Staying after cheating – This article delves into some of the reasons people stay in marriages after they have discovered their spouse’s affair.

staying after cheating

By Sarah P.

(This was originally posted on 10/11/2016 and updated on 9/1/2020)

Doug suggested an interesting post topic for this week. The post was inspired by his recent observations about the presidential race taking more of an even more personal turn. Recently Donald Trump has been in the news because of more inflammatory marks toward Hillary Clinton. (Surprise, surprise.) His recent attack has focused on Hillary’s decision to stay in her marriage after Bill Clinton’s multiple, public affairs.

Doug recommended that I write a post examining the reasons people stay in marriages after affairs. Now, the intention of this post is not to be political or to take political sides. The reason Doug recommended this post is because both Trump and Hillary have been involved in affairs, with one being the wayward spouse and the other being the betrayed spouse.

The interesting thing about Hillary is that she is a symbol for many educated, professional women and she has lived the dichotomy that many face between being a wife and mother and being a professional woman. But, she has also faced what around 70% of women face— living through the utter destruction of hearth and home caused by an unfaithful spouse.  To make matters worse, Hillary’s professional and personal life is fodder for numerous gossip magazines.

Hillary might be the next President and if that were to happen, Bill would be the first “First Husband.” She will be the former “First Wife” who now calls all the shots as President. But, the most interesting part is that she will be the first President who has decided to stay with her adulterous spouse.

Of course, Trump is no better. It is the ultimate irony when Trump calls attention to Bill Clinton’s affair. Trump, just like Bill Clinton, is also a notorious adulterer. But Trump divorced because of his adultery while Bill Clinton still is married to his first wife. So it’s interesting that Trump would attack Hillary for staying with her husband since Trump is guilty of the same indiscretions as Bill Clinton. In this way, adultery has been brought into the presidential race and is being used by Trump as a personal attack on Hillary.  

Why Save the Marriage? Why Not Just Be with the Other Person?

But, above all, Hillary Clinton is a wife and a mother and she is a woman who has remained by her husband’s side even though he has had many affairs. I have heard many people ask why she has decided to stay and many believe it is because she wants to be married to a successful man. However, life is not as cut and dry as staying with a successful man or not. If this were the case, Ivanna Trump would have fought hard for Donald Trump because of his financial success.

At the end of the day, Hillary Clinton is a wife and a wife’s reasons for staying can be a million reasons or no reasons at all, depending on the day of the week. Depending on how she feels each day, she can come up with a million reasons for staying while other days she is so exasperated that she can find no reason at all to stay. The same thinking holds true for men who have been betrayed by their wives.

A common thread connects every betrayed spouse, whether they are male or female. Sure, they may grieve differently; they may forgive (or not) on different timelines, they may make different decisions and have different outcomes. Regardless of circumstance, the betrayed are connected by the common experience that has broken their lives wide open: infidelity.

For this article, I will discuss some of the reasons people stay in marriages after they have discovered their spouse’s affair. I have scoured the Internet discussion boards for personal comments from individuals who have stayed in their marriage. All comments are by women and have been addended and names and identifying details have been changed. I had a difficult time tracking down comments by male betrayed spouses, but I believe the thoughts of the female commenters and the reasons for staying apply equally to men.


Staying after Cheating – Reason #1: Momentum

Angela says, “When I found out that my husband was cheating on me when I was pregnant with our second child, I was devastated. I went and checked into a hotel and left my wedding ring for him to find at home, along with a stack of torn up photos. For the sake of our son and our baby on the way, I agreed to go to couples counseling and eventually decided to stay and make it work. If I am being honest, I don’t know if I would have made the same choice if I hadn’t been pregnant at the time. I just couldn’t imagine being a single mom with a toddler and an infant. It has been several years now and we are basically back in a good groove but I don’t know if I will ever 100 percent trust him again.”

It is obvious in Angela’s case that she is being carried away by the momentum of the relationship. Angela had history in the relationship and had a second child on the way. She did not want to change direction and become a single mom. It appears that she and her husband have worked it through, but trust will always suffer. As I have said before, when your spouse had had an affair, a wayward spouse must earn your trust back. A wayward spouse can never demand trust and instead must engage in behaviors that are trustworthy.

Reason #2: Wanting to Maintain a Two Parent Home

Brianna says, “My husband cheated on me in late 2003, and we separated for several years. For some of those years of separation, however, we lived together. We eventually got back together and worked on our marriage for about a year. After that, we tried to have a baby but five months into my pregnancy, I found out he was cheating again. We separated again, and as it got close to my due date, he asked if he could stay at the house for “at least a week” after the baby was born. The week has turned into two years — he is still sleeping on my sofa with no plans to leave. We are not romantically involved, although outwardly we appear to be a family and only people who are in my everyday life know about the situation. My husband is not a bad person, he just makes bad choices, which means he’s not the right partner for me. But, he can still be a good father and it’s not my place to keep my child’s father from him.”

Brianna’s choice is based on wanting to maintain a two-parent home, which is admirable. But, it must be noted that she is able to stay in the situation because she chooses not to hold her husband accountable for his affairs. She has given up hope for her marriage, but her marriage is not as important as her husband being a father to their son.

Reason 3: Following the Opinions of Others

Vicky says, “We have three kids and were together for 10 years. After my husband cheated the first time, I stayed because everyone told me I had to forgive him. Even the marriage counselor. And, for the most part, everyone has to forgive at some point. I truly believe there are unforgivables in a marriage. And infidelity is an unforgivable. You need to tear it all down and build it back up.” 

This betrayed spouse got caught up in other people’s opinions about what she should do. It’s apparent that she felt that her husband never had to do the work but that it was up to her. Many people rely on the opinions and beliefs of others for guidance. But, I believe that each of us must listen to our intuition when making a decision.

Reason 4: Love

I believe that love is also a huge contributor to why people stay. It is hard to undo all of those feelings of love that have been built on shared experience.

Michal Tziyon, a Clinical Social Worker says, “Many women scorned hate to admit it, but the immense pain and betrayal they feel is rooted in true feelings of love for their husbands, a feeling that survives even the greatest violation. Many women realize that the connection that brought the couple together in the first place is still there. Love may be tangled in feelings of anger and betrayal, yet with work and effort there is potential to work through the feelings and reconnect.” (1)

Love is all-encompassing and permeates every fiber of our being. When we love our spouse, it becomes very difficult to undo the feelings of love that have been built up over many years. The more history a couple has together, the stronger the feelings of love. Even the most horrendous actions cannot undo the love that some spouses feel for his or her wayward spouse. Even if a couple were to divorce over infidelity, it may take many years for the love to dissolve. In some cases, the love is so strong, it will always remain, even after divorce and even after death.

See also  Are You Really Ready for Divorce?

hand-in-handReason #5: The Big Picture

Obviously, each marriage has up and downs. If you look at the big picture, perhaps the marriage that has been built is more valuable than the infidelity. That is, perhaps the good outweighs the bad. After all, the good years that were present don’t just disappear because of infidelity. All of the good things happened along with the bad things. Sometimes the good things outweigh the bad in the relationship. If the wayward spouse actually changes, there is often no reason to leave.

Therapist Michal Tziyon adds, “Even with emotional issues between couples, many manage to maintain a “functional dysfunction.” The practical and material aspects of life together remain intact and strong. Children are raised lovingly, careers flourish, and future goals are set. The couple share similar values, work hard, and are devoted to their children. Both share a vision of what constitutes a successful life, an aspect of which is an intact family. The pain they would cause their children and themselves by separating stops many women from leaving. The threat of losing the most cherished aspects of their lives—a shared family life and home—forces women to reconsider walking out the door.” (1)

Reason #6: Trauma Bonding

Janice says, “I have always had a gut feeling that my husband continues to cheat on me. We have been married for 12 years and before getting married he had another side girlfriend. Supposedly he stopped being with her to marry me. Well thus woman has managed to be in our lives ever since we got married. My husband and I have sex every three to six months because he claims he has low testosterone, but recently I found condoms in his room in a hidden drawer almost impossible to find. I am so upset feeling betrayed over and over that I cannot even speak to him and confront him. He has been abusive during both my pregnancies. I gave him money for the down payment on our house but he didn’t put me on the title. I trusted him and hoped he would change.

This story has a darker aspect to it. Janice’s story describes a woman who is in an abusive relationship. She mentioned that her husband was abusive during both pregnancies, but I would also assert him keeping the other woman in his life, even before they were married and continuing with the other woman after marriage is also abusive. It’s an abuse of trust, an abuse of love between two people, and a way to psychologically destroy his wife. This is not the typical affair since the other woman was always there and will always be there. Often abuse victims have such a loss of self and they begin to hope that their abuser can change.

Trauma Bonding: Why It’s So Hard to Let Go After an Affair

In my article on trauma bonds, I discussed at length what happens to someone when they are in an abusive relationship. They develop what is termed Stockholm’s Syndrome because of the trauma bond and because of the imbalance of power and because of the way the situation unfolds. This creates cognitive dissonance and cognitive dissonance along with the trauma bond is a powerful combination.

Dr. Joseph Carver, PhD, explains: “The combination of “Stockholm Syndrome” and “cognitive dissonance” produces a victim who firmly believes the relationship is not only acceptable, but also desperately needed for their survival. The victim feels they would mentally collapse if the relationship ended. In long-term relationships, the victims have invested everything and placed “all their eggs in one basket”. The relationship now decides their level of self-esteem, self-worth, and emotional health. Importantly, both Stockholm Syndrome and cognitive dissonance develop on an involuntary basis. The victim does not purposely invent this attitude. Both develop as an attempt to exist and survive in a threatening and controlling environment and relationship. What might have began as a normal relationship has turned into a controlling and abusive situation. They [the victim] are trying to survive. Their personality is developing the feelings and thoughts needed to survive the situation and lower their emotional and physical risks. All of us have developed attitudes and feelings that help us accept and survive situations. We have these attitudes/feelings about our jobs, our community, and other aspects of our life. As we have found throughout history, the more dysfunctional the situation, the more dysfunctional our adaptation and thoughts to survive. The victim [of an abuser] is engaged in an attempt to survive and make a relationship work.” (2)

When a trauma bond occurs, the victim of the trauma bond cannot leave the relationship easily. To leave would feel like the victim would be ending his or her life. I want to stress again that feeling this way is involuntary. A victim can no more ‘snap out of it’ than they can change their hair color by thought alone. Trauma bonds explain why some people, who have been abused over and over again, can stay in marriages until one of the people dies. Unfortunately, trauma bonds are more powerful than healthy relationship bonds and that is the biggest tragedy of it all.

staying after cheating

That which is unhealthy is that which binds someone psychologically. It takes concerted effort of the part of the victim as well as tremendous help from family and friends to break free from such a situation. Usually an abusive partner isolates the victim from friends and family by moving thousands of miles away or doing other things that prevent the victim from being readily supported.

There is something even more disturbing. Adult children of abusive parents also have a difficult time breaking contact with an abusive parent because of trauma bonds. An abusive parent, whose adult child married someone kind, might convince their child that his or her spouse is the abuser. The bond between abusive parent and adult child is one that defies logic and it is tragic. The adult child may never fully escape the abuse of a parent in his or her lifetime because the abusive parent has gotten inside the adult child’s head and caused the child to think in ways that are unhealthy.

I will provide an example of this…

There was a lovely woman in her early 60’s who used to live in our neighborhood. I will call her Kristin. Kristin was in a common law marriage with a doctor because the doctor was too afraid to marry her. Specifically, he was terrified of his mother and the wrath of his mother. His mother’s abusive influence colored his entire life and decisions. The abusive mother had only two children and both were sons.

The older brother committed suicide and left a note saying that his mother drove him to do it. He had never married or had children. The mother had driven her own husband to an early grave due to her venomous personality.

The man that Kristin was involved with was the only remaining son and they did not have children either. His mom would call on an almost nightly basis and call him a “loser” or “a piece of shit” or a “good for nothing a**hole.” Each time he would get off the phone, he was in tears.

Kristen said that he was a hulking man of 6’5’ with a gentle soul.  Nonetheless, his abusive mother could break him. Yet, he never cut contact with his abusive mother.

He and Kristin had a common law marriage and she was the one to inherit his assets if he passed away before her. One day he was out fishing on his day off. He never came home and they found his body in his boat. He had died of a heart attack in his early 50’s. Kristin was beside herself with grief because she lost her soulmate.

His mom did not attend his funeral either because he was a ‘good for nothing that never did anything for her.’ The mom died a year later and that was the end of the family line, since neither son had children. This story provides an example of the power of abusive parents and how the children who are often victimized the most will not cut contact. It’s a shame.

Of course, roles can be switched and an abusive spouse can also separate a child from his non-abusive parents.

Abuse is a powerful thing and the most troubling thing about it is the fact that it creates powerful bonds. Both male and female spouses stay in abusive marriages because of trauma bonds. 

Reason #7: Confusion 

Yvonne says, “My husband has always been very good about leaving me little notes and buying me the most beautiful cards – if he can’t find a card at one store that he likes, he gets into his car and goes to another store. Then he went through a period, after I learned of the affair, whereby he did not know if he wanted to be married. And now, just one year out from D-day, the little notes, and the cards, the words of love are all but gone. I know he loves me and I love him, yet we aren’t there yet. It is as if we are courting again yet doing so on a much, much slower path. I look at the old cards from him and truly, I feel so perplexed. He will tell me, emphatically, that those words, those cards, that he carefully selected, spoke the truth. To some I realize this is not important, however, for me, it is. So, I cherish those cards, and as perplexed as I am, I know deep in my heart that he meant every word, printed, or written.”

See also  Video: Saying Your Sorry After an Affair

Yvonne is confused by the dichotomy between the straying of her wayward spouse and his loving protestations of affection for her. She is unable to sort through that which is real because her husband is sending mixed signals. This confusion allows Yvonne to hold out hope for her wayward spouse and so she stays in the marriage. 

After Infidelity the Only Thing That is For Certain is Uncertainty

Staying after Cheating – Reason #8: Uncertainty and Feeling in Limbo

This is the longest story yet. Stephanie, the wife is a wealthy hedge fund manager and mother of two discovered her husband’s affair with a coworker in a text message. I am recounting an addended version of her story.

Stephanie began, “Try as I may, I cannot banish from my mind the words I discovered on Ian’s phone four months ago: ‘Miss you, X.’ Only three words, but he had sent them to someone other than me, and they were enough to shatter my contentment, my peace of mind, and the illusion that mine is a happy marriage. I knew instantly – call it woman’s intuition if you like, but from that moment I knew my husband of ten years was having an affair. The sense of betrayal and shock was like a blow to my stomach. It was only by chance that I’d seen the message. Ian had left his mobile face up on the table showing the last text he’d sent. That was the evening of Monday, March 31, this year, and we haven’t made love since. How can I feel close to my husband with the memory of that night still replaying in my head? After I’d read the text, I remember hearing Ian up in the bathroom with our two sons splashing and laughing and sounding so happy. I realized the perfect family I thought I had was simply a sham. Until that moment, I trusted Ian implicitly, never even looking at his mobile, or his e-mail. In 17 years I’d rarely even seen him flirt with another woman. Deep down I’d always been convinced of Ian’s love, just as I knew how much I loved him.” (2)

Stay or go after an affair

Stephanie trusted her wayward spouse so implicitly because he showed a faithful face to her all the while carrying on flirtations or affairs in secret. I hate to say it, but I doubt this was her husband’s first affair. I think her husband was probably adept and wearing two faces—one for her and then his real face, which we kept from her.

She continued, “If anything, I’d believed that having the boys had strengthened rather than weakened the bond between us. We’d always had a healthy sex life – making love about twice a week – and that hadn’t changed. But all that had evaporated the moment I saw the message on Ian’s phone in March. Suddenly, I felt incredibly naive. The recipient’s initials, ‘MK’, stood out. After a relationship as long as ours, I knew Ian’s life inside out and all his friends and contacts. I’d never heard of ‘MK’… confronted Ian immediately, screaming ‘Who is she?’ like some woman from a TV drama, while our sons cowered, weeping in their Spider-Man pajamas. He actually had the nerve to say: ‘You’ve been checking my phone.’ Then he walked out and stayed out for several hours.” (2)

Like many wayward spouses, they don’t like to be caught and throw a temper tantrum in response to being caught. They don’t necessarily feel bad—they just feel bad about being caught.

She continued, “It wasn’t until he came home from work the following day – having done his best to avoid me the next morning in the rush to get the boys to school – that Ian finally admitted that, yes, he was having an affair. Staring at me with a strange kind of defiance, he told me that she was a work colleague. It had been going on for eight months. She was 34 and Ian had been a shoulder to cry on when she broke up with a boyfriend. He had set up a private e-mail account so he could e-mail her. How could he do that? It’s one thing for your partner to get caught up by passion – but another to realize he set out deliberately to deceive you.”

Indeed, that is a painful pill to swallow.

Stephanie added, “When I asked him if he wanted to leave me he would only say: ‘It’s complicated.’ How pathetic was that? After that horrible night of confessions, it took Ian four weeks of coming and going between our home – where he slept in the spare room – and Kate’s flat in London before he finally told me she didn’t want him. In the end he stayed because she’d rejected him. But just when I thought we might see a way through and keep our marriage together, I have become convinced she’s contacted him again. As we were going to bed last Wednesday, I heard Ian’s mobile go off. He took the call. His voice was low – and it didn’t sound businesslike. I asked him who had called, but he just said it was work. He knew I was trying to catch him out and rolled over and turned his back to me. This was my worst fear, ever since he told me that the affair was over. I’d wanted him to be the one to make the decision to end it. But it was her, Kate, his mistress and work colleague, who decided she ‘couldn’t be responsible for taking a father away from his sons’. Now she seems to have changed her mind. I feel helpless, paralyzed by my emotions. I want to make my marriage work for the sake of our children – it’s not their fault their father is so weak – but I keep asking myself what sort of life of misery I would be signing up for. Besides, if she has decided she still wants him, it might not be me making that final decision.”

That’s where Stephanie’s story ends. Through it all, she never found out the identity of Kate and never got a firm decision from her husband. She was left undecided about staying or going and whether or not she had a choice. Stephanie wanted her husband to choose their marriage over Kate and she wanted it to be solely his decision. She was left in a state of limbo trying to figure out if her husband stayed because he wanted to be with her and their children or if he stayed because Kate didn’t want to break up his family.

Even if a man stays because the other woman has dumped him, I do believe that eventually he comes to see the error of his ways. This also holds for women who betrayed their husbands. Women may be dumped by their male lovers and stay in their marriage because of this. But, I believe that many women also have the ability to come to their senses once the affair fog evaporates.

Reason #9: Low Self Esteem 

Anna says, “I have been with my husband for going on 10 years now. He is a very jealous person. I’m unable to hang out with or speak to other men, which is perfectly fine for me, but he speaks to and I believe hangs out with other females and lies about it. I just recently caught him on a website to find females that want strictly sex in our area. I woke up later that night to him in the other room with my tablet on that website. My heart was completely broken. I packed my things and he begged me not to leave. He swore he would never do it again and he was just drunk and stupid. I felt bad for him and thought maybe it was my fault. So I did everything I could to make him feel wanted. I had sex with him 3-4 times a week, told him how attractive I found him, and how much I really appreciate him. Just 3 months later I felt that he was acting really strange. This was so painful because he was my only friend. I mean ONLY friend. I felt extremely depressed. I destroyed myself trying to make him feel better. I used to look in the mirror and see a beautiful, strong woman but now all I see is a pathetic disappointment. While he was in the shower I picked up his phone and started going through it. What I found made me sick to my stomach. He was back on this website. I instantly started putting myself down. I thought how could I be so stupid. Why can’t I just be good enough? I confronted him once more and he repeated the same excuses as before. I am weak. I stayed. Why can’t I leave? I ask myself every single night. I know nothing will change. I know he will never stop. Every time he leaves the room I think he is doing something. I can’t trust him and he makes me feel so low. How do I leave everything I’ve built my life around and start new?”

See also  Emotional Affair Recovery and Forgiving Infidelity

This woman is also in an emotionally abusive situation and it has caused her self-esteem to hit rock bottom. To feels immobilized because of the trauma and uncertainty of the situation. My heart goes out so much to people like Anna because it is very difficult to break free from this type of situation. The same goes for betrayed husbands in these situations. They can also develop low self esteem as a result of their wives affairs and it is difficult to mount the energy to leave.

Reason #10: Because People Are Capable of Change

I don’t want to neglect the most important reason betrayed spouses stay with their partner who cheated. It is because a lot of unfaithful men and women are truly capable of changing. This website if a testament to all of those who have changed and stayed on the straight and narrow. Doug is one of those people and his cheating is the reason this website exists. It’s too bad that Linda has to go through what she went through, but she has used her pain to help thousands of others. Doug has gotten on board and ensures that the website continues to flourish and help others. So, not only did Doug change, he had a complete change of heart that caused him to pursue helping others heal from infidelity.

Another Perspective About Infidelity

Peadar de Burca, a writer who came from a family of unfaithful men, set out to study what caused men to be unfaithful. Peadar is a faithful husband and father and has always been sickened by watching different relative’s families dissolve because of adultery. He completed a project where he interviewed in detail 250 different men to try to answer the question why men cheat and why wives stay. Here is what Peadar found in his research:

“I come from a long line of cheating men. Several of my uncles were womanisers and it destroyed their families. Their wives were always at loggerheads with them and their children grew up insecure. So five years ago I embarked on my quest to find out what makes men cheat. After meeting hundreds of adulterers, I’m convinced they cheat because they can get away with it. I talked to more than 250 men from all walks of life – doctors, dentists, lawyers, bankers, footballers, teachers and the odd millionaire. I also talked to 60 betrayed women. All except three have stuck with their cheating husbands. They were at least as attractive as the mistresses and a great deal more intelligent. But they let their men walk all over them.” (4)

But is it really that simple— is it really a matter of wives allowing husbands to walk all over them? I don’t think so. 

staying after infidelity

Peadar continues, “If one thing’s certain, affairs don’t make you happy. Once I’d dug beneath the boasting and bravado, I was stunned by just how insecure most of these love cheats were. Most admitted they weren’t even driven by sex. They just wanted something to fill their empty lives… I wonder if they’re capable of love — I’m not sure they even love themselves, so how can they love their wives?” (4)

I think Peadar hits the nail on the head. If someone who is unfaithful is not capable of loving themselves, how can that person love another? I believe this holds true for both female and male cheaters. I believe that insecurity and inability to love drives them. So what is the motivation?

“The simple truth is that most cheats are cowards. They are not brave enough to admit there might be problems in their relationship. Instead, they embark on affairs that involve secrecy. And if their wife forgives them, they believe they’ve got carte blanche to carry on. Having spent years trailing serial philanderers, I can’t believe why more women don’t read them the riot act. By and large, these men had fantastically attractive women at home who were prepared to be treated like dirt. And that’s the problem. If men think they can get away with cheating, they will. The secret to keeping your man faithful couldn’t be simpler: be confident, demand attention and make it clear he is lucky to have you and won’t get a second chance.” (4)

I believe Peadar is right when he talks about a wayward spouse’s insecurity and lack of self-esteem. But, I do not agree with him when he says that being confident and strong can prevent a person from cheating. He fails to realize that when people cheat, whether they are men or women, they do it because of something inside of themselves. A wayward spouse has to be responsible for his or her bad behaviors.

For example, a woman can ‘let herself go’ or do a myriad of things that a man does not like. But he has a choice in his response to the situation. On the flipside, a man can control money, be obsessed with work and many other things. But, that does not give a wife permission to cheat on him. She too has a choice in the matter. She, the wayward spouse, may not like the situation, but she needs to take ownership of her reaction to the situation.

I am not a fan of those who say that the betrayed spouse could have done something to prevent the wayward spouse from cheating. Believing that a betrayed spouse can stop a wayward spouse from cheating is erroneous thinking because it implies that we can change others. In the big picture, if we change our behavior, others change around us, but we cannot predict how others change. Their actions and reactions to our change are up to them.

Marriage Crisis After D-Day: You Have the Power of Choice and That Is Everything

In summary

All of the above reasons contribute to ambivalence. Where there is ambivalence, there is no clear path to take. Why is that? There is no clear path to take because ambivalence causes simultaneous but contradictory feelings toward a wayward spouse.

The betrayed spouse can find herself/himself loving and hating him/her at the same time, pulling their spouse in and pushing him/her away at the same time, and wanting to kick him/her out of the house and make him/her stay at the same time. But these are only a few of the contradictory feelings through which a betrayed spouse must sort. None of the work is easy and none of the work is clear-cut. A betrayed spouse has a million reasons to stay and a million reasons to leave his or her marriage. All of the reasons are in front of a betrayed spouse and it can be overwhelming to process. Unless there is a big reason, such as physical abuse, then there is not clear-cut reason.

But, there is an additional layer of complexity. Many psychology studies have demonstrated that going through hard times and/or traumas together actually creates a kind of super-glue for a relationship. The trauma of affair recovery can actually make a couple stronger in their marriage than ever before.

What if someone were to leave? Would they be happier?

Other studies have followed divorced people and measured happiness levels in their second of third marriages. After 5 years of marriage to a second or third partner, it has been demonstrated that people are no more happy than they were in their first marriages. When seen in this light, it seems futile to leave the first marriage if there is no long-term happiness pay-off. In the end, what you get is a broken family and no pay off in terms of happiness. It would appear that working on the first marriage is the prudent choice.

Should you stay or should you go?

Well, that is a decision that only you can make. If you suffer from extreme emotional or physical abuse, then it would be a good idea to leave for your emotional wellbeing and for your safety. But, if your marriage has positive attributes aside from the affair, then I would personally lean toward trying to work on your marriage. But again, this is your choice and only you know the answer.

If you’re a betrayed spouse who stayed in your marriage, please share the reasons why in the comment section below.

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  1. Tziyon, Michal. After the Affair, Five Reasons Women Stay.  From

2. Carver, Joseph, PhD.  Love and Stockholm Syndrome: The Mystery of Loving an Abuser.  From

3. Campbell, Clare. Should I stay or should I go? One woman’s dilemma after discovering her husband’s affair?  From 

4. Cunningham, Tessa. What EVERY woman needs to know about why men cheat… by a man who spent years talking to hundreds of unfaithful husbands.  From–man-spent-years-talking-hundreds-unfaithful-husbands.html



    378 replies to "Staying After Cheating: Is It the Right Thing to Do?"

    • Sara

      This article hit home for me in many ways. My husband of 36 years is currently having a emotional affair with his old high school flame. This affair has been going strong for 18 months of which I have known about it for 14. He decided to confess it to me, I did not know anything was different until he told me. I have suffered greatly because he remains on the fence about our marriage and going with her. It is complicated by the fact she is married also but very unhappy with her situation. It is her 4th marriage.. I have trauma bonding for sure and I am very unsure of the future because of the situation and the fact he wont stop seeing her. He is afraid to hurt either one of us, yet I am the one he is hurting the most. Our child is grown and on his own so it is not the family situation that keeps us together, I think it is his sense of obligation to me, and the fact that we have been together so long he is afraid to make a change. I do love and hate him at the same time and my self esteem has suffered. I want to kick him out and yet I dont. How do you come to a conclusion when you know the situation cant stop until you yourself work up the courage to change it.

      • TheFirstWife

        Dear Sara.

        I am sorry for your position right now. Please know you deserve better and your H is incapable of making any decisions right now. I know because of my past experiences.

        In the 1990s my H had a 4 year EA. I told him from day 1 this girl was interested in more than being friends. He knew this “friendship” crossed certain boundaries but he would not end it b/c he felt he did nothing wrong. He was not in love w/ her BUT she was in love with him. It finally ended when I exploded in a rage about his disrespect of me and did not speak to him for 2 days. He never apologized or acknowledged any of it.

        Then three years ago he started another EA as part of his mid life crisis. She was much younger (20 years or so). He told me numerous times he didn’t know what he wanted, blah blah blah.

        Early on I saw he was getting ready to divorce me do I started preparing – therapist, financial strategy, divorce mediator lined up. I then confronted him about what he wanted. He Was so scared he said “of course I choose you. I love you”. But his heart wasn’t in it and I knew he lied.

        Over the next 6 months he asked for a divorce 3x. I said yes ok divorce. Clearly you are not happy. Nothing else I can do.

        Within 24 hours he would literally beg me to take him back. I consulted my therapist and we discussed it. I felt he was sincere and honest about us but then a week later he would say “divorce”. The last time I refused to reconsider but due to a death in the family and my emotional state I asked him to stay for the sake of our children.

        What I wish is that I would have cslled the shots sooner. I should have kicked him out in the summer when he first gave me the “I don’t know what I want” routine.

        Once I got my power back everything changed. At least for me. I am in control of my future – with or without him.

        We have been married almost 30 years and together for almost 35.

        Now he fears I will leave him!!!

        I wish I had thrown him to the curb from day1. As long as you continue to wait for your H is as long as you will be in a holding pattern. You can make your own decisions.

        I have a financial plan that all my $ is mine. He has no claim if we divorce. And I get half of his assets and $. I keep all proceeds from life insurance. I changed the policies to my name so he cannot change a thing.

        I haven’t own life and interests and things I do alone. I started easing out of his life during his affair and in inviting him to planned events. Boy he did not like it at all. Then he would try harder to get more involved w/ me. It would only last a few days until the OW appeared BUT it was working.

        I never cheated on him or went to bars or acted inappropriately but I made sure my social life was fulfilling to me.

        He wanted me more when I was elusive and not crying in his shoulder. It was not easy. It took all my strength. But it made an impact and diffetence.

        I bet if your H thought you would kick him out he would stop the EA.

        I actually told my H one night if you want to be with her, go ahead. But stop lying & sneaking around and be a man and own it. He backed down immediately. It did not stop the affair but it did make him realize I wasn’t going to stand for much more of his nonsense.

        I think the cheaters count on the spouse to curl up into a ball and not know what to do. I think it is in the Cheater’s Manual on page 1.

        If he chooses the 4x loser then you need to make sure you have your finances in order. Because he will soon enough become her fifth ex.

        Why these guys go for the loser OW is beyond me. It is not about looks, money, srx appeal, weight, smarts, career or anything more than they cheat BECAUSE THEY CHOOSE TO CHEAT.

        I told my H based on his last affair I should have divorced him in the late 1990s after his EA ended. Instead I let it drop and never brought it up again until his last OW told me he admitted it to her. So good to know he would tell a complete stranger what he lied about all along.

        Cheaters are liars and cowards. Plain & simple.

        My H sees me in a whole new light. Finally.

        It has been a painful and hard 3 years. He has lied about every aspect of his last affair. I suspect there were others but he won’t come clean & I have no proof. Just a feeling.

        And now he has changed and is trying to do everything in his power to undo the damage.

        I fit into a number of categories on this article as to why I stay. Children is one reason. I love him is another. He made mistakes and he is trying to rectify them all but I just have such mixed emotions on some things.

        Great father. Always treated me well.

        But how can I be in a marriage that I thought was very good and the other partner was ready to leave? He disconnected from me first and then had an affair. He tried to blame me for his affair and he said something I sm not sure I can ever get over

        He accused me of not really loving him when we married. He will say I treated him well over the years we have been together. And????

        So that is why I struggle. I don’t know if I can get past that comment since I have lived him with all my heart and thought I showed him that.

        Please let us know what happens. We have all been down the same path. The being held hostage and waiting for a decision is torture.

        Just know you don’t need to wait for him AND you can make a decision. Any decision you want.

        Just have some $ in the bank. ?

      • TheFirstWife

        Have you consulted a therapist or marriage counselor for yourself?

      • TheFirstWife

        Are you seeing a therapist or marriage counselor?

        • Sara

          I have seen a therapist, worked on myself, checked with a lawyer, and tried to get on with my life. I hold all the financial wisdom, have the retirement accounts and insurance. He just can not give her up and continues to set on the fence. I have tried charging neutral, talking and even moved out for 4 months with no result. When we discuss divorce he says he doesnt want to. My family knows, friends of his know but still he keeps on. He is very protective of her because of her horrible life. She claims to be very religious, converted him to her church,etc. I have read this site for a year now and it has helped alot to know other people have gone thru this pain. Sometimes when I lay in bed crying, reading the blog is the only thing to help me forget and sleep. I know this is not about me and the affair is not my fault. I have worked on myself and I feel I am a better person and could be fine on my own and told him so. He doesnt think I can. I think it is a mid life crisis of some kind but she is not that much younger than me and I am way better looking. I cant find it in my heart to expose them and I dont know why. Am I a coward?

          • TheFirstWife

            Sara. Please do not consider yourself a coward. It appears that you are trying very hard to make some sense of this crazy situation and preserve your marriage.

            I agree with Rachel that this does sound like a midlife crisis. My husband also turned 50 and that is when his last affair began. Like you, I was kept on the fence for almost a year while he tried to figure out what he wanted.

            It doesn’t sound as though your husband is capable of making any decisions. I think you have done everything you can, short of chaining him up, to get this affair to stop.

            From experience, I think many of us here will tell you that we were all powerless to get the affair to stop. While the cheater is in the affair fog, they almost become someone you hardly even recognize.

            I think you are stuck in this fog with him and he cannot see what he is doing. Not only is it wrong but it is selfish for him to continue to carry on this relationship.

            It sounds as though he is counting on you not making any decisions or changes and he likes the status quo. He gets the best of both worlds – both you and the OW. I think it is important to know that you can change the dynamics at anytime.

            While it is admirable to try and keep the marriage together, if you are miserable and crying yourself to sleep on a regular basis, it would appear the only person who is suffering is you. I don’t think if you had a friend in this situation that you would counsel your friend to remain in this limbo state indefinitely.

            It takes a strong person to initiate a change. It takes a brave person to realize that the status quo no longer works for them. It takes a super hero to make that hard decision to leave their marriage because it no longer is a marriage. I think when you have a breakdown in communication, trust, love and a sense of right and wrong towards the person you supposedly love the most, it is an eye-opening experience.

            My husband was lucky that he ended the affair when he did. It literally was the last possible second because I could no longer tolerate his behavior, his lying, his cheating, etc.

            When you get pushed to the brink you may surprise yourself and force him to make a choice to either stay married and be faithful to you or to make a choice to continue to be with the OW.

            If I were you i would start living as though he is no longer a part of your life. Go out, travel, start a hobby, get a job, volunteer, go to church, babysit -anything you can to start living apart from him. This way if it happens you are already prepared to have your own life without him.

            I took up yoga, eat healthy, read, volunteer and work, started my own business that I love and spend time with my family. It all works for me. My husband should feel lucky he is welcome at all after all he has done.

            My wish is that one day all the cheaters of the world would experience firsthand what cheating does to the BS. I don’t think half of the cheaters would be able to withstand the emotional impact.

          • becky716

            My husband was having an emotional affair with a married work colleague. He denied it was anything more than friendship but I could tell he was not being honest. He refused to end his friendship with her and I told him I wouldn’t stick around while he was having an inappropriate relationship with another woman. I filed for divorce after which their affair turned physical (while he was still trying to convince me not to go through with the divorce). She left her husband and children to be with my husband but several days before our divorce was to be final, he begged me not to go through with it and abruptly and completely ended things with her.

            I had no intention of taking him back but that’s what happened and here I am, two years later, on an affair website. Things have been mostly good but when I am triggered – which is RARER and RARER – we fight. I haven’t been on a website like this in over 6 months. All I can say is the heart wants what the heart wants.

      • Rachel

        Is your husband having a mid life crisis? Sounds like he is in that “fog”.
        I am sorry to hear that you are going thru this very difficult situation.
        Your story is very similar to mine. We were married for 25 years and my ex turned 50 and looked up his ex girl friend. The love of his life “soul mate”, blah blah blah.
        Leaving his family to be with her. And she was leaving hers.
        Well, she never left hers and we divorced.
        After he got out of his fog he claimed he didn’t know what he was saying.
        I won’t bore you, but they really have no idea what they are doing. They are having their ego’s stroked and this is the best thing that has ever happened to them.
        Try to understand it’s not you at all. You pick up that self esteem and put it back where it belongs!
        Therapy will help you. You need to think about you. Take care of yourself. I found it helpful talking to a friend as well. And the most help that I received was from this website.
        I never heard of any of this before. The bloggers on this site really helped me understand my situation.
        Please keep us posted on this site. Best of luck.

        • Hopeful


          I am so sorry you are going through this and it is dragging on and you are not seeing changes. It really is so hard. My story is different since my husband was in the 33-43 year old range during his two affairs. Totally an escape and acting out his youth even though he was the one that pushed me to have kids. Really crazy.

          For me therapy was helpful since through those sessions it helped solidify what I needed to say to my husband. It was more of my therapist guiding me through the reconciliation. If you have a therapist who is an expert at working with marital situations especially infidelity and years of experience then they should be able to be a support for you. You seem to be on the right track personally but for me it really was establishing the boundaries that I needed to feel safe and give our marriage a shot. We had been a very independent couple in many ways. So I was just lost trying to figure out what is a boundary and not wanting it to feel like a long list of rules. Through this process I felt more confident and able to challenge my husband which really needed to happen. Without my therapist as a sounding board and guide through it I would have struggled a lot.

          I also agree it sounds like he is in the affair fog. For me my husband had ended the affairs by dday so I was lucky. But when I tell him what he said to me in those first six months after dday he is shocked. We have had some really in depth conversations and he said he was lost for so long at first once he told me he knew he did not want to leave me or get a divorce but he was unsure he could change or he could be the husband I deserve. He was hesitant in his own way. He was trying to protect me and him. It is all a big mess and very hard and confusing for everyone. Pretty early on we established boundaries and some have become habits. And in many cases there are even more boundaries now that we are at 18 months. I have told him now my expectations are elevated. I expect so much more than I did from him on dday.

          And sorry to go on for so long but I thought my husband was fine since he ended his affairs and figured he was past it all. Well once we hit the one year mark and I was really making major progress I saw it start to hit him. I was not expecting that. But he was so busy trying to focus on me that it I guess sort of sank in. I had this vision that the affairs were amazing and great. Otherwise why would someone do all of that for 10 years. Well I see now he was miserable and a total mess. Not that I feel so bad for him but it has given me insight.

          Keep us updated and I would say try therapy again even if is just for you. I would say you need to figure out no contact and the best way to handle that boundary. I am not sure how to advise since we were at a different spot. Our rule was no contact and if either ow contacted him or any other women basically one of their friends he had to show me. We then discussed together if and how to reply. Any contact at all had to be disclosed. Again ours was more clean cut but a good therapist should be able to help you figure out the best way for you to handle your situation. Hang in there!

    • Hopeful

      I too feel like I fall into multiple categories. The primary reason I have stayed to work on our marriage is our kids. And secondary is shared life/experiences and love. Yes ideally I want my kids to grow up as a family. Not at any cost of course. I really was the almost sole parent through the 10+ affair years. My husband was around but primarily only when I needed to go out of town. And many times he fell back on his parents. He always had great reasons primarily work. So he does not have the relationship or bond I have with our kids. He is working on that constantly now.

      I have thought about what happens if I leave him. And exactly as you state I do not necessarily see being with someone else would improve my happiness. My husband has even stated he is worried he has ruined me and that I will not be able to trust anyone else again. I can say I really cannot see not spending every holiday with my kids and even more importantly every single day with them. That would be too much for me at this point. And it is hard to consider being with anyone else.

      In one way this has been easier for me since both of his affairs were over as of dday. But then the length of the affairs even though sporadic is hard. I think about the length of deception and that is almost harder for me to process and accept than the actions. And it all lacked from what he told me any personal connection or passion. And considering these women left him alone without any real follow up seems to support that there was little connection.

      Overall it is just a miserable feeling. I have started to believe that not really anything will make it better or go away. It is something that is part of me forever. I do agree I think this trauma has brought us closer than ever before. But at what cost. I feel like it has taken a part of me I can never get back and replaced it with total sadness. I have always been an independent, outgoing and optimistic person. I never needed or depending on anyone and really still don’t. The difference is I find it hard to see good in people or enjoy most things in life.

    • Sara

      I had a therapist for about 6 months and she did help me become less afraid to state my feelings and to state that I would like for him to stop. It didnt help the situation much. It did push them into hiding the affair more and he purchased a separate phone to try and fool me. I have done many things to move on with my life including going to church, having lunch dates and joining a book club. Unfortunately I cant seem to concentrate on reading right now which was one of my favorite pastimes. I do work full time so that does keep my mind busy at times. I also am an avid gardener and love doing anything herbal. I have had a break through in the last few days when I found out they planned a car ride and talk while I was at work and I saw their texts to each other. It really it me hard and I realize what a doormat I have been and I need to move on. I have decided to concentrate on myself and do things I enjoy and I had a pretty successful weekend doing things for myself. I think it confused him. You are right he wont decide as long as I am his safety net. I know at some point I will say enough is enough and give up but I feel like I have to do all I can and feel good about how I acted and what I tried because unfortunately this man is the live of my life.

      • TheFirstWife

        Sara it is so sad. I feel like I completely understand your broken heart.

        I do believe that he is in a fog. What rational man or woman would be married and playing dates with someone else? That is mind-boggling to witness.

        I think you’re wise to start detaching from him. He may not notice because clearly his actions at this time or very self-centered. However you should continue that pattern and maybe stop doing his laundry, stop picking up his dry cleaning, stop having meals prepared for him, etc.

        He may think that this other woman is what he wants, but when he wakes up one day and realizes what he has done, it will be the beginning of his nightmare.

        I think it is important that the betrayed spouse learn how to function in life while having your heart broken. Because even if you are able to reconcile and remain together, the recovery path is equally difficult and can last for a long time.

        And that is another test of your strength and courage. I wish you the best and hope it starts to improve soon.

        I don’t want to see you continuing to live like this. Please know you deserve better.

      • TheFirstWife

        Sara it is so sad. I feel like I completely understand your broken heart.

        I do believe that he is in a fog. What rational man or woman would be married and playing dates with someone else? That is mind-boggling to witness.

        I think you’re wise to start detaching from him. He may not notice because clearly his actions at this time or very self-centered. However you should continue that pattern and maybe stop doing his laundry, stop picking up his dry cleaning, stop having meals prepared for him, etc.

        He may think that this other woman is what he wants, but when he wakes up one day and realizes what he has done, it will be the beginning of his nightmare.

        I think it is important that the betrayed spouse learn how to function in life while having your heart broken. Because even if you are able to reconcile and remain together, the recovery path is equally difficult and can last for a long time.

        And that is another test of your strength and courage. I wish you the best and hope it starts to improve soon.

        I don’t want to see you continuing to live like this. Please know you deserve better.

      • TheFirstWife

        Sara it is so sad. I feel like I completely understand your broken heart.

        I do believe that he is in a fog. What rational man or woman would be married and playing dates with someone else? That is mind-boggling to witness.

        I think you’re wise to start detaching from him. He may not notice because clearly his actions at this time or very self-centered. However you should continue that pattern and maybe stop doing his laundry, stop picking up his dry cleaning, stop having meals prepared for him, etc.

        He may think that this other woman is what he wants, but when he wakes up one day and realizes what he has done, it will be the beginning of his nightmare.

        I think it is important that the betrayed spouse learn how to function in life while having your heart broken. Because even if you are able to reconcile and remain together, the recovery path is equally difficult and can last for a long time.

        And that is another test of your strength and courage. I wish you the best and hope it starts to improve soon.

        I don’t want to see you continuing to live like this. Please know you deserve better.

    • Sara

      My heart is broken First Wife. I know they are very much in love and connected and they have created this fantasy world in that they feel they will be perfect together. Thru my spying to find out what was going on I have heard too much. Even if he breaks off with her I probably will never be able to forget. I know they have created this but somehow I feel maybe they do have something very special. I have enabled it for too long. I just seem to lack the courage to let go. I want to give them what they want so that they can be together but it really hurts me. I would back off and not do so much for him,but he will take it right to her and lie about how I am being nasty. I cant win in this situation and I am caught in their affair fantasy also.

      • TheFirstWife

        Sara. They think they are in love. Right now it is all so wonderful. They don’t live together. They don’t have families and jobs and children and homes and groceries and bills.

        It is a fantasy. It is not reality. We have all watched our spouses go through this. You’re not alone in having to suffer while your spouse seems to have kicked you to the curb.

        However we all know that relationships that start as affairs very often end up in the toilet. Relationships that start based on lies cannot survive.

        So if you project out to the future and they are together, at some point one of them is going to cheat on the other. There will be suspicions throughout their entire relationship because they will never be able to fully trust each other.

        Signed me up for some of that!

        Based on my experience I do believe standing up to him can benefit you in the long run. If he is in fact going to leave you, it might make you feel better to know that you were not just a doormat to him. I know that my self-esteem definitely improved when I took my power back from my husband.

        Whether you stand up to him and he leaves you or you don’t stand up to him and he leaves you, There can be a difference in how you feel about yourself.

        My therapist used to ask me on a regular basis when things were really rock bottom in my marriage, “what are you holding onto?” He would also ask me if this is the relationship I wanted to be in. Sometimes it is hard to make that difficult decision that you need to leave but it appears as though your husband is being emotionally abusive to you.

        At the point I finally told my husband our marriage was over, I had decided I would rather be alone the rest of my life and happy then to be living with a person who clearly has so little respect.

        Sometimes you need to tell yourself it is OK to be the one to end a marriage. At the very least I think you need to tell yourself it is OK to tell HIM that his behavior is no longer acceptable.

        My husband was very lucky that I did not out him during his affair. I told very few people and most of our good friends still don’t know. He relied on that to turn around and continue his affair. He believed I would never tell outsiders.

        Well the day I finally got fed up I called my parents and siblings and told him we were finished. I was done living a secret life and pretending all is OK.

        There are things that you can do in life to regain control and boost your self-confidence. In this situation I would suggest one of them being a talk with your husband.

        Take the bull by the horns. Do not take any more bulls$%+< from him!!

      • TheFirstWife

        Every time I got fed up with my H’s behavior I would say “go be with her. Just be a man and admit it. Stop sneaking around you are not fooling anyone!”

        And he would get scared and contact did stop for a few months. He did go back to her but that was found 2 and a big secret.

    • Rachel

      Can you set boundaries for your CS? Tell him this is to stop or you will file. It seems like he is treating you like a door mat and this needs to stop.
      I know your heart is breaking and the pain is awful. You don’t deserve this treatment.

    • Hopeful

      Sara, I am so sorry. It is so hard to feel this level of pain. And I understand reading things you can never get out of your mind. And I too understand when you cannot even read. I also agree that it might seem like they are in love and have this amazing relationship but as tfw said they are not living a real life. Reality is very different than having an affair with someone.

      Can you meet with your therapist or a new one and create a plan. Figure out what to say to your husband. I know for me I felt better once I had a plan in place that was for my benefit. It really was what I needed and if that did not happen what next. Having a plan with structure and answers made it easier to confront my husband and lay it all on the line. I did not feel dependent on him. For me a huge aspect was financial. I gave up my career for his and many years my large bonus was used to set up his business. I worked really hard to pay for his graduate school. I am the primary child rearing parent. I did all of this since I thought we were in a partnership and I thought I would get the payback the rest of our life. If I left him it seems unfair that I would lose that benefit and investment. And I cannot go back and get my career back and make up for that earning power or even do that in the town we live in. So those were huge issues for me. My therapist helped me gain comfort with that.

