Resolutions for Affair Recovery

Happy New Year!

Every year we spend a great deal of time during the week between Christmas and New Year’s working on our resolutions for the upcoming new year.

This year, we did things a little differently.  This year we set work and personal goals as usual, but only one real resolution – To work diligently on achieving our goals!

That may sound weird to some of you, but it works for us – at least we hope it will!

That said, we certainly understand how difficult it is to even think about goals and resolutions after experiencing infidelity and during a marriage crisis. Surviving each day often feels like the only possible goal.

We like to think of each new year as a new beginning of sorts, and we want to help you gain some footing and some direction if you need it by providing you with a list of possible resolutions for affair recovery.

They may not all fit your situation and if that’s the case, add your own below in the comment section.  Additionally, we encourage you to use this list as a reference to create your own goals/resolutions and refer to it often.  Daily is best.

But we also encourage you to go a step further.

When making your list of goals or resolutions, for each one, come up with a few of your key motivations for that goal.  Put some meaning behind it so that it will motivate you more to accomplish it.

For instance, let’s take the goal, “Read at least 6 books this year on affair recovery, relationships, marriage building and/or self-development.”

On the surface, you might think, “OK, that’s fair enough, I think I might be able to accomplish that.  Let’s go for it”  Then what will happen is a few weeks into 2017 you’ve forgotten about it or you just don’t care anymore.

What you need to do is add some key motivations behind that goal.  Things like:

  • By educating myself on affairs and their dynamics, I will be better able to know what I’m really up against and what to expect.
  • If I don’t educate myself of this stuff, my recovery timeline may become longer.
  • The knowledge I gain will help me to heal my marriage and eventually make it better than ever.
  • It will motivate me to become the best person I can possible be.
See also  The Five Myths that Surround Acceptance

Then review your key motivations  regularly as well.  We do this on a weekly basis, but you may want to do so more or less frequently.

OK, now on to the resolutions for affair recovery.  (And remember to add your own to the list in the comment section below the post.)


2017 Resolutions for Affair Recovery

Resolutions for the Betrayed Spouse

  • Make your health a number one priority by getting enough sleep, eating nutrient dense food, and having a good friend to speak with often.
  • Work on thoughts that would imply you need to take the blame. Your mantra should be: “I did not cause this, I did not create this, and I cannot control the bad behavior of my spouse.”
  • Become assertive and ask for actions from your wayward spouse that hold him or her accountable.
  • Ask your spouse what practical steps they will take to stay away from the other person. Have your spouse discuss a plan with you.
  • Look for a good couple’s therapist, mentor or pastor, trained in infidelity recovery, who can help.
  • Read at least 6 books this year on affair recovery, relationships, marriage building and/or self-development.
  • Ensure all contact is cut with the other person.
  • Stop begging, pleading and being clingy with your spouse.
  • If you feel you are stuck in a victim mentality, acknowledge that you have control of your life and your actions and reactions.
  • Resolve to not stand for your unfaithful spouse’s poor behavior, and should it continue, don’t be afraid to enforce consequences.   
  • Do not allow the wayward spouse to blame you for ruining his or her fun. Your wayward spouse may have become addicted to the other person, but all addictions need to be treated and come to an end.
  • Go to the doctor and get a health check. You need to ensure that your wayward spouse has not transmitted something to you. This is especially critical for women to do since some forms of HPV, which have no immediate outward sign, can cause cervical cancer.
  • Realize that no matter what your spouse tells you, your spouse made a choice.
  • Do not listen to thoughts, family members, or friends that tell you that you are not good enough.
  • Decide on whether or not your children should know and why or why not.
  • Develop a plan for triggers. Who can you call when you are faced with a debilitating trigger? What can you do to take your mind off of it?
  • Get rid of any friends who want to drag you down.
  • Resolve to focus on yourself more this year.  Exercise, meditate, pray, hang out with friends more, buy some new clothes, golf more, get involved in volunteer work or take those continuing education classes that you have been wanting to take for years. etc.
  • Try to stop comparing yourself to the affair partner and your marriage/relationship to the fantasy-filled affair relationship.
  • Be yourself.
See also  Cheaters Play By Their Own Rules During an Affair


