This post addresses how it may be appropriate to work more on yourself in order to save your marriage.

save your marriageBy Linda & Doug

One 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. 

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.”

Real Life Hardnosed Advice on How to Stop an Affair

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.

See also  Changes Cheaters Might Make if They 'Get It'

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.
See also  Managing Your Anger After the Affair

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).

See also  The Emotionally Unavailable Man

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!


    35 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

      • Becky

        I believe what you’re saying is correct. Dr. Rob Weiss describes it very well. We need to do some forms of “checking up” to establish a “sense” of safety and security. Our brains need it to help us stabilize and function. Also Dr. Sheri Keffer writes about it in her book “Intimate Deception” and I attended her Betrayal Trauma retreat and it was discussed there. Best wishes for your recovery. Self care is doing what you need to do to help your brain and your body heal.

      • Clare

        You make it very clear that your C’s cannot ever be trusted again by you & also that he will likely cheat in future without you knowing. Why would you even think about staying with such a man? He’s a total rat & probably always has been but you found out late. SURELY you deserve better than him? Why are you letting him walk all over you? Why do you appear to not have any respect for yourself? Get the hell out & save yourself. Find someone who is not a RAT.

        • Clare

          The comment from Clare, above – was directed to Flowergirl.

    • 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.

      • Mary

        Thank you for this article. It took me so long to realize this what you are saying! I don’t understand why I didn’t realize sooner. My husband had a 20 year (physical) and then emotional affair with a co-worker. It started when we had been married for 15 years. We had several teenagers then and one of them had a disability and got type 1 diabetes. He was traveling occasionally for his job and so I started gradually taking care of the challenges with teenagers and he did his part with working on his cars and mechanical issues and house remodeling. I sensed the disconnection between us and didn’t like it-but, I just kept trying harder myself to keep everything afloat on my end. We began to have a huge disconnection then, I think-because of both of our failure to discuss anything. I did try to at first, but got nowhere and gave up. Meanwhile all of that time he was closely connected to someone else-where he was able to live in fantasyland.
        When I found out-he did everything by the book, like people do when caught. He downplayed it, he blamed me, he lied, and he continued on.
        I did the wrong things by blaming myself, becoming detective, trying to fix him, feeling sorry for myself. I now wish I would have done different-we had kids at home and I had become so co-dependent. I’m learning to take care of myself now. I’m slowly growing up myself! And feeling better myself!

    • Mary

      Thank you for this article. It took me so long to realize this what you are saying! I don’t understand why I didn’t realize sooner. My husband had a 20 year (physical) and then emotional affair with a co-worker. It started when we had been married for 15 years. We had several teenagers then and one of them had a disability and got type 1 diabetes. He was traveling occasionally for his job and so I started gradually taking care of the challenges with teenagers and he did his part with working on his cars and mechanical issues and house remodeling. I sensed the disconnection between us and didn’t like it-but, I just kept trying harder myself to keep everything afloat on my end. We began to have a huge disconnection then, I think-because of both of our failure to discuss anything. I did try to at first, but got nowhere and gave up. Meanwhile all of that time he was closely connected to someone else-where he was able to live in fantasyland.
      When I found out-he did everything by the book, like people do when caught. He downplayed it, he blamed me, he lied, and he continued on.
      I did the wrong things by blaming myself, becoming detective, trying to fix him, feeling sorry for myself. I now wish I would have done different-we had kids at home and I had become so co-dependent. I’m learning to take care of myself now. I’m slowly growing up myself! And feeling better myself!

    • Lonely

      Thank you for the read. Good stuff as usual. Here is my situation, I am approaching 3 years post D-day and have come a long way in dealing with the EA my wife had. I still believe it was leading toward a PA but she denies it. Again we will never know. We have been seeing a counselor who has been good for the both of us. I have learned that my wife has been alone for many years of our 30 year marriage. She has told me that my behavior ultimately led her to do what she did. Cheat on her husband and trash our vows! The other day in our session the counselor believed that my wife who is a middle child had been looking for approval much of her life. That made lots of sense to me about my wife! Seeking approval that I did not give her led her to become a helicopter mom, and ultimately having an affair. Just the other day she said she had been thinking about what the counselor suggested and she said it wasn’t her case. She didn’t seek approval of her parents, our girls, or have an affair. This was confusing to me. Just last light I saw her in bed late at night on her laptop. Just like when she was having an affair. I confronted her and told her that seeing this was a trigger and I did not approve. She said very little and did not even help or comfort me after I told her. I feel like our marriage is over? We have no sex, sleep in separate rooms, and she has no emotion or feelings toward me. I gave her an ultimatum last night that she had to choose. Choose either me and our marriage or be done. Living like this is drowning me and I would rather get on with my life even if it’s without her! Sorry for the long message but welcome and thoughts!

