If the cheater takes the responsibility for their actions, a couple has a much better chance to recover from infidelity and build a better marriage.

recover from infidelityBy Linda

Many of you who are struggling in your efforts to recover from infidelity are voicing the concern that you are doing all the hard work to repair your marriage, while the cheater is contributing very little. 

You are confused as to why, since it was the cheater who caused all of these problems, yet it is you that is picking up the pieces.

I fully understand where you are coming from because I felt exactly the same way at one point.

It was me who was the one reading all the relationship books, planning date nights, trying to be complimentary and encouraging while at the same time pleading to Doug to meet me half way.  I needed so many things from him to help me to get over his emotional affair, yet there was very little effort on his part.

Of course I had formulated many reasons in my mind as to why he was being resistant, but most of these reasons contributed to my loss of security and self esteem. I just kept thinking that if I could learn and be the perfect wife then our marriage would be OK and my pain would go away.

I have since realized that I was truly off base in my thinking. 

To Recover from Infidelity I needed to Feel Safe

My pain couldn’t go away until I felt secure and safe enough to continue in this marriage. I couldn’t heal until I felt loved and cared for in the way I deserved.  This, I determined, was Doug’s responsibility.

See also  Talking About the Affair

I am sure there are many reasons why the cheater is apprehensive to go this route.  For one, it would take a lot of effort and patience on their part. 

Honestly, I believe in many cases the cheating spouse entered the affair because it was easy. There was little work involved, yet there were such great returns.  To be told after the affair that they need to put forth some effort to make you feel secure may not be up their alley.

Another obstacle could be their lack of ability to honestly communicate about their feelings and the affair.  After all, if they were able to communicate their feelings before the affair happened, they probably wouldn’t have ended up in this situation to begin with.

How to Get the Cheater Out of the Affair Fog

The Cheater is Often Clueless

In many cases the cheater really doesn’t know how they can help. In their eyes everything they do is wrong.  They can’t seem to win.  Often when they try to make things better it only makes us more emotional and upset.  So most of the time they are pretty clueless as to what we need.

I would suggest that for a time you need to stop putting in so much effort to make your marriage perfect.  Take the pressure off of yourself and transfer some (if not most) of the responsibility to the cheater.

In our case, I think Doug knew that I would be the director of things.  Since that was my primary role throughout most of our marriage, he was comfortable just sitting back and letting me take care of things.

See also  How the Cheater Can Deal with Triggers

When I decided that I wasn’t going to focus on our marriage or on being the perfect wife any longer, it gave Doug the kick in the ass that he needed, and he realized that he had to take some of the responsibility to repair our marriage.

Focusing on Me So I Could Recover from Infidelity

Believe me it was very difficult because I was afraid to stop working. I was fearful that he would return to Tanya or think that I didn’t love him.  But really it was a good thing because I didn’t focus so much on our relationship and I started to spend that time focusing on me. I focused on what I needed and how I could help myself feel better.

It also gave me time to think about what had really happened and what Doug needed to do to help me get through this.  I had spent so much time focusing on everything else that is was comforting to put myself first. 

I knew that the first thing I needed was to feel safe again and I needed Doug to do his part to allow me to feel this way.

This included being transparent, predictable in his behavior and patient when I was having troubles with triggers and obsessions.  I tried to convey to him that the way he acted toward me greatly predicted how I was going to feel.

If he told me that I was crazy, or was impatient when I had asked the same question a hundred times, then I would in turn be insecure and anxious.  That cycle would continue until I felt some sense of reassurance on his part.

Changes Cheaters Might Make if They ‘Get It’

It Didn’t Happen Overnight!

It took Doug a while to grasp this concept, but by explaining to him why I felt the way I did and what I needed from him to make me feel safe, finally sunk in.  The way he handled my insecurities greatly helped to diminish my pain.

See also  What is Limerence and is it the Same as an Emotional Affair? The 3 Stages of Limerence

Even though it was more or less by trial and error, I believe we finally reached common ground on what I needed from him so he was also able to put his guard down and not be so anxious and frustrated every time I had an episode.

If the cheater takes the responsibility for their actions, a couple has a much better chance to recover from infidelity and build a better marriage.

It’s not going to happen overnight, so be prepared for a long hard road ahead, but you can get there eventually.  You just need to give the cheater the map to get there!

    45 replies to "Shift Responsibility to the Cheater to Recover From Infidelity"

    • Michael

      Doug, Linda,
      You have such a great story of change.
      Sorry to say, Most of us wont.
      In my case, I’ve done this very thing, backed off, told her what I need, and all its done is added days, weeks, months, years to my recovery.
      I’m getting there, Not because she did her part in opening up to me. Not that she changed her ways. Not that she wanted me more than anything else. But because this is who she is. I will Never Know her as some others have. I get whats left.

      If you want to recover… LOWER THE BAR. This is who they will always be. MOST will not change. If you love them, Stop Trying to Change Them. Let them have there cake and eat it too. And in the end, if they stay GREAT.

      I love my family too much to take action I need to be happy.
      And you know what, maybe thats what she did.