Resolutions for the Unfaithful Spouse

  • If you haven’t already done so…End the affair!
  • Stop the lies, the trickle truth, the gaslighting, stonewalling, blame shifting and deceptive behavior.
  • Be more proactive in discussing the affair and what was going through your mind at the time.
  • Be open to answering any questions that your spouse may have in a calm, non-defensive manner.
  • Read at least 6 books this year on affair recovery, relationships, marriage building and/or self-development.
  • Strive to be more empathetic towards your spouse.
  • Stop blaming your affair on your spouse.
  • Be more aware and sympathetic towards your spouse when he/she experiences triggers or other signs of trauma.
  • Resolve to lead a life of transparency, honor and integrity.
  • Analyze your affair and understand how and why it happened and how fantasy probably was a big factor.
  • Find a trusted friend, clergy, relative, therapist or mentor to talk to a share what you are experiencing.
  • Work towards eliminating guilt and shame as an emotional crutch.
  • Devise a plan as to how you are going to stay away from your affair partner and share it with your spouse.
  • Resolve to look within yourself to discover what truly makes you do the things you do.
  • If you want to be trusted, prove it with your actions.
  • Resolve to commit 100% to your marriage and to your spouse’s healing, and do whatever it takes.
  • Express your remorse and make amends for your behavior.
  • Stop letting your ego run your life.
  • Resolve to face your fears and your self-serving mindset and be willing to accept the consequences for what you’ve done.
  • Never tell your spouse to “Just get over it” or “Move on” again.  There is no timeline for recovery and healing.
See also  Forgiveness And Recovery – Intrinsically Linked

There you have it.  Your 2017 resolutions for affair recovery.  We know we may have omitted a few, so please add your own to this list in the comment section below.

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    45 replies to "New Year’s Resolutions for Affair Recovery"


      I totaly agree with the first resolution for the unfaithful spouse !

      End the affair ! At least for the respect of your husband.

      Talk clearly with him and do some efforts if you still have sentiments.

      If not, make a break. And see if your heart tells you to :
      – Stay alone.
      – Try again to make things work with your husband.
      – Or transform your affair in a more stable couple …


      Oups, I forgot one important thing : HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU 🙂

      • Doug

        And a Happy New Year to you as well! Thanks for your contributions to the list.

    • Butterball

      The thing that has saved me has been educating myself. I shudder to think how I would have reacted to my husband if I hadn’t learned all I have learned about MLC. I would have never understood any of it, never accepted any of it. I tend to be forgiving but without knowing that this behavior is “normal” in a lot of people I think I would have reacted in a totally different manner.

      I’d like to hear how people manage to be more assertive and set consequences under these circumstances though.I just don’t quite get this step of the whole process yet. Maybe it is too early for me to do that. I’m still observing him and trying to understand the person he has become.

      • TheFirstWife

        Butterball in answer to your last question about being assertive and setting consequences.

        It is hard to change that dynamic IF you are the kind of person that is just not assertive. But it can be done.

        In the first round of the affair I DEMANDED an answer from my CH on what he was going to do. He initially told me he would decide at the end of the summer what “he was going to do”. Well his treatment of me was pretty terrible so I confronted him one night. He was scared and said he wanted to be married Blah blah blah. All a lie (I eventually figured out) b/c two weeks later he said he wasn’t sure he wanted to be married.

        Anyway when his affair resumed and he asked for a divorce 2x in one week, I had enough and asked him to leave. He said no he wasn’t leaving. I said yes you are and called a friend and found a place for him to go.

        Mind you there was a death in the family that same week and I was literally a mess, but I no longer cared. I was emotionally operating on an empty tank.

        It was at that moment I think he realized he screwed with the wrong person. I was no longer going to put up with his crap and mid life crisis and trying to “help” him and being a doormat for one more second.

        He did end his affair on his own (a few days before I called the OW) and received info from her they were still together as if a few days prior. And he tried to pump himself up by saying one day “but I chose you on my own”. As in I did not force the issue and he ended the affair on his own.

        So I then set boundaries and he kept breaking them. He lied about so many things and tried to lie his way out of the affair. Making it seem like he really didn’t like her or it wasn’t that intense. Except I found out via his secret emails hecwas planning on leaving me for her. Blah blah blah.

        So now I am not the same trusting fool. i love him and treat him well but our marriage has changed and I make sure I put myself FIRST at times. Before it was 100% family and him first. Not any longer.

        I read more, find quiet time for myself between 2 jobs, teenagers, house, volunteering and charity work. I am very happy.

        The good news is I sm happy with it without him. Hard lesson to learn. But I realize that the happier I am the happier the family is. Ripple effect.

        • Butterball

          I’ve always been assertive but the current circumstances leave me a bit for a loss. The dynamic has changed in a way that I can’t use the same strategies and get the same results.

          I do see what you are saying about demanding answers. However, I am a bit hesitant to open any relationship discussions at the moment because he isn’t really receptive to that. . Maybe if I pose it as questions rather than demands for answers, it will be a softer blow. The thing is, he may not have the answers. He’s in an MLC fog and asking for answers at this point may just push him into a corner and he will say anything just to shut me up.

          It’s interesting how your husband said he chose you on his own. My husband went out of his way the other day to deny he was staying with me for a bad reason. However, he didn’t tell me why he was staying with me otherwise!