      And my therapist asked me the same thing as tfw said why are you in this marriage and what are you getting from it. At a certain point you will know you have had enough. What does a marriage mean to you and what do you expect from your spouse. I journaled and wrote daily for a long time. Some days it would be lists of questions others days paragraphs. I would go back and look and see patterns. It really directed to me what I wanted and also needed to focus on in our discussions together.

      And in the end however you do it I agree there needs to be a discussion that he needs to stop contact.

    • Sarah P.

      Hello Ladies & Gentlemen,

      I want to ask all of you a question. This is an open ended question, but it is meant to gain personal insight for each of you. Please feel free to respond to this thread with your answers. There are NO WRONG ANSWERS. The question is really about sorting out what you want and need. So here is the question:

      If you could wave a magic wand and suddenly get everything resolved around the affair, what would that look like? Who would your husband or wife be and what would his or her actions be like? What would your life look like? What would he or she do for you in an ideal world?

      Please share your answers if you don’t mind 🙂

      • TheFirstWife

        In response to your question, I have to say that my husband is doing everything humanly possible to try and resolve our situation.

        He’s going to therapy, he is in contact with me more often throughout the day, He calls to let me know what time he will be home and where he is voluntarily, he makes an effort to spend time with me and communicate more effectively.

        What I wish is that it did not take him three years to go to therapy. I wish that he did not need an affair to allow him to have that “George Bailey – it’s a wonderful life moment”.

        I wish he could have stop lying for so long after the affair, not just about the affair but other things.

        I was perfectly happy with our marriage but it is sad to know that the person you love at some point has fallen out of love with you.

        It is sad that his midlife crisis caused him to make some seriously bad choices in his life.

        I continue to hope that one day I can get to a point where all of this is a distant bad dream and we will continue to have a happy and loving marriage. However I wonder if my trust can be 100% Restored and my confidence in this relationship will be back on its firm foundation.

        • Sarah P.

          I like your comparison to your husband and George Bailey. But, remember, George Bailey had to come to the point of suicide to have his moment. George Bailey had to look into the dark abyss before he could even see or appreciate what he had. Sometimes it is life’s trials that actually put people on firm footing. What stinks though is when they have to drag others into it.

          There is no guarantee your trust and confidence in the relationship can be restored. But, as I have said before, your husband will have to go through a process to earn your trust again. It could take awhile and I think you will find an answer in whether or not he is trying. The fact is, he is trying and doing everything in his power to make it right. One day when you feel good about things you will need to take that leap of faith again. Love is always a risk, but your husband seems to have made a real change and based on his current behavior, I think that your marriage will survive– at least on his part. Also, I don’t think he ever wanted the other woman. Even if he said he did, his actions proved otherwise. I am pretty sure he was confusing the affair fog with love.

          I have a another question for you TFW. What were your parents like? Were they dependable? What was the dynamic at home like? What were your assumptions about love before marrying?

          Please know that I am asking these questions to figure out if there are original trigger areas. Everyone has them, including me. One of my trigger areas from my family of origin is when a man is not aggressive in his career or is drifting through life. My dad is a retired professor and always got the highest student evals in his department. But, my dad was never ambitious and always complained that his parents would not allow him to follow the career he wanted, which was to operate freight trains. (Or to be the captain of a sailing crew.) I agree with his parents on that one. In fact, I agreed with his parents on everything and feel myself the luckiest person in the world to have known them. They were fabulous and I love them more than words can express. (Both are gone now.) My dad has a brilliant mind and what a waste it would have been. Anyhow, whenever I would date someone who was not ambitious or who was wasting their potential, I would end the relationship because I would get triggered. I am super-ambitious and wanted a guy who was even more ambitious. My husband is a great match for me. He is not what I would call super-ambitious but he is a very hard worker and puts being responsible above everything else. My dad would get a little self-absorbed and act like a spoiled kid sometimes toward having to work. My mom is the ambitious one. Don’t get me wrong, my dad is the nicest and most gentle soul you could ever meet. I just saw how he stressed us out with his laissez-faire attitude toward work. I made sure I did not repeat it. He still stresses my mom out because they lost almost all of their retirement during the 2008 downturn. Now my husband and I pick up the slack and we are building them a small house soon and paying for it. That way they will be able to live on their social security. (They had lost all of their investments during the downturn.)

          So, what was your family like? How did your dad and mom interact? What were the concerns? What was your expectation of love?

          • TheFirstWife

            Good question about my parents. Married for almost 60 years now and very happy.

            My parents raised me & siblings with not slit of $$. We all worked from an early age and paid our own way (cars, schooling, clothes etc.)

            My parents have a wonderful marriage. No substance issues or affairs or crazy behavior. I get along with my siblings and we love each other and support each other.

            My H basically treated me with love and respect and kindness. except during his affair. Then he was nasty. And mean.

            But he has no addictions or vices. Except for the affair I really had very little complaints.

            My H is funny as is my dad. They are a bit similar in some ways. Both dependable and hard working. My H has always been supportive of all I do – work, my own business, volunteering, etcetera.

            It is sad my family had to watch this but we have all forgiven my H. He called each if my siblings and apologized and was sincere about it.

            I used to think of we divorced my family would still include him as still being a part of the family hahaha

            • TheFirstWife

              I think if I had to say I had a relationship trigger it would be to end up being married or in a relationship with someone who put sports and bars and smoking and drinking as top priorities.

              Comes from someone I dated (emotional and verbal abuse) who had that trait. Every weekend was in a bar, every sports team was backed by a bar, etc.

              Fun maybe at 18/19 but grows old quickly and would not want to spend my life following some softball or baseball loving guy around (or total sports addict).

              My H has none of those traits. We like sports but are not obsessed having to watch every game. Except if my team is in the World Series.

      • Jennet

        I stayed on my marriage because of 51 years of history together also the love I have for my husband. But also my age 68 my financial situation. We are only 9 months since DD things might change as I do nt trust him as I would like to. I think there has been some contact by text which he denies. I am prepared to work on our marriage but I realise it is going to take time jennet

    • Hale

      Sara p – I wish my wh had had the balls to tell me about his fears and insecurities prior to his affair. Instead, he behaved with bravado, fake joy, and a creepy clown smile and tada! The mow showed up and told him he was awesome. I wasn’t telling him that because he was acting like a 15 yr old irresponsible jackass – although I didn’t know he was cheating. 6 month pa, lied about it for 2 yrs, classic gas lighting. Thought I was having a nervous breakdown.

      His mother taught him that pretending to be happy was superior and easier than the work that mere mortals do to have fulfilling lives. Like, why go to Paris and spend all that money and time when you can go to Epcot and see the whole world in one day! With a giant smoked turkey leg in your hand! It’s the same, but sooooo much easier. She’s a train wreck. She also taught him that love comes from performing. No oerforming, no love. So if you’re being flattered, it’s because you have value. The source or valudity of the flattery is irrelevant. The enthusiasm behind the words trumps the validity. Just believe it and float on its pretty sparkles. People lie, but not people who tell you what you want to hear. They’re honest because they see how great you are. As a result, he’s a very easy mark for manipulators. He was never disciplined or shown consequences – since he was a direct reflection of her, he didn’t do bad things, ever. Bad boundaries, no respect.

      My parents taught me that unless I was doing something that made them look good, I was bad. I was flattered and praised in public, screamed at in private. Never validated, always called dramatic and too sensitive and a liar. Then the doorbell would ring and I was golden girl again. I was a gifted student, always worked, great college, great jobs. But was crap at home. They were always overwhelmed and blamed me. Essentially, I grew up thinking I was pretty shitty since my parents didn’t particularly like me but were crazy about all sorts of other people. Anything good that happened to me was because of them – then my perfect charming husband. Bad stuff was my fault. Always. I believe my mother is a bpd. She’s a mess. I fell in love and set off to firm the family I had ached for since I was in my crib. No lie.

      So wh cheats, and it was a perfect storm. I was called crazy, dramatic, delusional. My concerns were invalidated. The mow was a huge fan of his mother’s, so my mother in law actively supported our marriage ending. Reconciliation equals giving up control. Her exact words. He had no consequences for his affair – risked the family business, shat where he eats, lied to everyone – but I’m still in the role of the one who screwed up his charm. I will never tell my parents about his affair, I know how they will rip me apart with blame. My in laws detest me for making him cheat and possibly reflect poorly on them. so wave the wand and blame hale. She’s a screw up.

      He accepts full responsibility and is doing all the right things. He still can’t get his head around me not having a relationship with his mother – only because you’re supposed to pretend when you’re family. My response is that I’m not related to her and her words mean nothing, her actions screamed her feelings to me. Since he didn’t stand up for me, I will protect myself, thank you very much. He thinks acting like Charlie Brown and having the football ripped away over and over is just what families do. He is starting to see who she really is. She will not acknowledge her role in this mess. She is happy, in the creepy clown smile way. All facade.

      My children don’t want to see her much either. They said the last time they had lunch with her, she never spoke to them, only told the waitress over and over what an amazing grandmother she is and all the ways she influences their lives positively. It’s delusional. She doesn’t know them at all, and blames that on me. Point is, and this is hard for wh to hear, she’s not confused, she’s not tortured or torn up about her relationship with me and the kids – she just doesn’t care. We are a means for her to get as close to my wh as possible. His ic told him he was a victim of covert incest. It’s quite rattling. Now that I’m no contact with her, one leg of their gross triangle is gone and they’re floundering. We are almost 50, she’s almost 70. She’s a marriage therapist. I’ve been dealing with her manipulation of everyone for 30 years. And now I’m out. I see no reason to bridge this issue, I will just be victimized again. But in that world, there is always one winner and constant clawing to be that winner. The fact that I won’t even play shows her that I disrespect my family. Wh cheated with an employee and I’m the disrespectful one to family. My answer us that I want my family to all win. If one of us loses, we all lose. The golden goal of Individual happiness leads to being that individual in the nursing home with no family visiting. Not my goal for me or my kids.

      Man, felt good to write that out!

      • Sarah P.

        Hello Hale,
        Great post!! I got a brilliant picture of the family dynamics.

        It’s interesting because your parents and your husband’s mom = my in-laws. They act like a combo of the three.

        Anyhow, I can definitely see why your IC pointed out the emotional incest of your H and his mom. I see it too. I also tend to believe that when there is emotional incest between mother and son, the son is prone to cheat on his real wife in a bid to maintain loyalty to his mom. On a subconscious level, both mother and son view mother as the ‘real wife’ and view the ‘actual wife’ as the other woman. Sometimes this is conscious on the mom’s part but generally always subconscious on the son’s part. So the son colludes on a subconscious level with his mom by having an affair on the actual wife. It just solidifies the actual wife as one of his many ‘other women’ while mom is the ‘real wife.’ I have ready books on emotional incest as part of my studies and so this dynamic is more prevalent than one might imagine. My own mother-in-law has tried to make a spouse out of my husband and his younger brother. My husband started rebelling as soon as he went to college but his younger brother allowed it for years. Now that my BIL just had a baby with his wife, he is starting the process of individuation. This simply means he doesn’t say ‘yes’ to his mom 100% of the time. My BIL sent my husband some text messages that he received from his mom after he asked her politely to stop doing something. The baby has a name but she insists on calling him another name. My BIL politely asked her to call the baby his real name. She had a major explosive hissy fit and spent a whole hour attacking my BIL over text. It would be entertaining if it were not real life. Because it is real life, it is frightening. For my BIL’s ‘alleged’ slight, my MIL first told him he needed to apologize to her. He wouldn’t do it and so then she called him crazy. He didn’t respond to that either. So then she called him schizophrenic and told him to check himself into the hospital. (My brother in law is a doctor.) That didn’t work either, so she demanded an apology again. He just told her it was no big deal and he was simply making a request and that there was no problem and they needed to move on. To that she responded that he was ‘an ugly person.’ And on it on it went, she lodged insult after insult for an hour while he simply said nice things back. But because he wouldn’t apologize she just kept at it until she went to bed. I tried to have a relationship with her for about 7 years and then started to realize I was not the problem. By the way, she has a husband, my FIL. He is generally a really nice man and a successful businessman. The poor guy has suffered all of these years. I generally do like him and know he would be less on edge if he weren’t married to her.

        So, your mother-in-law is a marriage therapist. I am starting to hear about a lot of therapists who need a lot more help than their patients. As my dad says, “there are two types of people who pursue careers as therapists. More or less healthy people who genuinely want to help others and then really messed up people who are trying to get to the bottom of their own issues.” Scary, huh? The older programs didn’t force people to be pre-screened by an external therapist. In my PhD program, we have to go to about 40 sessions with an external therapist and have them write a letter recommending us or not. It is required to graduate. In the past, this was not a requirement and I am afraid that a lot of people who are pathological joined the profession.

        Thanks for telling us your story!

        • Hale

          Don’t you think that people with narcissistic tendencies would pass through screening? My mil has been honing her manipulation tactics since she was a child. She’s the most engaging, chatty, loud attractive person in any room. She’s so subtle that it even makes me question what I just saw or heard. Honestly, I didn’t see her mask slipping until 25 yrs into this relationship. I figured like everyone else did, that the bitch in the equation was me.

          The aspect of wh treating me as the ow and mil as the primary partner is really interesting. They were not close from when we met (he individuated) until we moved close to her 4 yrs ago. I was summarily discarded, disconnected, rejected – and call crazy for pointing it out – then the affair started. Mil I think was quite happy about the affair because guess who got knocked off her high horse? Me. I wouldn’t doubt that she viewed his cheating as a nod to his commitment to her.

          Our oldest is 18. Same age when I met wh. To think of him being connected to me in such an unhealthy way creeps me out. He was mine for 18, but the bulk of his life is going to be with other women. That’s how it works.

          I have a lot of healing to do still. And for the record, I totally agree about some therapists going into it to avoid looking at their own shit. Mil leaves a trail of family destruction and tears and estrangement behind her while going on and on about how she only helps people, and what a calling it is and how no one works harder, and can you believe how amazing she is? I think she sucks the air out of every room she’s in so no one ever can take a breath and point out her nonsense. I made the mistake once and she hasn’t spoken to me since. On to the next sparkly shiny thing that reflects well on her.

          • Sarah P.

            Hi Hale,

            25 years is a long time for someone to keep up a mask. Perhaps you didn’t see it because how your own parents treated you. I don’t know if that is the case or not but it sounds like your parents were always expecting you to perform and possibly take blame if they felt you were not perfect. If something went wrong in a situation, did your family blame you? The other thing is, it’s hard to have radar for toxic people if someone was not related well at home or someone did not know people like that existed. It also sounds like you did not live close to her until recent years and so she was able to hold up a fascade. You were also a busy mom and so probably didn’t even have the time to think something was wrong with her; but in addition to that, if she is a therapist then she probably knew how to spin it. Like you said, she was manipulative and subtle. But, she had the upper hand because she was in mental health. Others probably couldn’t believe she could be such a person.

            I could see how your MIL would be happy about an affair. She sounds like a spiteful person who wants her son all to herself. So the affair happened only after you moved near her? Where is her husband?

            As for therapists being screened before practicing, I think if they looked for the right things they could identify narcissists and the others. But they would have to look for it.

            Do you still live near your MIL?

            • Hale

              No question I didn’t recognize her manipulation because of my parents. I was used to being treated unlovingly by people who said they loved me and whom I depended on. So inherently, I thought the problem was always me. She would push boundaries with me and I would get very uncomfortable and get no validation from anyone. If I stood up for myself I was a bitch who was denying mil happiness.

              We moved very far away from mil but wh still travels there every week and stays with her and his dad. Not sure for how long that needs to continue, but it’s because of the convenient location, the cost and the fact that his living in hotels 3 nights a week is not a comfortable option.

              The in laws divorced 24 years ago. They both had other relationships, she married for 17 yrs to the love of her life and was widowed 6 years ago. Fil started making big money 3 years ago and now he is the love of her life again and the dead husband is barely a memory. Poof. All the interests that ‘made her who she is as an individual’ with late husband have been replaced by new obsessions to look a certain way now that she’s back with her ex. She spent the 24 years demonizing fil to her daughter, who as a result was her mother’s best friend and had a horrible relationship with her dad. Now dad is moms new best friend and sister in law has been abandoned.

              Wh does wish we could have a relationship that was at least cordial. But I haven’t seen her in over 2 years and the distance is great. I told him since he never protected or defended me for 29 years, I’ll take care of myself from here on out as far as mil is concerned. He’s more likely to believe her insincerity only because he wants to believe she’s not the toxic person she really is. There’s no good to come out of trying to be cordial to someone so disordered who revelled in seeing me get knocked off my pedestal so she could regain her crown. There’s just no need. Family functions are few and far between since everyone on her side hates each other, so opting out is always my choice.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Hale,
              Once again, I get the picture. Sounds like your MIL is a narcissist personality and a borderline. As you have already figured out, you owe her absolutely nothing and don’t have to interact with her if you don’t want to.

              I know exactly where your husband is at too . He wants to believe his mom so that he can continue to live in denial. If he were to realize his mom is a toxic person, it would be painful for him.

              In fact, my husband has even said as much. He has one crazy experience after another with his mom, but he still does mental acrobatics in order to stay in denial. Here is an example:

              One time my MIL had a conversation with us all over dinner that too well showed who she is on the inside. Here is the story:

              My husband was talking about an outrageous news story about a doctor who had Lasik clinics and who tried to set up a hit on a family member. The doctor in the news and his brother-in-law had built up a major business with Lasik clinics and they decided to sell their business. The two men had gotten an offer for 15 million, but that was not good enough for the doctor. The doctor wanted to sell it for 30 million. Well, the brother-in-law was satisfied with 15 million and tried to persuade the doctor that they should make due with the 15 million and sell it. Instead of negotiating with his brother-in-law, the doctor went to a local Russian community and started asking around for hit men. A Russian man stepped forward and he offered the Russian man $20,000 to kill his brother-in-law/business parter/husband of his sister/father of his nephews and nieces. The Russian thought it was too cold blooded and contacted the police. The police fitted him with a wire and arrested the doctor. During the trial, the doctor did not understand why it was a problem to kill his brother-in-law since they disagreed about money. The doctor is now in jail.

              So, my MIL was listening to the story intently and she announced to all of us: “What’s the problem? It wasn’t his actual brother he was trying to kill. His brother in law was preventing the doctor from getting the money he deserved. So, it is normal to hire a hit man.”

              I couldn’t believe she said it. So, I said: “You actually think it’s okay for that doctor to kill his brother-in-law because of a disagreement over money?”

              My MIL said: “Sure it’s okay. It’s not a ‘real’ family member. This is a normal thing to do.”

              I said, “Actually, it is not normal and I hope they guy dies in prison.”

              My MIL waved a dismissive hand at me and said: “You Americans just don’t understand these things. If someone is trying to cause trouble with finances then it’s normal to hire a hit on them.”

              Yes, that is exactly how the conversation went and I was in shock. I asked my husband after dinner what he thought of his mom saying that. He said: “I can’t believe my mom is a bad person because it’s too painful for me. Then what would I do?”

              And so, my husband tries to live in denial as much as he can because he refuses to come to terms with the idea that his mom is toxic. I have so many outrageous stories I have many times considered writing a book. My MIL is a real person and she does things that are crazier than anyone could read about in a work of fiction.

              I can see why your husband plays along with his mom’s charade. In his mind, he has no other choice. Of course, everyone has a choice and your husband needs to hold his mom accountable. (Just like my husband needs to.)

              I don’t know what it is like to have toxic parents so maybe I cannot understand why my husband tolerates it. But, just from a purely psychological perspective, it is not healthy for these men to live in denial because it prevents them from processing important facts about their lives and growing as people.

              I still think your husband’s affair has to do with his relationship with his mom.

              I think you are right to avoid her– she is no friend of yours and you don’t deserve to be treated badly. So has your MIL really abandoned her own daughter because she is friends with her (now wealthy) ex?

            • Hale

              So twisted! A hit man. The rules of common decency don’t apply to these people, but man, they demand it from others.

              The scariest one for me was when we were moving close to mil, which I was against, she took me aside and gave me a hug and said,”you can’t leave him unless he cheats on you.” There was no infidelity in our marriage at the time, but 6 months later…

              At our wedding shower, she was leaving earlier than some guests and gave her son a very long embrace and long kiss on the lips in the middle if the room, in front of everybody. I was so shocked and grossed out. But I was 26 and stuffed it down. My opinions aren’t valid. I was sure that I was overreacting because it was so strange and blatant.

              To this day, she tells my wh that at our wedding she pulled me aside and told me she hoped we could be friends and that I dismissed her. So, she made herself the focus of the wedding for 25 yrs. I have no recollection of that conversation, I was pretty thrilled with all the other people who were there for me.

              Since the affair and intense therapy, my wh can barely let his mother touch him. She tells him how cute he is, can you believe how cute he is!? In front of others. He’s 50. She’s 68. He’s very uncomfortable around her now. But the acceptance of her as a toxic person is difficult. He supports me having no contact. But. But. He thinks if I at least tried to have a civil relationship, that it might work. I said when I can see sincere respect from her, I’ll think about it. But since she doesn’t believe she’s done anything wrong, and that I’m the butch who needed knocking if her high horse, she feels like she’s on the high road. It’s a lot like Charlie Brown and Lucy with the football. He keeps going back with the promise that she’s changed but absolutely nothing will ever change. She will just pull the football away again and manage to shame me for misunderstanding.

              If there’s a family function (they’re not very often, haven’t had one in 3 yrs) I plan on being a ‘grey rock’ with any interaction with her. It causes me so much anxiety to think about. She really got to me, so I need to make big changes inside myself.

            • TheFirstWife

              Hale. Wow you have been living in a circus for too long with your MIL.

              My MIL was toxic and crazy. She did not attend our wedding but the rest of the family did so she was home alone.

              We tried to maintain a relationship until she disrespected my H the day our son was born. She was rude & nasty to my H and he cut all ties. We had very little to do with his mom up to then but that was the final straw.

              She became ill and suffered 2-3 years in a coma. My H never spoke to her except once. She was crying and so happy to see him but my H was polite but detached.

              She passed away and he attended funeral out of respect for his dad. He did not shed a tear. She was mean and evil to his wife and kids and my H had no patience for it.

              Interestingly enough his siblings hold it against him. His brother got mad he doesn’t go to the grave to visit. His sister thinks his mother is wonderful and a saint. They all gloss over the horrific treatment they received when they did something she did not like.

              My SIL suffered all those years of verbal abuse and she has anger and resentment from it. My one BIL is a nightmare to deal with – cannot answer a simple question or show up on time for anything. Thinks 3 hours late is ok with no reason or explanation. All learned behavior from MIL.

              So sad to see how one person can ruin a family. So sad how different people react to the same toxic person. My H stood up to it and said no way. My FIL and all the others turned a blind eye to it and buried their head in the sand.

              How sad one person can ruin a family.

              How sad people don’t stand up for themselves and not allow it to continue.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Hale,

              I think all toxic MILs are cut from the same cloth. There is definitely emotional incest on your MIL’s part. The kiss on the lips is just too GROSS for words.

              But, once again– she sounds like my MIL. My MIL has always added a sexual undertone to her relationship with my husband. She also talks in front of him and others about his appearance. And when she buys him clothes, she expects him to strip down to his boxers in front of her and then she will pull at his crotch in the guise of seeing how his pants fit. The few times we have seen her in recent years, she will take my oldest son aside and whisper things like: “You will come down and spend the summer with me, won’t you? Just the two of us.” Then she will announce how “sexy” he is in front of all of us. I have told my husband that neither of our kids will visit my in-laws unless we are there 100% of the time.

              So how does your MIL treat your kids?

              As for Lucy and Charlie Brown, one time my husband said his mom was just like Lucy– always critical, always tearing people down, and always pretending to change while never really changing. It is my son’s b-day next week and I know they wanted to come, but I told my husband up front they were not welcome. he has been pouting all month but I think he is relieved. The last time they came, they had to stay in a hotel that we paid for. I drew the line because when my MIL visits, she will go through my drawers and all my private things looking for dirt on me. She will also try to get out bank account numbers and my soc security number. Too freaky for words.

              Does your MIL do any of that?

              Also, does she ever make fun of your weight? Mine has called me fat every since we got married. I had a BMI of 19 when I got married and I am about 5’6. Now, I don’t have such a low BMI but also lift weights. My current BMI is around 23. And my MIL is about 5’1′ and probably has a BMI of 32. Weight and height should never matter. It doesn’t say anything important about a person. But, as they say, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. She also has told me that I am stupid because I don’t have an engineering/comp science degree. And on and on it goes. Like I said, I could write a book.

              So what is your worst MIL story?

            • Hale

              We have 3 kids. The oldest is in college and has decided not to have contact with grandma. She’s always treated them like trinkets. We’d have very little contact then she’d see them and was over the top with influence – “I take them to shows, I’m showing them culture, it’s making an impact! They read so much because I was the grandma who bought them books!” They were reflections of her greatness. She has no idea what they like, or do, or dream about. They never ask about her.

              I’d say the worst thing was when she visited us, got propositioned by a guy – he had a boat and she was in her “boating is what I must have in my life, I need to be by the water more than most people” phase. (She lives inland, we live on the ocean. I know from people who love water. Anyway, this guy was gross, older, fat (but that boat!) and we were just supposed to let the kids go out on the boat with him. I was so uncomfortable, my youngest was 6, and they got him on the boat at 8am by luring him with gummy worms. The guy was known as a rich drunk. I voiced my concerns – hard with gummy worms – and was shot down as a bitch by everyone. When manipulators don’t get their way, they scream “judgemental!” I had tightness in my chest, I was shaking. I was so angry, the boundaries were blown up. I was told that I just didn’t want her to be happy. I lashed out at my husband and his sister later and they were incredulous that I had overreacted and wanted to punish mil. Honestly, mil behaves like a 16 yr old mean girl wanna be. She got knocked up in high school so I think her maturity stopped at conception.

              That romance fizzled after several boat trips, but I’ll always remember him as the huge fat guy driving a smart car and when he got out of it it looked like the car was his coat that he was removing.Very dr Seuss – huge man, teeny tiny car. All so wrong.

              She’s now not into boats, but as of 5 minutes ago a huge baseball fan and is obsessed with the blue jays. Their biggest fan ever in the history of sports. They need to lose only so I can do a little happy dance. For 25 yrs she said organized sports idolized men (she does) and was too good for such low brow shit. Blech.

            • Sarah P.


              Wow, what a borderline and narcissist. I see elements of both personality disorders. I cannot believe she lured your young kids onto the boat with a drunk stranger. Those are the rare situations where I would step up and be the wicked witch of the West and go all crazy momma bear on everyone. I cannot believe she did that. It is wrong on so many levels. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I don’t think I could ever forgive her.

              Have you confronted her to her face?

            • Hale

              No reply button for your last comment so sticking it here. I don’t see the value in confronting her, especially since I don’t want to fix the relationship. I imagine I would never be able to get through to her anyway. Begging her to see my side and my hurt is giving her power over me. Plus, I doubt she cares.

              This is the sticking point with my husband. He thinks the family unit (and how it’s perceived) deserves a shot. I have enough going on with trying to heal from his affair that she’s not on my list. Her image is meaningless to me. I also think it points to a major difference between us – he and his mother need outside validation and a spot on a pedestal for self worth. I’ve only ever gotten mine from within. It’s not a loss for me to not have a relationship with her. I’m almost 50, I can damn well decide who I want in my life and who I don’t need. I can totally make that call alone. Her showing me she’s not a friend to our reconciliation is all the info I need.

              Maybe I already wrote this, but when he told her he wanted to fix what he had broken, she seethed at him, “if you reconcile, you give hale back all the control”. I’ve got nothing to work with there.

              Without me as the 3rd leg in their creepy triangle, they have a very off kilter relationship. He always cried that he was forced in the middle, but I see now that it was exactly where he wanted to be. They don’t have me to blame for that now, so she can’t behave like I’m keeping her from her lost love. He says they have very little to talk about since he has made his position clear (I’m skeptical, but whatever). What he won’t admit is that she has reached out to the kids maybe 5 times in 3 years. She could call, write, anything – no hasn’t. She also told him she emailed me, but since I blocked her, I wouldn’t get anything. Because she has my wh at her home a few nights a week, she doesn’t need to pretend she likes us to get close to him. He’s there.

              The more I write this out, the more I see that I need to let her toxicity go. It’s like an ulcer. Maybe if I felt he was more supportive of my pain, I wouldn’t be as obsessed. I need to erase her from my mind completely.

            • TryingHard

              My MIL has been in my life for over 40 years. In the beginning, and I knew NOTHING about narcissism or borderlines or sociopaths, I put the onus on ME. I had to be nicer, I had to include them and if I did she would like me, she would like her only two grandchildren. I had to put myself as the mediator between my MIL and my husband who loathed his mother. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It only took me 35 years and tons of therapy and tons of reading to figure out who and what I was really dealing with. I’ve learned it is out of my control. I’ve learned the only way to survive in my marriage with my NPD MIL was to extricate myself from any relationship with her. Now this is NOT the same for my H. It’s his mother. So I let him deal with all of her. Now it’s easier because my children are grown and BTW they have very little to nothing to do with her or my FIL. They paid little to no attention to them when they were children. They were often cruel, and still are, in their remarks to them. They are awful people. My FIL, not NPD, but certainly co-dependent which in my eyes makes him as bad as her as he facilitates her bad behavior to which she never gets called on.

              So my husband has decided what kind of relationship he wants to have with her. Now that I am no longer the mediator he gets to hear first hand all her crazy. He gets to deal with it first hand and in person. I am no longer the one to “pass on the message”. I don’t even ask any more about their conversations, I just don’t care. LOL often when he is talking to her on his phone I can hear what she is saying and I laugh to myself as he sits and rolls his eyes. So in the end she is HIS problem, not mine. I have even learned to view her as a cartoon character. I used to go to their house only to support my husband, but I have quit doing even that as well as when I am there my h takes himself out of the conversation and makes me do the heavy lifting by talking to her. It’s so painful. And to top it off they are crazy Fox News watchers. It’s on their TV 24/7 and I tend to be on the liberal side so you can only imagine the attacks and ridicule I get from them.

              Like you she has bashed me to my husband. That’s ok by me. He is the one who needs to decide with whom he wants to align his loyalty. She can call me or size me up any way she chooses doesn’t make it so. So I say nothing negative about her. I encourage him to call his mother because when that old bat dies I will be damned if I am the one to blame for any perceived lack of relationship he was allowed or not allowed to have with her. I give him no reason to make me out to be the bad guy where she is concerned. And when he does have to go over there and I can pretty much judge when that will happen, well damn I am too busy doing laundry, ironing, cooking, watching my grandson or I have some dreaded stomach issue that I just am too afraid to pass on to them. It’s an Oscar worth performance! In other words I find every excuse not to have to be around them none of which is “your parents are fucking assholes and I’m not going”. I have even planned a trip for Thanksgiving so I am relieved of their company and the ensuent laborious task called hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Which, for my MIL, holidays was her favorite time to act out. I could tell you hundreds of horror stories but I am sure you’ve experienced and I won’t bore you. She made sure I was as miserable as she was. And the sad thing is I used to love making holiday meals. I loved everything about it and I was good at it. Pissed her off even more. So now I’m over it. I will never cook or host another holiday dinner as long as they are still alive and I have to have them over too.

              So in the end what I am saying is as despicable as my in laws are I allow and even softly encourage my husband to have some kind of relationship with them. I only ask about their health and I give no opinions when he tells me some of the crazy stuff they do or say. I just say “I am so sorry you have to deal with that”. And really it is truly he that has to deal with his parents and always was his responsibility, not mine.

              My advice is put all the relationship responsibility on him. Take yourself out of it but tenderly encourage his relationship with them. Do not allow and conversation between you and them without him present. Do not worry about what she says about you. Her saying whatever doesn’t make it so. Conjure up cartoonish characters for her and laugh how far she will go in her ridiculousness.

            • Hale

              Trying hard – you’ve given me great advice too. I’ve removed myself physically but mentally I agonize and I need to stop. My wh has a relationship with her and fil. They all own a business together, so there’s contact outside of me, which is great.

              I think I am so filled with anxiety and resentment because I don’t feel that wh totally unconditionally has my back. That he blames me for my shitty relationship with her. The fact that he was screwing a younger version of his mother, a mow who kissed my mil ass and wanted to be part of that whole extended family/business doesn’t help. Not a boundary in sight. My mil presents as together, fit, young (67), altruistic and an all around great happy gal! Nothing phases her, she always has a smile and a helpful thing to say. But it’s all phoney bullshit. Most people can tell. She has no relationships that aren’t transactional. I think the fact that I don’t care to fix our rift is bad for her. The person who cares less, wins. And I’m not competitive and She. Cannot. Lose.

              I need to talk to my shrink more about healing all this inside myself, out side of their big mess. I’m so mentally wounded right now, that I don’t feel very effective.

            • Sarah P.

              The reply buttons are disappearing, so scroll down to the very bottom of the blog because I will leave a reply there…

    • Hopeful

      I wish my husband would focus on what I have asked and need vs what he thinks I need. I wish he had been more honest from the start. The trickle truth and dday two were devastating and I think I still suffer from that but I am not sure how he can fix that. I asked him to delete his fake fb and email and he said he did not know how so he never did. I asked him to go to therapy with me and he said it would not be a good idea. He agreed to read a book related to infidelity with me at the same time and then talk about what we read. He read one chapter and nothing since then. I wish he had different friends. I wish he did not drink. I wish he was honest with me regarding his porn usage. I know it has decreased but I do not feel he is still honest. He has gradually started to listen to what I have learned about porn but it has been a slow process. I feel like this is a major issue and connects to everything including our current intimacy.

      As far as my family they are dependable. I am not sure where my issues come from except that I have high expectations. I grew up probably too naive that everyone has the highest morals and work ethic.

    • TryingHard

      Hhhmmm. If you could wave a wand …. Well I would want to get to the bottom of why it still ears away at me that I feel there was some contact with the cockroach after DDay 2 and he broke it off with her. There was never any pronunciation that he was ending it. At least not that I know. She’s never contacted me either. Nor have I found she’s contacted him and trust me I’ve looked, key loggers , GPS, searched his computer etc. I just have a stinking feeling he bought a throw away phone back then and kept in contact for a while to ensure she would contact me and usurp his story to me. I’m sure had she sent me the cards and gifts and emails he sent her it would have said a lot more about the relationship.

      Otherwise he’s been great. Lots of attention, went to MC for 18 months every week, lots of transparency, total transparency and partnership in our business. Actually better than ever for the last 5 years. No one can fake it that long, right? But I guess I could also ask for him to be more forthcoming and actually tell me what motivated to act so reprehensible for 4 years. THAT is still a mystery and probably to him as well

    • Sara

      If I could wave a magic wand I would love to go back to a time before he revealed his affair, have him come to me and state he was unhappy and lonely and give me the chance to work on our marriage. I never knew how he was feeling, I just assumed we were ok.
      Now I know you cant change the past you can only move forward and try to live better. Since he cant stop what he is doing I have no trust, no transparency and he sits on the fence. I wonder if anyone has had the experience with this first love being so strong. It was like a perfect storm for them, it all come together and they fell love again instantly. How do you compete with that or even fight it? She is so different from me. She appears to have been the perfect cure for his loneliness, yet his loneliness was his own doing. Always rapped up in his work, leaving me to do everything else and raise our child
      . My parents were a loving couple married 50 years and always holding hands and kissing and in love. My husbands father was a cheater and bipolar. His mother died in a car crash when he was 17. I believe my husband was missing something in his life because of this and the OW holds the key to his connection to that time and place as they were high school sweethearts. Actually I have to say and this is probably guilt on his part but our relationship has improved in many ways since he has started seeing her.. He just cant seem to let her go. I believe he is addicted.

      • TheFirstWife

        Sara. Your words are completely accurate when you say your husband is addicted to this other woman.

        I will give you the benefit of my experience. My husband apparently had been unhappy for about 18 months. Of course he never told me or did anything about it and, like you, I was led to believe everything was OK. Actually better than OK.

        My husband traveled extensively and for most of the work week he was either away or worked until 10 /11 o’clock at night. I was home with our children and doing whatever needed to get done without a complaint.

        When he came to me one evening in the summer and admitted he had been with someone else, it was like a sucker punch.

        However I gave him credit for coming home and admitted that he had made a mistake.

        I had no idea how an affair, even an emotional affair, Can be like a drug or an addiction.

        This addiction took hold of my husband over the next six months or so. He was in a complete fog and actually requested divorce a few times.

        It is very hard to stand up and continue to try and make your marriage work when you are constantly beaten down, again and again.

        I think fighting this addiction/affair is almost impossible. As I stated previously to you, there is no way this relationship can sustain itself. They are not living in reality, but existing in a complete fantasy world. The fact that this woman has so many husbands should raise a Red flag.

        Again my therapist’s advice would be what are you holding onto? He would also ask how long you think you can remain in this state of limbo.

        My therapist has said that they were all types of reasons where people choose to stay together or remain married. Many spouses choose to stay married with a cheating spouse for a whole host of reasons. To make that relationship work, requires work on the part of The betrayed spouse to accept The person as a liar and cheater. You may also need to recognize the affair may continue and/or there may be the chance you can be married to a serial cheater.

        I think in your case, while it is clear you want the marriage to work, that you need to start defining the rules of your marriage with your husband. you need to figure out what will work for you and outline those terms to him.

        One of the questions that my therapist actually asked me was do I want an open marriage. My answer was hell no! Why would I want to be married if I am allowing either one of us to date other people.

        However I have friends who have open marriages and it works for them. All I am saying is that you need to define the terms of your marriage and what works for you.

        I hope that you can see that this waiting in limbo is not doing you any good and the longer it continues, the more it will destroy who you are and your self-esteem.

        Please don’t give up hope that your husband will eventually see the light and change the path he is on, however, there is only so much one person can tolerate.

        I was lucky that my husband ended his affair a few days before I found out. However the aftermath was not good. He continued to lie about everything. I don’t know how much longer I would have been able to tolerate his behavior, and I don’t know anything else I could have done to snap him back to reality.

        addiction equals affairs. There is no other way to explain it.

        • TheFirstWife

          The other thing I forgot to mention was that one day my husband was lamenting that he wished he would have sought help or talk to a friend when he realized he was so unhappy, and in the middle of a midlife crisis.

          So as he was speaking,, I was listening to his words very carefully. One of the things he said was that he wished he would have had someone tell him that he was making some bad decisions regarding the other woman.

          When he was done, I looked at him and asked him point-blank, and said do you really think you would have listened? Do you really believe anyone could have said anything to you during the affair that would have made a difference.

          He thought about it for a moment or two and then said most likely, no one could have said or done anything to change his choices. He would have just rationalized it and continued doing what he was doing.

          Now he regrets All of it.

          I thought this would help understand the rationalization and addiction of an affair.

          • Hopeful

            I know for my husband he says any reason he give is just an excuse and that is all. Nothing can justify or make it okay what he did. He knew at the time it was wrong and he should have chosen another option. But he did not and he has to live with that. I think that for me he has never argued once that it was me or us. It was all him and he agrees with that. He does not look back on any of it as a positive and regrets every decision.

      • Sarah P.

        Hello Sara,

        I see several things that can be linked to him having an affair as well as his strength of feeling for his “first love.” None of which have anything to do with you and are outside of your control Here they are:

        1) The affair: Like father like son. If a father has an affair, there is a statistically significant chance that the son will have an affair.

        2) The strength of the first love: it has been shown that trauma can bond two people together. In addition, an atmosphere or trauma can also cause someone to bond to another. I can guess that around the time his mom died, he probably knew his “first love” and was involved with her. He experience high emotional arousal and anything that he experienced at the time would be magnified. They also show that people tend to remember experiences more strongly if these experiences are paired with emotional arousal. The arousal can come from joy or pain– both types cause people to feel and remember more strongly.

        3) His distance: His distance from you was probably a result of his inability to fully grieve from his mom. I can guess that he never grieved because he was in a home environment that likely encouraged him to stuff his emotions.

        In the big picture, there is a reason he is ‘addicted’ to her. Men are always addicted during the affair fog but his life experiences intensify such attachment. She is also probably symbolic of something, though I don’t know what.

        Regardless, none of this has to do with you. I think it would be good to talk to him about his family of origin and about his mom’s death and how he dealt with it. By doing this, you bring him into the now with you but you also help him uncover his own issues.

    • Shifting Impressions

      Why Do I Stay??
      For me it’s the love and the bigger picture. We have many years of love and memories between us and have raised an incredible family and we did it together.

      We love our little grandchildren and really have an amazing life together.

      But there are boundaries in place……I don’t believe I could stay if there was continued contact. Also there is what I believe to be true remorse on his part.

      We are at the stage in our lives that we don’t have to stay….the family is raised. We are here because we want to be…..I find that to be a very helpful thought….I have a choice and right now I choose to stay.

    • Shifting Impressions

      If I could wave a wand……
      Our life together would look very much like it does right now……we really do have an amazing life and family.

      My wish would be that he would do the deeper work inside himself that needs to be done……he is on that path so I am thankful.

      My next wish would be that I could come closer to a place of acceptance and forgiveness… is such a long and difficult process.

      We actually talked about this last week and said we hope that we can come through this better.

      We will never be the same but hopefully we can learn the lessons that can learned from this and come out stronger.

      • Hopeful

        That is hard since I feel like overall what we have is what I have always wanted. I mean it is really good. It is just that dark cloud that follows me around. I think I need more time. For me talking is what helps me feel better where for him it is actions. We are working on that. He avoids talks and wants just to spend quality time together. I do not feel like it is quality time since we do not have serious talks. We are finding a way to meet in the middle and make it work for both of us.

        • TheFirstWife

          It’s like you read my mind.

          I was struggling with same thing. I need to talk about things and he wants quality time.

          Yeesh. I felt like I do all the work and he just gets a pass – like taking me to dinner is going to resolve things.

          I am in the same boat as you. Good to know I am not alone in my feelings.

        • Sarah P.

          Hi Hopeful,
          You said in an earlier comment that you wish your husband didn’t drink, didn’t have the friends he has, and that he would cut out porn completely. I have an inkling that if your husband were to change who he were in this respect, you would breathe easier. Something inside of you knows that the alcohol contributed to the affairs and since he still drinks something inside of you knows drinking could lay another trap for him. I think this is part of the reason you still feel a great weight.

          I wonder if he would be open to hearing such feedback. You said before he was in the mental health field and that concerns me. I have found that people who enter the mental health field are wounded ducks or that they are more or less healthy people who feel passionate about helping others. I have felt passionate about helping others (whether they are people or animals) from the time I was a small child and so psychology was a no-brainer. It just took forever for me to get around to it. I am an E/INFJ and every career test I have taken always recommended the field. Anyhow, I am afraid your husband is a wounded duck and prefers to look at the issues of others rather than his own. I could be wrong about this. But, when wounded ducks go into the field they learn how to manipulate and that’s not a good thing. He may make up all kinds of rationalizes as to why it’s ok to drink, have friends who are a negative influence, and watch porn. My fear is that instead of hearing you he will know how to rationalize. I can understand why he would want to spend quality time without talking. He can have a relationship with you without having to look at the relationship dynamics.

          That does not mean all is lost. It is simply one interpretation of what might be going on.

          • Hopeful

            Sara, Sorry if this duplicates a past reply. I thought I replied to this but do not see it. It is all very interesting and my therapist does seem to see it as more complicated due to my husbands profession and his level of achievement ans success. He has done very well and is highly regarded by other professionals and those he treats. Of course he shares nothing with me but people come up to me all the time telling me how he is amazing and has changed their lives for the better. I think he saw his education as a path to a successful career and one where he could control and own his own business. He was very driven and went through everything academically at a young age. I think if he were to do it now he would get something different from it. But we cannot go back. Just as he said once we had kids it made it different working with kids and he has said now working through the infidelity has affected his work at the office. I keep being persistent and he is hearing me. He is decreasing all of these things in his life. It is a struggle for me too. I think am I supposed to literally ask him to disown every friend he has. Because all but one to me would be acceptable if I had to lay down a hard line. And I do not think any of them would promote infidelity but they are all heavy drinkers that promote guys only time. And a lot of it. For my husband this was his escape and caused detachment. Some of his friends I would say are major flirts. What they have done beyond that who knows. And I know many love going to strip clubs. He has said no to that since dday. And I get along great with all of these people. So many of his friends lie to their wives and not about infidelity but saying they are working when they are not, saying they have to be out of town when they could come home. All of these things I see as issues.

            Overall I think he has insecurities that I never realized. Since I have met him he seemed to have it all. However I never realized even though he has all of that he is still deeply insecure. He has always had everything he wanted, done well in school, had a ton of friends, great athlete, super successful in his career…. And along the way he always seemed to say the right thing.

            He is adamant that he is 100% committed to me and us and that is his number one priority. I am not saying he is perfect but he has definitely moved more and more in the right direction.

        • Maria

          I am new to this site and have never done this before but your reply was spot on to where my husband and I are 1 yr and 2 months since dday of his PA

      • Sarah P.

        Hello Shifting,
        It sounds like things are well on their way. Forgiveness is a long process but that is okay. Take joy is the process and take joy in the fact that things are moving toward “better” rather than “worse.” As long as you guys keep talking and as long as he hears you, all is well.

    • Sara

      I decided last night to have a discussion with my husband and see what happens. I said basically you cant keep me as your safety net and I am worth more than that. I am trying to make a life for myself and I cant measure my self worth by my life with you. I have continued to love you and work hard on our marriage when I know you are in love with someone else. I suggested we sell our home and then make a decision to go separate ways if necessary. He absolutely shot that idea down. I was to quit trying forcing him to make a decision and what was my hurry. This morning he was in a temper and thinks this is a pity party on my part. It doesnt seem like I can suggest much without it being a pity party for me. I was just handing him a way out. But did I push a button? He appears to not be in a hurry and says he loves me or he would have been gone along time ago. Do you keep waiting for this stupid fog to lift. It is harmful to me to keep this up.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Sara,
        See the earlier comment I just posted about my analysis of his affair. If my analysis is correct, your husband is acting out because of various psychological factors within him since those issues within him have never been addressed.

        I don’t believe your husband wants a divorce. I think he is trying to make sense of past trauma. Read the comment I posted earlier to you on what to do for a full explanation.

    • Sara

      Sarah P,
      Thank you for that insight into my husbands affair, Recently he has mentioned his mothers death and how it took awhile for him to remember what happened. It was very traumatic for him. I think you are correct, it was stuffed down because of his age and the actions of his father. I did not realize this could be pulling them together. He also is in a mid life crisis, because high school was a wonderful time for him and she is associated with that. He was big man on campus as they say and he will forever associate his feeling for her to being young and handsome. I should mention this is not his biological father thank God, the man is crazy. my husbands mother was actually trying to divorce him at the time of her death. Is there anything I can do to help him process this?

      • Sarah P.

