wife” and deserved what she got.

The Fatal Cost of Staying

So, I cannot stress to readers enough that if there has been physical abuse and then there is an affair, you need to be concerned for your own safety. There is no working it out and when you do leave, you need to have several friends by your side and perhaps even the police.

Abusers are not rational and even though John’s mom’s only crime was to leave her abuser; she got the death penalty for her crime. She was an absolutely lovely woman and as I write this, my heart races and an absolutely sick feeling takes over my stomach. This happened many years ago, but thinking about it causes a visceral reaction to this day. So, I cannot stress enough that if you are in an abusive marriage, there is no working it out.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Now I wanted specifically to discuss Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). The Mayo Clinic staff provides an excellent and thorough definition of this disorder:

“Intermittent explosive disorder involves repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts in which you react grossly out of proportion to the situation. Road rage, domestic abuse, throwing or breaking objects, or other temper tantrums may be signs of intermittent explosive disorder. These intermittent, explosive outbursts cause you significant distress, negatively impact your relationships, work and school, and they can have legal and financial consequences. Intermittent explosive disorder is a chronic disorder that can continue for years, although the severity of outbursts may decrease with age. Treatment involves medications and psychotherapy to help you control your aggressive impulses.” (6)

Recognizing and naming this disorder is a relatively new occurrence. This disorder should be separate from those individuals who are abusive, narcissistic, or have borderline tendencies. While abusers, narcissists and borderlines can have IED, those with IED do not have to be categorized with the former.

Do you remember Yosemite Sam or Donald Duck? Even though those two characters are fictional, they epitomize the disorder. Both of those characters have short fuses, get angry at things that usually don’t make others angry, and they both end up acting out in ways that cause social repercussions for each of them. It can be humorous to watch in animation; but in real life? Not so much.

Still, if you have a partner who often rages, they can be helped as long as it is only IED. They can get better with therapy and with medications that treat underlying disorders such as anxiety or depression that can contribute to the episodes that are full of rage.

In Summary

In conclusion, making this D-Day your last and rebuilding a marriage is all about wisdom, discernment, taking positive action, such as prayer, and finally moving on if it becomes clear that the situation will only get worse.

But, in all relationships, it takes two to tango and making this D-Day your last includes your wayward spouse and whether or not he/she is willing to do his part. It also includes making life-changing decisions if you are married to someone who is not capable of having a healthy relationship. As they say, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.”

There are some wayward spouses who are like the horse that does not want to drink the water and others who are more like cooperative horses who know what’s best for them. Know which horse you are sharing a stable with because life becomes much easier! 

rebuilding a marriage



*What do I define as a physical and sexual abuser? Well, they both basically use force to intimidate their victim. A physical abuser could give his wife a black eye, but he would also be a sexual abuser if he gave her a black eye and then forced her to have intercourse against her will.


1.   Nicholson, Jeremy, PhD.  How to Prevent Infidelity and Adultery.


2.  Nicholson, Jeremy, PhD.  Can Prayer Keep Your Lover from Cheating? From

3.  Krauss-Whitborne, Susan.  Why Sexual Narcissists Make Unfaithful Partners.  From

4.  Author Unknown. Is There a Connection Between Borderline Personality and Cheating?  People With BPD Often Struggle With Impulsive Behaviors.  From

5.  Meyer, Cathy. Is Infidelity A Form of Domestic Abuse? From

6.  Mayo Clinic Staff. Intermittent Explosive Disorder. From




    60 replies to "Make This D-Day Your Last – What Works in Rebuilding a Marriage after Infidelity"

    • Hopeful

      Many good pieces of advice here. I think what has stuck with me the most is I think from Peggy Vaughn about how no one should really ever think it cannot ever happen to them. Now I am more aware of that than ever. I have thought is this how i want to live my life? Yet I do not know if leaving my husband, being on my own and finding someone else would be the answer. My husband at one point felt bad since he felt like he ruined me. He felt that maybe it would be best for me to leave him since he felt like he had done such major damage that it could not be repaired (this was early on after dday 1). And also if he had not asked me to marry him maybe i would not be going through this. What is funny in a way is i never looked at it this way. With statistics the way they are who knows more people are affected by betrayal than ever before. We just usually do not know it. And no matter who i would have married where is the guarantee. And if i were to leave him where is the guarantee that it would not happen with that person. So following along with my typical perseverance I want to make the most of this marriage as long as my husband is invested in figuring out his issues and focusing on our marriage. But yes I do think I will always have many of these tips and others in the back of my mind. I will remain vigilant, maybe forever…my therapist says this is healthy as long as I am not obsessed. At this point he says i need to do what i need to in order to protect myself and make myself feel safe. Over time things will evolve but it is amazing how our marriage has changed. I hate that this happened to our marriage but I can say I am so happy where we are and thankful we both committed to making it better.

    • Rachel

      It sounds that your husband is invested in repairing your marriage.
      That’s key.

    • Heidi

      Thank you for this post, which I think contains a lot of great suggestions to strengthen a marriage. I do have a bit of an issue with the title. To me it implies that if I’d done all these things then d day 1 wouldn’t have happened, when it wasn’t my actions but my husband’s poor boundaries, decisions and other issues are what caused d day.

      That’s not to say this isn’t all good advice for a mutually supportive and loving relationship after d day, as long as the wayward has DONE THE WORK they needed to do on themselves. For me that’s the only way to avoid a future d day.

      For me a better title would be ‘How to have a stronger marriage post d day’ or something similar.

      Still, I’m pleased to say that 16 months post d day we are doing a lot of these things in our aim to be close and give each other the support we need. I wouldn’t want to continue in this marriage unless we were both committed to it!

    • Shifting Impressions

      I have to say the title of this article sets my teeth on edge. Article after article telling us it’s not our the BS fault but here is a bunch of stuff for you to do so it “doesn’t happen again”. Seriously!!!

      Now I have to get him to pray for me!!! Oh and yes work on my appearance and have meaningful conversations so that we can “talk about what really happened’ Are you kidding me………getting even the slightest bit of understanding is like pulling teeth.


      Lot’s of good information but when you mix it in with all the stuff us betrayed spouses need to do so it won’t happen again just upsets me. I’m just working on coming to terms with the fact that I really can’t change anybody except myself. I am motivated to be the best I can be……..that’s my job. Sorry I just had to vent!!!

    • exercisegrace

      So much of this article is so very good, but I am going to take MAJOR exception to the sex part. As a nurse, as a woman, as a wife, as a mother of sons. We are not responsible for making sure our husbands have an orgasm every 24-48 hours. They are are not hostage to uncontrollable biological imperatives to have sex with someone, ANYONE, every other day. The idea that if I don’t make myself his receptacle often enough, he will be unable to stop himself (and indeed it will serve as some form of excuse) from having sex with another woman is detestable on SO MANY levels. Affairs are typically NOT about sex. They are about attention, and bolstering egos. But it is a convenient excuse trotted out when we want to use the old “boys will be boys” excuse. If we can say…….well, they are just hardwired that way!!… releases them from being mature adults, capable of controlling themselves and exhibiting faithfulness to their wives and families. Prior to his affair, out sex life was fine. We had sex at least once a week, and had it been MY choice, it would have been more often. But he was stressed out by work, financial pressures and other things in our life that were beyond our immediate control. His affair partner outweighed me by a lot. Her main draw? Not her appearance, but her willingness to tell him 24/7 how great and wonderful he was. How everything was someone else’s fault and he was perfect. He was just surrounded by idiots and ingrates. If you feel you need to have sex on a certain time schedule or he will seek it elsewhere? You are being sexually ABUSED.

      Also, I will second what Shifting Impressions said…………IT IS NOT MY JOB TO MAKE HIM STAY FAITHFUL. You cannot say in one breath that people will cheat if they want to, and then go on to list a bunch of things a betrayed spouse can do to create an atmosphere that will make them less likely to cheat. it’s a pretty version of the “pick me dance”.

      We are four years out from d-day. I have said and done it ALL. What do I realize now that the dust has settled and the triggers are fewer and further inbetween? His affair was not about me. It was never about me. So my advice? Do something for YOU. Get that master’s degree you always wanted to pursue. Volunteer for your church or local school. Take up a hobby. NURTURE YOURSELF. This is YOUR LIFE. Yes, your marriage is a large part of that. But you have to heal first, nurture yourself second, become sure of who YOU are as an individual third, live in that direction fourth, and THEN apply that to the marriage. YOU are not your marriage. Figure out who you are and what you want independent of the marriage. In the end, it will make you a happier person. And ALL your relationships will benefit from that new perspective.

