What happens when wayward spouses actively withhold details? Is it possible to recover from an affair without know all of the details?

Is It Possible to Recover from an Affair

By Sarah P.

Being married can be hard, being married can be extremely lonely for days or weeks on end, being married can be confusing. Marriage brings out a mixed bag of emotions, some great and others very bad.

When an affair occurs, all of the feelings of confusion and loneliness in a marriage are magnified. On top of that, a marriage then receives a heaping portion of betrayal, shock, and disbelief.

But, one of the worst things of all occurs when a wayward spouse refuses to talk about the affair or answer questions that are important to you. Marriage becomes a nightmare akin to a funhouse.

Enter the Funhouse

Everything that you used to see clearly becomes distorted. As in a funhouse mirror, all of your memories become stretched out and grotesque, misleading entities from the past. Do you believe what you see in front of you now or do you believe the reality you knew before you entered the funhouse?

Do you trust what you see with your own eyes, or is it all a trick of light and mirrors? Which reality do you choose—the one before or the one now?

Then, there is your wayward spouse. You look desperately to your wayward spouse to give some insight into which reality to choose. You need reassurance, you need to know what to believe, you need to know how to deal with these distorted memories and if they were even real.

But, your wayward spouse just sits in silence, watching you experience the ‘funhouse’ all alone.

He or she does not want to tell you what is real and what is illusion. He or she just wants you to forget about it and move on.

There you are, in a purgatorial type of room, waiting to see if your life is now a hell on earth and if there will ever be a shot at reaching heaven.

Still, your wayward spouse sits silent with arms crossed, stonewalling you anytime you bring it up. Your wayward spouse gives you no clue as to what it happening.

The Sound of Silence

One of the biggest pieces of feedback that I get from betrayed spouses has to do with lack of communication about the affair. More specifically, most betrayed spouses have the feeling that their wayward spouse is holding back important details.

Yet, many details of the affair must become known to assist the process of recovery. Of course, many wayward spouses do not want to discuss details.

For some wayward spouses, discussing details bring up shame and forces them to see themselves in a negative light. Most people prefer to tell a positive story in their minds about themselves and their actions.

If there is a pile of concrete evidence that a person is not as great as they think, this can shatter their ego.

Therefore, they become selfish and resist telling the truth. They leave you all alone in the proverbial funhouse full of distorted images and they seem not to care—just as long as they do not have to look at themselves.

One the other hand, some wayward spouses jump into affair recovery and answer questions honestly and humbly.

Not all wayward spouses want to cover things up. But, a lot of them do want to cover things up, even if they seem forthcoming.

This article is about wayward spouses who actively withhold details and what happens when they do so.

If a wayward spouse withholds details, this causes several things to happen:

  • The betrayed spouse cannot begin the process of rebuilding trust
  • The general recovery process can be stalled
  • The betrayed spouse is left to the mercy of his or her imagination – and imagination can be cruel
  • The mind will fill in harmful details that may not have happened and this will inflict even more pain on a betrayed spouse
  • Withholding details will remind the betrayed spouse of the secret keeping of the affair
  • The betrayed spouse will feel like the wayward spouse is more interested in protecting the other person, especially if the wayward spouse withholds the identity of the other person
  • The wayward spouse creates a power imbalance in the marriage because of a lack of transparency
  • The betrayed spouse often feels like a giant chump because of an affair and needs to know exactly what happened in order to feel like less of a chump
  • Withholding details causes the betrayed spouse to feel like there is a proverbial “in joke” that only the wayward spouse and other person understands
  • Things could have happened during the affair (STD’s) that impact the betrayed spouse’s health, and withholding details might prevent a betrayed spouse from seeking treatment
  • Withholding details prevents a wayward spouse from truly feeling remorse and experiencing the full force of his or her actions
  • It sometimes sends a message to the betrayed spouse that they are not worth it
  • Withholding prevents the wayward spouse and betrayed spouse an opportunity to work through some very difficult issues
  • Allows the wayward spouse to continue to compartmentalize the affair instead of assimilating it
  • The truth almost always comes out: when those withheld details eventually leak out, it feels like another D-Day to the betrayed spouse and sets recovery back to square one.

Yes, silence causes many problems, but most of all, it really does hinder affair recovery.

The Funhouse Continues

I like the insight that Brian and Anne Bercht give to a betrayed spouse on this topic.  A betrayed spouse asked for their help when her wayward spouse just wanted her to get over it and pretend like nothing happened.  Of course, the normal reaction for any betrayed spouse is NOT to get over it if they are not allowed to explore it or have their questions answered.

The affair was an overt lie in itself and withholding important information is a covert lie. Either way, it is all just another form of lying. When the lie continues, even if in a different form, it is going to be very difficult to move forward.

After all, who can trust a liar and why on earth would someone put their heart back into the hands of a liar? Anyone who has an ounce of self-protective instincts will not just forget about it. Here is what Brian and Anne said about this scenario to their reader:

If your spouse won’t discuss the affair or allow you to have answers, you will never heal properly. You will be like that injured person if they are never treated. You will never be able to walk again. Him telling you that you should trust God is nothing more than manipulation. You can tell your husband that refusing to deal with this affair, is like if you both had just killed someone in your living room and have now thrown the dead corpse in the closet and locked the door. I don’t care if you can’t see it. Sooner or later (probably sooner) it will start stinking up the place. You have to do a complete spring cleaning of your marriage…

He may give many reasons why he does not want to discuss the affair, but the real reason is because it is hard for him to face his giant mistake. He is also afraid to tell you the whole truth about the affair, because he thinks if he does it will hurt you more. What he doesn’t realize is that he can’t hurt you more, unless of course he continues to withhold the truth. The thing that hurts the most about affairs is the lies. The only thing that hurts more than the affair, is more deceit, the unwillingness to be totally open and honest.

One of the biggest mistakes spouse’s who’ve had affairs make is attempting to “protect” their spouse by minimizing or avoiding the truth. They somehow think to themselves that if you knew the whole truth it will be too painful for you. What they don’t realize is that you have already been hurt to the maximum level possible. The only way he can hurt you worse is by lying (withholding relevant information is a form of lying) after he claims to tell the truth… 

I’m not suggesting unfaithful spouse’s should unload all the gory details of the affair without being asked. The hurt spouse needs to be in control of this process, but what you need to know you need to know, and have a right to know.  (1)

See also  After the Affair – Control the Affect of the Cheater’s Choices


Breaking Out of the Funhouse

Continued lies or withholding the truth keep you jailed in the funhouse. But, the funhouse is not fun at all. It’s a place where you are shown different versions of reality depending on which mirror stands in front of you. You can explore every inch of the funhouse and get 50 different versions of images all competing to be assimilated as the “real” reality.

Keeping someone in the dark does them no favors. In the dark, you cannot see where you are and have no frame of reference for the objects you may encounter.

The dark is full of boogiemen, terror, and bumps in the night.

You have to navigate around with your hands, wondering if what you feel is an ordinary chair or an electric chair, a dinner table or perhaps a butcher table– or maybe it’s something entirely more horrible.

As I said earlier, the imagination can be the cruelest of all since it will give rise to the most ghastly images. The imagination seems to never tire of creating worst case-scenarios that end in panic attacks.

In order to break out of the funhouse, your spouse must be involved. This is not optional—it is a requirement. Not only must your spouse be involved, your spouse must take on the role of healer.

Your spouse must set aside all their pride, their embarrassment, their entitlement, their ego, and their desire to be secretive in order to help you. This is a scary thing for most wayward spouses to do. If they have had an affair in the first place, there will be learned secretiveness, entitlement, egotism, rationalizing, and minimizing.

Even for people who have not had an affair, putting ego aside where one is guilty of a transgression is difficult to do. But, it does not matter if it is difficult. If someone has hurt another person, it is their duty to offer a real apology, show genuine remorse, become transparent in their actions, and to focus on the person they hurt. No one likes to be the bad guy in any situation. But, if the bad guy doesn’t repair the situation, he goes from being the bad guy to the worst guy. There is no way to have a successful marriage with the worst guy (or the worst girl) on the planet.

Therefore, the only way to break out of the funhouse is to have your wayward spouse answer your questions.

The Issue of Questions

While getting answers to burning questions can be a balm, it can also be a balm that leaves burn marks. You want to be enlightened, but if you get too close to that light you will get your wings scorched.

For example, you really need to know if your wayward spouse had intercourse with the other person. If you do not know, wondering will keep you up at night.

If your spouse had intercourse without protection, you must know because you must get tested for every STD under the sun. If the wayward spouse is a woman, it is likely she could catch a deadly strain of HPV from her partner. In fact, people can get HPV even with condoms. Therefore, you must know about intercourse. If your spouse won’t tell you, you need to go get STD tests until you believe the affair has been over for some time.

Okay, so let’s say that your spouse admits that he or she has been having intercourse with the other person on and off for six months. That is essential to know. But, here is the thing, there is a fine line being knowing the answer and going down a nasty rabbit hole from whence you may never return.

So, you know your spouse had sex. But, there are certain things that I would say are off-limits in terms of questions. This is specifically for the benefit of the betrayed spouse—not for the benefit of the wayward spouse. Intercourse is a deal-breaker. It doesn’t matter where it happened and the smallest details of the intercourse is best not explored.

If you get offended or emotionally wounded easily, please do not read the next paragraphs and bullet points. The following is about very specific and graphic sexual acts and can cause some people to get triggered. Please be aware of that if you are not in a place where you can think about affair sex without becoming un-hinged. 

Here are some questions that I think are best left in the dark

They are no-go zones for the mental health of the betrayed spouse. Avoiding these are not for the benefit of the wayward spouse. Avoiding these questions help prevent some betrayed spouses from being so traumatized they may never recover. While there might be the occasional betrayed spouse who is at peace with knowing these things, many are not. So, it is up to you to consider carefully how details might affect you. We are all adults here and know all of the sexual possibilities out there. Still, there are things we may not want to know.

For male betrayed spouses here are some sexual questions NOT worth exploring:

  • Was his penis bigger than mine?
  • Did you have orgasms with him?
  • Did you have more orgasms with him than with me?
  • Did you swallow or spit?
  • Did he do that (fill in the blank) thing that is special between you and I?
  • Did he give you oral sex and was he better than me?
  • Did he do (fill in the blank) positions with you?
  • Was he better than me in bed?


Yes, I know those are all terribly disturbing questions. And, if you think about it, knowing the answers to those specifically will not help you UNLESS the answer is no. What you need to know is if there was vaginal penetration, oral, or anal intercourse for health reasons. You do NOT want the details. You do NOT want those images in your mind. They will haunt you. Believe me. They will be terrible.

For female betrayed spouses, these are sexual questions NOT worth exploring:

  • Do you do that special (fill in the blank thing) with her?
  • Was her body better than mine?
  • Were her other (specific) body parts better than mine?
  • Did you tell her you loved her while having sex?
  • Did you feel emotionally closer to her while having sex?
  • Did you have the best sex of your life with her?
  • Did she do (fill in the blank things from porn) that I do not want to do?

Once again, you need to know about oral, vaginal, and anal sex for health reasons. Cold sores on the mouth can be transmitted to the genital region during oral sex. You should also get on-going tests for the dangerous types of HPV since they can take a while to show up.

To be clear, these questions are general guidelines. These are not a comprehensive list of no-go zones because everyone is different. Everyone is unique and people get triggered by different things.

Also, I think hearing sexual details is more difficult for male betrayed spouses than female betrayed spouses. Research has shown male betrayed spouses have a more difficult time recovering from sexual infidelity than women and that knowing details will crush them. Now, sexual infidelity is crazy difficult for women to recover from. But, the way men are wired, it makes it even more difficult for them—or so the research says.

Some may disagree with me and believe such questions are essential to healing. That has not been my experience, but everyone’s experience is different.

Thus, these no-go questions are meant as a general guide.

In fact, it may be that one day couple’s will be able to explore these areas without being triggered.

But, I would not recommend such questions for those who are in the midst of very hard recovery. It will just send them over the edge. These questions are best left for later stages, if at all.

A True Story of How Such Questions Ended a Relationship

I wanted to offer a story about how exploring such questions ended a couple’s engagement. When I lived in France, I was friends with many different French students as well a students from other countries.

See also  Needing To Be Heard - Get Your OWN Words Out!

My boyfriend and I frequently hung out with a French/Irish couple named *Maurice and *Tricia.  Maurice and Tricia were a very lovely couple and everyone noticed how Maurice was so in love with Tricia that it almost bordered on obsession.

At the time, all of the girls were jealous because Maurice was very attractive and because these women confused love with obsession. Tricia was a beautiful woman from Ireland with raven hair and clear, blue eyes.

In fact, I was looking through my photo album the other day and saw a photo with me and Tricia. Tricia was so unusually attractive that it stunned me anew to see her again. She had done some facial modeling and many different men had been interested in her. She was equally enthusiastic about men. She happy-go-lucky, frequented night-clubs and by the age of 21 she had had her share of many boyfriends.

On the other hand, Maurice had been shy and had also gone to an all-boys prep school. He had one short relationship before he met Tricia. Things were great between the two and they got engaged fairly quickly. It seemed to all of us they were meant to be together—a real fairy tale romance. (I think we can all look back and remember how immature we were at the age of 20.)

Then one day, Tricia made the deadly mistake of mentioning some of her prior lovers before she met Maurice. She wanted Maurice to do the same things sexually that one of her lovers had done before they met.

In Tricia’s sexually-liberated mind, this was perfectly normal. But, it sent Maurice over the edge of sanity. Something shifted in their relationship. It went from warm and loving to Maurice pouting and brooding all day.

Then the questions started coming. Maurice wanted to know about every lover Tricia had had and exactly what they did sexually. And he asked all of those questions on the list I created and even more.

This caused him to visualize Tricia with those other men and this visualization started to drive him crazy. Each day he would want reassurance from Tricia that another man had not given her better orgasms or better anything. He would follow her around and ask her about it all day.

