Regain Lost Feelings After an Affair

 

Is it even possible to regain lost feelings after an affair?  

By Sarah P.

This post is going to have a couple of ugly parts, but it will also be thoughtful and hopefully enlightening. I am going to be discussing some things that are NSFW and they might be triggering to you.

If you are uncomfortable reading about sexual relationships, this post is not for you. However, talking about sexual relationships will NOT make up the majority of this post since I will only discuss sexual relationships within the context of infidelity and infidelity recovery.

I will also discuss emotional affairs too. However, I wanted to warn anyone who is easily triggered by affair sex that I will be addressing it in this post.

But, let’s open this post with a little bit of humor. Yes, this next part is meant to be funny, not offensive. Infidelity is SUCH a dreary topic and I attempt to find humor where I can. So, let’s open with a little bit of satire as a warm-up…

Sex? Say What? People Actually Have Sex… No way!

If you are here, you have probably had sex before, just as your parents and grandparents had sex before. Someone, somewhere, at some point actually had sex.

Can you believe it?

I know, I cannot either.

But, the fact is someone, somewhere, somehow, had sex because if they did not, we would not have been born.

(Insert image into your mind of that time you walked in on your parents).

 

 

Then at some point, we all grew up. And we all had sex too.

Can you believe it?

We are all so grown up; we are such adults!

Then, our partner or spouse found they could not adult.

Someone who was supposed to be in a monogamous relationship with us also had some form of sex, even if just a sexual fantasy, or the longing for the forbidden fruit and the greener grass.

There will always be sex and unfortunately there will always be people who have it outside of their marriage.

Especially, people over the age of 25 who brag about not being able “to adult.” If a person cannot “adult” by the age of 25 and if they brag about their inability “to adult” there is a good chance that they will never be able to.

They will be bouncing around, hither and yon, looking for greener grass.

I once heard that the Garden of Eden had greener grass.

I also heard that the Garden of Eden had this tree to test those who were not good at adulting.

Those folks who couldn’t adult needed rules. The rule was that all they had to do is NOT touch one tree, ever. They had this enormous garden with millions of acres of tress, flora, fauna, and abundant food sources.

All they had to do was NOT touch the tree that shall remain nameless.

It was especially bad if someone gazed upon a piece of fruit from the tree that shall remain nameless and thought that one bite of that tree’s fruit cannot hurt, can it?

“I mean, it is just a banana, geez,” said those who could not adult. “No one will miss one banana.”

We know what happened next.

I put an emphasis on the idea that the Garden of Eden HAD greener grass.

Now it has no grass at all because a couple of sneaky and humans ruined it for all of us. I heard those humans ate a banana, had sex, and they got us kicked out of the Garden of Eden.

It was all because they could not adult.

Please do not blame snakes; they are slippery things that like to test the mettle of humans. Blame the tree that shall remain nameless. It is the tree’s fault.

Right?

WRONG.

No, it is not the tree’s fault, it is not the snake’s fault, or the fault of a banana.

Humans take the blame for their actions. People make choices. Adam and Eve made the wrong choice!

And Muttley has been laughing at humans ever since.

 

 

The metaphorical Adam or the Eve in our life also made the wrong choice even though he or she knew the rules. Otherwise, we would not be here, reading this blog, and suffering though this trauma called infidelity.

Would we?

And this brings us to our topic…

Is It Possible to Regain Lost Feelings After an Affair?

Here is where it gets serious.

In the comments section of my last post, Kittypone was generous enough to list a series of ideas that she was wrestling with in terms of being betrayed. I saw her comment and I realized she had written a down a lot of the ideas that I have grappled with over the years, but that I have never fully explored.

I took note of Kittypone’s ideas and wanted to answer her first point immediately: How to Regain Lost Feelings for the Cheating Spouse. 

If possible, I want to be the glue that holds families together. So, helping married couples regain feelings for each other and averting a disaster is my preference, if it is possible.

But, it’s not always possible. How do I know?

I am living proof; I have never been able to regain feelings for a man who cheated on me.

When I thought of how to regain feelings for a cheater, I immediately remembered that I cannot do so. The wound that I still feel due to being betrayed by my last ex runs too deep.

Then, I thought of several times when long-term boyfriends were fuzzy on the details of the word monogamy. When those long-term boyfriends cheated, there was an “off” switch that was triggered in my brain.

When this off-switch was triggered, my feelings evaporated instantly like dew in Death Valley. If anyone has ever been to Death Valley, the dew left a long time ago and it is never coming back.

I do not know how this metaphorical off-switch in my brain was installed or who installed it. However, I am thankful it is there because it prevents me from longing for the arms of someone who has had sex with another person when we were in a mutually agreed-upon monogamous relationship. 

Just picturing someone who had made a commitment to me, having sex with another woman, triggers the off-switch in my brain.

But, the thing is, I do NOT do this intentionally. I wish I had control over it, but I do not.

Paradoxically, this off-switch does not mean life is suddenly swell.

Even though the off-switch allows me to skip hysterical bonding and feelings of limerence, it is immediately replaced with another switch.

What I have realized is that when the love switch is turned off permanently, the contempt switch is turned on permanently. Contemptuous relationships cannot survive and I will tell you more about that later.

After I have proof that a man has had sex with someone else, I feel a searing, bone-deep contempt for the person who chose to betray me and choose to lie to my face the entire time.

So, feelings of love and longing are simply replaced by an utterly sarcastic and giant ball of contempt. This leads to another feeling, which is even more troublesome IF a person wants to regain lost feelings after an affair.

One time, I was a sophomore in college telling my mentor about my first ex-boyfriend, who was also my FIRST boyfriend, and he had flipped the off-switch in my brain.

She said, “Wow, you are really sardonic when you talk about him.”

I asked, “What does sardonic mean?”

She answered, “It means you are speaking in a way that is satirical, sarcastic, and scornfully contemptuous.”

I paused.

Then I said, “Yes, that is me: sardonic. Thank you for giving me the word that describes who I am when someone has cheated on me.”

I remain sardonic to this day if you are a man who was supposed to be monogamous to me, but who chose to have sex with someone else.

In the past, I have warned all men who have entered a long-term relationship with me that I am a strict monogamist. I have always been a strict monogamist and the definition of monogamy was never fuzzy for me.

In fact, I was so monogamous that I had to ensure that a man I had met did not have a series of women he was dating. If he had a woman he was regularly dating but not serious with, I was not interested in him.

Before I entered in to any relationship, I went to great lengths to ensure that a man was actually single. Single = no girlfriend, no friend with benefits, no active and long-distance fling, and no rotating group of women who came in and out of a man’s life.

Of course, I was the same way. If I was single, I was truly single and I have always held myself to the same standards as others.

The rules apply to ALL of us; not just some.

In short, I have known how “to adult” even when I was an 18-year-old and I have been an adult ever since.

Men have always agreed to abide by the rules of conduct that both of us are to follow. If they wanted to be in a relationship with me, I told them what I expected in very clear detail. If they could not be monogamous, then I asked them to move on to the next person.

No. Thank. You.

I have told every man who was interested in dating me about this “off” switch in my brain. I have told them when they were getting dangerously close to switching my feelings off. I have always been very open about who I am, who I will be to them, and I have been open about what I expect in return.

I do not expect them to do things that I cannot do as well.

Hint: I am not a hypocrite when it comes to following rules. If I cannot follow rules, I don’t expect someone in my life to follow the rules that I do not even follow.

Fortunately, I follow rules and believe in standards of conduct and respect. As many know, my only caveat here is when it comes to spouse poachers. I loathe spouse poachers because they do incalculable damage to many humans.

Spouse poachers do this damage intentionally, they do this damage in a calculated fashion, they take great pride in their poaching skills, and they feel power when they destroy people who are completely innocent.

Also, people who meet the criteria for being a spouse poacher also meet the criteria for being diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder (as in the sociopath next door).

I don’t like sociopaths; they too do incalculable damage. If there ever was an evil human being to walk the world, it would be a sociopath.

 

Narcissism: The Difference Between Affair-Driven Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

 

Let’s go back to my first boyfriend who was also the first person to flip the “off switch.”

I will never forget the first man, William*, who “flipped off the switch.” Sadly, the switch did not flip him off in return. There is nothing like the middle finger to make a point.

The first man who flipped off the switch was 21-years-old and I was turning 19-years-old. He knew the consequences and yet he flipped off the switch. I know exactly what was running through his head after he flipped off the switch because he told me what was going through his head. He was using gaslighting techniques and they were so shocking that I remember what he said. It was a very long monologue that became more shocking with each sentence that I was stunned into silence. I froze.

