Recovery and trust after an affair is very much like learning to climb a sheer rock face.

Recovery and  trust after an affair
Learning about recovery and trust after an affair is a lot like learning how to rock climb.

By Doug

Our college age son is an avid rock climber. He amazes us with his skill, power, knowledge and bravery every time we watch him scale a sheer cliff to hundreds of feet, secured by nothing more than bolts in the rock face and a thin rope.

He’s never taken a class in rock climbing and has learned it all himself by reading books, watching videos, practicing at an indoor climbing wall and lots of trial, error and determination.  His success is also due in part to the fact that he has spent thousands of dollars on quality gear.  If he didn’t, he would probably be dead by now.

He typically performs “trad” (short for traditional) climbs.  This is a form of free climbing wherein the routes are climbed without using artificial tools to help the climbers in their ascent. In other words, the “trad” climber forges their own route up the rock face and only secures their position once they reach certain desired levels.  There are no routes that have been previously set with bolts, anchors and ropes.


The climbers protect themselves by securing their position with various rock climbing tools in the small cracks, holes and crevices that exist on the wall.  Should they fall, the only thing that stops them from free falling potentially hundreds of feet to the ground are tiny pieces of metal and the rope. The climber has to have trust in their gear and trust in the rope.

Our son recently had his spring break and instead of heading to a tropical locale to get wasted and party all night like most of his college buddies, he headed to a world class rock climbing location with a bunch of like-minded friends for a week of climbing and camping out.  Upon his return he told me that he reached heights he has never before reached, but also experienced a fall that was longer than he has ever fallen before – some 40 feet.

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I asked him if it didn’t scare the shit out of him and he replied that he had faith in his physical strength, faith in his route setting abilities (placing the tools in the cracks and holes to which the rope is attached), faith in his gear and faith in his rope.

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Journey to Trust
Rebuilding Trust after an Affair

Discover that trusting again is indeed possible and is a natural process, if you both are committed to putting forth the effort that is necessary.

Follow our own journey to trust and the exact steps and experiences along the way.

Recovery and Trust After an Affair are Like Rock Climbing

I got to thinking that learning how to trust after an affair and – really affair recovery in general -is very much like learning to climb a sheer rock face.   Something that Linda and I have done as well, by the way.

We’ve both read tons of books (especially Linda), watched videos, listened to audios and went through a lot of trial and error.  And yes, we have spent a bunch of money “learning to climb” along the way as well.   All of this knowledge that we devoured at first was what was invaluable in getting us to the wall.  The only thing left to do was put the knowledge and the tools to good use by expending massive amounts of strength, effort and energy to actually start to make the climb.

So once we started this epic climb up the sheer cliff, we struggled mightily in our attempt.  After reaching various levels we secured ourselves with the use of our tools and put faith and trust in the rope that secured us to the wall.  If by chance we would lose our grip and fall down a ways, we would exert even more effort and use every ounce of strength we could muster to make up that lost ground.

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There were many times during our climb that we wondered if perhaps it would have been easier if we would have had more experience, or at least had some instruction.  But since we made the decision to learn to climb on our own, and our climb may indeed have been much harder as a result, the achievement of reaching higher levels each and every day makes our climb that much more rewarding.

Throwing Caution to the Wind

By now you’re probably thinking I’m being way too corny here, but I hope that you can understand the picture I’ve tried to paint for you.  Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and have faith in the tools that you have and just go for the summit.  You have to trust the rope.  And yes, at times you have to trust another person with the rope as well.

Know that if you put the time, effort and all of your strength into your own climb that you can indeed make it to the summit.  Read as many of the posts as you can on this site.  Read the thousands of comments from all the readers who are attempting the same climb as you are.  Spend money on quality tools by investing in the programs, courses, books and other resources that are reviewed and/or recommended.  Take the time to research the qualified therapists in your area who can possibly help to make your own climb somewhat easier.    Get strong physically and mentally.  Trust yourself.  Trust the tools but use them intelligently.  Have a good rope and have faith in it.  And then…Just do it!

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Analysis Paralysis

I think at times too many people spend their time and effort learning how to climb but then never get to the mountain.  They are paralyzed with over analysis and scared to take action.  Typically, they search from one website to another looking for the magic pill that will solve all of their problems.  They say, “What if I fall?”   “What if the rope breaks?”  “What if my climbing partner lets go of the rope?”  And then never really make a solid effort to scale the wall.

Sometimes you just have to have an “I don’t give a shit attitude” and decide that you’re not going to give up and that you deserve to reach the summit.  You deserve to experience the joy of victory of making the hardest climb of your life.  If you fail, at least you can say you gave it your all and will be a better person as a result.

