save your marriageOne of the benefits of this site is to read and learn from the experiences of others who have walked in your shoes. Hopefully, you all read the comments as we feel that that is where some of the best advice can be found. This post addresses how it may be appropriate to work more on yourself in order to save your marriage.

A while back, one of our readers was responding to a post that Linda wrote about how basically, the betrayed spouse puts up with a ton of crap when they are trying to save the marriage.

Here is an excerpt from that post:

“After the affair is discovered, the betrayed spouse is in shock and they are in denial and they are really incapable of doing much of anything at that point.  They are also looking out for the welfare of their family, they do not know the seriousness of the situation (mainly because the cheater will not be completely honest) and they believe that the cheater will do what is right.

However, as the days and months go on and either the affair continues or the cheater is not making the effort to emotionally re-enter the marriage, the betrayed spouse needs to take a stance.  But the betrayed spouse often continues to lose the control and power they need to wake up and really look deep within themselves to figure out if they are acting in a way that displays that they have self-respect and self-love.

After d-day, so many of us will do anything to save our marriage.  We will take the blame, change so we are more like the affair partner (AP), make dates, bite our tongues and comprise our values. 

I remember doing things that I was very uncomfortable with just to get Doug to notice me or want me. I remember thinking I was being a bad example to my daughters and that I should have more self-respect.

My advice to anyone who finds themselves in this situation is to stop reading all the books that tell you how to be more desirable to the opposite sex, the books that tell you how to be a better lover or how to save your marriage.  Instead, put your energy into trying to save yourself.  Try to figure out why you are allowing your spouse to walk all over you, why you are allowing them to have their cake and eat it too.

I know that you cannot control what your spouse is doing to you and cannot stop their affair, but you have to somehow understand that you can control how you allow this to affect you.  You need to work on YOU and do things that make you feel good about yourself.  You also need to ask yourself if the way you are handling this situation is good for you or are your actions only an attempt to make your spouse love you.”

In the comment section of that post, a reader shared his experiences with respect to his wife’s affair and how a subtle change in his actions and his thought process created a change in approach to his wife’s ambivalence.

A Reader Shares His Thoughts…

There are so many stages to the process after you discover any type of infidelity. From a betrayed spouse it looks and feels like we go through shock, denial, anger, sadness, depression, guilt, remorse, self-blame. We go through all of these emotions time and time gain in different orders.

We live under an umbrella thinking we can change ourselves to stop the affair, when we need to realize that we are powerless to stop it. Betrayed spouses are powerless to stop it because it has NOTHING to do with them.

It is the unfaithful person who has the issue within themselves or has become disconnected, and even though their actions almost destroy the spouse they claim to love, it still in the end has nothing to do with us.

I think I have discovered that putting your foot down doesn’t necessarily mean delivering ultimatums; it simply means that as a betrayed spouse you change how you react. For me, I went from being a neurotic mess constantly on surveillance to saying the following things to myself every morning:

  • I will not log into her email and comb through it anymore.
  • I will not grab her cell phone and look through it.
  • I will not panic if she can’t be found or doesn’t answer her phone.
  • If she acts distant from me, or feels unsure of herself, I won’t attribute it to anything, I’ll simply do something that keeps me busy.
  • I will not wait on her hand and foot, I will not become a pathetic wimp of a dog to please her.

Then I would say:

“I will love her, care for her, smile, be happy, and enjoy my life at that moment. With her, with the kids, at work, etc.”

I decided that if she says it is over, then it is. If she goes back and has contact for any reason, I will express my disappointment, but won’t make it a conversation for 3 days. I’ll show her everything she will be giving up if her behavior continues and I will remain strong enough to work on me and walk away if she can’t pull herself together.

It is almost like ignoring the behavior and making your home a happy place. This gives the CS a limited scope of choices. They can either…

  1. Destroy a happy home and give up their family for their affair partner
  2. Pull themselves together and rebuild the trust to save their marriage
  3. Completely self-destruct and never have an answer as to why they did it.

The hardest lesson to learn through all of this was that you can’t stop an affair and you can’t do anything to prevent cheating. You have to wake up one day and realize that if your spouse wants to cheat on you they will, and if they do, they aren’t worth your love.

Besides, if your spouse has had any type of affair and has refused to leave you and says they love you, you are dealing with some pretty powerful stuff and it is your job to just enjoy your life, forcing them to make a choice. It is very hard to do, but I’m afraid it is the only thing that will bring closure to the issue (one way or the other).

Sniveling, begging, crying, whining, and pleading do NOTHING but drive the CS back into the arms of the AP and confirm their motives. A strong, healthy, confident you shows them just how foolish they really are and allows their guilt to slowly eat at them in agonizing fashion.