    • elph

      i was literaly just thinking this same thing last night…

      bit of back ground. married since 2004, together since 93. one 3 yr.old. noticed txts slowly increasing from oct last year. confronted late jan. she lied. got more prof from txt program…did reserch on affairs and how to handle, D-Day came april 3. everything blew up. she works with him and no contact is really hard. he broke up with her after her mom found out and confronted. but that didnt last long. OM is in process of a divorce and i think its been going on since OM was married. hes even said one of the reasons he left his wife was for her. She gave me the “i love you but not in love with you speech” along with a bunch of other foggy talk. started MC that has switched to her IC and i have my own IC as well. been told that her biggest fear is losing me as a friend, she could eventually get over feeling for him but not losing me as a friend, which is whatll happen anyway if she leaves. were staying together in the same house for our son, but also because the therapist said not to make any dicisions because sehes in crisis, as well as now been diagonsied with Depression. she says theyre keeping conversation to business only no more txts or phone calls, but ive sen diferent. he even said to her that she needs therapy because he doenst want a broken woman but a whole one…
      Ive been sticking mostly to the 180, but crack occasionally to tell her how much it hurt me, something i havent had a chance to do till recently. but at the same time finding myself again and who i am, the old me, the one she fell inlove with. but patience isnt my strong suit, so its been really difficult.

      which takes us back to the topic….i ve been reading books on affairs and how to heal, as you all know when you find out it shatters everything about you. one of the other things ive been focusing on is, i saw a text about how she wishes her heart wasnt in it and only there for the amazing sex. thats a killer. even though i know weve always had a good sex life, seeing that hurt greatly. so i just got books on amazing sex, kama sutra, etc. not just for her though, but if i do get back out there, i have to be at my best. i do the reading, the working out, the avoiding disscussions. and i get confused…

      should i be working on letting her heal, then work on convincing her the marriage is worth saving. because she feels that she can t be with someone shes not in love with, even though i know if she falls out of love with him and hes no loger a distraction, that i can woo her again and help her realize why she feel in love with me in the first place….

      and where does that leave time for even talking about and healing fromthe affair? i didnt mean for this to run long, i just get so anxious about it all…weve built such a good enviorment and to know right now that romanitc love and passion isnt there (becaue i “pushed her away”, i own up the things that went wrong in our marriage), but we have a deeper love that i dont think she sees right now, the connection thats just more than puppy love…arghhhhhhhh

    • Saddenned


      It is frustrating I know. I listen to my counselor say that they are not mind readers. I have to tell my husband what I need. Not in a nagging way, just tell him and tell him why I need it. 7 weeks and 2 days since D-Day and I keep a lot of hurt bottled in. My H is very responsive to me telling him what I need. For example, I told him that keeping his phone in his pocket makes me nervous and now he leaves his phone out where I can see it. Is he going to always know what I need, no. But I need to communicate with him. We cannot pretend that this didn’t happen. My H told me about it, I didn’t find out. He also changed all contact information and got off of facebook (his choice). This is still a very painful process with serious emotional damage. As a matter of fact today is the first day I have felt halfway normal since it all has happenned. Patience, forgiveness and being able to trust again is the challenge we face. The pain is overwhelming, but we have to try. We all can do this.

      • michael

        Its been a year and almost 6 months from my first d-day. And there were several other d-days following that. I’ve asked her for things. I told her things. I begged for her to do things.
        She started to read one book about a month ago. And never finished it. Then when she finally finished it she had nothing to share or say about it. And thats ok. If she was working on herself I would be a little more optimistic on her healing and working through this. But it hasn’t and won’t happen. She tries to do some things but only small easy things. She still to this day won’t look me in the face and say one word about her feelings. So I’m done trying. She hasn’t left so GREAT. Life back to NORMAL. The lies will never be forgiven. Her affair will never be understood. And I will never trust her again as I did. But she’s still here so whatever. Get over it and enjoy today. Because tomorrow may be another story.

      • michael

        Sorry, I forgot to mention specific things.
        Blocked Phone Numbers-
        When her mom calls from home it comes up Blocked. But I know he has called her blocking his number before. Back in Feb 2010.
        I told her, asked her, to insist that her mom unblocks her number when she calls her. But to this day. I still see them on her phone and phone records. So what can I do.
        Access to facebook and email passwords. Well I just saw an email on her account that showed she had changed her password on facebook recently and has yet to say anything about it. Why should she have to tell me about it?

    • S

      Ug – I feel the same way – I feel like I’m doing everything to make our marriage better and all he did was give up his girlfriend! But I’m still in that “I’m afraid if I stop working things will fall apart” and I have been unsuccessful in getting H to see that telling me I’m crazy or telling me he shouldn’t have to keep telling me the same thing/reassuring me of the same thing over and over isn’t the best way to deal with things. So a little more advice on how to gently put the relationship work on H and how to focus on myself would be great! Especially since i think part of the problem was that I was in “mom” mode for the last 10 years, so in truth he was neglected – so I’ve really tried to put the focus on him – but then I find myself feeling resentful that he’s getting all the good attention and I feel like I’m losing my mind! So how do you stop focusing on H without neglecting or making things worse??

    • Empty and Numb

      Oh Linda! Girl you rock! I knew it! I am so happy for the pair of you! I couldn’t have done it. We did counseling. I just couldn’t hold out like that! You’ve been to hell and back, reparenting, and descripting! And, it seems restitution is being made by Doug becoming a man! Congrats to you both! And thank you for this site. I thought I was over it but still not. 🙂

    • Roller coaster rider

      I am there with you all…wondering if the attempts to change are all just because H got caught and doesn’t want to lose his life. It sure seems like he has one foot stuck in quicksand, and if he can’t have the OW at least he can dive into his work for distraction. Thanks, Linda, for saying, ” In our case, I think Doug knew that I would be the director of things.  Since that was my primary role throughout most of our marriage, he was comfortable just sitting back and letting me take care of things.” that’s exactly how it’s been with us, and it just has to stop. If there’s any real and lasting change to be made, guess who needs to make it? Not that I don’t have things to work on, but I’m just tired of telling him how I see it and then having him ignore what I say and just do whatever

    • Jessica


      Thank you! Today I am going to focus my energy on me I have been the one to do everything and I was starting to resent it. I was feeling like if he really cared about saving our marriage then he needs to do some of the work.

    • Susi

      What you said is almost exactly what I am dealing with right now. Dday was 4 weeks ago. He had an EA and brief physical affair with his boss. Although he fessed up to the affair on his own and was initially remorseful all I hear from him now is he doesnt know if he loves me anymore, he desires no physical touch from me, etc. He claims he still cares for me very much but acts aloof towards me most of the time. To make matters worse i am 4 months pregnant. He claims he has no feelings for the OW although she is still his boss. I really don’t believe him. Why is he making me feel like I am the one who cheated? He needs to take responsibility if we are ever going to move forward. How do I get him to wake up out of the fog.