I thought you’d like this cool video of a guy who doesn’t even bother to trust the rope…only himself!


    46 replies to "Recovery and Trust After an Affair – Trusting the Rope"

    • Anna

      I want to believe in this today, I want to not give a shit and just go for it, but it’s just so hard sometimes. I’m so exhausted. It helps to read some of the success stories from yesterday, but then there are so many others like me who are struggling…

      • Doug

        Anna, I completely understand and at times you will believe that you will always struggle or that you have no chance to win the fight. Sometimes you just want to give up. Trust me, we went through that very same feeling 3 years ago and it lasted for several months. Not everybody is going to have success in recovering from an affair but if you feel your marriage is worth saving then all you can do is give it your best shot. Hopefully, you will start to see successes – one at a time – which build on one another and can turn things around for you. Hang in there!

    • E

      Love this post and great analogy Doug! This was a very hard place for me to get to, but I believe that I am there. I cannot control any of it anyway, I’ve stopped the snooping (thanks to advice from other readers ), stopped wondering/asking where H was all the time, what H was doing, if she had tried to contact him, etc. – all of those things fall under the “I don’t give a shit” attitude. I think even during comments on this site a couple of months ago I had debated with contacting her after she had attempted to contact my H again. After getting more wonderful advice and words of wisdom from other readers, I can remember telling a friend of mine – “if she wants to keep trying – Go for it!”

      I thought for several months that I could not develop this attitude AND have that faith that you talk about at the same time. I thought that if I let go, that the process of trying to rebuild and reconnect with each other would be slowed or halted. I thought that by me taking on this attitude it would certainly doom us – but it hasn’t. It has been a huge relief and has done the opposite. Still rough days for both of us from time to time, but getting there!

      • Doug

        E., Thanks for the comment. You need to add this to the success stories!

    • chiffchaff

      Similar to Anna, I would like to trust the rope, but I’ve tried it on many occasions and my H lets me fall as he looks the other way again.
      I think if the rope’s let you down so many times it’s hard to trust it again and again and again. As much as you’d like to, you’d be stupid to.
      That’s where I am anyway, 8 months in and technically separated.

      • Doug

        chiffchaff, It can also be the case that you may need a new rope and/or a new climbing partner. You hope it never gets to that point, but unfortunately in some cases it does.

        • chiffchaff

          My H has said he’s ‘willing’ to come back home and commit to making it work but I see that as different to ‘wanting’ to come back and commit to making it work. Or is it just semantics?

          • Doug

            I wouldn’t get caught up in the wording at this point. Take the fact that he is willing to come home as a positive and make the best of it. I would put more emphasis on the word “commit.”

          • Lynne


            If you haven’t already, I’d ask him to expand on this. When he says that “he’s willing to come back home”, what does that look like and mean to him? What work is he willing to do, what kind of communication is he open to, what end goal is he wanting to achieve with you?

            It doesn’t seem enough to want to come home, unless he is committed to some kind of rebuilding plan. Getting him to articulate this to you could be a good starting point, so you can ensure that you both have a road map that you can agree to before he comes back. Once you hear what this means to him, then you can better assess whether you are comfortable with agreeing to his return.

            Best wishes to you.

            • chiffchaff

              Thanks to both of you.
              We’re having 2 weeks of complete ‘radio silence’ before going away walking in the mountains for a week (he also lives with his sister now). I needed space away from his hurtfully confusing emails and confusing behaviour to really think about me for a change.
              I’m hoping that the points you both mention will be discussed while we’re away from home. They’re certainly what I’m thinking about.

    • S

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. Last night was a rough one. He is gone for the week and I am left in the house with the kids and my thoughts. I have found myself coming to the office with my head spinning with thoughts. But always after opening your blog and reading some of the post gives me the reassurance that I need to know that it’s going to be ok. That I am not alone, that I am not crazy and that I can overcome this obstacle. Just like this post, it reassures that we have the tools that I just need to quit fighting it, embrace it and DON’T GIVE A SHIT about it. The past is the past and I can’t do nothing about it but learn from our mistakes and move on.