No matter how much she reassured him, he would ask the same questions every, single day. He told Tricia and the rest of us he could not get these images out of his mind.

He talked to everyone he knew about Tricia’s former lovers, how upset he was, and he wanted validation from the rest of us that he was right to feel the way he did and Tricia was in the wrong. We all sided with Tricia and he said we were all ‘crazy.’

Tricia begged him to get help from a professional. His parents begged him to get help from a professional. We begged him to get help from a professional. 

But, Maurice said we were all crazy and that what Tricia did was unforgivable. Maurice had gone over the edge of sanity. One day he even hit Tricia when she was talking about what to make for dinner.

Tricia broke up with him and he stalked her.  She dropped out the French university, went back to Ireland, and cut off all contact with Maurice.

During this time, it had triggered a kind of particular jealousy in my own (French) boyfriend. And then he started asking me “the questions.” Now, I had not had the same experience with other men that Tricia had. But, that did not matter. One man prior to him was too many according to my boyfriend. Then he started obsessing. So, I dumped him and he also did not understand why. Fortunately, this was around the time school was concluding, so I was headed back to the U.S. anyways.

To this day, I don’t know if this is a hang-up that French men have in general or if Tricia and I just happened to be so unlucky to run into super-jealous men. I figured out it was not worth exploring and realized having a relationship with someone from my own culture was easier for me.

So, what is the point of this story?

The point is that neither Tricia nor I had been unfaithful to our boyfriends.

But, that did not matter to Maurice and to a lesser extent my own boyfriend at the time. Maurice went insane over those images of Tricia with other men. I do not know what happened to Maurice, but I heard through the grapevine he had to drop out of school for a while and had gone fully psychotic.

Did Maurice have mental health problems before? None of us know the answer to that question. So, it could have been that Maurice had an under-lying condition none of us saw. We were all students at the time and were not into thinking too deeply about things. We were too busy planning travel destinations in Europe or attending to school work.

From my perspective now, I could theorize that perhaps Maurice had undiagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Not all people with OCD are hand-washers or door-checkers. Some people with OCD have it manifest purely as perseverating on the same thoughts over and over again. Or, it could have been that Maurice had an undiagnosed anxiety disorder and he had been triggered. I truly did not know enough of Maurice to say for sure.

Back to the questions. If those questions were so disturbing to a couple of different men who were NOT cheated on, I cannot image what these questions and subsequent images would do to a man who has been cheated on.

This is why I say these questions are a no-go. There is a fine line between disclosure and getting pushed of the cliff’s edge. You want to recover and not go to an insane place from which there is no return. We are jealous creatures by nature and jealousy can do very unappealing things to our minds.

Again, these are just suggestions on my part and they are based on watching relationships end due to knowing the answers to such questions.

What Do You Do When Your Spouse Won’t Talk?

Well, it depends on where you are at in terms of your recovery. If your spouse won’t talk because he or she is still seeing the other person, it is likely they will continue to stay silent.

If they do talk and they are seeing the OP, anything they say will be filtered through the other person. Your spouse will in essence have become a puppet of the other person and the OP’s viewpoints.

On the other hand, if your spouse has stopped seeing the other person and he or she does not want to talk, it is because of ego reasons OR because your spouse has no context for discussing emotions. This is especially the case for men who have come from families of origin who were emotionally shut-down.

Depending on the motive for your spouse’s silence, there will be a couple of different approaches. If your spouse does not want to talk because of ego reasons and because he or she cannot empathize with your plight, I call bull$#!+. You must keep telling your spouse that you need to discuss the affair in order to process it.

If your spouse is quiet because he or she came from an emotionally shut-down home, it is time to visit a marriage counselor who knows how to speak with effectively with those who are emotionally shut-down.

If your spouse does not want to cooperate and yet they say they want to work it out, stress to them that there is no working it out unless you are able to process the affair. It is impossible to process an affair of a spouse will not talk about it.

Thus, let them know that your marriage will be held in an emotional holding pattern that will wear on both of you because you cannot progress. Stress to your spouse that your marriage will be in trouble for as long as you two cannot work through the affair. Silence will keep you in a purgatory-like experience.

Spouse As Healer

I mentioned the concept of the spouse-as-healer earlier in the article, but I wanted to explore that more and talk about why it is important.

See also  Getting to Complete Honesty After the Affair

But first, I wanted to talk about affairs as an addiction and how addiction programs stress that the addict must help heal those they have harmed.

If any of you have been to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or ALANON meetings, you will be familiar with the 12 steps. Here are the first five steps of the 12-steps:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. (2)

I realize that some will be uncomfortable with the word God, so that word can be substituted for any of the following: higher self, the universe, or higher power.

We know that 12-steps work and we also know that people caught in affairs have almost everything in common with people overwhelmed by substance addiction.

Here is a description of what happens to people who are addicted to substances. Notice the commonalities in the consequences of both drug addiction and the affair fog. While not everything in this paragraph will apply, you can use “affair fog” or “other person” in many of these sentences when talking about the drug or the state it induces:

“The drug-dependent person experiences mood swings related to drug use. Gradually there is a personality change and all activity and thoughts revolve around drugs. Judgment and insight are also impaired. Family relationship change- In the beginning the drug abuser starts avoiding family members. As the addiction progress, lying, stealing, and violence become a regular feature. Social Changes- The drug abuser starts to weaken his friendship with non-abusers, breaks promises, and lies… Financial Condition- The drug abuser spends all his/her money on drugs. As the need for drugs increase, more money is spent, leading to debt and borrowing and selling of goods from home, workplace, and school. Legal Problems- Drug abusers become involved in many illegal activities such as street crimes, violence, extortion, murder etc. Sexual Activities- Most drug abusers under the influence of drugs have inappropriate sexual behavior.” (3)

Based on the above, here are the attributes that drug addiction and affairs share:

  • Mood swings related to the affair (which is the drug of choice)
  • Personality changes and activities and thoughts revolve around the other person (drug)
  • Avoiding family members – emotional detachment
  • Lying about their habit, stealing time that belongs to the family, and often engaging in verbal violence because the wayward spouse believes the betrayed spouse drove him or her to the other person
  • Breaks promises all the time
  • Spends money on the other person (drug) or often hides money in private accounts that are unknown to the betrayed spouse so that he can be with the other person (i.e. drug)
  • It is not uncommon for someone to be murdered when there is an affair: betrayed spouses, wayward spouses, and the other person.
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior (sex outside of marriage in inappropriate and wrong)

There are a lot of commonalities between addiction and affairs.

I am going somewhere with all of this. If there is a correlation between addiction and affairs then it is helpful to look at the 12-steps and see if they can be useful. Indeed, they can be useful; specifically, steps four and five.

In order to work through the process of addiction and to heal, the addict must make a fearless moral inventory of himself and confess what he did wrong to those he harmed (steps four and five).

In terms of affair recovery, the wayward spouse must be the healer. If he or she is to be the healer, he must follow steps four and five. The wayward spouse cannot be a healer without doing a moral inventory of their wrongs and confessing such wrongs to the betrayed spouse. Therefore, one cannot recover while refusing to discuss the affair and the harm it has done.

The wayward spouse must enter the proverbial funhouse with the betrayed spouse and be completely honest about which mirror reflects the actual reality. Only the wayward spouse can do this. The wayward spouse must take on the role of healer. Now you know why this is so.

Note to Wayward Spouses

If you think that staying silent to preserve your betrayed spouses feelings will help, you are wrong. You are staying silent because you do not want to recognize what choices you have made and how you are responsible for hurting the one to whom you made a vow of fidelity.

You must take a fierce moral inventory or yourself and remove your ‘denial glasses.’ If you feel ashamed while doing your moral inventory, you are most likely on the right track. Do not suppress that shame because it will be your teacher.

If you tell your betrayed spouse to “just get over it,” you are absolutely on the wrong track. You will learn nothing about your deeper motives for having the affair and you will be doing a great disservice to yourself and your spouse. As long as you stay silent, there will no be getting over it.

It is time to look inside yourself and find that one shred of integrity that is left and use it to start talking. You can become a good person again and have a good marriage. But, you cannot do it by hiding the details.

The truth always comes out and when your betrayed spouse learns all of the details you have withheld, you will be in a mountain of trouble. If you still want to work on your marriage at that point, your betrayed spouse may be unable to work through it. Another D-Day might shove your betrayed spouse past the point of no return. Regardless, your betrayed spouse will be re-living D-Day all over again.

It’s time to stop worrying about protecting your ego and to start rebuilding your marriage. But, that requires honesty, willingness, vulnerability, and most of all putting your ego aside. You made the choice to get your marriage into this mess, now it is time to be the healer.

In Summary

In order to heal from an affair, a wayward spouse must be willing to answer at least some questions. He or she may not want to answer all questions, but if he or she is willing to answer some questions, that is a good beginning.

The problem comes when a wayward spouse refuses to answer any questions. If they refuse to talk at all, it will create a marriage in limbo. If any of you are in this situation, I would recommend that you have your wayward spouse read this article. In fact, it might be good for all wayward spouses to read this article to give them an idea of what it is like to be betrayed.

This article is a guideline for discussion. I have not provided lists of all details that should be discussed or avoided. Only you can decide what you need to know and what you can handle hearing. I merely ask that you reflect on the outcome before asking certain questions. Once certain things are known, they will be hard to forget. While they will not be impossible to forget, they will require you to do a lot of reframing of your perception and that takes a lot of time and extensive work with a good therapist.

Finally, if your wayward spouse is not willing to talk, see if he or she will agree to have a facilitated conversation with a therapist or marriage mentor. If he or she does not agree, then just keep trying. You are with it!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my articles and I wish all of you well. I understand that not everyone would like to make a comment to a post, although all are welcome to do so. If you prefer to contact me directly with a question, you can contact me at sarah.emotionalaffair.org[at]gmail.com.


Brian and Anne Bercht. What If My Spouse Won’t Discuss the Affair? From http://beyondaffairs.com/communication/spouse-wont-discuss-the-affair/

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. From https://www.addictioncenter.com/treatment/12-step-programs/

Characteristics of Drug-Dependent People. From https://www.drugabuse.gov/international/abstracts/characteristics-drug-dependent-people

    139 replies to "Burning Questions: Is It Possible to Recover from an Affair in the Face of Unanswered Questions?"

    • Rose

      My H answered only the questions he wanted to and then shut up. He said he would answer no further questions until I told him about my past. He wanted details on every man that came before him. Didn’t matter that there had been NO ONE in the 32 years we’d been together; he’s delusional and thinks there was. In the past year I have initiated conversations 3 times, and he’s either not responded or started the blame game–“Well you did such and such, and you did such and such.” We tried marriage counseling but she said until HE got individual counseling, she couldn’t help us. He never went back.

      • Puzzled

        My wife went to counseling twice individually and twice with me. She didn’t “connect” with the counselor and didn’t feel “comfortable” with him. I was willing to do anything to help her sort out her feelings of being “lost” so I agreed. Little did I know that her reason of running away from the counseling was the same reason she was running away from our marriage: she was having an affair. I’m certain our counselor knew. I’m sure he was peeling back the layers of deceit and lies to finally expose what was happening. But my wife knew this and used my trust and my caring nature against me. I never suspected an affair so I simply trusted her that she didn’t “connect” with our counselor. She got to continue her affair without fear of exposure. Well, until I caught her texting at 2 a.m. which triggered D-day 2. But that’s another story…

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Rose,
        I meant to address this the other day, but I waited until I could cool off enough to answer this without swearing.

        So, basically your husband does not want to take responsibility for his affair. He thinks the fact that you had sex with other men before you met him is an equal transgression to an affair. Tell him this:

        1) In modern day, not in ye olde middle ages when women wore ye olde chastity belts, women have monogamous (or non-monogamous) sexual relations prior to marriage.

        2) A woman owns her sexuality and her body. In ye olde days women were coded as “chattle” under ye olde laws, but ye olde laws were burned at the stake and it’s no longer ye olden times. Women can do what they choose with their bodies.

        3) There is no moral or ethical violation if a woman engages in a monogamous sexual relationship prior to marriage. At least not in the Western world. (There are still backward and crazy nations where marrying nine-year-old girls to 40-year-old men is acceptable. In these same nations, women can also be murdered– often by their own families– for having sexual relations prior to marriage, even if it wasn’t a sexual relationship– even if it was rape.)

        4) Trying to compare premarital sex you had with a man prior to knowing your husband is NOT the same as marital infidelity.

        Once again…. crazy, twisted logic of cheaters.

        Woman: “I have proof that you have been having sex with Jenny for the past five years of our marriage.”

        Man: “That doesn’t count because you had sex with Carl before we even met each other!”

        Yeah…. that logic just DOES NOT fly.

    • Puzzled

      Great article Sarah. This really hits me hard. My wife’s EA has been the most challenging thing in my life and she continues to live in the “just forget it and move on” mentality. We have made great strides in rebuilding our relationship. But, I had to literally drag out every answer from her. She has never really been an “open book” on the affair. She was the queen of vague answers and stonewalling. The hardest part of this whole mess is she will not tell me the name of her AP. So, just as you wrote, my imagination and suspicions win out. I’m certain it is someone who I know and she is protecting him and herself from more embarrassment and exposure. Truthfully, it hurts. The fact of the matter is my complete trust of her will always be damaged but this one last constant betrayal keeps the divide wide and keeps the wound fresh.
      The only way that I could get answers from her was my fish bowl technique. I put a bunch of questions into a fish bowl and I told her that she needed to pull one out and answer it. I didn’t demand a time frame. I just said that eventually all of them needed to be answered. We are through all of the questions but one: who was he?
      I’m not sure why she chooses to keep hiding him and betraying my trust. I have forgiven her. I have never “rubbed her nose in it”. I have treated her with kindness and love. But, she continues to dodge the one thing that might heal my heart.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Puzzled,
        What kind of family does your wife come from?