      • Doug

        Hi Lonely, Thanks for your message and I’m so sorry that you are in this position. You must really understand that you are NOT to blame for her affair. This is totally on her, as it was her choice to have an affair. I’m curious as to how she responded to your ultimatum?

    • Lonely

      Interesting question? Once upon a time she was a terrific wife !! Very attentive very responsive great communicator very sexual and very engaged. In the last four years it changed. Some of it was counselor some of it was the affair some of it was kids leaving the nest. For the last year we have both been in egg shells and barely functioning as a true married couple. It has been miserable concerning what kind of marriage we had. I just last weekend told her that I cannot continue lie this and she has to make a decision on me and on us. I was not born to drown and I can no longer continue like this. Make a decision and let’s move on. So I will get a decision this weekend. Stay tuned? Any other thoughts?

    • Jennet

      Hi I. Discovered my husbands affair 6mths ago it ended on discovery but he couldn’t make up his mind about being with me, being married, on his own not even sure if AP was in the picture as she was with her husband. I so fed up of ‘I can’t, I do t know, I’m not sure’ I told him to move out and sort himself out!! That was two weeks ago there hasn’t been a day yet where he doesn’t contact me. But I have been Concentrsting on Myself getting fit, lost loads of weight, more jndrpendent. I really think its surprised him that I not that interested in what he’s doing. I cannot control him on anyway hell do what he wants. We have agreed to see each other once a week for a meal we don’t discuss the affair just enjoy each others company after all we have been doing this for 51 years until the affair which started with a so called friend. So work on yourself then see where it leads. We are having a two month separation who k ows I might not want him back. Take care jennet

    • Charles

      Going it alone

      Great article and helpful comments. D-day 7 weeks ago and wife had affair and blaming me because I am a Doc on the front lines of COVID and moved out of our bedroom to protect both of us – her from my work exposure and me from her continuing to go out and not being careful about COVID. She said this caused her to have affair because this made her lonely……and thought this meant I was having an affair although I was not and every time I try to address this issue and decision I get nowhere. Any helpful thoughts?

      • Kay

        Charles, I’m sorry you are going through this especially after all of your sacrifices on the front line, thank you for that.
        It is beyond typical for your wife to blame you & not take ownership. And even if things weren’t ideal she made a conscious decision and needs to own it without bringing you down.

        Today makes 5 years since the AP came into our lives & it still hurts. My husband is 99% better at owning what he did now but that 1% still reads it’s ugly head when he feels his Shame. And I honestly am not always equipped to handle it without a melt down.

        It takes work. Hopefully if you want to rebuild your wife will go to counseling. Either way go for yourself cuz you’re the only part you can control.

    • Cam's gram

      I wasted many years in fight/flight/freeze after I was diagnosed with PTSD after learning about my husband’s infidelities over our whole marriage (and before). But only recently did I learn/realize I also had a period of “fawn” behavior – I did everything I could think of to make him happy including sexual stuff I really wasn’t into. When I finally began working on me, our relationship deteriorated (on his side). My adult son told me I had basically been a doormat to my H all these years. Yep. No more. People pleasing was my specialty, and my H took advantage of that. Now, I’ve distanced myself from him emotionally and have my own life. I’m proud of that, but still miss the “days of denial” – I thought we had come together and were closer than ever but it was just my body-brain’s way of protecting myself from the ugly truth I wasn’t able to handle. At least now I have a support system in place. But still wish I could be vulnerable with him and have stars in my eyes and be able to reminisce fondly about our marriage. Some dreams just don’t come true. Too many Cinderella stories when growing up, I guess.