      • Sarah P

        Hello Exercise Grace,

        Thank you for your comment and I do agree with everything you said. I realized after I wrote it that I should have added caveats and clarified things a bit. I will probably be submitting an update to Doug.

        Lack of sex is not an excuse for an affair and sex is a difficult topic to navigate. Lack of sex does not give someone the go ahead to have an affair. But, sex is a type of communication and so being sure to have that element in a marriage is important. Obviously, this is tricky after an affair. I can imagine that some betrayed spouses may not want to have sexual contact for quite a while and it may never be the same. If you don’t mind sharing, what would you say about the sexual element in marriage after an affair? I would love to hear your perspective.

        You bring up an interesting point and it is one I have heard on a couple of occasions. You bring up the idea that you would have had sex more often if it was up to you. I have actually been told similar things by a couple of women before. Obviously, this drives home the point that affairs are not about sex and never were. This is a dimension of infidelity that I would like to know more about because the common message is that men are more sexual than women. That’s also a loaded statement and may or may not be true based on different aspects of sexuality as well as definitions of it. I have read that up to 20% of marriages have a dynamic where the woman actually has a higher level of desire than the man. (I am not implying that was your marriage– I had just been reminded of that unrelated idea when reading your comment.) I am specifically interested in affairs where a woman would like to have more sexual contact and makes this known, but the husband is off with someone else.(Again, not saying this is your marriage.This is something that I have not seen explored in the psychology community and it is a real dichotomy.) You provide the best advice of all when you say:

        “Do something for YOU. Get that master’s degree you always wanted to pursue. Volunteer for your church or local school. Take up a hobby. NURTURE YOURSELF. This is YOUR LIFE. Yes, your marriage is a large part of that. But you have to heal first, nurture yourself second, become sure of who YOU are as an individual third, live in that direction fourth, and THEN apply that to the marriage. YOU are not your marriage. Figure out who you are and what you want independent of the marriage. In the end, it will make you a happier person. And ALL your relationships will benefit from that new perspective.”

        That’s all that anyone can do and I have always told my friends married or single that it is best to live life in the way that you describe regardless of relationship status. We must each meet our own needs and achieve our personal goals. And we should never stop growing and exploring life. This should always be the case, affair or not. Ultimately, two individuals are required to come to a relationship as WHOLE people if a marriage is to work well. I believe that many wayward spouse’s probably did not come to the marriage as a whole person and they are extremely insecure or have a large emotional void to fill. In this case, the wayward spouse is busy trying to get needs met externally rather than being whole and complete in himself or herself. So when another person comes along and provides a seemingly endless stream of ego stroking, someone who has that void can easily give in and just lap up the attention. It sounds like the other woman was there to (seemingly) put out the flames of your H’s tremendous insecurity. That doesn’t make it right and it’s not a wife’s job to do that either. Yes, ultimately, affairs are about the wayward spouse’s choices. But, it’s always great to create an atmosphere where a marriage can thrive. Still, a thriving marriage is never a guarantee against infidelity. Since there are two people in a marriage, each person must behave with integrity– always– regardless if a marriage is good or not. We can have the best marriage in the world but it’s still no guarantee.

        I like this quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery that kind of summarizes what I am talking about in terms of completeness and coming to a marriage as a whole person:

        “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”

        To look out in the same direction implies that there are two individuals who have found wholeness working as a team together. Conversely, an affair is more about gazing at each other and getting constant validation from the other.

        Thanks again for your comment, Exercise Grace. Again, I am really glad to hear that you are 4 years out from D-day. Congratulations!

        • exercisegrace

          Thanks for the reply Sarah. I think the issue of sex after infidelity is vastly under-explored in healing after betrayal. I also think it varies highly, and depends on SO many factors. For me, it helped that my husband was the one who ended the affair and he had done so without being discovered. His whore outed it a year after it was over. She finally got the memo that it wasn’t going to start up again and she was beyond vengeful. Initially, he expressed some sympathy for her and that enraged me. He felt he was returning to a marriage he very much wanted, but she was “stuck” with a boyfriend that didn’t treat her well. But the fact that she attempted to sue us, harassed and stalked me and our older kids, blew away any lingering fog faster than most. Also some conversations where I asked him if he REALLY believed her lies. If he REALLY thought she was telling him the truth, when he had LIED SO MUCH about me and OUR life together. Cheaters=Idiots.

          The things that have made it challenging? We were highschool sweethearts, married after college and we were each others’ first and only. We have forever lost the element of purity and the feeling of sex being a sacred act between only us. Late in the affair she admitted to being HPV positive. I have to be tested at each gyn visit. So far negative, but I do get a viral lesion from time to time and it is a horrible reminder. Shortly after the affair began, I started getting frequent UTI’s and vaginal infections. I began to bleed excessively and ended up having a hysterectomy for endometriosis around what I now know was the halfway point of their affair. My doctor asked me point blank if I was cheating on my husband and I said no. I still believed infidelity wasn’t even something possible for us.

          Prior to the affair, he was deeply depressed. We had lost two parents, our business was struggling, finances were poor, we had two babies in diapers, and the list goes on. He began sleeping (by his choice) in a downstairs guest bedroom because he said he HAD to sleep at night in order to function at work. This DID impact our sex life, not entirely by either of our choice. But his attention was turning to his affair partner. We continued to have sex throughout his affair, that never stopped but it slowed considerably. He would say later that he felt horribly guilty and often didn’t want to initiate sex. I wanted sex more often, but hesitated to initiate because I knew he was struggling with depression. I made it known I was available, but accepted it when he said he was too tired or stressed out.

          He has told me (and our therapists have confirmed this is very often true) that the affair sex was awful. He frequently had performance issues. He was overwhelmed by guilt. What he really wanted was the ego stroking and attention. What she wanted was to wreck our marriage. My husband was not the first married man she had gone after. She has left more than one broken marriage in her wake.

          Post affair, I have struggled with our sex life. He says he feels just as connected to me as ever. He is profoundly grateful to have been given a second chance and he has earned it over and over. I do not feel as emotionally connected. Sadly for me, it is not as much the spiritual experience it once was. Physically, the hysterectomy has changed some things and if I am honest, I resent that. But we are both patient, we work at healing actively and things continue to improve. For him, he still feels tremendous guilt. He knows he has damaged my health, and we will both have to be monitored for those risks for years down the road.

          You are very correct when you say the cheating spouse comes into the marriage as a damaged person. My husband grew up in a home fueled by alcohol and raging fights and emotionally disconnected/abusive parenting. He was left with some major vulnerabilities. When our lives started getting very strained, he could not cope well. The whore admitted she “pursued him agressively” and he took the easy road and escaped from our stresses into an affair. It was never about me or our marriage or any lack in “us”. It was about his failure to stand and deal. His failure to seek professional help with his depression. In fact? The whore was actively telling him (despite the fact he told her he was suicidal with a plan..something I didn’t know) NOT to seek help, NOT to take medication. She told him that SHE would help and “fix” him. The kids and I were the problem. She convinced him that he was great and wonderful, he was just surrounded by a family that was dragging him down and ungrateful while they did it. No marriage is perfect, but ours was over two decades strong. Many times friends envied our close relationship. We both had our faults, but she grabbed a shovel and helped him build mountains out of molehills.

          • TheFirstWife

            ExGrace. Sorry you had to endure all you did.

            I agree with everything – how some things are just no longer special after the affair.

            The CS just doesn’t get how much damage an affair does. Trust, love, security, desire and self- worth are all affected.

            It is hard to explain cheating to someone who has never been cheated on. My H was lucky – it never happened to him. NOW he sees the damage but how sad this is what it took.

            So I feel so bad for you that your once wonderful relationship (like mine) is damaged. As the saying goes once the paper is wrinkled it will never be perfect again.

            You can rebuild and move forward and all that. But there will always be underlying scars.

            At one point I was sooo angry b/c via the affair they ruined my favorite movie, my H’s birthday, our 25th wedding anniversary, my favorite song, Thanksgiving and 4th of July. Just like that – all tainted. And there was more but I can tell you that the BS suffers more than the cheater could begin to imagine.