        Hello Sara,
        Well, I think we have gotten to the root of what is going on with your husband– A LOT of unprocessed trauma. I always say that if we don’t process trauma, “trauma finds a voice.” What I mean by that is while someone is busy suppressing traumatic experiences, the trauma will find a way to make itself heard and often in ways that don’t seem related to the trauma at all. But as soon as you look a little deeper, you see that there is some kind of unprocessed trauma or grief.

        I think the best way to help your husband is to ask him more about his mother’s death and how he coped at the time. Ask a lot of questions and do a lot of listening. But, try most of all to illicit feelings. I have found men hate talking about feelings. For example, if you get him to talk openly, he might say something like: “I feel like if I did x, y, or Z differently, maybe my mom would still be alive.” If he were to say something like that, say “now tell me more about that, what could you have done differently?” Then he will come up with reasons and you will ask him of any of that seems true. He will discover his thoughts are not logical but that he holds a lot of guilt for his mom’s death. You acknowledge that and tell him that you understand why guilt is there, but that he doesn’t need to hold onto the guilt since it haunts him. You help can acknowledge that he loved his mother and did the best he could at the time.

        Now, this is all a guess on my part based on many similar conversations I have had with people. There are universal human emotions and standard ways that we all react to scenarios. I can guess that in your husband’s mind he still feels a sense of responsibility and guilt and he probably surpasses those feelings because they are painful. But, they do not have to be painful. He needs to let the trauma out in a safe space and let the feelings wash over him. Tell him feelings are neither good nor bad. But, if we don’t really examine them, they can harm us.

        I am so sorry you are going through this and the more you tell me I can assure you that this affair simply is NOT about you. I can guess that he has a trauma bond with his first gf. Not because she caused him trauma but because she was around when trauma occurred.

        I will tell you a personal story from my life about this thing. One time in college I was casually dating a guy and he was more into the relationship than I was. (I am NOT proud of this story.) In fact, he was starting to show some angry/abusive tendencies and was becoming hyper possessive and scary. So I set a day when I was going to break up with him. I planned it out because I knew intuitively he would flip out. That day, he called me early in the morning and beat me to it. Only he did not call to break up. He called to tell me that his mom had been killed unexpectedly in an accident. (I know several men whose mothers have been killed by various means. Some by illness, some by accidents, and one whose dad killed his mom.) He was behaving really weirdly and saying maybe we would get married and he needed me to move in with him, etc. Well, I had already seen the violent tendencies and saw this would never be a possibility. Unfortunately, I broke up with him that day. I know that seems cold-hearted but I thought it would be more cold-hearted to continue the charade and give him hope. I also thought it would out me in danger. Anyhow, years later, he has tried to contact me over the email many times. I ignore the emails. One time I got a phone call from his wife because she thought we were having an affair. She said that he talked about me all the time and how I was his one, true love. (Note, we only dated for less than 3 weeks total.) She had found the emails he sent me (but that I didn’t answer) and felt that was more proof of an affair. She begged me to break it off with him. It took a while to reassure her that I happen to now live a couple of thousand miles away, I am happily married, and I have kids. I actually felt sorry for her. She said that my presence in their marriage was destroying her. I felt terrible and we had a long talk. I explained the situation and assured her it would never, under any circumstances, be reciprocated. About a couple of years ago, I still refused to answer him and so he left all kinds of voice messages for my parents. My dad felt ‘sorry’ for the guy and said I should contact him. My answer was for my dad to delete the messages, NOT get involved, and that I would never contact him. Please note that I briefly dated him for about 3 weeks in 1992. I had figured out it was a trauma bind around that experience that bound him to me and that is why I am relating this story to you. It’s not a story I am proud of, but my hope is that it will help you.

        Let us know how it goes 🙂

        • Sara

          Thank you Sarah, I was fairly certain the affair was not about me, but it took alot of talking to my sister and reading about emotional affairs and 14 months to figure that out along with some major trauma. The two of them have spun this romantic fantasy that reminds me of Romeo and Juliet and they are stuck in high school. After we had a discussion a few days ago he said in passing that it was over between them. I dont believe that for a minute because he still carries the extra phone and still acts very happy. I had so many D days Ive lost count. He just cant let her go. He told me I dont understand the big picture. I said I cant understand the big picture unless you talk to me. He wondered if I was the love of his life and I said YES I was the love of his life. I wish he could see she is using him and is never going to be with him or she would have done that by now. I really think they have to play this out again and she needs to dump him again like she did before. I just want him to realize what he has is what he needs and has wanted all along.

          • TheFirstWife

            Hi Sara. You H sounds emotionally confused and still in the affair fog and addiction cycle.

            Don’t be afraid to challenge him to “prove” to you it is over.

            My H tried to do that when he went back to her a second time. It was all in secret and I had no idea the OW was back in the picture but I knew something was wrong.

            So until he really gives her up and truly feels nothing for her you will be in limbo.

            As an example my HS boyfriend lost his wife when his kids were young. I sent flowers as we grew up together and our families were friendly. The flowers were from my family.

            I called him and offered some friendly advice of a grief counselor for him & children that my friend highly recommended. He then called a few more times and he said it helped him to speak to a friend and laugh a bit and have a little “fun” for a minute and forget the pain.

            We only spoke 5x and my H knew of it all before I called. When I felt he was becoming dependent on the call and my advice I stopped all contact. I did not want to become embroiled in an EA.

            Yes we had fun in our pre-teen & teen years but that relationship was over and after we broke up I never went back. He was emotionally & verbally abusive. I will never forget that.

            The point is it is very easy to want to escape adulthood and go back in time to a happy & fun era. But it just doesn’t last. Eventually your H & OW will have to face reality.

            And when he realizes what he has done to you, it will be even more painful than what he is running from.

            • Sara

              Frankly I would like to think that will happen, but somehow I think they are the real deal. They talk for hours about anything and laugh and are so romantic. He writes her things he never ever has said to me. She is everything to him and he continues to see her no matter how much it hurts me. Just today a Saturday he left the house in the morning on some pretense and talked with her. It hurts me so much in everyway that he does not care at all. I wish they would get caught somehow. Why does he stay with me I wish they would just get together. She is doing something shifty with her money so her husband gets the shaft I am sure. I dont think this has anything to do with his mother or trauma. They are soulmates in everyway.

            • TheFirstWife

              Hi Sara. I felt the same way you did. The OW was something special. She had something I didnt. I couldn’t compete.

              Turns out she had her youth at 29. Big freakin’ deal. She had a horrible history with past relationships. Very drama queen.

              She was a writer like my H. Big whoop-de-do! They entered a writing contest together. She was great until he wanted out. And then he saw who/what he was with. Complete psycho!!

              Her revenge was against me. I did nothing wrong but to get revenge on my H she attached me. She tried to start the affair up a 3rd time and my H did not respond.

              So your H MAY THINK this OW is all that. It is fantasy. It is just a matter of time before she turns on him. Trust me.

              Why do you think you allow him to lie to you? I confronted my H with everything, every time! He knew he was not getting away with anything!!

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Sara,
              Honestly, I would bet money that they are not soulmates. The affair is following a pattern that pretty much all affairs follow. The other woman is always a symbol of something. Soulmates are not made by betraying others.

              Have you ever talked to her husband? Honestly, I was never confrontational in the past and wouldn’t confront painful topics. But, as I have gotten older, I have learned to stand up for myself.

              I know that if my husband were to have an affair with a married woman, I would be on the phone with her husband everyday. I would bring everything out in the open and find an attorney to protect myself financially.

              I am taking a doctoral class on personality theory. This week we have been focusing on existential therapy. I read a case study by a guy who has been practicing 40 years. He said something that piqued my interest. The case study was about a guy in his 60’s who had went off the deep end with someone he knew before but who he had never been in a relationship. He had been married for many years. The therapist was unable to break through the man’s obsession with his affair partner. Finally, it occurred to the therapist that he would not longer talk about reasons for the affair. Instead, he decided to undergo an exploration of death and death anxiety with the man. The man had not mentioned anything about death, but the therapists wanted to uncover the man’s fears by talking about death. The man talked about his terrible fear of death and they worked through it. The therapist also found that the man was subconsciously using sex to distract him from a fear of death. This could possibly be the root of all mid-life crises, but the therapist found he needed to explore fear of death over an extended period of time with the client. After that was done, the man was naturally done with his mistress and repaired the marriage. I found that to be a very interesting case study, indeed.

            • Sara

              It is very hard for me to confront him. It is me, because I have a great fear of losing him. I am doing better at working up the courage to talk with him. I am so afraid of not saying things in the right way because the OW seems like such a great communicator to me and she talks so much about everything. I can not do that. I am shy and a introvert and I never was unhappy with myself until now. I write down what I want to say so I dont forget during the discussions. I am trying very hard to work on myself and knowing I can have a life without him and be fine.
              I think you are correct in saying he is afraid of getting old and dying. Perhaps that is what the big religious push is about for him. I can not, being the person I am, ruin her life by revealing their affair to her husband. It does not feel like the right thing to do. I think I am the stronger person to survive this and not her.

            • TheFirstWife

              Sara. I feel your pain and inability to talk to your husband it is hard to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Only you will know if and when you can or will do it to confront your H to discuss his behavior.

              I disagree about not telling the OW’s H. If I were in his shoes I would want to know. I would risk losing a friend 100% to tell them their spouse is cheating. I believe in being honest sometimes to a fault. Not brutally painfully honest as in ” I don’t like your dress” but honest where liars and cheaters are concerned.

              I thank my lucky stars every day someone had the courage to tell me that some guy I was dating was a serial cheater and narcissistic person. I was out if there that minute. However I was young and naive and he knew how to play me. Until he couldn’t any more. Had that kind caring person not tokd me I would have wasted years of my life on this pathetic piece of crap.

              Rethink that position. That man has a right to know.

            • Sara

              I am sure he does have a right to know but do you not think this will push them closer together, because they seem sure her husband will leave her. His first wife did this to him also. the OW is hiding money from her husband and has the house in her name so she is up to something. I dont trust her one bit . I dont know how she has hid this from her husband for so long. The poor man must wonder what is going on and I think they mentioned he might be close to moving out. Maybe she wants this so she can go ahead and divorce him, so she and my husband can be together. Perhaps that is what my husband is waiting for and then he can leave me.

            • Hopeful


              I understand it can be so hard to talk to your husband even to bring things up. For me I realized when something was hard for me it took a toll on me. It was so unhealthy. And no matter how hard I tried to focus on myself and take care of me it was still bad. And in the end you have to decide what type of marriage you want. There are a lot of people out there who do deal with bad situations, unfaithful spouses, arrangements where spouses just are like roommates. For me I knew I wanted more. I was not okay with this great marriage and family that was all image and no substance. I personally knew I invest too much in all I do. So in the end I had to stand up for me. And it is hard still this many months out to bring up sensitive topics. I found in the beginning I would write out bullet points so I would cover everything I needed to. When we were at what I felt like was my lowest point in the recovery I wrote my husband a letter. This really hit home with him. One line in particular. I said I would rather be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie. I won’t go into details but this was after 6 months and dday 2. It really hit him. But this was a process for him too. I have said before I thought he would just be over it since he ended his affairs but he was not. He has to work through and live every day with doing horrible things to the person he loves most in this world and that is me. He realizes this and it is still hard on him. So at the point where your husband is I would imagine some of it is protecting himself and defending himself. I think you need to decide what you want then lay out the steps to get there. And in the end if you hold up your end of the process no matter what happens you will know you tried your hardest.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Sara,
              I am hearing that you are scared that if you tell the OW’s husband it will push them closer together.

              I am not sure that will happen. But, what if it does? What will happen then? Maybe her husband will move out and your husband will move in. I highly doubt it will happen, but if it does, it will not be the end of the world. Your life will still go on and you will still be you. Your husband does not create your destiny, you do.

              I am really concerned that you are walking on eggshells around him. He has all the power and you need to be the one who has all the power, not him. I would talk to an attorney and talk to the husband. Her husband needs to know she is hiding money. She could bankrupt her husband and that’s not fair.

              Before you go any further, you need to read this book called The Script. It’s about $4.00 but worth so much more. It helps you know your rights and empower yourself. I don’t know the authors and make no money for recommending books. But, I think this one is a MUST READ for all women dealing with a wayward spouse.


              Please don’t feel I am pressuring you to do anything (except for read the book, that is) 🙂

              Everything is your choice. I just want you to know that you are not stuck and you control your destiny. Take your power back in any way you can.

              Bug hugs to you!

    • Hopeful


      We had a really productive day with a long discussion. We really got to the heart of a lot of the issues. He will admit these things are hard for him to talk about. And I do agree with him most people never have these conversations because they are hard. I have amazing friends but I do not think they get to this level with their spouse.

      As far as friends go it is hard since I think it is unrealistic to ask him to have no friends which would be what it is. He has distanced himself from them and their behavior. The drinking and porn are other issues. He does tell me that he understands my concern and the less there is of those things in his life the better our relationship is.

      I can tell he is listening to me more. And I even said to him last night I can tell he feels like by actions he is doing so much but I feel better with his talking and words. So we find the opposite things to be comforting. I think that helps us both. I also thinks he thinks I always want to talk about the affair or something he has done wrong. But I would like to talk once a week about us in a more meaningful way besides logistics. Whether it is about communication, intimacy, or anything else. I think that made sense to him.

      In the end I felt like it went well and it was a good first step to us working through this together in a deeper way. I think for the point where I am this is what I needed.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Hopeful,
        Congratulations! It sounds like you are making headway with your husband.

        By the way, I have been writing an article about porn and infidelity that will be out in a couple of weeks. I didn’t start writing it because of your comments, but because I have seen many comments over the years about it. I also know women who have been terribly affected by it. The article is one where it’s helpful for both wives and husbands to read. I am including really good arguments about why porn is harmful. Maybe you can bring some of those points to your husband. In fact, that is what I am hoping everyone can do if they have a spouse who uses it in ways that are detrimental.

        Congrats on making so much progress!

        • Hopeful


          I have read a lot about this topic. I have made a huge effort to stay away from anything religious since my husband does not see that side of the information and argument really valid at all in his field. For us he has his professional knowledge and experience plus just his personal viewpoints.

          He admits that he was using/watching porn too much. Not sure really about before the affairs since that was so long ago. I am sure he has no memory of then. But in recent years yes. As of dday he had not been intimate with either ap since he has broken up with one 1 1/2 years before dday and the other one was random emails only for many years. So again not sure if that was when the increase happened. He cannot even quantify his usage for me. At first he said it was normal use. Then as I kept pressing him over the months it was yeah I probably used it too much. So over the past 18 months this has continued to be a topic of discussion. He really kept up the argument that virtually all men especially use porn. He said it is really something from a young age that is normal and that it is totally different than anything in real life. I however from what I read see it as an issue for a marriage related to intimacy and also feel like it can or could contribute to infidelity. He thinks that is a stretch. The most he will say is he thinks our marriage is better the less he uses it. He does not feel like it leads to more casual relationships with women, objectifying them, more causal sexual relations, less interest in your spouse/boredom, as a secret act….

          So we continue to discuss it. He said he is not sure if anyone he has ever worked with has ever been open regarding porn. I think that is an issue. And I feel like if he never had any affairs and there was a satisfactory amount of intimacy then I would never bring it up. But to me it seems connected to decision making that lead to his affairs.

          And just recently after thinking about it a lot I did tell him that due to the affairs and no matter what he tells me the affairs lead to insecurity in physical appearance and intimacy for me. No matter what he says in the end I feel insecure about myself since he chose to have sex with other women. It is hard not to wonder or think were they better or different than me. Who knows. And I am not sure if he could tell me that answer. But it affects me still and for me the porn makes me feel the same way. It makes me feel like he is choosing another woman over me. Again just how I feel. He heard me and said he can understand that.

          • Sarah P.

            Hi Hopeful,

            Well, the porn article I am writing has a religious comment in it from a guy who was a porn addict, but most of it is completely secular and presents scientific research. I am pretty much done with it and just editing it now. The article I wrote shows how much porn harms marriages, opens the doors to affairs, ruins men, and ruins marriages. I used scientific studies to present the ideas.

            I think porn is a form of infidelity and I also discuss why in the article. Everything you are feeling is completely valid. Porn seems to be such a struggle for so many men. They refuse to meet it head on because they don’t want to give it up. I don’t think porn is good for anything and I think it can destroy society at its foundations. But that is my opinion.

            I hope that the article has something in it that you can show your husband and something that he can understand. I understand why you are so bothered by porn and the affairs and you have every right to be. It is such a shame. As for the other women being better than you, M. Gary Neumann did surveys of his clients and only 13% of men said the AP was ‘better’ or prettier than their wives. I highly doubt the APs are better than you in any way. Even if they seemed to be better in some way, it really is impossible to truly be better than you because of who they are. By definition, someone who chooses to have an affair with a married person is not better.

            How did you and your H meet?

    • Terry

      The use of Hillary does not fly in my book. Bill Clinton has been accused of sexual assault, that’s “not” an affair… whole different dynamic. Attacking the people that where attacked is wrong, staying in a marriage to achieve personal goals is wrong. The rest of the article is great.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Terry,
        You are right that Bill Clinton has sexually assaulted women, but he has also had affairs ever since his time as Governor of Arkansas. He is also currently having an affair with a woman his neighborhood. Hillary’s campaign team keeps an eye on him for damage control. His current mistress is in her mid 50’s. It’s interesting how similar he is to Trump. Both have sexually assaulted women and both have had affairs.

    • TryingHard

      Hi Hopeful

      I don’t know about you but I feel my husband and I need to discuss our relationship in terms of the future (haha LOL which is not huge long term planning) and goals. I don’t necessarily want to discuss the affair any more. I have no questions to be answered. I have sorted all through that and well any questions I may or may not have really aren’t relevant to our future plans.

      It seems in the past there was always something coming up in our lives that precluded any kind of conversations like what I want now and look where that procrastination led us!! Like everyone else there are jobs, kids, social life, GOLF, etc. We never made these personal conversations a priority. Things would work out was the mantra. Well things don’t work out unless you plan for them to work out. It also seems it’s somewhat of a “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” kind of mentality, if you know what I mean?

      Maybe this is a way we rationalize that if we connect enough, have conversations about the future enough, be more attentive to each other’s needs enough, that well, this shit won’t happen again???

      I don’t know. I ‘d love others thoughts on it. And I’m NOT talking about having difficult affair conversations, or “why” conversations. But maybe more “what’s going on in your head today” kind of conversations. Relationships change and evolve and I think these conversations are important. It’s important that he understands what I want the rest of my life to be for me and I for him.

      I hope I’m not being vague or obtuse. It’s been a long stressful couple of weeks. No MONTH!!! One thing I do know, life doesn’t get easier the older you are.

      • TheFirstWife

        It is funny that you mention the deep personal discussions. One of the things my therapist suggested YEARS ago was to set aside a weekly time to discuss your week, relationship, issues, concerns in a non confrontational way.

        My H REFUSED and laughed at the idea. His approach was to discuss anything as it came up.

        On an as needed basis. Of course he didn’t have anything he wanted to discuss.

        We would talk over the past 3 years since DDay but usually initiated by me.

        Now I think he sees how different things can be b/c a few days ago he finally initiated a conversation about “where we are” and it was helpful to both of us.

        So I agree this is what can turn things around – real true deep communication between spouses or mates.

        I don’t know if it will stop the cheating in some cases. However if the CS can open up to the BS the way they did during the affair, then perhaps they will no fall victim to the ego boost the affair brings. They are already getting it from their spouse/partner etc

        • Hopeful

          TH and TFW,

          Trying Hard I totally understand and agree with what you are saying. I am beyond the details related to the affair too. I do think at times what has happened due to the affairs affects us. But that is something to work through and I can handle that. I have gotten good at speaking up when something does not feel right or upsets me. It can be as simple as him not telling me his parents are meeting us for dinner. He thinks it is great and nice. I am triggered and remember how he did it all the time and I think he did it to deflect and detach from me. The more people at dinner the less he has to talk to me. So thinks like that are still I would say connected to his affairs.

          I do agree more time needs to be set aside to talk. We had this exact discussion yesterday. After dday one thing I asked for was a weekly meeting since I did not want to talk about it each day. I felt once a week made sense for both of us. Well he just struggled and never stuck to it. And sometimes I wanted to just talk about how we were dealing with it not a list of questions or anything. So he hears weekly meeting and I think it reminds him of that.

          I think there is a need to talk more in depth and open up to each other. I think part of this speaks to different communication styles and needs. He just really does not need to talk about it all or express it. I need to hear it and talk about it more in depth. I will say my husband is coming around and he sees how these talks benefit me and how they are not about the affair. He even said he wants to make sure we have a date night and a time to talk each week. I think as you said with life it can be easy to not follow through. He has been good about sticking to it. Granted he wants to focus more on food and hanging out. He said himself he is more like a caveman and more simple. But I told him I need more from him. I feel better when we talk and he is able to show he is thinking about more in depth topics.

          It is just not easy all of this. And I feel lucky since my husband and I are so similar in so many ways. We have the same interests and philosophies on pretty much everything. I think it is more the gender differences we face that are a challenge. I keep telling myself I need to speak up and make my voice heard and ask for what i need vs what he is giving me.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Trying,
        And you gave me some great advice about reminding me to ask open ended questions and to listen better in my own relationship. Hope all gets better soon 🙂

        • TryingHard

          Hi Sarah

          Yes I did recommend that. And I do that especially with work related conversations. My struggle is getting the conversation around to what’s going on in that punkin’ little head of his. He’s great talking about work, golf, television, and even politics but when it comes to personal stuff, not so much. Even if we enter into the conversation he looks at me like a deer in the headlights. It’s a foreign language to him. I know being brought up by a total NPD mother that his feelings and needs and emotions held NO VALUE to them. They didn’t care and still don’t.They never gave one care to what was important to him. Never validated his opinions. He only served as a reflection of them. His parents are such assholes!! And now they are old, annoying, needy assholes. I have pretty much cut all ties with them. I see them only when absolutely necessary ie holidays and LOL we are leaving town on Thanksgiving and by Christmas they will be in their beloved Florida—Whoot Whoot!!! I have also said I refuse to go to FL this winter to see them. He can go if he wants, I won’t. So really I don’t have to deal with them until next May and who knows if even then:)

          Thanks Sarah, it is getting better just stressful right now 🙁

          • Sarah P.

            Hi Trying,
            I am glad you are setting your boundaries with in laws and going to Florida without them. Florida is a beautiful place but even the most beautiful places can be bad if you have terrible company.

    • antiskank


      I must admit I have thought about that magic wand on occasion. It would have to be pretty powerful wand, indeed!

      In my magic world, obviously I would wish that none of this had ever happened but I know that can’t be changed. I would like for him to really talk to me about something other than daily trivia. I would like to talk about our lives, our present, our future, his feelings, our relationship. I would like him to tell me the TRUTH!

      I would like to be able to tell him how I feel and have him understand. To be a part of a conversation instead of him shutting down and changing the subject or walking away. I would like to feel that we are a team working on healing together.

      I would like to find a way to get past the feelings I have about the affair, his lying, the horrible things he said to me, the uncertainty, I would like to know that he actually loves me and is not lying about it this time. I would like to enjoy my time with him, laugh and have fun without that nagging doubt always in the pircture. I want to be able to trust him. I want to be able to love and know I’m not being a fool.

      I would like to be the most imporatant person in his life, his top priority. I would like him to deal with his porn and gambling addictions. No more wasting thousands of dollars and comparing me to the slimy fantasy world of porn skanks.

      If I could have a marriage where I felt loved, safe, special and respected, that would be a good start for me. A mutually happy relationship with open discussion of our wants, needs, desires, fears, and wishes would be amazing! The restored intimacy (emotional as well as physical) is something I long for. I once believed that this was all possible, but am not so sure any more. I can’t find the wand!

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Anti-Skank,
        You are providing a lot of essential information about your husband and the state of your relationship. As I told Hopeful, I have been writing an article about pornography meant for wives but that is also appropriate to share with husbands. It should be out in a couple of weeks. (I am against porn, by the way, and there is good reason.)

        Tell me more about your husband’s gambling addiction. It appears that he has personality traits that have nothing to do with you. (Do you guys have kids?)

        I get a picture of a man who is so deep into his addictions that he doesn’t even consider that others have needs and he certainly doesn’t want to meet the basic emotional needs of others.

        What were his parents like?

        Does he have remorse and how many affairs did he have?

        What is his current behavior like and do you suspect someone might still be in the picture? Give me as much (non-identifying) info as possible so that I can get a better picture of your H. That will allow me to figure out what might be going on here.

        By the way, the desire to feel loved, safe, special, and respected is your absolute right. These are basic, universal needs and when we are married, it is a spouse’s right to have those need’s met.

        • Antiskank

          My h has always had a major interest in porn. At first I was just mildly annoyed but as time went on, I felt it encroaching on our relationship. After the first DDay, when he compared me and our sex life to the porn world, I was ticked off! He promised to quit but didn’t. It was apparently harder than he thought it would be.

          I didn’t really know about the gambling issue until about 20 years ago. We started taking his father to the casinos. My h would go through a ton of money in a short time. He would ask me for any I had, then lie about taking more out of the bank machine. I didn’t know for a long time. We would go to the casino and he would disappear, leaving me on my own. When I was ready to leave, I had to track him down, then wait until he was ready to quit or out of money. Often I would be driving home a couple of hours well after midnight on a work night. Every outing seemed to end at a casino if he had his way. If not, he would sulk.

          His parents were cold people. His mother was very judgemental and didn’t feel I was good enough for her family. She felt that I was a poor risk as I came from a broken home! His father was slightly more approving of me but also cold. No emotions were ever expressed. They didn’t seem to have much in common and didn’t spend much time together. They still expected my h to put them first in his life after we married – which he did. His family is super dysfunctional. In fact now that his parents are gone, the family hates each other so much that they do not speak and have tried to literally ruin each others’ lives.

          My h says he regrets what he did but I tend to think he regrets being caught. He has always flirted and fawned over women. He tries to be the hero and make himself important in their lives. I don’t think any really went anywhere until the last one. She responded to his attention but It never got to the point that they took it outside of work. It was pretty much all in his mind. He fantasized about a life with her, mostly sex. They never talked about their feelings toward one another so I don’t think she was even fully aware how far he had sunk. Two years after I found out, long after no contact, he admitted he still wanted her, not me. This was after him pretending he wanted and loved me. When I asked him to leave, he changed his story again.

          I don’t think there is anyone else in the picture at the moment, at least not in reality. Fantasy may be another thing. He never initiates a conversation about anything meaningful. He avoids discussion about the affair, his behaviour, my feelings, his feelings, our relationship….. He thinks if I don’t bring up any of those things, all is fine. He tries to do little things to get brownie points – wash my car, make me a simple breakfast. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell him what I need, this is what he is willing to do.

          What a mess, huh? There are so many issues, it is difficult to know where to start to try and fix any of it. This site has been a real benefit for me, especially on bad days.

          • Sarah P.

            Hello Anti-skank,
            You are right there are a lot of issues, but the good news is they can all be fixed if he is willing to do one thing. Here is what I see: I get a picture of a man who is totally dissociated from his inner self and from his feelings. Because of this he has developed a life of dysfunctional coping mechanisms. Your husband is not a bad person; he is simply someone whose life is no longer working and whose coping mechanisms are failing him. Here is the solution: some safe third party needs to explore all of his inner pain due to a fragmented and shut down family of origin. He needs to reintegrate with his inner self by exploring the pain and finding healthy ways of relating to others. This needs to be done over several sessions with a skilled therapist. I don’t know what situation you guys are in but I would recommend a pastor who has psychology training. The method I would use personally use to facilitate healing with your husband is something called Time Limited Dynamic Psychotherapy. Until he is able to heal and reintegrate with himself he is likely to continue on with maladaptive coping patterns. Please let me know if I am way off here in what I see because I am relying solely on the information that you provide.

            • Antiskank

              I would definitely agree that my H is dissociated from his inner self and feelings. I don’t know about his coping mechanisms other than avoidance. Anything that comes up will be ignored in hopes that it will go away. I have always been the one to deal with issues. He seems to think the only acceptable feeling to admit to is anger, maybe it’s more manly!

              He has been doing more the last couple of years to help our adult kids, especially our son who is going through an ugly divorce and financial problems. He loves to spend time with our 2 grand kids and is happy to hug them and show them affection. He doesn’t deal with them very effectively when they don’t behave though.

              We have gone to three different counsellors since DDay but he wasn’t very communicative or committed so it wasn’t hugely beneficial. He has also gone to 3 different counsellors on his own. No progress was made and two of them suggested there was no point in continuing. He decided himself that the last one wasn’t helping. He wouldn’t tell me what was discussed at his sessions but seemed to be looking for an easy answer to get him out of the situation he has created. I know he would never agree to go to anybody with a religious affiliation.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Anti-Skank,
              I get the impression that your husband is looking for the easy answer because he does not want to look within. Looking within and addressing it is going to be the only thing that is going to help him. Is he able to have insight? Why is he opposed to people with a religious affiliation? (This is neither good or bad– knowing why simply helps me get a better picture of his assumptions about life.)

              As for only having anger as his main intense emotion, that can be a very male thing. In my opinion, our society does not allow our men to be vulnerable or in touch with their feelings. I am trying to raise my boys to be in touch with their feelings. The times when my oldest one cries, I tell him he is a very brave person to be able to let it out. I always reinforce how strong he is when he is vulnerable. My youngest one is the biggest love bug in the world. He is our snuggled and our little nurturer. I cultivate his sensitivity and show him how to use it as a strength. But, a lot of men were not raised this way, especially in older generations. I use something called attachment parenting to raise our sons. I carried them on my body all the time in a sling or baby bjorn. They fed themselves whenever they wanted to eat when they were infants. I made sure they ate every 2-3 hours, but never restricted them if they wanted to eat more frequently or at night. They are both pretty happy boys and very self-confident. I think the older generation of men is more shut down because many of them were raised in just the opposite way to what I described. I think that is why anger is the intense emotion of choice.

            • antiskank

              You are right, he is looking for the easy answer if he’s looking for an answer at all! He would be happiest if he could ignore the issues long enough for them to just go away. If not, he would like me to fix eveything as I always have. No accountability, no effort!

              I honestly don;t know how much insight he is capable of these days. i feel I don’t really know him which seems crazy considering how long we have been together! Is it possible he is really as clueless and unaware as he portrays? Or is he just stuck, unsure what to do, afraid????

              I know he would not consult any religious person for help as he would feel judged would be my guess. He knows he is not a very nice person in what he ahs done and does not want anyone else to know. He likes to be seen as the good guy. He has also had some experience with pushy, holier than thou, hypocritical religious fanatics that has affected his view of religious people in general. I can understand this to a point as I have had a couple of similar experiences. (I currently have a “friend” that insists that the bad things in my life are heaped on me by God and will continue to happen until I give myself over to Him and he will fix all of the problems in my life and I will be happy forevermore! She isn’t aware of the affair but basically blames me for anything bad in my life)

              I find it interesting that he cannot communicate his emotions or anything else really! I am the opposite and no subject is off limits, regardless of the comfort level. My kids are similar in that they will gladly talk through any issues quite openly. I am trying to ensure that my grandkids are able to expresss themselves effectively and not be afraid of the outcome.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Anti-skank,

              I am so sorry you have a friend who blames you for everything in your life and who claims that everything would be okay if you gave yourself to God. Not true. God can help us through hard times, but there is no magic wand that is waved and poof all the bad stuff goes away when people turn themselves over to God. I wonder why your friend wants to blame you for everything. Ridiculous to blame the victim.

              As for your husband, he definitely just wants things to go away so that he doesn’t have to soul search. Just make sure that you stand up for yourself when he thinks it’s okay to unleash anger. It is not okay.


    • TryingHard

      Hopeful and TFW

      Oh boy you have given me such great insight on this. And Hopeful I am in your camp. I hate HATE going out with other people because then it’s less conversation for me. That sounds trite I know. My husband and I work together all day every day but we don’t talk. And once at home we talk about work A LOT. Actually mostly about work. But this is what HE likes to talk about and it’s what HE is good at. Sometimes I say No More Work Talk. And when we are at home he’s a big television person so I will amuse myself with YouTube or my blogs or Pinterest. It’s mind numbing. We have date nights at least 3-4 times a week but mostly it’s still work talk. And we have lots to talk about with our business solving problems, UGH. And it wears on me.

      But as I said you’ve both given me a great idea. I will talk to him tonight about setting up one day a week for at least an hour to talk about things other than work. I’m going to schedule it.

      Hopeful, my husband sounds like yours and TFW. No he is not good at talking about his feelings and I guess there are some men that are. I know my eldest son is, very good in fact. I think my h believes if I’m not bringing up the affair then everything is ok Last night I had a major trigger and he could tell I wasn’t happy. He asked what was wrong and I told him I had a trigger and I was upset, mad actually. Well he asked what triggered me and I said I didn’t want to talk about it yet. I wanted to gather my thoughts and not just start spewing anger. Besides it was late and I was ready for bed so I didn’t want to get him or myself all worked up. He said he wanted to go to dinner with me tonight and we could talk then if I want. I hate spoiling a date night with this trigger talk. I so enjoy our date nights and they are pretty romantic. We talk about future trips and family etc and it’s fun. But I’ve been starting to believe that we need more substantial relationship talks and, well if the affair comes up, which it doesn’t necessarily have to, then we can deal with it like grown adults.

      Hopeful mostly I do speak up right away if he’s done something I don’t feel comfortable with ie he volunteered me to entertain a client on my day off when I planned on spending the day with me grandson just he and I. That pissed me off. He knows I don’t like being with people and this woman was painful, she never shut up the whole day. Her or her grandson. So he heard from me that night, I was very unhappy he put me in such a position.

      I think my h will feel trapped in a corner and uncomfortable at first but I think in the end he will like it and hopefully even look forward to it. It’s all going to be in my approach, I know that. Maybe you guys have some helpful hints on the approach strategies you guys use for these talks?

      • Hopeful

        Trying Hard,

        Yes yes yes! I totally agree. Very similar here. We always have loved tv and movies. However during the affair years he stopped watching most shows with me. He basically said since he was uncomfortable too many times. I mean I see it now how often affairs come up in entertainment. So he just detached more. One of our big ways to reconnect was to watch the same shows. We both love sports luckily so we watch together without issue. Do you have Netflix? For us watching series on Netflix has really been a great way to connect. At a minimum we watch one episode a night of the series we are on. When we have more time we watch more and some weekends we binge watch. This is something my husband loves. I like it too and have found it to be a good way to spend time together. We talk a lot about the shows too. And the nice thing is we are not waiting for the weekly show to come out with the Netflix shows. And affairs seem to come up all the time in these. At first it was a major trigger but now I think it is more insightful for both of us.

        Have you read many books? I felt like a lot of books have helped me in the conversation department regarding our marriage/relationship. I think the most helpful for both of us is the John Gottman books. My husband was already familiar with them but he has a way of stating things that make sense for a man. There is an article that was published in the Atlantic magazine called Masters of Love that my husband really zeroed in on. Gottman talks about when a spouse makes a bid and then turning towards your partner. The article is good and I think his books are excellent. They talk a lot about successful relationships and communication is highlighted a lot. My husband really related to this article. I think things like this are even good to read and talk about. It is not like saying read this book. And it is not about affairs or infidelity but how to build the best relationship for the two of you. Also, another thing that worked well for my husband was we went to the play Men are From Mars Women are from Venus. I know everyone has heard of the book and I think we even own it. But neither of us has read it. I wonder how the audio version is. But the play was excellent. Funny moments but also moments that hit home. My husband again was able to gain a lot of insight into himself and our marriage. Keep in mind my husband is in the mental health business and has been trained to deal with all of this and understands more than the average man. But when it comes to yourself it is hard. And with most of us being in long marriages I know for us at least habits have set in. Maybe that will give you some ideas for your talks or finding something that is more entertainment or a softer sell.

        For me just talking together makes me feel comforted. It is reassuring to know that others are in the same position and feeling the same way. It can be isolating and troubling to feel alone or like not enough progress has been made. Thank you TH and TFW for all the comments back and forth.

        • Sarah P.

          Hi Hopeful,
          What shows are you guys watching on NetFlix? We do that too 🙂

          By the way, I read an article several months ago about a group of therapists who use movies to help people through marriage counseling. They have a list of about 20 movies for couples to watch and merely ask couples to discuss the movie plots and issues. This way, they can discuss issues without is being personal. I think you are right on the money when you guys watch shows together. One (PhD) therapist has taken it farther and identified various psychological categories and then has a list of movies under each category. There are hundreds of movies:

          My husband and I have always bonded over TV shows and movies too. We disconnected cable but live0stream everything we want to see. Have you been watching Jessica Jones? That is a great series, although a tad violent.

          • Hopeful

            My husband uses movies and tv shows a lot in that way in his practice both with adults and kids. It does make it easier for people to relate and open up. So it makes sense that it works for us in this way.

            We have watched Breaking Bad, Homeland, House of Cards, Making of a Murderer, The Killing, Bloodline and many more.

            So many websites I read said not to spend time watching tv since it was a detached activity but for us it isn’t that way. We are engaged in it together. And I think generationaly it really is a connecting point vs maybe with my parents age people. Granted my parents love pop culture so I have always valued it.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Hopeful,

              We love, love, loved Breaking Bad. So sad it ended. Are House of Cards and the Making of a Murder any good? What’s your favorite of all the shows?

            • Hopeful

              My favoreite is homeland. It is so well done and complex. But love all the others. Bloodline and house of cards were great too. And I feel like breaking bad was a classic.

            • david

              im surprised none of you have mentioned ray donovan,infidelity a being a major theme between ray and his wife on both sides

            • Hopeful

              I have not heard of that show. Hmmm not sure if infidelity is a major theme if I could watch it. Some shows are too much. House of Cards has been hard for me at times due to that.

        • TryingHard

          Yes we watch Netflix, Breaking Bad, OMG wasted a whole beautiful fall binge watching BB 🙂 House of Cards, awesome great show can’t wait for the new season. We watched Narco about Pablo Escobar, very good. If you have Hulu watch The Path. Yes we watch a lot of TV and for my husband it’s a way of relaxing and zoning out. Our business is very stressful and his drug is television. Always has been. Even during the affair the TV was always on so we (he) wouldn’t have to talk and then he would fall asleep as a means of escape. When I am alone the television is never on. I prefer reading and quiet. I hear people talk all day so when I am home I prefer quiet. We are both pulled in so many directions and so many demands it’s easy to turn to the television as a means of escape. We also like to watch PBS, NOVA, Frontline and documentaries when not on Hulu and Netflix. So it’s not ALL mindless watching. BTW The Choice on PBS right now is very good if one is interested in this national circus called an election.

          Yes a lot of the shows inspire conversation. We don’t watch a lot of sports except golf on television and I enjoy that too because it’s quiet. It’s the noise at sporting events that is like nails on a blackboard for me. I wouldn’t go to a football game unless there’s a court order that I had to. Thankfully my h is not a sports fan either. Although when our home team plays on the west coast it is quite nice to listen to the game on the radio as it’s totally boring and lulls me to sleep 🙂

          I looked up Gottman and he has several books. Is there one in particular you recommend? I think this would be a good starting point for meaningful relationship centered conversation. My h is NOT good at reading this kind of material however he is very open to me being his version of Cliff Notes with regards to these types of books. He and I have lots of conversation but as I said before most of it is centered around our business. This is not very fulfilling for me. I do lots of listening in these conversations. He’s forgotten more than I will ever know about our business but I grow quite tired of it. I know my husbands worries about business and not dealing with his emotions or frustrations is what made him turn to having and affair. I know it was a very maladaptive way of handling his stress. I know he had NO emotional investment in that woman. I know the only reason it lasted so long was because he was scared shitless she would rat him out. I know the money he gave her was hush money. It’s what he does. I’ve seen how he handles questionable employees he throws money at them. So really in these conversations I want to be able to hear what is deep down in his mind, what he’s really afraid of, what threatens him, what makes him happy and what makes him sad. I actually think he’s quite an anxious person but stuffs that anxiety down and numbs himself out. He thinks if he doesn’t show emotion then he doesn’t have any. LOL I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen him cry. Mostly when we had to put pets down and when his favorite golfer made the tournament winning putt!!!! LOL I never said we weren’t totally screwed up!!!!

          I don’t know maybe I’m asking too much to expect an old guy like him to be introspective about himself, his emotions, his needs and him knowing his dark side. But can one really go through life being only superficially aware and perfunctorily reactive? For myself I have spent a lot of time in therapists offices learning about my darker side. It’s been a real growth experience for me and a healing experience as well. I guess I just want the same for the love of my life.

          • david

            hi hopeful im stuck aswell around the 18 mo mark,i have liked yr posts and have gleened much from them i have been dealing with a very similar personality in my spouse yr comments about empathy really struck a chord

            • Hopeful


              Glad anything I have posted is beneficial for you. This is a long hard road and for me message boards and connecting with others has helped me a lot.

          • Hopeful

            Tyring Hard,

            The book I liked most was Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass. I read it over and over several times. It helped me personally the most. I have not read it in a while though so not sure if at this point it was be as beneficial. But sometimes reading books at different stages offer different pieces of information.

            I also agree many times it is better for me to do the reading and it helps I can bring up topics. I feel like a workbook would be so helpful. We all like to follow along with a plan. Hmmm an idea there. For the Gottman books I did not know about him until my husband sent me the Atlantic article. So I do think a magazine article is easier for someone like our husbands. It is short… I read a lot of his books 7 Principles for Making a Marriage Work, Why Marriages Succeed, 10 Lessons to Transform your Marriage. What Makes Love Last was more related to infidelity I think. For my husband I think his approach works since it seems more science and data based. Not all about feelings.

            And I feel the same way we both are self employed and have stressful jobs where there is never a break or escape. We talk about our work and kids a lot. But we do need to talk about us, how we are working, if there are any issues or concerns, what we can do better, what we like… He does not think about it this way at all. He is totally a fix it guy and if nothing is wrong in his eyes then don’t talk about it. But if he has an issue I do not know if he realizes until it smacks him in the face or he represses it. I think at least for my husband to admit what is bothering him is a weakness to him or that he is a baby and he needs to be tough etc.

            I agree we cannot make them be or do anything in the end. But I know I want someone that I have a deeper connection with. And I know every day or conversation is not going to be super deep but once in a while. And when we do have that type of conversation I gain such a benefit. He on the other hand is sweating and I guess almost nervous. Talking about all of this is uncomfortable for him and he hates seeing me not happy or emotional at all. He wants it to be over. But I have told him it makes me feel a million times better so he said then we need to do it even if it is hard for him. And I told him he needs to step up his game and I need more of what I need not only what he wants to give or has to offer.

            This is so hard but if I am going to dedicate myself to him I need a lot in return.

    • Believe

      Hi my wife had a 1 year affair in 2011 and then a 2 year affair from 2013 to 2015. We in a difficult space at the moment. We talking more about divorce especially when we have arguments. I think i’m confused or in limbo. It will be extremely difficult for me to leave my beautiful daughters (age 8 and 10). My wife does not spend quality time with them. She is more hard on them. My youngest daughter told her all you do is sleep and never spend time with us on weekends. However, when her affair partner came around the house, she would just be happy around him but never happy around the girls. It’s the same now when her sister visits then she seems to be happier around her sister but she is still so hard on the girls. I sometimes wonder if she can ever be happy when it comes to our kids. Maybe if my relationship with her improves she will change. Maybe she is taking out her feelings out on the kids. Another issue i have is that I’m also still angry with myself and her about the details about the affair…like where they had sex (we still live in this home and i know where they had sex), if she sent pictures of herself (which she did). So i have a lot to consider to leave or stay. I need help.

      • TheFirstWife

        Believe. I am so sorry for you. And your daughters. This is heartbreaking to read. I don’t know how you live day to day with all this turmoil.

        Given that you see a pattern of behavior I hope you know her affairs are the result of her own issues and unhappiness.

        My suggestion is find yourself a therapist or counselor for you and your daughters. You all need support.

        You can benefit from some guidance on how to deal with your wife and her poor choices.

        A counselor can help your daughters navigate the family dynamics that currently exist.

        A counselor can help you figure out the status of your marriage and determine what your future holds. Just because you have children and love your wife doesn’t mean you should be together or that your wife gets custody of your children.

        My H’s mother was verbally and emotionally abusive to everyone. MyH’s family has battle scars. Some retreat during confrontation and don’t engage in a simple discussion. My H cut ties with her in his 20s. She died never meeting her only grandchildren and never wanted to meet them. She disowned them from the second they were born.

        My point is that your wife’s treatment of her daughters will have negative long term effects that can affect them in so many ways. They need love and support from both parents.

        My H’s dad did nothing to protect his kids. And allowed his wife to destroy his family. I was never welcomed by my MIL even though nothing happened – one day she just hated me and kicked me to the curb, so to speak. His sibs were no help so I was blamed for ruining the family. Hahahaha in my opinion.

        Those relationships have repaired since her passing BUT the damage is done. Not a close family.

        Please seek help and provide a loving environment to your children. Maybe your wife should be asked to leave the home until things change with her.

        All the best to you. Hugs & prayers as well.

        • Sarah P.

          Hi TFW,
          You have painted a perfect picture of my MIL. Only she wants to be over-involved. When my first son was born, she demanded to come stay with us. My husband caved and I didn’t know what I was in for. She wanted to take on the role of wife and mother in the family and she treated my husband like he was her spouse. Creepy as heck. Mind you, she is married to a man who pretty much a great guy on all counts: hardworking, non-drinker and non-smoker, very friendly and knows how to get along with everyone. He was an extraordinary successful business man. They came to this country with no $$ and had to leave all their $$ behind in the country they fled. By the time he retired, he was a millionaire. These folks Jews from Eastern Europe. For as successful and nice as he is, she is unsuccessful and mean. It really did a number on my husband and his attitude at one point became so toxic towards me, I left with the kids for a month. He was being so irrational I saw that if I didn’t leave, someone would get hit. So I scooped up the kids and left. During that time he emotionally shut down, took leave from work, and spent many days in tears with the neighbors. During that time he had to confront his rage against his mother and realize I was not the cause of it. After I came back, he changed and started telling me about the constant abuse he suffered at the hands of his mom when his dad was at work. We got to really explore what happened and I helped him find new coping mechanisms, boundaries, and ways to see himself in a new light. That was several years ago and the whole thing brought us closer. He made a permanent change. That’s why I say trauma always finds a voice. Since I am a non confrontational, easy going person who never says an unkind word to anyone, he felt safe. Unfortunately, since he felt safe he started letting his inner rage out and projecting it. His rage started to build after his mom lived with us and then reached a breaking point about 4 years later. When we dated and first married, there was no rage. Something about having a child and then having his mom there pretending to be his wife triggered him.