        Was there drinking, were there affairs, was there a divorce? How did the family cope with emotion? Was your wife (to your knowledge) abused in any way?

        As for me, I would be livid if someone withheld the identity of the affair partner from me. I would hire and PI to find out. But, that is just me.

        • Puzzled

          Sarah: my wife came from a very stable home. No divorces on her side. There was no abuse of any kind. Both parents involved and all highly educated. Classic case of she would be the last person to expect this from.

          She is a classic avoider and non-confrontational person so our discussions about her affair were always a challenge.

          The ironic thing about discovering or piecing together came only after my then 15 year old bluntly asking me one night: “is mom having an affair?” I would never have thought this. Ever. And strangely, my oldest daughter knew something was going on and asked “what did mom do to you?” I asked her why she thought her mom was at fault. Her answer: “it’s not in your character. You’d never hurt someone.”

          I guess a woman’s intuition starts at an early age.

          • Sarah P.

            Wow, puzzled. Yes, kids know a lot more than we could ever imagine. I cannot get anything over my 13-year-old or my 8-year-old. They are so good they can practically read people’s minds. No joke.

    • Hopeful

      My husband says he did not tell me everything to protect me and since in dday he was not sure if he could pull himself together and stay. I caught him off guard when I asked him questions. He had thought about leaving me off and on not to be with anyone else but since he did not want to tell me what he did. Which I understand intellectually how he could feel that way. But emotionally it is upsetting.

      For five months I asked questions since things did not make sense or add up. Well sure enough he dumped it all on me. Well not all of it since I am not sure if he has held back info or repressed it or maybe a little of both. I did write him a letter since I was falling apart. The line that got him to open up was “I would rather be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie.” He opened up the most he had at that point.

      I do appreciate your annalogy to substance abuse. Both are destructive behavior. I thought initially all about myself and my pain. I figured he made these choices he must have wanted this. But now over time I see the one he betrayed most was himself. Which seems similar to someone who is an addict. And when has my husband opened up the most when he has been drinking. And I did ask him if he ever had sex without drinking and he said no. He did send texts and emails sober but still I see such a strong connection. And to me this gets to the core of who he is and his judgement. No matter how down I am and how drunk I am I would never do what he did. I can see this as a strong connection and I would love if there was a study done about it since I bet a lot of affairs involve alcohol if not other substances that are being abused. And one thing my husband always told me is how alcohol is a depressant and how it can have such negative effects on your mental health. Now I am the one reminding him of those words.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Hopeful,

        Does your H still drink? As I recall, he has struggled with alcohol for quite a while and it centered around hanging out with his friends who make him feel better about himself.

        Yes, alcohol is a CNS depressant and the last thing anyone should use if they feel down. It can cause clinical depression.

        If people are depressed, they need therapy and possibly meds. I have come to believe that some meds are very helpful. I have seen great success once the right med is found for each person. But everyone has a slightly different biochemistry and what works for one may not work for another. Has your husband ever tried medication?

        I know some people in the mental health field recommend it for others but not for themselves and that keeps the stigma of taking meds alive. That stigma is one that needs to go away along with stigma surrounding depression.

        I went through very serious postpartum depression years ago and had to get treated with meds and therapy. It was a surprise because I had no prior history of depression or any other concern. But, I realized I needed to take meds to get better and so I did.

        There is no stigma in taking medication or being depressed. It does not mean someone is “crazy” or “damaged” or “worthless” if they take meds. I have met many people who need them but who suffer in silence because of their pride. They falsely believe that taking meds makes them ‘inferior’ to others and so they allow their lives to spiral downward just so they can tell themselves, “I am okay because I don’t have to take meds like all those ‘other’ people.” It’s a very damaging perspective.

        So has your husband ever sought medical help for feeling down or does he tend to self-medicate with alcohol?

        • Hopeful

          I am not sure based on what I know regarding depression that he fits that diagnosis. He to me would be selfish, entitled, narcissistic and grandiose. He has done a good job at sournding himself with people who make him look good. That has in the past always helped him to justify his behaviors. Pre dday he would not even go out once a week. Now I am not sure if is once a month. I know back then it was to escape his guilt. Now he says he has learned to say no and really assess what he wants to do. Before he said yes to everything. Now he has a new perspective and desire. He said he is so much happier when thinking of me, the kids and our family ahead of himself.

          He had never seen anyone or taken medication. What I find interesting was he affairs were both sporadic and his alcohol use is sporadic. He has never drank daily ever in his life. Now maybe one time a month and it could be one drink. Before dday I do believe he was at least using alcohol to numb himself and escape his guilt but then maybe 4 times a month.

          He is a very busy and upbeat person. He thinks I am too negative and that it is sad I am not happy with my life. He claims that is all he wants is for me to be happy. I find it interesting he is focused on me so much. I explain to him that I think that is hard to define and after all of this I struggle with that. I have happy moments but it is hard. And what is happy. In the end I feel like I did everything right and I know there is no control over others. But that makes me more distant.

          In the end he tells me alcohol use is on a continuum and he is somewhere in the middle. It is not a non issue but it is not a chronic problem for him. It has improved a lot but honestly I do not feel like it has any good spot in anyone’s life. More harm than good has been done by alcohol.

          • Sarah P.

            It’s interesting to me that he wants to make you happy but then had affairs in the past. If I were in your situation and my husband said he wanted me ti be happy but that I was also negative, I would get pretty darn sarcastic. But, I will admit periomenopause is messing with my mind. I used to be incredibly docile and a people pleaser toward him and his family. These days I am becoming ornery.

            • Hopeful

              I am very direct and throw it back at him. I feel like it is a nice way of deflecting from his real issues. there are so many layers when dealing with all of this. I know his main focus or what he hangs his hat on is he is a straight arrow now. And beyond not doing anything inappropriate related to women is for him he has felt a shift in his entire personality. This is noticeable. My therapist really said that was the biggest transformation seen in their long career. I was skeptical for a long time but based on the time that has passed it seems to be genuine. For me the fidelity that now exists is great and a must but t leads me to examine and better all aspects of our relationship and my life. For me the biggest frustration is it sounds nice he wants me to be happy and I believe him but the follow up of what can I do to make you happy is not there. It is still somewhat self focused and driven by him. I mean this is nothing horrible but imprortant to me. What keeps me going is the major shift in the decisions he makes. At this point I expect him to make them on his own with out me telling him. when he has to be out of town he will ask me what I need. He is getting there but in my mind it will always be a work in progress.

            • TryingHard

              Hopeful— you know I’m in your camp right? I think you’ve done remarkably well in learning about your hs character flaws and shortcomings that lead to him choosing to cheat both times. It sounds like h is making tremendous progress in his personal growth. Yes he’s a work in progress. I think we all are until the day we die. Some die more evolved, some don’t. I’m focusing on my own evolvement. I wish my h would work more in his. we can only lead that horse to water but can’t make him drink.

            • Sarah P.


              I second that. I too am focused on my own evolvement. But an unfortunate side effect is that my evolvement, which spiritually-based (not religiously-based), is sure making my own H uncomfortable. I watch shows on the Gaia.com online network. The network has no commercials and only has programs that center around yoga, meditation, mindfulness, natural health, naturopathic medicine, and some other esoteric concepts. For me, it is a positive thing to be able to have a network that resonates with my thinking and spiritual progress. But, my H claims it is putting ‘false information’ in my mind.

              That’s funny because my H knew who I was and what I was about when we were dating. I did not hide it. I have always been into what some would classify as alternative spirituality and I have always believed in core concepts that are found in Hinduism and Buddhism. (And yes, I still center my life around the teachings of Jesus.)

              Marriages are so funny. When people date they are attracted to what they would consider to be ‘quirky’ qualities in the other person. Then, at one point those quirky qualities become irritants. It happens to all marriages and it is something all couples have to work through in one way or another.

              Anyhow, for anyone else out there who is spiritually evolving, I would recommend checking out the Gaia network. It’s $9/month but has been my life-line throughout my own major shift in thinking.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Hopeful,

              If I remember correctly you and your H were in a long distance relationship when you dated and he was the one that heavily pursued marriage and kids. But, then after he got it, he had affairs. For whatever reason, this reeks of a fearful-avoidant attachment style. From Wikipedia:

              “People with this attachment style have mixed feelings about close relationships. On one hand, they desire to have emotionally close relationships. On the other hand, they tend to feel uncomfortable with emotional closeness. These mixed feelings are combined with sometimes unconscious, negative views about themselves and their attachments. They commonly view themselves as unworthy of responsiveness from their attachments, and they don’t trust the intentions of their attachments. Similar to the dismissive–avoidant attachment style, people with a fearful–avoidant attachment style seek less intimacy from attachments and frequently suppress and deny their feelings. Because of this, they are much less comfortable expressing affection.”

              Of course, no one fits neatly into a box, so this is just a guideline. I have noticed this fearful-avoidant style does everything to rush into a relationship and “wants it now” and then when this person gets the relationship they subconsciously lay traps that prevent them from getting truly close. Affairs are their favorite way to prevent genuine emotional intimacy with anyone.

              Just an observation, but I could be mis-reading the situation too.


            • Hopeful

              I think parts of that apply. I think most of all he was selfish and indulged his entire life. So he lived for himself first. On a recent trip he said he has such clarity. He said when he would do anything go to work, go watch a game with friends, golf, etc he would not think of himself as a husband or a father he was just himself. So he gave us zero consideration. I am not sure how someone feels this way and as we just discussed ends up married with kids. My guess is he wanted to fit into social norms even though none of his friends were married at the time and we were young. So I guess he would just detach and separate his entire personality from us. Now he said he struggles since we are all he thinks of when he is not with us.

              I find all of this hard since I am the same person he met so many years ago. Of course I have changed as I have matured and learned from life. But in general I am really the same person. I think he did a good job of covering his flaws and by moving forward in life with me it worked for him since I am very independent and always pushed him to do things and enjoyed my alone time. It was not as if I was sitting at home lonely or falling apart. At times I wanted to do more together or more help with the kids but honestly we were closer than any of my friends were or are with their husbands. So silly me I felt lucky in the busy part of life that we were as close as we were and as connected. We share so many similarities and interests it is easy for us. At this point our character really separates us. He has changed a lot and he struggles as he sees the majority of men around him are not that interested in their wives. He says none are doing anything like cheating in any way but they just could care less if they spend any time with them. My friends seem the same way too with their husbands. I know this is a busy time in life and also a stage in many marriages with challenges. People always looked at us differently since we were so close and now it is even more like that. We will keep moving forward and I continue to be optimistic based on his behaviors and actions.

    • TheFirstWife

      I think that basically we (the BS) all reconcile and recover without knowing the full 100% truth.

      The typical cheaters’ manual tells you to:

      Deny Deny Deny
      Then Admit you know her/him (AP)
      Then Admit you are friends on FB or text
      Then admit you “chatted” a few times but nothing else

      Then admit you texted (but only admit whatever proof the BS has). If the BS doesn’t have photos or videos then DON’T admit to it.

      Then admit you may have met once (but only if there is solid proof)

      Then admit you kissed (but only kissed)

      Then admit you groped but clothes on

      Then admit ……….

      I think you get my drift. They give out the partial truth but only if caught and solid black and white evidence/proof.

      i think the cheaters will lie with whatever they can get away with. Which only makes matters worse b/c when the BS uncovers the truth – it only makes matters worse.

      So I think for the most part we recover and reconcile but never get the full truth.

      • Shifting Impressions

        My thoughts exactly….I was wondering how to put it into words….and you did it perfectly. If we rely on 100% truth, in order to heal, I doubt it would happen.

        This sentiment it extremely aggravating…..but it is what it is.

      • Misguided

        I believe this to be true. I also believe I’m stubborn and will continue to ask him what the “It’s like a Janet Jackson halftime show down here” text was for until the day we die if we manage to stay married!

        Anyone who was old enough when that happened knows exactly what that means and is forever etched in their brain…so his “I can’t remember” answer isn’t cutting it for me at all. I may never get the answer but it’s one I’m not giving up on any time soon.

        That incident being talking about again for this year’s Superbowl was really poor timing too since D-Day for me was Dec 17, 2017.

        • Angela

          I would take that to mean he doesn’t remember why he sent the text. Of course everyone remembers Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, but he may just truly not remember why he sent or received the text? It’s difficult to control our imagination about what such things mean because the nature of infidelity is so monster-like. A text like that would make you feel like some woman was stripping for him or something, but it was probably something less than you are picturing in your mind. If he’s reached a point of being honest with you at all, he probably really doesn’t remember it or just fears that it will be made into something much worse than it actually was and feels like saying “I don’t remember” will save you guys a terrible argument.

          Try letting him know that by not knowing what that text meant, it makes you imagine the absolute worst and if he could try to “remember” what it was about, he could set your mind at ease.

          That is how I got my husband to come out with several answers I needed.

          • Misguided

            Between the gif image that she sent prior to that text and his other texts following that said things to the effect of “thank god so and so wasn’t here to see it or he would be asking you to marry him” definitely leaves the worse impression in my mind. It may have been nothing, but really it makes no sense for it to be nothing with context of the messages that were there. It may have been that her shirt accidentally came unbuttoned. They worked for the same company and the department he ran was way in the back away from normal operations in a separate building.

            I have told him by not knowing makes me think the worst imaginable — and this was in a calm, sincere way. Since this isn’t the first time I’ve gone through this with him, I don’t believe he doesn’t remember. The first time he was gas lighting me so badly, I literally was going crazy and had to start my own therapy for PTSD.

            This time he’s being more “cooperative” probably because of how horribly we made it through the first one (there were other major issues beside the EA that came up at that same time).

            But he’s an avoider of conflict and a people pleaser. As much as he says he wants to help me get over this, I don’t think those two parts of his personality changed with just the discovery of the most recent EA.

            Right now, my instinct tells me he’s only honest on the answers to questions that don’t incriminate him because that’s the only ones I can get him to answer — the rest get response of “I don’t remember.” There’s a lot more “I don’t remember” answers over anything else unless he switches to “that’s not what my intentions were”

        • Shifting Impressions

          I don’t buy the “I don’t remember” line either. Same as the politicians lines of “I just don’t recall”…..how stupid do they think we are.