    • Angel

      I am so grateful for this site. I have stumbled across it by accident, and I am so glad I did. I did not have a chance before I found this. I had already adopted alot of the ideas expressed here, but I dont know how to apply it.
      I dont know how to go on with the dont give a shit attitude. Because I have so many times these last 8 months, and each time I have fallen harder than the time before when it was shattered. By finding out they were still talking, or that he had snuck to see her months afterward. It doesnt make the pain any less.
      I am so overwhelmed at this point I dont know what to do, or when to do it. I dont know that I am able to do the work this could take. Because he has put me through so much already as a serial cheater, I cannot tolerate even the thought that they may still talk. (i know they do, he refuses to stop and openly keeps his phone locked)
      He has made every effort to blame me for breaking up with him when we were teenagers 10 years ago. He actually told me he resents me for trying to make her go away, and for “forcing him” to be with me. That is his own altered reality because I moved out. Yes “I”, and HE came back to ME. Moved in with ME at my house and left our marital home empty.
      This really gets me though>>>>>PLEASE HELP. They have only seen eachother 3 times in 8 months. He says he loves her (actually screamed it at me last weekend) I say how can you, he says well we havent seen eachother and still feel the same way so what else could it be??? IS HE RIGHT?????
      Should I just walk away? I do not have the endurance to handle this any longer. I am or Im not his wife. There is no middle ground. I cant take it. I want our life back. He has made significant changes, the only thing I hate about him is that he wont stop talking to her and telling her he loves her. IT makes me SICK.
      I dont know how to go on for “myself”. I have kept my life on hold for over 8 months because nothing means anything right now. There is no meaning to anything as long as it is not only the two of us.
      IVE BEEN TRAPPED IN THIS FOR MONTHS PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME. Its been so pint up that I cant tell the difference between reality and this chaos anymore.

      • Doug

        Angel, Listen to IFSD. Don’t put up with his crap anymore. He is being disrespectful to you on so many levels and it needs to stop.

        • Theresa

          What is IFSD?

          • Doug

            Hi Theresa, IFSD is my abbreviation for the person who left a comment whose name is “ifeelsodumb”

      • Carol

        Ask yourself this: what do you think love is? Is it a feeling — ‘fizz’, the excitement you get when around someone you find witty and attractive? Or is it a verb? Is it what you choose to DO for someone else, what you give? Is it choosing to accept another person whose flaws you know intimately, and loving him/her anyway — giving to him/her anyway, despite their flaws — or is it getting excited about someone because you think your image of him/her will meet YOUR needs, YOUR desires? Think about the generous, nonselfish way a good parent loves a child, or the way you love a dear friend, someone whose back you would have no matter what, but someone whose flaws you also know well, someone about whom you have no illusions but whom you choose to support and love anyway. That kind of love has little to do with how excited you might feel in the moment about that person or whether that person is making YOU feel good at a particular moment and everything to do with what you want to GIVE for that person.

        If you think about love under the latter definition, then it is impossible that your H loves the OW in any real, mature way. He loves an image of her; he loves what he WANTS to believe she is, because he is flattered by her and he thinks she will meet his needs. That’s the coward’s way out, because it’s a band-aid on a gaping wound: he wants to use her and his excitement about who he THINKS she is to mask his own inadequacies and fears. And it is also evident that he is not behaving in a loving way towards you.

        I would suggest you love yourself a little. I agree with Doug: your H needs to make a choice. Give yourself permission to grieve what you thought you had. But also: do not put up with his inbetween-ness any longer — I think that he’s being cruel, and loving yourself means protecting yourself from cruelty. Tell him to move out until he knows what he wants. And tell him you too will be deciding whether YOU want HIM or not. Maybe that will smack him out of his fog — if so, you get to work on your marriage and recover it if YOU choose to do so — if you CHOOSE to love him, to give to him again, to build a life with him again. If it doesn’t smack him out of the fog, you will know where you stand, and you will recognize that someone who persists in cowardly, cruel, selfish behavior doesn’t deserve a loving, loyal wife like you. The power to choose whom to love — in the verb sense of the word — is still yours. 🙂

    • Angel

      Please allow me to add, Love is not the issue. It never has been. We love eachother deeply. Maybe we are just too broken to fix, and neither of us has the courage to end it. It would devastate me.
      He has told this other woman that he would live with me and “pretend” so that he can have his kids.
      Which I can argue that to the moon as Im sure youre all aware. Its just that I desperately need to talk about this. Ive held it in tooooo long.

      • Ifeelsodumb

        The best thing you can do at this point is read this blog religiously…and take care of YOURSELF!! You can’t make your H do anything!
        And one other thing that was recently talked about on this blog…DO NOT listen to him talk about the OW! Walk out of the room, tell him he is disrespecting YOU and you WILL NOT listen to it!! You have to be strong at this point, until he comes out off the fog!
        BTW, as you read this blog more…you will see and understand, he’s not “in love” with the OW…it’s a fantasy…and when he finally wakes up from the fog, he IS going to feel like a fool! You take care of yourself and your kids…nothing else you can do at this point!!