My 21-year-old boyfriend said: “You are not allowed to dump me. How dare you dump me! I only had oral sex with five different women. We traded textbooks and oral sex so that we could all get through finals.  It is just oral sex! Don’t you understand that oral sex does not count as cheating? Why are you so stupid? Everyone knows that oral sex does not count as cheating! You are not allowed to be angry about the yeast infection inside of my mouth. I told you before the campus doctor told you about the other women. It’s not my fault that the campus doctor had to call you because of the stupid STD laws. I decided to tell you first, so you are not allowed to dump me. I told you first! I got prescription drugs to get rid of the oral yeast infection that Cindy* gave me. Oral sex does not count as cheating and the yeast infection will be gone soon. You are not allowed to throw away the future life we planned together. We are supposed to get married, have a family, and go to Disney World each summer! How can you take summers at Disney World away?

At that point, I actually started laughing. We were not engaged, I was not pregnant, and I don’t remember agreeing to spend summers at Disney World. I was thinking about spending summers in France, not Disneyworld.

So, I burst out laughing.

Everything he said was already absurd. But, trying to make me the bad guy because I was denying potential, future un-conceived children summers at Disney World.. that was just too much.

I started laughing hysterically, but I was also extremely angry.

I care about those children and care about getting those children to Disney World.

I have no words for how my boyfriend was. Who thinks that way?

I could not regain feelings for him, let alone be in the same state as him. I moved three thousand miles away for the summer. He found my address and started writing very threatening letters to me.

Trigger warning: this is where I recount a very frightening experience.

He found my address and wrote me hand-written letters describing in great detail his perceived ownership over me and what his ownership of me entailed.

Do you think that made him go away?

No.

Narcissists do not go away this easily; it does not matter if they are 21-year-old narcissists or 95-year-old narcissists.

They do not leave until they extract every last bit of joy, love, and happiness out of you. If you are still there, then they will even attempt to extract your last breath.

He wanted to see me jump through hoops and he wanted to see me do the cakewalk with his other five girlfriends. I did not follow his plan for me and that enraged him.

That is when he sent some epically frightening letters. My ex sent letters in his own hand-writing telling me how we would assault and batter me once I arrived on campus.

Why would he do this?

The answer is because he thought I was quite literally his property. He informed me that since I was a woman, I did not have the authority to break up with him. He told me to watch my back because he would be watching me.

Copies of letters were filed with the police.

That is when he brought in my friends.

One day, a friend called from that state because my ex had been speaking with her and she wanted to hear my side of the story. She was primarily my friend and he knew her from a large group of mutual friends.

She called because he was telling everyone I knew that I had lost my mind and gone off the deep end.

Can you imagine?

He believed himself to be so special that a woman would have to be crazy to break up with him.  Also, he truly believed that trading oral sex and textbooks did not qualify as infidelity. That part was not gas-lighting because he truly believed that oral sex was not a form of infidelity.

Why? Because his father told him that trading oral sex and textbooks was a perfectly normal thing to do.

Still, he was 21-years-old. I knew at (nearly) 19-years-old that his behavior was toxic and that I should run.

The off-switch in my brain has been there ever since. So, for me, I am unable to regain my feelings for someone who has cheated on me.

Also, in case you are wondering, yes, what my first ex-boyfriend did to me qualifies as a form of domestic violence. Cheating in itself is not necessarily domestic violence.

But, the way he handled the break-up demonstrates that he was an abusive person and he committed acts of partner-based emotional violence during that time.

Do I have trust issues from that first experience?

Absolutely!

That was a long story about my life. I wanted to tell you WHY I cannot ever regain feelings for someone who has cheated on me. I also wanted to stress that domestic partner violence can happen to any of us.

 

 

How to Regain Feelings for Someone Who Has Cheated on You

Still, there are betrayed spouses who desire to stay in their marriages and they want to know how to regain feelings for a cheating spouse.

Not everyone has that “off switch” in his or her brain and not everyone has experienced domestic-partner violence.

There are also varying degrees of infidelity and various types of infidelity. To make the picture even more complex, there are socio-economic factors that can affect how much of a stake each person has in a marriage.

If someone has been married for forty years and has grown children and grandchildren, they have a lot to lose by divorcing his or her spouse. Also, a couple is affected by type of affair, the remorse or lack of remorse of a cheater, the insight that a cheater has into how he or she hurt a spouse, and the betrayed spouse’s ability to let go of pain.

I believe that regaining feelings for a cheater is possible.

I have met many people who never fell out of love with their wayward spouse; hence there was no need to regain feelings. But, more importantly, I have also met people who have been able to regain feelings for their cheating spouse.

There are some core behavioral patterns and also some core psychological traits that lend a cheater to being lovable again. However, if you want to regain feelings for a spouse who has cheated on you, your cheating spouse will need to make the following changes:

  • A cheating spouse must cut off all contact with the affair partner forever.
  • A cheating spouse must set boundaries that a betrayed spouse has asked him or her to set.
  • A cheating spouse must throw away all gifts or items associated with or related to the affair.
  • A cheating spouse must close all social media accounts OR give his or her betrayed spouse all of the passwords to social media accounts.
  • A cheating spouse must provide an apology that is sincere. (The word sincerity implies that a cheating spouse is actually sorry and is able to express how sorry they are).
  • A cheating spouse must listen to a betrayed spouse when he or she speaks about the pain they are in.
  • A cheating spouse must find ways to build sincere bridges toward a betrayed spouse.
  • A cheating spouse must find a way for a betrayed spouse to feel attractive.
  • A cheating spouse must respect sexual boundaries set by the betrayed spouse.
  • A cheating spouse must meet the sexual needs of a betrayed spouse when a betrayed spouse wants to resume a physical relationship.

However, the news is always the same: we can only control ourselves and we cannot control others. A cheating spouse must desire, of their own volition, to make permanent behavioral changes that can cause a betrayed spouse to feel safe.

Then, the betrayed spouse must be able to meet a cheating spouse halfway. If a betrayed spouse stays stuck in a frame of mind that causes them to punish a cheater daily, this is not a healthy relationship.

All betrayed spouses desire to punish a cheating spouse and they also desire to punish the affair partner. This is completely normal.

If your spouse has egregiously harmed you by having an affair, it will be up to your cheating spouse to regain your trust.

The person who creates the mess also has to fix it.

However, when the cheating spouse has made the changes that the betrayed spouse needs, the betrayed spouse must stop punishing the cheater. If a betrayed spouse cannot stop punishing a cheater after a cheater has made amends, I do not recommend staying in a marriage.

Another huge caveat: if your spouse has cheated on you, I do NOT recommend contacting old boyfriends or girlfriends. I do NOT recommend setting up a dating profile. As tempting as it may be, do not lower yourself to the low level the cheater has fallen to.

If you do, you will both become a pair of cheaters.

If you desire to put up dating profiles, desire to start an emotional affair with a coworker/friend, and/or if you desire to contact old lovers, file for formal separation and leave the house.

Be transparent about your desire to move on. Do not sneak around the way your spouse has snuck around on you. First off, it will put you on the same level as a cheater. Nothing will get solved; hearts will grow bitter; anger will grow out of control.

Don’t start looking for your next lover until you have filed some form of separation. If you do not make it clear that you are separating and you take a lover, you will end up being like a pig rolling in the mud and that benefits no one.

If you are a betrayed spouse with your eye on a potential lover, you will also be flirting with Pandora’s Box. When someone opens Pandora’s Box, people end up dead.

Please file for separation, leave the house, and tell your cheating spouse why.

 

Regain Lost Feelings after an Affair

 

Why We May Not Regain Feelings for a Cheater 

The biggest hit a marriage can take is the blow dealt by infidelity. Research has demonstrated that a couple can get through anything together as long as they are a united front.

Since it is not obvious to some cheaters, it is impossible to have a united front in your marriage if you are cheating on your spouse.

A united front implies that each spouse has the back of the other spouse, no matter what storms a couple will face. A couple can face any storm if they are unfailingly monogamous, care more for the other spouse than they care for themselves, and love the other spouse more than they love themselves.

This is a recipe for success.

The number one way to destroy both a marriage and a person within a marriage is to have an affair.

If a spouse has had an affair, they have destroyed everything. Of course, as I said before, affairs come in varying degrees.

An emotional affair that has been shut down early will do damage. However, an emotional affair will not do the same damage as a sexual affair where a spouse has had unprotected sex with someone other than their spouse. If a cheater falls in love with the other man or other woman, they will absolutely level their marriage.

A marriage can be like a house on cards. It does not matter if it took a couple 50 years to build a metaphorical house of cards. The metaphorical house of cards will stand as long as both spouses attend to it and ensure that the house of cards never meets a storm.