          Anyway….I found by backing off, I created a safer environment for good communication. It’s been an excruciatingly slow process but slowly I have a clearer picture.

          As time goes on I find I am not as hung up on the details. If they only realized how helpful it would be in the recovery process if they told THE WHOLE TRUTH from the beginning but that seems to be rather an uncommon occurrence.

    • TryingHard

      I have always known what questions I do not need or want answers to. You’re right knowing he had unprotected sex with her was all I needed to know. To this day I am still haunted by the images. Even just holding his hand sometimes can trigger me and I am repulsed know where that hand had been.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Trying Hard
        I can imagine….so difficult!!!

        • TryingHard

          SI–right? I just can’t let my mind go there very often. Every once in a while at THE most inopportune time a trigger will happen but I push it out pretty quickly. This was also made very clear in MC. I made sure to let him know do NOT let any details about sex let out in any way shape or form. I knew all I needed to know about that.

          Bleck, I still throw up in my mouth a little bit every time I dare to go there.

    • august7

      I did not catch my husband cheating or in the act. I learned about the affair because I was informed by a person who saw my husband and the other person behave intimately during workouts. Most gym members knew that he was married and she was in a live in relationship but they were touted as a “loveteam”. In fact my discovery was even by accident which prompted the source of information to disclose what she had observed. Everything that she reported pointed to an emotional affair down to the small intimate touches observed between the two, giving water, wiping sweat off of her and putting on her slimming belt. Things that any married man should only do to his wife. I also learned that they would leave together almost two hours earlier than his arrival at home giving them ample alone time, had matching workout shoes and even went to out of town trips in our family vehicle.

      When confronted with all these my husband stonewalled me for two weeks and denied the existence of the OP and EVERYTHING ELSE. Since I had no proof nor did any of my frantic efforts to look at his FB yield any results, I could only cry and beg that he be truthful. I was slowly going mad for we would have the most horrific fights with me asking and asking and him denying in anger.

      Two weeks after he kept on denying the existence of the OP I learned from a common friend that he had a picture of them on a drinking date. Even without the picture I confronted my husband expecting him to deny it again. He did at first and I screamed in frustration. Then he admitted that he did have a special friend and it was her. From that point on everything slid downhill. Why? Because for him she was just a friend and nothing sexual happened to them. This became his mantra and everything I was told according to were nothing but fabricated lies. No he did not love her, yes, they were attracted to each other but nothing happened to them and no they did not go out of town, nor leave together each gym night, nor have matching workout shoes. Everything was denied.

      He does talk, he does answer my questions but he answers them without admitting anything. So if there is anyone out there who can help me, please…help. I’m slowly dying inside.

      • Nearly Normal

        august 7,

        the pain you feel has been felt by everyone here. I would give anything to never have felt that wrenching, tearing inside. We know what you’re going through, even though our stories are a little different than yours.

        In my case, I got one session of fair disclosure, and then virtually nothing from then on. I’ve come to (mostly) peace with this, but it takes years of struggle.

        I hope for you a better path. You can get through this. You are already proven to be the stronger person because you could say no to what he could not. You are already enduring what he cannot even understand. If he could understand it, he wouldn’t be following this road.

        It hurts, but you can make it. Things are tough now, and it may take awhile to get better. But it will get better.

      • Nathan

        I think you and I should just get married and leave these heartless fools to fend for themselves

    • TryingHard

      Aug7–u think you already know the answers. I dint think you need any more evidence. This is not an EA and he’s lying. You know that. You know he’s lying to you. If you need more evidence and he’s not being truthful you know what you need to do to get more concrete evidence.

      The hard part is accepting it and forming an action plan. No married guys are BIT allowed to have “special friends”. What dies “special” even mean? I think you know the answers. Like the old saying goes” you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free but first it will piss you off.”

      Quit playing in the funhouse mirror. This is what cheaters do. They lie and then they lie some more.

      • bor

        Aug 7,
        I suggest a polygraph, if they didn’t he will pass.

    • TheFirstWife


      I had your exact experience except my husband’s emotional affair lasted for years. I knew this person and she pretended to be my friend and I feel the double betrayal only made the situation worse.

      It wasn’t until The third year of this friendship that I started to become very suspicious. It was based on something that she said. I would confront my husband and ask him to tell me what was going on, and like your husband, he denied, lied, stonewalled and gaslit me.

      This so-called friendship finally came to ahead when the “Friend” Called me to see if I would allow my husband to be her “Date ” at an event because she had no one else to take.

      I realize at that point she was going to be making her move, if she hadn’t already.

      The final straw I came when she decided to have a party and invite my husband and I. I was unable to attend And my husband (stupidly) decided he would go alone.

      After the nuclear explosion and my not speaking to him for three days he finally realized he had better in this friendship or else.

      However he would never admit this was an inappropriate friendship. And I had no proof because this was before emails and texts.

      And of course, rather than make myself a crazy person, this whole thing was swept under the rug.

      My biggest regret and my biggest mistake is allowing him to gaslight me and make me believe “Nothing was going on! ”

      The end result is that the rug sweeping allowed him to have a second emotional affair, which practically led to our divorce. Throughout this midlife crisis affair, he repeatedly walked around saying “I want to divorce, I want to divorce”

      My advice to you is that he knows what he did was unacceptable. And here is the proof. At any time did he ever tell you that he was having breakfast or coffee or drinks or meeting up with this person?

      If the answer is no, that’s because he knew it was wrong. End of story.

      You don’t need any further proof than that.

      my suggestion is that you get yourself a wonderful counselor or therapist to help you navigate this roller coaster of a ride. My therapist saved my sanity during my husband’s last emotional affair.

      In hindsight the biggest mistake I made was not forcing him to discuss the first emotional affair.

      In your case, you don’t need to have any further evidence against him. Do not get caught in a warp with him on this issue.

      Further your husband needs to commit to fixing the marriage and addressing the issues. You need to set whatever boundaries make you feel comfortable right now. I suggest that you think about attempting to have a rational conversation with your husband and explaining your position.

      If he starts to argue or defend himself, I suggest you just walk out of the room and not allow him to continue to lie. It is important right now that you gain your self-esteem, your power back in the relationship and show him you’re not willing to put up with this nonsense any longer.

      There are a number of good books out there for your husband to read if he’s not sure what to do on how to make amends.

      Do not allow him to cast blame on you for his choice to cheat on you.

      Do not allow him to rewrite your marriage in terms of him saying we drifted apart or we were not connected etc. etc.

      Do not allow him to continue to lie and deny the existence of this relationship. Because if that continues to happen, There is very little hope that you will be able to get past this.

      The reason I am telling you this is because my husband’s four year emotional affair was in the late 90s. It has caused more problems in our marriage then his most recent affair because he would never admit to me that it even occurred. He made me out to be a crazy jealous wife.

      The reason that I have proof that I know he knew it was wrong is because he admitted it to the most recent other woman, and she told me.

      So knowing all those years that he knew it was wrong and refuse to even acknowledge or admit anything to me has caused a tremendous amount of problems in our marriage. Of course he’s trying to make amends and make up for his poor choices, but I just have a hard time getting past almost 20 years of his big ego and arrogance towards that aspect of our relationship.

      I wish you the best and I hope you can get past this. Unfortunately your husband may still be in the affair fog and very difficult to reason with or deal with.

      Google affair fog and you will understand what you are dealing with.

      Please stay connected here because we can provide support and suggestions based on our experience. Welcome to the club that no one ever wants to join – The infidelity club.

    • Angela

      How bizarre to see this article!!! The following is my own creative work written in August 2016 “inspired” by the pain of my CSs betrayal:


      Life is now a Carnival Fun House where terrifying and painful images appear constantly.
      Images of you doing things you should not – not if you cared for my heart.
      Nothing is what it seems to be in this Fun House.
      I was told what I’m looking at is not what I’m seeing.
      Was it always a Fun House mirror and not what I thought I saw? I question now.

      The floors shift back and forth, keeping me off balance as I try to find my way in darkness.
      My heart screams for you, once my most stable and centered place.
      Now you are the source of both pain and comfort.
      You control the lights and will not illuminate this world for me as you fear exposing yourself.
      The mirror you hold reflects a reality twisted and tormented at your own will.

      That same mirror shows me a distorted image of myself that was perfectly clear yesterday.
      My pretty face somehow ugly. My lovely body now disgusting. At least in this mirror it is.
      Getting out of here is my most pressing and urgent need before this kills me or I take myself.

      So many terrors and images come at once, I lie down in a darkened corner to wait while the pain ends my life.
      An image of you actually enjoying my struggle back to a place where the world made sense.
      You must like me being here, or surely you would pull me out of this place.
      An image of you leaving me here longer so you can do what you really wanted.

      I still desperately try to believe you wouldn’t put me here on purpose.
      I need you even more now to help me FEEL my way out instead of leaving me alone to find my way in the dark.

      The longer it takes the angrier I get, knowing that I did not come here of my own accord.
      Curled up in the dark trying to believe if you really knew how it hurts, you surely would stop it.

      I imagine that somehow, it’s my fault, because that’s easier than enduring the cold pain of your betrayal.

      If I feel my way along the walls all alone and find my way out of here, I will emerge from it without you.

      Then you’ll get images of your own, images of me, emerging from the other side while you still stand where you are
      An image of me, being everything that I am, and becoming what I would have been anyway.
      An image of me, living where others don’t take me to Carnivals of Cruelty.
      An image of me, wiser and more valuable.
      Too valuable for you.
      I might already be.
      Just watch, while I go there.

      Or join me in this Fun House and help me find my way out.
      Forgiveness is for the remorseful.
      Look at it, feel it, measure it, live it, taste it, wear it, suck it up, hurt from it as I did, or get the fuck out of my Fun House.
      This is my Carnival now. You gave it to me, and one day I will thank you for it.

      By keeping you.

      Or by leaving you behind.

      But one way or another, I will thank you for it.

      • Sarah P.

        Hello Angela,

        That’s really interesting!!!

        Did you ever publish your creative work on-line or was that something you journaled?

        I like to write using metaphors to which people can relate. While writing this article, an image of a funhouse came to mind because it seems like the perfect metaphor. Plus, the word funhouse is ironic when contrasted against affairs.

        Each mirror in the funhouse warps the reality and filters back something entirely different than ‘the truth.’ Just like affairs. The mirror would tell us we are 2 feet tall with a wide head and thin legs, but the actual reality (outside the funhouse mirror) remains unchanged. But, when an affair happens and you are only given information from the funhouse mirror and cannot see the reality, you have to make guesses based on the warped images you are being fed. Are these warped images real or is there a hidden truth? Of course there is a hidden truth!

        Thanks for sharing your writing about the proverbial funhouse. It’s great and so very true!!


      • TheFirstWife

        Very well written Angela. I enjoyed this tremendously.

        • Angela

          TYSM! It was written just before the anniversary of D-day #2 and I’d been putting up with stonewalling for nearly 2 years, and clearly I’d had enough. After not seeng it for several months, then seeing it again after this article reminded me of it (I went to dig it out of my files) I can see that at the end of it, I was finally beginning to see myself moving into the future without my CS. Thankfully, since then he “got it” even though we did suffer a 3rd D-day this year anyway, I can confidently say things have recently changed. He urgently contacted me from work one day telling me to go immediately listen to “The Reason” by Hoobastank, and he had also delivered some very long-winded apologies and letters. It’s clear that he’s finally on the same page, but honestly I think what got him there was him actually seeing me have a sobbing fit in the bathtub that went on for 2-3 hours one night while he handed me Kleenex while he had to see my emaciated and skeletonized body wracked with uncontrollable crying that would only stop for seconds at a time. This was a grief I’d never let him see before. I saved those crying fits for when I was alone and apparently that was something he’d needed to see sooner. Reconciliation has been recent and still feels raw and new, but he can’t seem to apologize enough, and I’m so grateful, I actually thank him for it, for which he told me he did not deserve thanks. I’m still nervous as a cat, but I can tell you that this feels good, if still scary.

      • Shifting Impressions

        this really says it all…..beautifully written.

        • Angela

          TY BOTH! TYSM! It was written just before the anniversary of D-day #2 and I’d been putting up with stonewalling for nearly 2 years, and clearly I’d had enough. After not seeng it for several months, then seeing it again after this article reminded me of it (I went to dig it out of my files) I can see that at the end of it, I was finally beginning to see myself moving into the future without my CS. Thankfully, since then he “got it” even though we did suffer a 3rd D-day this year anyway, I can confidently say things have recently changed. He urgently contacted me from work one day telling me to go immediately listen to “The Reason” by Hoobastank, and he had also delivered some very long-winded apologies and letters. It’s clear that he’s finally on the same page, but honestly I think what got him there was him actually seeing me have a sobbing fit in the bathtub that went on for 2-3 hours one night while he handed me Kleenex while he had to see my emaciated and skeletonized body wracked with uncontrollable crying that would only stop for seconds at a time. This was a grief I’d never let him see before. I saved those crying fits for when I was alone and apparently that was something he’d needed to see sooner. Reconciliation has been recent and still feels raw and new, but he can’t seem to apologize enough, and I’m so grateful, I actually thank him for it, for which he told me he did not deserve thanks. I’m still nervous as a cat, but I can tell you that this feels good, if still scary.

      • theresa

        You took my breath away!

    • Rose

      My H met his EA partner at least week for coffee at a cafe. He claims these weren’t “dates” but can’t come up with another word for it. During those two years I was working at home and never got asked out for coffee, dinner, even a movie. He won’t call it an affair either but I’ve screamed that word at him hundreds of times.

