affair limbo

This is the latest installment of our ‘You Decide’ series where you will provide your opinion on a fictional affair scenario. In this particular scenario, Brandy is blindsided by Mark’s affair and is unsure is she should divorce him or not.

Mark and Brandy have been together for twenty years. They have three children: one at home and two in college.

Brandy honestly believed that her marriage of twenty years was great. In fact, she believed that she and Mark were the exception to the rule because neither of them were capable of having an affair. Even their friends said so. As other couples divorced around them, friends and family reiterated: “That will never happen to Mark and Brandy.” After all, Mark and Brandy had all the same hobbies and both sponsored volunteer groups at their church.

As you can imagine, Brandy was overcome with absolute shock the day that she found Mark and his female coworker naked inside Mark and Brandy’s home. Brandy immediately kicked Mark out and threw his clothes on the porch. She refused to take his calls or answer his emails and she began interviewing several divorce attorneys.

All the while, Mark left notes on Brandy’s car begging to come home. He explained his coworker never meant anything to him and that he wanted a chance of rebuilding his marriage and his family. Brandy is unsure if she should talk to Mark –  let alone try to rebuild.

What do you think? You decide.



    15 replies to "Darling You’ve Got to Let Me Know: Should I stay or should I go? – You Decide"

    • TheFirstWife

      I think that for so many of us here on this blog there would be two answers – possibly one answer before our cheating spouse’s affair and perhaps a different response after becoming the betrayed spouse.

      I can identify with the wife – I too thought we had a good marriage. We had common interests, good kids and worked as a team. Blind sided by the affair accurately describes it.

      What I learned from this experience is that the cheater follows a predictable path once the affair is known to the betrayed spouse. I think more damage is done during that period as well b/c of the actions of the cheater. The continued lying. The “I don’t remember” responses. Hearing “I did not love her/him”.

      My H refused counseling during this whole ordeal until 2 years later.

      He tried hard to fix the mess but oftentimes only made it worse. Like not honoring a request I made or not thinking that going on a business trip with a young female co-worker should have been something he told me upfront (she was not his AP and there was nothing going on but it is the principle).

      In any event my point is that I set boundaries, made my expectations known and it was still an uphill battle getting what I wanted. It caused tremendous fights and arguments because for once I refused to back down. I was a doormat for too long and it was going to change.

      And since he wasn’t used to it – he redisted the change in dynamics of our relationship.

      It has been a rough 4 years at times. But along the way there were glimmers of Hope. I could see he was trying and still trying. Every day. Even now.

      So I don’t have an opinion for this wife. I think that only she knows if she can stay in the marriage. Only she knows if her H can do the work to rebound from this affair. She needs to determine if this is something she can live with.

      Looking back in hindsight I should have left when I found out my H was lying about aspects of the affair. About 2 months after DDay2. When I was devastated yet again after finding out he started the affair, not the OW like I was led to believe. But had I made that decision I would have missed out on his change and commitment to me/us. But it was a long tough journey.

    • Hopefull

      I think this is something each person needs to decide. It was honestly my first decision I felt I had to make if I was willing to stay and wanted to try to salvage our marriage. I had no idea what would all come out or even what I needed to do. My husband has since told me he was scared to death since he had lived his life one way basically one big lie for over 10 years. He has since told me he committed to giving his best efforts for 6 months and see where things were. He says he advises that on all major thing. You really have to give it a long period of time whether it be changing eating or exercise habits even. He said it was hard at times. He had lived his entire life as a selfish person and had to start thinking of others. I think the harder decisions come down the line once working through the initial phases and the early pain. The real life settles in and I personally feel like I question everything more than ever now. I want to use my time in the most valuable way. I do not want to waste my time with someone or something that is not worth it.

    • Puzzled

      This is a tough one but it’s an individual decision for each person. Just like TFW, I was completely blindsided by my wife. We had been married 21 years and I had no idea we had any “issues”. But, just as all betrayed spouses, I found out our issues all stemmed from her affair. I decided to fight for my marriage and not give in to my wife’s bitter treatment. Hopefully it will be worth it in the end.