          I know this man better than anyone, or at least how he was before, and I have read everything I can about MLC. To some extent, I feel I understand him right now better than he does himself. It’s almost a waste of time to demand answers, because I probably know the better than he does and if I just analyze the situation I get a more accurate answer than whatever would come out of his mouth.

    • TheFirstWife

      Very good post to start the year off right.

      I did not need to read as much b/c I had a therapist well versed in mid life crisis and affairs. He guided me through the affair and 2 years of crap post affair.

      Everything you posted here in the lists is accurate.

      Except I would add that for some, leaving may not be an option. I was willing to stay with my H for our children’s sake. Until I realized HE was willing to leave our children to be with the OW. His commitment to our family was not as strong. He was willing to be a part time parent.

      I think you then need to decide if you have the ability to stay in this marriage or if you need to leave. If you need to redefine the the dynamics of the marriage, this is the time to make changes. At least to save your sanity.

    • Shifting Impressions

      Making New Year’s resolutions has never really worked for me. The thing that has worked for me is finding one word for the year. This will be my third year doing that and I am amazed how that has worked for me….non-goal setter that I am.

      • Doug

        So can you share your word for 2017?

        • Shifting Impressions

          I started doing this in 2015 (one year past d-day) I was still pretty broken up and read somewhere to just pick one word. I chose the word SOFTEN. I knew I needed to soften my words, my reactions….etc.

          Two years after d-day My word was PERMISSION. Permission to be happy, to make good choices and ask for what I need etc.

          This morning the word LISTEN seemed to call my name. To listen and really hear what those around me are saying and to really listen to my heart as well.

          Probably more information than you needed, but it is interesting to me that all three words are the direct result of the impact my husband’s EA has on me.

          Having one word to focus on is almost like having a bit of an anchor during the rough times and a compass as I try to move forward.

          • TheFirstWife

            SI. I started doing something similar. Last year I wanted to end the frustration I had with my H on some issues.

            So I decided to start by focusing on one thing – what is the reality now?

            Remove the past from the equation. Focus on what is going on now?

            Dwelling on the past only caused me anxiety and negativity. Will he cheat again? Will there be another OW? Does he really love me? Is he really committed to our marriage?

            Things I cannot control and things I know that can make me anxious.

            In the last month there have not been any issues or need to discuss “things” or reasons to have an argument.

            I think I got that idea from this blog and/or from a post. It has been a huge success for me. I guess my word is “reality”.

            • Butterball

              There’s a lot of advice I have seen about living in the present. But that just doesn’t help. My past was better than the here and now, and I hope for a better future than we have now. Saying I only should think about today just makes me feel so depressed because now is crap.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Butterball,
              I have some more questions:

              What do you think you can you do to make the best of the present?

              Here is why I ask: the past is behind each of us and all any of us have are the here and now. Both you and your husband are two separate people. He has made choices that have brought you to your present situation. You have also decided what you will and will not do in response to his choices.

              All of us are only as powerless as we allow ourselves to be. That is the point we need to get to in life and in every situation.
              This is especially true of infidelity. The wayward spouse only has as much power as we choose to give them. This applies to both thought and actions. We can choose our responses and we can eventually get to a point where we choose to have a better here and now.

              So what action could you take to make your here and now better?

            • Hopeful


              For me this was the major turning point. It was shortly after dday 2 and I remember it hitting me that I can only control myself both actions and thoughts. I really have been the responsible, supportive and dependable wife for 20+ years. Well in the end I realized that was still who I was no matter what he did. For me I got the answers I needed, decided that I wanted to give our marriage a chance to repair itself and then established the boundaries. Once those were in place things became more clear and I felt a large weight lifted off of me. I also no longner cared about the past or the future. That anxiety and stress related to it was gone. But it only happened with some very in depth conversations and boundaries that made me willing to commit to move forward. I honestly got to the point where I told my husband what I needed very specifically otherwise I would rather be on my own. And I meant it. I got to the point where I realized and demanded that he needed to be the partner I wanted and deserved if I was going to stay. It was not easy and it took a while but it has been worth it.

              Granted as of dday my husband had ended both affairs by over a year. And I would not call his affairs anything related to MLC since he was much too young for that. He was acting immature and fighting the idea of age and responsibility. He was achieving amazing success at work both acomplishment and financially. We really had it all except his youth and his need to be selfish. So that is a little different.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Hopeful,

              I am glad you got to the point where you realized you would rather be alone than continue in something that is anxiety and stress provoking.

