Recovering From an Affair: A Roller Coaster Ride

recovering from an affair

Recovering from an affair is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I know there is no right or wrong way, so I am just trying to do what I can to live for the present and imagine a brighter future.

Jealousy. It is amazing how that word gave me  an extra bounce in my step yesterday and today make me sink into a deep hole of depression. That’s what happens when you are recovering from an affair.

Yesterday I was excited to know that Tanya was not perfect.  Today I am upset because I learned that their relationship was not perfect.  That is, after Doug’s emotional affair he seemed like a different person to me because of the type of person he chose to have the affair with. She was different in personality and interests than what I believed Doug was attracted to.

So naturally I questioned him if these were traits that he found exciting and attractive. He answered the question fine, and said “no not really,” and then went on to explain that she was a very jealous person and had a hard time on the weekends. She didn’t like being away from him or for him to spend time with his family.

The answer was very hard for me to hear, because in my mind it revealed the seriousness of their relationship. As unhealthy and wrong that their relationship was, his answer confirmed everything I was trying to deny. Their relationship contained hurt, jealousy, insecurity and closeness.  It had everything our relationship was missing at the time, but all of the components that represent a real relationship. For me that is one of the most difficult things to accept and forget.

I have a difficult time accepting the fact that the man I married was capable of allowing himself to get involved with someone so deeply. I suppose I was being naïve, but I really thought he believed in our commitment as much as I did– in good times and bad. I know I will never truly understand how hurt and angry he was with me and our relationship to justify breaking that commitment,  and finding someone else who he thought could fill the void. I just have a hard time forgetting and moving on.

I wonder if this is normal.  Is there something wrong with me? Do I need counseling or drugs? Maybe I didn’t go through the healing steps in the correct order.

Doug gets frustrated and thinks I don’t want to move on.  He doesn’t know how much pain I am in and if he did he would understand that there is nothing else in the world I want more than to forget. Doug doesn’t know that the memories pop in my head constantly throughout the day and that some days I feel I am being punched in the stomach because of the hurt.

Just because I don’t talk about it everyday, the pain is still there filling my head until I have to let it out. I know it’s hard for Doug to see me going through this.  Hurting me is the last thing on earth he wanted to do. I know that he wants to forget this whole mess and move on, and  he is doing everything he can to make things right. For me though, I worry if it ever be right.

What is right? I know now that we’re building the relationship we have always wanted. I know that there is no one else that I want to share my life with. So what is wrong with me? Is the hurt too much to make this right? I wonder did I believe in him too much?  Did I put him and our relationship on this pedestal only now to have a hard time realizing  that neither was perfect? I know that it wasn’t perfect, but was it really that bad for Doug to live a totally different life with another women? I don’t know.

I suppose the answers will come with time and the pain will lesson with each passing day. I know that it is unrealistic to believe that it will ever go away completely or that I will every truly understand and accept it all. I just hate when the reality hits me like it did today. I hate that I can feel on top of the world one day and want to crawl under the covers the next. I guess that is what recovering from an affair is all about.

I have been very fortunate in my life that I never have had to face a major loss, disappointment or betrayal. I am very new to this and in some ways going through it blindly. Recovering from an affair is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.  I know there is no right or wrong way, so I am just trying to do what I can to live for the present and imagine a brighter future.


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14 Responses to Recovering From an Affair: A Roller Coaster Ride

  1. michael April 12, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    You nailed it again. To think that here, a year later, you still feel as I do today, hurts me in the same way. My wife tells me the same things when I have these down days. And express myself. “Why can’t you just get over it and move on”
    I still feel like the things that I have been missing in our relationship are never going to be what I expect, or deserve. And that I have to try for the sake of my children to love her non the less. But its hard. Some days I feel like I just have to do what I promised until my children are old enough to be on there own. Then maybe find some happiness for myself.
    Yesterday started as a good day. I went shooting with my dad and a friend of his. I did drills and had fun. But at one point his friend had me visualize a person down a hallway. Someone who was coming to hurt my family and me. And HIS picture replaced the target I had been shooting at. Its stopped being fun for me then.