Well, an affair is like putting a house of cards into the middle of a hurricane. All of the cards fall and the winds of the hurricane scatter all the cards. When the storm passes, there may not be one card left. All cards were carried away or destroyed by the hurricane.

That is what will happen to a marriage if a spouse has a sexual affair with and falls in love with someone outside of his or her marriage.

A caveat: However, when a cheater says that he or she loves the affair partner, that is generally not true. Still, they are high on the affair and they will believe that something that is not love is actually love.

Love does NOT harm others. If people do not understand the concept of love, First Corinthians Thirteen provides some concepts about why love is important and why nothing else in the world matters if someone does not behave in a way that is loving.

For anyone who doesn’t read the Bible, the point of First Corinthians Thirteen boils down to this:

  • It doesn’t matter if you are rich
  • It doesn’t matter if you praise God
  • It doesn’t matter if you give everything to the poor
  • It doesn’t matter if you speak the language of angels and prophecy
  • It doesn’t matter if you have all the degrees and human knowledge in the world,
  • It doesn’t matter if your faith is so strong that it could move mountains.

None of these things above will matter if you do NOT live a life that is based on love. Love is a way of being. Love is a verb. Love is a way of showing up in the world.

In case that was not abundantly clear, it is IMPOSSIBLE for people who have affairs to be loving people while they are having an affair. It is impossible for love to exist between affair partners because affairs harm others. Love cannot exist in a relationship that harms others.

Also, some believe that if their betrayed spouse does NOT find out about the affair, that they are not doing harm.

That idea is complete and utter bullshit; that is my prophecy.

Any time a person has an affair, they have broken a promise. Any time a person has an affair, they are stealing time that was meant for their spouse. Any time a person has an affair, they are putting a spouse’s health and finances at risk.

There is no such thing as a harmless affair and real love cannot exist between affair partners.

Can the darkness exist INSIDE the light?

Well, that is an absolute NO.

Darkness cannot exist within light.

The very center of light is a bright light and this light travels outward in the form of both particles and waves.

Darkness cannot exist at the center of light; it is impossible. Love cannot exist at the center of infidelity; it is also impossible.

 

Some Interesting Infidelity Statistics

While adultery is no longer a deal breaker in many marriages, infidelity is one of the top cited reasons couples decide to get divorced.

  • The experts at Divorce Magazine note that about 45-50 percent of married women and 50-60 percent of married men cheat on their spouses.
  • According to the American Psychological Association (APA), infidelity in the United States accounted for 20-40 percent of divorces.
  • The APA also cited that 42 percent of divorced individuals reported more than one affair.
  • In a Gallup poll, researchers noted that more than half (sixty-two percent) of partners say they would leave their spouse and get a divorce if they found out their spouse was having an affair; 31 percent would stick it out and not divorce.
  • However in reality, Divorce Magazine notes that about 70 percent of couples actually stay together after an affair is discovered.
  • Adultery is still one of the most cited reasons for divorce. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, one partner in 88 percent of couples studied cited infidelity as a major contributing factor. Interestingly though, the vast majority of couples who divorced only had one partner share infidelity as a major issue.” (1)

Those are not very positive statistics, but I have seen this for several years.

Marriage and Affair Partners

When couples get divorced due to an affair, the cheater often does NOT end up marrying the affair partner. The cheater soon realizes that two cheaters together equals ZERO. It is impossible to have anything if both people have proved themselves able to destroy the lives of others.

Statistics aren’t favorable for remarrying the other significant partner after divorce either. In fairness, most second and third marriages fail regardless of why the first on ended.

  • Men who cheat rarely divorce their wives and marry ‘the other woman.’  Jan Halper, in her book on successful men, noted that only three percent of men who engaged in extramarital affairs actually married their mistresses.
  • What’s worse, according to noted marriage counselor Frank Pittman, men who do marry their paramours, have a divorce rate as high as 75 percent.
  • However, women are more likely to initiate divorce (for any reason) according to Psychology Today.” (1)

 

It’s crystal clear.

When affair partners marry each other, the statistics show that it is only a matter of time. The divorce rate among people who married their affair partners is extremely high.

Some people who marry their affair partner will stay in a marriage even though it is crumbling around them. It does not matter if these newlyweds are throwing the wedding china at each other in private; they do not want to show the world that they were wrong.

These people are so arrogant that they cannot bear to hear, “I told you so,” and they live lives of quiet, bitter, and growing hatred toward one another. The chasm will grow wide, but they will most likely end up putting smiling selfies on Facebook just to keep the inevitable, “I told you so” at bay. Nothing hurts more than the truth when a person has made the biggest mistake of their lives.

People who have affairs like to tell others that they had to have an affair because they met their soulmate.

Yet, the statistics do not bear out.

Less than three percent of men who have an affair end up with the affair partner. Of those marriages, 75% of them fail.

The next time someone tells you that they have met their soul mate in an affair partner, call their bullshit. I have NO tolerance for people who hurt others because they met their so-called soul mate.

I have strong, spiritual belief systems and I know that the universe maintains balance. Even if a person does not believe in God, they will NOT escape karma. We all know that phrase about karma and it is not pretty.

 

regaining lost feelings for cheating spouse

 

The Things That Guarantee Hatred Between Spouses

What will prevent a person from ever regaining feelings for their cheating spouse? Well, the answer is very straightforward: the Four Horsemen.

Drs. Julie and John Gottman have found what they call the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. These are research-based behavioral patterns that destroy the healthiest marriages from within.

These Four Horsemen are:

  • Stonewalling
  • Contempt
  • Defensiveness
  • Criticism

A healthy marriage can often recover from the Four Horsemen if a couple gets help.

But, if someone cheats on their spouse, all Four Horsemen will show up.

In fact, these Four Horsemen could even be signs of an affair. Most people have to view their betrayed spouse through a very negative lens in order to keep their guilt over an affair at bay.

If a spouse who was loving in the past suddenly turns into someone who becomes contemptuous because you have not folded their socks correctly, there is a reason. Such behavioral changes can happen for a variety of reasons.

Nevertheless, I have noticed a pattern when I read the comments in this blog. I have noticed that betrayed spouses sensed something was wrong long before the affair came out into the open on D-Day.

I have noticed people report that a once loving and close spouse became someone very different. When unknowing betrayed spouses ask a cheater (who has NOT been caught) what is wrong, a cheater will often stomp off and shut down.

Regardless, after a betrayed spouse finds out about an affair, they will cycle through all these behavioral patterns of the Four Horsemen.

Paradoxically, a cheating spouse might also engage in these behavioral patterns, even though they have no right.

If you are a betrayed spouse and have become someone who is contemptuous, shut down, critical, and defensive, this is a natural and protective reaction. Your mind will automatically build protective mechanisms around it so that you can (soft of) function.

This is especially true right after D-Day

If your cheating spouse is angry that you have started to engage in these behaviors, they need to realize that they brought this out in you. It is a protective mechanism and it is one that will keep you sane during the most tragic time of your life.

However, if you do desire to rebuild your marriage, both a betrayed spouse and a cheating spouse will need to make a choice to stop engaging in the Four Horsemen behaviors.

You will also have to make a choice to engage in behaviors that are antidotes to the Four Horsemen. I have included a handy chart from the Gottman Institute below.  You can download and print this PDF here: https://cdn.gottman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/The-Four-Horsemen.pdf

 

 

What Do You Do?

This is always the hardest question to answer: What do you do if you cannot regain love for your spouse? Every couple is different and every couple has different comfort levels.

It is common that married couples who hail from financial family empires stay married so that future generations can access wealth and prestige. Family wealth and prestige is the gift that keeps on giving.

These couples often emotionally divorce, stay married, and live quiet lives 6,000 miles apart from each other.

The very wealthy empire builders attempt to keep a low-profile when they have affairs and they quite often have affairs with those in their inner circles. Some often have children with several different women. Family heritage becomes fuzzy and is not discussed.

However, it is difficult to keep an affair low-profile if a sparkle-covered woman is singing Happy Birthday Mr. President a little too exuberantly.

 

 

That’s how empire builders handle infidelity; they live apart and attempt to keep their partners secret. They often do this because they do not want to split and divide their wealth.

There is reason in this approach because no one wants to lose their life savings to a man or to a woman who just crawled out of a dumpster. I understand why some people stay married and live separately.

However, maintaining this lifestyle can be tricky unless there are post-nuptial agreements, separate bank accounts, trusts that prevent family wealth from being accessed by interlopers, and strict “rules of the game” such as living separately and ensuring all affair partners are secret.

When I first started writing about infidelity, I told everyone to get a divorce, no matter what his or her circumstances. However, when I left my unfaithful partners, I had lost time and I had lost a house and savings. I was still young enough to find someone to build a life with and to have children with.