              In many cases, I do not believe that the WS wants the BS to leave. The WS has the perfect life (in his or her mind) when he is married and able to keep an affair going. The WS does not want anyone to rock the boat. When the BS truly realizes in his or her heart that he or she would rather be alone, then this is great power. But it obviously has to be genuine and not a bluff. When a BS feels empowered, the WS really senses it and realizes he or she must start meeting the BS’s needs.

              Thanks again for sharing your turning point and your experience.

            • Butterball

              Actually to be perfectly honest, we made choices together, although it was at his instigation, that brought us to where we are now. Now though that we are in the now, he is calling the shots about how it is. It was a bit of a bait and switch, whether premeditated or not, I don’t know.

              I’m exercising, keeping busy, working with my husband on home improvement projects etc. But it’s virtually impossible to get him to sit down and have private relaxed time together. When we do have any half substantial (non-relationship) conversation there are others around, although they won’t understand the language we speak together.

              I’m trying to take some small steps to be a tiny bit proactive in getting the relationship where i want it to be, but he’s like a butterfly flitting about so it’s hard.

              I find it impossible to make it through the day though without resting or napping in the late afternoon/early evening as i just need to shut off my brain for a while to recharge it.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Butterball,

              I am glad that you are taking proactive steps to get the relationship where you want it to be.

              Also, there is no harm in taking a nap each day to let your brain recharge. I believe that short naps can be part of necessary self-care.

              When do you think your husband will find a sense of consistency again? (That is, when will he stop flitting around like a butterfly?) Even if you cannot quite get him to stop being changeable, you can be consistent in taking the small steps that you are taking to get a relationship that you desire.

              Keep on keeping on and doing what you need to do to find momentary peace.

            • Butterball

              I actually decided to open up the subject of what I needed today. I was going to keep it on a very light topic, text him and tell him to come when he was free and then just ask him if he had a problem if we sat together alone and watched tv together for an hour like we always used to do. However, he showed up on his own 5 minutes before I was going to text him and he actually sat alone with me for 10-15 minutes and talked like we used to. I even was able to tell him that the fact that he had dyed his hair (which is growing out now) made him look older than leaving his hair natural and I explained to him that was because people could tell it was dyed and they would think oh this man must be old because he is dying his hair but if they saw the small amount of white they would not be able to tell exactly how old he was and that it makes him look more confident. He seemed to appreciate that. The OW is about half his age so he was trying to look younger but I prefer the natural look but I wanted to make him feel his natural look is younger looking. And truly I like his natural look. We’re about the same age so of course I find a man with some white hair more attractive.

              I think he wants to be able to spend time alone with me actually but I feel he fears the wrath of the OW if he does. And she doesn’t fail to call when he is with me during these brief moments so until I can find a way to get him to put a stop to that it’s like a fly constantly buzzing anyway.

              Then we went and sat and watched tv with some others. A while later I asked him about watching tv alone with me. He said no, it was not a problem, but that he has no time for that because he is busy with studying for his exams. Yet, then instead of leaving me alone and going to study, he came back a few minutes later and worked with me for a couple hours on fixing a computer we have been working on. I think that was his way of making up for the fact that he wasn’t going to sit with me to watch tv. But then half an hour later, I knew his exams were an excuse because he was watching tv by himself, but I already knew that it was an excuse.

              I do feel he is actually trying really hard in the last couple days in his own way to be good to me, but it’s not really what I want. He’s clearly making a lot of effort to spend a lot of time with me, but either it is with other people or we are alone busy fixing things and doing home improvement projects. There’s no time just to relax alone together without any purpose. He seems like he is always running away or pulling away from that. He gets at least a B for effort but he’s still at a D- for actual effectiveness. He really thinks he is doing the right thing or his best at least, but it isn’t what I need. And to be honest his efforts to be nice to me are probably driving OW a bit crazy (in fact he told me she is complaining he does not spend enough time with her), but not as crazy as if he did what I really wanted.

              However, in a way I am happy he brought up the exams as the excuse, because I was already looking at the post-exam time as the time I would really start to set some boundaries with him and by blaming them for his behavior himself, it gives ME a justification in the future.

              He’s being super nice and I have no doubt he is committed to me and our future. There’s nothing to make me doubt that in his normal day to day interactions. For example, he discussed with me how we might be able to achieve a dream we have had for years, but it’s like he is a totally clueless nerd who has no idea what a wife wants or needs.

            • Butterball

              I also should mention he made a comment about how he brings me everything I need when I broached the topic of wanting time alone with him, as if that was sufficient compensation. I can’t fault him on bringing me stuff. He’s really going out of his way I feel in that but it’s not what is important to me. That’s just a necessity of living.

            • TheFirstWife

              Butterball. The dynamics with your H are confusing.

              He lives with OW.

              He spends time with you but not always in a way you wish.