  2. shocked April 12, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    I came across your website this morning, and have been reading for hours. I would like you to know that I appreciate your honesty as it resonates so deeply with me. Im so sorry you are going through this. I went on my husbands phone yesterday morning to forward a picture he had taken of our daughter to our email. I found texts he had sent to who I htought was my best friend. It was a series of 4, all inappropriate, the last one ending with “i wish i could just hold you right now.” Needless to say I was completley shocked and looked at it them a thousand times. I couldnt believe it. He had deleted her responses and must have forgotten about those. I pulled up our cell phone online and was stunned. I only looked back to January, but there were hundreds of phone calls and texts. I always pay our bill online, I had no idea. I confronted him when he came home and ended up calling her with him standing there to ask what was going on. She started on about -its nothing, really blah blah blah. I just hung up. I asked him to leave. I have 3 small children, and am totally crushed, confused, angry etc. Unfortunatly this website is helpful to me to sort through all the things I am feeling right now, and I’m sure will continue to be as it hasnt even been 24 hours. I dont even really know what has gone on as he said he wasnt ready to talk about it when I asked him for the truth. Please keep my family in your prayers, as I will do the same for all of you.

    • admin April 12, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

      Shocked. I am so sorry you are going through this, I know that your heart is breaking, you feel alone and don’t know what to do. The one advice I can give you right now is try to remain calm and educate yourself on the dynamics of affairs. You need to be in control, you need to gain power and the only way to do that right now it to lead with your brain not your heart. It is not about love, it is not about you, I honestly believe that you have time, you need to come up with a game plan on what to do about this situation. I hope that some of our posts can help you or if you have questions we will try to do our best to answer them. I will be thinking and praying for you.

  3. last2know April 12, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    Ahh no no, you need to tell your brain “not helpful”. Remember Linda, this was all based on a fantasy, an illusion, remember “the fog”? While it may have seemed real to them at the time-it wasn’t. I have to keep telling myself the same thing. I haven’t even asked my own H if his OW was jealous, I was afraid of what I would hear. So I asked Doug. But the more I thought about it the more I hoped she was jealous because it caused her pain and insecurity. You and I are all to familiar with that feeling right? Yes it was pain because of her “feelings” towards my husband and I hate thinking about her “feeling’s” of love towards my husband but bottom line is I won. My husband and I were having sex during this time. Wouldn’t she have loved to know that? You won, Doug won and she lost. Not only her dignity (if she had any to start out with) but the respect and trust of her own husband. Now she has her husband to deal with and trying to make her marriage work. It has been written that men have a much more difficult time forgiving affairs than women do. We have established that Doug and “whats-her-face” never went that far. Their issues (men) are usually more geared toward ” she had sex with another man” but Mr.Tanya can only go on her “claim” that “nothing ever happened” and he continues to wonder if anything ever did happen….”is she telling the truth?” he asks himself (over and over) so he’s miserable and when he’s miserable….well you get the picture. I am on an up day today, come with me.

  4. Rushan April 13, 2010 at 2:16 am #

    I’ve read all the comments, letters, etc. for a while now. I am glad to see that it is not only me who feels like that after a year of finding that my husband had an emotional and maybe sexual affair. He denies the sex but I am not so sure I think they had sex and it hurt me tremendously. I still see her face I still feel the pain the insecurity the uncertainty, I am not even now sure they do not contact each other still. She moved to another town but what are e-mail and cell phones for. I am certain she phones him and he deletes the calls and sms she sends him. If only I can have the truth but he does’nt want to talk about it anymore. He tells lme he loves me more than ever, he is very good for me he tries to do everything in thehouse, he phones and sms me with nice things, but still the uncertainty, and insecurity is there. I do not know what to do any more.

  5. Last2know April 13, 2010 at 7:10 am #

    Shocked, you are exactly that right now and so is your husband. You will be in a daze for a few days and then you will feel many emotions. Anger being one of them. Do not contact her as it will only make matters worse. I know you can’t sleep, your mind is wandering just hang in there but please take care of yourself first right now. We are all here for you and we do know exactly how you feel. Let him feel all the pain he needs to right now, I am pretty sure he’s kicking himself.