            We watched The Intern with DeNiro recently. Part of the movie had a cheating husband. He did admit all of it to his wife (it was a 3 week affair). I told my H if even ONE time he ever admitted anything or tried to explain anything or discuss his feelings about it or what he was going through – it sure would have meant so much to me. But instead it was always me asking questions and getting some answers but more silence and/or I don’t know.

            I sometimes want to start over – wipe the slate clean and get a second chance at life. All of it!!! Move away, new life, leave the old sordid past behind and just wake up each day with no issues or troubles or problems. Just a bright rosy future.

            Where is that beach house when you need it?

            • Sarah P.

              Hello TFW,
              Well, those beach houses that you need are in Mexico. I was looking at real estate there today and there are some amazing deals on ocean front homes. I found one with an ocean view for about 85k and another one on the water for about 200k. Both homes were very nice and apparently belonged to ex-pats. I don’t have that much in ready cash personally but I have noticed some US banks finance them. There might be worse things in life than buying a home in Mexico on the beach and sipping virgin margaritas on the patio with a guy named Lorenzo. 😉

              I am kidding about the Lorenzo part but it is fun to dream!

          • Sarah P.

            Hello Exercise Grace,
            I totally feel where you are coming from. Especially since you were exposed to an STD and got all kinds of infections. That is NOT COOL. Personally, I would have a hard time letting go of anger in that situation. I am still angry with my own cheating ex because I had a scare with cervical cancer (HPV) right after we broke up. Since he had been cheating on me with the other woman and since I had not had any other partners for years and since I always had a clean bill of health, the doctor said it’s safe to say that he gave it to me. I am still pissed about it because it’s one of those things that doesn’t necessarily go away and it was not my choice. I think that is where the anger comes from. Wives/fiancées are loyal but some of us get stuck with these terrible ‘consolation prizes’ that we did not even sign up for. This is something I will never personally forgive.

            So, I understand why you have the viewpoint you have. Also, I did send an update to Doug since I re-wrote the section on sexuality. The article is updated now.

            That’s always a crazy story about the OW, but it doesn’t surprise me. Women capable of being OW are not good or trustworthy people. I hope that the OW (in your case) has a big time of reckoning with Karma. The OW deserves nothing more than a really nasty meeting with karma that has both longterm and life-changing repercussions for her. (And the same goes for all the other women in everyone else’s lives too.) Just remember, karma might be delayed but it always comes a callin’ one day or another. (For Christians, it’s what you reap is what you sew.)

      • Allison

        Bravo Grace! We are now 4 years out and I even forgot the date this year. Unfortunately it was right after Prom and I will always have anxiety when I think about prom time in general but it is better than it was last year. Time does diminish the pain but some damage will never be erased.
        He had ended it when I discovered it but only days before. Plus, he had ended it multiple times before and it hadn’t stuck, so what would have happened if I hadn’t found out?? Who knows??
        I spent my own precious time worrying about what was wrong with me (nothing) and failed to realize it didn’t have anything to do with me at all. He was far more damaged by his childhood (cheating father, narcissistic mother) than I realized. Unfortunately, no one comes through life unscathed in these circumstances no matter how successful they appear.
        To boot, it was his midlife crisis, we were financially stressed and overwhelmed with kid issues that were challenging.
        Along came the proverbial and told him he was great, we sucked and you know the drill. So predictable, so text book, so incredibly stupid.
        So the solution turned out to be somewhat like the article suggests, faith, God, spiritual growth and seeing the marriage as a sacred bond between us and God. My husband spends time in help groups, therapy and church.
        We went to a religious based marriage weekend, Retrouvaille, and things slowly ( very slowly) got better. It took a lot of time and patience and prayers. Without God it would not have been possible. Before this we went to church periodically. We were not what I would call very religious. It made all the difference. Without it marriage is just a contract and every knows there are contracts broken every day.
        Now I take responsibility only for my own actions. If he screws up that’s his loss.

    • theresa

      Quick comment, need to organize my thoughts a little more.
      There was more than one incident that occurred during a time when our sex life was working. I thought both of us were enjoying this part of our relationship.
      And since I had been told no on more than one occasion, I know how it feels to be refused. And yeah, I know it’s different for men and women, but the hurt is there regardless. There were times when I wasn’t all in, but I did it for him. It was FOR HIM, My pleasure was in giving him this little gift.
      And then there was the first discovery. I was numb. Then little by little i was hopeful. He was so sorry, he couldn’t believe what he done to me, he would do anything it took to fix his mistakes, I thought we were on the road to recovery. I was wong.
      I went on a mission. I thought I needed to make some changes. Sex was the most tangible focus, so sex was at the top of my list. I was trying to spice things up and there is a ton of help out there. ( Even though he said sex was not an issue). I wanted to have some fun. We used to have alot of fun . I took this oppurtunity to voice some of my fantasies, I had been feeling we were stuck in the same boring dance
      He was not overly enthusiastic about incorporating anything new. There was nothing he wanted to experiment with. I had been doing eveything “just the way” he wanted.
      After the next discovery I was crushed. As time and more “discoveries” passed, I felt almost dirty after sex. The fun was long gone. We were not “making love”. It was just sex that he did not have to pay for. He was entitled to this.
      In or out of the bed, I felt that I did not matter to him.

      So, in my case it was always all about him.
      Now, it’s all about me. And I choose not to do something that makes me feel bad about myself.

      • Sarah P

        Hi Theresa,

        So sorry to hear about your sexual experience with your husband. I wonder what his sexual issues stem from because what you are describing isn’t common but is probably more common than we think. Don’t get me wrong, it happens and there are relationships where the woman has more interest than the man. In these cases when the man cheats, it just adds one more dimension of the wayward spouse being really messed up. It is also a real BURN to the wife. Lack of sex doesn’t cause cheating, but when a wife is interested, gets rejected, and then the guy cheats. That is just a huge burn on so many levels. I understand why you don’t want to do something that makes you feel bad about yourself. If I were in your shoes, I am pretty sure I would choose not to do it as well. Why open oneself up to more pain. I will say something that is my opinion but that is in no way ‘necessarily healthy’ or endorsed by the psychology community. If a woman has been through what you went through, I would understand if you went and found a single, male friend who is interested in having fun and meeting your needs. I have the personal opinion that if a man has done something so deeply wounding and if a woman has a healthy libido, it would serve the man right if his wife were to go out and find a man who is interested in her. It’s not the ‘right’ thing to do, but when a man has an affair, that wasn’t the right thing to do either. In these cases, I think all bets are off and a husband should not feel secure in his relationship with his wife if he has had a physical affair. I know this is kind of a sexist viewpoint on my part, but I feel that it stinks when one spouse has been attending to house and home and doing the right thing for many years while the other one is off destroying the marriage. A couple of years ago something really bad happened to a couple whom I care about deeply. They are in their 70’s and the husband almost fell off the deep end when a woman in her fifties pursued him. Now, the woman was not interested in him at all but wanted the wife out of the picture so that she could live in their nice home. The woman in her 50’s was a severe alcoholic, drug addict, and had not held a job for years. When the wife (my friend) told me what was going on, my claws came out in defense of my friend. The problem was that the woman in her 50’s was living in their daylight basement because she had met them at church and manipulated them with her sob story. Soon after moving in, she started working on my friend’s husband. My friend asked the woman to get out and her husband wasn’t helping. He was being swayed by the younger woman. She finally convinced her husband to leave with her for the week and told the woman to leave while they were gone. While they were gone, the woman drank everything in their liquor cabinet, found money that they had had stashed in the house and then she TRASHED their house. The woman put both human and animal excrement all over the walls and carpet. The couple’s adult son wanted to make sure the woman was gone before his parents returned and the woman was still there, passed out drunk. He hired a cleaning crew. But, the woman still would not leave. We have several (free for those who qualify) locked-in alcohol rehab centers in my state. I called them and figured out how we could get the woman sent to one. I also wanted to know their rights. It took us a couple of weeks but we had her sent to rehab and the couple filed a restraining order. But through all of this, is was me taking the lead and the wife following my lead trying to get the woman removed. The husband wouldn’t step in because he felt too guilty. It was a mess. Anyhow, after the woman was gone and the dust settled, my friend told me that she would never recover from what her husband did (I am pretty sure there was more she didn’t tell me) and that her marriage had changed forever. My friend had been the perfect wife to her husband for many years. She was kind and giving while her husband is kind of obnoxious and opinionated and he likes to put her down. Anyhow, she left her husband for 10 months to go about 2,000 miles away to restore her childhood home. They were not separated but she needed her space. A guy in his 20’s moved with her and helped her restore the house. (There is no funny business there. The kid was orphaned as a teen and they took him and his sister under their wing.) I was telling my husband about how she had been gone for almost a year and he could not understand why. I told him that what her husband did was not excusable and she had a right to take her space. After all, he blew it, so why should she even pretend that things are normal? She shouldn’t have to pretend. The good news is, I have watched her become more empowered and she is in her late 70’s now and in great health. I say it’s better late than never and she has taken so much garbage for so many years from her husband. He is now reaping what he has sewn. As for her, she is well-known and well-loved in our community since she is a retired teacher. She was always an endless well of giving to others even though she had been through a lot of pain in her life (including losing their young daughter to a terminal illness.) She has learned the lesson that it’s good to be a giver, but you must take the receiver into account too. Her husband blew it and now he is getting what he deserves in terms of her finding a backbone and making it clear that she does not need him. I know that sounds harsh, but her husband has been very difficult for many years whereas she has been a saint. There is no grey area in their case. It really is a situation where she is super good and he is super not-so-good. Anyhow, that was my round about way of saying that after an affair occurs, the rules change. A woman has to put herself first, since most women generally put spouse and family first. This is especially true when the husband has been a jerk for many years until that situation comes that is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I side 100% with my friend and I am so glad she didn’t take any of this lying down.