The longer I am married, the more I realize how high are the stakes of divorce. I have children, I have a shared name, and I have an identity that has been “we” and not “me” for a long time.

I look at the emotional impacts of divorce on children. The research shows that needless and careless divorce affects children in negative ways. The research shows that women suffer economically from divorce more than men suffer from divorce. Women are less likely than men to recover financial assets that were lost in a divorce.

Entire destinies are changed whether people stay with their cheating spouse or leave their cheating spouse. I decided NEVER to go back to my last cheating ex because what he did was unforgivable.

The cheating could have been worked through, but the other things that he did can never be taken back. He showed himself to be a violent monster just because I would not leave my own home.

He ruined my ability to trust him.

I figured that I would move on and be able to fully trust again. Years later, I have found that he ruined my ability to trust all romantic relationships. I have seen therapists to attempt to regain trust and hope when it comes to marriage. Honestly, I have never been able to overcome this barrier.

If my ex had not become a monster and if I had stayed with him and worked through cheating, I would have trust issues.

Either way it goes, he destroyed my trust forever and in the end it would not have mattered if I had gone back to him. I would not be able to trust him or any other man.

Even though I did not marry him, I will never trust any relationship that involves romantic entanglements. That means I will never be able to trust marriage. I have learned that other people’s hearts are fickle, even if my heart is unswaying and resolute.

I would take relationships at a glacial pace because sex affected me in often profoundly negative ways. It knocked off my equilibrium and sent me into a spinning longing for someone. Before I was married, these strong feelings evoked by sex with another felt like a prison. So, I avoided it as much as I could.

I never knew if that person would leave when his heart grew fickle. The day I got married was such a relief to me because then I could have a physical relationship where a man was truly invested in me.

But then, if a person cheats, he or she is no longer invested.

I am going to end this article with a segment of an opinion piece from Olivia Fane:

 

“Nowadays, for people who have been married for a long time, sex is the minefield that separates them. Everyone feels they ought to be having it, ought to be enjoying it, that it ought to be an expression of their love. They are too tired for groundbreaking sex, but they hunger for affection. Human beings crave to hold and be held, but we stay on our side of the bed in case a sexual performance is demanded. It’s all a very sad and sorry story.

How did we get here? Where did we go wrong? Why are so many relationships just so fragile?

Love and erotic love are two very different emotions – I would argue they are almost contrary. Love proper is to do with the other person: it is about the care, respect and understanding of that human other. Love like this grows, it cannot help it. The more of yourself you invest in another person, the more you receive. You become as one: their pain is your pain, their joy, yours too.

Erotic love, on the other hand, is about wanting something.

The French are right: you cannot desire what you already have. In fact, another article I recently devoured was written by a French sex therapist. It was about how to have a fulfilling sex life in your 60s. I wanted to disparage it, as I do all the others, but she was absolutely right: keep yourself in trim, buy sex toys, watch pornography, have an affair if you dare, keep yourself aloof from your husband, sleep in a separate bed, use a separate bathroom. And certainly don’t allow your husband into your innermost thoughts.

I put the paper down and I thought, “That’s all very well, and true, but who would want a marriage like that?”

Marriages all about me fail: every time, it’s unbearable to me, the children are always distraught – as mine were when I divorced – and sex, in one guise or another, is always the reason. Either one of the partners has “fallen in love” with someone else (ie, fancies someone rotten and wants to pursue it), or there is simply a mismatch (and perhaps only temporary) of libido. I just don’t buy the “deep incompatibility” malarkey – love and sex being bedfellows, the one reflecting the other. It’s far more likely you’re working too hard or have got young children.

If you want a good marriage, forget the hysteria about sex. Just take care of your partner, have a good chat, make sure they’re OK, and give them a good, felt, daily hug.” (2)

 

In fact, to say that people cannot desire what they have is a very selfish and narcissistic way to view the world. It also implies that people are no more than objects to be discarded. Still, even objects get treated better. If you buy a beautiful dress it’s because you want it. When it sits in your closet, you have it and continue to wear it. You bought it because you wanted it; not because you did not want the dress. 

People get married because they want each other. It is each spouse’s responsibility to keep the love and the romance alive. If a cheater paid the same attention to his or her betrayed spouse as he/she paid to the affair partner, marriages would be very different.

People do not have affairs because a marriage is stale or because they do not want what they already have. People have affairs because they are selfish and believe the rules apply to everyone, but themselves. Also, if there are people out there who know they won’t want a person if they “get” that person, they should find someone just like them so that the good folks don’t get hurt. They can go hook up with others who don’t want what they have and can go live lives of misery.

Just leave us good folk alone!

  • What are the emotional or physical barriers that prevent you (a betrayed spouse) from rekindling your attraction to a cheating spouse?
  • What are your deal-breakers that would cause you to a cheating spouse?
  • For those of you who lost feelings for a cheating spouse and regained them, how long did it take and when was the turning point?
  • Betrayed spouses: Is your cheating spouse building bridges to you?
  • Betrayed spouses: What do you need from your cheating spouse in order for you to forgive them and to rebuild feelings for them.
  • Betrayed spouses: Do you think you can ever trust a cheating spouse again?
  • What was the most hurtful thing about your cheating spouse’s affair that will haunt you forever?

 

 

Sources:

https://divorce.lovetoknow.com/Rates_of_Divorce_for_Adultery_and_Infidelity

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jan/28/sex-love-communicate-erotic-hormonal-closer-hug

 

    22 replies to "Is It Possible to Regain Lost Feelings After an Affair?  The Factors that Influence the Possibility"

    • Hopeful

      I thought I would be the person with the switch being shut off. Initially on dday I went back and forth on what to do. Ultimately my kids were the biggest reason I decided to make an effort. I also knew financially it was going to be an issue if I left. As crazy as this sounds in the back of my mind I worried he would change and then I would regret leaving him and seeing him with another girlfriend/wife. My kids were the biggest motivation. I think you explain it well here Sarah. With the passing of time our lives were intertwined. Even though he cheated we were extremely close on so many levels. Your post caught me off guard since we were discussing much of this over the weekend. He agreed it made sense to stay because of the kids. But in the end he said that he was most motivated by what we had and our relationship. There was honestly too much to lose. As we sit here about 4 1/2 years since dday it is interesting to hear him talk about how he feels like it was a different life time. He said there is no way he could every do it all again. It just would never happen. I always treasure this time when he opens up and I listen to him just open up. It is revealing and shows how much he has changed and his decisions continue to affect him. I will never say everything is perfect but I feel we have made it to the other side. We are both vigilant. Our communication skills are excellent. It took several years to trust him again and that was not easy. As I told him this weekend that I am thankful he was strong/brave enough to face all of his shortcomings and work through this recovery. I think that both of us being in this together and helping each other along the way has made this all possible. For me the biggest deal breaker was no contact. I think him stepping up to live a transparent and authentic life was the other big contributor.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Hopeful,
        Wow, I guess this was a timely article if you and your husband were talking about these ideas over the weekend. Yours is truly a success story.

        When people have affairs they are NOT in a rational state of mind. (That’s the understatement of the century).

        Hopeful, do you ever feel like you are the “adult” in the house? (I am referring to your relationship with your husband). Do you ever feel like you are the one who has to keep everything even-keeled, be the voice of logic, and the person who plans? I have always had that role in my family. When my father-in-law sent me a Mother’s Day card this year, he said that my husband (his son) was a giant, over-grown child and my father-in-law thanked me for being the person who has given my husband (his son) the strong foundation that he needs to succeed. My father-in-law has said this before, but he was more appreciative than usual because he said I am a stable influence. My father-in-law has always been my biggest fan because he wants his son to be set up for a successful life. My father-in-law has spoken about the positive impact I have had. I always thought that I was the only one who felt like I had to be the “head of the household” in many ways. Apparently my father-in-law sees it too because he knew my husband (his son) struggles quite a bit if he doesn’t have a truly good and level-headed woman around him.

        I don’t have the luxury of wandering around, chasing flights of fancy, and being a flake. I have children, I have to ensure they have financial security due to their disabilities, I have to plan for the future and find ways to ensure everyone is taken care of. I have never had an affair on anyone. If I had $10 for every time a man made a pass at me, I would be very wealthy. But, I don’t have time to indulge such shallow things. (And no, I am not “hot.” I think a lot of men – and women – are always fishing).

        I am beginning to wonder if some people are born to be more stable and level-headed than others. I wonder if some of us are constantly aware of cause and effect when it comes to large decisions. (If I lease that $700/month car, I will be $300/month short on my rent and will have to use credit cards. Therefore, I will lease that car for $200/month). I am constantly thinking like this. I am constantly thinking about how a decision could play out and attempt to choose the highest path that blesses others. I don’t always succeed. I am not perfect. I am merely referring to a mindset where I am aware of how big decisions- like choosing to have an affair – will ruin everyone around me (including me).