      • Carol

        Hi, Angel — I hadn’t read your second posting when I responded to your first. I hear you about the devastation — it would be real. But you WILL be okay. A good friend of mine took me out for a drink shortly after D-day, and her advice has stuck with me. She does not know my H — she lives in a different city — and so I felt comfortable confiding in her. She told me two things, repeatedly: first, I am a valuable person, and my happiness matters, too — along with the happiness of my children. Second, she told me that no matter what, I WILL be okay. I know this is true — i have survived an awful lot of trauma in my life, and while a divorce is the last thing I would choose for myself or my children, sometimes that choice is not only mine to make — if that makes sense. I know that no matter what, I WILL be alright. I will survive, I can take care of myself and my children, the world will continue to spin on its axis, the sun rises every day. That was comforting to me, because I’d been feeling so powerless — my H made a bunch of stupid, hurtful choices over such a long period of time, and I was so sick of feeling like a victim, like I’d been pummeled, emotionally, for years — which I suppose I had. Just to know that the power to get out of the situation was also mine, and that I would be okay either way, was important to me. Will be thinking of you!

    • rachel

      My husband says he is moving out on Saturday. I’d like to take the rope an tie it around his neck for all of the sadness and hurt he has caused me.

      • Ifeelsodumb

        Let him go Rachel…in fact, help him pack his bag! He’s been far to cruel to you for too long! I know this isn’t what you want and I’m sorry for you and your boys…but I think once he’s gone, you’ll find that you have more peace then you’ve had in a VERY long time…and also, it will give you AND your H time alone, so you can BOTH decide what you want AND expect from each other!!
        And you HAVE to let your H KNOW that while he is gone “sorting himself” out you will also be making some decisions regarding your marriage, and that YOU will be doing what is best for you and your children!!
        Another thing Rachel…IF your H decides he wants to come back home, after a few days or weeks…you NEED to have some conditions drawn up, things he is willing to do to help heal your marriage ( first would be to drop that incredibly BAD therapist he’s been seeing!!) and unless he is willing to sign a commitment contract, then I’d tell him he cannot come back into your family, and yes, at THAT point you and your children will be your very own family unit…one that he CHOSE to leave!!!
        DO NOT under ANY circumstances let him spend the night with you Rachel….he can’t have his cake and eat it too!! If he wants to come by for a meal with the family, by all means…and be sweet and kind, show him what he’s missing…but no overnight visits. please!! I had a friend do that…and he STILL divorced her and married the OW!!
        It’s been 15 mos since Dday for me..and I’ve read tons of info since then and read this blog…and what I have seen over and over again is that the BS who gets TOUGH with the CS, usually ends up with a remorseful spouse and a better marriage…I know that’s what it took with my own H!!! We are doing much better since then, sure, I still have my “bad” days, and I have a few good friends from this blog who help me out when that happens…but overall, my H and I are on the upswing,
        Hope this helps you Rachel…I really feel bad that you are going through all of this…your H has really put you through the ringer, hasn’t he??
        BUT you CAN get past this…if you want to email me, just let Doug know, and I’ll be happy to correspond with you in that way!

        • rachel

          I feel so dumb: thank you!! My husband was suppose to tell our oldest son last night that he was moving out on Saturday. Instead he told him that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. He wanted to go to his parents see how it is. He said “Who knows I may like it”. “If not I’ll come back home.” So why can’t he work on us first. Stop with the “what if’s”. Just see how we do, take baby steps.
          I told him that this house does not have a revolving door. So if he leaves it’s for good!

          • Doug

            Gee, I’m sure his parents are more than thrilled to have him move back home with them! You’re right…your house does not have a revolving door. Listen to Lynne and IFSD.

            • rachel

              They will be thrilled. His mother said at a party about 8 years ago that she wouldn’t mind if he came back home to live with them. Made me look like a complete ass. They think he is GOD! You see who his role models are???

            • Carol

              Well:my H’s parents also think he can do no wrong. Therefore his affair must somehow be my fault — or so they thought until my own mother, blessed be she, let them have it with both barrels. No doubt the adoration of your H’s parents is a big part of his problem. But now it’s HIS problem – and theirs – not yours! Do something nice for yourself & your boys this weekend if you can! And NC with him – you need to get away from his headgames.