      • TheFirstWife

        Thank you for sharing this. This must be so hard to deal with.

        And that is what cheaters do not get – how extensive the damage is from infidelity.

        It’s like the movie It’s A Wonderful Life. An opportunity to see what happens when you make bad choices. How I wish CS had a mirror to your heart and soul and could see the damage.

        It may stop some affairs. My H has admitted that anyone could have talked to him until they were blue in the face about the bad decisions he was making and the damage. He is honest in that he knows he would not have listened to it.

    • Hopeful

      I agree with many of the comments. And funny thing is our sex life stopped when he broke it off both of his affairs. And he was not seeing these women all the time. I think every man and relationship is different.

      My husband said I could have been the most desired most famous actress on earth and he would have done what he did since it was about him and his issues. Look at how many famous people it happens to. There is nothing I could have done to stop what he did.

      • Sarah P

        Exactly. And all the problems that actresses and models have with men provide one more example of why infidelity is not a woman’s fault. Look at Christie Brinkley who has been cheated on by several different partners/husbands. I don’t think anyone could argue with the idea that she has always been incredibly attractive and is still incredibly attractive to this very day. I have a feeling that some men don’t appreciate beautiful women when they have them. They are so focused on what else they could have instead of appreciating the very goddess that they are with. Very messed up.

    • Sam

      Don’t know where else to put this, but since this is the lastest entry –
      My dad had an emotional affair with a woman who happens to be his tennent and it had been going on for 18 months. It started in typical midlife crisis mode – cannot stand getting older: drinking far too much (sometimes 6-7 hours at a time – coming back at 4am in the morning), being very distant and agressive to us,dressing far too young for his age (he’s 54). He is a very narsasistic person (think he has ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) myself). My mother has MS and I have Aspergers, in the past year he has insulted me, my brother and mother to our faces and in the past has come between us and our friends pushing them away, causing us to fall out with them. He annouced that he was having an affair to us about two weeks before Christmas, only lasting 4 weeks before he came back to us sobbing saying that he was sorry for what he had done… then he had this idea to go to Manchester, UK (which he had told is OW about) with me and my brother, only we didn’t go to Manchester, but Liverpool and he when with my mother, sleeping with her (wether she knows that I have no idea). When we came back he parked his car in a local swimming pool car park – so she’s couldn’t see it… went home and didn’t even tell her that he had no intentions of coming back to her. She then sent him a text saying “well then?” and another one calling him a “spineless bastard! or how could he do this to her and her family?” – How how ironic! Things were getting better slowly but surely with my mother and father, although I was still suspicious that he was stil in contact with her. My mother asked him to kick her out of the house and to sell it, also telling him to block her number. We also bought a family caravan too (at this point I think he had no plans to go back to her). While at home he slated her and her family saying that they are “scumbags”, “lazy”, “her son is ugly, disrespectful and had bad teeth and breath”, “her daughters were fat sluts”, and that her house was dirty, that she didn’t clean or wash up after herself… But then about two months later my mother went on his online phone account and discovered that he’d been texting her for about a month. He made this stupid idea of getting a flat (an appartment) to stay in while he got his head sorted out (which he didn’t). A few weeks after he left he my mother discovered another number that he had been text while he was carrying on his EA with her (which we have reasons to believe it was her own sister that he’s been banging as a sidepiece), we’ve told her and she chooses to not believe it. She tells my mother that she thinks it’s good what shes done and that me and mt brother are adults, NOT children anymore (which is true – I am 24 and he is 23). But when he comes to our house now it’s like he has a time limit on him and he comes without his phone (like she can’t trust him just coming around to our house) – if she’s insecure this early on (17 weeks into the relationship, how is she going to trust him in the future?). When he comes around he starts crying for no reason, and when I ask him wether he loves my mum or the OW, he says he will always love my mother, and when I ask about her he says well… “I don’t know… and sometimes even goes silent”…. what’s all that about then? I don’t think he’s happy – When I ask how he is liking living in a tiny house with a scumbag (she is from the lowlife area of the city)… he says “that it’s not ideal”. Myself I don’t think it will last at all, because if she cannot trust him and he is miserable already, they’ll probably drive each other insane… He hasn’t changed any of this post/mail to the address he is at now: “She must be thinking if he hasn’t changed his mail to THIS house is he intending on staying with me/us? I think he has some kind of masterplan that he’s not telling someone.

      • TheFirstWife

        Hi Sam. I think you are very wise and astute. You are on to your dad and my heart goes out to your family for living in this dark hole. I hope it starts to get better.

        My few pieces of advice:

        1. You are right he has a plan and is not telling anyone. He may not have an exact plan but I think you can see his family is not first.

        2. His silence is called STONEWALLING. He knows you may not like the answer so he goes silent. Typical cheater / narcissist behavior.

        3. His drinking is out of control.

        4. His drama has now affected his children – not good!

        5. Your mom is not able or ready to face the truth.

        So it appears your mom would rather be with him despite all the issues and craziness than stand up to him.

        That is where you have to be strong. Don’t get caught in the middle. Always be honest and truthful. But make it clear to your parents this is not your issue. It is theirs. Call a family meeting and spell it out for them if necessary.

        Your mom needs a lawyer to protect herself. And a good private detective and evidence.

      • Sarah

        Dear Sam,
        Thank you for opening up and sharing your situation with us. Sam, you are very brave to be going through what you are going through with your dad and your mum and I am so grateful that you see clearly the harm that your dad is doing to the family. Stick close to your mum and make sure that neither of you gets the short end of the stick and that you are well provided for, regardless of what your dad does. If you believe your dad has a master plan, it’s best for you and your mother to consult a solicitor (attorney) so that you can find out your financial rights in all of this. Also, on a side note, I wanted to say that a diagnosis of Asperger’s for you is not something that defines you in any negative way and you should never allow people to treat you badly or ‘less than’ because of it. My personal experience has been that people with Aspergers are brilliant because they can perceive things that the rest of us cannot perceive and they are invaluable because of it. Make being an Aspie your strength. I will say that if I were growing up today, I would probably have a diagnosis of (mild) female Asperger’s because of the way I see things and perceive the world. (That is, I tend to be an introvert and have an extreme affinity with animals, both domestic and wild, and I don’t and have never understood what I call the petty pursuits of humanity. I don’t get into back-stabbing or competition with friends/acquaintances, I am not driven to buy the latest fashion or the newest fads, and I don’t understand why a majority of people chase everything that is fleeting. I also don’t understand why affairs are so common because when I give my word or take a vow to be loyal, I will never break my vow. Finally, I am an extreme empath. Believe it or not, I have learned recently that these are all traits of female Asperger’s.) It has not hindered my success in any way since I have turned those quirks into strengths. I have a son who is on the spectrum and he is a gift to us. So, don’t allow anyone to define you, Sam.