  6. ruth April 13, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    Rushan, I to think that my husband is still having contact with the ow. I see that every week he trys to see if she is online when I am sleeping or not home. The only thing he tells me is that she broke it off, which makes me wonder how he feel which he still refuses to talk about. ow women live 75 miles from us. My husband is retired and I still work. I check his milage everyday. About a month ago he put on 160 mile in one day.(do the math) when he told me he was hitting golf ball at a park that is 3 mi from our home. I ask him to explain, he turn angry at me and ask if I am spying on him. Well, thats what he does when he is guilty as sin he turns it back on me. He say if I am going to acuse him than he might as well do it. He told me to stop controling him and spying on him. Everytime he does try to contact her, my feeling start at square one. I am still confused as what to do. I love him, we have been married for 35 years. I want to make us worki but i am afraid that I cant get this out of my mind. I just dont know how to get him to talk to me. IF anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear them

  7. shocked April 13, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    Hey, thanks for the support. What a lonely feeling this is. I talked to my husband last night, and he came clean I think. It wasnt just an emotional affair, it was also physical. It began about 1 mo after I lost my mom and has continued until now, so about 9 months. She was my best friend and I confided in her about everything. She used the things that I was telling her and how distraught I was over the loss of my mom and played it all against me. She told him all the things he wanted to hear, and milk me for information about my marriage and use it against me. He totally ate it all up. She said all the right things.

    He listened to her about her marriage problems (she was very unhappy and we both knew that) and she listened to him. She turned around everything I said about us, and the things I needed at the time. We didnt necessarily have marriage problems per se, but life problems. We own a business that has struggled greatly in the last 2 years, my husband had a hard time finding work to support our business and our family. This is a huge stress in our life. I lost my grandpa in Jan, my mom in July and my other grandpa in September all in the state we had moved fromb (1600 mi away). My entire family is there.

    I have had a hard time with all of the loss coupled with the distance, and the stresses of our business and all that entails. On top of moving and leaving everything I had ever known, and coming from stability to constant worry. I didnt know anyone here except his father. Working myself to the bone to keep this business going (that I have to say I was against but after it constantly being revisited between us for 3 years previous as something he really felt we should do, I caved) Moving from a major metropolis to a town of 300. I could go on and on. Needless to say its been tough. I still felt like we were ok.

    We still had a good sex life, we had fun together, we did things as a family, we laughed. Not always, but no less than any other couple. I never forgot that even though the path was winding and sometimes had to see, I never left the path. Even if I wanted to. He did. I just thought that he didnt know the things to say to me about all of this. He did. He completly disconnected from me when I needed him the most.

    I confided in her and she was always there for me. I could have never imagined that either of them had the capability to do this. At this time in my life, in such a small town where we own a public business and with my best friend/husband. Our children go to school together. We did things together as families all the time. Our kids had sleepovers, we’d pick eachothers kids up from school etc. Im completly shocked. And hurt so bad. I feel stupid and angry and dirty and all those other feelings associated with this.

    When we talked last night he of course sobbed (which I have NEVER seen him do even when our kids were born) I couldnt help but sit there and think the only reason he is acting this way is because he got caught. He wasnt sorry when he was texting her and I at the same time while I was in another city at the hospital helping take care if his ill father last week. I pulled our cell phone bill up online. That happened numerous times. Disgusting. She was texting him when her and I were together during girls nights etc. He is sorry now because I found out. I think he had 9 months to think about the reprocussions of this, to be sorry, to consider what this would do to our family and our 3 children and her family and her 3 children. Its amazing to me, unbelievable, that they had such low moral character to do this, and continue this. How very selfish.

    Through all of this sacrifice that I made to move out here and do all of this I never once was selfish. I questioned what and why we were doing this, but I never even considered leaving. My kids didnt deserve that. They always got 100% from me. Ive acted as an adult and had to say numerous times in my life that I was a married woman, I never considered doing anything else.

    He said they were only sexually intimate 4 or 5 times, and kissed a few others. He would go to her house on his way to work. Meet her when I was in town taking care of business stuff etc. He said they talked a lot. He said they would say that it needed to stop and then she would be distraught about something in her marraige and confide in him and he would comfort her or vise versa. I wanted to know what she was giving him that I wasnt/couldnt and he said nothing. That it was always here, he was just to blind to see. I have always thought that even though ultimatley the person having the affair is at fault, the other party usually has some responsibility somewhere, or something that one party needed that the other wasnt getting. He said that they would just talk. Not about anything sometimes, and it was just comfortable. He didnt need to deal with every day stuff with her. And she always said the right things.