      • TheFirstWife

        Puzzled. It has been worth it for us but it has been a long uphill battle for a number of reasons.

        My H knew he had to change but it took time. People are resistant to change.

        He tried hard to make amends but made all the “cheater mistakes”. Continuing to lie was perhaps the biggest one.

        His realization of the damage he did to me and our marriage. Facing the guilt is not easy for him.

        I know this path is not for everyone. I used to believe if my H cheated we would be divorced ASAP. But my very good therapist would say not every marriage with infidelity has to end and if two people really want the marriage, it can be repaired and rebound.

        We were lucky we survived. Puzzled I hope you do too.

    • Shifting Impressions

      I think that many BSs go into shock on d-day. Especially if they thought the marriage was good and infidelity was not a possibility. One doesn’t make great descions when they are in shock.

      I have no problem with Brandy kicking her husband out….but I believe it’s a mistake to not have a conversation about what happened. Whether just the two of them talking or in a counselor’s office.

      The shock doesn’t exactly wear off overnight either…….many of us are totally shattered. Again not the best time to make these huge decisions which will impact the whole family.

      I get where she’s at….d-day for me was about two weeks before our fortieth wedding anniversary…talk about shock. Although my gut was telling me something was seriously wrong I just thought he would never do that to me.

      The day I stumbled on the incriminating e-mails….I called him at work, letting him know what I found. The phone went silent and he said he was coming straight home. He told me on that ride home he has no idea what he would find…..would he find his clothes on the front porch, just like Mark did.

      In the end whether Brandy decides to work on the marriage or leave the marriage….there is a process that needs to happen. Not talking just might force a decision that she is not in the right state of mind, to make.

    • Tabs

      My mom asked me to wait six months or so, before making my decision. I believe she understood the need to first get over the shock. I ended up not leaving the marriage. I do wonder, however, what if I did divorce. What would life be like now? For me, Dday was over 6 years ago. But, I still clearly recall the pain,anguish, and bull shit. (pardon my French) There are days when I question whether I made the right decision. And, in the back of my head, I know I can still get divorced.

      • Jodie

        I know the feeling. It has been 3 1/2 years since the husband of a woman that my husband worked with called and said he found inappropriate emails between his wife and my husband. It took 3 years of me becoming a pretty good investigator to find out the entire truth of this affair. 3 years of cover ups and lies. And still my husband was not the one that told me the truth. It was the other woman’s guilt that finally gave in. The affair ended 3 years ago but the lies go on. Not a day that goes by that I don think about what this man( my husband) has put me through. If him cheating wasn’t enough, my 67 year old dad was dying of cancer at the time. The stress caused me to lose 20 lbs putting me at 105lbs. I looked like a skeleton. Then having him tell me how much he loves me and how sorry he is but still hiding from me. My head is still spinning. 26 years of my life wasted. I think everyday of my life about divorce. Not a day goes by without me reciting in my head the emails that I read. You can’t love someone if your having your mistress hold your wife down while you stab her in the he back repeatedly. That’s how I still feel today, the ultimate betrayal.

    • theresa

      I “never walked into this scene. I can not imagine ever being to able to not see that picture.
      I think Brandy should give herself some time. Time for herself to evaluate whether this was her line in the sand, or would she be able to bury that picture and try to find something worth saving.

      Is there anything he could say, right now, to justify his actions? Can she trust anything he would say.? Anything at all, that would give her confidence in a future with him.

      The time she spends on herself helps her to get a measure of control over her emotions. This is essential in order to make realistic and sustainable decisions. She is also in control of the logistics of their interactions, (eg he answers her questions or she allows him to tell his story.)