          I hope everyone is reading this because there is always hope. The day I left I was consulting a top divorce attorney. I filed a restraining order. I would not speak with him or let him see the kids. And his behavior had been such that the judge upheld the restraining order for a month. That was the scariest month of my life. I am someone who believes in working it out at almost all costs. I was terrified being out of the house but knew it was for the best. I never filed for divorce and neither did he. A month later we had a mediated conversation and we decided to work it out. I could see he had been broken and had to face the real problem– his mom. After I left he saw the cause was never me. After I returned he has always told me and also behaved in ways that show me I am the most important person in his life. Before I left, he was being so cruel and verbally violent.

          I never thought we would recover from that. People like my husband have to come to a place where coping mechanisms don’t work and where their safety nets are removed. It’s the only way they can uncover the root of what was going on. For the record, my husband’s mom was emotionally, physically, and was mildly sexually abusive to him. I only know a little of what happened but can tell there is so much he will never tell me. It’s really sad. Fortunately he was able to confront his rage and sorrow and he was able to tell me what happened without being called dirty or being abandoned. But he could only do that after I left and came back.

          It’s really sad how parent can do so much damage. I really think men with abusive moms need to come to that crisis point and hit it square on the head and acknowledge it.
          Then they need to understand they are none of those awful things they were made to believe. I cannot tell you the level of resentment I harbor toward my MIL. She is never to be alone with my sons and for good reason. She talks about my sons and says they “are sexy.” NO joke. She has also tried to tear the clothes off my oldest in front of me. I had to get between them. After that episode we do not a see them often.

          TFW, what did your husband go through? Any emotional incest or physical abuse?


          • TheFirstWife

            My MIL yelled and raged and everyone was afraid of her. Suspicions are that I married the favorite son and that is why she disliked me.

            When she chose the wrong path my H cut her out of our lives.

            I sometimes suspect that my H had an affair as revenge against me. I requested he not do something and he was acting like a child and kept doing it. Lo and behold the one time I stood up to him I brkieve he viewed me as being like his mother and got angry and had an affair

            It is the only time he treated me badly and was mean and that was during his affair. He denies it but I completely believe it.

            My MIL had issues with all her sibs, relatives, friends etc.

            • Sarah P.

              HI TFW,

              I assume your H has some buried anger against his mom. Has he ever talked about how her behavior in cutting him out of her life has affected him?

            • Rachel

              The first wife,
              Sounds like my ex MIL. She never cared for me and let that be known.
              She is very impressed with money and status. If MD or Atty isn’t in the name, she’s not impressed.
              She even said to me that she hopped her son ended up with the neighborhood friend. I remember it like yesterday.
              Stated at a party that she wanted her son to come back and live with her.
              I let her know well, he’s married and has two kids.
              I knew I was fighting a battle that I couldn’t win.
              But I guess I did!

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Believe,
        Tell us more about your wife’s family and also what her attitude was toward having kids before she had them. Also, were there any red flags before she had an affair?

        If your wife is a mess you are one of the cases where you might think about securing custody. As much as I talk about women and their rights, I strongly believe in father’s rights. I do not think the older custody arrangements that always favor the mom, no matter what she is like, are valid. I think you might want to look into all possible scenarios and also into what you need as a person.

        • Hopeful


          I was going to say the same thing. It might be worth your interests to talk to an attorney who specializes in custody cases not just divorce. And if you can find one who has worked with someone who has experience with the father gaining custody. It is always good to get professional help. From what I know it takes time and usually a lot of money. But just like anything the more prepared you are and the more information you have to begin with it can be helpful.

          I understand not wanting to be away from your kids. That has been a major factor for me in working things out with my husband in order to maintain our family unit. But if you feel there are issues and especially if your wife is not interested in just not you but your kids that seems to be a problem. Have you been to individual therapy and/or couples therapy? I think your concerns are valid based on not just you but your kids. I decided to got to therapy individually for many reasons but I knew I wanted to try to stay in our marriage. I sought out a therapist who was pro marriage since all are not. I also found one that specialized in couples and especially infidelity. He has been very helpful. We had lengthy discussion not just how my kids are doing but what have they been exposed to related to the infidelity and us working through this. What do I want for our marriage and our family. Have we told the kids or should we. What if they ask questions. When would be an appropriate time to tell them if ever. How would that go. So in addition to all of my work related to helping me through the infidelity it helped me as a parent. And there was and is comfort in having a plan if they ask or if we decide not to stay together since I have talked to my therapist about this.

    • TryingHard

      Thanks Sarah–Haha actually we are NOT going to FL. The in-laws are going to their condo there. Talking about selling it even. Right I will believe it when I see it. I am not going anywhere near FL this winter. I am too busy at work. If MIL gets sick again as I am sure she will and end up in the hospital/nursing home I am still NOT going. My h can go by himself. I went last year at her bequest and it was awful. Nursing home everyday, terrible weather, miserable hotel and well Naples in and of itself 🙁 So no not going.

      I am planning a week in a remote hotel in Mexico or Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico. Some place there’s no cell service just to get out of the cold weather. Probably not until Feb or March.

      In-laws are on their own. I don’t care what happens. My FIL talks about selling the place and yet he is hauling a trailer full of crap down there!! They are crazy and I’m not going to be pulled into their crazy orbit.

    • TryingHard

      BTW the Mexico trip is me and my h. Not just me although the thought is intriguing 🙂

      • Sarah P.

        Yay Mexico, not Florida!! (I need some sleep…)

        That sounds like a lot of fun. I have never been to any of the resorts. Here is a fun idea: Costa Rica with an all-inclusive hotel. I have been to CR and it is incredible. The retired parents of a friend went to that hotel called Dreams and they had the time of their lives. I want to take the kids and my H there but he is afraid of CR for some reason. Here is their website. Looks like a most incredible place!

    • TryingHard

      Hi David–LOL yes!!! We watch Ray Donovan as well!! I hate that show, my husband loves it. So when it comes on that’s my cue to do my nails or give myself a facial. The show literally sickens me it is so violent and sick.

      Geez Ray will screw anything that walks. He’s like and un-neutered dog. I can’t stand his character and worse I hate the wife’s character. She knows what he’s doing and stands by. And really what women uses the F word two or three times in one sentence?!?!? The show’s characters are really very much like The Sopranos characters. I think they are all deplorable.

    • Strengthrequired

      Just a vent, I have a feeling my ch is not out of his midlife crisis, it feels as though this is going to last forever. I have been asking him for us to sell our home and buy elsewhere. Honestly our home does not feel like our home anymore. Constant reminders. All those moments we have shared in this house, the birth of our children etc, that should hold some meaning to me now here, just doesn’t, because his affair has wiped all the good I feel for this home.
      I feel as though this home is sucking the life out of me, if that makes any sense to any of you. It’s the reminders of her being in our home, knowing where we live, knowing she lives near us. Goes to the same shopping centres as us, knowing that everyt imp I go out, will she I bump into her. What will that do to me if I did? Thankfully I haven’t yet.
      My ch tells me ok one minute, gets me excited, then backs down, then builds my hopes up again, then backs down. Tells me he wants bigger land, better home, fully knowing that in our area, that is so far out of reach for us, I mean millions of dollars are needed. Then after a while tells me he doesn’t want to do anything right now, because he wants to be more financially stable, which I agree with, we will give it a couple of years.
      Next thing he tells me, that he wants to buy a factory for our business, I knew that was part of our plan anyway, that’s ok. Then he starts talking about buying a $120k car in a couple of years time, and he will put that on our mortgage.
      My complaint to him was, “so you would pay so much for a car, but you won’t pay that extra or even $200k extra on a new home, which would be more of an investment than a car.”
      His response, “yes, we don’t need a new home, we have a home”
      Again, I tell him ” I hate this home, ”
      He says ” all of our memories here, we had our children here, and you don’t hate it now”
      Of course I replied “yes”.
      Honestly, I know it is years away, and may not happen, yet I know him. He wants this car, he will make sure he gets it. So right now I feel deflated, I will be stuck in this home, this area, that is draining the life from me” while I watch my ch do and get what ever he wants.
      Yet all I want is to get away from here, get him away from here, away from her. Yet I know deep down I know I won’t ever be able to get him out of this area, due to our business.
      I just don’t want to be reminded everyt imp I go out, every time I come home, every time a car stops out the front of the house.
      I know he now has his family all back in the area, so he doesn’t want to leave them, his sisters and his parents, I know deep down this is part of his reasons, even though he doesn’t say, so as long as he is happy, he has everyone around him, hanging on to his every word (honestly no joke, his family hang onto his every word, and he changes in front of them, he truly laps up their attention.
      My ch thinks that because he is here, that I should be happy, that I should love our home,
      Yet for me, I feel stuck in the memories, stuck in between loving my house due to the memories of it being where we have raised our children, and hating this home so much because of my ch affair, where the hating it is more overwhelming, because of the area we live.
      Someiimes I just want to tell him, that I will move back to where I was living 2 hours away, during his affair. We were closer then, and he gets to live here near his family, and me and my children can move from here and I can feel safe again, and not so overwhelmed by the memories, especially considering he doesn’t want to leave here to make me happy. Maybe that is what I need to do. Just so I can breathe again.
      Who would have thought that his affair would have caused me so many emotional scars, that it would still affect me the way it does.
      Honestly I don’t know how you all do it, living in the same area, as the affair partner and where all those horrible memories of where they have been, are in your face constantly. it drains my emotional wellbeing.
      Sorry for the long vent, just needed to get it off my chest. i just want to start fresh somewhere else, what is so bad about that?

      • TheFirstWife

        SR. You are right he is not out of the midlife crisis.

        You are right to how you feel. If the OW was in your house, his car, etc. you have every right to feel the way you do. In fact when I found out the other woman was in my husbands car,

        • TheFirstWife

          I told him there was no way I would ever set foot in that car ever again. Within a month he had sold his car and bought a different one.

          From the tone of conversations you are having with him, it doesn’t sound as though he has any clear direction for the immediate future. You want to new car, he wants new factory, doesn’t want to sell the house,he wants to buy a new home you cannot afford, it just sounds as though he is unable to make a decision or is still in the middle of his midlife crisis.

          There are times when I am in my kitchen and I start to feel very sad because I was standing at my kitchen sink when I found out my husband had started cheating. I understand completely when you reference the memories and triggers that occur. I am sorry your husband doesn’t get it.
          If your home is causing you to feel so unhappy, maybe you need to tell your husband that he has a set time frame to move in with you to another home.

          I think that your own mental health is far more important than waiting around for him to make a decision.

          I am sorry that you have been stuck in this position for so long. It Cannot be helping you in anyway to have to live like this.

          So sorry it has come to this for you. Maybe being proactive in this will help you to start to get away from the ghost of Christmas past, if you know what I mean. If you start to put a plan in place to eventually move, this may help you feel that that you have more control over the situation and you may feel less haunted by the past if you are in different surroundings.

          Personally, I would want to punch my husband if he had the nerve to bring the other woman to my home and then tell me it has all these wonderful memories.

          I might have become Lorena Bobbitt at that moment!

          • Strengthrequired

            Tfw, it’s me that wants to change homes, he doesn’t want to. He entertains the idea, only to keep me hopeful. I know he doesn’t want to, why would he, he has everything and everyone he wants here. If he moves, that means he is away from it all, he is happy here.
            At times I feel I made a mistake moving back to our home, I was away from everything. I moved back for him and our children to have their father, after all they deserved that. I thought that maybe I would be ok at our house, I knew the area was going to be an issue for me, but I didn’t think our home would become one. I thought that maybe things would be better, some ways they are. I thought that we would be able to start fresh in a new home eventually, well that appears now to be something that won’t happen.
            I found that I am accommodating everything he wants, well because he is the bread winner in our home. I am unable to work, my younger kids are sick quite often, so getting employment is not an option. If I did get work, then it would just annoy the employer due to the amount of time off I would end up having.
            So I’m stuck, damned if I do and damned if I don’t.
            I do have a feeling though that someone has been in my ch ear, about not moving. I feel someone has been in his ear about doing what he wants, get what he wants, he deserves it for working so hard. Yet I totally agree, except when it is at our expense.
            Yet what is painfully clear to me, is that my ch has no intention on moving, definately not for me anyway. What is also painfully clear, is that my ch is going to do whatever he wants, purchase whatever he wants, because it is what he wants. Just like his affair, he had an affair because he wanted to.
            They didn’t do anything as far as I know in our home, but she came to our home, celebrated birthdays etc, the whole time she was planning on destroying my family. I don’t know how he doesn’t see how that would affect me, especially after everything they did. im sure if I did this to him, he would have not have saved our marriage, he would have kicked me to the curb, and if he didn’t kick me to the curb, he would have packed us all up and moved.
            Btw, I did get him to sell his car she was in, yet sometimes I wonder if she has been in his car we replaced the old car with. I have no proof either way, if she did or not.
            Sometimes tfw, I justt want to feel as though I am worth more to him, than what I feel I am. I would like to know that he would pack up and move for me, without hesitation. I would like to know he would put me before anyone and anything else. I would have liked to know that when I asked him the first time I found out about his ow, and I asked h, to leave her, and stop all contact that he did, without hesitation, yet that didn’t happen.
            Domt get me wrong, he is a wonderful provider and I would love him to have everything he wishes, but when does he become we?
            I guess we will see what happens in a couple of years time, I definately won’t be signing a new mortgage to cover a stupid car. Especially for a car that he will let just sit in the garage most of the time, just used maybe once a week, just so he can entertain his midlife.

            • TheFirstWife


              I understand completely why you want to move. I am just sorry your H doesn’t get it.

              Do you think your H had an affair as a reaction to midlife crisis but also your children being ill so often? Maybe he cannot deal so he just escaped. Would be fairly typical.

              I realize your H won’t move and that must be depressing for you. If that remains the situation for you, perhaps redecorate a bit so it is not the same home it was when she was there. It may help.

              I understand your damned if you damned if you don’t position. That is a tough way to live.

              I think one of the things that bothered me more than anything was the appearance that my husband’s life seemed to continue as if nothing happened. It wasn’t until recently that I realized he may have that outward appearance, but that is not how he felt on the inside.

              I don’t know if that is what you were seeing as well.

              I know for the past month or so I have been feeling as though my husband’s life has gone on as though nothing happened and that infuriated me.again that is from outward appearances only.

              I hope that as time passes you can accept that you are living where you are for now. I would continue to push for what you want without having to give in to his expensive tastes. Maybe buy a house you can afford to stay in long after your children are grown.

              I wish I had better advice or helpful suggestions. I understand exactly how you feel about this. It makes complete sense. Sorry your H doesn’t get it.

            • Strengthrequired

              Tfw, it’s funny you say how you were frustrated seeing your husband move through life as if nothing had happened. I totally get that, because I look at him sometimes and feel frustrated at that very same thing. I don’t know deep down how he is feeling everyday, I do know how I feel and I make sure he knows it, especially when I feel somewhat overwhelmed.
              Yesterday it was one of my frustrated moments, lol. I always make sure I get him at a time where he is in a good mood, before I start my conversations with him, that way it gets my point heard and acknowledged.
              I brought this up with him today, yet how I put it was ” am I worth it to you to move ?” Of course he said yes, but he wants to do a few things to our house and a few other things he wanted to get out of the way first”.
              You see that is all I want to know, is that I am worth it to him to move, away from everyone and everything. I am willing to give it a couple of years if needed, but what I don’t want is that door to be shut completely. I don’t want it to be the end of the discussion and that there will be no way he will want to sell.
              We have been talking a while about changing the way the house looks, so I am hoping it will help, when we do start so,e renovations, especially in the front and back yards as well.
              I hate how this recovery gets so hard at times, most of the time I just go from one day to the next, then there are days that I just feel like crap.
              I am glad I opened this subject up again to my husband, yesterday just wasn’t a good time to bring it up with him, especially when I know my emotions are running high. Honestly I do get where he is coming from, not the car thing though, but two years from now, that better not be on his first list of priorities. Thankfully he is not planning on buying anything right now, we really aren’t ready for it. So at least now I have a bit more hope.
              Looks like we live off hope, during affairs, after affairs, during recovery, even after recovery,.
              Thanks tfw, glad to know I’m not alone, as always.

            • TheFirstWife

              Strength. The one thing that I have learned from this site is that we are never alone in how we feel. The cheating spouse can make you feel like your feelings or your thoughts are not rational, however you come here and you learn they are valid and somewhat expected.

              What I find interesting is that when we don’t talk about our relationship will have to address any issues relating to the affair, our relationship is really good. However when I start to think of things or wonder why it happened or think of any aspect regarding the past, it seems to stir the pot.

              I think sometimes we just want to hear and feel that we are loved cherished validated and important to our spouse.

              I don’t think we are asking for anything more then respect, love and commitment. I think we want to see that despite an affair, our spouse is willing to face their issues and get the marriage back on track.

              Strength, I am glad your husband at least validated you in a way that makes you happy. I hope you can move at some point in the future and find happiness in the house that you are currently in.

              Big hugs to you and glad to see you finally got something you wanted.????

            • Strengthrequired

              Tfw, not sure I got exactly what I wanted, you hit the nail on the head when you said ” all we want is to feel loved cherished and validated”. After everything he did and said during his affair, it is very important to me to feel that from him.
              why wouldn’t any of us bs not want to feel that way from our spouse. Unless the Cs has felt the hurt, betrayal brings, they won’t really ever understand how important their actions are in relation to just that. After all they did choose someone else time and time again, turned their focus onto someone else apart from their bs.

              I do want to move, yet I know I have to have patience, but as long as he doesn’t brush aside my feelings and needs, then I can have that patience.
              Thanks again

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Strength,
        Thanks for your vent. I can tell that you are really frustrated and if I were in your shoes, I would be going nuts.

        I wanted to look at the big picture.

        I got the impression from things you said in the past that your husband’s family is from a different culture and that they are close knit. My husband’s family is from the former Soviet Union and even though we are all Caucasian, our cultures could not be more different. Thus, I use culture in a very broad sense. (Even people from the NE of the United States and the deep South have a different culture.)

        If I remember correctly, your H was also involved with a cousin. Was this a first cousin or second cousin? I will also tell you that when I went to my BIL’s wedding, my H had a married first cousin who got drunk and hit on him in front of her own husband and kids and also in front of me. I know it sounds like something hillbillies would do, but she has a PhD and her husband is a doctor. So why am I talking about this?

        I am talking about this because I have experience with these enmeshed families. I married into one. Add to that that my husband’s mom is a sociopath. (Or I believe that based on many of her actions.)

        I knew soon after we got married that if we lived anywhere near them, we would either get divorced or my life would be a living hell. I was not willing to compromise and we stayed in the state we were living in, even though he wanted to move back to LA. We are 2,000 miles away and whenever my H talks to his parents he gets really moody and ends up yelling. There was a while there when he had little contact with his parents, but recently they have been calling a lot and he has a short fuse. Anytime I explain this, he gets mad. I just let it wash over me.

        Anyhow… these types of families are very tight knit and enmeshed. Guys like this have been taught to cleave to their families and not cleave to their spouse. I would bet that your H’s family influences him and his decisions all the time, whether you know it or not.

        That is funny you mention a 120k car. My in-laws always moan about how they have money problems… after all, they live in their 5,000 square foot house with a swimming pool and a tennis court in LA. But, that did not stop them from going out and buying a 120k car a couple of months ago and then putting themselves on the waiting list for iPhone 7’s. One thing they tried to do was ‘buy me off’ in the beginning. They kept offering me money and expensive gifts and I would turn them down. My parents taught me that gifts and money always come with strings attached. So, before I met my husband, I ensured I had a career where I could be more than comfortable financially and always meet my own needs. In addition to that, flashy houses, clothes, and cars do not impress me. They don’t fit into my self-concept and don’t fit into the things I value. I value people, animals, the environment, and relationships with good friends and family. I value living in a beautiful location because of the beauty itself. We live out on a a small island connected to the mainland via a bridge.
        Anyhow, my in-laws have tried to come between us and run every aspect of our lives since day 1. My MIL tried to actively turn my husband against me for many years and still does. But, he doesn’t listen as much now. They were able to be so cruel to his first wife she left 6 months after they got married– and they were all from the same culture. So, I know it is not personal– it is them– but I stopped standing for it. I have come to the point where I would have to choose divorce if his parents became a huge influence again. Because when they are an influence, my husband gets a short fuse. That does not mean that I don’t value my marriage. In fact, I would avoid divorce at all costs. But, if staying in a marriage means I have to sacrifice my mental health, well then, I have to save both my kids and myself. Period. I refuse to be sunken into a deep depression because of my in-laws doing everything to get my husband to verbally attack me. I am telling you all of this because somehow I see similarities. My in-laws were distracted by my BIL for a long time and my BIL and his wife live about a 2 hour drive from my in-laws. They just have a baby but are shutting my in-laws out. That means they are calling my H again all of the time and he is wound up. For example, his dad called this morning and they were talking forever. After he got off the phone I inquired about what was going on– as in is his dad OK. He got really mad at me and turned his back and said “don’t talk to me” and he still has his backed turned. I no longer take it personally because I know where it comes from. Cultures like this hold a lot of influence over adult children and this influence is a terrible harm to marriages. It sounds like you are married to the Golden Child and that makes things worse.

        So, I don’t know what you can do except do what I do– that is, I stand up for myself. I have gotten over my fear of divorce because I know that assets would be split and I would be okay. I have had to get over my fear of divorce because I had to ask what was more worthwhile: was it worthwhile to stay married while allowing his family to destroy my marriage and to pit him against me? Or, is it better to stand up for myself and let the chips fall where they may? So, I stand up for myself and refuse to back down. I am not ‘young’ and so if I got divorced, I would not expect to remarry. And that scares me too since I want to be married. But, once again, what is the price? So, I keep standing up for myself and let the chips fall where they may. I had to leave once for a month with the kids because he was so volatile and it had to do with my MIL trying to turn him against me calling by calling me a loser and everything else in the book. In fact, at my BIL’s wedding, everyone was looking at me strangely. Another one of my H’s extended family members (a woman) and I were talking. She announced, “You know, you are really cool and NOT at all what L***** said you were. She has told all 150 people here that you have schizophrenia. But, I can see that is just another one of her lies because she is jealous.” OUCH. I told my husband and he didn’t believe me. That is only one of the hundreds of games my MIL plays.

        So, I am trying to paint a picture of what these families are like and whether or not you want to be a part of that for the long haul.

        In the meantime, I would tell your H: “no, we are not buying a 120k car because it is a depreciating liability. On the other hand, we are buying a new house because that has the potential to be an asset. You are not using our money in a way that is throwing it away. You can drive the 15k Honda Fit and start looking for a new house. I refuse to live in a house that has been irrevocably dirtied by ‘that woman’.”

        That is what I would say if I were you. But, you may not have come to that point yet. No matter how old you are, no matter what you look like, no matter if you are a stay-at-home mom or make the money, you need to know your inherent worth. Strength, you are an inherently valuable woman and if you are a Christian that also means you are the apple of God’s eye and infinitely valued and cherished. But regardless of being religious or not, you are valuable and worthy just as you are. I need you to say it out loud: “I am valuable, beautiful, and I am inherently worthy. I deserve to be loved and valued by my husband.”

        Don’t forget it!!

        Big hugs,

        • Strengthrequired

          Sarah, yes, my husband is from a different culture and nationality to what I am. So of course his family didn’t want us together, and as I have mentioned before there were many times when people tried to come between us. My husband though used to stand up for me and by my side. It was a great day when they all left back to their homeland all those years ago, we had twenty years of some peace, and we were great.
          Then his first cousin gets back into the picture, well then it was downhill from there within a couple of months. I believe she thought his family would support her, yet they didn’t apparently, which amazes me to this day, because of how much they didn’t want me apart of their family. I have to say though, I have never been truly accepted as a member of their family, I think they still just tolerate me, when we do see them now. Yes they are all headed back here for good. Yay for me, not….
          My ch has never been close to his parents, yet what I have noticed over the years is it is like he tries to get his parents approval of how wonderful he is, like some sort of acceptance as a integral part of their family. When he does try to do that and they get somewhat closer, it’s like I get pushed to the side, well my children too. his parents are getting on a bit, so of course they want to get closer to him, so he makes himself the centre of attention. Honestly, he is in his glee when he sees them, because they really do make him the centre of attention. He laps it up.
          Then he gets home and he isn’t as talkative, isn’t as willing to Make conversation.
          Over the years we have had some arguments about how his family have treated me, so when they left all those years ago, it was the best thing for us.
          Now they are coming back, and it worries the hell out of me, especially when we are still in recovery mode since his affair.
          So for me, the less amount of time I see them the better, I don’t feel like being around people that have never treated me right. When I have seen them not long ago, it is like im not even there, I may as well be a piece of furniture or a painting on the wall. hello and good bye is the extent of our conversation. So imagine sitting at your I laws for three hours or more, not understanding a word they say. Even though they can speak English but won’t. When my husband tries to get them to talk English they won’t . So to me they are just rude.
          So I get your pain when you deal with your inlaws.

          • Strengthrequired

            Sarah, forgot to mention, Thankyou, I know I’m worth it and worthy of being valued and cherished, and I know it’s doesn’t matter what religion I am I am still welcomed in gods home.
            Yet you know, sometimes I just want to go and talk to a priest, and just have a talk and feel that little bit closer to God.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Strength,

              I think it would be a great idea to go and talk to a priest. God is a God for everyone and I tend to believe people access him in different ways. And that’s fine and good. When I hit rock bottom, I have to go and pray or talk to a minster or Christian friend. The great thing about God is that he is perfect and he already infinitely loves you and cherishes you. All of us humans have our failings, but God is consistent and ever-loving. He will always cherish you, no matter what happens.

          • Sarah P.

            Hi Strength,

            I see a lot of similarities:

            -Speak a foreign language that I don’t understand in front of me even though they are fluent in English. (Check)

            -A husband who tries to please his parents now because they didn’t have the most healthy relationship growing up. (Check)

            -His family ignoring me when I am around for favor of speaking their language for hours. (Check)

            I think what ticks me off the most is they have lived here for 50 years and got US citizenship 40 years ago. Yet, they refuse to assimilate. They talk about hating Russia because they were persecuted there but simultaneously they behave in ways that demonstrate the worst part of the Russian culture.

            So, for a long time my husband had to choose between pleasing them and being nice to me. When it reached crisis point, I left so he could make his final choice. When I left, everything became as clear as a cloudless day and he wanted me and nothing to do with his mom. In fact, he said she called him everyday during the time I was gone and said she would move in with him. He said no each time. But, it took me leaving with the kids for a month for him to get his priorities straight. He had other options because women always hit on him but in the end just wanted me to come back.

            Would you be afraid to leave again and separate? Does your husband know how to value you?

            Frankly, I had to teach mine through my behavior how to value me. I know this makes me sound like a pain in the butt, but if you would have seen the severity of the situation, you would understand why I had to take a stand.

            • Strengthrequired

              Sarah, wow there are some similarities. sometimes I sit there in amusement, as they suck up to my ch. every other time, I just sit there and shake my head in disbelief. Lol. I’m sure they think they are the only ones in the world, no one else exists unless they are one of them.
              If I knew what I knew now about this family, I don’t think I would have looked twice at my husband need alone marry him. I had several back then that were interested in me, but I chose him.
              I was so naive I thought his family would accept me, because I was a good person and came from a good family. Pffft boy was I wrong. I used to be happy go lucky, then I entered this family and little by little a piece of me became less happy. Along comes cousin scragitty, and I truly started to believe they had won, in breaking me and getting rid of me, because at that point, I didn’t have the support of my ch then, he turned into one of them.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Strength,

              Wow, once again, you are describing my in-laws. I also thought once they came to know me they would accept me. Early on in this marriage my MIL sent us baby clothes. I thanked her over the phone but also sent her a lovely thank you note. When she got the note, she was furious and called my husband at work. She scanned the note, emailed him, and said it was unacceptable. Why was it unacceptable? Because I thanked both my MIL and FIL and MIL was furious. My MIL is an expert at becoming offended by kind gestures.

              Ever had an experience like that?

              I am pretty sure you married into a family of narcissists and they are the messed up ones, not you. Still, when a normal person has contact with this type of dysfunction, it wears on their spirit. I had to pretty much cut almost all contact with mine– but, once again, I am now someone unwilling to compromise and my husband has to make a choice. I am okay with my FIL, but he is never allowed to talk to us or visit us without MIL.

              What do your parents think of your in-laws?


            • Strengthrequired

              Hi Sarah, I haven’t had anything like that happen. Except when we had our engagement party the would not attend. They moved back overseas I think that day and didn’t even tell my husband. They left for a few years later, and stayed with us until they got a place, thankfully in a granny flat that was in the back yard. Of course they made out to be nice when I saw them. When they did move we saw them everyday, after I finished work, I would meet my husband there. I was shoved to the side with the children, so they could talk to my husband.
              They of course would just tolerate me, my husband would at times get the shits with me because I would get upset that although they knew how to speak English they wouldn’t.
              It caused a lot of arguments. I hated how when he was with them, I was not his problem either.
              That was until he would have an argument with them, and didn’t want to see or talk to them again. Then they left back overseas a few years later.
              When they returned again, I was due to give birth to our second child, when I did give birth they wouldn’t even see us in hospital. Then when my bil wife had their baby, they were there the whole time during and after the birth, and visited her everyday.
              My husband was upset that they didn’t make an effort to visit his newborn baby the day he was born, or even bothered to come to the hospital at all. They waited until I came home to see the baby. Then they had the nerve to ask to take our first born child back overseas with them so they could teach him their language, as he would not learn it being with me. Thankfully my husband told them no way. He knows how he was raised..
              Of course they left and not long later were gone for years up until last year, then back soon to stay.
              So anxiety levels raise for me too, I am always excluded, as if I’m not there. They have only once bought a gift for my boys which was some sort of horrible shirt and pants set, my boys hated, lol. That was it, nothing for my other children they had never met, until last year, yet they tell the, they love them. What a joke. My children look at me and say, it’s a bit uncomfortable to say I love you back, I don’t know them. Lol

              So in between trying to break us, trying to get my husband to leave me, during their talks. What I have learned quickly on in my marriage, that if your not one of them, you will never be one of them. Holds true to this day.
              Now you can see why my husbands cousin, thought she had a chance to break us apart, especially when my husband was at a low point in his life. She truly thought she had managed to do just that, yet she also enlisted her parents and siblings to help her. She thought that his family would accept her, I did too.after so many attempts over the years to break us apart, one person she knew who tried to push my husband onto her daughter told her to leave him alone, he won’t leave his wife, he loves her too much to leave her for you. She just got angry and kept trying.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Strength,

              Wow, what a story about your in-laws. I will say it again– they sound just like mine. That thing about wanting to take your first born– my MIL wanted to do that too when he was a baby. I also know I will never be ‘one of them either.’ I have told my husband many times I have felt duped. My parents welcomed him with open arms and do everything to show him he is like a son. Well, my in-laws do the exact opposite to me. I think they accept my kids because my kids are ‘attractive.’ My MIL is so concerned with appearance and appearance is everything to her.

              It’s a crazy story about the cousin. SO Crazy. What kind of woman in her right mind wants to seduce her married first cousin? Yah, she is a real winner.

              When do your in-laws come back and do you have a plan?

            • Strengthrequired

              Sarah, my parents welcomed my husband with open arms too, they treated him like one of their own. I feel duped, that’s for sure.
              I used to have a lot of faith in my husband and our marriage, but now that he ended up having an affair, bad mouthed me to his family, made me look so terrible to make himself look wonderful and well I’m his right to do what he did to me and our children, I don’t hold that faith anymore.
              Definately not like I used to. I feel now he is so weak when it comes to his family, that I don’t believe he will hesitate to throw me under the bus again to make himself look good for them in the future. Sad hey?
              I do hope I am wrong in thinking this. But look what happened when he was depressed /midlife, he threw me under a bus for a cousin he hadn’t seen in twenty years.
              One thing he knows is that I would never have done. That to him. I never let anyone get inbetween us, and I wouldn’t still.
              My plans when his family return, well I would prefer not to visit them, yet I do know my husband will see the, every week, which that is what worries me.
              I swear they know more about him, than I do. He barely talks to me, he just wants to relax when he is home. When he is with them, he never shuts up.
              I guess that is my prize for marrying someone that is from a different culture and different beliefs to my own.

            • Strengthrequired

              Sarah, I can’t believe your inlaws wanted to take your child too. Amazing, what did they think, we would just hand them over?
              so,times I think that I must have done something really terrible to end up marrying into a family like this.
              I can say, my husband isn’t the same person I married, he has changed since his affair, he is better than what he was during his affair, but he is not the same person I married. I feel his affair is to blame for that.
              I miss so much the man he once was.
              Now I look at him and only sometimes see the man I married, the rest of the time, I just look at him with an aching heart wondering what happened to him, what happened to us, we will ever find what we once had ever again.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Strength,
              Your sadness over the man you once knew is palpable. I believe that man is still there but he is somehow being influenced by his family. I am sorry to say it but it would be nice if you guys could move 1,000 miles away from his family so that you two can have your marriage free of influences. All marriages are difficult but I am finding inter-cultural marriages are even more so. This is because every marriage has conflicts but when there is an inter-cultural marriage there are a thousand more potential conflicts added to the pile. Through my Master’s program, I met a really beautiful, stunning blond and sometimes we would go to coffee. (She was also taking classes). She had been engaged to a Canadian born Pakastani from a wealthy family and finally had to break it off. His family treated her so horrendously that there was no choice. For example, when she visited their home, she had to sleep in the garage and eat in the garage. No joke!!! They looked down on her even thought she was from a good US family. Her fiance would not stand up for her. Ultimately love did NOT win out. I have wondered before if I knew then what I know now, would I still get married? I think the answer is yes because in-laws can be nasty, as evidenced by all the comments, no matter where they are from. Plus, I wouldn’t have my kids and they are the loves of my life.

              Still, I am so sorry that you are going through everything. 🙁

              Don’t let anyone devalue you or ever make you think that you are the problem. I know the entire community stands behind you here.

              Big hugs,

    • Sara

      Sarah, Thank you for the book suggestion. I am just so tired mentally and physically of this whole 14 months. I just want it to end one way or another. I think Ive given up. They are so deeply entrenched with each other and she is so needy. He cant let it go or he doesnt want to let go. I cant seem to find the right words to have discussions with him. I am not sure we ever connected. That is what he tells her all the time. They seem so perfect for each other. What if this is his one chance at true love and happiness. They have such great talks for hours and never lack for topics. I feel stupid and slow and boring. Why do I keep holding on to something thats not there? Somedays I just want to leave again, but I have no money. This could go on for years. I am tired of thinking about them, but I cant stop. I dont know how to put myself first, I have never done that, I always had someone else to take care of, both of my sick parents, my child and now my sick sister. I dont want to live alone and go thru a divorce. JUST ONCE IN OUR MARRIAGE i WISH HE WOULD PUT ME FIRST.

      • Hopeful


        I hear everything you are saying. Being that I am past where you are one thing that came up with my husband is he told me he could never see me or our marriage as a good thing during the affair. He knew it was wrong the entire time but if he looked at me or us in a positive light then he would be a horrible person. So what did he do he made me the bad one. I was the problem. That way he could do whatever he wanted and not admit to his bad decisions, betrayal and deceit.

        And I understand the tired and worn down feeling from all of this. It is the most exhausting experience I have ever had. It takes you to new lows emotionally and psychically. It is hard to be resilient when you are faced with all of this.

        I would say if I were in your shoes I would get into therapy with someone with experience asap. I think it is important to do that for you. And they can help you. If you find the right match for you they can walk you through step by step what you need to do. That was the only thing that helped me make sense of this. It still has not been easy but I have managed and gotten a lot farther through this than if I was on my own.

      • TheFirstWife

        Sara. I agree. Right now it is hard to think clearly in the emotional black hole you are in.

        Therapy can help you. It helped me tremendously. Even though I have a disability and cannot travel at all, I was strong enough to leave my H if need be. I would have managed being a single mom however I needed to do it.

        I think your H WANTS you to believe the OW is all that. Yes it is very easy to talk to friends and people you haven’t seen for a long time. My H did that with the OW. Cute & interesting emails & texts every day to her. Me?! Not so much.

        But I don’t want a text & email relationship anyway.

        What lies do you think your H is telling her? Do not be fooled into believing their relationship is all that. This is a honeymoon phase. It’s all roses and romance. It is all FAKE – trust me.

        If she were all that, why is he still with you ? He could have left you but hasn’t. Maybe she is not all that.

        Like I said I had to hang on to my H for 90 days to get some $ in the bank so I had to suck it up. I knew he was leaving me but I just needed some time b/c I had no idea if he was going to give me another penny after he walked out the door.

        However three weeks into the nightmare I basically told him to go and be with her because there was nothing left for me to do. He continued to be in contact with her and was all emotionally distraught because I believe she ended it with him, rather than him ending it with her as he wanted me to believe.

        I tell you this because as bad as it could have been, I was ready to throw him out with no money, teenagers to raise, a house I could not afford on my own and uncertainty as to my physical health .

        When I mentioned to him on a number of occasions that he should leave and go and be with her, he got scared and straighten himself out for a few days but would go right back to treating me poorly and be miserable because she was not in his life.

        I think in life we have to make choices. I am not saying you should do any one thing, but I think it is important that you do at least something to help yourself. While you may have seen a therapist or counselor in the past, I believe that is something that can help you in the long run. It may take many months but if you can find someone you can develop the right relationship with, it may help you in more ways than one.

        Please consider another attempt at talking to someone, whether it is a male or female, minister social worker, priest, therapist, counselor or even a trusted friend.

        Please consider this once again because I have to tell you my therapist not only saved my marriage when I was ready to throw in the towel, but also saved my sanity.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Sara,

        Okay, time for straight talk. Not mean talk, just straight talk. (I don’t do mean talk.)

        I am going to say it again– I don’t think your husband and the OW are meant for each other. They are both in the affair fog and very powerful changes occur in the brain when the fog hits. This infatuation/irrational phase can last upwards of 2 years– maybe more. A lot of people can seem so ‘meant for each other’ at first because of the drug that is called infatuation. It literally is a drug for the brain and it would be like someone taking cocaine, heroine, and xanax all at the same time for two years straight. Add in a dash of libidinal fantasies and conflict that prevents people from getting together, and you have the most powerful mind-altering combination out there. Notice that what I described above is the basic plot of ALL romance novels: start with infatuation and mutual attraction, throw in various scenarios that prevent couple from getting together, throw in some drama, add in romantic and libido-based fantasies about the other person, and have a tremendously hot ending where sparks fly. In those books, they end in happily ever after– but they are not real life. If such fictional couples were to be followed over the longterm, eventually they would get used to each other, have to meet the reality of life challenges and stress, grow older, and ultimately have their infatuation triggered by someone outside the relationship.
        You H and the OW are living the plot of a romance novel and such things are smoke and mirrors. I absolutely DO NOT believe they are made for each other. In fact, the OW has showed herself to be someone without integrity considering she is willing to have an affair behind her husband’s back, hide money from him, and likely plot against him. People like that are NOT capable of good relationships over the longterm.

        I know that all of the women here who are on the other side of the affair and healing can see the affair fog in your description. They have been through the exact same scenarios and sometimes worse ones. There is nothing real about it, it is smoke and mirrors. I don’t care if she is an extrovert and if they can talk for hours. It’s all fake. Also, extroverts are not better than introverts. Introverts are responsible for most of the great art and literature in the world. There is a book called “Quiet” that all introverts need to read. Introverts tend to have more focus, integrity, introverts think things through, and introverts don’t flit from one person to another. I think your husband is the other woman’s new butterfly that she is chasing. Once she sees a more interesting one, off she will go.

        As for your husband putting you first, was there a time in the past when he consistently put you first or has the relationship always been ‘all about him’? If so, when did it stop?

        Within my group of extended ‘friends’ there is a woman who is married to a man on the autism spectrum. For 30 years he has not been able to give her what she needs or even relate to her in a way that is semi-warm or caring. She has fought with him for all 30 years and tried everything to make him change. The fact of the matter is, asking an adult with (untreated) autism to change is like asking a bicycle to fly. It simply is not possible, by design. This is the one thing our friend cannot come to terms with– the fact that she married a bicycle that will not be able to fly, no matter what she does, no matter how much she cries, and no matter the ultimatums. It has been a tragic situation for her and the stress has made her physically ill with a condition that can one day could threaten her life.

        Now, people having affairs are different than those on the autism spectrum. But, when they are in the affair fog, their brain has been hijacked and they are not at all the person you used to know. They will try to make you feel unworthy so that they can find a ‘reason’ for their affair. They get stuck in the mode of thinking things like: “If my spouse were X, Y, or Z, then I would not have to cheat on him/her. Because my spouse is not like X/Y/Z I am entitled to find someone who can give me X/Y/Z.” It’s a completely invalid argument and most likely the betrayed spouse is a great person but the wayward spouse has to make up lies in their head about the betrayed spouse so that they can assuage their own guilt. Once again, 100% about the wayward spouse his or her issues.

        Tell me about your marriage in the past. How did you meet?

        • Sara

          Sarah, I know everything you have said is probably true. But he is not the person I fell in love with 38 years ago. We met in college in 1978 when I was almost finished and moving into my internship. He then had two more years to finish. We dated for almost two years and he asked me to marry him in Dec 1979. I remember the first time I saw him I knew instantly he was the one. Unknown to me he had broken up with this first love that year, because she didnt want him and she married someone else because she didnt want to wait for him to finish college. He seemed to be very in love with me I thought, and we were happy.
          We were set to marry in Aug of 1980, when he decided to go for an internship in Alaska, so I had to push back the wedding till he returned. After we were married he had one more year to graduate so I worked and paid for his schooling. I thought we were in love and seemed happy in our little apt.. After he graduated, jobs were difficult in his profession so we found one at last and moved to a new town. He needed to work for 4 years before testing for his professional licence. I found a job I was very happy with. He was never happy working for someone else and we ended moving to San Antonio, with hopes of something better. I had to quit my job and leave my family and home I liked. Yet I went, and 6 months later he didnt like that and found he had passed his test, so we returned to our home state to live in my parents basement till he figured out what he wanted. His own business. He returned to the company he had been at before with reluctance, we bought an old house and remodeled it and enjoyed that.
          Eventually he managed to startup his own business in 1990. I continued to work and support us. Having a business didnt make him happy either, but he just cant work for someone else. Our son was born in 1993, we thought we would never have children so that made both of us happy. I was working full time and raising our son and helping him in this business and I quess I wasnt the best wife, I didnt put him first. I didnt meet the needs he had. The last ten years the business has not been good and we are just hanging on. We have no fun money, taken no vacations etc. I had to deal with my aging and dying parents which was very very difficult and time consuming while trying to save money and get our son to college.
          Now my younger sister has metastatic cancer and we are very close and it is very hard on me. I have always worked hard to provide the money we need to live while also doing the accounting and books for the business.
          My husband always thinks something out there is better, thus the many moves, the business, new equipment and cars. I feel like many times he never put me first, and I am sure he probably felt that way too. I pretty sure now he is thinking about all those wasted years when we could have been happier with each other and now he is too old. I am very sure his first love represents something he thinks he is missing, something better. He told me all this wanting over the years was his lack of feeling love. Perhaps he is right I have always felt I wasnt first in his life either and then I withdrew to protect myself the only way I knew how. You see I was abused as a child by my cousin and his father, my uncle, and I have always hidden that and withdrawn when I feel threaten. I am afraid of men and my husband was the first person I truly trusted and felt somewhat comfortable with, and now that trust is gone. I know that I am partially the cause of his unhappiness and I wish he could figure out he is part of my unhappiness. I have confessed much of this to him and taken responsibility for my part in our marriage. I continue to work on myself. Sorry if this is long winded I have left out alot in order to tell you alittle about us.

          • Sarah P.

            Hi Sara,

            The more information you give, the better it clarifies the situation. As always, there is no judgement here; just compassion.

            I am so very sorry that you were abused by your family members. That was really hard for you, I am sure. I hope that you have been able to work through some of those feelings with a professional and I am glad you told your husband what had occurred. But, I know also that must have been difficult to share. You are a really strong person to have gone through all that you have gone through. You are very courageous, indeed, Sara.

            How has your husband responded to what you have disclosed to him?

            Even though you think you had a part in the demise of the relationship, your husband still had choices to make based on your behavior. Even if you shut him out, he still had a choice. For example, he could have spoken with you about feeling shut out and given you a chance. (I don’t know if he felt shut out or not– it’s just a scenario.)

            As for your husband, I am getting a picture of someone who neither loves himself nor knows that satisfaction is found within. He is one if the many people who get caught up in the lie that happiness, satisfaction, and well-being is only found within. All of us must find it within before we can even receive love from others. Because if we have not filled that hole within ourselves, we cannot even receive what is given to us because it’s never enough. It’s like trying to keep water in a bucket that happens to have no bottom. He has not found inner fulfillment and until he does, he will be chasing fulfillment outside of himself. Because of this, he will chase one red herring after the next. That’s all the other woman is to him– the illusion of fulfillment and happiness. But, again, it is smoke and mirrors and it always comes to an end.

            Do you have an individual counselor that you speak with?

            Big hugs to you,

            • Sara

              Sarah, I had a counselor I was seeing for about 6 months after I found out about his affair. She was very helpful to me and I still see her on a limited basis as needed. They did not like her because she helped me to try and stand up for myself.
              I have come to the conclusion you have about his not finding inner fulfillment. I think really in a way the OW has helped with that and the fact of bringing him to religion again. A few days ago we had an exchange were he said I did not understand the big picture. Perhaps this is what he is talking about in a way. Perhaps he has always been looking for something to find this fulfillment.
              I have come to terms with my past and what happened. When I told him I did so with the intent he understand some of my past behavior. I am very sensitive to certain men and get bad feelings about them, so I have in the past avoided certain friends of his and really even his father. He was very concerned for me and even said that explained alot of things. We have not spoken of it since and that is how I like it to be, something in my past I have come to terms with and moved on.
              My concern now is this hold the OW has on him and how to bring him to understand I love him and want our marriage to work.I have decided I need to back off and let what happens happen no matter how hard it is for me. It is a daily struggle to not think of them when they are talking and texting. But somehow she seems to say the right things to make him happy. They talk everyday at the same time and he knows I know what he is doing. That is the hard part because he keeps doing it and lying. I really would like suggestion on how to forget about them and think about myself. I dont think I know how.

            • TheFirstWife

              Hi Sara. Call me a witch but at some point I would include myself in one of those phone calls.

              And it would go like this :

              Me: I know you have been communicating with my H. If one more contact us made by either one of you I will contact your H and tell him everything. And I will be happy to testify at your divorce trial on how you are cheating him and lying and I will be more than happy to supply evidence of your affair.

              And then I would show my H the door.

              He may be shocked at that behavior but he is not considering you at all. I can tell you the minute you don’t want them or appear to be moving on, they cannot handle the rejection and things can turn around quickly.

              I think Rachel who has posted can agree to that. Her H so wanted the OW. Now they are divorced AND he continues to ask her to get together.

              I think sometimes shock value can work. It can open their eyes to see what they are doing and potentially snapped back to reality.

              I hate to see you treated so badly. It hurts to read what you write. I don’t care how nice your H is to you he is still being selfish.

              He needs to make a decision or you need to make one for him but this should not be allowed to continue.

