Today is a very important landmark for me and Linda. It is our 25th wedding anniversary. Compared to the other 24 anniversaries, this is by far the most special. The last 18 months have been chock full of many different emotions and stressful issues, yet also a renewed sense of passion, fun and excitement within or lives and our marriage.

I can honestly say that 18 months ago we both wondered if we would make it this far. Recovering from an emotional affair took us to the brink of divorce, but thankfully we have been able to turn things around, and can now boast that we have a great marriage. It’s not perfect—yet, but it is great nevertheless.

Yesterday’s post from Linda made me think about when I was walking around in my “affair fog,” much like her brother is today. At the time, I tried everything I could to find fault with Linda and our marriage that would cause me to have an emotional affair, so as to rationalize it away and justify it to myself. And I think Tanya did the same thing. Sure, we had our issues and problems, but my affair was completely unfair to Linda and our marriage and was complete and utter bullshit.

Looking back on it now, I’m so glad that I was able to clear my head and see things more clearly than I could while under the influence of Tanya. But how did I do it? What was the underlying factor that caused me to realize that I belonged with Linda? Inquiring minds want to know, right?

It’s hard to say whether or not what caused me to “come back” will work for everyone else, as we are all different and are motivated by different things. But if I were to sum it up in one word, that word would have to be FEAR.

Fear of losing my family. Fear of losing friends. Fear of losing everything we’ve worked for. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown. Fear of divorce and everything associated with it. Fear of regret. Fear of making a huge mistake. Fear of guilt. Fear of losing Linda–the one true love I’ve ever had.

Only when it becomes evident that the pain associated with an action far outweighs all other “good” aspects of that action can a person decide to make a change. I had reached that point. Why I was so slow and thick-headed that it took me so long to get to that point is anyone’s guess. But I’m glad that I did.

Perhaps I’m just lucky that I was able to realize these things in time. I know that I’m lucky that I have a wife that loved me enough to want to stay married to me. I thank God that she did and that she researched everything she could about affairs and ultimately pulled the right switches that snapped me back to reality.

So what can you learn from my experience if you are recovering from an emotional or physical affair and trying to save your marriage or relationship? I guess simply enough, learn what motivates your partner to act the way that they do. What (pain) has to happen within their lives or relationships to cause them to want to make a favorable change? Be the trigger person for which those things happen. Now I’m not saying to go out and threaten them or cause bodily harm or anything like that, but I think you get the picture. But, as the saying goes…”No pain. No gain.”

    17 replies to "Recovering From an Affair: No Pain. No Gain."

    • HarrieB

      Congratulations to both of you for your 25th anniversary – and may there be many more to come for you.

    • ruth

      Happy Anniversary! life, love laughter!

    • michael

      I don’t know if fear was the final tipping point for my wife to stop. Because I don’t and didn’t have a solid answer as to when and why it stopped. I hope she will get around to that at some point.
      I know fear was the tipping point at witch she decided to open up about what she did. Fear that I was done and was beyond the point of trying to keep our relationship. Fear that I will never get better from this.
      I hope to one day celebrate my 25th anniversary. But today were working on getting to our 14th. I think of it as our 14th even though we have actually only been legally wed for 2 and a half. Long story. But congratulations to you both.

    • Michael's Wife

      Congrats to you both on your 25th. I to hope to be there at that point with Michael. I hope he see’s that I’am working on reaching that goal and many more to come. Fear is a huge thing in my life, and I’am fearful that Mike will leave although I’am trying everyday for it not to come to that. I can’t think of a solid answer to Michael’s question of why it stopped other then to say, I stopped calling him beacuse I wanted to keep my family. I saw Michael and I getting better, and I wanted to get better. I realized that Michael was the man I wanted to be with, the guy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. There was a time when I was unsure of that but today I feel confident that this is what I want I cant imagine my life without Michael.

      • Doug

        Michael’s wife, Thanks for the congrats. I’m sure that Michael will be glad to see what you have written, and I know that he would like to hear it from you if you haven’t already told him.

    • maryanna1962

      Well done Doug & Linda, you should both be so very proud of yourselves. You are an inspiration to all of us xx

      • Doug

        Thanks so much! XX back at ya!

    • Rushan

      Well done Doug and Linda hope for another 25 to go. I do not know what made my hb decide to let the other woman go. He says it is because he still loves me and do not want to lose me. I do not know if I can believe him but I am trying hard. I know his childlren said they will leave and ignore him if he doesn’t stay with me that is what makes me so uncertain. Is he staying because he doesn’t want to lose them or is he staying because heloves me. Well we will see how it works out. I do not know anymore

      • Doug

        Rushan, If he wanted to leave he probably would have. See the fact that he let the other woman go as an opportunity and make the best of it. Bring back the passion, fun and excitement that you once knew. Create a new purpose for you marriage going forward.

        • Rushan

          Thank you Doug yes I am trying to do it and go on with the marriage he is trying his best to show me affection and love and buys things and do things to make me happy so I must try to live with the believe that he wants me. Your blog helped me a lot to make it through the hurt and pain.

    • Last2know

      Yes, congratulations! I am so happy for both of you and thankful to have you both in my life. Because of you I haven’t had to go “my journey” alone and as you can probably tell by my minimal postings that all is going well, we still need a lot of communication practice but were working on it. Thank you again.

      • Doug

        Last2know, Good to hear from you! Thank you so much for your kind words. We enjoy your comments and miss reading them. Glad to hear things are going well for you though.

    • Kate

      Our 8th anniversary is coming up at the end of July. I have no idea what will happen that day as we are still in this ridiculous stage of limbo. Do we celebrate? Do we ignore it? Do we spend the evening together or apart?

      Right now it just seems like it will be a meaningless day. Its such a significant day for us as a couple, but yet we are not really a couple anymore and not really “not a couple”…

      Not sure if I will even buy a card or anything.

    • mightbeatranny

      fear keeps you in the marriage. um, congrats?

    • Lea

      Linda and Doug, first of all my heartfelt congratulations! I know it is a year later, though as the sayinh goes: it is never too late. I’m reading your journey from the beginning since i discovered my h’s in september. I know i have a long way to go, he is living currently with her. However, in this short time, though it was hard for me, i discovered myself as woman. Yes, it sounds strange, but i met my h when i was 18, married at 20. I didn’t reallu have time to see what it reallu means to be woman, because i became wife and later mother. Now i’m proud woman, proud mother. And hopefully there will be time when i can say a proud wife too.

      • Doug

        Lea, I’m sorry to hear that you are going through this, but at the same time, it’s great to read that you have made some great discoveries about yourself. Hang in there!

        • Lea

          Thank you, Doug! I need to hear encouragement from people like you that there is still tiny amount of hope! Thanks again. Also i know whichever way it goes, it will be better than ever.

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