Don’t get me wrong, in my private moments I still suffer some and I wish this never would have happened, but in front of her I’ll wear my poker face and bluff all day if I have to. Sooner or later she will either show her hand or fold.

Self-perspective may just be the best gift one could ever receive. The hardest thing that any BS will have to do is to stop looking at their spouse as the person they fell in love with, and start seeing them for what they have become. Yes, they may be beautiful, yes you may still be physically attracted to them, and yes, there will always be deep feelings of love. However, given their actions and how they have been treating you, what do you really see?


After the affair, you cannot control your spouse’s actions.  You cannot stop them from continuing the affair or from treating you poorly.  The only thing you can control is how you are affected by their choices.

We welcome and need your comments, experiences and perspective on this topic, so PLEASE share them in the comment section below.  Thanks!


    12 replies to "Save Your Marriage by Saving Yourself"

    • Strengthrequred

      Linda, this was a great topic and a great read. I do believe we forget sometimes that we need to save ourselves, especially when the cs is in the midst of an affair. Let’s face it, the cs isn’t looking out four our best interest, just their own, even then they really aren’t looking out for themselves either. They play Russian roulette with their own life, just as much they do ours.
      Saving ourselves, definately great advice.
      I liked the readers comment too, I think he has hit the nail on the head with what he wrote. Maybe I should practise that. I am guilty of trying to protect my heart, that I just want to see that my h is doing all the right things, I am focusing way to much, on what is on his phone, whether he is where he says he is etc. maybe I should try his way of thinking, so I just live my life doing what makes me happy, and when my h comes home, just enjoy the now, and let go of the past and live for the future. The past can’t be changed no matter how much we wish we could. I need to concentrate more in me now, and not my marriage, and not what my h is and isn’t doing. Maybe another work in progress but worth the try.
      Time to work on putting that smile on my face again…. Here’s hoping I am strong enough to let it go…. Lol

    • Flowergirl

      I agree with this one hundred percent. However, before i found out about the affair and had total trust. I lived this life.I did what made me happy. My husband still cheated and now I feel like those years (21 years)were not authentic. He was probably fantasizing about this one or that while being with his family. He could be on a family vacation one week and cheating the next. I dont want the next 20 years to be one where hes back to his same old tricks and I just dont know about them. I can move forward and enjoy good times with him. How much should we check into our spouses business? I Never did before(looked at cell phone, email etc.) And i would have never known had I not saw something pop up on his phone. So okay I take care of myself. Make me “happy.” He could cheat again and destroy all my new found happiness. Plus these cheaters rarely just tell you oh by the way…I cheated. You have to catch them. So i think some level of checking up on them is necessary? Any thoughts here? Also any suggestions on things to do that might make me happy? I have been a housewife for a long time.

      • Strengthrequred

        Flower girl, I’m still trying to figure this one out. What ever is on my mind gets the best of me and I have to either check if I can or talk to him about it. Problem is I could talk until I’m blue in the face and unless something comes up that’s shows he is lying, I won’t know. So maybe getting relaxed and sitting back just waiting is the key to see if something slips up, because if they see us relaxed then they would more likely slip up. Who knows, just rambling. Lol

    • Lost33years

      Cheaters are abusive addicts . They fail to see disconnecting lying failing to keep their promises and their vows as abusing . The cheater mentally is addicted in their brain just as horribly as a crack addict to the high yet they fail to see just like an addict that they are self destructing. Just like with a cheater and also an addict every one who loves them pays the price when they choose to play games to avoid reality. As the wife of an addict who became a very abusive asshole in his addiction all he wanted was to escape reality and when denied his escape he lost the human he was he changed as the drug ate away at the kind loving man he was. Cheating was the same escape from the reality of his choices he disconnected emotionally then he could lie to himself he wasn’t hurting anyone because he no longer was invested in anyone only escaping the consequences . He constantly searched for any one (lower so he could rescue them so he could somehow feel great about asking some lowlife to join him in abusing me and becoming a married mans whore) to tell his sad “story” to gain sympathy for poor poor hubby. Of course he NEVER told anyone he was a cheating abusive lying asshole who had an order of protection for abusing our son(he was told to stay away from our home yes he chose to deny he needed help there was nothing wrong with him we just needed to stop making him mad) he gave me NO choice I had to leave or lose my children . Hmm that was a no brainier to me yet he used that as another excuse of course twisted somehow to make anyone see me as the bad person? Drugs changed the man I love permanently abuse cheating and lying have forever changed how I see and relate to him. He lost the most important part of himself . Watching him struggle with what he has become and watching him deny then lie then shift blame the whole mind fuck game has ended with I no longer believe most of what he Has said as the “story ” evolved and changed its as he has said he is a liar he said what ever he had to to take advantage/abuse me then every one who listened to him.Which has left me totally disconnected from him I know him yet he is a stranger. Thanks for the article.