      Something that strikes me is the fact that they were in her home, a home with children. In addition, I would come to the assumption that this is not the first liaison between them. It would also say to me that he has no regard for the other inhabitants of the home.
      If there was a list that ranked the level of aggregousness of the activity, (at work, in the car, her place, hotel or in my home, in my bed), this is at the top of the list.
      Allowing him an audience will also open her up to another painful assault on her heart.
      I don’t know what I would do

    • theresa

      Hi Doug, could you delete the post with the numbers on the bottom. Is there a way to edit a reply after it’s posted?

      • Doug

        Only an admin can edit a comment after it’s posted, so I took care of it for you, Theresa.

    • Puzzled

      I think a critical point has been made by several already. Brandy is in shock from this. As any betrayed spouse can say, it’s definitely overwhelming and mind-numbing. I know, unfortunately, from experience that your mind is simply spinning and your emotions are completely thrown into the abyss. The challenge is not letting it overwhelm you and keep you from making sound decisions. This is not an easy task either when you are seething with anger, sadness, pain, loss, confusion, outrage, despair, rejection, and countless other emotions. But, if Brandy wants her marriage to survive, she needs to communicate with Mark. She needs set boundaries and demand that he adheres to what she needs. Counseling would be helpful for both of them and individually. That’s an area where my wife & I failed. She quit couples counseling and asked me to quit individual counseling so “we” could work on “us”. Reality was that the therapist had peeled back her layers and was about to expose her. However, we have continued to work on us every day and we are moving in the right direction. Brandy needs a chance to vent and a safe place to do so.

    • Joey

      This is a really tough one. I caught my ex with her AP in my bed, and that just never leaves your mind. But this was after two years of trying, multiple D-Days and false reconciliations. I think it’s at least good to kick him out, at least for a little bit, so she can think clearly with no distractions. It’s always good to consult a lawyer about her options, but I agree that 6 months is a good time-frame to see if he is serious. She has children to think about in all of this, and that makes it harder to walk away. I don’t have children, so it was easier to make the decision to finally walk. Not sure why it took me two years. Doug – you probably wonder why as well 😉 since you know my story so well ha.

      • TheFirstWife

        Joey. I hope in those two years you felt you did all you could to try to make your relationship work. In the end, however, you left because you knew it could not work.

        I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I left after DDay2 – which was my plan.

        I would have endured much less drama and setbacks and stress.

        But yet 4 years later things are better and he has changed and he is different. Yes it was a tough 4 years.

        But I still admire the guy who was in this blog who left hiscwife 48 hours after finding out about her affair. She continued to lie and that was a deal breaker. I guess he knew it would not get better.

        He made the right choice for himself.

    • Bor

      The best decision is to test him with his resolve. Janis spring talks about high cost and low cost behaviors. If I would have told my wife to do these high cost behaviors. Have an attorney draft up a agreement that if he goes back to the ap he forfeits his right to any compensation in the divorce. Or he agrees to leave his place of work immediately. Tell his boss and hr and have those kinds of conversations. Rat himself out to others and get professional help if he drops out of counseling. Hard consequences follow. Strong boundaries will test his resolve at this point. Where if she lets him back he will think she is not strong enough and can do what he wants or continue the affair with secrecy and she cannot give any consequence

    • Blindsided

      Brandy has to decide what to do. I know the shock of finding your husband cheating, although not this way. Her reaction perfectly normal. She’s got all the cards right now and she needs to play them her way. Time away for her cs is just what he needs. She needs to gather herself up, go to counseling for some guidance. I was floored when my counselor said “it’s not about you.” Because we think it IS all about us. So I think Brandy should do what she feels best for her. We the bs think we have no power but truth is we have all the power. Think of it this way, we’ve already had the worst experience of our lives. So stand up, do what you need for YOU. The cheating was not about us, but going forward IT IS ALL ABOUT US. Remember there was life before them and there will be life after them. My husband and I are still together in case I sound like a cold hearted bitch. Lol. I learned I was stronger than I ever imagined possible. My heart goes out to all the betrayed out there. Stay strong and know you are not alone.

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