        I don’t have it in me. It’s not an urge I have to suppress either. Some people act like they should get medals of honor just because they kept the most basic of wedding vows. But, wedding vows are things that I take seriously. Medals of honor are for times when a person endangers himself or herself (selflessly) to save people from a random shooter.

        I am just rambling. Does anyone else feel this way?

        Sarah

        • Hopeful

          Yes, that is me with my husband and in many relationships. I was raised to be mature from a young age. I think based off of my parents beliefs, being a latch key child and an only child all influenced that. Also I think it is my nature and personality. From a young age I was always told I was too serious. But my parents valued being frugal (not cheap but responsible), hard working and ethical.

          As far as our relationship goes I agree 100%. I have always fulfilled that role. My in laws speak the same way to me. They shower me with praise both as a wife and a mother. My husband brought up this weekend that he is not sure if he can continue to keep it a secret from his family what he did. But he worries about the back lash. He however feels they should understand what he has done and what I have been through. I told him I would support him either way. I see positives and negatives just like anything else. I do not feel it is my place to tell them. I will be there by his side and be honest about any questions asked of me. I do not plan to tell my family. Nothing good would come of it.

          I find this topic interesting as it relates to some of Esther Perel’s work. She talks often about marriage historically, love, lust and the different roles we hold in a marriage. She talks about how much longer we live and how long marriages last or are expected to last. And how in the past it was more of an arrangement and women had no choice to leave. That was what she talked about a lot in that podcast The Armchair Experts. I feel my husband’s affair was due to selfishness and escaping his day to day life. I wonder how much though was life is just the day to day grind. He has told me he never stops loving me. But was it too much day to day. Too much obligation. It is hard to keep lust, desire, intimate feelings alive through the years, ups and downs, pregnancy, newborns, etc… And I do not point to this as an excuse. I agree with you there is no reason. But I think it causes me to look at marriage and relationships as an institution and see how the world has changed so much. And for men is it different with the feeling their wife is like their mom. I think in general they like being taken care of and doted on like they were growing up but then is that a relationship where they have excitement, desire etc? It is all so interesting! Never-ending topics.

    • Shifting Impressions

      I think this topic is one of the most painful aspects we are left to deal with after we have been betrayed. I was the wife who was married just two weeks short of forty years when I discovered my husband’s 18 month long EA. Four grown children….four young grandchildren….yes, you could say our lives are intertwined.

      There is so much good I can say about my husband……I think that makes the betrayal even more painful, if that makes any sense. How could such a kind, giving, loving, responsible person betray me??

      In the first few years after d-day I was too busy just surviving to even care if I still had “feelings” for him. I was too engulfed in my own pain, anger and grief to care. I could have walked away….the upside of my age was, that my children were raised and that financially I would have been fine. But the family is everything to me, I owed it to them and to myself to try. Funny, but I had the same thought as Hopeful did about me walking away and having him be with someone else and me regretting walking away.

      One of the most hurtful things was the way he signed his emails to the OW and her to him. He signed them Your….and then his name. She did the same. The lies and the giving of his affections to someone else are things that haunted me most of all. And the hurtful way he treated me during affairs (there were two about twenty years apart).

      It’s been over five years and there has been no contact and there is much he has done right…..not everything to be sure but overall things are pretty good. But the thing I struggle with is the fear of caring too much. I know that deep down I am not “all in”. I love him but it’s like my heart is still somewhat frozen. Even if he were to do “everything right” it still wouldn’t erase what happened.

      In all honesty it is very easy to allow the pain of betrayal to become a way of life. It is so easy to slip into that victims mode. I am kind to him….we treat each other with care….BUT I know I haven’t completely forgiven and am withholding a part of me. Somewhere deep inside of me I know I need to start showing my love more actively….and perhaps then my feelings will get stronger again. Oh hell…..I don’t know if any of that makes sense..

      • Hopeful

        You totally make sense. I do feel similar. I am guarded and do not allow myself to be 100% vulnerable. Things are really good but we can never go back to the way it was before. I can say the same for my husband. He was and is amazing . One thing that was hard for me to understand was how he could have two affairs at the same time over the course of ten years. They were sporadic. And that explains how things could be really good between us and then so bad. I guess when there was no contact for long periods of a year or more then things would go back to the way they were.

        I also agree that it can become a way of life. It would be easy to still be consumed in it even 4 1/2 years post dday. And at times I think I still feel like a victim. Overall though I feel more like an innocent bystandard. He let himself down first and foremost. He has told me he did not think about me or our kids the second he would walk out the door. And he also opened up about other big negative things in his life never got him down, he never thought about them. That is very revealing of who he is not who I am. We have created a great life. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if we went our separate ways. I don’t go there often since I treasure my kids so much. And I know there are no guarantees with any relationship. With statistics as high as they are who knows what would have happened with someone else. I am still on alert. If anything seems off or not right I ask immediately. I won’t sit with my feelings and wonder about anything. I can tell by his reaction he has followed all of the boundaries and expectations we agreed upon. This is such a long road, a lifelong process. One thing is I do feel he is grateful for the second chance and knows what is on the line.

        • Shifting Impressions

          Thanks for your response Hopeful….I can really relate to so many of your comments.

    • Deanna

      The two most hurtful things about my husbands affairs was how poorly he treated me while carrying on for 13 years with other women, and the profound impact that had on my self image and how I interact in the world. The second most hurtful thing was how he engaged in manipulating our children, his family and my parents into thinking I was a horrible monster. Of course now he says he’s sorry wishes he hadn’t done it, but those are 13 years of my life I can never get back, and I don’t know if I can ever get myself or my relationships with the rest of the family back. The other thing that hurts bad is how nasty he was after getting caught, even telling me how great the other women were, that they were better in bed than me, sexier, more attractive you get the picture. We are trying to work it out but he doesn’t want to go for individual or marriage counseling, won’t leave his job where he had the multiple affairs, and refuses to do anything that I have asked for. He’s nice to me now and says he wants a good marriage, but things are only pleasant if I don’t talk about anything he did or how I feel. So yeah that’s the hardest parts for me.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Deanna
        I would think it would be his responsibility to own up to your family about his actions regarding you. Is he willing to make things right??

    • Carol

      Sarah P:
      I love your comprehensive articles – you have a grasp on the complexity of infidelity few other writers have. I struggle every day with the pain – after I learned about the 15 other women my H slept with including a 10 year affair- I was so out of my mind with grief that I embarked on years of hysterical bonding and groveling. My H did most of the things on your list band our marriage did improve. But now, years later, I’m no longer a basket case and I feel like I’m on the fence every day whether or not I should leave. He’s got ADD- and a slight case of narcicism, (E.g. today’s my bday and he forgot and made a golf date all day today). But he says he loves me and would be devastated if I left. We have a lovely home, dog, 40+ years of marriage, we are a super team grandparenting- but I just can’t get the feelings back. When he discovered he’d forgotten my bday, he apologized then said what do you want? I said “I want you to have 2-3 sessions with Doug” (we had discussed this b4 but he never did it). He said: “Now you’re depriving me of taking the initiative of scheduling this on my own to show you I’m taking responsibility”. I said: “Oh? Were you actually planning to do this?” He said “Well…i was mulling it over…” Yeah. Right. If I’m going to stay in this marriage, I need to get rid of the 4 horseman. He’s not doing any cheating anymore, is not anything like the monsters you described, but I’m so kindled by now that I have zero tolerance for any of his more benign but irritating behaviors. I think I’ve had enuf sex w him to last several lifetimes and now I’m burnt out and faking it. But at the same time I am so lonely when I emotionally check out of this marriage. I feel trapped as a bird in a cage. Btw, I am the Jennifer who wrote in last month. You at first said it would be better to leave, but then when I added more details, e.g. he was doing all the things on the checklist and hadn’t acted out in 5 years you said theres a chance. So- I’ll b working on eliminating the 4 horseman, but it’s hard when I use a gentle start up and he gets defensive anyway. I hope he follows thru on my bday gift, ie talking with Doug!! So much more thoughtful than flowers!! Thanks for lustening

      • Sarah P.

        Hello Carol,

        Happy birthday, Carol. Hugs and a dozen roses!

        What your husband has done to you in the past is so hard to come to grips with. It will always be difficult to come to grips with.

        I see a lot of gas-lighting around what has happened today with your birthday. Your husband knows it’s your birthday and then schedules golf. He apologized for missing your birthday and then asked you what you wanted. (???)