      • Puzzled

        The CS doesn’t want to paint themselves as a cheater. This is the sad behavior of a delusional spouse. My wife has apologized for hurting me but she has never used the words “for my affair” in the apology. I don’t think she feels that it was truly an affair because of lack of physical actions. I’m not sure if the continued emotional betrayal is worse than if she had said “I got drunk and made a horrible mistake and slept with someone else”. I’ve often wondered this. Is a one time betrayal as difficult to handle as a continued daily choice to emotionally connect with someone?
        But, to put it plainly, the CS won’t call it a date just like they don’t like to call it an affair. It puts the ultimate blame on them and there’s no getting around it. They can look at themselves in the mirror and say “I’m not a cheater because I didn’t sleep with anyone else”. Our hearts know the truth though. They are broken and we don’t look at our spouse the same anymore.

        • JTK

          At least you got an I’m sorry for hurting you. 10 months after dday and my W has never said that. I told her I have yet to see remorse and she now says she has mo feelings of any kind toward me.

          My wedding ring inscription says Love Never Fails; she picked it out. I thought her love for me was unbreakable. I have failed badly enough to break the inbreakable. I know people say the EA possibly PA is not my fault. But the mental/emotional state she must have been in leading to it is the result of my failures.

          This frustrates me to no end because I know how deeply I have always loved her. I regret so many things, mostly what I did not do that I should have.

          Now at age 50, after 26 years of what I thought was a special love, I face not being loved, pain of her loving someone else knowing in my heart that I could have done things differently to not be here.

          • TheFirstWife

            JTK. My H felt the same. He wanted out. Our M was over.

            Until I told him I was done with him. Lying snd cheating and all that.

            Boy did he change his tune and in a few hours he ended the A and changed. Remorse and regret and making amends etc. he thought it would be over quickly like the last time he cheated.

            Not this time. But we are still together and Happy.

            And we ALL have regrets over things we could or should have done better. No one is perfect. However I seriously doubt anything you did or did not do justifies the cheating.

            That is just your wife shifting the blame and justifying her affair.

          • Puzzled

            I can’t speak for your situation or anyone else’s for that matter but time can bring healing; whether that’s reconciling with your wife or moving past her affair.

            D-day 1 was March 15, 2015 when I got the “not happy” & “ILYBNILWY” crap.
            D-day 2 was June 12, 2015 when I caught her texting her affair partner.

            It was in the late July/early August of 2016 before she ever apologized and said she wanted “us” again. I was slowly going insane by her behavior and had lost most of my confidence and self-esteem. It’s awful how an affair demoralizes a person. There’s so much pain on so many levels. Keep working on you and keep praying for guidance and peace.

          • Shifting Impressions

            I believe you are way to hard on yourself. None of us here were perfect partners. I fell short plenty of times in my own relationship….but I always loved him.

            the “what if” journey is a fruitless one. Your wife chose to betray you. If there were problems between you there were much better ways to address them, than betrayal.

            None of us have the answers to “what if I had been more” or “what if I had done something different”.

            Please be kind to yourself…..the self blaming tapes in your head, will only bring you down.

            • TryingHard

              SI—. Great advice to JTK. I too think he’s way too hard on himself but I get it.

          • Angela

            Its good that you can examine any role(s) you may have played in bringing your marriage to the point its at, but DO NOT, REPEAT, DO NOT fall into the trap of blaming yourself completely. Your spouse made the decision to handle it the way SHE did, not you.

          • Puzzled

            As everyone else has already stated, don’t play the blame game. We are all adults. We can choose how we handle ourselves. I tortured myself for three months trying to figure out what I could have done better or differently all because I believed my wife when she said she wasn’t happy & not in love with me/drifted apart/blah blah blah. The reality is she cheated. She chose this. She knew it was wrong but continued down a path that was leading to our marriage’s demise.

            We don’t know your past. We don’t know your marriage. Is this a revenge affair by her because of your affair? We don’t know these things. But your posts don’t seem to point to this. The self-doubt is a natural reaction. We all want to know what we did/didn’t do to cause our spouse to cheat. I still wonder this at times. But I know in my heart that there is nothing that I could have done differently to prevent this. It was her choice. Does it sting? No doubt about it. I will always hurt from this but I will be stronger by getting through this. And you will to. Give it time and be good to yourself.

            • JTK

              I have been faithful our entire marriage, no I love yous to anyone else, no emotional connection.to anyone else.

              I did have a prodigal youth before we were married, before dating. My W has done hardly anything wrong her whole life. We are like the two sons in the prodigal story. So you mention revenge affair and wonder about that in regard to my youth.

              My regrets as a husband are that I tended to be busy, make plans for myself to do things to take care of the house, plan vacations, church stuff, prep for Bible study, at one point golf, other learning French. So I see how I did not plan time for us. Or eating dinner not engaging in conversation, or when she did talk about things, I did not listen well. All of those times would add up to her not feeling connected to me, feeling like I am interested in her, like I don’t cherish her. When I really did but let busyness or stress from work block my mind from being engaged. I missed it. I have been a horrible husband. I so wish I could have that time back, and wish she would give me another chance. I have always been a romantic and would try to do things together, ie dinner out. But I messed up the everyday interaction.

            • TheFirstWife

              JTK. I think we all have regrets on what we could or should have done.

              But one thing I learned is that I am not responsible for my H’s happiness. Nor is he responsible for my happiness. If I am unhappy it is up to me to figure it out and talk with him and let him know why or what I want to do.

              And if our spouses were unhappy with the M or us as a spouse – SAY SOMETHING!!!

              Just never an excuse to cheat.

              We can all look back in our past and have regrets. I shoukd not have yelled. I wish I eoukd have stopped working and spent more time with my spouse. Blah blah Blah

              Just never an excuse to cheat. That is a coward’s way of dealing with an issue.

            • JTK

              TFW and TH
              I do agree that there is no excuse for cheating. I am frustrated that my W never said anything about us drifting apart, being unhappy- can we do this or that to make it better, nothing. It’s like she did not care enough about us to make the effort. I can say the same since dday as well.

              I flip it around and think about times when I would be frustrated with her or it seemed she was not interested in us, but I would never cheat on her. It’s weird though – I remember just a few years ago, if the song “If you like pina coladas,…” was on the radio, she would say she did not like that song because it is about cheating, and told me one time that if I ever cheated on her, that was something she could not live with. It’s like something snapped with her 2 years ago.

            • TheFirstWife


              I think some cheaters have a double standard. Your spouse being one of them.

              I remember a story wherein the H had an A and I think more than one. The wife found out and had a revenge A. Wife went home and told H she had an A.

              He D the W for cheating. He coukd or eoukd not accept it yet he cheatedany times.

              Still SMH

            • Puzzled

              TFW is spot on. We can all look back and know we could have done things differently. Hindsight is always 20/20. But our spouses chose to betray our vows rather than opening up and telling us what they needed/wanted/missed. My wife can’t tell me or rather has no reasoning for her betrayal. She has said it over and again: “you are a great husband, dad, friend, it was me.” But it has never stoped the self doubt question of “why wasn’t I enough”?

              I’ve thought long and hard about this: I was not at fault! She chose this path of cheating. But she’s also chosen to work hard to rebuild what we lost. There’s more work to do but 2 years ago I would have bet millions that we would be divorced.
              Your wife needs to decide: him or you. It’s that simple.

              And your happiness can’t be determined by your wife. No matter what becomes of your marriage you need to learn what makes you happy. Your marriage, as you knew it, is gone. I pray that your wife humbles herself and you can begin a new future together. But there are no guarantees. Whatever happens from here forward is a new journey. A journey that I hope will lead you to knowing you are strong and can survive what life throws at you.

        • Angela

          Whenever I got a generic “I’m sorry” from my H, I would specifically ask him “what exactly are you sorry for? Once I know what you are sorry for that’s how I know what to forgive you for.”

          I’m fully aware that those words can start a fight but if asked in the right tone, at the right time, in a calm mood, it can Inspire her to apologize for the specific detail you are looking for.

    • Rose

      My H got around it all by inventing an affair he says I had 20 years ago with a co-worker. Never.Happened. Never even thought about it! He has come up with details in an attempt to gaslight me and make an excuse for his EAs. Never bothered to say anything at the time, just kept it in his back pocket for when he’d need to make it up. He also says he was just trying to help these 3 women so there was no affair. Yes, well, 4 years of secret relationships…I don’t care what you call it, it was totally betrayal.

    • TheFirstWife

      My H said the same thing. Did I ever cheat on him with (fill in blank)

      Never happened but he tried to use it as an excuse for his As as well.

      I guess that is in the Cheater’s Manual. I guess I skipped that page

    • Sarah P.

      Hello Angela,

      That’s really interesting!!!

      Did you ever publish your creative work on-line or was that something you journaled?

      I like to write using metaphors to which people can relate. While writing this article, an image of a funhouse came to mind because it seems like the perfect metaphor. Plus, the word funhouse is ironic when contrasted against affairs.

      Each mirror in the funhouse warps the reality and filters back something entirely different than ‘the truth.’ Just like affairs. The mirror would tell us we are 2 feet tall with a wide head and thin legs, but the actual reality (outside the funhouse mirror) remains unchanged. But, when an affair happens and you are only given information from the funhouse mirror and cannot see the reality, you have to make guesses based on the warped images you are being fed. Are these warped images real or is there a hidden truth? Of course there is a hidden truth!

      Thanks for sharing your writing about the proverbial funhouse. It’s great and so very true!!


    • Angela

      I believe I published it on my twitter account or somewhere like that. I couldn’t tell you when exactly, except the date on my original file was Aug 29, 2016. So I published it sometime since then, probably in early 2017. I was pleasantly surprised to find someone using the exact same metaphor and it was partly journal, partly letter to my CS, giving him notice to wake up or I was headed out the door and leaving him. We were right at 2nd year D-day when I wrote it and I’m happy to say, I do believe we’ve had our last D-day, although it still took several more months after that. He finally found a song he felt like expressed his grief and sorrow over his EA in the song “The Reason” by Hoobastank. If you watch that video, it is also nearly perfectly fitting of how a CS should see their roles in healing.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Angela,
        I thought that was cool too that we came up with the same metaphor. I have talked about ‘smoke and mirrors’ a lot before, but the concept of a funhouse seemed more appropriate. Plus, my kids had recently watched an old Scooby Doo cartoon called “Foul Play in Funland” and it hit me that affairs are just like a “horror” funhouse that the cartoon portrayed.

        I really loved your portrayal on the funhouse concept. It is beautifully written and so very true!!!!!

        Just watched the Hoobastank video. Here is a link for everyone:


    • TryingHard

      Hi Hopeful—. Oh I beg to differ. I am very very smart and hilariously funny and a very good dancer after my 3rd glass of wine ????. Haha isn’t everyone? Oh, no, wait. No I’m not ????

    • Rose

      I have a huge unanswered question that is keeping me up literally every night. So when he promised me no contact, he lied. It went on for another year and a half. The supposed reason? He said she had his work number and was going to report to his boss and the police shed been raped. He said he “couldn’t have you go through that” and that he never had sex with that woman. Because of his bad back and other physical reasons, I believed him. Now I’m not so sure. If a woman claims rape, she’s not getting far without DNA evidence. He’s a smart guy and understands this. So…still lying and they DID have sex? Or lying about the reason he stayed with her? 5 years later, do I just hit him with this realization? I haven’t slept for a week and not sure why this took me so long.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Why not confront him….the worst he can do is lie. I mean how could she “cry rape” without evidence. And of course we all know what evidence is necessary. Also, why would he want anything to do with a woman that would threaten him with a rape accusation.

        • Rose

          Because 2 years ago when I was stonewalled and he stopped giving answers, I stopped asking. Except for my internal conversations we have had no further discussion. I feel like I have PTSD and its all of a sudden hitting me over the head again. If I just ask this question out of the blue, he’ll initially be shocked and then stone wall again. And I won’t be able to sleep until I have this answer.

          • Puzzled

            I feel for you Rose as I’m somewhat in the same boat. My wife has never told me the name of her affair partner and the last time I brought it up was a very hard & emotional night that ended the same way as always: no answer.

          • Angela

            Unanswered questions is exactly what sent me to the “funhouse”. I think I finally reached a point where I was going to ” force” it, one way or another. I got a job, got financially independent, got my physical self back in shape and was willing to go on without him if necessary if those answers didn’t come. In my case, that came. I wish the same for you. I literally had to start visualizing myself as single again to get there.

          • Angela

            It turned out my H’s “reason” for continuous stonewalling (he stonewalled with anger and whatever reverse-attacks he could come up with on the fly), but his “reason” for it was he figured I already had one foot out the door anyway because of his EA and he had nothing to lose. He was partly right, but I told him calmly one day that he may not realize it, but we are experiencing two different marriages – the one he thinks we have and the one I’m having, but that we had to make one agreement before we talked any further and that agreement was: NO ONE IS LEAVING. The words “divorce” and “separation” were no longer allowed in our discussions. (It was hard to say that and felt unfair to me that I was having to reassure HIM!) BUT It gave both of us a safety net to relax enough to start getting honest and bring on some empathy, but we were getting nowhere because I already felt unwanted from the EA, and he felt unwanted due to my anger over it. All I know is it’s one of the tactics I used to break down some barriers. A few more fights happened (we were close to D-day at that point) but since then, its been primarily peaceful, though I’m not ready to resume our sex life yet, he respects that, and things are definitely looking up. Best to you. He may have taken you into a Funhouse, but you do not have to stay there.

    • TryingHard

      This is too all you people out there who have used exercise as tool to relieve stress, anxiety etc,

      I really respect your opinions so I hope you will chime in.

      I want to start incorporating a little more activity to combat my stress. I know walking/running etc is good for that, but how and where to I start? Every time I start a walking/running program I hurt myself. LOL, Stop laughing. But i do and then I stop and it all goes to crap, and I don’t start up again. I’ve already meniscus surgery in my knee so it’s not very good and actually I think it may be torn again 🙁 Haha I find it so funny I get injuries that pro athletes get because I couldn’t be any further removed from being any kind of athlete let alone a pro. I’m lucky I’ve been able to control my weight through diet so I don’t want to exercise for weight loss but rather stress relief especially with the dark days of winter just around the corner.