            • Rachel

              The first wife is correct about my ex. He said flat out that he didn’t want me or our marriage more than once, and in front of our 2 boys.
              Also, my ex said he would be with his soul mate some day in the future even if it wasn’t right then.
              Now tells my boys there was miss communication.
              Yeah ok so this makes it ok asshole.
              So I filed. Couldn’t see myself living in my toxic world another minute.
              And now….. denies all of his comment. Yes, he was in a total and complete fog. When he spoke to us he had a non existent look in his beatie eyes.
              Wishes my happy birthday, all the holidays I get an email, wants to see me. I ignore all his requests as I am in a much better place without this son of a #**#{ in my life.
              I don’t think anyone is as crazy as my ex, so make sure you discuss your next step with your husband.
              Just a word of advice, any money that is yours in an account,
              Withdraw it. Because during a divorce you will only get half.
              I took my boys on a cruise for their college and high school graduation that way my ex couldn’t get a bit.
              Please take care of yourself

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Rachel,
              I am glad you had the wherewithal to leave. I like all of your advice to Sara as well.

              The best thing a woman can do is take care of herself, empower herself, get her finances sorted out and any money of her safe, and then simply let the chips fall where they may. Rachel, you deserved better than what your husband gave you and what a typical story about how he wants you only after you left. How many years were you into your marriage when all this went down?

            • Rachel

              Sarah P.
              We were married for 24 years when he sought out his “soul mate”. He turned 50 that year in February and by the end of February he’d hooked up with her. She needed him because she was married to a drinker and she wasn’t happy. The hell with his wife and 2 boys, it was all about rescuing her.
              He was in touch with her our entire marriage with merry Christmas emails and happy birthday email. Then came the cell phones. He was always on his. And he had it locked. Said he didn’t want anyone reading it when he was away from his desk at work and his phone was charging. He always had an answer. He thought I was stupid.
              Thanks to so many tears on this site explaining to me that the ex is now doing classic narsarsistic hovering.
              He is classic text book for all of this. They do this so they won’t let you forget the pain that they have caused.
              I don’t answer. Don’t want to feed that over stuffed ego anymore than it already is.

            • Shifting Impressions

              I have been reading your comments with a very heavy heart. My heart goes out to you the same as everyone else here. But you need to understand, NO RELIGION would condone the behaviour of your husband and the other woman. That is some “religion” he has found. Most religions protect the bonds of marriage and condemn infidelity

              They are using religion as a weapon against you. Unfortunately this does happen.

              You are getting amazing advice here… do not deserve this treatment. There is no way that you will be able stop thinking about them……they are playing you. They are bullying you… just might be time to change the locks.

              You are in my thoughts and prayers.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Sara,
              I am glad that you still see an individual counselor on your own. I am glad she was teaching you to stand up for yourself. Standing up for yourself is key here. The First Wife is right about showing him the door. You don’t have to literally show him the door but you can ‘show him the door’ by losing interest in him and moving on with your life (even while in the marriage.) I am going to say something very personal here, but I say it with compassion. Unfortunately, I know all about the legacy that sexual abuse leaves and what it does to a person. I have studied it extensively and have had close friends who went through it. I remember being in 4th grade and my friend was being molested by her father. It never occurred to me I could tell anyone and she swore me to secrecy too. I felt so powerless and awful. I felt like there was nothing I could do to help and that she was at the mercy and whims of something more powerful and frightening too. I don’t doubt her story of sexual abuse either. One day we were playing in her front yard and her dad was standing at the window watching us and ‘playing with himself.’ I never went back to her house, but she was still welcome at mine. I remember feeling absolutely terrified for her– and the terror ran deep. It wasn’t happening to me but anytime I thought about her I felt like the air had been sucked out of the room. I felt a kind of powerlessness I had never experienced before. We moved soon after and I never saw her again.

              Sexual abuse sets up a pattern of powerlessness and a dynamic where the survivor naturally allows others to lead. It sets up a dynamic where a person learns to have no needs if they conflict with the needs of the abuser. Even if the survivor is not conscious of the dynamic, it is there. I know of someone who was abused by her dad. She had three sisters and her dad would come into her room and force himself upon her at night. He told her that if she just laid there and took it he wouldn’t touch the other sisters. She was the oldest so she took it because she wanted to protect them. Well, it’s no surprise that when she finally talked to her sisters about it, they all had the same story. They each allowed him to rape them thinking they were protecting the others. They got the courage to go to their mom and they all had to escape in the middle of the night since the dad was also extremely violent. I have a pit in my stomach as I write this. Sexual abuse is the most evil of all evils and my personal pet peeve. One of my mentors who has been a therapist for 30 years refers to sexual abuse as “soul murder.”

              I see this dynamic of being at the whims of someone else taking over your life. In essence, your needs have once again been silenced since your husband won’t respond to them. You are at the mercy of the situation and in a position that is not empowering. It is just something I have observed, but take it with a grain of salt.

              As for your husband being able to find religion again, that makes a mockery of Christianity. (I assume it’s Christianity that you speak of.)
              The level of hypocrisy is mind-boggling. He is breaking the commandment ‘thou shalt not commit adultery.’ He is on the road to a very bad place because God does not like those who mock his laws.
              Also, I have read that in Christianity, marriage mirrors the body of christ wedded to the church body. The husband is a representative of the body of Christ and the wife being the church body. Marriage is one of the highest spiritual undertakings of Christians. He is mocking marriage and breaking the 10 commandments. So, for him to think he is finding religion is a big mistake. And if she calls herself a Christian, God is not faithful to those who mock him. If she goes to church, she is like an adder among the sheep. And there is nothing that gets me going more than hypocrisy in the church (or synagogue).

              In the end, nothing good can ever come from this affair. I have observed that if people try to build something on a false foundation, it always falls apart. It is just a matter of time. It’s kind of like building something on top of a house of cards. One false move and the cards collapse and the collapse itself is of epic proportions. Nothing stands in the end.

              As for forgetting these two and thinking about yourself, that is a difficult one. But, it begins with standing up for yourself. There is a book by James Dobson called Love Must Be Tough. Dr. Dobson is a lifelong Christian and so one would assume that he would tell a woman to stay in her marriage and be long-suffering. But, the thing is, he tells a woman to do exactly the opposite. He says when an affair occurs, a woman needs to have her husband move out of the house and start looking into divorce. Remember, Christianity allows for divorce when there is infidelity. Infidelity is a grave sin. Dr. Dobson says a woman must stand up to her husband and be uncompromising. But, I understand why some Christians would think it. You need to read that book I recommended called The Script. Don’t walk, run to amazon or your nearest book store to find it. I think it will give you tremendously valuable insight. The thing I like about the book is that it is written in a really down to earth, humorous, and engaging way; more importantly, the information is essential. I would also recommend Love Must Be Tough. The bottom line is that you need to reclaim yourself and make the choice to no longer allow your husband to take advantage of you. He is taking bits and pieces of you by what he is doing and this must stop. I do agree that you need to confront him and you need to call the shots– not him. You need to be the master of your own destiny and start doing things that make you the master of your life.

              Do you really want to stay in your marriage? Are you afraid he might leave if you stand up?

              Sara, it is difficult to convey tone over the comments. But, all of the above was written with compassion. I am very sorry that you are in this situation– it is so difficult and enters every area of your life.

              Big hugs to you, Sara,
              Sarah P.

            • Sara

              Thank you Sarah for your wonderful post. You are so right about the powerlessness I feel in my life. I do allow him to lead my life and I always have. I am very afraid to stand up for myself and I am very afraid that he will leave me and I believe he knows this also and is counting on that so he can continue to do what he does.
              I have asked myself the question of do I really want to stay in my marriage many times when I know how much they love each other and always will. Part of me wants to leave and part of me wants to stay. I will never forget what I have read and heard.
              I have read every book on affairs and emotional affairs I could including Love Must Be Tough. I will reread it again in the hope I can move forward and stand up for myself.
              The religious aspect of this affair worries me. It is almost like she has brainwashed him. It enters every conversation they have and to me it is over the top. I think it was just her way of copping with her bad life, and now she has found someone she can convert to her ways. They have talked to the pastor of this church they go to several times and he doesnt seem to discourage them.
              I have asked my husband more than once if we can sell our house and move on separately. He always says no it is not the right time. I believe he is waiting for her to make her move but not really sure? I am stuck here at the moment till we can do that, we have alot invested in land etc which would need to sold and divided.
              What I need are suggestions on dealing with staying here and copping with the situation. Do I treat him like a roommate or continue to be loving and affectionate.
              Do I just do my thing and exclude him from all I do or do I continue to do things with him? How do I charge neutral and not sound sarcastic? I cant seem to do things for myself, I am just to used to taking care of him. Thanks to all!!

            • TheFirstWife

              Sara. I read your posts with a sadness in my heart because you are truly in a state of perpetual drift. By that I mean you are willing to float down the river and accept the path of whatever happens to you is ok.

              Your friends on this blog want you to know that it doesn’t have to be this way. You can have control of your destiny and your future and your happiness.

              I would like you to think of a day in your life that would make you happy. Without your H. Let’s pretend he is busy doing something else and you have an entire 24 hours to yourself.

              What would it be like?

              Would you have lunch with friends? See a movie alone? Read a book? Bake? Volunteer some time? Get a manicure? Go to the hair salon or get a manicure? Grocery shop?

              That is how your life should be every day!!

              Start spending your time doing things for yourself. Forget him – focus on you. I think if you start investing in yourself you will see a difference in your life.

              Maybe you will feel fulfilled and satisfied. Obtain some self esteem and satisfaction. Renew your faith in yourself.

              You have allowed HIM to be the dominant one in your relationship. Now it is time to take control of your life.

              You can still be kind to your H if you wish. But you do not have to feel obligated to do his laundry or cook for him.

              I believe you need to start disengaging slowly and subtly. It would be easier for you that way.

              Pick one thing today you will not do for him. Make his coffee or iron his shirt. Do his laundry or make him lunch. Go to the bank. Anything. Just one thing.

              See how it feels to take back some control in your life. Relish that feeling b/c it should feel good.

              Why does he get to decide when to sell your assets/land? Get yourself a good lawyer now. Start protecting yourself.

              Do not let him try to cheat you or have him & the OW control your destiny.

              When my H & I were starting to discuss the divorce he so desperately wanted I was 5 steps ahead of him. I told him I hope he can financially survive b/c he was going to be paying alimony a long time as I will never remarry.

              Men don’t like to feel pain in the wallet. They notice that!

            • Doug

              I love it! Great advice, TFW!

            • Hopeful

              I agree those are great ideas to start backing away even if it is one thing a day. If I felt I had to continue in the same home I would treat it as if we were separated. I think it would be smart to set up a way to communicate like parents do in a custody situation. Set limits on it the times and way he can talk to you. And remover yourself from his life.

              Also, I agree talking with an attorney would be smart to get their advice. These situations are not easy or smooth.

              The religious thing is just messed up that the pastor is okay meeting with them. I don’t care if you are religious or not any person even kids know this type of behavior is wrong.

              One interesting thing you said about his saying he sees the big picture is that seems incorrect. My husband and I have had some major conversations regarding priorities. His take was interesting. He said he now looks at everything from a macro/big picture perspective since dday. He said he has lived most of his life with a micro view of things. Really in the end what is in it for me and what is best for me. Above all else. And really it manifested itself with me and our kids only. He is very successful, tons of friends, and very connected to his family. But he made all his decisions big or small based on the micro view. Now he has flipped that. He just told me he realized last week he is happiest when he thinks about us first. In the end a reordering of his top priorities. To me your husband’s behavior is very self serving and self absorbed as I am sure all people are in affairs. Whether there is religion involved or not what does being a husband mean to him.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Sara,

              This thing about religion is a sticking point for me. I think that this is the prime reason people who are not religious think all Christians are hypocrites. I agree when you say she is brainwashing him. Religion has been used by false prophets to brainwash people from the beginning of time.

              I agree with TFW on disengaging slowly and quietly backing off on the things you do for him and replace it with something you can do for you instead.

              I would also talk with an accountant anonymously about what it would mean to both sell and protect your assets. You need to keep a clear head and know what all of your options are, even if you do not act upon them. Gather information without making a decision.

              The OW has your husband under her control and this is NOT love. That’s my two-cents anyways.

              Big hugs to you,

            • Sara

              Thanks to all for your great advice. In the last couple of weeks I have been trying to make the shift to taking more control and doing things for myself. I consulted a lawyer several months back and do know our state is a 50/50 state so all must be split equally. I handle all the finances so I do know what is going on.
              I wont be taken by suprise whenever they decide what they are doing. You are very very correct when you say the OW has him under her control. I believe she knows exactly what she is doing. That is why I continue to gather information and wait. She is up to something as I said before and she has my husband brainwashed and chasing after her. She is on some kind of time table and she calls the shots. There is a reason she is on her fourth husband and I believe it is sex. The weird thing is she wont let my husband touch her in any way even a hug, it must wait for marriage.
              I am trying to disengage slowly because I am being to think that is the right way for me to go. I think it is just taking me longer to get to a point where I say enough and end this. He knows this because the pastor told him I would probably give up at some point, so I do have some power here.
              It is just sad to me that he just cant come to me and say he wants a divorce. Thanks again to all this site has been so very helpful to me.

            • TheFirstWife

              Hi Sara. I am sad for your position but glad you are facing the chance it may end in divorce.

              If you face it at least financially you cannot be lied to. Or cheated.

              Yes your H is under her spell. But you have to recognize he is a coward. I had to accept that too. My H is a coward on certain things and always will be.

              In looking back over our 30 years together, I realize when he is unable to face something he becomes a coward. Unfortunately in the last few years I have had to tell him he has been a coward. A simple thing like my request to not tell me his plans at the last possible second, would result in him trying to sneak out the door or send me an email if he wanted to play basketball one night, as an example.

              I have resented being treated like I am his mother by him. She was a witch and a nasty person raged over everything. I understand that he will do whatever he can to not cause an upset, however, I seriously doubt asking your wife to play basketball on any given night is going to cause a screaming match.

              Unless you try to act like a spoiled child and get your own way and behave any less than honest way, I’m not going to scream at you, but I will address the issue.

              So yes, your husband is a coward. I think if you look back you will see many instances where the same behavior to place but you may not have recognized it.

              I almost feel like my husband asked like an immature child at times. Almost like A toddler willing to do anything to get his own way.

              We had a three week argument over plans for his 50th birthday celebration. I put together a small surprise party. The conflict was a weddingthat we were invited to but we were unable to attend due to the party. When I told him we could not go because we had plans for the evening, he tried every way possible to get me to change my plans. He even offered to go to the wedding himself and then return in time for our night out.

              Given that his ability to be home on time has never been one of his attributes, I said no. We had plans for the evening and that was what we were going to do and I’m sorry but the wedding is not going to happen. I ended up in tears on more than one occasion because he refused to accept the Final answer of no.

              So while I have bent over backwards to say yes to almost every request he has had, I look back now and realize what happens when I say no. He reverts to immature, childlike behavior, and I have to tell you I am starting to resent it.

              So please understand that your husband is incapable of making A decision right now because he is in the affair fog. He also has been dragged into the clutches of a master manipulator her who knows how to play the game and right now has a willing victim.

              I think your approach on how you were going to handle your situation is spot on. Sit back, wait and see what happens but make sure you protect yourself however you need to.

              I think when you start to slowly creep away from being in the middle of this super storm, you may start to see things a bit differently.

              Please know that this affair has nothing to do with you but everything to do with your husband. Do not let him bully you into believing that there is any excuse in the world for him to cheat.

              The fact that they are not having sex makes it even more difficult for him to acknowledge that he is in fact cheating.

              I say this because my husband had a four year EA but would never acknowledge that the relationship was inappropriate. The girl was madly in love with him even though she knew he was married. He stonewalled me, Gaslighted me, lied to me, hit the relationship from me, and did everything possible to make sure he got his own way. When I would question him he would just look at me and not even answer.

              So while that relationship ended almost 20 years ago, it has suddenly become a part of his last affair because of the pattern of behavior that he chose to undertake.

              So yes not only do I have to accept that my husband is a liar and a cheater, but he is also a coward.

              Ugh!!!! And the sad part is everyone would tell you he would be the last person you would expect to be this type of person.

              Quite the middle age eye opening experience!

            • Rachel

              My state is also 50/50 state, but when the judge heard my story it worked out better for me.
              I told my attorney every verbally abusive word that came out of the ex’s mouth and how he was leaving his family to be with his soul mate.
              I do get alimony an extra 2 years than I by law should get.
              Stay strong.

    • Hopeful

      So interesting. It always gives me insight into the family dynamics my husband comes from. From the exterior it seems like all is good. Too many details to get into. But I have always been told by my husband that his mother is the kindest, nicest person ever and does not have a mean bone in her body. And yes she is a nice person. But for me it is the dynamic that exist within the family and how they raised my husband. I have found if I stand up for myself to him or them then I am told I take things personally or what is the big deal. And one thing that has always sat with me is I have never made fun of my husband but during a disagreement he called me by my mom’s name and it was meant to be negative. That still hurts to this day. I am the first to admit my parents faults and always have. On the other hand his parents can do no wrong. I can see how it has created so much of this bad dynamic between us. Things have improved but it still happens where if I speak up I am in the wrong. It really is maddening. Our lives overlap in so many ways which makes it even harder. Sigh…

    • TryingHard


      I haven’t commented on your situation because I have nothing more to add to what they are already telling you. All I can say is I 100% agree with Sarah P and what TFW. I do strongly recommend you find a therapist that is well educated in counseling those who have been sexually and emotionally abused. Not any therapist can counsel you properly. I do believe you are allowing this abuse, and it is abuse, from your husband as a reaction to your prior abuse. You’ve learned to just take it and keep your mouth shut. I am so so sorry. Hugs to you and my sincerest concern for your physical and mental well being.

      • Rachel

        Great comment, TryingHard!!

    • Sarah P.


      I understand why you are upset with your MIL and your husband’s refusal to have your back. I see several different betrayals here:

      1) The affair itself is a betrayal

      2) The fact that your H went out with someone just like his mom is a betrayal

      3) The fact that your H allowed his mom to come into your marriage is a betrayal

      4) Your husband still is involved with his mom after his mom made it clear she wanted him to leave you– that’s a betrayal.

      5) The fact that he doesn’t defend you to his mom is a betrayal

      6) The fact that his family almost welcomed the OW into the family business is a betrayal

      There are a lot of loose ends and things that have not been resolved between you and your H. Some of them cannot be resolved until he starts setting boundaries.

      So, this is my personal petty opinion: I hate to me so mean, but it’s too bad your MIL is so young because that means she will be around causing trouble for many more years. In my experience, people like your MIL wear out the rest of us and don’t wear out themselves. It’s one of those cruel ironies in life. (I feel the same way about my MIL because she had my husband when she was relatively young. That was one of those situations where she got pregnant intentionally to trap my FIL. Everyone in the family knows– including my FIL.)

      But, that is beside the point. Whether your MIL is young or not, there is a solution and you are already doing half of it. You have pretty much cut contact with her and come to the realization you can never be friends. But, since your husband does not defend you, you cannot have emotional peace. If you have read my earlier comments, I left my husband and took the kids for a month because of something like that. His mom was always on the phone complaining about me and doing things to bait him. After about 4 years, a ton of anger built up in him and he started to release it. He was yelling, throwing things at us, and I knew if I didn’t leave someone would get hit. I left with the kids for a month. During that month, since I was gone with the kids and had a no-contact restraining order, he had lots of chances to talk to his mom. He figured out he hated her and missed me. He would go and cry at the neighbor’s house each day and often fall asleep there– the neighbor’s being a retired couple in their early 70’s. The neighbor lady said she had never seen such regret and he petitioned to God each night for us to come back. (That’s a lot for someone who was raised with religious folks.) That was 7 years ago and after I came back, he had his head straight and still does. He has had all of these epiphanies about his mom but still can’t come to terms with the fact that she is probably a sociopath. (He knows she is a narcissist because he and his brother talk about that now but he can’t take it one step further.) The point is, he defends me and doesn’t allow for any disrespect. Prior to that, we tried therapy and everything else and it failed. Each time a therapist would tell him his mom was the problem, he would quit. We went through 5 different therapists who were senior in their field. The point is, I had to leave and I had to do it for enough time that some insight was gained.

      I tell this story to everyone because no one should be afraid of leaving if their marriage becomes too difficult. Remember, all of you are betrayed spouses and even God allows for divorce in this case. But, if you aren’t religious, the laws in all states allow for a no-questions-asked divorce if there is infidelity. If you are afraid to leave because you are afraid to lose your husband or wife, that’s the wrong reason to stay. I am not asking you to act, just to think about it. Leavings works because it gives the wayward spouse time and space to think it through. Plus, psychologists like James Dobson have found that more often than not, when you leave, it causes the wayward spouse to want you back.

      My heart goes out to everyone. I was a mess when I left for that month but kept it together for my kids. I know the turmoil that leaving causes. It is hard, but sometimes it is the only thing that forces the cards. Also, if anyone’s spouse is ever physically abusive, I would recommend leaving immediately. (Women can be physically abusive too– not just men. I worked (as a project manager) with a woman who beat up her husband almost every night and it’s not funny. It’s very real and he got hurt. I stopped talking to her even casually after she started bragging about it. It was sickening.)

      So, that is my diatribe for the day 🙂


      • Sarah P.

        PS- my husband was NOT raised with religious folks.

        I am having trouble with my keyboard. So if you see things that don’t make sense, that is what is is. Some keys are not working well. Of course, when it misspells a word because keys are not working well, it underlines it and I can correct it but if a word is left off I don’t see until after I post and re-read. Thanks, Sarah

    • Hopeful

      My husband I believe used his family to create a barrier and friction between us. It was one of many ways he could separate himself from us. If i said anything I was the bad one or the one with the issue. We have made great strides in this area. I think part of it was we were married so young and other factors that contributed to their closeness. I really could not win. But if it was not them then he would have found another way. Really anything to allow him to not feel as bad on a daily basis.

      I might be dreaming but if my inlaws and especially my sil knew all of this they would be disgusted with them. My fil has always flattered me and gave me a lot of credit. My sil based on conversations would be irate with him and disgusted. My mil I think would be most saddened and i wonder if she would feel some guilt. Some days I want to tell them but it will not necessarily make anything better.

    • TryingHard


      Don’t tell them because really, to what avail? Remember blood is thicker than water. It will do you no good. With in-laws, unless you have a super loving and caring MIL/FIL, grey rock is the way to be. Let your husband or wife deal with them. You job is to charge neutral. No comment other than “I’m sorry”. Thing is they don’t want your opinion about how awful you think they are. They know how awful they are and despite the awfulness they are still his parents. Also know you can have many wives/husbands but you will only and EVER have the same set of parents until they are dead. Those relationships are just another part of the Cheater’s dysfunction and their maladaptive ways of handling relationships. If you take yourself out of the picture and look at the way he/she handles the relationships with their families it is no different than the way they handle their relationship with you. This was also an epiphany for me after DDay. My therapist even said it looked like he choose an affair partner that was very much like his mother which THANK GOD it was not I who was compared to his mother!!! Trust me I rest much easier at night knowing that.

      Hale–We too are enmeshed in a family business. Actually two. It’s painful. My FIL is now retired but he still has financial stake in the business. When one of them dies it all goes to us. Big deal!!! We have worked our asses off in this business, my h more than I, and there was even a time when my h first started that he took NO PAY. Trust me they never miss a payment. My FIL and my h have always gotten along famously in business and my MIL had no interest in it. My h made sure of that when he came to the business many years ago He knew he never wanted his mother as a business partner.

      Hale, I truly believe in your instance you absolutely have to charge neutral where his family is concerned. You cannot be the bad guy. Now I’m not saying cozy up to them, in fact no leave them alone. Don’t even bring them up in conversation. He sees them enough at work and at least you don’t have to go do the “Sunday old people visit” like my h does and always tries to entice me. But as I said before I always ALWAYS, find an excuse. Besides I think he prefers his shirts ironed to forcing me to go to his parents.

      I’m quite sure he doesn’t have your back against them. He doesn’t have your back against anyone. ie pretty sure he let his OW bash you (and this probably pisses me off more than anything about fucking affairs is the colluded and gossiped against us!!!) This is definitely someone that does not have you back. It’s total disrespect and should definitely be discussed in marriage counseling.

      I don’t think they do it purposefully, it’s who they are. I have the same thing. And as TFW said, they are cowards. LOL I prefer the term, Chicken Shits :). Just.can’ EVER. This can be, and maybe should, be a deal breaker. This is what makes us feel unsafe in our relationships with them. Try to imagine the scenario of two drowning women, one you, one his mother. Really think and decide which one do you think he would save and there you have it.

      • Strengthrequired

        Th, I would have put the ow and me as well, and I am sure he would have raced to the ow’s aid first. After all she is his blood? He ran to her aid every time, while watching me drown in misery. I remember when I had moved away, and my ch was working 2 hours away, my children and I came down with some bug. The kids got better pretty quickly, but I was so sick, for a couple of days, before I felt any better to drive to the Drs. My husband stayed working, near the ow. I even had my children ask a neighbour during those bad days, where I couldn’t move to get some things from the pharmacy for me. When I had the chance to see the dr, he did some tests etc, but told me, he would have had me in hospital and was still even that day wanting to put me into hospital, but he knew I had no one to look after my children for me.
        Now you hear your wife is sick, your children are sick, and you are 2 hours away, wouldn’t you choose them over work, or the ow? Not my ch. btw, he didn’t like the neighbour who helped me, he saw my ch for the first time one day, and told him, don’t worry about your wife and kids, I keep an eye on them when your not around. Lol.

        So now, I don’t trust he would put me first in any situation. You are so right about them not having our back. It’s going to take a while before I feel like he has my back again.
        I feel like I have become somewhat resentful towards him.

    • Strengthrequired

      Sarah, Thankyou. I am so used to his family now, I know how they tick. I am at a point in my life where, I don’t need their approval, I don’t even need them in my life. If my ch wants them in his life it is his right, but the only thing I ask of him, is to not put me down in front of them, do not make me look bad, to make himself look hard done by. Stand up for me, have my back, protect our family. That’s all I ask. Just like he used to. That is where I find it hard to believe now, since his affair, that he has my back now. I wonder how many times they mention his cousin to him, and even in front of me, where I don’t understand what they are saying. How crappy to feel like they could say things about her, and I’m sitting there with a smile on my face, not having a clue.
      It really wouldn’t surprise me, and it isn’t like my ch would say, ” ohh btw we had a conversation about so and so,”. He would not mention it at all.

      i am ok though, some days are just more trying than others. Sometimes I wish my ch never cheated. Then at least I would not have lost trust in him. Trust is so hard to give back need alone get back once it’s lost.

    • Sara

      First Wife, Rachel and Sarah and all others, Your advice and personal journeys have inspired me to be stronger. I did stand up him last night and said if he wanted her he needed to go to her. I said I would put the house on the market and file for divorce. He accused me of trying to force an answer from him and what was my hurry, they are just friends. I said 18 months was long enough to figure out what was what and if she really wanted you she would have left her husband long ago.
      I am pretty sure he didnt like what I said. I was pretty firm and did not cry. As always when I am upset and speak strongly I regret it, but I went to bed and did not relent or apologize. Today I am going away for the day to see my sister and enjoy her company. I am sure my husband, since he knows I will be gone is planning a meeting with the OW. More than likely to discuss how badly I act.
      It does feel better in a way to stand up for myself but it is very hard for me to do, I have been this way for so long it is a difficult change to make. I fear being alone at 59, but I am beginning to believe I will be ok. Thanks again!!!

      • TryingHard

        Sara, I am so so proud of you. I know taking a stand like you just did is very hard for some people. But you did it. Good for you. You took the “kick me” sign off your backside.

        Look I know you think at 59 you will be alone. You won’t be. You already said you have a sister? Do you have children or grandchildren or friends? There’s part time jobs and volunteer groups and church groups and hiking groups. I know in my area there’s something you sign up for it’s call Meet Up and you get notifications of all kinds of activities from traveling to hiking to camping all kinds of things and all age groups. YOu have to think out side the box now. Yes life will change and you will go through lots of painful periods and no matter if you divorce or stay together this. And frankly you are already alone. He may be there physically but certainly not emotionally.

        This situation is working for him for whatever reason and trust me he’s not telling you what his plans are but there are plans. Also please don’t believe there is no physicality to their relationship. Seriously 18 months and he doesn’t touch her?? Please you are not that naive. I would bet my last dime that is a big fat lie.

        YOu husband is a pro at gaslighting you and controlling you. I am happy to see you have started to take some of the control back. You hang in there and I hope you have a wonderful visit with your sister and that you come back stronger than ever.

        • Sarah P.

          Great insight, TryingHard!! Agree 100%.

      • TheFirstWife

        Hi Sara.

        I am proud of you!!! I hope it felt good to you to stand up for yourself.

        And if calling your H out in his cheating and rotten behavior causes him to leave you and go running to the OW, well then it would appear he was not committed to you or willing to reconcile and make the marriage and you a priority. I think that will always hurt BUT at least you can stop wasting time trying to fix something that cannot be repaired.

        Also it appears your H is in a fog b/c for him to say “she’s just a friend” to you – well he is lying. If She was just a friend then he would be open about the relationship. And you have seen his communications and know that he is just lying.

        And he is in so deep he cannot tell right from wrong anymore. I think you have spent enough months giving him a chance to turn it around.

        I think you acted very calm and cool but stated your wishes. GOOD FOR YOU!!!

        He was probably shocked – good for him!

        There are a few positives from this encounter I hope you recognize:

        1. You stood up to him. You will have no regrets on that no matter what happens. Here is why:
        A. He is not going to choose the OW b/c you stood up to him. He may choose her but he would have done that anyway. No matter what he says it his a choice he makes. Plain & simple – you choose to cheat.
        B. If the marriage ends then you will feel some empowerment that you stood up for yourself and he did not manipulate you the entire time.
        C. Your self confidence from this will continue to build and if you have to confront him again, you will. And it will not be as difficult for you.

        2. He is an idiot for saying she is just a friend. I have no secretive friendships from my H, you don’t have any from your H so he is in complete denial about this relationship. I want to smack people when they pull that crap (like we believe it anyway).

        3. I hope you can see that his so-called friendship has gone on too long and I think you called it correctly – he needs to make a choice. You need to stop being subjected to him and her.

        4. The audacity of the cheating spouse makes them push the boundaries. See how much you will take. See how much they can get away with. Good for you for putting an end to it.

        Your H sounds like the kind of guy that cheats, gets divorced and blames it all on the ex-wife. He takes no responsibility or accountability for any if it. He has no role in the breakdown of the relationship. I really hate that trait in people.

        In any event I hope this is the jolt or wake up call for your H. I like that you are spending the day away from him. It will do you some good.

        I am so proud you did something for you. I hope this is the start of something good – whatever that may be.

        • Sarah P.

          I love your step-by-step analysis of the situation– it is right on and so true.


      • Hopeful


        Good for you! I know it is so hard but just take little steps. And so glad you felt better and have some relief. It can be so hard to speak up. And whether it is us or our husbands I have found we both developed habits over our years together. It is hard to break those and easy to slip back into them. And even if it is nothing big there is a dynamic in any relationship. And this is a major issue to deal with any form of betrayal.

        What I find the more I stand up for myself and make my voice heard the easier it gets. And it feels so good and I find I am in a better place moving forward. I too worried about being alone or the affect on my kids. But in the end I realized I would be happier alone if that is what had to be. Take it day by day as a gradual process. You are so strong and have great insights into the situation. Enjoy your time with your sister.

        • Sarah P.

          Hi Hopeful,
          You are right on too. Fear cannot be a driver because it never leads to anything good.

      • Sarah P.

        Yay, Sara!!! I am so proud of you 🙂 🙂

        You hold ALL of the power now, even if it does not seem like it. You see, the biggest lie here is that your H holds any power. That is why I wanted you to read The Script. It will show you how much power you have in this situation. The only power your H has is the illusion of power and also manipulating you into thinking you have none.

        Obviously, those two have something planned and you need to beat them to the punch. I really think this OW is particularly evil because she is plotting how to destroy your marriage and hers and still come out with what she wants, all the while leaving a trail of (proverbial) blood in her path. Well, guess what, it only works that way if you let it work that way.

        As far as I am concerned, 59 is young. Life can be very full if you let it. Sometimes I write for magazines in my state and I was called to do a story about a 100 year old woman who still live son her own. Between my PhD program and working on other writing projects I couldn’t take the story. But, I did listen to the pitch from the editor. The editor told me this woman still lived in the same house she had lived in since she was married at 20. She still rode the bus to the store, cooked her food, and was active in the community. She was planning on sticking around for a long time too because she saw that she had a lot left to do. I like that attitude. Once I heard someone say: a situation is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so. Now, this statement does not imply moral relativism– it implies the perspective one can take in life. For example, the 100 year old woman could look at being 100 and say: “This is just terrible and I am going to die soon. I have outlived my husband and children, and I have nothing to look forward to and should give up.” Or she could say: “Wow, I am 100 and I am healthy! I have a nice house and no bills. I am the luckiest person on earth because there are so many possibilities before me and so many fun things left to do.” Apparently, that was and continues to be her perspective. And it can be our perspective too. My grandma was like that. She was like that until she was 95 years old, but then a series of strokes took her down and she passed away at 96. I miss her and my grandpa everyday. They were remarkable people with a remarkable perspective.

        So, please consider what I said. No matter what, you have a community of people here on the website who will listen and provide insight.

        Big hugs, Sara!


    • Rachel

      I am so proud of you. Good for you standing up for yourself. It’s a tough step but you did it.
      You will keep getting stronger too. You will not take his behavior any longer because you are a special and good woman and you don’t deserve it!
      I thought I would be alone too, it’s amazing the amount of people that have come into my life.
      Kelly Clarksons song, What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, says it all.
      As Hopeful said, day by day.

    • Rachel

      Love it!
      Thanks Sara P. Never listened closely to the words.

    • TryingHard

      One thing else I want to tell you. Please stop believing what your H and the OW are saying. Quit believing they are in love and soulmates. That in love and soulmate frap is teenage talk not mature adults. Don’t believe them when they say there is no sex Do you honestly believe nothing physical is going on between two healthy adults because of their high moral standards? I call billshit on them. They HAVE no morals by the mere fact they are commuting adultry in both cases. Do not believe that you have done anything wrong or are pushing them together. Most of all don’t believe the lies you tell yourself.

      This OW is an evil person. She is using you, her husband and your husband. She’s a coward that preys on other people for her own ends. Well she’s not the boss of you. You have a right to make decisions about how you want to live your life. And there’s no room for her in it.

    • Sara

      Thank you all for the wonderful comments and support. I had a wonderful day with my sister as usual. She is a very brave and loving sister now in her 7th year of battling metastatic cancer. Every day I spend with her is a blessing. Her love and support is so very helpful to me and if it wasnt for her I would have been lost this last 14 months.
      As I thought would happen my husband and the OW used that time to meet each other. I can say 100 percent they are not physical she will not allow it no matter how much my husband wants too and he tries really really hard, she refuses and will not touch him. It is not Gods plan. Unfortunately I believe from what I have heard they are very much in love or think they are and they talk alot about keeping me on a even keel until the right time as Gods plan reveals itself to them. I have got to believe this women does not like sex. My husband still comes to me for that and I wondered if it is something I should stop. He wants her very badly and they talk about it alot.
      My talk does not seem to have bothered him. What do you think I should keep doing? I keep gathering evidence but I havent heard anything about divorce on either side they just keep waiting. Thanks again to all.

      • TheFirstWife

        Sara. I agree 100% with everything TryingHard said.

        I would not believe they are not having sex however, there is some intimate contact with them. Even if it is a kiss it is still intimate contact.

        If you believe that they are keeping you on an even keel to meet their timeline, then I believe you should develop your own immediate plan of action. It is not right that the cheaters can dictate to you at what point they will decide to be together and you will end up divorced from your husband.

        I don’t think you need to be confrontational to your husband but I believe behind the scenes you need to start preparing for your next course of action.

        How nice of your husband to willingly have sex with you but tell you how much he is in love with this other woman. I find that so unacceptable I don’t know if I would be able to stay in that situation for very long. I think that you have been subjected to this ridiculous behavior from your has been long enough.

        How sad that he just is so vulnerable to this woman. I think you have been very fair and understanding as to how this relationship is important to him, but at the end of the day, if you spoke to him about a divorce and his response is to basically not say anything but plot behind your back, there is no way in hell you should not be actively pursuing the divorce.

        I believe you should obtain an attorney or mediator, start to make sure you have money of your own, start cleaning out your house and getting ready to leave him or have him leave your house.

        I think the hand writing is on the wall in this situation and the only thing he may respond to is being kicked to the curb.

        I felt so badly for you that I actually asked my husband if there was anything I could’ve said or done at the time he was in the fog to snap him out of it. During his fog periods, and there were many, he was clear he did not want to be married to me anymore.

        he pretty much said there was nothing anyone could’ve said or done. We both agreed he had to come to the realization of what he wanted for the marriage would never have worked. I also told him that had I had any money to my name, I would have thrown him out of the house in July when this all came to light.

        He realizes, now, how unacceptable his behavior was at that time.

        Unfortunately your husband is not recognizing that he is being disrespectful, and a whole host of other words I would not put in this post.

        So that is what you are left to deal with.

        I think you have given him every option and every opportunity to turn this situation around and at every chance, he has clearly chosen the other woman.

        I think if anything is going to happen, you need to make it happen so that you can protect yourself and not let him manipulate you and cheat you even further

        There was a quote that I recently read that stated,in essence, that God doesn’t put a man in your life that is someone else’s husband or partner.

        I agree with the term Jesus cheaters because it is just another way of justifying their poor choices and lack of morals.

    • TryingHard

      I am so happy you had a good time with your sister. Sounds like it’s just what you needed.

      Sara, unless you are with him during those get togethers you are NOT 100% sure there isn’t sex. Their God talk Gods plan is their way of justifying their affair and in my eyes Jesus cheater (as they are commonly called on other infidelity sites) are the worst!!! How dare they thin God has any hand in this. It’s sick. And don’t assume just because you and he have sex that he isn’t getting it elsewhere. Soo of many betrayeds can testify to this. They assume it because they want to believe so bad and then suddenly they show up with an STD. And he tells you how much he loves this woman but continues to have sex with you?? Hhhmmm now let’s see what’s in it for him with this arrangement he has with you and Miss Holy Cheaterpants??? Cake that’s what’s in it for him. He has the best of both worlds. No suffering on his part. No consequences for being a cheater and he is a cheater. Wife at home taking care of his needs and home and Miss Holy Cheaterpants stroking his ego. What a jerk.

      I think you need a plan and a timeline. Just like the one TFW suggested. Why are you waiting for them to dictate to you how your life is going to be. Start squirreling money away. You’re going to need it. Start looking for places to live. Give him an ultimatum it’s her or me and stick to it.

      How is 18 months of this blatant disrespect acceptable? It’s not. You’ve got to get tough. Yes Tough Love is the only thing that wakes them from that stupid “fog”. Although by now you’re husband isn’t in the fog. He’s trained both of you to lap up whatever he gives you and even say “thank you very much, may I have more please sir”. No you take charge. Of course he’s discounting what you’ve said. He thinks you’re bluffing. Well prove to him you aren’t. I know it’s scary but honestly what do you have to lose?

    • TryingHard


      Right on!! The only thing I disagree with you is saying Sara’s husband is in a “fog”. In fact no he is not in any fog. He is not confused or torn about what he is doing. Acting the way he has is in no way being in the “fog”. He is making deliberate choices and plotting against his wife all in the name of God. He is sick. He is emotionally abusive. Saying he is in a fog is giving a bad name to “the fog”!!! If anyone is in a fog it is Sara. For her own health and safety I feel it is imperative she starting plotting her own exit strategy NOW. She’s been more than patient and now she is bordering on pathologically codependent. I believe she is suffering from a form of Stockholm syndrome in the grips of the abuser.

      Women like Sara who stay in these abusive situations end up in stories that you see on 20/20. These two are plotting against her and I would put nothing past these two sick individuals. My heart breaks for her. We all know how hard it is to give that much need ultimatum but this is exactly what must occur.

      There may have been a “fog” for a while but now he is blatantly putting his agenda in Sara’s face. Blatantly rubbing her nose in his crap. And where there is infidelity you can bet there is financially infidelity as well. This guy is no dummy. I’m quite sure this is what he and the OW are doing is socking away and hiding finances that will not be able to be touched by Sara or the OW’s husband. She is giving him way too much freedom and space.

      I am very afraid and sad for Sara. I hope she finds a therapist that specializes in this kind of abuse and can help victims of Stockholm syndrome. I feel empathy and compassion for her.

    • Sara

      I know you cant believe me when I say they do not touch ever, nothing. I have listen to enough conversations to be pretty sure about it. Its all her. Yes I think they are justifying the affair with the God thing but to them it is not an affair with no sex so they are not breaking any commandments. I dont think he is plotting against me but waiting for her. Remember I would not know anything if I didnt spy on them. He always treats me with kindness just like a sister just no emotion. But he is a cake eater and a fence sitter because he doesnt want to make the wrong decision, he has reservations about her. I am making a plan because yes I need control over my own life and he always has wanted something he cant have. Eventually he will realize he made a mistake, probably after I am gone.

      • TryingHard

        LOL good for you Sara, keep spying!!! Just because they call an apple an orange doesn’t make it so, right? It is an affair with sex or without sex. He sounds pretty pathetic actually. Waiting for her? That’s really pathetic. I’d keep a keen eye on my finances if I were you. Just sayin, right?

        Actually both of them sound like teenage fools. But that is how they choose to live their lives. You on the other hand are waiting on no one and he certainly doesn’t deserve your graciousness or largess.

        I am happy to hear you are planning your exit strategy. Give yourself a timeline, a drop dead date not for him but for yourself. Life is short or maybe it’s too long to spend with someone who sits on the fence. Remember the only thing people get when the sit on the fence is splinters 🙂

        Keep spying and don’t let him on to anything until you are ready to make your move. Two can play this game, right?

      • TheFirstWife

        I am sorry you have to resort to this. I hated myself for having to spy on my H BUT I had no other choice.

        I still maintain he is in a fog. She is leading him on. She is maipulating him. Is this his first affair – either emotional or physical? That is why she may be able to manipulate him so easily as he does not know how to handle this situation.

        Like I said once before for so many people they will believe if there is no sex it is not an affair.

        I do believe he is subconsciously plotting against by waiting &/or allowing her to dictate the terms. She has got a hold on your H. I still maintain he in a fog because he cannot see what this woman is doing. He doesn’t want to see it or sees it but doesn’t care. But he appears incapable of making his own decisions.

        He has to be held accountable for that.

        He needs to come to terms with his actions and choices. His disrespect. His lying and cheating.

        I hope he doesn’t think that if he becomes husband #5 she won’t do the same thing to him or when the fun times end she will stick around. If he becomes ill I hope he doesn’t think Miss Holier Than Thou Divorced 4x Cheater is going to stick around and nurse him back to health.

        Whereas he has a loving wife and family that he is willing to throw away to be with a high school wannabe reliving his “glory” days.

        Honestly what is wrong with these people? No common sense or dignity or morals??

        I don’t know how you stay in the house with him on a daily basis. If it were me, my H would have either been gone or dead. I give you credit for being able to withstand all you have. You are a better person than I am.

    • Sara

      First Wife, believe me it has not been easy to know what I know. Right on when you say they are acting like high school, that hit the nail on the head because that is how they act, with their sappy songs and cards. Completely different side of my husband I didnt know existed and its kinda yucky. I think he is in a fog and cant get out, she has got him completely brainwashed, I myself cant stand to listen to her, she talks too much for me and would drive me insane. Which is probably what she did to 4 other husbands!!!! In a way I feel sorry for my husband, because he will lose alot and just cant see it. She is dictating the terms all right. Some days I wonder what the heck Im doing!!!

      • TheFirstWife

        Sara you are being very kind and understanding w/ your H. I understand how & why b/c you know him as a different person.

        I see how you have kept hoping this would turn around and as Cher says in Moonstruck “snap out of it”.

        Unfortunately that has not happened and I think you are starting to see it may not ever hsppen

        How sad that your H is acting like a teen age idiot. Sounds like a mid life crisis at its best.

        My therapist has told me how a mid life crisis has destroyed families and lives and devastated children and wives.

        Your H is in so deep he couldn’t fight his way out of a bag at this point. Unfortunately I agree with so many others that he is being reckless and if the OW is escalating and calculating all his moves and future, then you need to be one step ahead of him (and her) and financially protect yourself.

        You need to be sneaky and smart too. And I know you will be. It is just so sad you have to get tangled up in this mess but I wonder if you have any leverage w/ your H.

        He appears unreachable. if after you spoke to him about a divorce and he did nothing except run to the OW – that is heartbreaking.

        My H did the same thing to me. I started preparing to divorce him and he sent an email to the OW telling her I was preparing for it. He knew and did nothing.

        When I finally found out he was still seeing her and had been for months, I kicked him out. He had to go. No more sympathy.

        But we were lucky to rebound and we are still married and better than ever. But we had to hit rock bottom BUT my H realized exactly what he wanted and it was to save our marriage. Rough 3 years since then but we are lucky.

        Maybe you need to give him a shock or jolt. But then again maybe it won’t work.

        But if he is still in contact with the OW you have very little chance it hope.

        I don’t know what options you have left. So sorry for you.

    • Sara

      First Wife, I probably had no chance the minute he laid eyes on her. It is a very strong bond between them. Knowing my husband from past experience, I will have to let him have her. He always regrets the decision afterwards because he finds out the grass is not greener on the other side. I find it very sad he could never be happy with me, because I love him for what he is not for what he was in high school.
      I had a insight last night from something he said about his boring life. This affair is the bright spot in his mundane life, which I feel he thinks is my fault. Problem is it is his own fault for putting work first and thinking it was more important.
      I will continue to prepare to live on my own and I think he knows that is coming. I feel he is pulling away also. He just cant seem to make the break away because he thinks he will miss me. Darn right he will!!!!!

      • TheFirstWife

        Hi Sara. Wow that is harsh. He thinks his life is boring and blames you. For real??

        My H felt his life was boring too. He blamed me for 30 years of his unhappiness. Yup all my fault he traveled for business every week and had projects all over the world. Came home to a wife & kids and I never complained. He even left when our second child was a few weeks old for a 2 week project on the other side of the world. Again no complaints, not one.

        My H had a mid life crisis. He hated his job, the $ he made (I had no complaints), etc. he disengaged from me and stopped communicating years before that, yet blamed it on me. He was unhappy or bored or whatever for 18 months before the affair.

        And then we had an argument and next month he met the OW in a bar. Perfect storm. He hired her to work for him and there you have it. Affair. Betrayal. Almost divorce.

        My H waffled every time he asked for divorce. I would say ok to divorce b/c I had nothing else I could do. He CHOSE the OW over me. Then he would beg to come back.

        After doing this 2x I thought he was either crazy or having a breakdown. It is hard to watch someone you love unravel in front of you.