        He doesn’t know enough to cancel his golf date, tell you to put on your prettiest dress, then while you are getting ready, he can go and buy a beautiful floral arrangement, card, and reserve a table at a great restaurant. That’s the very, base, minimum of what he is supposed to do and he is supposed to KNOW that.

        But, let’s back up. He asks you what you want him to do after he misses your birthday. You tell him what you want: to schedule sessions with Doug.

        He tells you that by you telling him this that you are taking his initiative away. He is making you the “bad guy” by saying this. He is somehow making you the bad guy when he was the one who missed your birthday.

        I am observing MAJOR GAS-LIGHTING on your husband’s part.

        You don’t need to get rid of the 4-horsemen on your part. They are a natural reaction to the gas-lighting that your husband engages in. A person would have to be off their rocker to respond positively to being screwed over and gas-lit continually. Your husband continues to gas-light and he does things likes forgets your birthday and then he doesn’t do what a normal person would do to fix it. If you feel contempt (or the three other horsemen towards him), that’s normal. He is actively triggering that behavior in you, because he is trying to make you look like the bad guy.

        I am surprised you have not thrown him out for scheduling golf on your birthday and then refusing to make it right.

        Back to your husband: if he is going to be defensive when you approach him with gentle start-ups, HE IS THE PROBLEM. If a spouse intentionally approaches a cheating spouse with a gentle start-up and then gets a defensive response back, this is not the fault of the betrayed spouse. In fact, the cheating spouse should be working on making the betrayed spouse feel safe.

        My heart hurts that you have had to go through this. It’s simply too much for one person. Tell him from me that he needs to take initiative and build bridges towards you.
        If he asks what that means – because he doesn’t know – I think it is fair to call a bunch of huge, male movers with a moving truck. Hand your husband’s golf clubs, golf clothing, golf shoes, and anything else associated with golf over to the movers. If you husband has any other hobbies, you can give all that stuff to the mover’s too. They can move it into a heated storage space in a location that you only know.

        When your husband asks why you did that, say, “I don’t know. What should I do?” If he says, “Call the movers and get my clubs back,” you say, “Well, I was thinking about that, but now you are taking my initiative away! You are so terrible assuming that I wasn’t already thinking about how to get your golf clubs home. Why are you always looking for fault in me? How can I even please you take initiative away from me!”

        Then walk away.

        When it’s time for your husband’s birthday, be sure to schedule a girl’s weekend away with your friends and ensure the tickets are non-refundable.

        Carol, I don’t want to come off as sarcastic, but I am very angry that today is your birthday and your husband did this to you. Also, I would never ask anyone to leave their marriage unless it was dangerous. And as always, I give opinions based on what I see. I don’t have the whole picture of anyone’s life, including yours. As always, you do what is best for you. Don’t be afraid to whip your husband into shape.

        Big hugs,
        Sarah

        • Carol

          Thanks so much for your emotional support, Sarah! My H did rush out yesterday morning to the grocery and got me a card, flowers and 4 gift cards. Of course I thanked him profusely when he got home at 5. We had sex last night, then he he just blissfully zoned out- great golf, great sex- what else could a man wish for? On the other hand, I realized I was starting to flood afterwards, so I hurriedly left the room. He asked me this morning if I was ok, and at first I said yes (always wanting to keep things smooth). Then I thought oh, hell- if I can’t be honest, I shouldn’t demand it from him. So I told him I had flooded. Earlier this week I told him I feel like I have 1 foot out the door and he cried and told me he felt horrible. And then he goes out, joins a golf club, and schedules golf on my birthday. (And he knows golf is a big trigger for me- he and his AP played golf together for 9 years and I can’t even hold a club nor do I want to), Can you say passive aggressive? Then he expects sex, and then feels great. Even though i have told him I’m grossly unhappy in this marriage and am thinking of leaving! He just forgets. He thinks “Well I’m happy, so you shoukd be too”. This morning I said I really feel disconnected and he said “Well, I don’t. Are you sure you’re not just intentionally wanting to disconnect?” I wanted to scream! (Why didn’t I?) He hasn’t given me my most desired bday gift yet (ie sessions w Doug). But swears he will. We will see. If he doesn’t, I think I smell a deal breaker. 44 years of marriage coming up. So sad it’s come to this. Thanks for listening.

    • weddingbelle

      This sounds so corny, and Sarah, you know most of my story. My father-in-law was laying in a hospital bed and we were visiting. By all accounts, he was recovering. He sent my husband and our son out of the room. He took my hand, and with tears in his eyes, asked that I take good care of them. With tears in my own eyes, I promised him that I would do the very best I could. He passed away in that hospital bed a couple of weeks later. I loved that man and he loved me as his own. I see so many good characteristics of his in my husband. I never lost feelings for my husband, but boy, have they been tested! I stay because of what I see in him. I stay because not only did I take vows, I promised his father I’d be there for him. Love acts in the best interest of the other, so I can but gently and lovingly guide him in the right direction. Only when he fails to do the work will my switch be flipped.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi WeddingBelle,
        In my world, there is no such thing as corny. I may write some very satirical (and sometimes shocking) things, but the way that I live my life on a daily basis is very spiritual. I spend a lot of time praying, meditating, and intervening when God sends someone my way. If there is a story of touching, Divine Intervention, I want to hear it. It gives me hope. It sounds like what happened between you and your FIL was a type of Divine Intervention; an essential message was given to you.

        I believe you did the right thing. Obviously, your father-in-law saw very clearly that you are the ONLY person who can properly take care of his son. I believe your father-in-law is correct.

        You are right, love acts in the best interests of the other. I too believe in gently guiding people with love.

        You are also in a spiritual battle of sorts. (There are also a lot of people in spiritual battles that have to do with infidelity). But, here is what I see: your father-in-law knew that you are essential to his son’s well-being because he told you so.

        This makes it even MORE essential that you protect your marriage.

        Please put strict boundaries around your marriage and enforce the heck out of those boundaries. I don’t care if your husband complains and/or whines about the enforcing of boundaries; it is loving for you to do so. Father knows best and his father knew you are THE BEST for his son.

        Here is an example about general boundaries and why we must set NECESSARY boundaries that can feel unpleasant to others (especially cheating spouses).

        Let’s use an example of parent and child:

        A loving parent would not allow a child to chase a red ball across a busy, 4-lane highway even though the child wants that ball more than anything. A loving parent would keep their child out of the street, rather than letting their child get killed by a car because he was chasing a red ball into the 4 lane highway.

        An affair partner is like a giant, red ball bouncing across a busy, four-lane highway. No matter how much a child wants that ball, he will get killed in an attempt to retrieve it. A loving parent will keep his or her child safe.

        So, you must enforce extremely strict boundaries around your husband. He is NOT allowed to do what he wants unless it involves rebuilding his marriage with YOU. He is not allowed to act carelessly.

        By the way, I do not know what your husband is doing these days because I have not asked what he is doing. Even if I did ask, I would not post it here. I am speaking generally about how it’s great to go ahead with recovery and to lovingly guide your spouse in the right direction.

        This is advice that applies to everyone when it involves putting boundaries around the behavior of a cheating spouse..

        Part of loving someone can sometimes involve saving them from themselves.

        Does any of that resonate?

        PS to everyone- The bit about the banana in the Garden of Eden was played for a laugh. Everyone knows it’s an apple. But, the apple did so much harm, I think it should have been a banana. (You know, the shape of bananas and such. Wink. Wink.)

        • weddingbelle

          Boundaries have been set. We’ll see in a few weeks if they’ll be honored or trampled over. I must say it’s been difficult resetting them, but absolutely necessary. He’s going on a vacation with a couple of guys, one, his brother, who we have valid reasons to suspect is having an affair. Since my husband had no problem at the time trying to groom or begin to have an affair right in front of me, I’m very concerned. At the same time, I know that if anything does happen, I’ll have to walk away and it’s comforting to know that if that did happen, I’d be okay. I’ve grown and learned so much in the past 2 and a half years.