              He brings you things as a way of compensating for his cheating or guilt and thinks you should be OK with that.

              You are waiting for a specific time to talk w/ him or you are waiting for his exams to be completed before you speak with him.

              I think his actions speak volumes.

              This is confusing in that his behavior and actions clearly indicate one thing. I hope you are not clinging go false hope.

            • Butterball

              I’m not giving you the whole picture, TFW, for personal and privacy reasons. I’m leaving out the parts that you simply would not understand or be able to relate to. So it looks a certain way to you because you are comparing it to typical situations. In fact, I am in a position to have far far more insight into the overall situation than any of you EVER had. I’m just not talking about the details of why..

              The fact is most people probably fill in the what they can’t know from their imagination, and they either see the situation through rose colored glasses or as a dire unfixable situation. I don’t need my imagination. I KNOW. Trust me, I KNOW.

              This situation did not start in a way comparable to yours, and it doesn’t need to end in the same way as yours to reach a satisfactory state for me.

              I’m not fooling myself and I am not in denial. And I am not fooling myself about fooling myself or in denial about being in denial.

            • Butterball

              You wouldn’t understand the entire situation but I still find the things that people write here useful nonetheless.

              When I said we didn’t need change I meant that the core reason for all this was something we COULDN’T change as a couple. It is out of our hands completely. But also, my husband didn’t view this as a reason to leave me either. Our relationship was otherwise good. So in that sense the OW has a purpose to fulfill, which she may or may not fulfill. This was not a love story that just happened.

              An OW complicates life though, as much as my husband is committed and wants to be with me forever, adding another person into the mix naturally changes things.

              But the fact that I know he is committed means the smart thing to do now is to bide my time a bit and not put pressure. If I nag him now, he will think things will be impossible in the long run. If I wait and let him feel that we are stable and secure together, then I’m just looking for an adjustment when I open the topic. He won’t view it as me looking for a whole revamping of the relationship.

              As I said, his exams are really important. It would be detrimental to both of us if he doesn’t pass the first time around so I would be stupid to try and make a fuss now. Even having to leave to go take the exams at all is bad for his work, but there’s no way around it because his university is 9-10 hours away from where we live now and they will take several weeks However, the university is close to our other home and if he has time between exams I may go there so we can have some quality time together. If he gets a good grade, then he also will be able to enroll in a doctoral program locally later on. So it’s all really important that he can focus on studying now.

            • Butterball

              I never said any of you are making up details about my situation. I meant that if you don’t know something about your own husband’s relationship with an OW, your imagination will fill in the details. I know more details than the average person, so imagination really doesn’t play much of a role in my situation. Reality does.

              As for reconciliation, well we never separated and that’s not going to happen either. He has cut off part of himself from me though and that is what I want to get back.

              We almost had what was going to be a useful relationship discussion today. He started it but about 10 seconds in, someone showed up at the door and then we both got busy with other things. I will reopen it though when he gets home because he was opening up to give me some insight on his view of the situation.

            • Butterball

              To sum up, I’m struggling with the same feeling and issues you might have with your husbands, but I am in a situation that maybe is comparable 20-30%.

            • Shifting Impressions

              I am with the TFW….very confusing dynamics that you have described. And yes our imaginations do tend to fill in the gaps. To me it sounds as if you all live in the same residence…….you seem to have a lot of information about the OW. You even said that you and your husband really didn’t need to change and the OW was more of a tool. No person should be used as a tool.

              I realize you are trying to protect your privacy but the picture you have painted is confusing to the extreme. It’s difficult to give support and understanding in the midst of the confusion.

            • TryingHard

              SI and TFW–I’ve got to give you credit for even chiming in and trying to help Butterballl. I cannot follow one bit of this story. It makes no sense to me. At first I thought they may have been a different culture. Now I wonder if it’s multiple wife situation. I am having a very difficult time feeling any empathy or willingness to waste my energy helping Butterball.

            • antiskank

              Although I haven’t chimed in with any advice, it is partly because I feel that I am not in a position to give any based on my own precarious situation at the moment.

              But I too find your story frustrating if not confusing. There hasn’t really been anything concrete to be able to understand what is going on. I know you say that your story is so very different than ours, that we wouldn’t understand or accept the details, that we make up the details using our imaginations.

              That may very well be the case but I think you are also making many assumptions about us, We all have different situations, different stories, different outcomes. We all have different ways of dealing with the issues and have varying degrees of success for our efforts. That is what makes this such a helpful and intersting group. You may have noticed that so many people have reached out with advice to try and help you even without quite knowing what is going on. Please appreciate their efforts.

            • TheFirstWife

              I think I am not so much interested in having to know or understand the situation.

              I think that I am confused about where butterball’s H lives. At first I thought it was w/ the OW but some posts arm to indicate he lives eith butterball.