        That is where we all have similar experiences. Watching someone you love become unglued. It is painful to watch.

        But at the end of the day you have to save yourself. I know I did b/c I still have children I needed to be present for. And I could not let him ruin my family b/c he was selfish.

        Good for you for recognizing what you need to do and for putting yourself first. I think you know the time has come to stand up to him.

        It is interesting how, after being on this blog for 3 years, that the cheaters have this sense of entitlement – they can be married and cheat. My H told me he deserves to be happy during his affair. Sorry that doesn’t mean go out and cheat.

        It appears your H is trying to “make sure” the OW is available to him so he can go from one relationship to the next. Is he afraid of being on his own? It seems so.

        Maybe he will wake up if you pack his bags for him and kick him to the curb first. Eye opening experience for him as he does not believe you have the courage to do it.

        I am sorry he blames you for his unhappiness. He could have gotten a hobby or bought a new car to give him some “excitement” in his life. Too bad he is such a phony and coward he won’t even be honest with you.

        I hope for his sake he snaps out of it. Otherwise he will look back one day and regret it all. I know my H does and I am lucky we survived it. He is lucky I took him back.

        Keep moving forward and I am proud of you for facing this!! We all know how hard this is.

        One suggestion – if your H suddenly wakes up and chooses you, please be strong and you dictate the terms of the marriage. Counseling is a must – minimum 6 months. If he won’t go, marriage is over. He stops all contact with her. You are present on the phone or in the room when he ends it. It should be short & sweet conversation. If she contacts him he needs to tell you. If you find out otherwise, deal breaker and marriage over.

        He deletes his email accounts, new cell number or she is blocked and deleted. and you witness the blocks. You can go online with Verizon and put in a global block of her # on all phones. Renews every 6 months.

        Make sure your H knows you are now in control and he is either on board or show him the door. Honestly it is like having another child sometimes.

        They are grown men who act like 3year olds. Yeesh!!!

      • TheFirstWife

        Sara BTW you always have a chance. Your H is just temporarily delusional.

        He will wake up one day and regret all of it.

        Whether he is still with you and making changes and happy or divorced.

        He will regret it. No doubt about it.

    • Rachel

      My ex also told me they had a plan to be together. I was sick and tired of the verbal abuse of hearing their plan I had enough and filed.
      Went into an attorney with my note book of the list of comments that were said to me from the ex about me and his plan with his “soul mate”. It was tough to do but I had come to the end. How dare he treat me like that!!! I only got stronger. He knew what the future would be like as his kids said you will be sorry. He didn’t care he had to do it as he said he may regret it for the rest of his life.
      Selfish selfish selfish.
      But, I have never felt the calmness in my life as I do now. No put down, snooping, no wondering. Total peace except for his monthly emails that he wants to see me.
      And those I ignore.
      Sara find the strength to realize that these two can be together and you have a new beginning.
      Yes, it’s scary but you deserve it!!

    • Rachel

      Speaking of bags packed, I packed my ex’s clothes put them all in the garage ( with a little potting soil in each box).
      Told him it’s me or her, he chose her.
      She never divorced. His plan back fired.
      He blamed me too for his unhappiness. All my fault .
      I would have tried to work on things had he wanted to. My ex had and has a lot of issues. I don’t think it would have worked.
      Can’t change the striped on a zebra.
      Good luck Sara. Keep us posted.

      • TheFirstWife

        Rachel. I love that you packed his bags b/c I am sure that annoys him even now. The fact that you tossed him aside probably eats at him every day.

        Karma !! I love it. He got what he deserved. Miss Wonderful Soul Mate dumped him too.

        More karma!!

    • TryingHard

      My h had the nerve to toss that bored word out like a silly third grader. Marriage counselor told him if he was “bored” it’s because it is he who is boring not me. He’s bored and he blames you? I’d make sure he has plenty to keep him from being bored ever again. Make him cook for himself, do his own wash, don’t touch anything in the yard, only buy food you like, do nothing for him including sex.

      I remember as a kid if I uttered that word bored my mother handed me the windex and rags and was told to clean the bathroom or wash the windows and she meant it and I did it. Made me think twice about acting like a spoiled brat again. Bored? Bite me

      • TheFirstWife

        I would never tell my mom I was bored either. She would find something for us to do.

        Chores and then some. Haha great parenting!

    • TryingHard

      Actually Sara your h sounds like a very boring person. What man reverts back to his teenage years and thinks he can actually relive them? What kind of man wastes his day away fantasizing with an old high school friend and lives at home with his wife? What kind of man doesn’t find something more constructive and positive to do with his life other than daydream the day away? A foolishly boring man that’s who. Yes he will regret the rope you give him by setting him free. He will continue to be bored and boring because he will lose you and has no one to triangulate his life anymore. Just a pathetic dried up old man with nothing. It’s sad for him but your life doesn’t have to be that way. This is his choice. People make bad choices all the time. Right now he loves the drama he’s creating and loves blaming you for all HIS shortcomings. It’s called projection.

    • Rachel

      Trying hard, great post! And so true!!!

    • TryingHard

      Thanks Rachel. I hope my time doesn’t come off as too harsh. That’s not my intention. In fact I feel great compassion for BS. I hate the mindfuckery that cheaters resort to and it’s all the same script.

    • Rachel

      Tryinghard, not at all. I am still learning so much from this site and really don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have you people.
      So many tears told me about my latest adventure with the ex of, Classic narcissistic hovering.
      I never heard of it. But with research I found out this nim-rod is text book for this too!!!!
      At first I thought to myself wow he’s really having a hard time, maybe he’ll admit how much he screwed up. So glad I read about it.
      Dumb ass is just trying to make me unhappy and remind me of all that he did.
      Have to say all that he did is a blessing. No more tears in the shower or the middle of the night.

    • TryingHard

      Rachel. Haha I love it Nim Rod!!! Exactly. Remember Narcs don’t apologize. All you have to do is observe the presidential candidate to learn this. They attack and defend themselves. They never truly apologize. They never admit they are wrong. They may say it but they never believe it

      • Strengthrequired

        SARa, I have been reading all you are going through. I have to say, you need to “stop” letting your ch satisfy himself sexually with you. Do not give it to him. By what I am reading his ow is leading him on with the ever dangling carrot, waiting to have sex with her until the right time, and how wonderful it will be for them.
        If anything if she hasn’t had sex with him yet, then she isn’t really that into him. She is getting something off of him, most likely monetary. All she has to do is stroke his ego and keep him clingy for hope that she will finally sleep with him. Wouldn’t surprise me if that is what he is hanging out for, because he has invested so much time on her, he wouldn’t want it to be for nothing.
        I do think you need to speak with a solicitor and ask what your rights are in relation to packing his bags, leaving them outside the house and changing the locks, do not leave your house, he is the one that is cheating, you have your children to care for, he should find a place to stay. If you find it difficult to share the house with him.
        Does the ow husband know? I think I read somewhere he doesn’t. I think it is about time he finds out, no doubt he already has his suspicions.
        I too felt sorry for my ch, I did the same as you, hung on for dear life. Yet e kept on seeing the ow, he kept on choosing her over me and our family. “Apparently” they never slept with each other, even though the ow. Tried desperately, because she wanted to be rid of me, and felt that would do the trick. Finally he slept with her, once my children and I moved away while he saw us on weekends, sometimes every second weekend, due to work. Yet fortunately for them, I had moved two hours away, he was drinking, smoking, when he never did before his affair, so he appeared to be dulling his emotional and physical infidelity and being with her through alcohol. The day he slept with her, he had drank way too much, and was turned out to be both of their undoing.
        He regretted sleeping with her, and she started pressuring him a lot more to leave me. One thing is for sure, my husband never needed to be under the influence of alcohol or anything else to sleep with me, but every time he was with her, he would drink more and smoke just to be with her. Yet he needed to be drunk to sleep with her. What does that say about her and their time together? Not much.
        He used to tell me she saved him, and how I was the one that damaged him, broke him. They were meant to be together. Yet if she made him so happy, why did he need to drown his sorrows. Lol.
        It took me over a year of them being in this affair, before I found this website, and honestly I was at my wits end. I had moved from my home, taken my children from their friends and school, because I needed to get away, and as well I believed at the time, that my ch was going to be away from her eventually, because he moved with us. She btw at this point was already using our surname on fb. He didn’t even see a problem with it at the time. To this day, she still uses our surname on fb.
        it was three months after my move that I found here, and I wish everyday that I had come across this site at the very beginning. I was ready to leave, I wasn’t seeing my ch, I had felt it was no use, he was never going to leave her. Yet this site and everyone here, helped me hang on, and showed me how none of his behaviour was my fault. I blamed myself up then. I noticed that everything I was going through, others were experience the same or similar. I found the cheater says and does the same things, and the ap are similar in many ways too.
        I found the bs go through the same highs and lows, and our self esteem takes a huge blow. I do believe though, my ch needed to sleep with the ow for him to see that she wasn’t all that. He needed to see her crazy and trust me he did see crazy. He needed to see that she was out for what she could get off of him, and how stupid he was for giving it to her. He needed to hit rock bottom, before he could work his way back. With me out of the picture and not being with him and not near him except for the weekend, one day, two nights a week, if that, and her being in his face, because I wasn’t there, is what I think he needed, to wake himself up.
        I needed it too, because I was preparing myself on separation, and I actually breathed better. I was suffering terrible anxiety and pains in my chest, due to everything, and although it was hard, I needed that time. Btw, my ch lied about sleeping with the ow, it took a long time to get it out of him, and although I wanted to believe that he didn’t before he finally admitted to it, deep down I would eventually happen, if it hadn’t already.
        However, I do wish I found this site earlier, because maybe I would have found the strength to stand up for myself earlier on in his affair, maybe it wouldn’t have taken as long to get her out of our life. Tough love, I think works, getting your power back works, even if the marriage doesn’t, it works for you.
        The cake eating has to stop, think of your health and sanity, because I can tell you even with kissing who knows what could be passed onto you. Don’t invite your husband on outings with you and your kids, let him miss you. One thing is you need to ask yourself, do you really want to be his side piece while he pines for the ow? dont let him call the shots.
        If he continues to fight for his relationship with the ow, let them have each other, 18 months is a long time to be in limbo. Tell him to have her, because you don’t want to be a third wheel. You deserve better than that.
        if they want each other, let them make each other miserable. They haven’t lived with each other, have only given each other their sides of themselves that make each other look good. Once life hits them, they won’t look so wonderful to each other, so that grass they thought was so wonderful and green, is just dead brown grass, which won’t grow green no matter how much they water it.
        You do need to decide what it is you want, and what you are willing to out up with. I told my ch several months into his affair, that he was treating me like a door mat. He couldn’t believe his ears, he did not believe he was walking all over me, he thought he was his wonderful self. The only difference was, he was involved with an ow. How that isn’t walking over someone, I don’t know. Lol. Yet he was the one offended that I said that to him.
        I do hope all works out for you, but please think of yourself and your children, before thinking of him, because he is not thinking of you right now. There comes a time when you need to make the decision about whether to seperate or not, because he isn’t making a decision. It is so unfair of him to be waiting for the ow to make a move out of her marriage so they can be together, before he leaves you.
        What will happen to you and the kids then, when or if that day happens?
        How do you think you will cope, knowing it took her leaving her husband for him to walk away from you?
        Get your power back now, you decide what the next move is, I don’t think you should wait for them to make that decision for you, it could be months if ever, for that to happen, and you will still be in this limbo, of him declaring to you how much he wants her, while having sex with you. That to me is not right.
        I also believe spending less time around him, will be better for your mentality. If you let him share the house with you, sleep in different rooms, don’t do his washing, don’t do his cooking, don’t plan your day around him, if he wants to talk, let him come to you, other than the needs for the kids.
        I know you have had so,e wonderful advice from everyone here, I just feel sad for you, and worried that your ch is not caring for your needs above that of himself and his ow. Please take time out for yourself and think about what you need and want. Take care.
        You will however, get to a point where you are done, we have all been there in getting to that point. Funny how when we do decide we are done how the Cs decides otherwise.

        • Strengthrequired

          sara, something else, I will say, is only do what you feel is right for you and your family. Only do what you feel comfortable with, only you can decide what is right for you, and only you can decide when enough is enough, and when that time is.
          Trust me you will know when enough is enough.
          I am glad you are here though, because reading up and listening to others, and knowing your not alone, is soothing to the soul. Helpful in the start of finding yourself. Helpful in knowing that you aren’t the crazy one, that you aren’t the one with the problems you need fixing. I remember coming here and having this huge sigh of relief, knowing that.

    • Blessed

      Yes, Hillary is protecting that narc Bill. It’s an example of allowing your husband to have affair after affair and turning a blind eye. Why aren’t you telling her to stand up for herself ??

    • TryingHard

      I know right TFW?!?! Haha I learned very early to put that bored word out of my vocabulary !!! Good parenting indeed. I can honestly say I am never bored. Never and trust my I have a pretty dull life. I like it that way I find a million stupid things to do to entertain myself. If my h is bored that’s his damn problem. Speak up, do something. Bored with me, maybe but so what??? Tell me, suggest stuff anything. Is the only option really is screwing a different woman? That makes life exciting?? Wow one must be pretty damn dull, vapid, and base if that’s all it takes. Nothing but a dog in human form

      • Strengthrequired

        Th, I’m pretty happy with my dull life too. Lol. Stay out of trouble that way.

    • Rachel

      Yes Sara, don’t leave your house. Have him leave.
      And you should get tested. Who knows what she is carrying if they did have sex. You have to protect yourself with all of these lies.

    • Sara

      Rachel, thank you for all the advice! I do feel stronger since I had started to come here. I am pretty sure they are not touching and having sex, but I am pretty sure my husband wants too and is pushing her hard for it. She is very religious and does not believe in sex before marriage. I know its very weird, but she wont let him touch her in any way. Its a sure way to keep him on a line. I will know if they do and take precautions.
      Our only child is out of the home now so children are not a factor for me staying. I control the finances, do all the book work for our business, and work full time myself, so financially if he is doing anything other than taking some cash I would know, I watch that very carefully and have documentation.
      I really hate that I even have to do that but I know she has been telling him to watch me that I might be up to something, when really its her thats up to something. All I do is pay the bills etc. she is the sneaky, control freak as I see it.
      I asked again last night if we can sell the house and he asked where would we go, and I talked about where I would go and what I would look for. That seemed to confuse him. I have come to the conclusion he is depressed about his life and getting older and not having accomplished much. She has provided a diversion for him and now I think he is beginning to realize what he might lose. I am so much stronger and it is true you have to be on your own timetable and do what you think is best.

      • TheFirstWife

        Wow Sara’. You go girl!

      • TheFirstWife

        Sara. I agree your May be depressed. I know my H was unhappy for 18 months & never said a word but chose an affair to make him happy.

        Remember the affair is an addiction.

        Maybe the next conversation w/ your H needs to be one of a statement that you are selling the house, not a request for permission.

        I find it interesting that he assumed he is going along with you. My H did the same thing when I told him at the end of the summer we should separate. i told him as of Labor Day weekend we had no family or joint commitments. So I uninvited him to a charity event I was running and he asked me why.

        Incredulous is the only word I can use to describe it. Gee I guess I don’t want to be second best in this marriage- or the choice of last resort.

        So I think if you continue to ask him to sell the house and he refuse, but keeps running back to the OW then you will have to force his hand.

        Maybe the next conversarion needs to be “its her or me” and if no clear choice is made and he refuses to cut all contact- then you explain the next steps.

        He leaves within 24 hours. You can help him pack if you wish.

        You see an attorney and start the process if necessary.

        How sad it may have to come to this. Have you told your child about this?

      • Strengthrequired

        Sara, my ch too had a midlife crisis/depression which made him an easy target for an affair. The ow knew that, and found it easy to have him believe that I was no good, and was to be the blame for him being so depressed, it was me who dragged him down. It happened all so quickly. One minute telling me how much he loved me, next minute looking at me with sheer hatred, which I had never had before.
        I do t think I will ever forget, that look he gave me, I don’t think I will ever forget the words he would say, the hatefulness in his tone. I won’t ever forget him telling me that he found the one he wants, and that he does not love me anymore, and that she was his future. That they were supposed to be together. I won’t ever forget the lies, the way he made me out to be the crazy one. He was never like that. I could see he was not well, yet every time he spent more time with her, he became more sick looking.
        He was struggling paying bills with the business, yet she kept on holding her hand out for money, we almost lost our home, she kept holding her hand out for money. She wanted him to be her husband, so made him believe she was his responsibility, she blamed him for not rescuing her from her husband. So he felt he needed to help her now, and support her. She wanted kids with him, and made sure he knew it from the start.
        She was just dragging him down at every turn, and he couldn’t see it. He was blinded by her intentions. That is how much of a hold she had on him. I didn’t think he would ever free himself of her.
        My ch needed to see her true colours, she could do no wrong in his eyes. There was nothing I could do. It was up to him.
        I think that is a hard part of all of this, they have to break way themselves, before it gets to the point of divorce, because then it is to late for them by the time they realise what they have lost.
        i do know what it is like to worry about your husbands well being, because they are acting Completely different to what we have known them to behave. They are strangers and we worry how they will be if we walk away, because we know they are suffering a depression/midlife. I found it incredibly hard, yet I always made sure he knew, if we were to divorce, then I would still care for him. I would still be there for him if he needed. that was all I could do, if it came to us divorcing. Yet I also told him ,that I would need time to move on with my life without him, so seeing him until I was ready would not be an option, he would need to respect that the children and myself will not live near them, we did not need their happiness shoved in our faces.

    • TryingHard

      Of course somebody has to turn my comment into a political debate. Sheesh. Yeah you’re right Bill’s a Narc, you win. I would tell Hillary to leave him, but I just don’t have her address and besides she’s never asked me. I doubt he reads this blog and probably has moved past it and certainly has bigger fish to fry. Looks to me she’s doing just fine all on her little own. Peace out 🙂

      • TheFirstWife

        Love the response. This is not about politics.

        That being said, it is nice to be able to come to this blog & know that people here understand what you are going through or have been through.
        Cheating spouses don’t get away with much after reading this blog. ?

    • Hopeful

      One comment about the bored comment is in Mad Men one time they say “only boring people are bored”. I totally agree with that.

      To me all his behaviors are immature. I told my husband that our pre teen and teenager kids would have never made the decisions he did. They honestly were better decision makers at the time. My husband and I had a long discussion recently. He said he really led his life like a taker. He knew every minute what he was doing was wrong. He did not seek anyone out but when presented with someone that would be there for him he took the opportunity. He did whatever he wanted to do. He now sees how wrong that was. At least in my husband’s case he was I believe depressed too. He had two affairs over 10 years at the same time and he said he repressed the details and could not even look himself in the mirror. He never wanted to see me in a good light and detached away from me and the kids since then he would feel worse about himself. He basically went into self protecting mode. I think there are so many factors here. So in the end you are right to figure out what you need and want. You cannot control him now or in the future. But you can make the right next decision for you.

      And as far as them thinking this is not an affair is them justifying it and make themselves feel okay. I think both physical and emotional affairs are wrong, bad and damaging. They both come with different issues. My husband could care less about the two women he had affairs with. He told me he worked as hard as he could to know as little as possible and wanted nothing to do with them. They were both sporadic affairs and he said he would wish they would never contact him again during the affairs. It all sounds messed up to me. None of these relationships make sense. If you read the statistics on marriages that happen from an affair or even second marriages they are not good. overall they do not work or last. But in the end you can only do what is right for you. Keep updated us!

    • Sarah P.

      Hi Sara,

      Love all the comments that are popping up!

      It sounds like your husband has mild clinical depression and possibly something called anhedonia. I cannot say for sure, but he really needs to be evaluated. I don’t like the level of selfishness that your husband is displaying. Of course, that is common, just like all the other wayward spouses. All wayward spouses are selfish.

      Sara, I say nix the sex thing. He does not deserve having access to you if he is having an affair. It does not matter if his affair is emotional or physical. As Doug and Linda can tell you, emotional affairs cause just as much damage and devastation.

      Your husband broke his end of the deal by breaking the vow for monogamy. The deal is off, the contract is broken. If this were a court of law, and if this were a business contract, the judge would tell you that contract is null and void because your H did not keep his part of the contract. That nullifies any and all “performance” on your part. Furthermore, the judge would tell you that you could sue for whatever was lost. If you live in one of the “alienation of affection” states you could literally sue the other woman.

      The bottom line is, you no longer have to do anything you stated in your vows.

      Now you shouldn’t have any kind of physical contact whatsoever with your husband and in fact I would NOT give him any sexual satisfaction whatsoever, if I were you.

      Please know that once again, I am being compassionate when I say this. I am going to unfortunately talk about a sad topic again, but here goes: when you were young, you had no control over your own body. Rather, this is what you were made to believe and how you were treated by male family members. The men closest to you betrayed you not only by touching you when they were supposed to protect you, but also by taking away your ability to have ownership over your own body. They were allowed to make you feel unsafe in your own home and your own body, all the while you were forced to cater to their whims.

      Now, the same scenario is playing out as an adult. Your husband is supposed to protect you, cherish you, and you are supposed to be able to feel safe in your own home and your own body. He is allowed to betray the most important vow in marriage– fidelity– all the while you are supposed to cater to his sexual needs and once again be used as an object. He is allowed to violate the marriage vows all the while feeling entitled to violate your body. Your story has this extra element that cannot be ignored. This is why I mention it.

      But now, I want your little girl self and your adult self to access her innate courage and stand up and reclaim her rights as a woman and as a human being. I want her to know that she alone has ownership of her body and owns the right to say “no” if someone wants to take advantage of her emotionally or physically. I want her to know that she was never a victim and does not have to be a victim, even if outward circumstances have in the past said otherwise. In fact, you even have a right to say “no” to any advice given here if it doesn’t feel right for you and that even includes the advice I am giving to you now.

      If I were you, I would focus especially on your relationship with your dear sister and ensure that time with her is top priority. She needs someone to help her be strong and you do too. Never forget your real identity, which is the right to ownership of your mind, body, and spirit and the right to have nurturant love. Never forget that none of us are defined by what was done to us– no matter how horrendous that thing was– we are defined by the right to wholeness, love, and freedom.

      Lots of love to you, Sara,

      Sarah P.

      • Sara

        Sarah, Thank you so much for the compassionate advice. I believe you are right on in all respects. I have thought he was depressed for awhile. It was a perfect storm for their meeting each other again and I dont think even if our relationship was on better ground it would have made any difference. I think they are just made for each other.
        I know that there is nothing I can do that will change any of this and his behavior is not my fault. It is very hard to let go of 38 years together, and it is also very hard to know I will always be second in his heart. I know he loves me as his wife of 36 years but he loves her with all his heart. I dont know if we can repair our marriage with what I know from spying. I would not recommend anyone to do that. I can forgive him but I will never be able to forget what I have heard and read.
        I am working on healing myself and moving forward and finding the courage to do that. I just cant seem to be vindictive, it seems wrong to me. I know at some point he will suffer the consequences of what he is doing I just dont think I should do it.. I know I deserve better. I know I should not be a doormat and give him sex either. I want to move on and I will its just taking me longer and it hurts. My beautiful sister is the picture of courage to me and we are each others support. I cant thank everyone enough for all the advice and good wishes and I will keep trying.

        • TryingHard

          Sara– I am sending you big cyberhugs and courage. You are lovely woman.

        • Hopeful

          Thinking of you Sara! This takes so much courage and insight to work through all of this.

    • Hopeful

      I find it interesting all of our conversations here and the email from Linda & Doug today talked about “I love you but I am not in love with you” today.

      I heard this myself on dday. I found the email very interesting. I still feel like it was an excuse and the email has a good perspective too. What I found was my husband told himself that to make himself feel okay about what he had done. He said he would always love me. Which as the email says would be he always would care about me. He said he would never stop loving me. He had a harder time explaining what “in” love meant. Over the months of healing we have talked a lot about love being a verb and it makes sense. It is hard with day to day life and the challenges we all face.

      It stood out to me with all of our conversations on this post. I think some people loose perspective and see it a certain way or make excuses. From what I know and have learned a cheating spouse will say or do whatever they need to and tell themselves whatever they need to in order to make themselves feel okay or justified. Then there are those of us who are steady and reliable. It is such a hard path.

      • TryingHard

        Hopeful– I couldn’t agree with you more. The NY Times has a good article about lying and how lying starts out as small lies and the more one lies the easier it gets to tell bigger and bigger lies. It’s almost like to build up an intolerance to the guilt you tell from lies. Anyway it’s an interesting read.

        I believe the whole “I love you, I’m just not in love with you” is an extension of the lies. It’s the biggest and most ridiculous of all. I’m pretty sure were we to ask the cheater “yeah? and just what does that mean?” they would have no idea. It sounds good to them so say it!! It so freaking cliche that once the BS hears it we should really laugh out loud. It’s like a bad movie line from the Lifetime Channel!!

        Below is the link to the article if anyone is interested.

        • Hopeful

          Trying Hard,

          Good read. I really like that last sentence. The fact you cannot allow even small lies. My therapist talks a lot about how it seems my husband cuts corners. Which is probably much like this. And then how much you allow shifts. There is a lot more there but it is hard to believe how some people can act. I just have no idea how he went through life for 10+ years like this. Even though I realize much of this was who he was before that even. He just controlled it. Thanks for the article link.

      • TheFirstWife

        Hopeful I agree w/ your comment regarding the not in love with you anymore comment from the cheating spouse.

        I heard the same thing many times. At the time it was being said I refuse to acknowledge he could feel that way. I think it is a coward’s tactic to use to try and get out of the relationship. Since they don’t have the guts to come right out and say exactly what is going on, the cheating spouse will hide behind that line.

        I also agree it is used by the cheating spouse as a justification for the affair.

        What the cheating spouse will never understand is how you can never really recover from hearing those words. My husband now insists he loves me, blah blah blah, but at the end of the day he is the one that inserted the doubt into our marriage. Unfortunately this is something the cheating spouse cannot begin to imagine the pain it causes and the pain that lingers.

        Unfortunately you cannot retract the words that you say. I was always very cautious during the entire affair of saying anything Truly hurtful or damaging, in case we were able to work this out.

        Not that I have been unleashed my anger and fury at him, but I was somewhat careful most of the time to make sure I did not say anything that was so terrible that he could never forgive me for it.

        I can think of only three instances where I unleashed all of my anger and frustration at him. However I never once told him I didn’t love him anymore.

        • Hopeful

          I agree with everything you said TFW. What is funny is through the years my husband would correct me regarding jokes or things I would say nothing serious at all. He would say that deep down I must mean it. It always caught me off guard since these were minor things really trivial. But looking back through his affair years he said some really mean things. I honestly think it was emotional abuse or bordering on it. I have never been close to my mom and he knows this. It is not something I have ever hidden from him. He made a point of when he was mad at me calling me by her first name. And this was meant to be in a mean way not complimentary at all. Things like that. Or he would tell me I was always sick or always tired. Those were not as bad but now I look back and think yes I was. I was doing everything for our lives with no help from him. But that is who I am. If I have kids and a job I am going to do the best job possible, not go off and distract myself with other relationships.

          All of these words and so much more are so hurtful. On dday hearing that statement of I love you but I am not in love with you does still sit with me. And he also sat and said to me how could you not know something was going on based on how our marriage was. He told me also that after knowing each other so long he would never walk into the room and be excited to see me. There were others but those were the highlights. Then post dday he said a lot of things that stick with me. He will get frustrated and say his words were twisted, sometimes he does not remember saying them and he also says he was in a bad place still. Some days I feel like I am dealing with a child. My children know that your words matter and they can hurt or damage people and relationships.

          And your right they will never get it as long as they are with us. I have never said anything that is mean or cutting to my husband even through all of this. I have never insulted him in our 25+ years together. I too was careful at the worst moments. I spoke only of my feelings and what I was going through. But I don’t make excuses or never have for anything in my life. We are just so different and I continue to realize that more and more.

          What is interesting is everything he did with his two affairs, online, etc. was horrible and I hated seeing, hearing or reading about it. But what hurt the most was his words to me about his feelings and what he said to me.

          • Strengthrequired

            Tfw, hopeful. What amazes me, is after all they did and said, they tell you they always loved you. I heard in a bad place at the time too, as well as I don’t remember. I think the ” I don’t remember “line is the biggest one used
            What’s funny, my ch tells me I forget things, lol, yet I never seen anyone more forgetful in all my life. I call it ” selective forgetfulness”

            • Hopeful

              That is another one. It is all hard to justify and is confusing. My husband would say really nice stuff to me, gave me cards with the nicest things through all of this. The only signs I could have had were what lkkked like signs of stress from work and life. I asked him about other women when he was out with his friends and he lied to my face. I do think it is selective memory. My husband never remembers anything from being a kid throughout adult hood. Why is that? I am the opposite I remember what we ate at a meal 20 years ago etc, little details. At this point if I do not believe my husband on some level and he is not telling me the truth and what he does remember then he should go to Hollywood and he would have a great career. He has been cosistent for 19 months. Ugh

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Hopeful,

              I wanted to say one thing. The fact that your husband cannot remember his childhood is a big, red flag. Besides having a brain injury, there is only one thing that causes this type of memory loss: trauma. People who were emotionally, physically, or sexually abused dissociate and this dissociation impacts memory. One time my much younger BIL told my husband that he has NO memory of his childhood. My BIL will look at pictures of his childhood and not be able to recall situations. I know the family situation and I know that it is due to trauma. But, that is all I will say for now.

              As I have said before, your husband’s situation has so many elements of childhood trauma and subsequent dissociation. Now, I also wanted to state that a child can receive/interpret many things as traumatic that are NOT physical in nature. A narcissistic or borderline parent can cause trauma in a child. A cold parent who never holds a child and who constantly puts him or her down can cause trauma. Insecure attachment can cause trauma. But, for a person to have no memory, that hints to a much larger trauma. I am absolutely sure in my belief that your husband experienced significant trauma and that holes in his memory are due to trauma. The next time you see your individual counselor (if you don’t mind) go ahead and explore the idea of trauma, dissociation, and subsequent holes in memory. I cannot encourage you enough to read the book The Myth of Sanity (Martha Stout) because the author describes all of this in detail. She talks about splitting, dissociation and why and how it happens. Then she describes in detail actual cases of this. If your husband does not remember anything about being a child, you simply must read this book. This book will fill in a lot of the missing picture for you and perhaps the whole picture. (Martha Stout is the author of The Sociopath Next Door and an instructor at Harvard Med school. She hits the nail on the head every time.)


              It is extremely unusual to have no memory of childhood. Like you, I can tell you the minutiae of many things that happened when I was a kid, including meals we had 30 years ago.

              Also, what do you mean by going to Hollywood and having a great career? Do you mean as a screen play writer or as an actor? Just clarifying.

    • Rachel

      Sara, you are such a wonderful person and shouldn’t have to go through this. Take baby steps .
      I wish for you strength and peace. You will get there.

    • Sara

      Please help me with the baby steps, I just listened to them read their high school letters to each other today and talk about how much they love each other and want to be together, yet they continue on not doing anything about it. I had to inform him we are out of money today and he says thanks for depressing me when it is his fault for not working and spending all his time talking with her. I am always the bad guy. Some how I have to figure out how to end this and I just cant stop loving him. Why am I a coward who cant stand up and say its your fault we are out of money. I cant seem to act like I am moving on because I dont think it will matter to him, it will just be the loss of his caretaker. How long does it take to get there 14 months seems long to me.

      • TheFirstWife

        Sara. Hopeless has the best advice.

        FEAR – Face Everything And Rise!

        I don’t think you should continue to live being subjected to the affair. It is not healthy for you and it is completely disrespectful to you as well.

        Your husband Is acting in a totally irrational manner and at this point it is up to you to make the necessary changes. When you do the affair will either cease or it will continue but you will no longer be subjected to it.

        We understand you will continue to love your husband but that does not mean you need to be subjected to his lack of regard, disrespect, and totally unacceptable behavior.

        • Rachel

          I agree with the first wife’s comment. He needs to leave your home. This is ridiculous the way he is so disrespectful to you. Can you get a legal separation if you are not ready for divorce? Do you think he will change? You need final answers from him. You can not going on living like this. Sorry if I sound harsh but really this guy is taking advantage of you.
          The CS gets in the mind set that they can walk all over you because they know that we are just patiently waiting for them to give us the answer we want.
          One of the ex’s suggestions was a legal separation. So if things were good for him out there we’d divorce. If not he’d be back.
          Are you KIDDING ME??????
          I don’t have a resolving door!
          All of the verbal abuse and cheating was so worth not having to deal with that disrespectful animal. Granted it was hard, but I am not abused anymore, not lied to, don’t live in question where he is. I had had enough!!!!! My heart was broken because I had in my mind that he would change and emotionally love me.
          He couldn’t and can’t.
          Sara, he will continue to treat you like this because you allow it. Please tell him you are done with the disrespect and his unruly behavior. You don’t deserve it.

    • TryingHard

      I am so sorry you had to hear that. I’m sure it hurt you beyond belief.

      Ok so is there any way you can see the pathetic ridiculousness of these two buffoons actually doing this? Can you see they are living in a fantasy ? Because looking at it from my end not knowing anybody this behavior is laughable if it weren’t so pathetic.

      Do I understand you that he is not working? But you ARE working? And he spends all day everyday talking to her? Is he disabled he can’t work?

      As to baby steps. Get your finances lined up. Your lawyer should have given you a form to list all your expenses. Go to a separate area of the louse and get that paperwork done.

      It’s ok to still love him. Doesn’t mean you have to stick around for this abuse. Sara you are not leaving him not because you love him. You are not leaving because you are afraid. Face you fear square in and tell it to go to he’ll. It does not rule you. You are ruled by your smarts not fear. This won’t be easy but I have faith you can do it.

    • Sara

      Yes he is working, but it is his own business so he can come and go as he pleases. He takes off everyday at 2pm to go somewhere to talk with her till 5pm before her husband gets home. So if you count breakfast out and lunch out, its about 3 hours of work time i figure. Not enough time to accomplish much, thus his work is down and so is the money but same or more expenses like extra gas and food and all the gifts. Thats not counting all the texting during the day either. Funny thing is she works terrible hours and must do alot of this talking and texting from work and her car. I dont think he can stop what he is doing even if his business suffers. He mentions he is trying to stop but I dont think he is. I am just not fast enough to make the comebacks at the moment, I always think of what I should say later. The charging neutral is hard for me.

      • TheFirstWife

        Hi Sara. I think you hit the nail on the head when you that you don’t think you can stop him from doing this.

        You are 100% correct!!.

        He is in the middle of a midlife crisis, plain and simple. If financial ruin can’t make him stop his destructive behavior, at this time, I seriously doubt there is anything you should do or anything you can do to break this cycle. He is emotionally addicted, believes he is in love, And is willing to throw away all that he has for the other woman.

        I agree with the other posts that it is time for you to step up and make the necessary changes. I would force him to leave but if you can I do that, at least separate bedrooms.

        I agree with obtaining a bad ass attorney and a therapist who can get you through the next phase of your life.

        At this point you are staying on a sinking ship and it is time for you to save yourself. Unfortunately that means you will have to make some very hard decisions and you now need to be the leader in the marriage.

        If you do not want to talk to him about it, I suggest you write him a very short note outlining what the plans are for the next 60 to 90 days and what the outcome is going to be.

        I would keep it factual and without any emotion. If he tries to discuss it with you you have the option to simply say to him that you have tried to work with him and discuss this issue in the past, But it is now past the point of having any value. You can also feel free to say to him that the time for discussion has passed and his actions have demonstrated that he clearly has chosen the other woman.

        Start cleaning out your house, getting ready for sale, get your own bank account with your own money and make sure you document your husbands cheating and lying. I would keep records of the texts or calls the gifts or the money spent on gifts to save yourself from having to continue to fund his lifestyle.

        I know when your heart this is devastating to you. However I can tell you from experience that unless you stand up for yourself, you will be living the same way next week next month, Next year and nothing will change unless the other woman dumps your husband.

        There are better options out there for you than being taken advantage of by two people like your husband and the other woman.

        We all want the best for you and having been through this experience, in the same age range that you are, we all recognize that unfortunately you are being placed in the position of having to be the voice of your marriage.

        You can do this!!

    • TryingHard

      So he works 3 hours a day for which most of that time he’s texting her and you are working full time and he’s not bringing in enough money to sustain his and your household and he’s buying gifts and lunches? Essentially you are the one financing the affair it sounds like to me? First step open your own checking account with only your name. Pay your household bills out of that. No money for anything goes to him. He will never wake up until you start making serious changes to protect yourself. He is going to ruin you financially with this foolishness. Get to your lawyer and start the process of divorce. Most states don’t have legal separations. But there may be waiting periods. Legally you can’t make him leave but you can leave and in all likelihood you will have to sell your home if you divorce anyway. He won’t leave and can’t afford to leave. You must protect yourself and your financial well being.

      This is the first and most important baby step Sara. I know it sounds drastic but all your talking and pleasing hasn’t worked so far and it’s been 18 months. You gave no choice as far as I can see. This guy is taking advantage of you on so many levels. You have got to toughen up. I know it’s hard. You want to believe this guy is who you think he is. He’s not. He’s the opposite of who you think he is. It will only hurt for a while but much like ripping a bandage off you just have to do it.

      Also find a counselor who can help and support you emotionally. Not a minister. You need a bad ass lawyer for empowerment and financial protection and a good therapist for emotional strength and support.

      Next move to the guest room. Get a good lick for the door. You don’t have to make a big pronouncement why just say you’re sick , headache, backache whatever and of course no more sex with him NO MORE SEX ever. I don’t even want to brooch the sex subject he is so disgusting it makes me sick how he’s using you. But please no sex.

      Sara you can’t nice him into stopping. He won’t. You must be tough in your own way. Tough also means smart. Time for you to start using your Gid given brains. God only helps those who help themselves and it’s time for you to start

    • Sara

      I realize I need to make the moves and stop being afraid to move on. It would probably be alot easier on me. I do like the idea of coming up with a plan with a set amount of days. I could write it down and lay it out for him and then start working on getting rid of things.
      I do keep close tabs on what he spends. The problem is he has his secret phone so I dont see texts, but I know how much time they talk etc.The problem is he always comes home to me and is always nice.I really think he just cant stop this they are so hooked on each other. I dont care if this follows the usual pattern these two have something I swear. I appreciate the advice and hopefully I cant start to face the fear of living without him.

      • TheFirstWife

        Yes Sara it is fearful to think about living without him.

        Once you start to take action, you don’t really know what the outcome will be.

        However whether he comes to his senses or not, you can no longer be disrespected in your marriage.

        I think once you no longer have to witness his day-to-day interaction with the other woman, you will start to see your outlook and mood will shift. Hopefully when he stop seeing you day-to-day then maybe he will come to his senses.

        But I think in the interim you need to face your fear and take action. You can do this!

      • Hopeful

        I too can see where this is so hard. But agree start taking the steps. And with time I am sure you will feel better. It is hard when you are in it to see past it. And really there is no need to look past today and making a plan. I would have never guessed how positive things could be for me personally on that dday. I never thought I could make it through this. Not that I would ever wish this would happen to me but after going through it I feel stronger than ever and I know I did my best and tried my hardest. Stick with it one step at a time. Get professional help/guidance and I bet with time when you look back you will be happily surprised how strong you were and happy where you end up.

    • TryingHard

      Sara–Of course they have something. But is it better than what he has with you? Probably not since he’s still there. He obviously has something good with you too as far as he’s concerned. Thing is he’s got the best of both worlds. He’s got two women triangulating him. He’s getting kibbles from both of you. Life is good for him. Of course he’s nice to you, why wouldn’t he be?

      Look for the throw away phone, not that it would make a difference because you already know what he’s saying and doing. So the throw away phone and the info on it is a moot point. You already know what you need to know.

      It’s time you started taking care of you and what is in YOUR best interest not what he is or isn’t doing and what he definitely isn’t doing is working and supporting his household expenses. Make your timeline short. You’ve already wasted 18 months dealing with this time to make a big move. Time to rock his world. That will tell you what’s important and then you will find out just how much power you have. I know this for sure.

      Good luck my dear.

      • Sara

        From what I can tell they think they have something better and at some point will be together. He tells her he has always loved her and always will and how connected they are. Its to the point now what ever I say its taken the wrong way, I am a witch, I am crazy etc. And he takes it right to her. She gives him all kind of stupid advice like shes an expert with 4 marriages all failed.. Its making me mad actually and I am sure that comes across when I talk or try to. Today as he is working on a Sat to make up for talk time he said to me I am making money for you. I said you are making money for us and if you were not fooling around and working we would have some. I went on to say money has never been that important to me I only want to comfortable and secure and I rarely if ever have asked you for anything major.. I also said I am 59 and now I am facing making it on my own. I am sure that will go right to her and then they can pray. I would like to rock his world but I dont know how.

        • Shifting Impressions

          You have every right to be mad…..and I don’t see any reason that you would hide that. It feels like they have drawn you right into their fantasy world.

          I would say the only way you will rock his world is by saying “Enough Already”. As long as you allow him to treat you this way, he will.

        • Sarah P.

          Hi Sara,
          You rock his world by TAKING BACK CONTROL. You need to be in control in the situation, not him. It is time to stop living life on his terms at on his whims.

          I like what TryingHard, TheFirstWife, Teresa, Shifting Impressions, Hopeful, Strength and everyone else I have not included has been saying. I like the link Teresa has provided you with too.

          I also would like to request that you read a Christian perspective on this. You can print it out and have him read it too. It is time for them to stop believing what they are doing is good. What they are doing is sinful and they are no different than all the other ‘sinners’ out there even if they are ‘praying.’ Jesus (or God) requires that people repent and act rightly. Period. Praying and then sinning does not cut it. Here is the link:

          Of particular note are these ideas from the article:

          Of adultery, “Marriage is to be permanent. Unless one puts away his mate for the cause of fornication, he is bound to his spouse for as long as they both live; consequently, if he contracts a second marriage while the first mate is still alive, the second marriage is adulterous (Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:39; Matt. 19:3-9; Lk. 16:18). Like all sins, adultery can be forgiven. Forgiveness for any sin, however, is conditional: there can be no forgiveness apart from repentance (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 8:22). This means that one cannot continue impenitently in any sin and be forgiven. A liar must quit his lying; a thief must quit his stealing; and an adulterer must quit committing adultery. One who is involved in an adulterous relationship must sever that relationship. The important point to remember is that one who is divorced continues to be bound to his first spouse (Rom. 7:2-3). Since he is bound to his first spouse, he commits adultery every time he has intercourse with his second spouse. He must quit if he is to be forgiven. He cannot continue to sleep with one mate while he is bound by God’s law to another. Some think that since one is forgiven of his sins at baptism, he can continue living with whatever mate he has at the time of his baptism, even though the marriage is adulterous according to Jesus’ teaching. Baptism does not bring forgiveness, however, unless there is repentance (Acts 2:38). If the relationship is adulterous, one must quit it.”

          Finally, note that the title of the article is “Adulterous Marriages Must Be Ended.” Christianity would bid either you or him to leave the marriage if the adultery is to be continued. Christianity has always pointed out that adultery is the one reason for marriage dissolution. Since the OW is being a ‘false prophet’ to your H, someone needs to point out what Christianity actually says. And Christianity does not excuse their arrangement. So, she can pray and twist God’s word all she wants but she is still a ‘sinner.’

          You hold the key and you need to take back your power. But, he certainly won’t give you the power and neither will she. You have to take a stand and only you can do it.

          • Sara

            Yes Sarah, you and all the others are right and I do have to take a stand. It is very difficult for me to do but I know it needs to be done for my own self preservation. Each day and week that goes by I get worse. He was quite mad about the money situation and I did stand up to him and say if you were not talking and texting all the time work would get done. Made him very mad and he took it right to her. I have decided to put in extra hours at work and save the extra money for myself. I have set my time line for 5 months if I can make it. By then it will be spring and we can put the house on the market. Until then I will attempt to stay busy cleaning things up and doing my own thing as much as i can. I will try to stay positive and to keep it friendly but not let him push me into being mad and I will stay closed mouthed about any plans I make. I will write alot in a journal which helps me.
            The religious article was interesting but the two of them have already justified what they are doing in their own minds so they dont feel guilty. Since there is no sex involved it is ok and they just are good friends who love each other. I dont think anything will change their minds.
            If I know my husband this romantic thing will get old for him, I just dont think he can keep it up too much longer I see a slow down in it anyway. I know he has to feel guilty about what he is doing and it will catch up to them at some point. I truly believe they wont be happy together, it was not meant to be in high school and it isnt meant to be now.
            I know I have been the best person I can be and I will continue to live my life and treat him as I have always done. The fact doesnt change that I love him and want our marriage to work. I am to the point now where I know he loves her and they want to be together and somehow I accept that .But he just cant let me go because he does love me too. So you see It is such a terrible situation for him too. There will be no winner here because if he stays he will regret it and if he leaves they will feel guilty forever. In my own mind I know I dont deserve to be treated as I have and will probably in the end be better off, but I have to give up the love of my life. Thanks to all for all the articles and help.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Sara,
              I understand how hard it is for you and I understand why you feel it is a catch 22. But, I do believe that he does not really love her. Here is the reason why: love is a verb. Have you ever studied First Corinthians Chapter 13? Or have you read Henry Drummond’s The Greatest Gift in the World? He talks about what it really means to love and I can tell you that it has nothing to do with physical attraction, sensuality, sexuality, or infatuation. Love is all about integrity, honesty, sincerity, and giving unselfishly to others without expecting anything in return. I had a hard time in my mid-20’s and set about studying 1st Corinthians:13 until I could get a clear head. I use it as my blueprint for life. Do I fall short? Sure, I do– I am human. But, I do try and I do aspire to it.

              As for the idea that those two don’t have a physical relationship– that is bogus too. Even if they don’t have a physical relationship, Jesus said that men and women can sin with the eyes and with the heart– and it still falls under the adultery laws.

              It’s interesting because even Orthodox Jews know about sinning with the eyes and the heart. They ask their women to wear clothes that fully cover themselves and pull their hair off their face. (No burkas– just classy, conservative clothing.) The Orthodox Jews also don’t have men and women mingle except at home with family members. So Rabbis and Jesus both agreed on that point.

              Your husband’s friend is a total mess who is cherry-picking parts of Christianity to suit her needs. The minister at her church is also cherry-picking parts of Christianity in order to excuse her behavior.

              I am glad that you are making plans and getting your own money set aside. I think you need to go ‘grey rock’ with your husband and just do your own thing. I would also re-think whether someone who is acting like this is the love of your life because you deserve more.

              Remember, emotional affairs are just as bad as physical affairs and even the Bible accounts for emotional affairs (sinning with the heart.) He needs to understand that this woman is not just a friend. In marriage, you are the one he needs to take his problems to– not her. He is acting in a very immature way.