    • suziesuffers

      I keep wondering. All our stories about how little the CS works on healing, and how MUCH we work on teaching them about infidelity, of which they just get angry and withdrawn. But yet it sounds like working on this is essential to restore the marriage. I showed my husband the 20 mistakes of the cheating spouse and the hurting spouse. Well, he used just about everything on the list of the hurting spouse to throw it back in my face about how I was healing fast enough. Like bludgeoning him with the affair….his interpretation of any discussion of the affair is bludgeoning him. But yet we read that marriages that discuss the affair have a better survival rate. That I still compare myself to the OW. His interpretation is that if I’m not able to do all the things to avoid everything on the 20 mistakes list, than I would I expect him to do any of the things on his list. Are all these guys cut out of the same cloth? Are cheaters so characters defective in the same way and that’s why they also all act in the same way when recovery comes around…avoidance of responsibility? Could this be related to the similaries the BS has, we all seem to be the directors, being in charge of “everything”….so our spouses have always gotten the easy ride, so expecting that suddenly they are going to come up to bat in this scenario is unrealistic, because in reality they have never done it in the past? Are there characters so flawed that they topically modify it to appease us when they are caught, but if it’s not really learned they just fall back to their old ways…..which is why we are afraid they will cheat again even if they are on their best behavior for a short period of time? Blender time in the brain this morning!!!

    • Empty and Numb

      Yes … they are this character flawed, honey but so are we for even tolerating what we did within the marriage from the jump!!  Takes two to tango! 

      Most cheaters are passive, passive aggressive which both flaws are full of Narcissim. This would include female cheaters.

      Most cheaters have under-performed in their careers, life and have let the other spouse be the Director … do most of the work.

      Cheaters under-performed as spouses and resort to covert abuse to power struggle within the marriage  … Leaving the victims to guess and become over worked and take the indirect blame for the cheaters pain and under achieving. 

        Most cheaters are emotionally unavailable and ever always searching for something better because they have a fear of being accountable. Most cheaters live within their own fantasy land and have throughout their lives! 

      Most cheaters prior to cheating were frauds but we didn’t see it.  Most cheaters were always very lazy and expected adoration for the smallest things.  Most cheaters are afraid of being judged and vulnerable. This is a profile of a cheater … one who sets their own ethics.

      Victims are over responsible.  Most are codependents.  We are all shaped by out DNA and socialization within our homes and societal norms.

      Take a look at the personality disorders I described and start there. Have the cheaters look at the symptoms and read the blogs.

      Codependency is life threatening. So, make sure you get the help you need.

      Decide whether or not you as the victim are up for reparenting a broken soul rather than heal your life and open yourself up to real love. Reparenting that has went on with Doug doesn’t always work. Decide if you want to gamble your life, be the bigger investor and still may lose everything.

      Cheaters can be repaired … as much as victims.  But please take care of yourself first and focus on you.

      I didn’t have it in me after a year and a half of therapy!  Called it quits and never looked back.  I couldn’t reparent my inadequate husband.  For me … was the best decision I made.  I truly found my Prince Chamring.  Wowza …. I learned “I’m worthy and worth it”!

      Reparenting is not for the weak.  Most victims are over achievers, very strong, deeply spiritual but they have very low self esteem!  Me … Recovering codependent! 

      Cheaters and victims come together to learn. Cheaters that don’t learn … lead lives void of any happiness! 

    • Geri

      Ijust confronted my H about his lack of effort in our recovery. I read Not Just Friends by Phyllis Glass for several months after DDay. I told my H that this book does a great job describing exactly what I am going through. He told me at the time that it does not hold his interest. Our DDay was 17 months ago and Doug’s post regarding mistakes he made from last week was the first information he has ever read. That is because I copied and pasted it into a word document and left it on his computer. Linda’s comments about shifting the responsibility to the cheaer struck a cord with me and I confronted my H this morning. When I asked him why he has not read anything, he told me he does not need anyone to tell him how wrong he was. He immediately went on the defensive. He cant seem to understand that the information focuses on all aspects of recovery and is not a list of grievances. He feels so much guilt that he avoids dealing with it at any cost. We have gone to counseling and did not feel that was real helpful. I agreed. He can not get past his guilt in order to help me heal. I know that he wants to. He did promise he will take a more active role. I do not want to drag this out forever. Our relationship is good. He has no contact since DDay and has given me access to everything. Too many questions are answered with “I dont know” I dont remember” If I knew he was really thinking about it, I could accept some of those. However, I know he is avoiding the question to spare himself feelings of guilt. I think that is selfish. I know it is hard. to quote Dr. Phil “you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences”

    • suziesuffers

      I so agree….that you choose the behavior, you choose the consequence. My husband told me he shouldn’t be “punished” everyday of his life over this affair!! Well, guess what, I’m suffering everyday…and some because he won’t take the responsibility to work on recovery!! He appeases me with the “I don’t know…I don’t remember……I love you”. I think I look at all the effort he put towards the OW….and she meant nothing???….but I mean everything and he can’t do anything to work on understanding the healing process. Ok….does that make sense to anyone….NO NO NO….but it seems to be the same story. Are Doug and Linda really the only people recovering….and they are still struggling. The assumption is they will survive this, but are there really couples out there that have gotten to the other side of the pain and live their lives somewhat free of the “memories”. I know we are all pretty close to DDay….mine was 2 years ago, but his pursuit to find someone continued….and he had a long withdrawal from the EA that turned P at the end….It was 3 months. I didn’t know until the last couple of weeks when he had told me it was over….but really only dying out…it took a couple more weeks of him “deciding” who he really wanted to pursue. It does feel like throwing in the towel would be easier….although, I guess Linda went through the “I just can’t do this anymore” period from time to time… Trust is REALLY hard to rebuild, especially when the CS doesn’t seem to think he needs to really WORK on creating this environment.