              But what I try to point out to everyone on this blog is that actions speak louder than words.

              So I merely take the time to distinguish between the two. Sometimes you are in the relationship so deep it is hard to see it from an outsider’s view. That is where a fresh perspective and an outsider’s opinion can help.

              As an example when butterball relayed how she was w/ her H watching TV and then asked to watch TV with him alone w/out others and he declined – I thought actions speak louder.

              I would not want to see someone holding on to “hope” when there is no chance of a reconciliation.

              I think that is worse than acknowledging the marriage is over.

              I knew a girl in High School and she dated this guy for 2 years. She was madly in love with him. He had another girlfriend but she hung on waiting for him for about 8 years. The guy literally strung her along and convinced her he was leaving his girlfriend to be with her. It was hard to watch.

              So sometimes I may relate my experience to others. I could be wrong but I usually put more weight on actions than words.

              So while I don’t understand all of butterball’s posts I will always try to help.

              I think that is the purpose of this blog.

              I have learned from so many and I try to provide hope b/c I think for so many, they really do want the marriage to work.

              In some cases however it just cannot work.

          • Doug

            SI, I think that is a great idea! By picking just one word for a ‘theme’ you can super-focus on that throughout the year. Thanks for sharing!

          • TryingHard

            Hi SI and Happy New Year Everyone

            I like your strategy. And I like your word idea.

            My word is DETACH. I am not going to put so much of myself into relationships this year. I’m going to hold back. I’m not going to expect anything in return from anyone. I’m going to continue being kind and affectionate because I like me better that way but I’m not going to invest in relationships. I’m not going to go out of my way for them. By detachment I am no longer hurt by others ignorant actions. I won’t care because there’s no investment emotionally.

            I think by detachment you have lower expectations from relationships. This is not to say I allow myself to be a doormat. And I am also working on less anger and more assertiveness.

            • Shifting Impressions

              Trying Hard
              Your word has me thinking….I could probably use some detachment as well. I’m a problem solver or “fixer” if you like. I go in with my heart and sometimes one just has to step back or detach.

              My word is LISTEN but I’m thinking I need to do some really “detached listening”. We just can’t fix everyone or everything…..I hate that, but I know it’s true. Recently a very wise person told me, sometimes we just have to step out of the way…….and let the chips fall where they may. So very hard when it involves people we love so very much.

              So, I will think of you as I a work on that detached listening thing. Thanks for sharing that, it really resonated with me.

            • TryingHard

              I’m a fixer too. I don’t know. Maybe it was some grandiose idea I had that I was important enough to make a difference

              Detachment is pretty close to not caring. It’s pretty close to building that personal wall around your heart. its also very freeing. Doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t love. You just can’t care that much.

              Good luck SI. I hope DETACH works for you too.

            • Shifting Impressions

              I am sure you have made more difference than you know.

              As for understanding Butterball’s story….it must be the fixer in me kicking in again. But It’s beyond understanding that’s for sure.

            • TryingHard

              Whew!!! Thanks for validating SI. I thought it was just me. I keep scratching my head and thinking “HUH???” But to each his own.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Trying,
              It’s not just you. I do not understand either. Hopefully clarity will be found soon.

              Happy New Year, Trying. Thanks for your advice on detachment as well.


    • James

      Hi – great article. I am conflicted and looking for some advice. My wife had about a 3-month EA with a man early last year. If it was up to the OM, the affair would have been physical. The EA ended, in part, because I found the texts and part conviction that this was against the Christian morals for which she stands… not to mentioned they were basketball coaches and when the season ended so did reason for contact.

      For me, learning about the EA was very emotionally trying and traumatic, mixed in with that my father passed away during this time. Reading about my wife and he exchanging feelings and intentions of wanting to be together via text, some pictures, and a few “coach coffee dates” is/was the absolute worst most unimaginable feeling. PTSD for sure. For her, it was confusing how this happened “to” her, a good Christian woman who was not out looking for this; how God did not protect her; how this OM lied and turned out just to be another predator with an ongoing reputation for this behavior looking for a victim, how my mistreatment/neglect made her vulnerable. Everyone else’s fault but her own.

      We have since gone to Christian MC and have been working on our 20-year marriage (3 teenagers at home). We both committed to wanting the best, forgiving and working through things together. We’ve both made good progress but have had setbacks as we battle to fight old patterns that try to pull us back down. We viewed the EA like a bad health report… that it was a sign things were not well between us but that God was giving us opportunity to change before a real disaster. I realize how my lack of loving support contributed to her emotional vulnerability and for a while blamed myself for everything.