        I understand why you don’t understand your father’s behavior when you asked him about your mum and the other woman. Your dad says one thing but does another. He is obviously miserable but won’t admit it. He chooses to stay in a bad situation. Your dad is kind of like a flag in the wind, blowing every which way the wind carries him. And your dad can likely change how he feels on a dime. (This explains the crying fits and the uncertainty on his part.) I am sure that from your perspective, as it is from mine, it is all very straightforward. If someone is doing counter-productive things that harm themselves and others, then they just need to stop doing them, right? Unfortunately, a lot of people in this world don’t make that connection and a lot of people in this world are so selfish that they continue to do the wrong thing.

        I can infer that you live in England and I am not familiar with all of the support systems available in terms of therapy through the national health service. Though I am American, I lived in the town of York for a couple of years and have friends from Manchester and Oxfordshire. I noticed that there is a different culture in England regarding sharing one’s problems and seeking help. In the UK, people are expected to keep a stiff, upper lip and in the United States, it is quite the opposite. But, being quite the opposite is a good thing because there is less of a stigma around airing life’s troubling events. I do believe that you need to find a good therapist and also speak with a solicitor so that you can plan for your financial future. Make sure that you and your mom are taken care of, first and foremost, since your dad is in a state of mind where he is not thinking clearly. If you have read any of the other comments, you will realize that when someone has an affair they do and say things that the rest of us find insane. You must protect yourself and your mum against that insanity. The First Wife makes a good point that this is not your issue, but it sounds like since your mother has MS, she is going to need your support to remain strong. But, TFW is right about not getting caught in the middle.

        Of course, you can always ask any of us questions here or just air out how you are feeling. We have a wonderful group of women here who are very helpful and supportive. We are here for you if you need us, Sam.

        I hope all is going well and keep us updated!


      • Sarah P.

        Dear Sam,
        Thank you for opening up and sharing your situation with us. Sam, you are very brave to be going through what you are going through with your dad and your mum and I am so grateful that you see clearly the harm that your dad is doing to the family. Stick close to your mum and make sure that neither of you gets the short end of the stick and that you are well provided for, regardless of what your dad does. If you believe your dad has a master plan, it’s best for you and your mother to consult a solicitor (attorney) so that you can find out your financial rights in all of this. Also, on a side note, I wanted to say that a diagnosis of Asperger’s for you is not something that defines you in any negative way and you should never allow people to treat you badly or ‘less than’ because of it. My personal experience has been that people with Aspergers are brilliant because they can perceive things that the rest of us cannot perceive and they are invaluable because of it. Make being an Aspie your strength. I will say that if I were growing up today, I would probably have a diagnosis of (mild) female Asperger’s because of the way I see things and perceive the world. (That is, I tend to be an introvert and have an extreme affinity with animals, both domestic and wild, and I don’t and have never understood what I call the petty pursuits of humanity. I don’t get into back-stabbing or competition with friends/acquaintances, I am not driven to buy the latest fashion or the newest fads, and I don’t understand why a majority of people chase everything that is fleeting. I also don’t understand why affairs are so common because when I give my word or take a vow to be loyal, I will never break my vow. Finally, I am an extreme empath. Believe it or not, I have learned recently that these are all traits of female Asperger’s.) It has not hindered my success in any way since I have turned those quirks into strengths. I have a son who is on the spectrum and he is a gift to us. So, don’t allow anyone to define you, Sam.

        I understand why you don’t understand your father’s behavior when you asked him about your mum and the other woman. Your dad says one thing but does another. He is obviously miserable but won’t admit it. He chooses to stay in a bad situation. Your dad is kind of like a flag in the wind, blowing every which way the wind carries him. And your dad can likely change how he feels on a dime. (This explains the crying fits and the uncertainty on his part.) I am sure that from your perspective, as it is from mine, it is all very straightforward. If someone is doing counter-productive things that harm themselves and others, then they just need to stop doing them, right? Unfortunately, a lot of people in this world don’t make that connection and a lot of people in this world are so selfish that they continue to do the wrong thing.

        I can infer that you live in England and I am not familiar with all of the support systems available in terms of therapy through the national health service. Though I am American, I lived in the town of York for a couple of years and have friends from Manchester and Oxfordshire. I noticed that there is a different culture in England regarding sharing one’s problems and seeking help. In the UK, people are expected to keep a stiff, upper lip and in the United States, it is quite the opposite. But, being quite the opposite is a good thing because there is less of a stigma around airing life’s troubling events. I do believe that you need to find a good therapist and also speak with a solicitor so that you can plan for your financial future. Make sure that you and your mom are taken care of, first and foremost, since your dad is in a state of mind where he is not thinking clearly. If you have read any of the other comments, you will realize that when someone has an affair they do and say things that the rest of us find insane. You must protect yourself and your mum against that insanity. The First Wife makes a good point that this is not your issue, but it sounds like since your mother has MS, she is going to need your support to remain strong. But, TFW is right about not getting caught in the middle.

        Of course, you can always ask any of us questions here or just air out how you are feeling. We have a wonderful group of women here who are very helpful and supportive. We are here for you if you need us, Sam.

        I hope all is going well and keep us updated!


        • Sam

          Thanks – I live in Sheffield (which is in the same county as York: Yorkshire). I cannot understand how the OW can even trust him, when he has even cheated on her twice, left her twice, it’s like she’s desperate for someone in order not to be alone… He has not even contected me in four months – like he doesn’t care. However when he comes to our house and I ask him how things are there he just says “Okay, their NOT great”… when he’s with people he puts on this false face and loves to be the centre of attention (which is what the OW and her kids and friends see)… but in reality he just complains about people and this: how long do you think the honeymoon period will last? and until he start complaining about them? Do you think I should message to the OW through Facebook telling her the ‘evil’ things he’s said about her?

          • TheFirstWife

            Please do not message the OW. She may not accept what you say as the truth and she may take revenge against you.

            Also your dad may lie his way out of it and then you look bad. I would let her suffer her own fate, whatever it may be.

          • Sarah P.

            Hello Sam,
            Do not get involved with the other woman in any way. Do not contact her or speak with her. Ever. If you did the other woman would use that opportunity to cause emotional harm to you and your family. She would use it to bring all of you down to her miserable level.

            I hate to say this, but you mentioned that you think your dad is a narcissist and I think I agree with you. His behavior seems to go beyond mid-life crisis behavior. I am really sorry that your dad is being so harmful. Like I said before, take your mother to see a solicitor and find out your rights. What you and your mum need to do first and foremost is to protect yourselves financially. Don’t allow your dad’s poor choices and bad decisions bring you and your mum down. You must take care of yourself and your mother in terms of protecting yourselves. Your dad is in a bad state of mind and he is not making good choices. Don’t allow those poor choices to harm you and your mum any longer. Most of all, try to stay out of it as much as possible. What I mean by that is protect yourself but never contact the other woman and don’t get pulled into the drama by your dad. I am sorry that your dad is doing this and his behavior does not reflect on anything you and your mother did or did not do.

            • Sam

              He has lost contact with all his friends now, and the one friend who works alongside him says that he refuses to talk about her and her family (silent treatment). When he left her and didn’t tell him when he was coming back to her after Christmas, he slated her and her kids off to all of his friends, saying: “they are dirty”, “scrotes”, “lowlifes” and “scumbags”… how if he even bumps into these friends that he’s lost contact with now they’ll probably her what he’s said about her – and I don’t think she’ll take it lightly. She has to be insecure that he’ll go off, cheat and have another emotional affair when the sparks and infactuation dies down. Whenever he comes to our house (he hasn’t even changed his address on his mail/post), she must be thinking “does he intend staying with me?” His parents (my grandparents) don’t want to know him, his sister has disowned him: how can yoy throw all of this away for someone you’ve known for only a year, and that he’s slated infront of others?”…. When I asked him if he loved the OW, he said “he didn’t know if he did or not”, he seems more infactuated with her daughters then he does with her, TBH. When he goes out and comes to our house it’s like he has a time limit on how long he can stay… and I’m sure she asks to check through his phone on a regular basis, because he comes to our house without his phone — What’s all that about?

            • TheFirstWife

              Hi Sam. You are in the middle of watching a full blown mid life crisis – it’s like watching a train wreck your house.

              I am sorry for your family and your mom.

              It is possible your dad has multiple issues – cheating, drinking, financial issues, etc. all at once. What a nightmare to go through.

              He may be telling your family one thing, his friends something else and the OW something completely different. But just know that he is a liar and at this point you don’t know what to believe. I would not believe any of it. He is lying to everyone even himself.