      • Doug

        suziesuffers, I went through many, many days saying “I can’t do this anymore” and honestly is wasn’t that long ago. I truly believe that in order to heal the cheater has to do a complete turnaround. I would still be in the state if Doug would not have stepped up, educated himself enough to understand what I needed to recover and be patient and willing to follow through consistently. He had to be totally committed to helping me heal and an equal partner in improving our marriage. I really don’t know driving force that pushed Doug to wake up and realize how important his commitment was to our relationship. I am not really sure if I had anything to do with it. I know it had to be his decision. It was not a short or easy process but I guess if it were easy it really wouldn’t have meant very much. I really can’t give you much advice except to work on yourself, work on your confidence and your ability to believe and convey that you expect and deserve more in order to heal from his infidelity. I believe that until they understand the trauma that they have caused and what they have to do in order for you to heal, having a honest and trusting marriage is almost impossible. Linda

        • Paula

          All so very familiar, almost two years in, we have separated twice, the last time just a month ago, I felt the same way, always pushing for repair, and he was telling me he couldn’t do the re-hashing anymore, which, to be fair, isn’t always that helpful, anyway! I got some new help, felt a little stronger and asked him to leave. It was a risky thing to do, as I still love him more than anything, but I felt he still hadn’t really dealt with the whys and “closed the book” on this OW (my “dear” old friend) I knew he would be back to her, and he was, even faster than I thought (took my breath away, the speed). He met up with her the day after moving out (to be fair, she was in a nearby town as bridesmaid for her sister that weekend) and drove two and a half hours to her city to “talk” (read into that what you will!) to her two days after that. He says he now realises that he hadn’t dealt with any of the feelings, or finished things with her as well as he needed to, or understood her motivation until now, I always knew this, but couldn’t seem to get it through to him. He says he now realises that he was in the “fog” of the forbidden, that she did absolutely nothing for him either emotionally, or sexually, once he was “allowed” to see her. I could never understand why he felt he had to continue to reply to her texts, even after he said it was well and truly over, and I had pleaded with him to just ignore them, and/or change his number, he was very open about his phone, and showing me any contact, at least I think so, see what the mistrust thing does to you!! He now says he feels he is very happy to never have any contact with her, ever again, and he has told her that he will not return any calls, emails or texts, and he didn’t have to do that, because we are separated, he could continue anything he wants with her now. I just felt I love him so much, I wanted him to be free to explore this possibility, as I felt he hadn’t fully “got her out of his system.” Can’t believe it has taken him this long to realise that this was what I was constantly on the edge of my seat about!

          So, we are so lucky, farming, so he moved into our cottage, and we work together. Our friendship is completely intact, I’ve smiled and laughed so much in the last month, I hadn’t realised that I had lost parts of my sense of humour until now! We may even reconcile, but I am just enjoying being happier than I’ve been for a while, and I know he is finding that very attractive, as he says, he can see the girl he met 23 years ago again. That has very, very little to do with my motivation, though. I just want to feel happy and whole again, I’ve been the carer, the “self-sacrificing martyr” in this relationship, and look where it got me, so I just need some “me” time, to heal, to re-educate myself, and to feel like “I’m worth it” even though, on an intellectual level, I’ve alwyas known that. I want to be able to believe this man again, and not just this man, EVERYBODY in my life, and to feel small foothold on the ladder of security, which I know I can provide for myself.

          I would still love for this OW to acknowledge what she contributed to here, I know she never will, as she lacks empathy for anyone but herself and maybe, when it suits her, her son, and it is this lack of empathy that has frustrated the hell out of me. Their cruelty in making me believe they were “just friends” when she was coming on holiday with us, I was meeting her for coffee or drinks, etc, was extreme. Using someone’s trust against them; as I did ask questions, and feel a little uncomfortable with their friendship, but swallowed all of his lies; is pretty unfeeling and selfish. They just thought it let them see each other more, and never took our children’s feelings about this, let alone mine, into account. God knows what it’s done to our kids, I think they’re okay, but I know this does affect your future relationships, but that’s okay, people have dealt with worse! Just pleased I am well on the road to recovery, FINALLY, and whatever happens, I’ll be okay.

    • Empty and Numb

      The reason some cheating men and women wake up to start to be half of the marriage and apply themselves to life and responsibility, as well as become ethical (when they never were to begin with is) is what is called a “Narcissitic Wound”!

      What this is … Is an awakening where a once the cheater displayed no ethics, no empathy and a person who always knew better …. wakes up from being trapped behind a mirror … and realizes how horrific they’ve been, the deadly health effects they’ve had on those they are supposed to love.

      The cheater/narcissit is completely exposed for the wretch they are and they can’t stand the sight of themselves and the lack of any depth.

      Within a Narcissitic Wound …. There is only a small window where the individual can change.  

      While experts disagree … The thought is that NPD is almost impossible to heal from.  However, other experts believe this small window within a narcissistic wound … Is where they find what life, love and god means.

      Changing from any form of narcissism is just as painful … As it is for any depressive to stop the self hate.  Both are forms of self hate … narcissits outwardly harm others … Depressives harm themselves.

      Again … Perfect cocktail is the narcissit and the depressive. They carefully pick one another.  

      I do (in my opinion and not meant to hurt) believe Doug suffered a mortal Narcissitic Wound and he reacted and is still fighting to overcome it!

      I also believe that some of the affair books were written by narcissists and experts are only now understanding the dynamic I speak of between cheater and victim or narcissit and depressive.