            • Sara

              Sarah, Immature is the word for it. It is high school all over again. In my mind this emotional affair is worse than if he just had sex with her because that would burst the bubble they are in. I am pretty sure it is not her thing as to the fact 3 husbands have cheated on her and the 4th husband is depressed. She is perfect in his eyes and they have woven the fantasy, he is not himself with her. He says and does what he thinks she is looking for. I am sure it is not true love either. But I am not sure he even knows what true love is. He has asked me before what is love and why do I love him.
              I would love to write her a letter and include all the religious info, it might tip her over the edge. Right now she thinks she is the cause of our marriage being in trouble. I have made the mistake of talking about her with him and he takes it all to her.
              It makes him upset because she always says God comes first with her. From what I heard yesterday he is struggling with how long this is going on and no one is making a move and how she is the love of his life.
              I do feel better now that I have a plan and I am really trying to ignore what he is doing and take care of myself and do things I enjoy. The problem is he will feel left out if I completely ignore him so I have to include him a few things. Am I on the right track?

            • TheFirstWife

              Hi Sara. I think you are on they right track for your situation. Only you know best how to approach this. If you need to wait 5-6 months to execute your plan and that is your timeline, then only you will know that.

              I Think for many of us here, we are just happy and proud that you are doing anything to help yourself.

              So Miss 4x Holier Than Thou has multiple failed marriages, a currently depressed H and your H thinks a relationship w/ her will be successful? WOW is his head buried in the sand. Maybe her H is depressed b/c he knows she is cheating b/c he cheated with her and gave up his family for her and now he knows he will be left with nothing.

              I suggest you stop talking to your H about her. He is using it against you. Don’t give him any ammunition or insight as to what you are doing. Keep it to yourself. You will be better off so he cannot plot against you with the OW.

              So what steps have you taken? Lawyer hired? Therapist or counselor being seen? Cleaning out the house?

              I would be interested to know your progress (if not too personal). You sound like you are on the right path

            • Rachel

              Sara, why is he upset about the fact that how long this is going on? And no one is making a move? What type of move is he talking about?
              I thought he said that he didn’t want a divorce?

            • Sara

              She cannot make up her mind to leave her 4th husband because she doesnt want to go thru another divorce, she is embarrassed and she feels her husband is a good man and the fact is that his first wife cheated on him too and she would feel bad. Couple that with the fact my husband has been unsure about us and what he wants and there you have it, two people waiting on Gods plan for them. She feels guilty about coming between my husband and myself too.
              My husband wants her badly and wants to be with her and loves her with all his heart but it doesnt seem to be enough for her, only God knows whats best and he has a plan for them if they are patient..My husband has told her it would not have mattered if we had the best marriage he still would have wanted her the minute he saw her again. He just feels something special for her he has never felt for me.Maybe that is true and it sure seems that way to me as I look back on our life, she is the best person for him, but he is not willing to make the first move.
              It is a sad situation to me that two people are so in love and cant be together like they seem to want to be. I think I am Gods plan as I thought from day one of this mess that it would be me to fix it as I have done for all our marriage.

            • TheFirstWife

              Sara. None of this is your problem. You are being sucked into their drama and going down to the black hole willingly.

              She is married. She can either fix herself or the marriage. She can get her H help. She can stand by him and be a committed wife.

              But she can not JUSTIFY her cheating and lying and destroying another person’s marriage. Sorry I don’t buy it.

              And neither should you!!

              When my H was torn about who he wanted (3 years ago this month) I talked to him in a calm rational manner. He lied and said it was him and he just didn’t love me the way he should. Truth was he was leaving me for the OW. But I did not know she was in the picture so I believed him. He no longer loved me. I get it.

              I was happy to be rid of the nightmare so I agreed to divorce him. I didn’t care about the OW or their problems or issues. And my point is neither should you. Or your H. They are her problems. She needs to deal with them.

              And if your H wants to admit no matter how great your marriage was he would STILL pick her, then you know where you stand.

              Your H is upset he cannot have his own way or call the shots. He cannot get the OW on his terms. He is frustrated by her and yet blames you or takes his frustration out on you.

              How very lovely to live with that everyday. ?

            • Sara

              Thank you First Wife, you and the others are always right on! I can tell you I feel much better since talking with all of you. Thanks!!!!
              My husband is very frustrated with her. Yes he wants his own way and to call the shots but she is doing all the shot calling.
              None of this is my problem yet, I feel bad for him. But I know there is nothing I can do about it, this is all his problem. She is having a very hard time with justifying her cheating and lying, it has to be eating her up inside and all I can say is good.
              I feel I am doing much better, just trying to forget about them and doing what I want.
              I wish he could realize she doesnt really want him, it is all him chasing her again. I find it sad really.

            • Rachel

              Oh Sara,
              This is a mid life crisis 101! Sounds just like my ex.
              Soul mates, she makes him click, she brings out the best in him. Blah blah blah.
              It took my ex a while to come out of it and now says he never said those things.
              It is a complete fog and they have that other thing so high on a pedestal it made me sick how I was treated and I feel for you.
              I personally couldn’t take being married to him anymore because his narsarsistic personality flirting constantly and verbally abusive behavior was toxic to me.
              Just remember to take care of you!!

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Sara,

              Okay, time for some real-talk here. I am going to use the “C” word and that word is codependent. From my point of view, I am seeing an incredibly codependent dynamic.

              The OW is obviously someone who is very incomplete within herself and looks to others for her identity. I will also say that your husband is someone who is also not complete within himself and for whatever reason, the OW is someone who he thinks can provide him with something he lacks within himself.

              This situation absolutely DRIPS of codependence.

              So, I want to ask you a question: to what extent does your husband define you as a person and your happiness?

              That is, would life be over if you were to let him go?

              The thing is, it is impossible to have a full relationship when two people are extremely codependent. They look to each other to fill the void but since they are both empty, they are only alive to fill the void of the other as long as the FANTASY IS ALIVE. You see, they are not living in a relationship but in a fantasy of a relationship.

              Your H is no longer in the fantasy stage with you and he is living in real life. Real life is a good thing except for those who are so broken that they cannot bear it. They are constantly chasing a fantasy and a need that can only be filled within.

              I am still surprised that you believe he loves her with all of his heart since he is not capable of love. Neither is she.

              Honestly, I hope that you let her husband in on the secret soon. You do not have to tell him they are having an affair and I would not recommend telling him. You can call and introduce yourself and simply ask him if he is aware she has a male best friend. Tell him that male best friend is your husband and that it has started to bother you.

              I will ask one last question– what do you get by staying in this marriage?

              Go ahead and answer honestly because no one is here to condemn or chastise. Most of all, be honest with yourself. You need to be clear on your own motivations and fears. You need to ask yourself what you get out of staying.

              Here is a fact about life: we can only control ourselves. Knowing that the only thing you can do is control what happens to your outcome, how does that change things?

              Also, if I were to name one thing that causes the greatest sorrow in people’s lives, I would say it is learning the lesson that one can only control oneself.

              I have counseled (in person) many women over the years and this is the one thing that keeps coming up over and over again– the fact that people still believe if they do this, that, or the other, they can control another person’s behavior. What I have found is that this belief has caused so much pain in the world.

              So, there is nothing you can do to alter your husband’s viewpoint and make him see clearly.

              The only thing you can do is put your financial and emotional wellbeing first.

              Often, when a woman does this, it can cause such a stir in her husband that he has to start thinking about consequences. But, it still does not control what he will do– it just forces him to think.

              Once a husband really begins to think, he often comes around to seeing what he will lose. Other times he doesn’t.

              But, the point is if you look out for you, you will be left with your own self-respect and financial future in tact.

              As long as you remain in their drama, you are part of the codependent love triangle and this will cause suffering.

              The Buddhist philosophy says that desire (for what is outside oneself) is the cause of all suffering. This certainly applies to what your husband and the OW. Unfortunately, they are causing you to suffer as well.

            • Sara

              The question is not that I believe they love each other but they believe they love each other and they apparently do. They have convinced themselves they were in love when they broke up in high school but just did not communicate it to each other. The real question is what have I ever got out of marriage to him, looking back I realize now he never loved me like he loves her. He has always been chasing something and wanting what he cant have, he now thinks it was her all along he wanted and that is why he was never satisfied.. I have felt I was always second in his life.
              I dont get anything by staying in this marriage to answer your question. I was just always hoping he would see he really loves me and always has.I feel like I want to work on our marriage but I dont know how to doing it one-sided.
              I am the codependent person here, thinking I have no life without him and that is the really sad part. I have always lived my life for other people and that is why I have such a hard time taking care of me, I dont know how. I want to move on and leave this pain behind.
              They were today speculating as to why I seem better this week. So obviously for my own sake I need to keep doing what I am doing. I know I have no control over anything he does, but it does hurt so much to know he doesnt care that he is lying and being sneaky and think they are fooling me. Somewhere along the line I have lost my self respect, if I had any. I want to stand up for myself.
              I have thought about contacting her husband but have always thought it probably would be a bad idea.

            • Rachel

              Sara, I am so sorry that you are going through this pain. We wait around hoping that our husbands will change. Waiting for them to make us number one.
              I know what you are going through. Being codependent is difficult yes, I was there. Didn’t know how to do it on my own. Please give yourself credit. You will find the strength, believe in yourself.
              I asked myself the same thing. What am I getting out of this marriage. He’s not in love with me and he said if they aren’t together now they will be in the future. So I was just going to fill space until they are ready?? I don’t think so!!!!
              You will get there!!! It is so very hard, but realize you don’t deserve this and who the heck do they think they are???
              When I told my ex that his soulmates husband needs to be told, my ex said, you can’t do that, he’ll come after us. ?
              I said he’s not coming after us he’ll come after YOU!!!

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Sara,
              Actually, you are farther along than you think. The fact that you recognize some codependency in yourself is a big deal. Someone who is deep into codependency would have a hard time seeing that. The fact that you can step outside yourself and observe is a really big deal.

              I am going to give you the best thing I have besides an actual crystal ball- and that is to look at the marriages of those who stayed when they knew their spouse loved someone else. I can think of two such marriages and both couples are now in the age range of late 60’s-early 70’s. The women knew throughout their marriages that their husbands loved the one that got away but felt that if they tried hard enough, waited long enough, or did another million such things, the guy would come around. I can tell you from experience it never happened. These women are still in their marriages and will probably always be.

              Are those women right or wrong to stay? Only they can answer that for themselves. The one thing I will say is that the relationship is one of unrequited love with the third person. So there is no affair. For example, a fictional situation: Mary always loved Bill, but Bill always loved Sue. Mary wanted Bill and Sue didn’t. Bill thought Mary was great (but she wasn’t Sue) and so Bill and Mary got married. Mary figured Bill would forget about Sue since Sue was interested in another. But, in the end Bill and Mary stayed married, but Bill never forget Sue, even though Sue wanted nothing to do with Bill.

              I always wonder why some people obsess over the one that got away instead of the perfectly wonderful person who married them. Such is the fickleness of humanity.

            • Rachel

              Sarah P.
              Isn’t it resentment to the spouse? My ex’s soulmate was his old girlfriend/secretary when he was 20 years old. She dumped him.
              She chose the other guy and married him. A huge “mistake” /she told my ex. She should have chosen him.
              Now 30 years later she’s interested and I’m out.
              ( no regrets , trust me). Just feel why just settle when your heart is with someone else?

            • TheFirstWife

              Rachel. I think some people are incapable of love and having a mature relationship as in your H and his OW. Didn’t she dump him again? Isn’t your H alone w/ no wife and no OW?

              your ex-H strikes me as the type that is always going to want or go after the next glittery “toy” he sees. He sounds like he requires way too much female attention and validation.

              He sounds like he never grew up and has selective memory disorder to boot.

              If his OW was soooo great and in love, why are they apart? Because he or she ain’t all that!!! Maybe she saw something during their affair that sent her running.

              Maybe he started treating her the same way he treated you and she wasn’t willing to put up with it.

              Whatever you can now see HIS choices have nothing to do with you but EVERYTHING to do with his character flaws.

              How funny or sad that yoyr ExH tries to get you back. Karma!

            • Sara

              Exactly, he is obsessed with her and she got away the first time because I think she didnt really want him and still doesnt, otherwise if this was the love of her life she would have moved heaven and earth to have him now. I know I would have.They had plenty of time to be together after my husband left high school and went to college, two years in fact, but it didnt happen.They talk about this all the time. I have said many times if she really wanted you she would make this move for you. Hmmmmm doesnt seem to happen.
              I know why he is obsessed with her because he thinks his life will be better, happier with her. The problem is they have built up this romantic fantasy neither one can live up to in real life. She does not know the real man like I do. He know this too. Sad really.
              I feel much better since I decided not to let their fantasy be my fantasy. I have planned a great week ahead and I intend to not think about them as much as I can. Its made a difference in me I like.
              I realize that to stay in this marriage might not be the thing to do, yet I have to play this out to the point I know Im done. My timeline seems reasonable to me if I can just stick to taking care of me and forget about them and manage my stress.
              I see glimmers of my old husband coming back at times.

    • theresa

      Sara the only thing you can control right now is yourself. I think it’s essential to have an agenda, steps and timelines. The single most important, the one that’s at the top of the list, is you. You can not build a future with a flawed foundation. You are not a loser, you are not a coward. You have been hurt and rejected. How do you heal from a physical injury? You treat the injury, take care of it until you are healed. Make no mistake, you have been injured! And yes there are tangible, physical complications! You must treat the injuries you have sustained. Make no plans, other than the ones that focus on you, only you.
      And it’s hard!!! Really hard.
      This is a great place to start
      Try to do it without modifications. This is a recipe that works the way it’s written.
      Find yourself

    • TryingHard

      There’s your answers Sara. You’ve heard the same thing from all of us. No one is telling you to take a wait and see approach. You want to rick his world then tick his world. You have to do the hard stuff cause what you’ve done so far isn’t working. Dealing with a problem the same way and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. We all know you want to be nice. Well nice isn’t cutting it anymore. Time for the big girl panties. You can do it. All of us have and have come out on the other side much better. Just do it

    • TryingHard

      One other way to think of the time you’ve known about the affair, think of what you could have accomplished in 18 months. You’d be half way to a PhD, you could have built a new house, you could have become proficient in a foreign language, you could have taken some great trips around the world even. You’ve wasted enough time waiting for nothing and no change listening to these two buffoons pining away for each other. Make the move and improve your life

      • TheFirstWife

        As I said earlier if you don’t make the changes in your relationship then you will be living the same way you are now – it will be the same for you in the next minute, next day, next week, next month,next year etc

        I suggested outlining your timeline. First get an attorney. Second get a therapist who deals with couples splitting up.

        Third give him the note with your terms and timeline. Don’t discuss it with him if you don’t want to. Let him know you will be including the OW in the lawsuit. She will be a named party and liable for whatever your state sllows you to sue for – alienation of affection, criminal conversation (yes that is the legal term for cheating with a married man).

        If you continue to allow this path you are facing financial problems. Do not go down with the sinking ship. Like everyone else here we are begging you to save yourself.

        And who knows when you finally stand up to him it may make his head spin and he may start to see you in a whole new light.

        Maybe when you rock his World it may snap him out of the affair fog and get him to drop the OW

        • Sarah P.

          I agree 100% with your advice. This is not a wait and see situation because I think the sinking ship is already halfway sunk and there is no time to lose. It’s time for a plan and time to carry it out.

    • Rachel

      Great words Thefirstwife.

    • TheFirstWife

      Okay so I was flipping channels earlier and came across Dr Phil at the end of the show. He was giving advice to wife #2. He told her that marriages that start as an affair have a 96% failure rate.

      He told her to be prepared in the event she may become one of the statistics. Of course she wanted nothing to do with the info. BTW she was a massage therapist and life coach.


      • Sarah P.

        Gee, a life coach who steals husbands. She shouldn’t be coaching anyone or massaging anyone either. (Can we say poor boundaries?) Some people need to wear a sign on their heads that says: “Stay Away.”

        I am glad Dr. Phil told her like it is. Honestly, I like Dr. Phil and I think most of what he says really is based on solid psychological concepts. Some don’t like him because he is a fast-talking, take-no-prisoners Southerner, but that is exactly why I like him. He holds people accountable.

        • Hopeful

          Interesting my husband says the same thing about dr Phil. Overall he likes his advice and finds it sound. Much of the early information he brought to me was from his website. Sometimes his show seems a little too sensationalized but it is tv and I go back to his advice in the end.

          • Sarah P.

            Hi Hopeful,
            In the beginning I have to admit that I did not like Dr. Phil because I couldn’t get past the sensationalism. But, then I started really listening to what he said and realized he does have a solid education in psychology. I think when his wife started to take an active role and sit in the audience the show changed for the better. It also looks like he has had some external coaching on how to have the TV show look more like an actual session than just another version of Jerry Springer. I like some of his books as well.

    • TryingHard

      I think you have to look at the relationship as a whole. How was he mistreating you and disrespecting the marriage as a whole. I think the affair with his old HS girlfriend was just the cherry on top of his narcissistic sundae. I know you’ve written how he belittled you, flirted with other women in front of you, demeaned you etc. I think we ignore those points until the big betrayal happens and they go all nuts with a mid life crisis. I think we ignore a lot during the years for the sakes if our families. I think sometimes we sort of know the inevitable will happen. And sometimes we are even a little surprised it doesn’t happen sooner.

      As you know I don’t buy into that whole soulmate bull shit. It’s excuses that they think sounds good as an excuse. Same for the whole Jesus cheating and this is Gids will. It’s trump card excuses for bad behavior and the problem is they buy into their own lies. They have real deficits in their moral values, they are very unevolved when presented with an opportunity. They lack personal growth as to knowing the difference between right and wrong. With Nsrcs they find no fault in anything they do. They cannot look in the mirror and feel guilt. People are prizes to be won or lost. And they hate losing. No matter what the prize is. And if they do lose its not because of anything they did. It’s their victim who is flawed not them.

      Yes you are way better off without the ex and I am always so happy to hear you are doing well. Thriving even

    • Rachel

      The first wife.
      I really don’t know if she dumped him or not. I know she isn’t divorced .
      She is part owner with her “husband” of their lingerie shop?. She’ll never leave him especially for my ex, trust me.
      My ex will be with the next glittery toy that makes him LOOK GOOD!!!
      He craves attention. Exhausting.
      I always thought that I was the one with the flaws. I had such low esteem.
      And now I know. It was him.

    • Sara

      Sarah, I am sorry I keep coming back for advice. I thought I was doing ok until today which is Sunday. He went to her church today and saw her and then talked to her on the phone. I listened to him tell her how much he loves her and always will and how he has never loved me he just lives with me and how he wants to be with her and they are not in a emotional affair but meant for each other.. I think I need to stop listening to them but I listen because I need to know when and if they are physical or she is ready to divorce. I am totally convinced what they have is the real thing and I said to him tonight I cant stay married to you if you love someone else, then I went to bed. I am really bad at this . I know he sees me as weak and pathetic and I was doing so well this week.I hate it when I cry and I think he hates it too .He has her on some kind of pedestal and I will never ever be as good or kind or loving. I want to make it to Spring but I am not sure I can. I thought I was a stronger person and could do this, but now I know there is no hope and it has to end and it hurts.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Three years ago I stumbled accross some emails… husband of thirty-nine years was involved in an emotional affair. My world came crashing down. I told him later, I may as well have walked in on them having sex….the shock was that great. Whatever you want to call it or not call it…’s BETRAYAL!!!!

        That moment of discovery is forever frozen in time. I will never forget it. Everytime you hear these conversations it’s like you are catching them in the act….over and over and over again. Whether or not it’s physical or emotional is irrelevant, it’s BETRAYAL. Is it the REAL THING????…..WHO CARES. It’s Betrayal.

        Are you weak for crying??? Of course not. What would you tell a close friend or your sister if their husband were behaving this way???

        You deserve more……please please please….get some help with this. My heart aches for you. You are dancing to their tune.

        The book “Not Just Friends” by Shirley Glass might be extremely helpful to you.Remember his poor behavior is a reflection on his character NOT YOURS.

        Pleas know that we are all in your corner.

      • TheFirstWife

        Sara. It is unfortunate that you keep allowing that internal voice to dictate how you feel and how you act. Your internal voice is telling you over and over again, that what they have is true love and what you have means nothing.

        Actually what you have is real and what they have going on right now is a fantasy. It is not real!

        However letting that little inner voice control you is adding more emotional pain to your life.

        Believe me, I am not an expert in controlling the little inner voice. Because if I was, I would not be allowing the negativity from my husband’s affair to affect me three years later. However he said some very mean things to me and I just have a hard time letting it go. I believe he meant them when he said them three years ago, and now he is trying to make amends for it. However he knows the damage that is hurtful words caused.

        There are too many days when I allow that inner voice to take over. I wish I knew how to hit the off switch but unfortunately I cannot.

        I think constantly being subjected to his affair over a long period of time is going to cause you more pain and suffering. I wonder if his affair could just stop right now, what would happen with you and your marriage. Would your marriage survive? Would you be able to reconcile and trust him again?

        I know you have a timeline and a plan for the spring. I just hope you are strong and able to withstand his betrayal, lying, cheating and disrespect.

        If anyone has any suggestions on how to quell that inner voice, I think it could be helpful to you. I think once you realize that his affair is not true love and in reality, is nothing more than a fantasy between two overgrown former teenage sweethearts, you can start to move past the rut that you are in.

        I hope that some of the advice you are receiving here is meant to help in anyway possible. We have all been through this and understand completely the position you are in.

        If you lived near me, I would take you in in a heartbeat. Just to give you some space and peace from this drama you are being subjected to. However I know, in your husband’s words that God’s plan is for you to emerge from this a stronger, more confident person.❤️

        • Sarah P.

          Hello TFW,
          I am so glad that you mentioned the inner voice. I call it self-talk. (Or self-scripts.)

          This is for everyone– our self-talk influences everything in our lives. In fact, I need to write a blog post about this one day.

          I am not the biggest fan of the author Byron Katie, but she makes some good points about how to face down negative self-talk. Here is a video where she helps a woman face down negative self-talk and get through the pain of having been left by her boyfriend. The woman she is helping is young, but it doesn’t matter because she is describing a universal experience:

          • Sarah P.

            I wanted to add an important caveat to my recommendation of this video. I do NOT like that Byron Katie immediately puts the blame on the girl and assumes that the girl was horrible to the guy. There are a million other things that could have been in the way of this couple getting closer. In fact, it could have had nothing to do with the girl.

            The point of this video is simply to demonstrate that we can all consider negative self talk and really question it. We can question it to get to the bottom of our feelings and our assumptions.

            The reason I say I am not the biggest fan of Byron Katie is because I don’t like the way that she uses a lot of self-blame. I do not believe self-blame is constructive.

            What I do think it constructive is really questioning all aspects of negative assumptions. Byron Katie shows people that they can question assumptions and so her method is interesting to watch. But, again, I don’t like the self-blame that she brings in to the picture.

            She is using elements of cognitive behavioral therapy but she is not using them correctly, in my opinion.

            • Hopeful

              One big thing that has helped me was something my husband has told me that has been successful for many of his patients. He says it is important to take a minute and think about what is the reality. Almost take a step back. It is so easy to think negative or bad things and repeat that script over and over. And to focus or dwell on the bad. But he says by focusing on what is the reality it helps so much. I find this helps me that if I start to dwell on the past or think I don’t look a certain way or I must have done something wrong I then stop myself and say no he lied to me and he made the bad decisions. i was the dependable one and did nothing wrong. Or you can apply it to a million different situations. It works really well with my kids. They can focus on one aspect of their day and it can get them down but by talking through what really happened it helps a lot. It also helps to not focus on the past or the future. What is the reality of today and focus on that.

              Another thing that is hard but works well with my kids and even with this betrayal recovery is to try to minimize emotions. It is something again my husband taught me and with the kids to use as little emotion as possible. Getting upset just elevates the frustrations on both sides. Where if I can give directions, consequences or whatever to my kids with little emotion the outcome is a lot better.

              Not sure if that will help at all but for me these are two coping mechanism I have used to get through this recovery process in a more easier way and in the end I feel like it helps me to be more kind to myself.

            • TheFirstWife

              Hopeful. That is really great advice. I like that idea of focusing on the reality. If I was able to do more of that I think I would have less of an emotional roller coaster lately. How do you achieve that???

              A few tips or suggestions might be helpful.

              And believe it or not during the worst year of his affair and after I was totally in control and cool, calm and collected. Now sometimes I have resentment and anger that just comes out every so often. So I think occassionally I need to not speak and diffuse my thoughts.

              Glad to hear there is hope and help here. ?

            • Shifting Impressions

              Hopeful, TFW

              Great advice….I have been using some of those same tactics. Two questions I ask are; What is true today? And What does that really mean? Those questions work for so many areas of our lives.

              About the emotions….I am very feeling based and I do believe in minimizing them but I also believe in sitting with them and feeling them. The thing we shouldn’t do is stuff then away.

              My daughter is also in the field and her advice is to think of the emotions as a wave….they will come and wash over us but it will also recede again. In the beginning, right after d-day the waves of emotion felt like killer waves and had the ability to knock me flat out. Now my self talk after the wave recedes is “But I’m still Standing”

              Knowing that the wave will recede helps me through.

            • Hopeful

              For me I try to face the thoughts. If I tell myself to stop then I find they just come back stronger. So I visualize almost looking at myself and thing what happened today. I look at my interactions, words that were said, what I did. Usually it is all really positive. Maybe I am just low or blah. But I find my worst days are when I let the past dominate my thoughts or worry of the future. By slowing things down and really looking at the reality of the day it helps. Sometimes I will also realize what is stressing me out or causing me to be more on edge. Many times it is a busy schedule or not seeing my husband so it slows me down and allows me to gain insight. And by removing or being less emotional we are able to have better discussions and it has allowed him to be less defensive.

              One thing is I do feel triggered by the past. And it can be a simple thing that means no harm but it hits me. I have found I need to tell my husband that it is hard because of the past. I find again if I say nothing then I feel worse. I need him to understand not only the affairs but his treatment of me over those years and how he made me feel has caused long term damage I guess you could say. he needs to be aware of this. It always leads to a positive discussion and him understanding more.

              I have also for the first time ever told him what I like or need. I tell him that I like when he calls me or sends me texts. I have told him what I need more of. He has done a great job but I have told him I need more.

        • Rachel

          The first wife, my therapist would tell me to hold up a stop sigh in my head when the inner voice got out of control.

          • Shifting Impressions

            Rachel, I have heard that too and used it quite effectively. Actually I say the word stop outloud and then get up and do something totally unrelated. I read that somewhere and it really is fairly helpful.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Sara,

        Let’s turn those thoughts around. You are not pathetic and weak, even if he sees you this way. Your H and the OW are pathetic and weak because each of them need to look OUTSIDE of their marriages for something. He is projecting his own inadequacy on to you.

        The person who has an affair is truly the weakest person of them all.

        No marriage out there is perfect, but that does not matter one bit. All marriages ebb and flow because marriages are subject to REAL life and real life causes stressors.

        The H and the other woman are so inadequate within themselves that they are constantly looking to others to fill them up. This is why I said your H and the OW are codependents.

        Of course, this doesn’t change your pain. But, never lose sight of the fact that they are the ones with the problem, not you. You have kept your vows and your end of the deal.

        When I first got married a female mentor of mine took me to lunch. I was in the corporate world at the time. She was a junior partner at IBM consulting. She was about 8 years older than me and always happy-go-lucky at work. She always had a smile and a joke to diffuse tension in meetings. She owned a 4,000 square foot vacation home in a well-known ski resort and they were always hosting large groups of executives. They seemed to have the perfect life. Anyhow, she was being transitioned to a project in her own state and wanted to have lunch just the two of us.

        During that lunch she told me that she and her husband had been going through IVF treatments for years and that all of the socializing she did was to fill the void. Then, she dropped a bombshell. She worked in my state 4 days and week and flew home on weekends. She told me she was about 95% sure her husband was having an affair. He had been begging her to get breast implants, but had also been shaming her for their inability to conceive. So sad. But, then the story got worse. She had lost her mom to cancer when she was in her teens. But, she used her pain to look outside of herself. She and her male relatives actually did some hiking in Tibet and discovered all of these impoverished villages. The people in the villages made woven products. They started a company and sold those products in order to bring money to these rural areas.

        She is a great gal, right? Right! One of the very best women I have had the pleasure to meet.

        But, there she was in tears asking me if she should get breast implants so that her husband would focus on her.

        My answer was absolutely not. I couldn’t believe that this beautiful, talented, woman with an ENORMOUS heart was doubting herself to such a degree. She is and was a beautiful woman inside and out.

        And so it is that affairs bring women to their knees and make the very best sink into doubt and depression. Her smile was a cover for the pain. I don’t remember the specifics of what I told her but I remember talking sense into her. I told her who she was (which was that she was an incredible person) and why she could not tolerate that behavior from her husband.

        She left the project and I emailed her in 2006. They were able to have a child and they straightened their marriage out. Thank God.

        My point of this story is that the most amazing people are brought to their knees by affairs. This woman was one of the best I have ever met and yet she was in such pain that she not only believed she was the problem, she was considering getting implants. (And getting implants was NEVER something she had considered before since her mom died of breast cancer. She knew better than anyone that implants can block he mammogram from seeing malignancy.)

        I cannot tell you how outraged I was. I was not outraged at her. I was outraged that someone who was and is such a bright light in this world could be so reduced by an affair.

        This was one of the many formative experiences I have had that drew me back towards psychology and doing work with affair recovery.

        So, you must understand that your H and the OW are the broken ones. They are the ones with deficits, not you. They are weak and pathetic, not you. This whole thing about showing up in a house of God and feeling entitled in their sin is getting under my skin! You see, each of us must live according to God’s laws, whether or not we are religious or not. The non-religious person who lives according to the 10 commandments is more favorable in the eyes of the divine than the Christian who is active in his or her hypocrisy.

        Many blessings.

        Sarah P.

        • Shifting Impressions

          Sarah P.
          You know, I love that you show your outrage and anger over these situations.

          One of the most healing things for me was when one of my son’s said “I am so angry for you, Mom”. He was the only one that said that. He even took it one step farther….he went to my husband and told him how angry he was that he had done that to me. My son was 38 at the time and has a very non-confrontational type of personality.

          Others showed their love and support but he went to bat for me and was angry for me. It meant every thing to me.

          • Shifting Impressions

            You need to know…..I am angry for you!!!!

            I am with Sarah P. The whole religious thing is getting under my skin as well.
            I spent years in a fairly abusive RELIGIOUS SYSTEM, so I know something about that as well.

            I was there for about 16 years and knew we had to get out when I realized I was have trouble making decisions. It was bad. It was like pulling ourselves out of quick sand. There is something called Spiritual Abuse.

            The mix of control and abuse with “Spirituality” is lethal. I personally know a few people who had abusive childhoods at the hands of “so called Christian” parents and it’s a nightmare.

            I myself had a pretty loving childhood. So in spite spiritual abuse as an adult I have kept a very simple faith in God that is seeing me through.

            Sara….you are in my prayers… are not alone.

          • Sarah P.

            Hi Shifting,

            I am so glad that your son expressed his anger toward the affair and told his dad that he was angry. I am glad your son shared his anger with you too. He is indeed a good son. Sometimes parents need their adult kids to give them a huge dose of reality. It’s wonderful to know that your adult children continue to have your back.

            In terms of outrage, my outrage at certain situations is real and I feel very genuinely about everyone here. I am all too aware that everyone here is a person with real struggles. (And I also believe everyone here shares that viewpoint so we all help each other.)

            • Sara

              Everyday I read all your suggestions and I really must thank one and all for all the help you have given me. Somedays are especially hard and other days are getting better, I carry around a card that has a stop sign on it and words of particular inspiration to me. I have to remember that my husband is the weak one and that both of them are using religion to cover their guilt. Our marriage may not have been perfect but I believe he does love me. I have found I am worse if I listen to them. They really have gone nowhere and are no closer to divorce than two years ago. I would like to say to my husband that she doesnt really want him just the romantic fantasy he has made for her. I think they have to finish this high school romance and breakup for good.
              I really am working on the thought stopping process, I think that is hard for me but I will use all your suggestions. It might be easier if he was not seeing her but if I am going to make it to spring I need to work on living with this situation. I do like the thought what is true today, that is how I am going to have to think and take it one day at a time. By the way I am taking a painting class tonight. My father was a beautiful painter late in his life and I have always wanting to do that too. When I told my husband I was taking this class and would be gone he said you didnt ask my permission to do that? I had to laugh.

            • TheFirstWife

              Hi Sara. Good for you for seeing the absurdity and humor in your H’s comment.

              Next time he does something with the OW I would say the same thing to him. You didn’t ask MY permission to do that and then walk away.

              Sorry I am from NY. I am not loud or aggressive but I would not tolerate that.

              This reminds me if the time my H was talking to the OW in our house while I was home. I finally had enough and told him if you want to be with her, go right ahead but stop trying to pretend you are not in contact and man up. Own it. Stop the charade.

              The look of shock on his face was priceless. He never thought I would confront him. It was all of 10 seconds and I left the room but the impact was strong.

              Thevaffair stopped for a few weeks but then resumed again so I don’t think it worked BUT at least I confronted him and cslled him on his lying and cheating behavior.

            • TryingHard

              TFW– I ❤️ NY. Never apologize for being authentic. My American family is from NY ?

            • theresa

              Born and raised
              best city in the world

            • Shifting Impressions

              Ask PERMISSION… that’s rich!!! I think that probably gave all of us the best laugh of the day.

              I am so glad that the support of everyone here is helping you get through.

              I was so excited to read about your painting class. For me creativity is like therapy. It has been huge in getting me through. Yes, pour your heart into something just for you.

              Ask permission!!!! I am still shaking my head!!!!! Lol

            • Shifting Impressions

              Sarah P
              This has been a particularly supportive thread of comments, that’s for sure. Thanks again, Sarah, for your caring and passion.

              I have been very lucky with my children. They have managed to support both my husband and myself….they are wonderful people.

              We always made a pretty strong parenting team….

    • TryingHard

      Hey Sara–I’m sorry you had to hear that crap. I suggest you play that recording for her husband. Yes enough is enough. Five months be damned. This is cruelty

    • Rachel

      Sara, I personally think he’s in an emotional affair. This is how they act when they get attention from another woman who feeds their ego. Someone from their past when they were younger. How old is your husband?
      Yet it is so hard to hear and pretty much an endless battle.
      Perhaps you can suggest he leave the home. If he claims he’s not in love with you, then why is he staying.
      Also get your ducks in a row and maybe go see an attorney. Tell him/her exactly what is going on. This may be a benefit especially if you have been married for a long time.
      Keep your chin up.

    • Hopeful

      Sara, I don’t think it matters if it is an emotional or physical affair it is a form of betrayal. Their relationship is hurting you and your marriage. No one anywhere thinks this is what a married person should be doing. Even children would know this is not appropriate. As far as telling yourself that you should be stronger. That is hard not to feel that way but this is a terrible situation. And I can understand why you would cry and be upset. This is really hard stuff to deal with. I think you need to do whatever you need to to take care of yourself. I think once you take more steps to take care of and protect yourself and focus on you then you will start to feel better. It will not be easy since none of this is but it will be moving in the right direction. I would minimize any interaction you have with your husband and I do not know if listening or knowing what they are doing is helpful. I think talking with an attorney and getting their advice is the best idea. Hang in there!

    • TryingHard

      Sara–LOL no he did not say that!! He wasn’t serious right?

      Good for you taking the class. I want to take art classes too. I think I may have some talent but it’s buried pretty deep:). My grandmother took classes and painted while my grandfather played golf. She always encouraged me to learn golf because she regretted not learning and she would have liked to play with him. I think my grandfather was glad she didn’t and I can’t imagine a more horrible activity to do with him. He was a very critical person. I’ve given golf enough tries and I hate it ? I have a room where I have a room where all of her paintings hang. I love them. our high school has a program for adults and we have a university in our town where I can take classes too.

      I don’t have a lot of hobbies as work fills up a lot of my time. I do container gardens and cooking and lots of books. We like hiking but my stupid knees and we are interested in bird watching/hikes. There’s a group that meets in a town by me and my husband is interested in that too. As I said can’t do much with our full time business but I have lots of plans.

    • Rachel

      So glad that you are taking the painting class tonight. That’s great that you are doing something for you. You the most important person in this horrible situation.
      As for asking permission, hahahahahaha!!!!!!

      • Strengthrequired

        Sara, to me he is trying to keep control over you. I would be reminding him that, until he decides leaving his ow, and stops his affair, that he has no control over what you do.
        After all, what happen to him asking you for permission to have an affair?
        good on you for taking up painting classes. Hope they are at night, so he can start feeling uncomfortable, wondering what time you will come home.

    • TryingHard

      Exactly SR!!! What kind of douche bag who disparages and gossips about his wife and pines over an old girlfriend has ANY right to even utter she didn’t ask his permission to take an art class ? What a loser. What a worthless creep. Unbelievable he has one woman who wants him let alone two. Sheesh I’m wondering what the hell Sara thinks she’s losing. If this is the “love of her life”. I’d hate to see her enemies!!

      • Strengthrequired

        Th, exactly, I just think what a nerve, he wants to assert his authority over her, I just don’t understand how the Cs seems to think they have that right.

        • TheFirstWife

          I think the CS thinks they have the right to act the way they do b/c of their ego.

          I know when my H had his 4 yr EA and I knew this girl was madly in love with him, he would gaslight and blow me off. Why? He finally admitted to me (after his last affair) that he would not “allow” me to dictate who he can be “friends” with.

          Sooooo if I were Sara and my H said that to me, I would turn around and tell him he did not have MY permission to see the OW or have an EA with the OW.

          I would give it right back to him.

          Now that my H realizes all the damage he has done to our marriage, he realizes what a jerk he was at times. I noticed whenever I put my foot down on certain behaviors, he would act like a toddler trying to get his own way.

          He would just do it anyway b/c I was not going to tell him what to do. That was his attitude. I asked him for 20 years to please call and let me know where you are & what time you are coming home. He would call at 6 pm & say home at 12 midnight. Show up at 3 am with sorry I am late.

          And would get mad AT ME for asking why didn’t you call me? Standard answer was I didn’t want to wake you. Standard response was please wake me b/c I would rather know.

          Ego ego ego.

          At least I have some power no and that crap has stopped. Permanently.

    • theresa

      how about I gave my self permssion

    • theresa

      tfw, I could just change the name to theresa on this scenario.

      I just visualize a braying jackass

      • TheFirstWife

        Thank you Theresa. Good to know someone else understands.

        So long story short, my husband for years has been very neglectful when it comes to time management. As an example he was raised that it was OK to show up three hours late for a party or family event. I was raised to be on time.

        Once I had a charity event and he was supposed to be home at 3 PM. He showed up two hours late and claimed he never heard me ask him to be home at 3 PM. I must’ve said it 200 Times (lol). I was furious.

        Based on that I event, it never happened again because I made sure if I had a commitment, there was NO CHANCE he would leave me stranded.

        During his affair we were invited to a wedding on his 50th birthday. Before I made plans for his surprise party I kept waiting for the invitation to arrive, but it never did. So two weeks before the birthday, I planned a small party. I told him please don’t make any plans because we are going out that night to celebrate your birthday. A few days later the wedding invite arrives. The wedding is in the afternoon in the city and the reception is in the evening. I cannot tell you The crap he put me through to go to this wedding.

        He offered to go to the wedding alone, and be back home prior to our dinner plans. This was not a girl I had met previously and I felt I did not need to rearrange my plans for this wedding. He tried every way imaginable to get me to allow him to go to the wedding solo.

        He acted like A spoiled child trying to get his own way.

        Of course it didn’t happen and he ended up going to his surprise party and having a fun time. Unfortunately when I look back The fun of the night was ruined by his bullying behavior the two prior weeks.

        I keep looking back and seeing how his ego led him to think and act in such a way that he felt entitled to do whatever he wanted.

        There are only a few times on certain issues that I have stood my ground and refused to compromise. It has led to a number of disagreements that were unfortunate, but based on his past, these issues were not negotiable.

        I just wonder how he would’ve felt if I ever acted like that and just turned around and disregarded a simple request, such as please call and let me know where you are and what time you were coming home.

        The funny thing is my children check in without hesitation. You would think teenagers would not want to adhere to that request but they realize it’s just a matter of a common courtesy.

        I am glad my husband gets it now, but I spent the better part of 20+ years trying to get him to pick up the damn phone.

        • Strengthrequired

          Tfw, my ch during his affair, would come home for an hour if that, after work, race off into the shower and then tell me he is going out with his friends. This would happen every night. I would say, so friends you really mean scragitty. Of course he would say no. He would say, won’t be too late, yet come come after midnight every time. Yet if I tried to call him, he would tell me he left his phone in the car. Like I’m some sort of idiot to believe him, about being out with friends and his phone happened to just not be with him. He made sure he wouldn’t be interrupted.
          We would make plans for a night out, yet he would make sure he went out first, then meet me. Several times he left me waiting for him. After that
          Happened a few times, I came home and packed my bags, and left them packed. The night I packed, he tried to tell me that his friends car broke down, liar.
          I even used to call him a liar each and every time. After all that’s what he had become during that time. A lying, cheating selfish arrogant entitled person.
          He even told me the same, no one tells him what to do. He does what he wants.
          He never wanted me to leave, but he never wanted to be told to leave her either, it had to come from him.
          We had our wedding anniversary and we’re spending the weekend in the away. I asked him to leave his phone, because it was attached to him. I wanted this time to work on our marriage. He chucked a tantrum, and refused to go if his phone didn’t.
          It makes me sick thinking back on it, I guess I would have handled things differently, with what I know now.
          He would tell me that he would worry about me going out on my own, in case some man was nice to me and tried to pick me up. He thought if that happened I would fall for the pickup. He actually thought during his affair I would fall into the first guys arms that paid attention to me. If anything, whenever a man approached me and several did, it made me uncomfortable.
          Yet it’s him who was the weak one, and it was him who left me on my own to be with his ow. Yet apparently he was worried, I don’t believe him for a second, a husband that worries about his wife, doesn’t leave her waiting for him.

    • Sara

      Wow the painting class was just what I needed to do!!!!I really enjoyed myself and for three full hours I didnt think of them or obsess about anything but my picture. I need to do that more often because I have forgotten what it is like to do fun stuff for me.
      Really I am pretty sure he was being sarcastic about the permission thing just to see if he could get a rise out of me. He seemed quite happy I was going most likely so he could talk to the OW, but he did compliment my picture. As long as I act positive and happy and dont talk to him at all about us or his affair or phone or her we do fine.

      • Strengthrequired

        Sara, I’m glad you enjoyed your painting class. You needed it.
        Don’t you see how selfish your ch is being? You can’t talk about, the affair, her or the phone, he is happy. He gets to act like a spoilt brat at your expense. He gets to express himself with her, and to hell high how you feel. He needs to man up and be the husband you deserve or leave. You need to talk, he needs to listen. he just doesn’t want to face up to the fact that he is a cheater. Not many cheaters do want to face it. If he chucks a tantrum, he knows the conversation will stop.
        He expects you to be happy about what he is doing to you, He expects you to just go along with his affair as if nothing is happening.
        If he expects you to be happy, then he needs to stop his affair, or leave and let you find happiness without him.
        Yet like most cheaters, the want the best of both worlds, have their cake and eat it too.
        I’m sorry that he is doing this to you, it just makes me mad and sad for you.

        • Sara

          Yes it makes me mad too, but if I try to talk about any of this he denys it is an affair, they are just friends, there is no sex and he say he is still here with me. I am afraid to keep bringing things up and find to survive I need to keep things on a positive note. I cant keep obsessing about them because in almost two years they are still doing nothing. I listen less to their conversations and when I do its mostly to find out what she is up to as far as her plans for divorce etc. I have found it is very damaging to hear my husbands voice tell another women all the things I would love to hear. They do have such an easy way about them, talking and laughing, it is hard to hear all he can talk about with her and not with me. It is me, I know I am not the best at holding a conversation.
          I would love to tell him to move out but it is impossible with winter coming and our money and business situation. That is why I moved out last Feb for 4 months but had to come home with the money situation.
          Somehow I see the struggle he is in, because he does love us both and he gets something from us both. His intensions are noble but his actions are selfish.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Sara,
        Keep going to those painting classes!

        By the way, it is interesting that your H is okay as long as you act positive and don’t talk about things involving emotions or his (wrong) actions.

        He is basically sending this message to you: “Be there for me, make me happy, let me do what I want and pretend to ignore it. Don’t talk about anything deep. You are there for me to meet my needs, so your needs and thoughts need to disappear.”

        That is what he is saying according to his actions. Very selfish and very immature. Relationships are a two-way street and it is not fair for everything to be about him and his comfort. He is treating you like a one-dimensional thing who is just supposed to smile, be supportive, and keep quiet. But, God-forbid you have your own needs and actually make them known. Does he want a Stepford wife?

        • Strengthrequired

          Sarah, he just wants someone to say, it’s ok that your being an inconsiderate husband, ohh hang on he gets that from the inconsiderate ow.
          How many times have we heard ” we were meant to be together, we loved each other since we were kids. They are the love of our life and best friend”
          Yes now that it took them years even decades not seeing them, not communicating with them, not even thinking of them, until one decides to make contact with the other, then all of a sudden they are everything to them. Crazy making. There is no commonsense to it.

          • Rachel

            Strength, you forgot, “a love like no other”.

            • Strengthrequired

              Rachel, what about “we have so much in common”. “We can talk about anything and everything” “

            • Rachel

              Lol !!! We click! She brings out the best in me.
              Lol, what best you loser!!!

        • Sara

          Yes that is what he wants, not to be bothered by me, so he can go on with what he is doing. I am a daily reminder that he is doing something wrong, and I am sure it bothers him. When I act positive and normal he thinks I dont know what he is up to and he can continue doing his selfish things.Today is Friday their normal day to meet in a parking lot and for her to get in his backseat and talk. My sister says a fake church member should send them a message that says they have seen her get in a truck with a man who is not her husband!

          • TheFirstWife

            Sara. His intentions are not noble they are selfish.

            I wish that when my H had is 4 year EA I would have done something different. I begged, pleaded, asked, watched, discussed etc to try to get the truth. 4 years of this BS.

            I know my H was not in love with Her but she was in love with him. The longer they were in contact the worse it was for me. Of course all of his communications were secretive as I was not there in grad school with them or on the phone during work hours.

            But I will maintain that had I left him then, his egotistical behavior would MAYBE have ceased and his last affair may not have happened.

            Disrespect is disrespect, whether intentional or not.

            Here is a brief example of how my H “gets it”. He recently received a work email from someone (a woman) announcing a new job venture. Her wording was something to the effect that we should get together and discuss my new career.

            I saw the email and told my husband how extremely bothered I was because the tone seemed a bit forward for my liking. I don’t know this woman and have never met her but I just quickly reverted back to the affair three years ago.

            My husband sent me a copy of the email to her wearing he responded that he would put her in touch with the right people at his company to discuss her new venture.

            He never would have done that in the past.

            Small victories!

          • TheFirstWife

            Talking in the back seat???


            Are they in High School – nope they just have high school mentality.

            Honestly how low class can they be?