              Maybe your mom needs to stop allowing him to come over. It doesn’t sound good for you or your family.

              Hope things start improving soon.

            • Sam

              Thanks — Yesterday my mum got an e-mail from her lawyer and it said that he doesn’t agree for the reason for divorcing (unreasonable behaviour, adultery) — He said he doesn’t want to divoce??? To keep his options open? in case it goes horrifically wrong with the OW?… so my mother called him and he said that he thinks that their relationship had just ran it’s course, he also said that when he divorces he still wants his name on OUR house, why?… I mean, when he came back (from ditching the OW) he seemed fine for — he would call her all sorts of evil names… and would cry about being with her to us. The OW keeps saying that all his friends and family will come around to his way of thinking (…like she’s trying to convince herself he will, as if she feels insecure that he’ll start blaming her for his divorce and his kids not wanting to have anything to do with him). Everyone (including my mum) thinks he’s had a serious nervous breakdown. When he first left us (before the time he can back) he said some idiotic things like he will live with the OW, me, my brother, her three kids, and her daughters two boyfriends in OUR house (…so seven people in one house???) LMAO! and my mother could live in a one bedroom roundfloor apparentment in sheltered accommodation. The OW knows he’s cheated on her twice, I think she’s just after his money and he can’t see it….

              It happened to a man on our street — He left his wife and son for a younger 20-something (he’s aboyt 45), got married to her a year later, now a year after the wedding she’s having another emotional affair with a boyfriend from her school and is fileing for divorce, and she wants to take everything, all of his money… and he is alone now in the process of his second divorce; as his ex-wife is getting married again to a decent, good guy.

              Another person who my mother worked with had an affair with a younger woman at work (his co-work)… six months later the younger OW came home to find that he’d hung himself in his bathroom… (NOT FUNNY AT ALL, I KNOW).

            • Sarah P.

              Hello Sam,
              I agree with everything First Wife says, especially the part about your mother not seeing your dad.

              How advanced is your mum’s MS?

              I am pretty sure MS gets worse from stress. I highly encourage you and your mum to focus on securing your financial wellbeing and to make sure your mum is not too stressed.

              There are two things that must happen when affairs occur:

              1) the betrayed spouse and family must find empowerment by taking positive ACTION toward securing personal happiness and securing finances. Because the cheater will do whatever he wants during the time he is cheating.

              2) the betrayed spouse and family must set boundaries and enforce consequences for the cheater. These could include going no contact, setting money aside for a divorce and most of all ensuring they are protected financially.

              Sam you really must take some kind of action that doles out tangible consequences. But most of all, you and your mum must consult a solicitor (or barrister) and get finances in order.

              The reason for this is because you cannot control your dad’s actions. Ever.

              But… You can control both your actions and reactions.

              When an affair happens betrayed spouses and kids must choose empowerment and move from a standpoint of a victimhood to a being a victor. It’s all about choosing NOT to lay down and take the bad behavior of another, no matter who they are.

              The good news is, most men don’t leave their wives in the end. But does that matter? In the meantime the betrayed spouse must secure her future and finances and not wait around for the cheater to come back or not.

              Finally, nothing should be done that enables the cheater. Make life really uncomfortable because many cheaters will carry on a lot longer if they have a sense that their wives are just waiting for them. This is the ideal situation for a cheater because they can have their cake and eat it too. Don’t enable bad behavior.

              The thing that is most disturbing to me is that your mum is ill and your dad is off having a mid-life crisis. All affairs are disturbing but it adds an extra level of betrayal when the betrayed spouse is ill. It’s just so wrong !!

              Keep us posted…

            • TheFirstWife

              It is possible that the reason or one of the reasons is the stress of the MS. He cannot deal with it. Too much to handle. Solution? Have an affair which is his escape from the stress and pressure and unhappiness of his life.

              I have seen this happen so often. The cheater uses an affair to escape an unhappy situation.

              How sad.

            • Sam

              @Sarah P. — My mum already has a solicitor… and they said that she is entitled to more then the usual person divorcing due to her MS and me having Aspergers… though she is affair that we are going to lose our house and end up in a rough area of the city, because my mum cannot work in order to pay for bills, etc… because of the MS (she has progressive MS, not sure what stage though). My dad went to a solicitor too (finally, as he doesn’t want to divorce, possibly to keep his opinions open and because it costs money), and they said that he can get a lot more then he thinks which makes me, my brother and mother very scared… He’s also scared as he is a self-employed gardener and hasn’t paid tax for about 10+ years, and if they find out he could be doing time (and I doubt the OW would wiat years or him to be set free). The rason he said he left was because he was bored, she made him feel alive and young again (has even started dressing like a 20-something, he’s 54)…, he felt asif life was passing him by and he was missing out on fun… His own parents divorced when young (so me and my mother think that it just stems from that experiance). Now his own father is living alone in a one bedroom appartment and he never, ever sees him. – He can’t see that’s what is going to happen to him when her family has spent all of his money… and he’ll come groveling back to me and my bro at that point for forgiveness (in fact he hasn’t even said sorry for what he’s done to my brother, me or my mother

              @TheFirstWife — Yeah, that what his parents, my mother, his sister and my mum’s cousin are saying… he CANNOT deal with illness at all (My AS and my mum’s MS)… and on top of that his own mother has Dementia and he hasn’t seen her for over a year and half now…
              Actually their was a study that said that men that have midlife crisis’s may be showing early signs of Dementia/Azheimer’s… when he was living with us he always had a poor memory (e.g. forgetting where he’d put his keys and his phone).

              you said: “I have seen this happen so often. The cheater uses an affair to escape an unhappy situation.”

            • TheFirstWife

              Sam. I am so sad for your family. However your Mom has leverage. Your dad has not paid taxes? She can get whatever she wants from him. She has something to hold over his head.

              He can pay alimony & child support forever. Too bad on him. He chose to lie and cheat. And now your Momis suffering – how sad.

            • Sam

              I forgit to add —
              You sad: “I have seen this happen so often. The cheater uses an affair to escape an unhappy situation…” How does it usually end, do they usually end happily ever after — I just want Karma to strike both of them…

              Also, we think that the OW doesn’t pay her taxes either… we think she works for cash in hand. She works for her friend in a Fish and Chip Shop… and the soliciter is asking for his and her pay checks, and he keeps avoiding it for some reason, which makes us think otherwise (hense why he wants a cash payot, NOT a divorce).

            • TheFirstWife

              Dear Sam. Your dad wants a cash payout from your mom? She should demand one from him for not reporting him for non-payment of taxes.

              Also there are situations where the cheater leaves the OW. However if the cheating husband still has feelings for the OW or really isn’t over it, it is a recipe for disaster. The marriage will suffer, the wife will suffer because the cheater is not really addressing the issues.

              My H did end his affair but he was still in love with the OW. It was horrible – he was mean and nasty to me and he missed her blah blah blah. He then started the affair again and wanted a divorce.

              So it is possible to recover from an affair. But both parties have to want to repair the marriage. If the cheater is on the fence then it won’t work. And unless and until the cheater makes the decision to save the marriage it just won’t work.

            • Sam

              My auntie called him the other day to explain to him what he’s doing and he started talking with this pathetic “little boy moaning” voice – What the hell?

              Personally I cannot see it lasting with her… She is literally all the things he hates in a woman: short shirts, tattoos, smokes… etc. and he said he wants to be with her because she gave him some attention and he has fun with her (drinking himself stupid, possibly doing drugs). I mean I can understand a teenager doing those things but a middle aged man at 54!? Really!!! Pathetic… and he bitched so much about her aswell. At the moment she is on her best behaviour playing perfect housewife and has told her rebelious son to be on his aswell… the reason he couldn’t bare it was because of how they lived like scum, he didn’t clean or cook… do you think he’ll realize what a mistake he’s made? Do you think the affair-fog will ever lift? The second time he left my mother forced him to go to the doctors and she said that he had ‘Atypical Depression’ (though I still think he hs NPD), which will eventually come out on her and her family eventually… and it’s unbareable to be around him when he is going off alaming like that… he refuses to go to a counsellor (because he thinks their all idiots who don’t know what their talking about, really he’s affair of illness for some reason). When he left the second time he said to us that “he loves my mother, but is in love with the OW” — which I’ve heard on here cannot referance the blog: that it’s a bad warning sign for a serious relationship.
              Anyway, whenever I see him he looks unhappy and miserable… when she is suppost to be fun? I don’t get it!