      So any of you runners, walkers, exercise experts or even pseudo experts please let me know what you know about this. I’ve read different exercise magazines all to no avail. I’d love to hear your thoughts

      • Rose

        Yoga is fantastic for stress. My gym offers it for free and if it was every day, I’d go. I’m not very good at it yet but you don’t have to be.

      • Puzzled

        Stick to walking and ramp up the distance slowly. Download some good tunes onto your phone & grab your headphones! Running is great for endurance and for stress relief but it can wreck your knees!

        Also, do body weight exercises for some strength training/toning: squats, lunges, push ups. If you can do burpees, they are a great exercise targeting several muscle groups. If you have dumbbells (other than your husband!), then do some bicep curls, tricep extensions, shoulder press, bent over rows. Try to do circuits of push ups, squats, biceps, triceps, lunges, & shoulder press. Nothing like taking your frustrations out on a good workout!

      • Sidney

        Trying Hard…
        If you are looking for a good stress reliever….you may want to look into purchasing an in-home infrared sauna. I bought one recently and love it!! Aside from the physical health benefits, it provides me 20 minutes of solitude where I am alone with my thoughts. Sometimes I listen to music and other times I just quiet my mind in silence. Okay, and other times I play Candy Crush!! Lol But it allows me to remove myself from the hurriedness of life….and to just sit and relax.
        Anyway, just an idea for you to help with stress………

      • Doug

        TH, Puzzled’s suggestions are very good and as Rose said, Yoga is great as well. Linda and I go together and it really does help with flexibility and such. If that’s not your style (and since you’ve got bad knees) try an elliptical machine. It’s much easier on the joints. In fact, when I had my knee operated on they made me use it for a warm up during rehab. Swimming is great too.

        • TryingHard

          That’s a great idea an elliptical. I like the yoga idea too as Rose suggested. I had no idea yoga could be tough on joints.

          I’m so glad I asked the question because as usual there’s lots of great advice here.

          Um wondering has anyone done any YouTube yoga? I’d love not to have to go to a gym. Ugh don’t like gyms. ????

          • Doug

            Sorry, I kind of misworded my sentence. I didn’t mean to infer that yoga was tough on your joints (at least the kind we do isn’t). I meant to say that walking and/or running is tough on joints.

          • Sarah P.

            Hi Tryinghard,
            There is a company that sells a yoga mat with picture cards. You get out your mat, shuffle the deck, and try the pose. If you don’t like the pose, you shuffle the deck again until you find one you like. It is yoga for beginners. I am no good at yoga and can still figure it out. I also put on music that uses tones at 432hertz. I have recently done a lot of research on sound as healing and there is factual scientific evidence for some of it. But, the specific tones to look for are 528hertz or 432hertz. These are based on the original Solfeggio tones:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWLVBP3VrO4 (432 hertz)

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MPRbX7ACh8 (528hertz)

            If there are any music geeks out there read all about how all Western music was tuned using A432 hertz up until the early-mid 1900’s.
            The Nazi party created a new standard of tuning music to 440 hertz. Sounds like a small change, but it is not. Music can create physical shapes (look up cymantics) and even change the shape of water. 432hertz and 528 hertz are DNA healers while 440hertz is not.

            • TryingHard

              Hi Sarah P- that’s a great idea. I’ve seen stuff on Amazon yoga for dummies and the like.

              I’ve never heard of the soothing sound waves. I have a Sonos system that pics up radio stations world wide. Maybe I can google some stations with this capacity. I know when I listen to classical music it’s very soothing but had no idea it had to do with the sound waves. Makes perfect sense

    • TryingHard

      Thanks Puzzled–Lunges and squats are out. I tried going back to that and as you say, the wrecked my knees. Actually I think that is how I tore my meniscus. My overyly ambitious trainer and those damn squats. I like the idea of walking and I have a great treadmill that I can change the elevation. How long to suggest walking as a start and speed?

      Sidney– OMG that is a great idea AND i have room for such a thing. Plus the idea of a sauna in winter sounds heavenly. I’m going to Google it now.

      • Sidney

        Let me know what you decide. I spent weeks (maybe months) researching various saunas and ended up with a JNH Lifestyles 2 Person Far Infrared Sauna from Home Depot. I love it! Easy set-up and very user friendly. It doesn’t take up too much room and can be taken apart and reassembled if you decide to move. So many health benefits!! I highly recommend it!!

        • TryingHard

          Sidney—. Thanks for the recommendation. I saw that one when I googled it. It’s always nice to have a recommendation from some who’s actually used it. I’ll let you know but prob leaning toward the one you recommended.

        • Sarah P.

          Totally believe in the power of far-infrared saunas. They are GREAT.

    • TryingHard

      LOL Puzzled I love it. Yes I do have dumbbells besides my husband!!! 3 lbs all the way to a whopping 10 lbs. !! Again I always over do it in the beginning. My old workout buddy said I was an over achiever.

    • TryingHard

      Doug–LOL I probably mis read. Yes I would love to run and have started and stopped it many times because of my knees. UGH. I can see running as very therapeutic for stress and anxiety. Stupid old age 🙁

      I’m thinking I will really like Yoga and Puzzeled’s suggestion of using my little weenie weights 🙂 H wants to start using the treadmill and I could do my YouTube weights at the same time. We have perfect area for it in our home. And I have to say Sidney’s sauna idea has really sparked my interest.

    • TryingHard

      Hi Rose– I don’t have a concrete answer for you as to whether or not your h had sex with her in order to satisfy you and you can sleep. My only opinion is, most adults don’t just talk. From my experience and POV at least.

      What matters is what is YOUR gut telling you? I’ve learned listen to my gut. Now your head and heart may be screaming NO because we so want to believe our h’s stories. If we quiet down enough and really pay attention to what they are saying and not saying generally we can get an answer. It’s the reality of that answer that most BS have problems with.

      And then his story could be completely plausible too. I don’t know your h nor is intelligence but I think there are many men that fit in this “frightened by the OW” category. I know my h was for a while, until he wasn’t. Understand cheaters are driven to hide the secret plus the secret is what makes the affair that much more enticing so they are loath to tell the truth and not only risk your wrath, but also bursting their little fantasy bubble. Does that make sense to you?

      I have found sometimes the questions can be never ending but you certainly have a right to know the truth for your own safety and health. And what kind of person holds hostage another person by crying rape? The OW sounds pretty despicable so far in this case.

      But Rose you have to get sleep and rest. Maybe you could say to your self “I accept he cheated. I accept he may or may not have had sex with her. I accept I may never get the full story or truth from him” to at least give yourself some peace. And sometimes it takes time for all the story to get out and sometimes it just never does.

      Meanwhile please go to the doctor and get yourself tested for STD’s and make sure it includes the HPV virus. I found out most STD tests do not include this which I find crazy but I’m not an MD. If your test come back positive you have your answer. Get some sleep and hugs to you.

      • Rose

        Well, do you remember Fatal Attraction and the bunny burning and the famous line “I will not be ignored”? That’s what it sounded like. But after years of lies who knows if its true. I got tested and that was good. I dont know if I can accept it either way. I think I was beginning to until this thought came about. Might just be a couple if glasses of wine tonight for sleep.Polygraph suggestion won’t work. I had one because of his delusion that I had an affair 30 years ago. He thinks they are fake and won’t even look at my NEGATIVE results.

        • TryingHard

          Rose—. Lol yes I do remember that movie!!! And I personally know people like that bunny boiler!!!

          It’s hard to reconcile yourself to the unanswered questions. But I’m glad your tests were negative. At least that’s a relief.

          It seems from your posts that your h is not doing much to repent or help you heal by his continued contact with random women and his refusal to answer questions. And yess I agree sometimes it’s just a matter of having a glass of wine or two ????

    • TryingHard

      Bor—LOL I like your style!!!! Polygraph!! Brilliant idea

    • bor

      Sarah, I have to share with you that i know a few details of the affair but much was from me pulling them off her computer in a word doc I sent to her to answer questions. I feel she had no intention of ever coming clean. She stone walled our Gottman therapist to the point that she quit and relapsed after the therapist had asked her to write the apology letter. Never happened. I also wanted to weigh in on the therapist remarks regarding sites that offer blogs and tools for us BS and WS. Her opinion is that Sites a business and the one goal is to make money. These sites are not helpful as most bloggers only spew venom over their situation. to much negativity. Now I have a different opinion. I have emailed with Doug and Linda and Sarah free of charge, I have asked questions at Affairrecovery, charged only for my subscription to the recovery library, not the responses, i have personally talked with Anne and Brian Bertch free of charge and emailed Brian on more than one occasion for his insight and advice. I had to pay for my marriage helper material and listen to many of Joe Beams podcasts, we went to the seminar but she was in full limerence. I listen to leebaucum and mort fertel also not free. Not to say that all sites are not good but these are the ones i have relied on to get through my fun house. What has been others outlook on therapy vs our sites and books( Shirley glass, janis Spring, many others to list) What has helped the most and what seems to be the contrast between the therapist and the wisdom we read in books and blogs?

      I have asked my wife for one of three things for safety and trust. postnuptual she gets nothing if another affair, polygraph, or what i have been asking for for years attend the EMS weekend at best or her to do the hope for healing online class for unfaithful women. The response, how do you come up with these things? am i in the fun house too deep?

      • Sarah P.

        Hello Bor,
        I would like to say something about monetary gains in relation to my affair recovery work specifically.

        I do a lot of free emails with folks who write me. No charge whatsoever. I also spend a lot of time in comments because I want to– not because I make even a penny from it.

        Since I retired from the world of information-technology, I am in a position where I can do affair recovery work without worrying about money. In the past, folks have come forward and offered healthy sums of money to write for them, but if the project was not ‘right’ I would not take it. (99% of the people are not like me simply because they are not in a position to be able to work based on what they want to do versus what makes money.)

        I work on projects that are “right” both on a psychological and spiritual level for me. As of now, I do NOT make a living wage doing affair recovery work since I am in it for spiritual reasons.

        I am married and this allows me to do this “heart work.” In this way, I am NOT like the other affair recovery bloggers.

        I am here to make a difference because this blog is the real deal. I pick who I work with and I have picked Doug and Linda because they are the real deal. They do not have a profit motive as the first and foremost thing in their mind. And neither do I.

        I have always been aware that God gave me a mission to make a difference in the world. About 10 years ago when I was still in the thick of 60 hour weeks in the corporate world. One of the project managers asked me what I would do if money were not an issue. Without thinking, I said, “I want to be a healer of hearts.” She was taken aback because I think she was expecting a more standard answer like, “I want to paint for the rest of my life.”

        Anyhow, the ‘intention’ was spoken and I little did I know that I would soon be on the path to being a ‘healer of hearts.’

        So, I would like to reiterate that I am fortunate to be here not for monetary reasons but for spiritual reasons.

        Now, Doug, Linda, and I have some plans in the works where I am going to offer intense 1-1 couple’s counseling in different locations. But, it will be very affordable. In that way, I will be monetizing, but I will also be keeping rates so low that I will gain little in the grand scheme of things.

        This is the service I do for the world and I am very grateful that Doug and Linda give me a forum through which I can reach many people.

        In the end, this is not like the other affair recovery sites at all.

        As for your wife, she is going to need to set aside her pride in order to start the healing process. Frankly, I would be interested in talking to your wife to get to the bottom of her roadblocks.

    • Rose

      Bor, I have also used all those resources. I can’t tell you how many copy/pastes I sent to my H. Never worked. I got tired of doing all the work with no response from him so now I’m working on myself and how to deal since he won’t. We once saw a marriage counselor who after one visit said he needed individual counseling before she’d see us again. He went to 3 counseling visits before he thought he was cured, and that was the end of it. He continues to have close female friends on Facebook that I monitor. There’s no fixing him. He’s had 3 EAs and I’m sure the one a year ago won’t be his last.

    • TryingHard

      Hello Bor

      EAJ is by far my favorite blog. Well affair recovery blog. I follow lots of others There’s a lot of very smart people here and some not so much so I take what I like from those with whom I can relate and scroll past the others as they tend to be pretty repetitive and tedious. That’s what the scroll button is for 🙂 But I believe that’s prevalent on lots of other blogs as well.

      I have steered clear of the blogs that charge. There’s lots of bogus stuff out there. Also there’s some boards that have some pretty nazi style administrators on them parsing and throwing people off. I only read there for a very short time as I found them pretty useless and phony.

      I also follow a blog that takes a pretty matter of fact stance about “..leaving a cheater…”. This blog keeps it real and while I like reading it, I never comment. There are many interesting stories and comments there. Pretty sure if you are interested enough you can find it. LOL I’ve even read OW blogs, again never commenting, but I do get quite a kick and validation reading the insipid comments and waxing poetic about their married soulmates.

      By far the most help for me was MC(marriage counseling) and IC(individual counseling). I like coming here because there’s something very reassuring about the “me too” aspect of our situations. Doug and Linda and Sarah P do a great job putting together provocative stories and subjects to give one thought and pause to moving forward/tackling and getting through the challenges of betrayal.

      I’m certain your 1 on 1 consults with Doug and Linda and Sarah P have been worth every penny spent. I think you are smart enough to know the difference between the real deal and the charlatans. It’s the real deal here. Can’t say that about other sites.

    • TryingHard

      JTK. Good for you for recognizing how you may or may not have fallen short in your marriage. However, none of that caused your wife to go outside the marriage. I’m sorry my friend that is all on her.

    • Nearly Normal

      Swimming is wonderful for not stressing the knees, if it is available.

      Or walking slowly, very short distance. Tread mill can be worse on the knees than just walking, but if you go very minimal to start, you should be okay. The point is not to go really intense, although you may feel like it. Go half or less than what you tried before.

      I just got off a treadmill for three miles. Good times. But it takes a ton of patience to work up to that distance.