    • Bor

      There are so many times my WW has blamed me for her choices to cheat that it was like taking a baseball bat to me. No matter if i was waking in the middle of the night or breaking in the middle of the day if i reached out for her it was nothing but defensiveness, blame. after D day i wanted nothing more than to have a better marriage and a romantic relationship. I wanted what she had in her AP. That will never happen i feel at this point. She doesn’t initiate any work by herself and says she processed her affair with her friends. I cannot believe she got expert help and has any idea how to look with in to see her own fault in her choices. She is working with a guy that has worked with addiction and helps people recover. As he phrases it recover to something different and better not recover from the addiction. she was lamenting to him how stuck i am and how she wishes i would work with him. So her story remains the same for her. All this is not her fault and i need to do work on myself. I don’t know if this guy can say to her. ok so what are you going to do? lets talk about how you got to where you made those decisions. Not what your husband did or wasn’t doing that caused you to make those choices. So I was in love and now that is gone. It got wiped out mainly after her last relapse at the one year mark of D-day. Then she sat on the fence detoxing for the next six months and that completed the total emptying of my love bank. Now she is running a negative balance and continues to make small deposits. but then makes huge withdrawals. To the point i see no evidence of any changed behavior and dont see how she will ever change. with that i have given up hope. I have brought up divorce last week and the previous weeks as the best option as i see it. Our CC EFT therapy has said that we have not tried everything and if I quit now I have not done everything I can. So I have put off my decision for now. If the CC can get her out of her intellectual head which puts her into defensiveness and blame it would crack my hardened heart towards her. I have sat in the CC office utterly sobbing from the pain i have felt and she just sits stoic. Says she has pain when she sees me in pain but it doesn’t show on her face. Not a welled up teary eye or quiver in her voice to indicate she is feeling my pain. Or indicates her part in my pain and show deep remorse for the pain she is caused. So I feel I could fall possibly back in love but the changes she has to make she has said she will lose herself. I have asked her isn’t there a better version of you in there somewhere? Apparently not worth the effort to see if those changes would heal the relationship.

    • runaway husband issue

      HELP – WHEN HE HAS ALREAD LEFT YOU? ,,,and YOU THEN DISCOVER THE OTHER WOMAN – WHAT NEXT

      so what do you do when your husband leaves you, after an argument – and the 3 kids and says we are no longer compatible, I don’t love you and the marriage of 15 years is over? I knew something wasn’t right from years ago, more so in the last 8 months. he became withdrawn, depressed and there was no intimacy at all….. we had our issues, the lack of communication , he would stonewall me many times, I felt like a worn out stay at home mom , that had lost her identify after being at home for over 10+ years

      it has been 3 months since he left and moved out of the family home (staying with friends) and im still here with the kids and dogs. I was completely blindsided because we had gone to marriage counselling only months before and were a few sessions in……. I didn’t understand it at all!. Who leaves their marriage and family, just like that? it didn’t make sense, and a few friends mentioned he must have someone else waiting….anothe woman….which I never in a million dreams ever expected 🙁

      well….that unfortunately came true. I discovered some old phone bills / logs, I had access too as a joint holder of the phone bills and there was the proof I needed. there were thousands of text messages to her, all day and all night….hours of calls etc. this is the same person I had called him up on, in those 10-12 months before. as I could see him chatting to her online……and he had casually said they are friends, she’s just a work colleague we chat about our kids etc. he made me FEEL like I was imagining it all, gaslighting me….telling me I was crazy …. 🙁 and I thought maybe he is right. maybe im insecure….. but my GUT WAS RIGHT … 🙁

      So – im in this limbo….. I can SEE he is confused. …..I can see he isn’t happy….yet he’s still SEEING her and has no idea that I KNOW what has occurred in the past, and Now…..

      he is deflecting the BLAME and GUILT he feels and im really unsure HOW I should confront him, because I Still LOVE this man. even though this emotional affair (and now that he is ‘single’ im sure it is physical too) has completely left me betrayed and hurt in so many ways I cannot explain. how can I confront him about all this without ruining any change of reconciliation… (as crazy as it sounds, I can forgive if he is open and gets the help he needs to get thru this black hole)

      Am I wrong to want to forgive him and tell him that I LOVE him and for him to come back?

      HELP please. 🙁

      best wishes from England. x

      • Fractured heart, wounded beat

        RHI – I wanted to comment to you as your situation is similar to mine. I have no answers for either of us but my husband has left me and the kids and immediately moved in with the OW. He says he’s happy, even though he doesn’t see the kids much and hurt me terribly. He acknowledges this but seems happy to create a new life away from us. I still love him, but I must admit, I hate him at the same time.

        As I said, I have no answers for either of us….I wish I did! But you are not alone. Many here have been blindsided and this is a wonderful place to find support and many kindred spirits. It’s a group no one chooses to be a part of but thank goodness this place exists for those of us who have been thrown into it through no choice of our own.

        I wish you the best!

      • Hopeful

        Runaway Husband Issue, First of all you are not wrong for any of your feelings. Healing from betrayal is a process. It is hard since none of it is your doing. That is one thing I wish for you to understand that it is not your fault at all. These were decisions made by your husband without you being consulted. I think this is really hard to come to grips with especially in the beginning when we are caught off guard. My dday was 4 1/2 years ago. My husband had two sporadic affairs over ten years. It was hard since sometimes things would be great and normal and other times he was detached and distant. Also the gaslighting was horrible. My husband has admitted that he told himself whatever he needed to in order to make himself feel better while he was cheating on me. I think many people compare it to a drug. Often our husbands want to stop but do not often from shame. Or they call it the affair fog too. And honestly none of my husband’s decisions made sense. There was no logic to any of it. He recently told me that it was like another person and lifetime. He said now after going through recovery it could never happen to him ever no matter what was happening to us. For me I have realized in our case that my husband betrayed himself first and foremost. As we have worked through this I can see that it was all about him. Yes of course I was affected but it has taken a lot more work and effort on his part than mine. I never thought that would be the case. I thought he made these decisions but it must have been okay with . But it is the farthest thing from the truth. And I would say it was 18-24 months before he really started diving in deep to figure himself out.

        I would suggest you make sure you continue or get into individual therapy. A therapist can help guide you and get specific as far as boundaries, expectations and what is right for you to do. My therapist was a sounding board and support system. Often I was not sure how strong of a boundary to establish but my therapist walked me through it and had examples of past clients and their successes and failures. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted and then how I could take steps to make those things a reality. I would also consult an attorney and tax consultant. Even if nothing happens it is smart to find out your options for where you live. I know many people find the advice of an attorney helpful and a tax accountant can help with forensic work.

        As far as confronting I would ask others for advice that have been separated. For me I gathered as much paper evidence as possible. My husband did admit quickly but he had ended both affairs 15 months before dday and had been keeping it a secret. But there was a lot of trickle truth and he was not sure if he could or wanted to stay after dday. He honestly had been living his life in a selfish way only thinking about himself and he knew it was going to require big changes. Typically and what I set were strong boundaries and expectations. No contact, and very set parameters around every aspect of life. Access to all electronics, accounts, credit cards, bank accounts, phone records, before making any plans we had to talk about every detail, if any detail changed then he had to call not text me. We also went together and got STD tests. That was non negotiable. It went into even more details.

        In the end I told him I was going to give 100% and my main reason was for my kids. He decided quickly to give it six months. It has been a lot of work and I know all of our situation are different. I do not judge anyone if they stay or leave their marriage. We are all trying to navigate this the best we can. Please ask questions and feel free to vent or whatever you need. This is a place for you to open up and feel safe.

      • Shifting Impressions

        RHI
        I am so sorry you are going through this…..my heart goes out to you.

        Of course you are not wrong to want to forgive and tell him that you love him and want him back. But I would really encourage you to get some legal advice and personal counseling to help you navigate this nightmare and sort out your feelings.

    • WhoKnows

      RHI – my situation is similar to yours but I was further along so wanted to share what I went through to show you one possible path of evolution for you. I returned from an extended overseas trip one day and my H suddenly said he wanted a divorce. And he went ahead with it, filing and everything, plus putting in extremely unfavorable terms to me financially plus basically seeing the kids as little as possible. I was blindsided just as you did. We had a lot of issues though and I was the one who said before all of this that if he did not do the right things we’d need to go to divorce. One day, he decided to move out and said: if you and the kids (we have young children) ever need help, feel free to let me know, just like that, like he is doing us a huge favor by saying that. I said: you know what? I will move out and if you guys need any help, feel free to call me and I will be sure to help! So I went to spend the night in the hotel that he booked for himself. That morning, he came back saying that he changed his mind and he wants to “return to his family”. Although I felt really weird about his words (I didn’t know that he went away from our family at that time), I accepted it. Of course, when he returned he did not really end it with the OW, and it went on for another 2 years without me knowing. During the 2 years, he fulfilled basic family duties (working, dropping off kids, etc) but he was 0% emotionally invested. He stonewalled me, gaslit, and made my life miserable. Throughout, I think he was in depression or some other mental illness and strongly suggested him to see a therapist, which of course he turned down. DDay was when the OW couldn’t wait any longer and spilled everything between them onto a public forum. He was still in the dark when that happened. After that, he really woke up from his “fog” and saw her true colors and crawled back to me. Since then, he has treated me and my kids better than anytime through our marriage, but I don’t think I can regain feelings for him anytime soon. I’m focusing on myself and see what would make me happy, and whether or not he is in that picture is up to me.