              @TheFirstWife – How did it turn out for your H? is he still with the OW, is he happy still and now?

            • TheFirstWife

              Thank you for asking. He ended it with the OW years ago and never contacted again. We are still married and deeply regrets all of it.

              But at the time of the affair for 12 months he was mean and nasty to me. Angry at everything. A liar. His unhappiness was my fault. The affair and affair fog almost led to a divorce. He would say “divorce” I would say “ok if that is what you want” but he never left.

              Our marriage is better in some ways b/c he has been forced to deal with some of his selfish behaviors. I was fine with it prior but no longer will tolerate it. No after work social gatherings, no bars unless discussed and limited time, etc. he made his bed now lie in it.

              I am stronger and no longer a push over.

              And yes he deeply regrets all of it. Very much so.

              However he made the choices he did and unfortunately they cannot be undone. There will always be scars. He has ruined so many things – our 25th wedding anniversary, my favorite song, my favorite movie, etc.

              But I have moved forward and continue to hope and see positives. Three years ago I would never have believed we would have survived his affairs. It was at the last possible second he realized all that he had done and ended it.

              I had asked him to leave. He said no and I made a call to have him stay with friends. Last possible second. I regret that he continued to lie to me for the next year about details of the affair.

              Hard to realize what you really married. A coward znd liar and cheater. So sad. Took me a long time to reconcile those realities.

    • theresa

      I’m dating myself with this. This song was popular in my younger days. And it pisseed me off way back when. Today it triggers a migraine headache.

      Forgot the title so I’ll paraphrase

      Hey little girl
      Comb your hair fix your makeup…,
      Soon he’ll be at the front door

      Wives should always be lovers too,
      Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you…….
      Ad naseum….

      Now I’m stickking my head in the freezer, (one of my migraine

      • Sarah P.

        Hello Theresa,
        Age is just a number. Really! If you know that song you were lucky enough to live in what I believe was the golden era of the United States. (In some ways it really was the golden era, but in other ways it was not.) The song is called Wives and Lovers. I just looked it up. The rest of the lyrics are even worse than you describe since the song goes on to mention the pretty office girls that husbands work with and says that “men will be men” unless of course a woman is the perfect wife. (We all know being the perfect wife doesn’t prevent affairs…) Wow, we have come a long way because at least nowadays a song like this would never be put on the air. There would be too much (rightful) backlash.

        As for migraines, medical studies have shown that you can take a vitamin supplement to prevent them. It only takes 400 milligrams of riboflavin per day for migraine prevention. Since I started taking it, my migraines are few and far between and it is such a relief.

    • theresa

      Thanks Sarah. Another age advantage for me is the decrease, not elimination, of the migraines. Unfortunately my daughter also suffers. Wish there was a universal cure all. Just have to keep trying until you find something that works. Speaking to fellow sufferers is another amazing source of support.
      The freezer trick works well for me, BUT, there are drawbacks to the freezer on the bottom frig.
      I missed this riboflavin trick. My daily suppliment count just keeps going up and up

      • TryingHard

        Hey Theresa. Have you tried Botox for the migraines? I hear it works very well. AND you get to get Botox and your instance oats for it to boot. Hhhmm how can I start getting migraines ????

    • theresa

      Help Doug., new tablet. Forgot how to delete a response. You pick

      • Doug

        I picked one. Hope it was the right one!

    • Broken2

      It is so true that we are not responsible for keeping our spouses faithful….that is a ridiculous concept. My husband cant seem to stay faithful and it isn’t my fault. In my heart I know that. After his first 18 month affair I gathered myself together and went back to college…I graduate next semester. He continues to do things like sex websites and last week after five years he called the ex affair partner….she didn’t answer. When I found out I didn’t even care. I told him to just go, I am done. In six months when I have a career in my new field…..I am gone and someone else can deal with him. He plays with my heart and my soul. He calls me beautiful everyday and says how much he loves me but then throws in that I am obese and have no curves. He can say whatever he wants…..the love is gone. He killed it. Cant wait to graduate and move on.

      • TheFirstWife

        Broken2. I am sorry your H cannot see what he has – someone who loves him so completely.

        It sounds as though his affairs are the result of his own inhappiness in his life and that is how he chooses to deal with it. How sad. I guess he will continue to follow the same pattern.

        Proud of your accomplishments. Please divorce him before you get any new job. This way as your salary and potential opprtunities become more lucrative YOU don’t have to pay him alimony. Don’t laugh I have seen it happen.

        Get out while you have less – it can make all the difference. You can go for mediation to make the process cheaper and faster.

        Glad you have moved on. Sorry it ended up this way. Years from now your soon to be Ex-H will be in the same place. Cheating and sex websites.

      • TryingHard

        Broken 2. You rock!!! He’s a pig

    • TryingHard

      Hi Sarah P.

      Et tu Brute?? I actually read your article twice to truly absorb what you said. At first I wasn’t going to comment because so many other people said what was on my mind. But it was working on me, so here I am:)

      Sarah, you know I’m a fan and I respect your intellect and professional insight on infidelity. Maybe what I have problem with is the title of your article. Because in other words is this just another way of saying How to Affair Proof You Marriage??

      As we all know here, well at least the BS know, there is NO affair proofing your marriage. I don’t care how many prayers you say, how much crazy sex you have, how much you clean up your act, it can’t be done. No one is safe. Heck even Steve Hawkings cheated on his wife.

      I also agree with what the other very eloquent commenters wrote; it’s is not my job to make sure my husband doesn’t cheat. I am NOT Mommy or the marriage police. It’s up to him to keep his COMMITMENT, integrity, character and moral code in check. It’s up to him to say something if he wants to date and doesn’t want to be married anymore. It’s up to me to draw and keep my boundaries not set boundaries for him AND make sure he knows to the very depth of his soul. HE CANNOT HAVE HIS CAKE AND EAT IT TOO.

      It simply comes down to communication and honesty. Look you’re not happy SAY SOMETHING!! Is that really so hard? Or if you feel like you’ve talked enough leave, file for divorce, call it a day, but there’s no excuse to cheat. And you are NOT being noble by staying in your marriage “for the sake of the children” or whatever other lame excuse you use. You are cheating because it’s fun for you and you. like. it!

      Thing is I don’t believe cheaters are really “unhappy” in their marriage or with their marital partner UNTIL they get into an affair. And then of course the “unhappy” and a multitude of other excuses/justifications follow because what kind of asshole cheats in a “happy” marriage?

      I’ve yet to read a BS say “yeah he cheated but you know I don’t blame him it was my fault, I let myself go, I didn’t work or watch the children, the house was a mess all the time, I never wanted to have sex with him, and I basically treated him terrible.” No one says that. All that I’ve read is most BS truly believed they had a pretty good marriage. Not perfect (and who’s is?) but didn’t suspect the spouse would cheat. And really how many women do you know who are terrible horrible wives that deserve to have a cheating husband?? And why do AP believe the crap the MM tells them about their wives? Because that way they can justify their own bad behavior and the excuse wheel just goes round and round. People are stupid.

      Cheating is such a tacky, cowardly, cliche ridden, immoral thing to do. And if you have a mate who has the propensity to cheat I don’t care who you are, Hello Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Anniston, Christy Brinkley, Mrs. Petraus, Madeline Albright, Hillary Clinton, Jackie Kennedy, Mrs. Martin Luther King, Elizabeth Edwards, Peggy Sanford, etc., etc., etc ad effing nauseam???, they will cheat. If you truly believe you can “affair proof” your marriage and you are living with a cheater, you are living in a fool’s paradise!!!!

      I compare a cheating spouse to cancer. You may have treated the disease and changed your lifestyle and you may even be in remission, but there’s always a chance the cancer can and will reoccur. It’s the risk we live with. But now I believe all BS are smart enough to know what to do should the cancerous scourge of infidelity rear it’s head again. At least I hope I know. To quote the old Who song “We Won’t Be Fooled Again”.

      I think the article could have been better if it were titled Things to Consider to Improve Your Marriage and just leave out the How to Have Your Last DDay.

      • TheFirstWife

        Agreed 100%.

        Presidents, pastors & ministers & priests, politicians, CEOs, policeman & firemen and doctors and professors and anyone you can think of – they cheat.