      I hope this all helps. 🙂

      Here is a link!  http://www.ahalmaas.com/Glossary/n/narcissistic_wound.htm

    • Empty and Numb

      I just wanted to clarify narcissism is not what we think it is.  It is not Madonna, Gloria Beckham, Tom Cruise, Donald Trump.

      Again …  Narcissists are every day people that were raised in complete abuse ( which we all were. There was no Dr. Phil or Oprah ) whether from alcoholic patents, religiously scripted parents or physically or verbally violent parents.

      We are all recovering from something.  Shame on those that continue to have selective ethics.  And feel sorry for them, too.  They never have productive lives and are always confused and looking for that next “high” or fantasy.

      It is the rare person that is ( unless for financial reasons ) that would even consider to stay or work with a cheater. Once the cheating is discovered by the victim … if the victim is whole … they wake up from their fog instantly to realize the entire marriage was a fraud and leave.

      Healthy people just don’t have the capacity to go forth with adultery.
      In my research … healthy people immediately dust the cheater unless it is a temporary loss of mind such as a fling ( a one time deal that is fully admitted by cheater ) which we can all succumb to.

      Healthy people don’t have time to invest in a long term cheater because the work it takes to reparent a narcissist is too risky for their health and the health of their children.

      When waking up to a cheater most healthy people look back and realize that they were always the only ones to paddle the life boat or their relationship, career, ( Betty Broderick story is a prime example! Only her husband was a successful narcissist which is rare. Most narcissists are under achievers) kids, extended family, social life.  The only ones to direct and always took the indirect blame for their cheaters misery. They realized they were always changing themselves and overworking themselves to make the cheating spouse happy without much appreciation.

      It is only the codependent/depressive/dependent that stays and tries to work things out while coping with having everything ripped from them, feeling like a chump, dealing with life threatening illnesses caused by the entire abusive marriage and topped by the cherry of the longterm affair.

      I also believe if narcissist and codependent heal … That is where the marriage becomes whole for the first time.  And that healed marriage will place that couple in the top 10% of happy, functioning, healthy, content couples.  Yet, this is the exception to the rule.  Not common.

      Yet, for healthy people to realize the cake ( marriage ) and cherry ( affair ) … They walk away instantly knowing they’ve had enough and that their prize cheating spouse will never amount to anything but more pain.

      Once a codependent realizes what BS they’ve endured within their entire marriage and then topped by cheating … If the cheater narcissist has not made miracle restitution in a timely manner … completely changed ( this includes pulling the entire boat while the codependent heals from his/her life threatening illness that they allowed and the narcissist caused) his/her behavior to become more than half of the marriage … while ( this healing will take 2-6 years ) the codependent heals …. they end the marriage.

      The healed codependent goes off to live a wonderful life opening themselves up for real love.  The recovering codependent always finds real love, too. Again narcissists never function.

      I think one of the best recent movies to notice this … “It’s Complicated”!

      What an incredibly strong woman who raised her kids and became ultra successful, healed and found real love.

      Again … It is the rare person that stays in the marriage after a spouse has cheated because they see their self
      Worth and wake up to their cheating spouse as cheating them out of a life, their youth and “mindf%{^king them into believing that they were always at fault!  They wake up to realize they are worth so much more!

      I am certain this helps.  So decide if your cheating narcissist is worth it to reparent because you most likely will never have an equitable marriage.

      The odds are always stacked against the cheater and victim because they don’t approach healing in therapy this way.

      This is what angers me about some of the affair books that say, “there was something missing in the marriage. So, the cheater … Cheated”!  Always gives me a chuckle and a sense of sadness.

      Sense of sadness that the victim buys into that bunk!  The only thing ever missing in a marriage where a
      Longterm affair occurs was a healthy partner within the marriage … a longterm cheater was always a cheater.

      This is what causes codependent spouses … of course the codependent certainly participates by believing the BS of the cheater … and works harder to please.

      What the affair experts should be doing with longterm cheaters and the spouses that stay … is treating the cheater to recover from Narcissim and the codependent to recover from this life threatening illness.

      I feel all your pain to the core!  Here is another fantastic resource I’ve found on narcissism.


    • melissa

      I think sometimes the things I’d like my H to do to show he is taking responsibility for his EA is very different from what he can and will do.

      For example, I would like him to ask me for forgiveness. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to happen. On the other hand, he is trying to show me every day -through not taking me for granted, thanking me, smiling, telling me he loves me, explaining where he is going, what he is doing – that he is worthy of my trust and that he has chosen me.

      But I don’t think he will ever look at his emotions and try to understand what he has done. I don’t think we can have that important discussion about boundaries but I also think he does, deep down, understand what they should be. This leaves me in limbo but it also seems to be OK. Is OK good enough to rebuild a marriage? Is good enough fine? Are we setting ourselves up for a fall because we’re not having that conversation that I so need, because I’m not hearing the words that would work for me, even though I can see the behaviour and hear other words?

      I’m still struggling, like so many here, with the trust/truth question. Is his behaviour ‘real’? Has he just become even better at lying and hiding? Is this all a sham? Is the OP still on the scene? Does he still have feelings for her? Will there be another EA? And then the downward spiral starts, with horrible thoughts, re-living the affair and its consequences. It happens less these days but it’s always there and I know I have to work on myself to make it better, no-one else can.

    • suziesuffers

      Empty and Numb….I read your posts and ponder. I know I’m the codependent…and fell deeper into those depths because my husband was an “closet” alcoholic. Of course his “cheating” was blamed on his “alcoholic” mind. At that’s what he says…he’s 4 years sober and actually most of his cheating was during his SOBRIETY!! I guess the replacement of one high for another. He certainly has narcissistic tendencies, he was “raised” in a crazy home…his strictly religious mother married 12 times by the time he was 17. His Dad left when he was 3 and married the woman he was having an affair with….adopted the OW’s kids and really never saw him. Although his Dad was an alcoholic cheater all the life with the OW….and then his Dad divorced and married again….and died from heart disease no doubt brought on by alcoholism…at about age 65…My husband was 57 when he got sober….and his brother in law died suddenly at age 64…… My husband always had a fear of dying, and getting near that 60 milestone….Well, yeah, we can make all the excuses in the world but he still made the choices he made. I’m still living with the pain, but am trying to break away from my codependency through therapy, Alanon and God.