    • Tassie

      Since discovering my husbands affair 18months ago it’s been a roller coaster of emotions We have a business together and when we are working together it’s fun relaxed and united, I feel like I’m doing the right thing by not walking away. However days later I discover that he is still making contact with the AP, and that high and progress I feel we are making at that time comes crashing down in a heart beat. I really need to stop worrying about how to stop the affair and start believing in myself that I can return to the confident person I used to be before the affair. I can’t make him stop or love me but I can stop him disrespecting me and taking advantage of my vulnerabilities.

    • Jennet

      Hi I have been in the same situation as you thinking it’s finished then find out it hasn’t. You take such a knock it hurts so much.
      I’m 2.5 yrs since DD it finished the day I found out WRONG it went on for another 7 months even after that I had my suspicions but couldn’t prove it he kept telling me it was over. I worked on myself got fit went out with girlfriends regularly and still do I have become far more independent since it happened although saying that I always was but I liked doing things with my husband a lot. Then new year’s eve this year we were travelling back home after spending the Christmas holidays with our family and I had to use his phone and up popped a message from her so I looked through his messages and there it was ,’love,you happy new year’ from my husband.i was so angry in fact I have to say I lost it big time (in fact I shocked myself with this anger and I certainly shocked him) after a day of calm him apologizing over and over saying it was only a NY message I calmly gave him the ultimatum that it was her or me then he had to leave as I couldn’t/wouldn’t put up with this crap anymore. He is still with me and everything is much better now in every way maybe I should have given him the ultimatum much earlier I never did. He knows if he does it again I’m gone. I’ve moved my money into my own accounts done lots of things to show that I mean what I say. I know I would leave I can’t put up with horror of the last two and a half years I’m worth more than that. Maybe it was just a text but it shouldn’t have happened but maybe it did me a favour time will tell. I still have my doubts about the last 18 months with him telling me there has been no contact. I’m not going to dwell on it doesn’t do any good to do that.
      After all you can’t control another person you only can control yourself. Look out for yourself be the best person you can be .
      I wish you all the luck in the world on this rollercoaster called ,’infidelity’ jennet

    • Robert

      It’s been over 4.5 years since I discovered my wife’s EA. I have gone through all of the same feelings that each of you have shared and can only tell you that it does get slightly better with time. She has cut all connections with the other guy and she has reengaged in our marriage. My disappointment is that she has not wanted to not talk about what happened and answer any and all questions that I have. Now that this much time has passed her memory is is less of the event. I want and know that I need to forgive her but I am not sure how to go about it. It’s hard for me to look at her the same and will never forget what she did to our marriage, our family, and me. I have always been independent and will always continue to do so. Group talk is very helpful and I have always appreciated the support I get or insight.

    • Jennet

      Hi Robert after two and a half years since DD my husband won’t discuss his affair in anyway he says it’s finished and leave it at that. He answered all my questions when I found out and that probably went on for at least a year as I needed to get the timelines straight in my head but I only asked the questions that I needed to know as I felt that too much detail would haunt me forever and I’m glad I did it that way because my imagination went into overdrive with the answers I got so in that sense I think it would have been so much harder for me to move forward if I had information that I didn’t really need.
      As in when they had sex ,he told me that they had sex in her bed but never in mine!!
      Didn’t make it any easier to take but I didn’t want to know the details of what kind of sex etc..(I still bought a new bed). What I did do was tell her husband what had been going on I thought if she’s f….. My life up I’m going to do the same to her. Just made me feel better ,I never tackled her just wouldn’t give her the pleasure of knowing how much it had hurt me.
      I have forgiven my husband for my wellbeing as much as anything I will never forget it I suppose but by forgiving him I feel at peace with myself. He is not a bad person he did a bad thing and he has to live with the guilt and shame of what he has done. Also he knows how much he has hurt our three daughters as well as me.
      I have some days where I don’t think about it but it’s very difficult for me as I have reminders every where.she lives nearby,she pretended to be a friend all the usual stuff.
      My advice to you is don’t believe her memory has faded because it’s as clear to her today as it was when she had the affair. Tell her you need to know the answers to your questions otherwise you will never be able to truly move forward.
      Forgiveness that’s for you to decide but do it for yourself I think you will have a lighter heart if you do.
      I wish you good luck take care of yourself.