      What was helpful for me through the process:
      1. Turn the table on him (calmly). With 3 kids, you need to drop them all to him and give yourself a break from time to time. Take your kids and knock on his door and drop them off there (nicely, say how helpful he is for looking after the kids) for the weekend. Cheaters have no sense of responsibility and only when they are forced to do the work do they realize how much work there is to maintain a family. I still remember his shocked face when he decided to leave and offered that “generous” gesture to “come to help anytime”, thinking this is the fairest offer ever and I turned it on him all of a sudden that became the most unfair bargain for him. So ridiculous.
      2. Treat yourself well. You are a valuable human being. You are beautiful, kind, have integrity and great mother and wife! He and the OW are really low and have extremely low self-esteem. Maybe I’m just a very confident person to bein with, but I have never doubted that the OW was better than me. And when the truth came out, she was a very low, old, ugly woman who married someone her dad’s age in exchange for a greencard. My CH said the only reason he had the affair was she was too “easy”, with zero “effort” required to get her and stay with her. She basically was willing to have sex with anyone who would buy her a free lunch, and that’s what they did throughout their affair. CH had such low-esteem in his life that he was not willing to expend any effort to fight for anything good in life. Well, if he wants to stay with me, he will need to fight, to give effort, to give 100% of himself. Otherwise, he can leave at any time.
      3. Consult a lawyer to protect yourself financially. When my H handed me the D papers, I immediately went to see a lawyer. He did self-filing with OW’s help, and they put in some ridiculous terms in there, basically abandoned his children. I told him no way. I was served but I never responded. Before the 30-day came up, he buckled and withdrew. He mentioned later that when he and OW saw the credit card bill payment that I paid the lawyer, they were at a loss, they didn’t know what to do. They had never saw that coming, they just thought I would sign whatever was handed to me. They fought because of this because OW told him to get into a trial with lots of lawyer fees to not to give me one cent more, but he said he would rather pay me than the lawyers, so that planted a seed of disagreement between them. Of course, that wasn’t enough to wake him up. It took many more wake-up calls until she did the public announcement of their great “love story” that’s when he really woke up from his bubbled world. Guess where that I move out and call me if you guys need help idea came from? Also her! How smart of these guys who think that people will bend to their wishes! This actually brings up another point
      4. Do not try to reason with him, plead with him, anything! It’s useless. He is living on another planet right now, it’s called the “fog”. He could barely hear the words that I said, not to mention the meaning of my words. When he filed for divorce, at one point, he wanted to have our daughter. I said really, what are you going to with her using a public restroom when out playing? He said he would figure it out. But later, he told me he never thought about that even after I asked him specifically. He also never thought about how to deal with her kids. You would think two people who want to get married would go through these logistical stuff, but nope, nada, they did not talk or plan anything about the life they are going to live together. It’s really hard to imagine but it’s true. I have never seen anyone acting as stupidly as he did all the while he felt he was doing the “right” thing and I was the one to blame. Seriously, this was his true thinking, really hard to believe, but people’s IQ EQ got lowered to that level when in the affair fog.

      Most of all, get on with your life and don’t wait for him to come back! You will shine on your own right and he might come back one day but by that time you really don’t care one way or another. To this day, I still think the best outcome for my CH would be for him to fulfill his dream of marrying the OW, and see his life go rapidly downhill from there. They truly deserve each other. The place they could end up with could be really really low. If his life was 8 before this, now we are down to a 5 or 6 (because he lost his job due to this and had other physical and financial impact from this, one of his parents got cancer perhaps from the many sleepless nights from knowing his A), he could easily end up at a 2 or 3 with her. She would have sucked up his money and tossed him to the curb just like she used her current daddy-aged husband. I really wish I could see him in that position and how he regrets everything at that point.

      Anyway, to summarize, don’t feel that he has the upper hand, it may seem that way now, but I can really tell you, you, someone who lives with integrity and moral values, who carries out parenting responsibilities despite of all the challenges , will be the one who reaps life’s best fruit at the end. You are really the stronger person in your marriage right now, and he is the weak one, don’t let him fool you into otherwise.

    • Kittypone

      RHI,
      I can only speak from my own experience and do not claim to have the answer or the solution…..DDay was 2 years ago for me and it knocked the wind out of my sails for about 14 months….we have grown children, so there wouldn’t have been an issue of child support if we had divorced; he suggested a therapeutic separation and I refused, because I figured that if we got into a crisis while being together, it needed to be solved being together as well…..looking back, I should’ve agreed to that stupid separation……later on, I wanted the separation and he’s the one who didn’t want it anymore, partially because the harlot he was with had broken up with him (she’s married, three young children and lives in another country; it was a virtual sexting, messenger and WhatsApp relationship, they never got to meet face to face, I made sure of that) and partially because he had been slowly waking up from the affair fog he had been in for so many months….at this point, he stopped his individual therapy over a year ago, I still keep mine and have no intention of stopping any time soon PLUS, we also attend marriage counseling…..I’m the Kittypone that Sarah mentions above listing a whole set of subjects for this blog to dissect and talk about….I still struggle big time about regaining my feelings for my h, mainly because he very efficiently killed the Love I still felt for him even after 30 years of being together with all of his gas-lighting, lies, deception and broken promises while still actively pursuing that harlot online….he swears up and down that he wants to restore our marriage, but is doing zilch to woo me back and I’m tired of explaining this to him in TWO languages, and because we’re faith-based, I have decided to keep trusting God and working on myself and have even started the process to go back to school in September and attain a degree….my advise to you based on my experience is, nothing you say is going to sway your h while he’s deeply entrenched in the affair fog…..take care of YOU and your children first and foremost, work on YOURSELF for your own personal benefit and growth: go for walks, read self help books, do crafting (if it’s your passion) get together with your most intimate and trusted group of friends to decompress, spend a weekend with a friend somewhere else away from home, get a makeover, ANYTHING that makes you focus on YOURSELF…..a better woman makes for a better mother, so your children would ultimately benefit from having an emotionally strong mother…..IF he decides that he wants his family back, you can then set the boundaries you feel have to be put in place, that is, if you agree to take him back, but the game will have to be played by your rules until he proves that he has earned your trust back…..accept nothing less, otherwise, you’re sending him the message that no matter what he does, he can count on you waiting in the wings for him and that he can have his cake and eat it too…..above all else, if you can afford counseling, try your mightiest to receive some, or get some pastoral counseling if you know a pastor that you can trust….NEVER take the blame or responsibility for your h actions in choosing to have the affair, that was HIS choice and nothing you did or do MADE him do it, he did it all on his own with some help from the OW, so stand your ground and eventually, this too shall pass!! All my best and hugs to you!!

    • runaway husband issue

      thank you so much for all your replies …. and sharing your own painful stories…. it saddens me that this happens to so many people… it really really hurts…. 🙁

      I have had legal support and im confident knowing my rights etc. in terms of property and kids etc

      the fact he just walked away so easily from all those 15 years totally wrecked me and still does … 3 months on…
      he does see the kids every second weekend during the day and chats to them during the week. … we have yet to formalize any shared parenting plans and custody but that will soon come no doubt. I’m still in the family home and he has been paying bills and mortgage since he left. again that will soon change too…… my little one is nearly 2 and im still a full time stay at home mother who chose to stay home (he agreed to) to raise the children and to be their primary carer while he worked. so money is going to be a big issue for me soon as I only have what’s left of what he left me in terms of savings… (not too much)

      I will soon confront him about what I know and will await his response. he cannot deny with all the evidence, I guess if he is a Narc he will deny it all….. 🙁 they never take any blame …

      he is smack bang ‘mid life’ and I believe its a crisis. all his close friends are single, separated/divorced or dating 20 somethings half their age…. he feels he is missing out, staying with the same crappy ‘vagina’ for all those year … (sorry if TMI) but something he had mentioned as a joke years ago 🙁 that crappy vagina birthed 3 amazing souls…. nothing crappy about it at all 🙁

      I also believe there would have been more of these emotional affairs years before too …again, missing the signs, and how he would gaslight me to make me feel insecure and that it was all in my head etc 🙁 these men feed on others who give them that boost their fragile ego needs…. while I was nursing the kids and looking after them, and they were not #1 – I guess that affects many men… and what about my needs? looking after 3 x kids is full on work …. I never had my needs met either sadly 🙁 in terms of physical and emotional (he was always distant, I had to instigate it etc) and now I can see that there must of been other women during those 4-6 month patches where we had no intimacy… he would withdraw and withhold it as a control… if we argued etc, he would stonewall me, and deny my hugs, kisses anything to hurt me 🙁 🙁

      I will keep you all posted on how it all goes in the next few weeks…
      thank you for listening – I really appreciate it

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