      Melissa, the confusion in my brain is just as intense. I sometimes feel like all the feelings are in a mixmaster and I just can’t make sense of them. I think I’ve lost myself in this mess. Trust with the my husband is very shaky, but the scariest part of this whole deal, is I don’t think I trust myself anymore. I don’t trust what I think, I don’t trust what I feel. In no other situation I can think of do you have to go to the perpetrator to get validiated!! How crazy is that alone!! The person that betrayed us is the person that we are going to in order to validate what the TRUTH is!!! Boy, if that isn’t crazy making, I don’t know what is…..but I also don’t know any other way to do it.

    • suziesuffers

      Empty and Numb….Ok, I went to this site to review Narcissism. I actually think one of the links from that site is more informative than the site you quoted since yours is summary information linked to the book the guy is selling. Even though this other link seems also to be written by the author it iseems to be more clinical rather than editorial in nature….so if anyone is interested, I’ve put the link below. Although men have this “syndrome” more often, 75% of the people with this are men, only 1% of the population is considered narcissistic or at least diagnosed that way. Correct me if I misinterpreted this information. Anyway, although I think there are many symptoms of narcissism in our cheating spouses, there are some that don’t seem to match up….and according to the DSM you need to have a number of these traits to have this syndrome….. But none the less, it does give me some food for thought…..Although sometimes the more I put in the “blender” of my mind, the more confused I get. Here’s the site that give some “definition” of narcissism

    • R

      Thought I would share what I’m doing and where I’m at…maybe it will help some of you. My husband had an ea and pea and d day was almost 7 weeks ago. I found out in hits and pieces over the course of a few days. I don’t need to go into the details of how I felt, you all know. Yes I feel like I’ve been doing all the work, and decided after finding an email
      “Ending” it on his terms that I was done. He insists that I am the one he wants to be with and that he is willing to do whatever it takes to make our marriage work. I gave him 30 days to prove to me that I am his first priority, that he really does love me, that I am special. The first couple of days he didn’t do so well with this challenge. He said he didn’t know how to fix it. Fair enough, he isn’t a mind reader. So yesterday I took away all of his excuses. I made a list of what I want and need. It was two pages long, very honest and realistic requests. I want to be happy, I want to be loved the way I deserve to be loved, I want to be treated with respect, I want honesty, transparency and a husband who is faithful, who makes his decisions based on integrity. I want to feel safe and secure. I want to talk about our hopes and dreams, I want to talk about our fears. I want to talk about our relationship and decide together what we can constructively work on to better out marriage. I want reassurance from him daily, not to build my self confidence but to build my confidence in him. I want him to express his remorse daily until I believe him. I want him to get counseling (I’m already getting it, but the reality is my reactions are normal, his choices are the real problem). I want his list. The list goes on, but again, nothing ridiculous or unrealistic. I finished by letting him know that the owns this because of his decisions. He had a choice to make, come to me and tell me he wasn’t happy and what he needed or wanted or go off and have an affair, he made the wrong choice not me. I’m not going to accept the blame for this, he owns it. I also let him know that if he can’t or won’t do the things I want and need, then I want him to leave. Because at the end of the day these are the things I want in my life, with or without him. I know that somewhere along the road (and either way will be hard, working through this or separating) I will be okay. He has 26 days to show me the change and he knows I’m serious. Not only did I give him the list, I put it on top of a suitcase. Last night was a good night we really talked about us, our fears and what we both want. He made his list too, so it’s a start. We will see how committed he can be to me and our family. I don’t know what will happen in the next 26 days, but I do know I will be OKAY!

      • Strengthrequired

        That’s great r, I’m glad your cs has taken on the challenge, definately a start. Yes you will be ok.

    • Gizfield

      Good for you- R. After adultery, I believe the victim should call ALL the shots. The Cheater wil l try to sell you their Bill of Rights. They lost that right when they broke moral and manmade law by pursuing sex outside of marriage. If they have a problem with that, theres your answer. Good luck, and keep us updated.

    • Helen

      Cheaters have personality defects. They can modify but it takes years.

      Cheaters have selective ethics, know what they are doing and don’t care.

      Yes … when caught … a narcissistic wound occurs.

      This can wake a cheater up.

      The profile of a cheater is in the negativistic personality disorders.

      They fall on that baseline.

      Within the marriage … They have never pulled their weight, blame the victim, and are general lazy ppl.

      When you first meet … They throw on the charm that they can actually be emotional and caring.

      That only lasts about 1-2 years before they start to covertly rip away all their spouses self esteem and then end up cheating ….

      as they frustrate their spouse. Their spouse communicates and the cheater doesn’t care.

      Less than 3% can modify.

      Sad truth. This website was certainly not “Doug’s” idea ….

      But probably an ultimatum of some sort.

      He gets a “high” off of it.

      Finances play a large role and so does the victims self esteem.

      Why would anyone stay with a loser cheater?

      Those are the only two reasons.

      One, finances …. Two … Low self esteem.

      I would have kicked “Doug”
      To the curb.

      I can imagine what a horrible marriage they had until Linda woke up.

      I hope she gains the needed self esteem and gets her finances straight.

      I would ditch this creep.

      She is very smart and can find an equal …. not a man in a child’s body that does what he is told and resents her for it.


      • Doug

        So you’re using the name Helen this time around? Nice to have you back and all your pleasant comments. You are indeed a real treat!

    • Helen

      Yes … Already published and have made many public appearances.

      I see that your readers are on to you, Doug.