      If you can get your hands on a thing called a gazelle, they are good and less intense on the knees. A gazelle is sort of a poor man’s elliptical. Usually you can find them cheap.

    • Nearly Normal

      Sorry, that should have been in reply to Trying Hard

    • Untold

      Like others say here, the problem is not just not getting answers. It’s getting lies. What would make a person continue to lie about it years after discovery and efforts to reconcile? Shame? Fear? Power? Protecting the AP? The dirty little secret, between them and the AP, that they hold tight and take to their grave so they proudly say you never got it out of them? I can tell you it remains an obstacle to true remorse, repentance, reconciliation and connection.

      • TryingHard

        Untold— boy you said a lot there. Yes it’s the lies for sure. The OW in my case just died. And that is exactly what I said to my h that dead women don’t talk. Took her lies to the grave.

        More importantly is how the liar has to live their life. Constantly under the scrutiny of their words. They must go quite mad always looking over their shoulder. Scared to death something is let out. It’s got to be a pathetic existence. But then again maybe not. Some people thrive on lies and illusion

    • Puzzled

      This has turned into a great discussion!

      It’s confusing and sad how our CS continue to hold back information. I understand (somewhat) if there is no reconciliation. The CS has given up on the marriage. But, as in my case, my wife wants our marriage to be full again; yet she continues to hold back. It’s maddening! How does she think I can blindly trust her with complete confidence when she won’t be fully honest with me?

      I think back to when she was thick in the fog and in the affair. She probably had to review every day what she had told her AP and me so she didn’t repeat herself. I’m sure it was just like TH said: she had to be totally stressed to keep her lies and cheating from being exposed.

    • TheFirstWife

      It is possible some cheaters have no guilt or remorse or even care that they are still lying.

      How very sad b/c as long as people believe their lies – they will continue to be a liar and cheater.

      Some that do care make changes and try to be a better person. It does happen.

      My H has tried to make amends every day. BUT do I believe he told me the entire truth? No I do not. Did I get most of the truth? Yes – but not all from him. I got it from the OW when she sent me the emails.

      Sooo there Will always be the recognition that he never manned up in his own. I had to drag it out of him.

      I just recently told him that I resent the fact that he never came to me on his own and confessed. He never tried to lovingly say “I am sorry – here is what happened”.

      He tried to blame the start of the A on her. When I found out he pursued her – that changed everything for me. Because he was still lying. To me. To cover his butt.

      So I think for the most part we reconcile but never get the full truth. How sad.

      And while my H can try to make smends every day – I will not forget he continued to lie to me after the fact/ at DDay2 – which devastated me all over again.

      Coward. He is a coward.

      And if you don’t lie and cheat then you have nothing to be hiding and trying to run from.

      I just wonder what goes thru their minds to knowingly cause pain and heartbreak when they choose to cheat.

      • Angela

        Nothing made me feel any better about my H’s stonewalling until he recognized his own stonewalling and CALLED HIMSELF OUT for being the coward that he was. I hope for your sake and pray for your sake that your CS will do the same.

    • Sarah P.

      Totally believe in the power of far-infrared saunas. They are GREAT.

    • TryingHard

      Sarah P—. OMG thank you because I was dying. Great advice

      • Sarah P.

        Another thought on exercise. Those indoor swim spas (like the 15 footers with a current to swim against) have changed people’s lives. Those far infrared saunas have also changed people’s lives, but you need to do the research. Some are better than others.

        The website I follow the most for health is: drmercola.com. The interesting thing about Dr. Mercola is that he is a MD and used to be a rep for pharmaceutical companies. He left that world and focuses entirely on natural medicine.

        Here is an article on joint pain natural cures:


        Also– I did want to say one thing about running. I don’t run and never ran even in my teens. Some people have more fast twitch muscles and others have more slow twitch muscles. Seems slow twitch muscles are better for running because of endurance.

        I believe some people have bodies naturally built for running. I see the difference between my older and younger son, My older son can run 20 feet and is winded. My youngest can run, and run, and run, and never gets tired. I DO NOT have a body built for running and there is nothing I can do to make it so. I have tried many times and failed. I am probably the most NON-aerodynamically built person in the world. I am pretty sure it would be a comedy skit if someone were to watch me attempt running.

        Anyhow…. I focus on slowly walking long distances and some weight training. I cannot believe the toll aging takes on the body. I look back at how athletic I was in my 20’s and 30’s and I am like “who the heck was that person?!” There was this one workout I did every weekend in my 20’s. There was a nearby mountain that is 6,000 feet tall. People often train for Everest there. It is super steep and made of steep switch backs all the way to the top. The trail is probably at a 40-45 degree angle. Me and my ex used to go to the top and back every weekend carrying about 20 pounds on my back while he carried about 40 pounds.

        I look back at that and simply cannot believe I was ever capable of such a thing. Walking a 20 degree grade is taxing for me now. And there is no way I can walk over a mile or two without getting severe and debilitating back pain.

        But honestly, I think the very best exercise for anyone over the age of 40 is to get one of those swim spas with the wave function. Some even come with little resistance bands that you can use while working out in the water. If you can afford a far-infrared sauna on top of it, you are set!!!!

        Alibaba has some great deals:



        • TryingHard

          Lol Sarah P. I most certainly do not have a runners body!! I would probably fall down laughing if I saw myself running. I live in a college town and the runners here are all over the place running. I saw THE most beautiful man running one time. He was truly hifted in shape and form. He was like a work of art. That is def not me.

          We have a couple of Ys in my town that have indoor pools. I may try that. But I’m really digging that sauna idea. That’s my kind of exercise. Also the yoga and resistance training. Yes squats, lunges and running is out for me. Too much recovery time when I inevitably injure myself ????

          • Doug

            Y’s also might have yoga classes. That’s where Linda and I go.

          • Sarah P.

            As you know, I love God so much, but I am pretty sure he has an impish sense of humor.

            He designed women’s bodies to be so beautiful and graceful and then put a ‘time bomb” in there called menopause. That time bomb reconfigures it all like a cubist painting, created by a 5-year-old, that somehow went horribly wrong. And that causes a lot of women to have body issues and as a result have “men-o-pause” (that is women taking) a pause from men.

            I had this English teacher and published author in college who was my mentor. She was so eloquent and said so many true and profound things. She was amazing and so spiritual too. Her son was one of my good friends and even though he was very nice looking, I saw him more like a brother. (It did cross my mind that maybe I should date him just because I wanted her as a mother-in-law. But that was the wrong reason so I didn’t.) Anytime, I don’t remember all of that deep wisdom she imparted even though I know it existed. Bummer. Here is the only thing I do remember: one time during class she let her guard down. She told it like it is to the whole college class and I am pretty sure all of us women in there remember what she said til this very day. She said: “the thing about getting older is that everything on your body falls so fast it leaves massive skid marks behind.”

            And then a gal tries exercises like running to reverse that stuff that dropped so fast it left skid marks. But, here is the thing. If a woman combines all that droppy and droopy stuff with running– well, it is just so wrong. I am pretty sure there is a law against it somewhere just to spare us women the sheer humiliation. Or to spare us the pain of getting hit in the face by droopy body parts flailing around like a couple of angry tennis balls fighting in a cloth bag.

            Anyone else relate to this?

            (Sorry if anyone is offended by my slightly off-color sense of humor. They say it’s better to laugh in stressful times than to cry!!)

        • Rodger Bailey

          Sarah P.: I also follow Dr Mercola (he is a DO and I find that he is much more open to broader research based information than MDs tend to be).

          For clients working on difficulties in a relationship, the task is mainly working on themselves. Yes, the other person may have done ‘something,’ but the relationship is a system and both maintain the feedback that keeps the system running.

          When the feedback is fueled by blame, neither side can provide, nor benefit from, the intimacy the relationship could provide.

          From my perspective, the best results for couples seems to come from working on individual issues together. This requires multiple disassociation exercises, so that neither goes beyond their limits (points of no return) for the relationship. These exercises give both sides opportunities to be individually vulnerable AND supportive of the other.


      • Sarah P.


        PS- here is some of that healing music I was recommending. It includes the sound of rain and native American flutes. I use it for meditation:


    • TryingHard

      Sarah P. I understand and get doing work gratis because it’s your passion. I am so familiar with that. I did and have worked with interior design professional. People think because you make friends with them they don’t have to pay for that service. And I rail against this thinking. If you want a service, I don’t care what it is but if you are soliciting a trained professional you should pay for that service. It’s how you make a living. Just because there’s not a tangible material thing to pay for you are paying for a service from a professional. I know no other industry where you don’t have to pay for something. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware. There’s lots of charalatans in all service industries. But you have a right to charge and make a living by providing a service in which you are trained and certified

      • Sarah P.

        Hi TryingHard,

        Yes, I do agree with you about making a living wage and that is what I am working toward. I am stubborn and very specific about how I want to work so that I can accommodate my goals.

        By, the way, I know you are a fantastic interior designer even though I have not seen your work. Hope to one day see it 🙂 🙂 🙂

        so, I could make a living wage if I wanted to hang a shingle out and only work with people in my community in an office-based setting. But, I explored that option and it felt too confining. There are too many laws that constrain therapists if they want to get paid by insurance. And then people’s insurance companies will only approve X number of visits even if people need so much more. I was trained in how to make break-throughs in 6 sessions or less because my program was realistic about the constraints of insurance.

        But, I don’t want to work that way. That particular way of working (in an office, waiting to see if insurance will deny a claim, and having to cut therapy short because of coverage) doesn’t call to me. Sounds tedious and depressing since I am here to make an impact and impacts don’t always happen on the insurance company’s time line. And then there is the paperwork. Yes, there are HIPPA requirements. There is constant paperwork to fill out. And almost all of those therapists who work for HMOs or companies have online systems that can be hacked and hackers don’t care about HIPPA. I don’t know anyone out there who would want their mental health record hacked. (Because of the way I work, privacy is assured.)

        I also want to make a much bigger impact– that is, on a global level– and be able to reach anyone who finds this blog. I also like the flexibility of working from home either writing or doing phone work. And soon, there will be in person therapy for couples with me and potentially with Linda and Doug on the phone… we will see how it shakes out. We are in the planning stages.

        Building online clientele takes time and Linda and Doug are not the hindrance to me making a living wage. I choose to work with this blog because it is the real deal and because all three of us working together creates the kind of know-how of a team of 20.

        Me choosing the work I want to do and the way I want to do it is the hindrance. It takes time to build it and I am still in the building phases. I hope to offer in-person retreats (and invite other well-known therapists) and it all takes time. I hope to offer one-on-one couple’s therapy where I travel to a couple’s location or where they fly out to my location. I hope to offer healing retreats on the Big Island of Hawaii. I now have the perfect location. The conference center is not only set on a gorgeous pool-side location, but it also allows me to keep the retreat price low. So, that is in the works. We are discussing having payment plans so that everyone can go to these events so they can benefit. We will find ways so that cost does not have to be a hindrance to people getting help.

        Finally, the biggest reason I work from home is that it sets my family up for success. I have two children– one with ADHD and the other on the Autism spectrum. I thought he had lost his diagnosis, but was retested and I just learned he is back on the spectrum. I need to take more time again to get him extra help outside of school. (He gets help at school.) I am fighting this tooth and nail because I want him to be a functional adult. He is such a special person in all ways– a real angel, shows extreme empathy towards others, and the kindest soul anyone could ever meet. Honestly, I don’t know why they put him back on the spectrum but it is what their tests showed. Most truly autistic people are not aware of the feelings of others and cannot strongly empathize the way he does. Then, there is my older son who has become depressed and is out of school. I am taking him to all of his appointments are getting him what he needs.

        So, that is the long version of why I do what I do. I need to put my family first and so depending on what happens there, hinders how much work I can do. I am just grateful that Doug and Linda provide me a flexible opportunity on which I can build.

        If there are any prayer warriors out there, please send them towards my kiddos!!

        Thank you and LOTS of love,


        • Shifting Impressions

          You are so passionate and caring. Thanks so much for sharing some of your long term vision with us. We are fortunate for all the time, effort and care you put into this site and into all of us.

          The support of this community is a lifeline to myself and many others.

          Thinking of you and your family.

          • Sarah P.

            Thank you, Shifting, for your kind comments. I have been offline because it has been a rough week. Big hugs, Sarah

        • Nearly Normal

          Small world, Sarah P.

          I have one son on the spectrum, and one in depression.

          • Sarah P.

            Hello Nearly Normal,
            That is a lot of stress in your life and I am sorry to hear you are going through the same thing. Modern living sure is complicated.

            • Nearly Normal

              Yes, it is complicated. We are through the worst parts, as my one son got a lot of good help at an early age so that he is on the high-functioning end of the spectrum. My other son was able to talk to us about his depression and get some good counseling and some medication. He is on a good path.

              But very stressful. You certainly know that very well.

              Keep up the good work.

        • Hopeful

          Thank you for sharing. It is so hard when our kids face challenges and I think of it the same way to help them be functional adults some day. It seems more challenging than ever. I will be thinking of all of you and they are fortunate to have a caring, kind and well educated mother in their corner!

          • Sarah P.

            Thank you, Hopeful, for thinking of us. It has been a rough week for sure.

    • TryingHard

      Absolutely Sarah prayers and good thoughts coming your way.

      I hate hearing that your dear innocent little ones are suffering. It doesn’t have to be so. I will email you an update on my family situation with regards to my grandchildren. Still crazy but better.

      • Sarah P.

        Hello Tryinghard,
        Thank you for your prayers. I have spent a lot of time praying this week and reading “the books.” It is the only way I get peace.

        Glad to hear your situation is getting better with your grandchildren. They certainly need you in their lives and I know you are their lifeline. Big hugs, Sarah

        • TryingHard

          Sarah P– I too have been doing lots of reading and prayer work and have kept you and your family with me. Along with others who suffer here.

          It seems the suffering is growing in this world and we must be constantly be on vigil of seeking the truth. We know what that is.