      While I am happy God answered prayer – an end to the EA and a chance to improve our marriage – I feel like something is unresolved and it’s holding me back, sometimes even affecting the healing process. That “something” is I don’t feel like she truly comprehends nor cares to want to understand how profoundly the EA affected me, and to some extent still does. From the beginning she was very textbook about not owning up… she denied, deflected, diminished, blamed everyone, including God, other than herself. In our very first MC session, the astute counselor completely honed in that she was using passive language about the EA… like it was something that happened “to” her as if a victim. So the MC had her use active language, confess this was something she did, and parrot an apology to me. While I believe she has some degree of conviction I don’t think she is capable of understanding, nor wants to empathize with the pain she caused. She is simply happy to move on and focus on improving the marriage. I have no legitimate or rational concerns that the EA will resurrect… although I still have that hurt and inside voice telling me the broken trust needs more time to repair.

      I am trying hard not to dwell on the EA and move forward with our relationship but this unresolved feeling in me does resurface the EA from time to time. And when the EA does come up, I fool myself into thinking I will finally hear how she now understands the pain and anger it caused me, appreciates me for hanging in there, and how she made a big mistake. It’s like deep down I think she knows all of this but is too stubborn or proud to admit it (?) However, I have to be careful about expressing any anger because that is one of the very things that hurt our marriage to begin with… my past anger issues. So, now I find myself stuffing legitimate anger in fear that she would perceive it as more bad behavior. Meanwhile, I am just looking for some validation from her that it’s ok to be angry about this one thing… and not getting that validation from her makes me, uh, kind of angry. Ugh.

      So my quandary is do I just count my blessings, continue to cope with my feelings, move forward in the marriage and let God and time heal? Or, should I discuss my feelings with her and expect that she first truly take responsibility and allow me to have some legitimate anger without judgment before we can truly move forward? I think anytime I have tried to talk it just seems to set us back… and if she is not ready for that then where does that truly leave us?

      • TheFirstWife

        James. I am so sorry you are suffering through this. Sorry you have to join our “club” of betrayed spouses.

        I have lived with EXACTLY your situation.

        My H had a 4 year EA in grad school. She was madly in love with him but yet he viewed her as a friend. But the relationship crossed the line and despite my confronting him for years, he did not end it.

        Fast forward to our 25th year of marriage and he had an EA w/ a much younger woman and he was planning on leaving me & kids. Total mid life crisis. We are still together and just passed the 3 yr DDay mark.

        The last 3 years were more difficult than the actual affair. My H refused counseling (until a year ago). His apologies seemed hollow. He would never talk about anything unless I brought it up. He would have been happy to sweep it under the rug. He lied about ALL aspects of his affair and initially I believed everything he told me. I was sucked back in again.

        I then found out what he initially told me was all lies – the OW sent me the emails. He convinced me it was all her doing the pursuing. He convinced me he did not live her.

        I was angry and devastated. Here I am willing to forgive and he lied yet again. We argued over 6 months on whether he loved her. I almost divorced him over this chef said he did not and I saw it in writing to her.

        In any case your wife is following a typical pattern of behavior. I am not excusing it. I just want to give you the benefit of my experience. It is typical for the cheating spouse (CS) to be defensive, in denial, confrontational etc. doesn’t make it right but it is typical behavior.

        You as the BS want answers. The CS wants to avoid giving answers b/c they fear the answers will only make matters worse.

        It took a long long time for my H to trust that the truthful honest answer was not going to cause a divorce or fight. He could not believe I would be willing to stay with him and work on our marriage if he was truthful.

        So it was mistake on top of mistake, lie on top of lie.

        With therapy (alone on my part b/c as I said he refused to go) I learned that you now have to accept your wife as a liar. However that does not mean the end of your marriage. It could be that your dynamics change and this never happens again and you live happily ever after.

        But she is not the same spouse. As my therapist stated the rise colored glasses are off.

        She could have been reacting to your family crisis. It seems affairs happen as a result if very stressful times ((illness, death, job loss).

        I suggest counseling on your own. Learn to deal with the anger and frustration. I just got over the last bit of anger AFTER 3 YEARS. I am not an angry person at all.

        But his 2 affairs caused a lot of anger. I was mostly angry at myself for being a doormat. I would bend over backwards to avoid a fight. Very agreeable. His friends were always envious of our relationship. I encouraged him to play golf or take some time for himself.

        It is funny how I believe his affair started. He was turning 50 and dreading it. I asked him to stop doing something (yes I stood up for myself). He was angry at being told “no” on something and kept doing it. I stood my ground. He went out one night with a friend and met Miss OW and boom! Affair begins. I think it started as a mid life crisis and partly he was angry at me and subconsciously he was acting like a spoiled child.