            • Ifeelsodumb

              Let’s see how thrilled they are in 6 mos!! LOL!! I love my mother immensely….but having her live with me..Ummm,… NO thanks!!
              It will be the same with them, just you wait!!
              Rachel, seriously…let him go, and have a HUGE smile on your face….then take your boys out to dinner and a movie!!
              You have a life to live…don’t be dragged down by your H, who sounds INCREDIBLY selfish, BTW.
              It’s bad enough he plays these games with you…but your son’s also…wow!!
              And his mother would rather you H come home to her…then to make this marriage work for the sake of her grandchildren? Unbelievable!!!

          • Lynne


            Why ask why any longer? Look at the man he is today, not the man you WANT HIM TO BE! If you have to, pack his things today and put them next to the door, waiting for him when he comes home. This back and forth seesaw is NOT GOOD for you–and it is damaging to your son.

            Your front door is already revolving daily–slam it now and with him on the other side. Really, you won’t regret taking a stand. It’s time to make a definitive statement that this needs to STOP today….done with it, finito, call me when you get your head on straight and we’ll talk

            • rachel

              His things have been packed by me since D-Day. I also added some potting soil to each box. ; )

            • Lynne

              Funny! But are they piled next to the front door yet? This might be a real eye opener for him!

            • Paula

              Take the jump, Rachel, you won’t regret it in any way, neither of you can budge whilst living like you are, you’re stronger than you think, I promise you that, and I truly believe it is the only way for you to make any progress, stand firm!!! Carol and her lovely friend hit the nail on the head, really, you will be fine, of course it’s hard, what worth having or doing isn’t? IFSD is right, the only way for him to ever respect you is if you take this stand, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, it will be the way to find respect for yourself again! We’re with you all the way

    • Eva

      Yes I do agree. It’s really tough on certain days but just how much can one take to keep obsessing about the affair details. We both need to grow individually from this painful lesson. Backing off does indeed draw my H closer to me than further. Time can only tell if we are able to overcome this. I may be ahead of him now but I hope that one day he would be standing beside me.

      I dare not take things for granted or even believe that he has come to his senses fully or settled issues with OW. I just wish to lead by example that I’m committed to becoming a better person and making an effort to repair all the broken relationships with everyone due to years of anger and resentment. At least if I failed to convince him, I can still leave with no regrets, knowing that I have tried my best. I can only attempt to guide him back to the right path but I would not be able to control his thoughts or feelings and force him back.

    • Eva


      He is indeed driving u crazy huh! Looks like his words and actions don’t really tally, I guess he must still be in the ‘fog’, not sure of what he really wants. My H blames me for our breakup too years ago, sounds damn petty right and kinda feel like they are exacting revenge on us! The words I hear from him were so hurting on DDay, declaring his love for OW and all but now 4 mths past D Day, I don’t sense that great love he felt for her but kinda like finding his way back home to me.

      Only God knows how long more they are going to be in the fog and have the strength to fully resolve this mess. I told my H that I rather he had divorced me years ago when he was so unhappy with me than put me through this torment now. I can forgive him for having an affair since I feel partly responsible to push him to that situation but I can never forgive him if he wants to enjoy the best of both worlds. I don’t deserve that! Hopefully your H could step out of his fog soon!

    • Hopeful

      I like this post. It speaks to where I and my partner are right now. Nine months of hell and lying and pushing and working and healing and we are at the face of the wall, we’ve purchased our equipment, we’ve begun the climb already. But with so many falls it has become scary. I think it is time to “just do it.” We’re ready. We’ve done the prep work and we need to now keep conditioning and climbing.

      Thanks all.


      This is awsome! Great analogy Doug! This brought tears to my eyes! It is exactly what I needed to hear, especially since I have really struggled, more so the last few weeks. It has been a little over a year since D’day, and there are days when I just don’t know if I can do this. I want you and Linda to know how grateful I am about this site.