    This morning I think he came to the conclusion that he was used and played just as bad as me. That she played us against eachother, both sides of the team and said just what we both needed to hear to keep her close. He in turn felt close with her and filled the attention and kind words she was lacking in her marriage. She would ask me about how I felt about things and I thought she was just getting my perspective on married life so she could help improve/save hers. She really is one of those people that needs to appear perfect at any cost. Anyone that came into her territory that threatened that image she had to take down.

    She has been called a vulture, I had been told that when we first came here, but I didnt believe it. My husband knew this too, he didnt see it happening. This is a very small town and she was born and raised here. We came here 3 years ago, bought the local business, we’re young (31/37), attractive, 3 small kids, had money, and I think now in hindsight, she was threatened by us. That we would upstage the perfect image she had built. I just thought we had a lot in common, and it was a family for us to hang out with. I think she knew that he was very vulnerable, and stressed, and confused as to how to handle all of this and she worked her way in. She never stopped talking to me, in fact was what I thought a really good friend to me. Now, I see it was all a lie. My husband sees that now too, he was so angry last night when I would say something that I had said to her and she told him something completly different.

    I by no means am excusing what he did, in fact at this point have no intention of reconciling our marriage. He made many choices, left me when I needed him the most, and left me believing that I was getting 100% of what he had and that needed to be enough for me. He has said over and over that he lost sight of how lucky he was, took it all for granted, and even though I said how much I appreciated him etc he didnt hear it. He of course wants to prove to me that this is not who he is, he doesnt know that happend to him, he wants help etc etc. We have a family vacation planned to Disneyland on Sunday for 2 weeks and wants to still go.

    Its so hard for me to envision our life not together as a family. I am so heartbroken for my kids, and I wish I could of done more to protect them from this. He is heartbroken about them. Again, the first thing that comes to my mind is you should have thought about that. Its not like you didnt have time. This whole thing is so surreal and consuming at the same time. I have no idea what Im going to do. Im angry that I unknowingly gave him so much control over my life. I am out here with no one, not a lot of extra money, no job outside our business that I dont collect a paycheck from, my family is far away. If I left I would take my kids 1600 miles away from their dad. I dont know that I can do that.

    But anyone whos lived in a small town understands that I cant stay here. This is a huge scandal that is still a big secret. We have a business here so we cant just leave. Lots to think about. I realize my decisions dont and shouldnt be made right now. I am going to lay low and for the sake of my kids, he will be here just like normal. Until we figure things out for sure, I am going to try and keep things as normal as possilbe and do my best to let them finish the school year. It will be easier said then done, but I will do my best, as that’s all I can do. Im going to try and let things play out. We are not yelling at each other or anything like that. I think he feels horrible, and I told him exactly what I think of him last night and this am, and I am going to back off now. I know this is long and rambling, and probably doesnt make a ton of sense. But boy, did it feel good, and my hands aren’t nearly as sore as the were yesterday when I was writing on paper. Thanks for the vent, prayers to you all!

  8. Rushan April 14, 2010 at 8:14 am #

    Shocked I see many of the things that my husband did and is still doing in what you are writing about. Except the fact that he doesn’t own up about the sex. He also tells me now he loves me and sorry for the pain he gave me. But still I am not sure he left her because he wants me and not because he was afraid his children will leave him. They said as much to him when they found out. So what is the truth. I am not sure. She is 20 years younger than he but he said he liked her smile friendliness and her body. He wanted her sexually but he never did it. I am still uncertain. I can only try to make a success of our marraige and I hope he is trying too.

  9. Heartbroken April 14, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    Linda – I don’t think I could have said it better and feel like we must be sharing the same roller-coaster of good and bad days. I’ll never understand how she could have done this to me and am trying to accept that wedding vows and commandments are not taken as seriously as I had always thought. I had never before questioned 100% trust and sometimes find myself looking at her wondering if I really know her at all. There is no question this is the most difficult thing I’ve faced in my life and continue to try to make it better and not give up on our marriage. I hope over time that the trust will return. I can’t go on forever feeling like my best friend is a stranger. Having said that, we have had several good days lately so I’m now focusing on one day at a time.