      I am not the only one to recognize your personality defect. Lol.

      I am certainty surprise because your site has to “approve” comments … that you allowed mine.

      I still think Linda should drop you! Lol!

      Personality defected ppl are parasites.

      The health problems you caused you wife and daughter were once punishable by law.

      Maybe you are in the 3% of negativistic personality disorders that can heal?

      By the way …. My book is on the New York 1 Seller List. You can’t miss it.

    • Helen

      Furthermore …. Had your site not emailed after I unsubscribed …. I wouldn’t have posted and I won’t again.

      Linda …. Get rid of this one!

    • Helen

      I love the money you’re making off of ppl. Lol! It’s gross but Linda should stock-pile that away!

      How can you charge? Seems to me terribly “slimy”!

      • Strengthrequired

        Let me just say, that not everyone here shares your views Helen, Doug and Linda have helped many of us when we needed it. doug and Linda don’t need to be judged for Doug betraying Lunda and Lunda staying with him. They have gotten through a bad time within their marriage and have shared their experiences with others, and have helped others understand our own situations. I am sure that I am not alone in saying this, but Doug and Linda have been.a god send, when I needed it the most.
        So good on you both Doug and Linda, you have helped many of us, whether our marriages lasted or not, you helped both cs and bs alike, and you had the guts to share your story and help others at the same time.
        I’m not sure where I would be if I hadn’t of found your site. So Thankyou for giving us bs and cs a place to come to get support, paid or not.

        • Doug

          Thank you for that SR. “Helen” or also knows as “Empty and Numb” aka “Marie” has graced us with her presence in the past and has written pretty much the same things. Much of what she says about narcissists is quite interesting and could make for good reading if not for her hateful attitude. I’ll let Lunda know you commented! 😉

    • Strengthrequired

      Sorry ipad kept changing Linda’s name to Lunda.

    • Helen

      I feel sorry for those you cheat out of money. Preying off the backs of desperate ppl…. turning your affair into “a business”.

      Then, you make fun of “your internet plant” for mis-spelling Linda’s name as “Lunda”?

      You “SPAMMED” me. I unsubscribed because you are frauds….. giving ppl hope and having them pay for it ….

      along with your experts who hawk their programs.

      Ppl who are not emotionally stable, desperate and abused?

      If this were a “free site” … that would be one thing.

      Snake-oil sales ppl?

      Everyone is an “expert” today.

      When ppl are in shock … They don’t see the “wizards”….

      They want love and comfort.

      How do ppl turn their “affair”
      Into a money generating business?

      Like all the fake “gurus”‘who charge money…. your judgement day will come.

      It is one thing to write a book.

      It is another to commercialize and capitalize off the backs of helpless ppl?

      “If you become a higher level member … you’ll get all the answers and your life will be better”?

      Don’t “SPAM” my account with your trash!

      I feel so badly for the ppl on this forum.

      There are free support groups on the web and in your local neighborhoods.

      These ppl and their “experts”
      Truly believe it is ok to gain money off the backs of desperate ppl.

      They’re sick!

      • Doug

        Helen, You obviously are subscribed to the comments for this particular blog post. Just unsubscribe from it and go away.

    • Rachel

      Hey Helen,
      Don’t feel badly for people on this forum. We chose to be here.
      I think it is a good idea if you delete this site from your computer, that way you won’t be so upset.
      People come and go on this site and I feel it is time for you to go.
      Have a good day.

    • Helen

      Nice try Doug! Many have awakened to who you and “Lunda” are!

      I will now “unsubscribe” AGAIN!

      Stop bugging me. And may you both get the Karma …. along with the gurus you prop up to sell your

      Ridiculous solutions!

      Have you checked out the “net-worth” of “experts” lately?

      Why not be more ethical … Like Russell Brand and the like …. And others … THEY DO NOT CHARGE!

      Make your money off of “Google and you-tube”….

      Not sales pitching “Higher-Learning” of your desperate followers just pay a small fee?

      What “Godly” ppl you are?

      Doug, you are a secondary narcissist for sure …. “Wolf in Sheeps Clothing” ….

      and Linda has that within her two …

      Otherwise she … Not you …

      would be capitalizing off of desperate ppl!

      Your “support site” would make money the ethical way …

      Not by luring desperate ppl in and then promising them “the ring” of knowledge and saving their desperate lives for a fee ….

      You “self-help” people are parasites!

      Once again …. Stop SPAMMING ME!

    • Helen

      I love all your fake Internet Plants … Anyone with a technical mind can check your “ISP” and see where the posts are coming from!

      You are a joke and the ppl defending you are coming from your “ISP” on your conputer! Lol!

      • Doug

        Yes Helen, I have nothing better to do than sit here and make up fake comments. You don’t know what you’re talking about and you are a pathetic, mean, bitter, angry person who for a so-called professional/author has an incredible amount of time on her hands to flame this site and spew venomous drivel. Get a life! Oh, and maybe you should check all of your other email addresses that you subscribed to comments with 3 years ago, unsubscribe and go away.

    • Helen

      Quick “delete”!

    • Blue

      Whoa!! ‘Helen’ sure has anger-bitterness issues and seems directed at everyone. It seems she just can’t stand that someone would want to try and save their family and that we’re all idiots- that no one deserves a second chance or to be forgiven-ever. She doesn’t know any of our lives or why we choose to try and work through things like we vowed (or promised) to do. Her ego transcends forgiveness. ( believe me, it’s my own ego that stagnates me sometimes)

      I do believe when a person starts cheating they become narcissistic, some already were. Can it be remedied? Each and every story and person is different. But dammit- I’m going to try and keep the vow ‘I’ made- for better and for worse. If I didn’t see a change in my CH I would have left- Full Stop! I don’t want to live my life with someone who doesn’t love me and respect me the way I need-even if it means being alone and being able to do whatever I want- whenever I want- lol. I love my family and children so deeply that I chose the harder path of staying and trying. I told my teen children that their dad and I were going to counseling because we need help in our marriage- didn’t tell them about the cheating. I hope this shows them to try and fix what is broken especially if it means something to you. It’s been a dark and stormy road at times and if I’m not happy with events that happen in the future I know I have tried, that I have free will and I can leave-but I will do nothing in haste. I wanted to get to a place where I’m not angry and bitter so if I were to leave I could be amicable for the sake of our children.