        So please have patience. Your wife is going to counsrling – most cheaters don’t. She is probably afraid of losing you and family. She doesn’t have the confidence to believe in you/marriage.

        Show kindness when you can. Tell her you are committed to her again and again. That can make a difference.

        If you show her live and trust and compassion the wall will break down piece by piece. It worked for me and I had a longer affair to deal with, he asked for a divorce 3x and had an ego the size of Mount Rushmore.

        But we overcame it with many more obstacles. I believe if you truly want the marriage to work it will, and it will be a better marriage than before.

        Yes it is hard work. But stay on this blog and you will learn how there are so many similarities that the BS and CS have.

        • TheFirstWife

          My comment about BS and CS and similarities was cut off before I finished the post.

          I meant that you will see how the BS and you have many things in common from this blog. And you will see a pattern of behavior that the CS has based on other people’s comments on this blog. I swear there is a cheater’s manual they all follow.

          • James

            Thanks TFW… yeah, I think it’s all the lying about the EA that angers most because it damages trust. It sounds like you have found your inner strength and while an awful thing to go through have come out an even better person. My wife and I are moving forward together and I think on a good path but it would certainly be easier if she allowed me to work though these lingering feelings and show me she understands rather than getting angry when something comes up… like when we saw the OM last week for the first time in 8 months across the gym at a high school basketball game. There was no communication or eye contact with him but it was a trigger for me. She was “surprised” that I said a few choice words to her about him when I saw him… “hey looks like &^%$head is here”. She thought I would just ignore him and not show any emotion. I calmed down in about 30 seconds but I fantasized going over there are pummeling the guy but I would never actually do that. Would just like to her she understands it can be upsetting and that she’s proud I am taking the high road on this journey.

            • TheFirstWife

              Talking to the OW (unbeknownst to me). That is a trigger that I had to voice to him. He cannot do that as it upsets me.

              Some days certain music upsets me and other days it has no effect.

              I still suggest separate counseling to hrlp you. It saved my sanity b/c I honestly didn’t know what to do with some of the things that went on during the aftermath of the affair.

            • TheFirstWife

              James. I don’t think my first post is there so the comments won’t make sense. My H would sit on the phone in our driveway talking to other woman and at the time I was unaware. When I figured it out it became a huge trigger.

              I think if you physically saw the OM and you were only upset for 30 seconds then that is wonderful. I think that is a difficukt situation and you handled it well.

              There will continue to be triggers but the reactions will vary. Some days they are a fleeting thought and other days they will require action &/or conversation with your wife.

              I think that the underlying anger and resentment will be there for some time. Learning to manage it is critical.

              Your wife will have a hard time understanding it. But I believe over time she will have a better understanding of the triggers.

            • Hopeful

              James, I think your feelings and reactions are typical for what we have all be through. I know I felt all those things. One of the non negotiables was my husband had to agree that when we were working through this and discussing it all that he would not become defensive or make excuses. Really work on listening. My husband has always even trying to be nice wants to fix things. Well getting past this takes a lot of work and time. And the only thing that would fix it if we could go back in time and he made different decisions. Well we can’t do that. And a lot of this recovery is working through and feeling the pain, grief, anger. And at least for us he has to take it. I made a huge effort to not be disrespectful or degrading. I know it needs to be a two way street to move forward and I am willing to take the high road. But only if he is open and working with me.

              One thing that helped us a lot was we set one time a week to talk. We would set aside that time and no distractions. This allowed both of us to not focus on it all the time and also I think for him to mentally prepare. He said it would be easier to not deal with it and he said it was almost unbearable facing the pain he has caused me, the one person he loved most. I had not thought of that side of it. I thought it was all fun, happy, yeah I love myself.

              For me I got to the point where I knew what I needed and I became very direct at telling him. We had some really high quality discussions. I made a decision I would work as hard as I could to save our marriage however there was a point where I felt like if he was not going to be a part of it and want the same life I do then we need to talk. It has been a process but we are progressing. And i struggled and still do at times with triggers. The only thing that has helped me is trying to anticipate them and discussing them with my husband. Usually if we talk in advance it lessens the affect. Sometimes I am caught off guard and I always tell him. He sometimes has the same triggers which I find interesting. By going through this together and both opening up it has brought us so much closer together but I believe it needs to be a two way street.

              Hang in there and don’t doubt or feel bad about your feelings!

    • Butterball

      She’s not a victim, but still she may feel negative feelings about herself from the whole thing that she is interpreting as being victimized. I would not dismiss the possibility that she feels pain and feels anger at herself, just like you feel it toward her.

      And while you are angry. Could you find another way to express those feelings other than anger? Instead of saying, you did this to me, for example, express it as you feel such and such. Make the discussion about how you feel, not an attack on her, although it is her fault of course.

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