    • Lost33years

      By the way I am happy with who I am. My husband has admitted being jealous of how our children loved me and how I loved them he saw himself as an outsider he didnt have parents who taught him with love and respect. My husband has admitted to lying to our kids so they would choose his side? He is a sick twisted person and he has damaged our family and he can’t fix himself. He keeps saying we need help all I can hear and see us he has to get help or I am not part of we anymore. I love our children I know they have been hurt by their fathers choices . We all talk things out hubby avoids talking things out he gets mad/upset when any of us point out he is lying hiding or denying what we know happened . I have been enjoying my children and grandchildren . Being in the delivery room with the last two babies made our bond even better. Babies are so much more fun when you aren’t the parent!

      • Strengthrequired

        Enjoy those grandchildren lost33years. Breathe that joy and happiness in.

    • Flowergirl

      Strength Required,
      I just watched the movie..”the other woman” with Cameron Diaz. It’ll give you a laugh it sure did me! Hee hee!

      • Blue

        I just watched that movie too, with my husband and two of my teen kids. The weird thing is I had fantasized about doing most of those things to my husband- but couldn’t/didn’t. I felt kinda crazy and full of revenge.

        This OW in the movie had no idea he was married and without ruining the film for others, I won’t say much more. I have to say- the OW in my H life knew he was married and my H knew she was married- he managed them both in a government position. (give me a moment to throw up) About 2 years after DD she wrote me a letter asking for forgiveness and that she’ll never contact him again. Her husband doesn’t know (I’m ashamed of myself for not telling him-but that’s another story) and we both have kids so I said I would forgive and hope I’d never regret it. I regret it!! She still works in the building, and still tries contacting him- about work of course, questions H said she could get questions answered by someone else. She seems to get assignments that bring her into contact with him, even though he changes his positions to try and get farther away from her. He lets me see the emails and more than once invited him to meetings others were taking care of. He doesn’t like having to show me or tell me- because it’s a trigger for me.

        I believe she’s truly evil- a cold hearted skank. One time she emailed me- apologizing for going back on her promise to me by contacting him and the email was the 666-th email! What are the chances?! Talking about freaky! She’s gone to Christian schools all her life, goes to bible study and she scares the crap out of me. I guess that’s my karma for not telling and not protecting her husband.

    • Strengthrequired

      Flower girl, I’m going to have to buy it. I get a bit hesitant in watching these types of movies nowadays, but I have seen the previews and don’t mind it. Anything for a laugh. There is one thing I can never imagine and that is taking sides with the ow. Lol

    • Flowergirl

      I checked out the movie from the library for box has it for $1.20..It is a little far fetched! What I came away with after watching the movie was that A. Cheaters are sneaky, liars who often have no conscience(I knew this but it reaffirmed it). B. If I ended up divorcing my husband, I could have a happy life. Afterall, at some point we can only save ourself!

    • Kay

      As always the emails I receive connecting me to this site are perfectly timed!
      We had got into our millionth ridiculous argument last week. And again he pulled his stonewalling. But this time I was different. I was the first to walk away. I welcomed the distant, I didn’t beg him to talk to me, I didn’t cry or get angry. I did & said what I had to & nothing else. Then when he refused to go to our scheduled couple session I was done. I was filled with an anger I haven’t allowed myself to feel towards him. It’s true I had created this fantasy around him, I was acting like I couldn’t live without him & gave up all of my power & self control. And he hated it and it only drove him further away which made me more desperate then him away, etc
      Last night at our 19th wedding anniversary dinner I told him what I’ve learned abt myself, how he never literally blamed me but how I took it all when NONE of it belonged to me. I used his forbidden word Stupid and told him it was his stupid choice that was the problem not me! I told me I would no longer ride on this roller coaster & that I need to say how I feel without it becoming abt him, stroking his ego & him becoming defensive.
      He said are these your boundaries or conditions? I said no this is just me and I realize I can not control him only me. And if he chooses to not accept that this is me that’s his freedom to choose. I will not make him. And that everything I said was about what I was going to do & did not say one thing he had to do.
      He didn’t get defensive & in fact said I was able to make me feel what I was feeling.
      I had one of the best nights sleep last night. I feel lighter & free this morning and it feels great!

      • Doug

        Kay that is one awesome comment! Thanks for sharing that. I think that many BS can learn from this.

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