    • Angel

      To everyone: THANK YOU SO MUCH. I honestly cannot say that enough. Up to this point no one has been able to understand. I, too, have gotten the “pray about it”, (which I was very religious until this) or “life is what you make it”, and I have had no one to truly express myself with.
      I wish I could understand what void there is inside me that makes me want to accept him “if he would just stop”. WHY dont I love myself more? KNOWING I need to, doesnt make it happen. They say knowledge is power, but that isnt necessarily true….its what you do with it. I am at a wall. I cannot feel what I used to, yet I grieve for it SO bad. I dont even know if I have the strength left in me to fight my way back out. It has more than drained me. I am the most broken I have ever been. Yet when he is in the room, I am mostly fine. Its when he leaves for work or whatever that I feel this way. WHAT is WRONG WITH ME? sheesh
      What am I waiting for? Perhaps I am waiting to give myself permission to let go.
      I have been holding onto the thought that if he would just stop I could have my life back. Because he can make me so happy. Ive only ever wanted to love him. But I am in denial. And I know it. The person -I- made him out to be in my fantasy of him, died. Ive been struggling with who is the real him, who he is now, or who he was before. I just cannot handle it anymore.
      Doug, thank you for being so open about your EA. It has really given me insight into what really happens to the cheater. The spouse is not the only victim. I wish I had the words to express what I am trying to say. Im sorry that I dont. But Im trying to say, that you have given me the insight not to hate him. I “almost” feel sorry for him, knowing what is also happening to him. He has virtually committed suicide.
      Can anyone relate to me about this…….I feel like if he has continued this for so long, and with so many women, that he must have never known me. So, with the changes that have come within this situation, the person I was died. SO—-I feel like who is going to grieve for me? Nobody else knew me like he was supposed to have. Nobody else has ever been that close to me. And that person is dead… who is going to grieve me? I never meant anything, but I died. Who is going to miss me? He cant, because he never knew me. He never tried. Only pretended. This really bothers me.
      Its probably out of my denial I am going to say this,but I feel I must: He has changed in many good ways. Many. He has the potential to be a very good man. Incredible father, and awesome husband. We are fine in all other walks of life until I bring up the OW. Then its a huge fight. But like I told him, I am not going to just turn my head. I cannot.
      Maybe in part, this is my fault. Because 10 plus years ago when I broke up with him it broke him. He said I took his innocence. His innocent love, and he never got it back. So, perhaps he cannot connect with me on an emotional level and that is why he has all these affairs. I dont know.
      But, he did go back out with me after I broke up with him. And ask me to marry him….and marry me….and have a family… I dont really know.
      I guess on some kind of primal level I need validation. So that my life hasnt meant “nothing”. Been “all for nothing”.
      Sorry this is so long…thank you for the opportunity to share. I have spent hours reading the blog. Thank you.

      • Notoverit

        Angel, I have told myself time and time again that my H didn’t remember who I was – he forgot the woman he married. And he did. He overlooked her and he threw her to the curb to chase an elusive dream of being the big man on campus with a woman chasing him. While in the “fog” he never thought about the consequences of his actions, only about himself (sounds like your H). BUT when I found out about his EA and re-discovered the woman I used to be (strong, self-reliant and certainly not a door-mat), he finally remembered his wife. I guess what I am saying is re-discover yourself and perhaps the rest will follow. Don;t focus on him; focus on yourself. You really need to take care of yourself and your children – forget him and his OW. Be strong and forget about his whining over his “lost innocence.” Tell him to grow up and deal. I guess this is kind of like backing off. But by no means does that mean you should listen to his crap. Tell him to deal with it and start working on yourself without him. You do have worth, you are a person who deserves respect. He forgot so that’s his problem. You remember it and you go forward.

        • Carol

          I agree with Notoverit. So, um: you broke up with him years ago. You then got back with him, MARRIED him, and BORE HIS CHILDREN. Right??? And he’s now blaming you — after he’s had affairs with multiple women — for his bad behavior because you broke up with him once, long ago, before you had a marital commitment to him and before you gave him children??? I think he’s being ridiculous. I hope that you will be able to see that, too — maybe just seeing his words reflected back here will help you see how foolish he sounds, how hard he’s working to make all this somehow YOUR fault, when it is HIS fault entirely for betraying his WIFE and the mother of his CHILDREN. Be strong. And tell HIM to ‘get over it’ re: the long-ago break-up!

      • Lynne


        I have a word for you….GASLIGHTING. Go back and read this post from a few days ago and you’ll be enlightened by it.

        I’d say your H is is in search of some way to pin it on you, and if this is the best he can come up with right now, it’s pretty poor one. I agree with Carol—he’s being ridiculous—and also childish.

        DO NOT buy into it. People can sling a lot of things your way, but only you can decide whether to let them stick. If he brings it up again, just say “I see what you are doing and it needs to stop”. Calling him out will tell him that you are not going to accept this nonsense. Let him know that when he is ready to have a REAL conversation about why he feels he made this choice, you will be ready to listen, but not before.

    • AngelWings

      Hi Doug and Linda! First time posting on your site, but I’ve been following pretty much right after my Dday 9 mths ago. I’m happy to say that for the most part I’m learning to trust my H again. We are on our way up this long climb. Of course we have hit many bumps along the way and I’ve fallen off this mountain climb, but as I’ve learned with time I’m back up again. I believe my H is committed to this climb. He has been there for me every step forward and backwards. Thank you for this site. It has truly been a God’s sent.