      #2- There are a gazillion sites out there (paid and not) and I choose- out of my own free will to come here. No one put a gun to my head and I am not a plant! and if anyone has been here as long as me, you would know and see how each of the participants have evolved in their healing- there is no way Doug could pull off each personality’s evolution. (nothing personal Doug you’re the computer geek)

      #3- I think because there is an extensive amount of time building and monitoring a site that it has to have some monetary payback so he can help support his family- duh! or else why would they do it after a certain amount of time? I appreciate that I can come here after years and talk with participants who I feel I’m getting to know. Read articles pertaining to my situation. Feel for people who are new to the situation and know how far I’ve come. It’s just comfortable for me here, like I’m with friends.

      So I wonder who ‘Helen’ thinks the plants are? and more importantly why does Linda have to still teach school if she’s so damn rich off this site? and where’s their fancy vacations?! To tell you the truth I hope they are successful and keep this site going for future people too. I bet ‘one’ of my misguided marriage counselors made more money off me in one visit than it cost to join here- and I can come here when I want and need and for as long as I want and it’s just embarrassing to tell my story and woes to anyone who knows me. I’ll shut up now. Peace and Good Luck!

    • Helen

      Hi Linda! “BLUE”!

      When you market with testimonials as to how your “paid” websites “saves” ppl …

      It is unethical!

      Angry! Yes!

      1. You keep spamming me.

      2. You prey on helpless ppl

      3. You’ve capitalized on your affair?

      4. The American public is awakening to gurus and experts that “charge”.

      5. Ppl that come to this website are not in the right frames of mind… So selling or “up-selling” is immoral!

      6. Google “self help gurus and New Age freaks” …. the are dirty liars of what they really are. They have been unmasked and make billions off of desperate ppl’s backs …. just like you’re trying to do and have …

      To include the alliances you’ve made with your “other marriage experts”!!!!!

      7. You are being unmasked. And you don’t like it!!!

      You can’t hide your ISP! And I will post it if you do not unsubscribe me.

      I am hella angry that you both have become predators like the rest of the “self helpers”!

      I don’t like seeing innocent ppl being taken advantage of when they’re so hurt inside!!!!

      That is what you are doing!

      You are sick and you probably can’t see it. But I am sure, if you don’t delete my comments or let this one roll on to the thread …

      Ppl will understand why I am mad!



    • Blue

      Uh….did you just call me Linda, Helen? or were you addressing both of us?

      If you were (disregard if you weren’t), I assure you that I am not Linda, but Blue and agree that Linda and I (Blue) share many similarities in what we’ve gone through- mostly scared sh*tless that our families were splitting apart in a seedy scarey way: read: downright cheated on and lied to by the kings of our castles. (that would make us queens Linda and no one can take that away from us-with or without a king)

      If you think I, Blue am a plant, the only way to prove it is actually giving you my personal details, in which I would fear because you seem slightly paranoid and downright controlling and abusive. I’ve got enough of those people in my life. Helen if you think I am a plant, I’d like to know if anyone else in your life finds you argumentative?

      But, in saying all this, I suppose balance in life is to have some people questioning the ethics of others, well, helps balance things. Just sayin’ Thank goodness doctor’s make a bit of money practicing healthcare or my son and daughter would both be dead-literally! Yes doctor’s make a living off of a persons actual life and death. I’ll pay to keep my child alive!! Linda and Doug started this website for FREE, to work with others in the same sorrow- and I needed this site, so did others!!!!!!!!! We could vent, discuss, support each other, learn. This site was here when I had no one else that I wanted to burden with my ptsd. They’ve researched what’s out there, put it here for us and any one who wants to discuss it can. I feel I have a place here, like a best friend even if I don’t comment often.

      So, where do you suggest I go Helen, that makes me feel safe? Therapists and counselors are very expensive for my budget, not to mention all are not competent, which can cost 50 times more than this site. Helen, where would you like people like me who need to talk to others in a similar situation? Do you understand I don’t want to burden others in my life with my situation? Here I can. I’ve been around the web but it is here that I want to be- my free will. I appreciate that this site is here. I”M NOT A PLANT!!! Linda’s probably at work right now-teaching-it’s my day off- I am here on web- and no way Doug wrote this- I mean, it’s obviously written by a woman. And if I’m a plant, where’s my paycheque Doug? lol.

      PS- What New York Best Seller book did you write, Helen? Did you make any money or did you donate it to charity?

      btw- What I do with my hard earned money is my business. If I want to pay to be on here, I have a right to do so. It my proverbial therapy and friend.

      • Strengthrequired

        Blue, at least you were called Linda, I was called Doug, I didn’t realise a grew an extra body part. Lol.
        Sorry Doug, too for “Lunda ” not “Linda” coming up, appears that was my fault. By no means was that a deliberate.

        Blue, I agree with what you wrote, I come here to be with others that understand my situation, and maybe be of help to someone new that finds there way here, I don’t always comment either, but I don’t want to be dumping my problems on people in my real life either, so this place is where I come to get things off of my chest.

    • Redemption

      Helen: Your words come across as “dangerous rants”, sound obsessive and uneducated, and I believe you are a dangerous person with the mind set displayed here. Do as Doug advocated – simply leave!

    • PA

      So Doug – when will you ever confess that you actually did have a sexual affair and the ’emotional’ tag is just bogus so your wife doesn’t ditch you?

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