    • Robert

      Sorry for my delayed response. Thank you very very much for your thoughts. It’s kind of ironic as I was looking back on some old posts and I came across one that talked about midddle child. My wife is also a middle child. I do believe she had been seeking approval from me which I must not have given her which led to her EA. My wife is also a helicopter mom to our four daughters. Which is a whole other issue. Part of my issue is that my wife was setting up a meeting at a hotel to see her EA. Obviously leading to a PA. I do believe at one point my wife and I had something special. Obviously life and time changes things. It really is hard to look at her and pretend like nothing has happened. I wish I could but I feel like I haven’t work through all of the pain that I went through on DD. What she did to our family, and to me and to the marriage is sooooo selfish. If I forgive her I feel that she will think that she got away with something. She will want to forget it but I will always have to deal with the triggers everyday of my life. Hardly seems right? We have been married for 34 years, I love her and always will but this forgiveness thing is very very hard.

    • Jennet

      Robert, I feel that forgiveness is a very personal thing everyone is different maybe some people don’t ever forgive I don’t know.
      I forgave my husband for what he did not so that he could get away with anything.
      I did for me !! You perhaps haven’t got to that stage yet.
      I get through the bad days which are getting less and less now by doing something that I enjoy . We have come to an understanding that if either one of us isn’t too good then we tell each other that way we give each other space that seems to work for us.
      My husband has his down days I don’t ask him why that’s his to sort out himself.
      I try and think about the good times we’ve had over our many years together (54) and that now out weighs the past 2.5 years and it has been hell make no mistake about that but I feel now that I can’t change the past and I have to look forward.
      Try and do that look forward as much as you can that’s the only advice I can give you.
      Maybe others on this site will have other ideas.
      I found this site very helpful also books by Andrew G.Marshall
      Give them a look.
      I wish you all the best take care of yourself Jennet

    • Robert

      Thank you once again for your perspective and the reading material. It’s very helpful.
      One last question, you mentioned you had three daughters. How much do they know about what your husband did and did you or your husband share with each of them what happened and if yes how did you do this? Curious how folks have either shared or not shared with their children about the cheating spouse.
      Again, thank you for everything.

    • Jennet

      Robert my three daughters are all in their 40s so they are old enough to know of their dads Infidelity in an adult way all three were very upset,angry. My eldest was very upset and said it had taken everything she thought was so good about her dad away.
      My middle daughter wouldn’t speak or have anything to do with him for a year. She said she was disgusted with him.
      The youngest was so very angry with him thought he was stupid to jeopardize his whole family for an ego trip!! As you can see they all had very different responses.
      I told them who she was as they knew her already. I told how long it had been going on etc. Had a conversation with all of them.
      My husband has spoken to them in private and separately,I’m sure he apologized to each one. I’ve never asked them what was discussed as I think that’s between them and their dad I should think he would have had a verbal battering from all of them.
      Mostly the feeling is that they think not only did he let me down but them aswell.
      My eldest daughter is the only one that brings it up with me now just to check that I’m alright which is really nice.
      But on the whole they all get on with him which is good for all of us. We are a family again. My eldest grandchildren don’t know about any of it they are 18 and 16 there was no reason for them to know. Any strain that was shown we told them it was due to lockdown and the fact we live in a different country to them all.
      I thought it would be better to tell them as soon as I found out because they would have known something was wrong as I lost a great of weight very quickly through the stress of it all and as I have had cancer i didn’t think it was fair to them to start worrying unnecessarily .I’m glad I did it that way best to be open and honest with them.
      Hope that helps Jennet

    • Robert

      Thank you again. I appreciate your perspective. My children at between 32-26 and it’s been 4.5 years since D day that I am not sure it matters at this point. Thank you sincerely for your perspective.

    • Jennet

      Robert they’ve probably known about it for ages especially if you live together or nearby. Kids whatever the age never miss anything.
      Good luck to you Jennet

    • Ash

      This reader’s comments apply to spouses who emotionally abuse as well. I still leave her and think she is beautiful, but the treatment and deflection the last few years drove me into a deep depression that I am now just getting over. Distance yourself and work on you. I am just now realizing I am not the unsupportive, lazy, useless, selfish jerk my spouse told me I was these last few years. You don’t realize as it’s happening, I was the frog in the boiling water.

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