    • Angel

      Notoverit and Carol,
      Thanks to both of you. I know you are right. I have needed to work on myself for a long time. I especially agree with finding who I used to be might wake him up somehow. Because Im not that person anymore.
      I have come to the conclusion that I have been trying desperately to control his behavior. For many reasons of course, but mainly to limit any further pain that may come my way. Ive been fighting to minimize the damage caused to me while he comes to terms with his own life.
      I have watched a strong, incredible man and father wither away to what he has become. That has been so hard. But now I realize that I cant fix it. I cant. No matter how hard I try, or what I sacrifice to get there. None of it matters. He has to make the choice. Or it doesnt “count” anyway.

    • Angel

      Thanks for your reference to the blog, I did read it and was very enlightened!
      I wondered if it was just me or if anyone else saw that aswell. Thank you for the confirmation. I feel even less crazy now.
      You all have been so helpful. I mean it when I say, I didnt have a chance before this site. I was ready to end it all because to me, there were no answers to anything and I am so very exhausted. But I see things in a different light now.
      This blog, and all the people within have given me words to express what I knew I couldnt be the only person experiencing. I never could describe it. I just knew it was real. Bless you. I want to live again.

    • Dave

      Trust is an issue that my wife and I are both struggling with right now. I have trust issues with her for obvious reasons, but she has her own trust issues. Her biggest anxiety is that she is worried I will do the same to her. We’ve already discussed that revenge affairs will not fix anything, but she cannot shake the idea. Plus, as the CS, she feels very isolated.

      More generally, she also doesn’t feel that she can trust to talk to her friends. She feels a huge weight from her guilt and shame and thinks that she deserves no empathy or that people would judge her harshly. I keep telling her she should talk here because there are other CS who are working through the issues of their EA or PA with their spouse, just as we are doing now. I assume she would be welcome to post here as well.

    • Angel

      I understand where you are coming from. My husband has said the exact same thing to me. That he fears I will cheat on him for revenge. He says, “everybody always says I’ll get whats coming to me”, and “I figured you would get me back”. He cheated on me, but I guess like you said, the guilt makes him think I am capable of the same thing.
      I know that I am not. I do not even think like that. We have been married 10 years. I have never cheated on him. I am faithful to the core, but its also a choice. Its not that I havent had opportunities. I choose not to. I choose to be faithful. I too, wish she would get on this website. She probably wouldnt feel so alone. I know for a fact, it has saved me on many many levels.

    • Angela

      Jeez that rock wall was so sheer, the view from above shot rockets of terror through me. I recognized it as the same feeling I have at the thought of trusting him with my heart again. I just can’t decide now if he deserves me or not. I figure it will just be something else next time, not an inappropriate relationship with an OW.

    • Expat

      My partner of 20+ years met (in person) and fell in love (online) with a woman 30 years younger than him (he was 51 and she was 21 when they met). It’s been almost 2 years since D-day. He told me right away (as soon as I asked him about some chat he left up on the computer, that sounded “fishy” to me “I’m in love with her and I want a divorce. And no matter what happens with her, I never want to be with you again.” The young woman had told him she was in love with him 3 weeks before, at which point he had “realised” he was in love with her too.

      I’ve read many people say they just wanted to know, and they just wanted their spouse to decide. But sometimes I think, I wish he’d cared enough about me/our relationship to lie… I guess be careful what you wish for!

      At the time I was on unemployment and had been for about 9 months. My parents are dead and there is no family home. My sister lives in subsidised housing and cannot have a roommate. Plus, I live in Europe and my sister lives in the U.S. I have no right to the house we live in (complicated, but I consulted a lawyer who was recommended to me as a “good divorce lawyer for women), so I’m the one who has to move out. My (ex?) husband told me I could continue to live in the house, free room and board, as long as everyone was happy with the situation (meaning, as long as I didn’t rock the boat). He said this because the OW lives in Asia (most of their affair has been online), and it would take some time for her to do the paperwork to come here to be with him.

      On the one hand, that should make it easy for me, right? I don’t have to wonder if he’s “with” her or not. That’s true – I don’t wonder, I know. She insists that they video chat for hours every day (before he goes to work in the morning, during lunch when he’s home from work, and just before he goes to bed). It depends on the time zones. On the weekends, they video chat for 7-8 hours solid each day. We live in a small apartment, so although I may not be able to hear the words if I’m in a different room with doors closed, I can hear them talking (usually). I’ve asked him to use headphones so at least I don’t have to hear her voice but he often doesn’t. When I told him that because of this I might have to move out, he simply said “Do whatever you have to do.” One of the hardest things for me has been that I feel he treats her MUCH better than he EVER treated me. When I asked about this at one point early on, he told me “She’s special. I’ve never felt this way before, sorry. She gives me more than you do/did. What I was doing before wasn’t working, so I’m trying something new. It’s not because she’s young (yea right!)” So I can easily see which relationship he values more. You’d think that would be enough to jerk my own head out of the sand, right? Out with the old, in with the new!