    Shocked – This is a devastating period for you right now. Research what people call ‘the 180’ for good advice on how to handle the first few days/weeks. I did not know about it until well-after I made a few strategic mistakes that probably did not help my situation. Anger, among other emotions, are going to be normal for you for a while. Don’t make life changing decisions until after you go through all of these emotions fully and can think rationally again. I’m not sure how long you have been married, but believe that as you process your life together you can think about more positive memories than bad. Focus on those and know that it is possible to have an even better future together if that is what you want. Also know that the affair may be like a drug for him still and may be difficult for him to cease all communications with the OP overnight. It could be months. My wife told me what I wanted to hear almost like she were reading from a script. Over the next several weeks, do some soul-searching for what you want to do and pursue what is best for you. In a small town, I think I’d seriously consider a for-sale sign in front of your business and relocation as a possible first step. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Please keep us posted on your progress…

  10. ppl April 29, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

    i know wife had emotional affair but she will not admit it. went on for months despite my protests that mans visit to my home every morning was inappropriate. suddenly broken off then wife “had midlife crisis” and went on vacation alone. nothing the same, not sure she can give me what i want etc. in counselling now but with her refusal to admit issue–what chance of success? i suspect none. have now found out that she is cruising craigslist. she claims only for the porn, mends pictures. but i know its a dating site… do i wake her is it a lost cause. three kids and i have voiced to myself just keep it together three more years all will be out of house by then. how do you do that. do you lie with your smile, ignore findings etc.

    • Rosie September 27, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

      I am also riding the emotional roller coaster of my husband’s emotional affair that has been going on for 2 months. The hardest part of it all has been the living in limbo. He moved out 3 months ago after having an EA with someone via phone contact only and filed for divorce b/c he was “in love.” 2 weeks later he wasn’t in love anymore, his feelings had changed. Then one month later, he met someone who lives closer and has been seeing her on weekends while seeing me as well. He finally disclosed to me what had been going on. I informed him that he either needed to end the relationship, or we needed to get divorced. I have not heard his answer yet, but am prepared to follow through with my plan.
      We have been married for 25 years, together for almost 40 years, and I am willing to do the repair work that is necessary, but he needs to meet my halfway. He tells me he doesn’t want to get divorced, mostly b/c of the expense, etc.. and that he wants to be with me for the future, loves me, etc, but really, how much more of this bullshit can I take? He has refused to move back home stating he’s “not ready and has to think things through” which was just a cover that he was having an affair. Strung me along, giving me hope, and now I realize he wanted his cake and eat it, too. I feel rage towards him for his selfishness and desire to hurt me. Blames the affair on me! Yes, we have issues, as all long term marriages do, but have survived a lot of the bumps. I refuse to take responsibility for HIS decision to pursue TWO emotional affairs!!! When does the infidel ever take accountability for the chaos that they’ve caused???

  11. Gizfield May 25, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    I’m quite the opposite, Linda. Knowing that some one is stupid enough to get involved with MY husband and then be jealous cause he spends time with his wife makes her even more pathetic. And she probably thinks ya’ll weren’t having anything to do with each other, lol. She is just ridiculous on so many levels, I wish you could see it.

  12. Benny May 25, 2012 at 4:27 pm #


    I just read this for the first time and realized that I am going through much the same up and down feelings that you talked about and have many of the same discouraging thoughts creeping in even when I’m trying to keep them out.

    I’ve had a week or two of pretty good feelings and hopeful thoughts and my wife and I have had some nice days and tender moments together recently. But after our counseling session this past Wednesday some of the depressed feelings started surfacing and my mind has been racing!

    I think the counseling sessions are helpful for both of us but it usually takes me a while to think about and digest the issues we talked about with the Dr. and sometimes a few days later the painful issues discussed or that I was reminded of seem to come to the surface in my head. It seem like there is so much of it to keep up with and to try to understand!

    It isn’t quite as bad so far today but yesteday was difficult for me. Most of the time I can’t put it properly into words or even get it sorted out in my head in a way that makes sense to me.

    But I surely know & understand it perfectly when I read it.
    Thanks for putting it into well in words that I can understand.

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