          I hope you take some time for yourself and just Be. I know everything will be ok.

          I had a strong prayer warrior give me some great advice “just be. Be the ice cube in the swirling water. Stay quiet and firm in your knowledge of your oneness with God”

          • Sarah P.

            Dear Tryinghard,
            Thank you for praying for my family. I know what you mean about the suffering in this world growing. I know they always used to say ‘the world was going to hell in a hand basket’ but that was never really true until now. In the past, they did not have nuclear warheads and hot-headed people in power with fingers close to the buttons that could destroy the planet.

            Thank you for reminding me about my oneness with God and the ice cube image.

    • TryingHard

      Angela— yes in the beginning it’s very important to make sure you both want to rebuild the marriage that is mutually satisfactory. There’s no need to use the word divorce or seperation if what one is trying to do is rebuild. My h in fact gaslighted me in the beginning before DDay 2 when we went to MC. Which I need to say from DDay 1 he adamantly refused MC. So we talk and a spark lit and finally he capitulated to MC. BUT he went at first thinking the MC would more easily facilitate a divorce. Totally unbeknownst to me. I thought he wanted the marriage. He went individually and when I returned for couples counseling she made the suggestion with me present she was also a divorce mediator. I blew at both of them. Told her if that was the intent under which we were seeing her thank you but no thank you. I didn’t need her for that. So yes I think that was the point I made things pretty clear for him and her. Then of course DDay 2 happened and all the truth came out and we continued with MC both on the same page. He’d been lying to me and her previous to that. Boy did he dread that session when he had to admit that. He likes to portray himself as the good guy all.the.time. Me I couldn’t care less what people think of me!!!

      Once we went thru that and created the intent of how we were going to go forward, I made it unequivocally clear that could he not abide by boundaries of what seemed to be the agreed upon boundaries of what I expected from him, our relationship and to myself, then hell yes divorce was very much on the table. It still is for me. I can always leave. It’s MY choice to stay. I know who and what I have to work with. No longer am I in the dark about what’s going on. Honesty is very important to me. He doesn’t have to spill his guts everyday but if something is up he MUST be honest and try to express himself. And I know it’s not easy for him. Well it’s not easy for me either never the less it’s important to me.

      So we have forged ahead and I have to say our relationship is much stronger. All except when he reads obits and doesn’t tell me ????

    • Rose

      Speaking of unanswered questions…yesterday I started a discussion with my H because we were talking about the #metoo threads. I’m not sure how we got into it but I swear he’s either got dementia or selective memory. We started talking about how women are attracted to single men. Whenever we have a conversation, I look for an “in” to start a discussion, rather than bringing things up by themselves. Anyway, he doesn’t understand it. I said that (having been attracted to a married man way before I met him), the man has to give the woman something to go on, whether that is “vibes” that he is looking for something, or something he said inadvertently, or a complaint about his marriage, etc. Do you guys agree? He doesn’t. He said in his case he was just a NICE GUY who was trying to help when these women threw themselves at him, and “Why do NICE GUYS get in trouble for just being nice?” I came back with “Well, obviously you cried on their shoulders too about your horrid marriage. Oh and btw, NICE GUYS don’t cheat on their wives, including having secret friends.” That was the end of the discussion.

      • TheFirstWife


        Is your H one of the types of men I call “KISA – Knight in Shining Armor”

        Falls for the sob story. Wants to help. Rescue the poor slut oops I mean OW.

        Describes my H to a tee.

        • Tired

          Hilarious, TFW!

    • TryingHard

      Sarah P–LOL and yes I agree God does have a sense of humor. Amazing the things that head south once menopause hits however I have never had that runner’s body EVER. I started developing around 5th grade and that precludes a lot of physical activity. Sometimes it just can’t be done.

      As far as menopause I can say I am one of the lucky ones who haven’t experienced too many adverse affects other than the occasional hot flashes. I am lucky my libido has stayed in tact along with a lot of other things. Yep there’s the wrinkles and sagging that comes with aging that all of us experience and of course the joint pain. I can live with all that stuff. Some women don’t like becoming invisible at this age but I’ve actually enjoyed it. Invisibility has always been my wished for super power 🙂 I’m not a woman who needs lots of validation. I’ve always known who and what I am and I am very comfortable in my own skin as the French say.

      I’m thinking I’m going to go the route of gentle Yoga that is taught all over my town so I should be able to find a place and a teacher I like. And I am really liking the idea of the sauna and I have a perfect place for it and I think my h would enjoy that too. Plus the weight resistance will be good.

      I’ll leave all all the bouncing and running to others.

      • Sarah P.

        Hello TryingHard,

        Sounds like a great plan to stay healthy. Let me know how the far-infrared sauna works out if you buy one. I want an exercise pool because my joints have started to hurt and I have suffered from sciatic nerve pain (ever since my kids were born) when I go to sleep. It wakes me up all night long.

        I think it would be more fair if menopause just gave us back the same shape we had as kids so that we could climb trees again and run like the wind. I do remember running a lot before the age of 12– nevermore after that.

        But the worst trick that God plays is he gives many of us the type of adult body we DON’T want. I was such a tomboy when I was little and so comfortable with my body because I could do all the stuff the neighbor boys did and so I hung out with them. Then around 13 I looked in the mirror and sobbed. I could no longer be a tomboy and people now treated me differently and made incorrect assumptions based on how I looked. I was bullied all through high school because both my facial features, hair, and build were so different from everyone else and not the beauty standard at the time.

        I have this friend and we recently both realized that she has the adult body I wanted and I had the adult body she wanted. It would be so much easier to just switch heads. Why can’t we just be configurable like legos?

    • lynn

      My husband had an affair. It was 5 months before I realized something was going on. I struggle with the lies and that he refuses to discuss it. I found out by accident. Our clouds are connected. They took pictures. It’s over now but my struggle is when I have looked at the pictures he looked happy. The look of joy on his face that I haven’t seen in awhile. I still don’t see it. I found a,track phone they used to communicate and the text messages and marco Polo video chats where they said they loved each other and talked about sex etc. He told me he was glad I found out that there were no more lies and that he loves me. I just don’t know if I believe that. I feel like there is this whole secret life that I don’t know about. I am angry. He says it’s over and to forget it. If I bring it up its oh here we go again. And I say but you have not given me closure. I don’t know if I can really get over this.

      • Rose

        I am so sorry. You are definitely in the right place. My husband has had 3 emotional affairs and is about to embark on his 4th, which doesn’t seem to be reciprocated by her–which is hugely amusing to me. It’s so hard. It never gets any easier. We can’t change them…we can only change our response.

      • TheFirstWife

        Lynn he is trying to sweep it under the rug.

        Do not let that happen.

        My H did exactly that with his first 4 year EA. Denied it. Rug swept.

        I allowed it to be rug swept.

        My thanks? He cheated again and then wanted to D me!!!

        Make him discuss it. Make him go to Marriage counseling if that’s what you want.

        Tell him to read the book how to help your spouse heal. Make him act on it.

        He needs to help you heal. Now!

    • Tired

      I really don’t understand how people are accepting 3rd and 4th affairs. I think once is enough to show there is a problem. 2nd tells you it’s a character flaw that perhaps can’t be remedied. Third?! Have some self respect.

    • TheFirstWife

      Tired. I think there are reasons people stay in a M or relationship w/serial cheaters or multiple As.

      We cannot know why people do what they do and you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.

      While it may not be something you could accept I had a hard time staying after an A. Totally against my core values.

      But I have children and they come first sometimes. If they were adults it might have been very different.

      It could be co-dependence, anxiety driven, health insurance, illness or disability – any # of things.

      I would not marry a smoker, drug user or
      Big drinker. deal breaker. but others may look at that and wonder why not?! What’s wrong with that – it’s not terrible.

      It just doesn’t work for me. That’s all I can say.

      • TryingHard

        Exactly TFW. And as far as I’m concerned there’s no magic number when one says enough is enough.

        As far as I’m concerned one affair is one too many! Affairs Are deal breakers period!

    • Laura

      My husband had an a 2 yr affair with one of his employees 32 yrs ago. It began as an emotional affair (he was “helping her get through a tough time with her abusive boyfriend”) but I’m positive it moved into physical. Unfortunately at the time he had just been transferred into that job and had to immediately go, while I stayed 500 miles back at our old home to prepare it for sale, which took 6 weeks. I was also 8 months pregnant.
      When I arrived at our new home we had little time together. He had 1.5 hr commute each way and spent long hours at work. I had a new baby.
      The day after I had her he drove me home from the hospital, dropped me off and headed into the office. That year he missed my birthday, his birthday, Mother’s day, the baby’s birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve…All at the “office”.
      When I asked him if he was having an affair with this woman he got angry, accused me of not trusting him, blustered about and stormed out of the house to go back to the ‘office’ where he remained for the next 20 hours.
      He gave me the silent treatment for the next week. We never spoke of it again. I continued to give him the silent treatment for the next 2 years, lived my own life and let him have work and his other woman.
      Then he got transferred again, 800 miles away. I am confident that the affair ended then, if not before. We had another child, we both worked long hours, he had lots of travel for his job. The kids grew. Life went on.
      We’re still together, have a good life. There are plenty of good memories our life together.
      But I’ve never felt the same about him since his affair. We have sex but I am definitely not enthusiastic as I once was. Before we had children I refused to let him get a motorcycle because I was afraid he’d kill himself. After my kids were born I figured “it’s his life”. He’s had a cough that won’t go away for a year but won’t see the doctor. I’ve given up asking him to. “It’s his life” I say with a shrug.
      I asked him recently about the co-worker. He again shut me down with the same “She was going through a tough time and I wanted to be there for her.” Plus “She was the best employee I’ve had.” Eye roll and mumbled to myself “Once an asshole always an asshole”.
      Yep, no closure.

      • TryingHard

        Laura–OMG 32 years ago? Wow just Wow. He gives new meaning to the phrase “people can change, but not much”. Best employee huh? Can I ask? Is he still walking upright?

        Probably so because it sounds like you have totally detached from him and have very little emotional investment in the relationship. Kinda sad but I sure get it. It’s funny, not funny haha, how after such a long time we are still hoping for some kind of epiphany or regret or explanation or remorse and yet…..nothing. You’d think we’d learn not to ask, but there’s always hope.

        Thanks for telling your story Laura.

        • Laura

          One problem at the time was he moved to the new job, new state 6 months before I did and lived in a hotel near the office (and HER), alone, stressed, drinking in evenings (he told me he went out to little local bars for dinner which I believe).
          On top of that I was preoccupied with surprise pregnancy (5 yrs into marriage but was told I couldn’t get pregnant).
          His office was almost 2 hrs from our new house so I never once went there, never met the woman, don’t even know her age or last name.
          Add in my bipolar that wouldn’t be diagnosed for another 15 yrs causing a tendency to malevolence and a real real short fuse…
          He may refuse to discuss it still but he is aware I still have unresolved issues.
          About 5 yrs ago I went to buy a handgun – because I lived in Texas and ‘everybody in Texas has a gun’. Husband was very against it. When daughter’s Marine bf asked him what was his problem, husband replied “I’m going to be the first person she shoots if she gets manic”.
          I just laughed. A little malevolently????

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    • Shannon

      I have been married for 17 yrs. I am 44 and my husband is 56. I have always thought we had a good marriage I was always happy. My husband has served 35 yrs in the special forces branch of the army and is now retired and a Captain in the Fire Dept. We have 4 children altogether, 2 son’s between us and the other 2 are step children. I have been through multiple deployments even pregnant during one. I have recently found out that my husband had an affair with his ex girlfriend who lives in Germany back in August 2019. They began texting and talking back in May 2019 and she came to the U.S. for a few days to meet with him. They had sex once in them few days that she was here. I even emailed to her to make sure I was getting the whole truth. 20 yrs ago they were very fond each other and traveled alot. My husband and I have not traveled anywhere together. Kids, school, sports,and his job makes it pretty tough. I had many questions and as far as I know he has been pretty honest with me. I had found emails from back in May that he thought he destroyed. 15 pages of how she was and will only be his one true love and if he didn’t have children in there early teen yrs he would fly to her tomorrow. They even talked about plans after my boys turned 18. When confronted he said he no longer feels this way and that he is in love with me and only me. I slowly began to get over all of this only to find a birthday card for her hidden under his mat in his car. While nothing was written on the inside the front had a big pink heart that said Happy Birthday I Love you.I confronted him and he said he wanted to write an apology letter because he felt bad about the whole affair and wanting to work things out with me. I know he lover me and wants us to be together but I am having a really hard time believing what is real anymore. Everyone that knows my husband said never in a million yrs would I ever suspect him of cheating and they see how much he adores me. I have never been more confused or felt this much pain in my life

      • Seen the Light

        Shannon, I was in a very similar situation (married to a military person, I was also military) My husband has seemed “different” since his affair and didn’t tell the truth even after friends of mine told me what was going on. Instead he lied through his teeth for 24 years, so we were both retired from the military by then and I was 61 yrs old. You know at an early enough age to move on without him and his “bad behavior”, which is what I would have done, if I’d realized what was going on. They are liars and cheats, they will do as they please and say they love you and want to “be together”, this, I’ve found is merely to keep up their public image. My husband figured as long as I didn’t know the truth and we “stayed together” our marriage was fine. If your husband is still in the military, he should be discharged as this is considered conduct unbecoming. The call is yours. He may change his tune with these consequences.

    • Kris

      What if the wayward spouse IS answering every question but the betrayed spouse doesn’t believe them?

      • Doug

        It’s tough to know for certain without more information, but typically what I’ve seen when talking to people it stems from the wayward spouse not being completely honest from the start and either outright lying or providing details/truths in bits and pieces over time. Additionally, if there are inconsistencies in the wayward spouse’s answers or actions, this can create doubt and make it harder for the betrayed spouse to believe them. And perhaps your spouse may still be processing feelings of anger, hurt, and betrayal, which can make it difficult for him/her to trust/believe you.

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