      I have a job now, but my financial position is poor considering my age. I would have to not only move out of our home, but also leave town/friends, in order to live someplace cheaper (I work online, so that’s a possibility, at least). Going back to the States would be problematic because of the time zones I work in (even though it’s online). So up until now, I had decided, for the good of my future (financial, basically) I’ll stay here and put up with this situation and save money. I go out when I need to, walking or to the park if the weather is good, to a coffeeshop if not. Once I’m done with the actual classes, I can do the rest of my work outside of home as long as there’s wifi.
      I read online someone saying “I’d rather be homeless than live with that “·$$” another minute.” But I think that woman has never really had to seriously consider being homeless – homelessness is dangerous for women, even more than for men.
      I’ve sounded out my friends about living with them. The problem becomes my job. I work from home, teaching English online, and I’m not quiet, so I may bother them. Plus, I need relative quiet around me so that the parents of my students don’t complain. If there are children, pets… It might be one thing if the baby/pet was under -my- control/influence. But when it’s someone else’s, that person would have to be VERY cooperative, or I might lose my job. So living with friends except for a few days/taking a holiday (not working) is a no-go.
      However, that all said, I’m at the point where I’m about to tell him I’ll be moving out in a few weeks if there are no changes. I don’t expect him to believe me – he seems to think that as long as he’s offering me free room and board (he knows my financial and family situation very well), I’ll put up with anything. Up until now, he’s been right.
      I’ll be sending some stuff (a box or two of family photographs, I’ve been scanning them but I don’t want to get rid of the originals, and the like) to my sister to store. I’ve gotten rid of everything else (maybe I cried more about that than anything else, which is lame! But I took photographs of a lot of the stuff, which helped immensely). Wherever I’m going, I won’t have much room because I can’t afford to pay much. I save up, and every few months I got a few counselling/coaching sessions. It has kept me going until now.
      I fantasise, sometimes, that my moving out will pop his bubble. (What I think about the young woman in question and her motives in all this is a whole ‘nother story.) But in reality, I don’t think it will. At 50, and with few financial resources, my masters long out of date and basically useless, no place to live, I’m scared. At the same time, I’m lucky. We have no children to be affected by this. I have a good education. I have no debts (no car, no house, no debts, easy peasy!) My job does allow me to move to a cheaper place to live. If that means leaving my home/neighborhood/support system built up over 20+ years, well, worse things have happened to many people. I don’t have any pressing health concerns. Whether I keep this online job (almost certainly, for awhile) or find another job, I have many options. We traveled many places around the world over the years (which is how he met her in the first place), and sometimes I try to gin up excitement about my future by thinking about the places I might go and live and work, now that I’m “free.” It’s not that easy, for some reason. I relied far too much on his house and his nice middle-class job, and didn’t make arrangements to ensure my own financial future. I’ll pay for that naivety and foolishness, now and in the future.
      Can I imagine ever falling in love with someone else and trusting them? Well, I’ve had four men in my life that I would call close family. My father – who cheated on my mom when I was 9, left her, and married the OW. They were supremely happy (I guess) until she divorced him, 7-8 years later. (She more recently conveyed to me that “He wasn’t good for my daughter (from a previous relationship).” I just wish she could have figured that out before breaking up my family.) He never had another long-term relationship. He died 21 years ago last November, cancer. I never heard of him expressing any regret, not even on his death bed, for being a cheat and a deadbeat dad. Another older male relative, who abused me for years. My stepfather. And now, my ex. My stepfather was the only one (1/4) who did -not- cause me a great deal of pain. My opinion of men is not high at the moment. I know – those of us who are injured, attract others who are injured. But my knowledge of my husband did not throw up any red flags. His parents were not divorced. He was not physically or otherwise abused as a child, or even spanked/slapped (except for schoolyard bullying, but what he described to me did not seem unusual or extreme). I’ve met his extended family and friends many times over the years, and everything seemed very normal. So I’m not sure how he was ever injured, or what need wasn’t being met.
      Anyway… I just wanted to chime in, I guess. If anyone has any advice, I’ll be glad for it!
      Thanks for everything on this site, and this article!

      • Kleo

        Expat thanks for sharing your story! I wonder what your situation is now?

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