        Not hard to understand at all. You choose to cheat. Your lips don’t end up kissing someone by accident or your fingers don’t send texts or emailsby mistake.

        It is a planned calculated act.

        My heart and feelings will always be vulnerable. My $ and common sense not ever again.

        • Strengthrequired

          Th, totally agree with you. It is not our responsibility to affair proof our marriage. We can’t stop someone from cheating, it’s on them. I can keep my morals and integrity in check, not my job to keep my ch morals and integrity in check, that’s on him.
          I’m not responsible for him cheating, and I will not take the blame for it either.

        • Hopeful

          I agree completely. My husband still says and has said since dday I did not one thing wrong and it is 100% his fault. He could have done a million other things instead of having affairs. He admits and will say it is his fault and his poor decisions. He is the one with the problems. So I do not see any ability to affair proof a marriage. I think you can work really hard and improving and making your marriage strong. And after what I have even through I think transparency and openness on all topics is the most important thing.

          • TheFirstWife

            Hopeful I don’t know if during your H’s affair you had this experience. My H told me some mean and awful things and blamed me for his unhappiness.

            One thing he said was that I only married him to spite my parents. How can you discount 30 years of love & a good marriage just like that?

            He told me I don’t communicate. HAH! That is his issue. Not mine.

            We were disconnected. Nope he felt disconnected as a way to justify the affair. Now he is sorry for all of it BUT I actually believe what he told me. I think he had those thoughts for years but never said anything.

            So they are always in the back of my mind b/c I believe he really meant it.

            I know it was his way of justifying the affair. But it is hard to watch someone you know and love unravel in front of you and you cannot do anything about it.

            He has deep regret over all of it. He had an EA in the 90s for 4 years and this last affair was 2x with same OW. Not sure I can take much more.

            • Hopeful

              Tfw, it was similar. My husband was great at blameshifting and making me out to be the one with the problems. I was very proactive and wanting to discuss our marriage or anything with us. He always turned the table in me. It was not constant with us and he even said when he has seen these women he would detach more and after time had gone by he would connect more with me. It helped me understand why I was so confused over the years. He always told me how amazing I was but then would push me away. And on vacation he was great. He would leave his phone off and represe what he had done. I hate what he did to me and our family but the real scars are on him. He even said to me one day he wishes he could go back in time and he wishes he could be me someone who has their moral and integrity and nothing to be ashamed about.

              what is interesting is he does not even remember most of the things he said to me over the years. It saddens him but I can see he is doing all he can to earn and continue with his second chance.

      • exercisegrace

        TH, you make an excellent point here that I hope all betrayeds catch onto. In many cases, the cheating spouse isn’t “unhappy” in the marriage until someone comes along and presents them with an option. And of course they make that option seem oh-so-much-better.

        Have you guys ever seen the car commercial where a husband surprises his wife with a new car and as they are standing in the driveway giddily enjoying it, a neighbor drives by in different model new car. It turns both of their heads and you can see the disappointment blossom on their faces. Suddenly the wife is not so happy with her beautiful brand new car! Because maybe the one her neighbor just drove by in is “better”.

        In many affairs it is the same concept. For my husband, he had a wife at home who was pulled in many directions with four kids (2 still in diapers), he had recently lost his dad, finances were strained, and so on. “Home” became a burdensome place where he was being pulled under by the weight of responsibility. We BOTH were. At work however, the whore was a single woman who dangled her care-free lifestyle in front of him. He was not her first married hookup, so she knew how to use my life against me. Oh Poor Husband….shackled to an ungrateful wife and kids, so underappreciated, so unfairly overburdened!! He deserved so much MORE! He deserved to be adored and admired 24/7. Blah blah blah. It is such a scripted dance.

        So I do believe it often IS a case of the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” type of deal. After much discussion and two years of counseling, I am confident that he was not unhappy and thus went looking. Should he have been smarter? Should he have resisted her self-admitted “aggressive pursuit”? ABSOLUTELY. But when I go back over the timeline of everything, he didn’t voice his displeasure about anything until AFTER he started cheating. Even our therapists agree that cheaters become people on a mission to find fault with their spouse. Why? It alleviates their guilt. Even before I knew he was cheating, I picked up on the odd behavior that he would sometimes pick a fight with me. He didn’t seem to need or want to fight it out (so to speak) he just wanted to get me angry and have a disagreement with me. Then he would seem oddly satisfied. In retrospect, it was his sick way of justifying his relationship with his whore.

    • TryingHard

      Mine says the same. And what’s sad is this conversation could have happened before the affair. I’m sure all of we BS have made changes but only after its too late. Grandma used to say “closing the barn door after the cows have already gotten out”. I guess it’s only human nature to try and improve once you’ve been injured, robbed, in an accident you name it. It’s too bad we can’t get to couples before this crap happens. Because now my husband treats me like gold. Just makes you shake your head and say Hhhmmmm

      • Hopeful

        Yes that is so true. And my husband wishes he could go back in time. He says he regrets every decision and he hated himself for years. He thought he has done permanent damage. And I agree my husband did not say he felt this way before and even during the affairs. He said he wanted out but the only way was to leave me. He never thought I would consider working things out with him. He was so disgusted with himself and said he could not look himself in the mirror. He just kept going back for more like a drug addict until he decided he had enough one night. It was what he said was his lowest night ever. He hit rock bottom. It is so sad it took this to make our marriage what it is. But like you TH he has been amazing and the forward progress continues. He is working very hard so my work seems worth it.

    • TryingHard

      No you are wrong. He didn’t have those thoughts for years. That’s a fucking lie. He had those thoughts during his little affairs. Don’t give him that much credit for having such insightful thinking

    • TryingHard

      Yes all that and I’m sure life was just a flipping bowl full of cherries for you too at the time and YET you persevered, you tended to your family and home. I’m sure many men crossed your path and YET you didn’t cheat probably never even occurred to you to cheat.

      It’s about boundaries and a true sense of COMMITMENT. And I’d bet my life you have those strongly in place now.

      You know life isn’t only about being happy. I once heard an older person telling a younger person “don’t chase happiness. It will only make you miserable “. Life is hard, work is hard, relationships are hard. But if you keep yourself and your integrity and morals in check you sure can make life a little easier and satisfactory.

      Your husband picked fights to justify his bad behavior. You were a good wife and he was acting like a jerk and he knew it. He wasn’t brave enough to speak up or so he made himself feel good or at least for a while he did until he didn’t. But he made a deal with the devil and the devil always turns on you.

    • TryingHard

      Your words sound very familiar.

    • ChristBrown

      Again, great info but PLEASE drop the gender stereotypes. It’s condescending and paints a lousy picture. Yes, Women do the same thing! (I know from experience) and no I’m not gaslighting.

    • TryingHard

      If I’ve commented in stereotypical ways that have offended you please accept my deepest apologies.

      However when I talk about my chester husband I have to use to male pronoun as he is a man.

      Maybe if you could shed some light on your experience and how it overlaps with the female experience here we could all learn something. Just a thought my friend

    • TryingHard

      And by the way in case you haven’t noticed yet, there’s a big difference between the sexes and not that the differences makes one better than the other, simply different

    • Angela

      You need a fool-proof proofreader. LOL. Sorry I’m a grammar/spelling OCD-er and just felt like joking around for once . 🙂

    • Jennet

      Why do the BS have to do all the work? We didn’t ask for any of this !! To me it feels never ending we have the triggers, we have to face the possible relapses more often than not they are true relapses and we have to start all over again. Each time it gets harder to look to the future without doubt in your mind. Whether it be another physical affair or texts to a ‘friend’ which I class as cheating in the same way as a sexual affair it shouldn’t be happening at all.
      I’m exactly 4 years to the day of discovery and it feels like yesterday and hurts just as much. I really thought after 4 years it would get easier to manage but it doesn’t every word ever gesture it’s all there !!
      I gave my husband the ultimatum six months ago that I would be leaving if I found out about any more texts. He’s made a promise that it has stopped and doesn’t want to lose me! Hard to believe him but I’m trying to give him the benefit of doubt if only for my own sanity. So for me it is going to be a month of triggers left right and centre not sure yet how I am going cope but I’m sure I will I’ve come this far and to me if I gave up now what a waste of 4 years. I think I have enough love in the tank to get through it after all 54 years together we have got though so much more than Infidelity but the betrayal and lack of trust still hurt like hell.
      I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New year, with love Jennet

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