            • Sara

              She sits in the back seat not him. They have to be very careful not to be seen or touch each other its all her, he would touch her and kiss her and hug her if he could.

            • Strengthrequired

              Sara, she is a tease. If she gives in to him, he may think to himself, wtf is that what I wasted all my time waiting for her, for. She isn’t as wonderful as I thought she was. Lol

          • Strengthrequired

            Sara, maybe you should think about what your sister suggested. What your ch is doing is harming you each and everyday. You know when one of them start pressuring the other to leave their marriage and to be with each other, and the other is not ready, or uncertain it starts to cause arguments between them, until one walks away from the affair.
            My ch is pressured him all the time, but when I moved away, she thought she could have an easier time at convincing him to leave me for her. It backfired as her pressuring became to much for him. With me and his children not with him, and him only seeing us on a weekend or every second weekend, he was able to feel and see what it was like to have her in his life, along with her temper tantrums, and her children. He was able to see how life was with him missing us.
            It sounds to me like both are sitting on the fence about leaving their marriages, that to me makes it harder, because there is no pressure on either of them, they get to continue living in fantasy, then go home no questions asked.
            This what your in is not an easy situation, no affair is an easy one to go through.
            i hope all works out the way you want, I’m glad your here getting support, they are wonderful group of people.

    • Sara

      Yes that is exactly right there is no pressure from either side to give up this affair. Her poor husband is clueless. She is a tease and I am pretty darn sure she is not going to be what he thinks she is in the sex department. If they have sex without her snaring him into marriage she probably knows it will burst the bubble. That part has to be a fantasy because my husband is about 100 lbs overweight, and she looks older than she is. They are living in lala land.

      • Strengthrequired

        Sara, Lala land is a place they all love, that’s for sure.

    • Sara

      Tomorrow is Sat and I have to work all week end and they have planned to meet both days, Sat for a ride and then Sunday after church. I need a good line for when I get home from work, because I will ask how his day went and he will lie.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Sara,
        So you know when they are meeting. Does he know you know when they are meeting?
        I don’t understand (from an emotional perspective) how you can keep living in the same house when you know all of this is going on. It must be extremely difficult for you.

        If you want a line for when you come home, just tell him the honest-to-God truth:

        “I was out working and ensuring we can pay our bills. Paying for our mortgage is more important for me than playing hookie and hanging out in a car all day. I know where you were and who you were with, so please do not patronize me by pretending that I am stupid.”

        For me, I have always chosen the honest and direct route. When my husband is in denial, I confront him very directly and tell him I know what is going on.

        • Sara

          He does not know I know what they are saying and when they are meeting. I record their Fri conversations because Fri is the day they meet in person and she sits in the car to talk. I realize very much this is not good for me so I keep it to once a week if possible. I am always upset when I hear their conversations to each other. This week they know I am working and she must be off because they can meet Sat. and after church too on Sun. The planning that goes into their daily talking astounds me. Working around her husband too. I cant give away too much and certainly not what they are up to because he cant know how I know right now.

      • TheFirstWife

        Hi Sara

        Boy are you in a tough spot. He knows that you are aware of the OW but doesn’t know the extent of your knowledge.

        And for financial reasons you cannot separate until the spring

        And he doesn’t know you are aware of when they see each other in person

        If I were you I would continue to play “dumb”. Don’t give away your power or knowledge in this situation. It appears you have a plan and are preparing for the possibility of separation or divorce.

        So I don’t think you should say anything. Let him think he is smarter than you. Let him believe, in his delusional world, he is getting away with something.

        I would, however, continue to record his conversations as proof, in case you need it for a divorce attorney.

        Keep on living your life. Take more painting classes and do things to make yourself happy.

        BTW I worked for a divorce attorney for many years and the element of surprise can be very effective.

    • TryingHard

      Sara–I agree 100% with TFW. Do not show your hand. Keep recording and documenting. Keep listening because it will strengthen your resolve to ditch this overweight blowhard. Let him think he has one over on you. Don’t worry about making excuses about where you e been. He’s not paying that much attention. Squirrel away all the money you can. Don’t spend an extra dime on anything for him NOTHING. Five months is reasonable timeline to get all your fucks in a row. TFW is 100% correct about the element of surprise. And for Gods sake don’t feel guilty about doing any of this. I know once spring comes you will be more resolved about freeing yourself from this abusuve loser. You got this. Keep spying. I’m proud of you taking back your power and dignity. You are a force not to be reckoned with. DO NOT SHOW YOUR HAND

    • TryingHard

      Ducks not fucks. Although that fits too ? Sorry if I offended

    • Sara

      That is what I thought was best. If I can hold on till spring and save money I think it would be best. I know everyone thinks my husband is stupid and treating me bad but really he is not. He is just as caught in this as I am. I dont think he started out to fall in love it just happen. She has a very strong pull on him. But so do I have a very strong pull on him too. Our marriage was in trouble from his stand point, I was clueless but not blameless. I have worked very hard to improve myself and our marriage and he sees that. He does love me. I have to at least stick this out and remain true to my values and morals. I dont like the spying, but it is necessary for now. I guess today didnt work out for their meeting, he pulled a muscle cutting wood, so there is tomorrow after church. I have to keep working on me that is what has helped the most Id say.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Of course you have to stick to your values and morals. But I fear for you. The gas lighting is in full force. No, his intentions are NOT knoble. Knoble intentions require honesty. And yes your husband is treating you poorly….he is DECEIVING you and LYING to you.

        No it did not just happen that he “fell in love” he continued making one poor choice after another. And yes he is caught in a web. That web isn’t love! It’s a web full of lies and deceit.

        Whether you keep your info to yourself or confront him is of course your choice. But I’m more like Sarah P. I wouldn’t be able to keep it up.

      • TheFirstWife

        Sara. I want to address a point from your last post. You stated your marriage was in trouble and you were clueless but not blameless.

        Yes it takes 2 people to be in a marriage. And yes no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. I wonder did your H TELL you or EXPRESS his unhappiness or issues?

        If not then it is even worse that he is using the affair to make him happy. It is just another justification for his poor choices.

        So he is unhappy and does nothing about it. And then chooses to be in an emotional affair with some OW and lie to you. Yup that sounds like a resolution to his issues/unhappiness.

        Exactly what my H did. Mid life crisis all the way. Unhappy and did it said nothing and had an affsir to make up for his unhappiness. And now he is worried about our marriage after all he has put us through.

        If the cheaters could only see the damage and pain they leave in their wake.

        But Sara I don’t want you to fall victim to the notion or idea that he cheated b/c he is unhappy with your marriage. One has nothing to do with the other.

        He cheated by choice. The is the only truth here.

        There are days I want to scream b/c my H upsets me (and vice versa). But it does not give me permission to cheat on him.

        • Sara

          TFW, It is true because he told me that he has been unhappy for a long time, he just didnt want to tell me because I had so much on my plate and it is true that I did ignore him for a long time because I had many other people to care for. I know it is not my fault he is doing what he is doing, but I heard him tell her that it wouldnt have matter if our marriage was perfect he would have fallen in love with her anyway just because she is who she is. He knows that they would be happy together and she is who he loves and there is absolutly no way he is going to give her up, they are perfectly matched and would be happy if together. I think if anyone has had any experience with this first love theory or a first love romance I would like to hear it because I think there is something to this very strong attachmant they have. He thinks I want pity and I am feeling sorry for myself and he most certainly disrespects me. He is using me to suit his purpose and that is to wait me out and see if I give in. The problem is I do feel sorry for me, I didnt ask for this and now it is me doing all the work as usual. I need some kind of way to deal with him that will make him think twice about what he is doing and not think I am feeling sorry for me. I dont think ignoring him works. I need ways of talking to him that are truthful and neutral. I have read and reread all the book suggestions and now I think it is too late for anything to happen except a divorce. I wondered about sending a letter to her?

          • TheFirstWife

            Sara. I want to take a moment to give you the benefit of my experience. My H never told me he was unhappy so I operated on the theory we had a good marriage and we were happy while he was realizing how unhappy he truly was.

            That being said I have issues with being blindsided by his affair and the state of our marriage.

            I was banging my head against the wall trying to get my H to see we still had a great marriage, how much I loved him, how much I wanted to stay married to him, our family was great blah blah blah.

            I kept thinking I could turn this around. He went away for a week and came home and told me he didn’t think he wanted to be married anymore. AFTER I sat and told him we should put the past behind us and how I still loved him. I refused to hear it b/c I was going to fix this.

            Long story short I was wasting my time and energy focusing on the wrong things. You cannot talk sense into someone who is in the midst of an affair or mid life crisis. Millions if therapists and counsellors will tell you that.

            You cannot make them realize Anything. You cannot get them to be objective. They mistakenly believe they are in live with the affair partner. Maybe they think they are but in my book it is infatuation plain & simple.

            I just don’t want you to suffer the pain and frustration and heartache I did by believing that you can help him or you can turn this around. The only time it will change is when HE decides to make a change.

            Maybe if you leave him it may wake him up. Maybe not. Maybe if you stop caring and interacting with him it will wake him up. Maybe not. Maybe if the OW dumps him and he comes crawling back to you it will change him. Or maybe he will become more depressed b/c she dumped him and you will have an even more depressed & angry H to deal with.

            In any event I would like any other contributor to weigh in with their thoughts.

            I will tell you my H even admitted to me that nothing anyone could have said would have changed his mind or made him give up the OW. His words not mine.

          • TheFirstWife

            My second point is if he was unhappy what did he do about it?

            Did he seek help?

            And when is it your job to make him happy?

            He should be happy in life but it is not my job to be the source of my H’s happiness. I don’t want to make him unhappy BUT I don’t feel it is my job to be responsible for his happiness. That is his responsibility and his job to fix it.

            • Sara

              I think he believes she will make him happy. He is really so much happier when he sees and talks to her. She makes him laugh and they can easily talk about anything. I dont feel its my job to make him happy but I have made him unhappy. I cant compete with this women in his eyes shes perfect for him and I never was.The grass is always greener somewhere else for him and it always has been thru our whole marriage which is alot of the reason I have been so unhappy myself.
              I had a bad morning and he left to work with me feeling sorry for myself so in his eyes today I am pathetic. All the books never tell you how to deal with an affair that wont stop, they all are for recovery. I need to give up yet something holds me back from just ignoring the situation and moving on. I am fearful to be alone and start a new life alone. How do you ignore this and move on?

            • Shifting Impressions

              I am so concerned for you. I see you as someone who has lost all sense of personal power. These two have you so pulled into their fantasy. Of course he makes her happy….for now. Fantasies have a way of doing that. Fantasies are just that….they are not real.

              I am not sure what type of spy system you have but it sounds like you are recording all their conversations….???

              By listening in you may as well be standing at the door and watching them have sex….just as damaging.

              This might sound harsh but I really don’t mean it to be. But what would you do if you walked in on them having sex???? You wouldn’t just say I’ll just watch and see where this goes, would you?? But that’s what you are doing with these damaging conversations.

              The day I found my husband’s emails was the day he ended the emotional affair….he knew if he didn’t he would be out.

              Please please get some help. The books aren’t all about recovery. There is also information about finding your own power and drawing a line in the sand.

              I know here husband doesn’t know…..or at least that’s what everyone seems to think but he might have his own suspicions. How would you feel if everyone knew but you??

              Please please have someone help you through this.

    • TryingHard

      A web HE created. OWs are not Svengalis. They have no magical abilities. Your husband is not powerless. He is doing this because it suits him. He uses you because it suits him. no one is forcing him. He is choosing it over and over

    • TryingHard

      Sara– It sounds to me that you have accepted and resigned yourself to your analysis and the fact that your husband and this woman really belong together. The only option you have in this case is to throw in the towel and divorce him and let them be together in front of God and all eternity as soul mates.

      There’s another good book out there to read it’s called He’s History; You’re Not. It’s on Amazon. Maybe this book would be helpful and comforting. There’s also another blog called Chump Lady and they are very supportive of Chumps like us who’s mates are non-responsive and have no choice other than separation and divorce.

      I am so sorry to hear that your long term marriage will end like this. It’s really sad for everyone, but I wish you strength and healing during your journey.

    • theresa

      Sara, please try to focus on yourself. Stop trying to figure out his reasons for his betrayal and his rejection of you. And yes, he is rejecting you. Some of his actions are down right mean!
      You and you alone are responsible for your happiness. By not taking action, (other than secret surveillance, I applaud this action, but now appears to be doing YOU more harm than good, it will never change for you. You must make the change) I made the huge mistake of moving my line. What would I tolerate, what I would ACCEPT of his behavior. I was not acting on proof positive information. I kept looking for more, and there will always be more. And by not taking action I was making myself feel worse. I lost myself. I knew I deserved better. I kept hoping for a change.
      I finally accepted the fact that the only change was the change I could control.
      Sometimes you just have to dream a new dream.
      You need to choose you.
      He has been making choices. He is not choosing you.

      • Shifting Impressions

        So well said!!!!

    • Hopeful


      I just have a few things to add. Love is a verb. And marriages and relationships take work. He is putting all his efforts into this other relationship. It is easy to think the grass is greener. For some people sneaking off and talking even is exciting and uplifting. And when you engage with someone you are not sharing a life together it is easy to be carefree and feel happy and laugh and have fun. It does not matter if it your husband or anyone else. But these men make a series of decisions. We all do on a daily basis. We can all seek out help and google for what we need or to find an expert. I know for my husband he had to tell himself every day that I was the problem otherwise he was the biggest jerk ever. He sees it now and feels terrible but at the time he was caught up in protecting himself and getting what he needed. Thinking of you and please take care of yourself.

      • theresa

        are you angry?

        • Strengthrequired

          Sara, like TFW I bent over backwards trying to prove to my ch that we had a wonderful life together, a great family one that he should not give up for the sake of the ow. Like TFW, my ch too told me that it didn’t matter who told him to leave her or do the right thing, he would not give her up. He had to make the change on his own.
          He was not going to listen to anyone. As far as he was concerned she was perfect.
          now he will tell you, no life is not greener on the otherside, like he originally thought.

    • Sara

      I want to know how I can get this power you talk about. I just dont know what it is. If I confront him he will gaslight me and say nothing is going on were just friends.I can say I am leaving again but I have nowhere to go and cant afford an apartment. I can try to ignore him and just live here and not listen to what they say and do my own thing which is very hard. Yesterday he was discussing with her getting on her roof to check it. I thinking thats risky, a neighbor might see him? Why do they keep waiting to do something?

      • TryingHard

        Maybe he will wear a Santa Clsus suit as a disguise. Um isn’t that the homeowners job i.e. HER HUSBAND!! Santa better watch out he just may get shot going up there.

        As for your power Sara. You’ve been advised many times here. For some reason it seems you don’t want to trust us or believe us. And for the life of me I can’t figure out why.

        • Strengthrequired

          Haha, th, I dreamt of Santa Claus last night.

          • Strengthrequired

            Sara, I used to go to sleep and dream every night, once my ch affair came out, my dday, all my dreams stopped. Well ones t could remember anyway. It took years before I was able to dream again.
            That is how much his affair damaged my soul. However, in saying that during my ch affair, only occassionaly did I wake up from a sleep and remember dreaming, and each time it was about my ch affair, either I was defending him, or I was catching him cheating and my heart would break all over again, I would wake up in tears, sobbing uncontrollably.

      • TheFirstWife

        Hi Sara. You get your power back in any number of ways.

        You may start by not allowing yourself to believe his affair and cheating is anything more than what it is – CHEATING! You stop buying into the fact that you believe he is her true love, she is “better” than you, they have something special etc.

        I was like you in the beginning of the affair (after Dday1). I asked my H to go to therapy and he refused. I went along with his decision. I sat and watched him openly flirt with other women in front if me and stare at women and I said & did nothing. WRONG again.

        I allowed him to call the shots. He told me he would let me know at the end of the summer what he was going to do. REALLY?!! I went along trying to preserve our marriage.

        He told me it (the affair) was over. Until he went running back 8 weeks later. It heated up and one month after our romantic 25th wedding anniversary (that he planned) he was asking for a divorce.

        When I finally had enough and found out his affair was still going on, I told him to leave. He said no and I was angry and called a friend and found him a place to stay.

        I had enough and now I was calling the shots. He never left due to our children and a death in the family and it being Christmas season but I could see he was trying hard to turn this around so I gave him another chance. The affair was over.

        But I then found out everything he told me in the aftermath of the affair was a lie. I felt tricked and a used all over again. I was FURIOUS that I believed him. He thought lying would be the “smart” thing to do.

        I was duped again by him. Except I had my power back. I was in control because now I wanted out and he was begging for another chance.

        In the past I would walk away every time from a conflict. Now I will not back down if I feel strongly about something. I call him on things when in the past I would let it go.

        Your power is nothing more than your self esteem not allowing his cheating and lying to bring you down. Your power is knowing you have a plan – $, leaving him someday if he continues this behavior, moving forward with your life with it without him and being OK with that scenario.

        The power comes from taking control of your destiny. You don’t have to leave him to take your power back.

        I went from having to scrape myself off the floor every day to starting a business I always wanted and truly being happy with myself. I am a good person and have been a good wife and out him first most of the time not because he was abusive but because I wanted to out of love.

        Now I come first. Not selfish or mean but I make sure I get what I need for myself.

        You can get your power back and stil remain married to the cheater that he is. It is s matter if not letting his choices and actions control your emotions and happiness.
        Example – you went to a paint class. He made a rude comment about “his permission”.

        You ignored him and went Anyway and had fun! Example of power.

        Once you are not operating under his bubble you will start to see things differently and you will act diffetently.

        • Doug

          Awesome comment TFW. Thank you!

          • Strengthrequired

            Was an awesome comment.
            Btw , Sara and Tfw, I too went along with everything my ch said. He needed time to let go of his ow. He needed her to break it off from him. Blah blah blah. I thought I was doing the right thing giving him that time, even though it was killing me inside. I thought I was preserving our marriage.
            All it did was give him more time to get closer to her. All it did was damage me more. It did not turn around, until I moved as mentioned, and also arranged for a place further away for me and my children to move to. It wasn’t until, I stopped enabling his affair did things start changing.

    • TryingHard

      SR–LOL well Mr. Cheaterpants has to disguise himself somehow and still help the helpless OW! Santa’s as good as he can get!

      • Strengthrequired

        Th, lol, of course he does. He would also want to make sure the roof has a chimney, so he can slide down it when the ow husband starts climbing up to the roof to get him.

        All jokes aside, it is most definately not his job to fix a roof for the ow, I am sure her husband wouldn’t want some man that is chasing after his wife trying to fix his roof too.
        All these ow, if you have noticed need some man to rescue them. All damsels in distress, at least that’s what they like the man they have their eyes set on think.

    • TryingHard

      Personally I would love it if the OW would get up on my roof. I. would. love. it.

      I still have my son’s old BB gun. I can’t even imagine how much fun that would be. HAHA I have a new fantasy for when I’m triggered. The OW up on my roof and me taking pot shots at her with my BB gun.

      I don’t know. I think I can get on board with cheaters getting up on roofs

    • Sara

      Thank you TFW for your comments about getting my power. I can see what you are saying and it makes sense and I think I am starting at least to make progress. It is very hard not to let what they are doing bother me and probably that is from listening to them too much. Really I should not care but I do because this is MY husband. Early on my husband said one reason he was attracted to her is she needed his help. He was helping her. Her husband went deer hunting today so they knew he would be gone and they could get away with it. Her husband is not big on helping around the house, she does it all. Or says she does to get sympathy. I think she is a control freak. Your comments have been very helpful to me and I really appreciate your insight and what you went through. Actually I drove by her house today in the hope I would catch him there and could say Gee I hope he is careful up there! But he wasnt there at that point. Might have been interesting. I most certainly at this point do not think she is better than me, just different. He is different with her too. I will keep trying. Thanks!

      • Hopeful

        Sara, I think it is up to you if you have any desire to remain married then make a plan or action steps. If you want to try and work it out then having a serious talk about what you know and also what you expect and the boundaries you want in place. My husband had ended both his affairs before I found out. So they were over with. His behaviors still weren’t great but at most he was with a group of friends and would talk with women. But after the initial dealing with the shock etc I told him my boundaries and expectations. 1. No contact with either woman. if there was contact then I needed to see it and we would decide together how he would respond 2. Before he committed to do anything besides go to work he had to ask me first 3. He called me every day during lunch and on the way home. 4 when he went out with friends to golf or watch a game I needed to know who he was with, where they were going, and if their plans changed he had to call or text me 5. When going out with his friends he would also designate a plan of how much he would drink and when he would be home. this helped him to think ahead 6 he was to act as if I am next to him wherever he goes. So whatever he says, does, texts, etc I should be able to hear or read. There were others but those were the initial ones we put in place.

        What is interesting is most of those he does automatically now and even goes above and beyond. When he goes golfing or to watch a game he ends up texting me throughout the time and wishing I was with him. So things can change but habits are hard to break. But I think it is important if you want a marriage to lay out what you expect. Then if he does not want that it is easier to move forward and create your life without him. I feel that way now. I know what I need in a marriage and I will never tolerate just basic detachment even.

        If you don’t want to be married to him for sure and are just getting your life in order financially and legally that is a different story. I would just disconnect from him and avoid contact and take care of yourself.

        • Sara

          I have had this talk at least twice. I have said I want you to stop talking and seeing her. He has always said yes and then has gone more underground and still to this day pretends all is ok. He does tell me where he is going and texts what he is doing etc. The fact remains that everyday he talks to her at 330 when she is out of work until he comes home to me at 500 and he cant stop talking to her. She is his go to gal emotionally or so he says.. I am acting cheerful and happy, I am always glad to see him and I do try to carry on a conversation but it is difficult because he has already told her about his day etc. The days he doesnt get to talk with her enough he is grumpy and other days he is flying high. I am not competing with her as I am not a phone talker. I am sticking to my timeline but I hesitate to tell him because it will go right to her. Although I would love to plant some seed of doubt in her mind I just dont know how. He will in his mind use every excuse he can to continue with what he does. I have talked selling the house and divorce many times. He does not think he is cheating. That is why I wondered if writing her a letter about how this is hurting me would help?

    • Rachel

      They use the excuse that their soulmate needs their help as an excuse. Makes them feel like they are helping them and not cheating.
      I heard the same thing. He was helping her because her husband drinks too much and she had melanoma years before!!!! How about helping us??????? They have so much energy to spend with the other person but no energy to help our marriage??
      My ex has emailed me once again last night wanting to meet up for a drink.
      I didn’t respond.
      In January I will email him to let him know that my alimony check needs to be sent to my new name as I am taking back my maiden name. Also, I will be changing my email address so he won’t be able to email me anymore.
      It’s now time for peace and quiet for me while I spend my time with my soulmate!?

      • TheFirstWife

        Love it Rachel. Good for you.

        Love the power you now have.

      • TryingHard

        Rachel–Good for you Rachel. You kids are old enough. He doesn’t need to be in contact with you. He’s like gum on the bottom of your shoe. No matter how hard you try you just can’t get it off!!

        I read in your previous post that you still feel that pain. I think we all do and now it’s just woven into part of who we are just like everything else. A part of us will alway hurt a little. I guess it’s part of aging or just living our lives. As I said before if my husbands betrayal is the worse thing that happens to me I will consider myself a fortunate woman. It’s not the end of the world and you are on the right road for peace and more joy. A different joy than you’d planned but never the less.

        You deserve all the peace and happiness and I’m glad you are getting just that. Happy for you Rachel

    • TryingHard

      Sara–If you can’t get through to him how on earth do you think anything you have to say to her would be effective? She owes you nothing.

      No, do not contact her. If you contact ANYONE it shoul be her husband. Maybe HE can get through to her that if she doesn’t stop having the affair she can consider herself divorced or who knows or cares what he would say to her.

      And I doubt the idea of another divorce scares her since this would be what her fifth? She’s a husband collector. Sorry but OW just don’t give one care about wives. Matter of fact they believe we are pathetic, clingy, frigid women undeserving of any kind of respect.

    • Sara

      Me contacting her husband sends them into a frenzy. My sister threaten to do that and they had a fit and blamed me and got mad at me etc. Divorce does scare her because she knows how hard it is. The first time she had 3 young children and the next two cheated on her and abused her, after being married two weeks and 1 year respectively. She keeps telling my husband how bad i will be and demand this and that and it will get nasty etc, Actually so did the pastor tell him it is very hard etc. I know for a fact she thinks I am unchristian, crazy and nasty and I was a terrible wife. I wonder how she learned that??? She is very sure her husband will divorce her immediately and she isnt done hiding her money etc from him so she doesnt want him to know anything! Actually she does feel very guilty about coming between my husband and myself, so I could probably send her a very pointed letter that might send her over the edge but I wont. I will wait and contact her husband right away if I hear that they are sexual or she is going to divorce him. I dont think she really wants to go thru another divorce.

    • TryingHard

      Sara–Because you know this woman is cheating on HER husband with YOUR husband and HER husband is unaware and YOU know she is doing shady things like stealing from her own husband, you are complicit in their affair. You know and you are standing by doing NOTHING to help this fellow human being that is totally in the dark. You know nothing about him other than that fools trash talking of him. And yeah she’s one whose word you should take.

      I am sorry while I wish you well and healing I think you are very wrong not informing her husband. I think it’s quite cruel of you. I don’t know how you can stand by and let your husband and this woman treat this innocent man like this. I would feel horribly guilty about what MY husband is doing to this man.

      I don’t think you have any idea whether or not she feels guilty. All you have is what you hear on your recordings. All you have is what she wants your husband to hear.

      While I do believe you are a victim of your husband’s cruelty and abuse you at least are aware of what he’s doing and you are making your choices. This man whom your husband has made a cuckhold is very much unaware and for me that is just cruel, selfish and mean.

    • TheFirstWife

      Hi Sara. Hoping things are going well for you. Crossing my fingers your H has come to his senses.

    • Katie

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    • Eleanor

      My D Day was 8 months ago. There was MUCH good in our relationship, dreams had just come true and we were on a path to a new joint farm that was going to bring us both joy. Found out he was using korean prostitutes in massage parlors for “full service” for three years, then coming home and smiling to me. While knowing all this was going on, he allowed me to enter into life changing real estate deals and sell my home, etc. We had been together 19 years and were finally planning to marry in just three more months, when I found out.

      So, now I think of our prior relationship as an exclusive high class club just for us. The relationship available to me after DDay is like an inner city bus stop complete with defecation on the steps. That’s what it feels like now, and I deserve so much more, as do all the faithful spouses out there trusting treacherous devious partners.

      Where do I go from here? Will my views ever change?

    • Eleanor

      My D Day was 8 months ago. There was MUCH good in our relationship, dreams had just come true and we were on a path to a new joint farm that was going to bring us both joy. Found out he was using korean prostitutes in massage parlors for “full service” for three years, then coming home and smiling to me. While knowing all this was going on, he allowed me to enter into life changing real estate deals and sell my home, etc. We had been together 19 years and were finally planning to marry in just three more months, when I found out.

      So, now I think of our prior relationship as an exclusive high class suite just for the two of us. The relationship available to me after DDay is like a filthy inner city bus stop complete with defecation on the steps. That’s what it feels like now, and I deserve so much more, as do all the faithful spouses out there trusting treacherous devious cheaters.

      Where do I go from here? Will my views ever change? Will I ever trust him again and hold him in high esteem? Or, am I better off moving on. Men find me attractive I don’t doubt I could easily have companionship, and perhaps one day a man who would never cheat.

      • TheFirstWife

        So sorry for you Eleanor. I hope you are healing even if slowly.

        Possible counseling could be helpful.

        What is your partner doing to help you heal or make amends? That can be a critical piece of the healing process.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Eleanor,

        Hope you don’t mind if I chime in here and I hope that you don’t mind that I am going to be completely honest.

        From what I understand, this is what is happening:

        -Your partner has a pattern of sexually acting out with Korean prostitutes and this pattern has been consistent for a period of time.

        -Your partner was living a double life during this period time.

        -Your this time your partner convinced you to sell your home and make life-changing financial decisions. You trusted him and believed such actions would allow you two to live out your dream of having a farm together.

        -You believed you were on the path to marriage and that your big dream in life was finally falling into place.

        Then D-Day hit and you realized that the kind of relationship you though you believed you had was not what you had at all.

        Now, here goes. As you might have figured out, I am a strong advocate for betrayed people (whether male or female) and sometimes I will speak hard truth because I have been there, done that, and have the scars to show for it.

        Disclaimer: you have to do what your heart tells you to do. Only you can decided what is best for you because only you know the full situation. So, take what I say with a grain of salt, since it is my opinion based on the details you have provided. What I say it not a substitute for working through this with both an attorney and a therapist.

        Now I will tell you my opinion:

        1) I would NOT marry this man because marrying him means that your finances will become joint finances. If something should go wrong, you would lose a lot. While you could get a pre-nuptial agreement, many don’t hold up in states where there is no fault divorce.

        2) He has been cheating on your for 3 years with prostitutes and this is only what you know. If you were to hire a detective, there might be so much more. But, even if there is not more, you need to ask yourself how you can marry a cheater– a cheater who has used prostitutes and who has done it for three years.

        Here is the thing, it doesn’t matter if you trust him or not. This is about him. He has demonstrated very clearly and over a period of time who he is.

        Maya Angelou said, “If someone tells you how they are, believe them.”

        He has told you who he is. There is no gray area here. This is not about you ever being able to trust him again or not. This is about him and he has a real problem that I do not believe will go away. If you get married, marriage will NOT fix it. Eventually he will return to old ways and then you will be financially bound to him.

        If I were you, there is no way on earth I would choose to go forward with a relationship with this man.

        If you break up he might beg and plead. But that is because he wants what he wants and what he wants has nothing to do with YOUR well-being.

        To me, it’s cut and dry. You are with a cheater and there is no way around it. It would be foolish to mingle your finances with him via marriage. If you marry him, you will send the message that there are no consequences and he will have absolutely NO motivation to change.

        Step back and ask yourself a question: if a good friend were in this situation and if you cared deeply about your friend’s wellbeing, would you tell her to try on wedding dresses? Or would you tell her that her partner has told her pretty clearly who he is and that there is no way she should mingle her finances with such a person?

        If my friend were in your situation, I would ask her to run like h*** and I would be her support system through out the breakup. And I would get her an excellent therapist (because it’s not really ethical to be my best friend’s official counselor because of the history we have.) So, I would find her someone excellent who wouldn’t have the same anger I would have seeing a friend get hurt. I would find her someone objective.

        In summary, if I were you, I would get an excellent therapist and put any wedding and/or financial plans that involve him on hold indefinitely. He has told you who he is. Believe him. YOU DESERVE BETTER.

        Many blessings,

        • Eleanor

          How do I thank you enough? Spending all your valuable time and energy counseling me ….someone you don’t even know. How do I ever thank you enough?

          I am no longer interested in marrying this man. I have no interest in commingling finances. While he did not talk me into selling my house I sold my house to make way for our joint purchase of the new Farm. I would not have done any of this had I known the reality of my life. Not a chance.

          I’m far from stuck. If anything I’m in the driver seat. What I really need to know is whether I even try to patch the relationship back together. On one hand is his very clear and demonstrated lack of character which he so carefully concealed. On the other hand is a person doing all he can to understand and fix this problem. Someone asked me if I would like him to learn from all of this and take it to a new relationship. The answer is I do not wish to see that happen. But on the other hand it’s almost impossible for me to think of him as anything but a cheat a liar and a porn indulging whoremonger. So I’m sort of stuck. I haven’t made a move one way or the other. And I need to figure out how to disengage and move on, or carefully and thoughtfully attempt to put the relationship back together. There were tremendous good qualities to our relationship. Obviously not enough to make up for what I now know but they were really excellent qualities anyway. So I have to figure out which direction I would like to go… what are the chances for a good future in each Direction

          Blessings to you and many many thanks.

          • Sarah P.

            Hello Eleanor,

            Working on this blog is a spiritual calling for me, if that makes sense. It is part of the way through which I can serve the world. I am a real person just like everyone else and I care. I try to engage as much as possible with readers and those who comment.

            But, most importantly, I have been through it. I have been on the brink of suicude due to being left for another woman and losing my house and pretty much everything at that time (financially, spiritually, emotionally). The only reason I am still here is because when I had decided to commit suicide one night and was ready, there were truly supernatural (God-driven) events that occurred that would seem impossible but that actually happened to ensure I did not succeed. I have not yet told that story on the blog, but one day I will.

            I had a happy ending in that I met someone better than I would have imagined, got married, and have children.

            HOWEVER, something inside me was changed permanently– something I will never get back. The bottom line and my reason for being on this blog is that I do NOT want another person to go through what I went through. When it happened (2002) there were no on-line resources on this topic and I consulted many therapists but none knew how to heal from infidelity. I found a good one and got general counseling. She also diagnosed me with PTSD because of the horrendous details of how it went down. Think about your worst nightmare and it was worse than that.

            I just do not want anyone, male or female, to be brought to the brink due to infidelity and not have a helping hand to guide them. Infidelity is dead serious topic. To this day, Master’s programs don’t even teach it. I finished a Master’s program in Clinical Psychology about 5 years ago and there was no curriculum for it. Yet, some say infidelity rates are as high as 60% and as low and 20%. (I believe it’s probably around 50% depending on how one defines infidelity).

            19 years is a very long time to invest in a relationship and it is pretty terrible that it took so darn long to find out the truth.

            Again, this is your life and your heart. But, I will tell you my opinion. Your boyfriend has some incredibly deep-seeded issues. I am talking profound issues. You might have been dating “a mask” for 19 years. Many people are so adept at creating social faces that are not true even though they are believable.

            I know there were probably excellent things in the relationship, but I am going to tell you flat out– it is going to be so hard to trust again and I am not sure this person is worthy of your trust. My opinion is that you are LUCKY you are not married. My opinion is that now your boyfriend has ‘told you who he is’ it is time to run like hell. I see you as so fortunate because this was revealed before you were married. That gives you complete power.

            In my opinion, there is no way I would make amends with such a person. I would get out and see myself as a fortunate person to have dodged a bullet.

            This guy needs to work out his issues alone and he needs to do it of his own volition. I fear that there is more he has not told you. I fear this is the tip of the iceberg and that if you were to continue, you would willingly be walking into a relationship trap where there will be more D-days and then groveling from him following the D-days. But then he will do it again and again. If someone has been seeing prostitutes for three years, he is not just going to stop. He is going to go underground and figure out to hide it better. Even though it is hard to understand, there are men out there who truly feel entitled to have whatever they want, whenever they want, and truly believe that no one should have a problem with their behavior. (There are women like this too, but I have seen more men like this than women.) There are men who deep down truly believe it’s ok to have one woman to settle down with because ‘she is the marrying kind’ and then there are other women to use. And they cannot understand why this is a problem. Sure, they will pretend to understand as a manipulation, but in their hearts they are just planning how to cover their tracks.

            I say this based on several years of working solely on this topic. My heart goes out to you so much because of all you have invested. But I am just so afraid that if you continue along with your boyfriend a part of him will believe he is getting permission to treat you a certain way. We teach people how to treat us. And he will be smugly saying to himself, “Well, I got away with that one, what else can I do?” And there will be no incentive to change.

            This is not great news, but I just get such a bad gut feeling from your situation. My alarm bells are going off like crazy. I believe the person you think you have been with all this time may not be that person at all. Now, I don’t say that about all wayward spouses or boyfriends. But, my intuition is just going crazy right now.

            I think the first thing you need to do is to hire and excellent private detective. You need to know who he truly is and not what he pretends to be. This is absolutely essential to your future. Please do not delay. You must know everything, no matter how shocking, so that you can make an informed decision.’

            I would also look for a good therapist in your area. Also, Doug, Linda, and I all offer telephone therapy packages since this is our area of expertise. You need someone to talk to, even if it is a member of the clergy.

            I am just so very sorry you are going through this, Eleanor, and I hope you find the support you need. I am glad you found this blog because we have so many different articles. Hopefully some of them can give you clarity.

            Many blessings,

            • Eleanor

              Sara, you are confirming my thoughts. So you came from God to underline my thoughts. They are probably his thoughts.

              I too felt like there was more to this. At first he admitted to the prostitutes and consistently said he had quit using p***. For some unknown reason out of nowhere out of my mouth came questioning about his p*** use and a roux that I had hacked his computer and knew all about it. I have been asking about porn use when I found out about the prostitutes and he continually denied it. So out of nowhere out of my mouth comes that he was being asked to see if he was still lying because I already knew. Like some other creature put all that there and the next thing you know he’s admitting that he has use p*** off and on throughout our relationship I’ll bet it was more on then off. So there you go. You would not believe what a nice guy he appears to be. I think you may be absolutely right I have been wooed and won by a mask. When he has been found out the look on his face is Stark Terror. It always did feel like I did not have the heart of him I always felt there was a shell. I always hoped the shell would melt one day. You don’t know me but I am a Street smart and financially successful woman. How I ended up with a 20-year investment with this poor of a return I will never know. But as you said life moves on and I have to look forward to better days.

    • Dorothy

      I appreciate the comments from each of you. I recently discovered my husband was having an affair. I knew something was wrong but I did not talk about it. I don’t believe in extramarital affairs but knowing they do happen Keeps me praying. Approximately 3 and 1/2 weeks ago I actually went to the lady’s house whom I suppected my husband was wooing. I walked right in as they did not have the front door completely closed, there they were sitting on her couch. My husband was sitting on the end of her sofa and she was sitting as close as she could by him. I scared them both and found they were into smoking weed. Tried to discuss wit them, the both denied an affair but my thoughts are to give up. I’ve felt something was not right over at least 9 to -10 months. I am not fighting to stay in a marriage with liars. The lady was my neighbor at one point. Please keep me in your prayers.

    • TheFirstWife

      Dorothy. Saying prayers for you. I remember being in that position – praying with all I had to please get my H to see we can overcome his A.

      It took six long agonizing months for him to get it. He attempted to D me numerous times. Yes after 25 years of M – and the “D” word never used once. Now he wants out.

      Google Affair Fog. It is like the A is an addiction. It is real (as you know). You are living it.

      You will see your spouse behave completely out of character. My H openly was in contact (thinking he was getting away with it no less). He texted her – the OW – begging her to please hang on and wait for him – from our bedroom after telling me he is D me. And swearing there is no one else. When I saw that email – well I was furious!

      What do you plan to do? How can we help you?

    • Sarah P.

      Hi Dorothy,

      I am glad you followed your instincts and walked right into the house. Indeed, how can we help?

      I do believe you are correct in your view of not staying in a marriage will liars. If you are single, I say get on out of there.

      But, the weed is a second issue. But, let me preface this. I am not against drugs for moral or religious reasons. (Although I am both moral and someone who prays several times a day).

      I am against drugs, even cannibis because of how it can alter the brain over the long term. It has all kinds of nasty side effects: loss of interest in life, depression, inability to keep a job over the long term and also impairs relationships because of the way the cannibis user interacts with others who are not users.

      Also, here is some advice from me. I know I can come off as conservative as the way I live and I do live conservatively. However I now have a teen who asks about what cocaine is like, what marijuana is like, what heroin is like. He has been suffering depression. I have explained that some people out there are unaware they are depressed or have anxiety issues or ADHD. There are prescription drugs that provide the same affect as street drugs but are safe in people who do not have underlying health conditions.

      Marijuana is a nervous system depressant. Valarian root can be bought over the counter and has a similar affect.

      But if someone is depressed and using MJ for depression, that will lead to terrible consequences. There are two anti depressants I love: Wellbutrin and Lexapro. They are newer and in combination they treat a variety of symptoms.

      Cocaine has the same affect as a prescription drug called Adderal. Adderal is safe in low doses if someone has had a check up and been cleared to take it.

      Heroin = OxyContin, morphine, etc. However, if someone is taking heroin to feel euphoric, bad idea. Heroin should never be used. Period. If someone is in physical pain, long acting morphine can be used. But if it is euphoria they seek, take a very long run each day and get “runners high.” It’s safe and gets you in shape. Also consider anti depressants. Also euphoria seekers might be depressed.

      If someone you know is addicted to morphine or heroin due to chronic pain or recreational drug use, Suboxone is a God send for these people along with a 12 step program. If someone is in chronic pain, Suboxone also has properties that kill pain but do not get people high or depressed. Long term morphine use leads to depression.

      Just wanted to get that out there. If you H is cheating and doing drugs, the future does not look good. Cut your losses if you can and I will pray for you. God can work miracles.


    • Better days

      I know this is old conversation.

      Stay or go? Well 7 months in and I wonder nearly everyday if I’ve made the right choice to stick it out. She hasn’t done anything to make me suspicious (that’s actually not factual, she had a love affair for nearly a year). Though I am still suspicious all the time. Therein lies the problem. I check everything I have access to regularly. It’s too consuming. I don’t think it’s fair to either of us to live with “me” the way I am at this point and time. I’m working on getting to a point where I can say, “she’s going to do what she’s going to do.” Because, let’s be real, there are a shit ton of stories all over the internet where spouses have been cheated on multiple times, with the same and/or different AP’s. I’ve read about so many D-Day 1, 2, 3,….. No one wants to believe their spouse is capable of causing that type of pain…….. again. But they are. And I’ve read so many accounts of, “I’m 3,5,10+ years post D-day and I still have triggers about my spouse that debilitate me.” Then I think to myself, how is any of this a healthy relationship? Sure there are and I’m sure will be more and more “good days” but man is this tough. And we are 19 years married soon. Our anniversary is ruined, she screwed around with him on that day, same with V-day, same with her b-day. Really torn here.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Better Days
        You are absolutely right…this is really really tough!!! I believe that the betrayed spouse is left fighting a battle of EPIC PROPORTIONS deep inside themselves, after they are betrayed.

        I don’t believe staying and trying to work things out can be a “wrong choice”. Some days my choice to stay was just for one more day. I would tell myself…I will stay another day…I will give it another week..maybe three more months etc. The point is I didn’t know if it would work
        out….and I gave myself permission to NOT KNOW. But I knew I had to try….if I didn’t and things did not work out I would always regret NOT TRYING.

        Yes, anniversaries were ruined and many other “special days” as well. It’s been five years for me and yes there are still triggers….but not nearly as often and not nearly as painful. How we handle those triggers is part of what makes things “healthy or unhealthy. Sometimes I just keep them to myself and let them pass…other times we sit and talk about them and work through it together.

        I swear I cried nearly every day for the first three years. There was lots of anger as well and suspicion as well.Slowly that stopped but I was left with a deep deep sadness. But as time goes on that is slowly lifting as well.

        Something precious was shattered….it takes time grieve that. It takes time to pick up the pieces and rebuild something good again. I don’t know if they ever really understand the pain they caused. One of the most haunting lines I read here is “Along with breaking my heart they broke my rose coloured glasses”. I will never be quite that trusting again and I will never be quite same again.

        Only you know when “enough is enough” but I believe you will never regret trying.

    • Better days

      Thanks for the positive thoughts. And letting me know it’s normal. It’s just the uncertainty of knowing how to determine when to say when. We had a talk just the other night. She knew I was in a bad place the last few days. She wants for me to tell her when I no longer want to be with her anymore. She is obviously at a place where she doesn’t want to waste time if it’s not going to work. A lot of my issues lately have been triggers around the annual special days coming up. She purposely scheduled an out of town work trip over V day because she didn’t want to cause pain by being here. Just prior to that she proposed an out of county vacay for our anniversary.
      I shot it down, basically telling her that day only represents negativity to me now. My biggest problems now are my inability to deal with what should be a small dispute. I quickly get to a dark place of “maybe it’s time to call it.” I am trying to work it out, I just don’t know that I know how to try in a way that can overcome my issues. Resentment and anger that have nothing to do with the arguments quickly fill in.

    • Shifting Impressions

      Better Days
      There is one sentence that just jumped out at me..”she is obviously at a place where she doesn’t want to WASTE TIME if it’s not going to work”. Is that really how she feels or is that you making that assumption?

      You simply can’t have that kind of pressure while trying to work through the recovery of an affair. If it comes from you….give yourself permission to NOT KNOW, if it’s going to work out. And if the pressure is coming from your wife that is a wrong expectation. As a BS you never asked to be put in the position of having to work through this process. The “lets just move on mentality” can be such roadblock to recovery.

      However long it takes, the CS needs to be patient….and if they can’t do that, well that certainly halts progress.

      I know what you mean about the small disputes. And that dark place sounds very familiar. I used to go out driving by myself and just cry, yell, swear…..and play sad and angry music.

      Whether you marriage survives this or not…..trying to work through it is NEVER A WASTE OF TIME.

    • Better days


      That is me making an assumption. I’m not 100% sure the total meaning behind it. She wanted me to tell her when my heart was no longer in it. She thinks I’m starting to loose a desire to be there. Not easy to tell if it was for her benefit or mine. Likely both, which is OK with me.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Better Days
        It’s those kind of assumptions that often get us into trouble…especially when we have the tension etc that can all to easily be part of the recovery process.

        That’s one thing we started working on more….asking each other about things rather than assuming or speculating. It is surprising how often our assumptions are wrong.

    • runaway husband issue


      so what do you do when your husband leaves you, after an argument – and the 3 kids and says we are no longer compatible, I don’t love you and the marriage of 15 years is over? I knew something wasn’t right from years ago, more so in the last 8 months. he became withdrawn, depressed and there was no intimacy at all….. we had our issues, the lack of communication , he would stonewall me many times, I felt like a worn out stay at home mom , that had lost her identify after being at home for over 10+ years

      it has been 3 months since he left and moved out of the family home (staying with friends) and im still here with the kids and dogs. I was completely blindsided because we had gone to marriage counselling only months before and were a few sessions in……. I didn’t understand it at all!. Who leaves their marriage and family, just like that? it didn’t make sense, and a few friends mentioned he must have someone else waiting….anothe woman….which I never in a million dreams ever expected 🙁

      well….that unfortunately came true. I discovered some old phone bills / logs, I had access too as a joint holder of the phone bills and there was the proof I needed. there were thousands of text messages to her, all day and all night….hours of calls etc. this is the same person I had called him up on, in those 10-12 months before. as I could see him chatting to her online……and he had casually said they are friends, she’s just a work colleague we chat about our kids etc. he made me FEEL like I was imagining it all, gaslighting me….telling me I was crazy …. 🙁 and I thought maybe he is right. maybe im insecure….. but my GUT WAS RIGHT … 🙁

      So – im in this limbo….. I can SEE he is confused. …..I can see he isn’t happy….yet he’s still SEEING her and has no idea that I KNOW what has occurred in the past, and Now…..

      he is deflecting the BLAME and GUILT he feels and im really unsure HOW I should confront him, because I Still LOVE this man. even though this emotional affair (and now that he is ‘single’ im sure it is physical too) has completely left me betrayed and hurt in so many ways I cannot explain. how can I confront him about all this without ruining any change of reconciliation… (as crazy as it sounds, I can forgive if he is open and gets the help he needs to get thru this black hole)

      Am I wrong to want to forgive him and tell him that I LOVE him and for him to come back?

      HELP please. 🙁

      best wishes from England. x

      • Sarah P.

        Hello All,
        Let’s help “Runaway Husband Issue.” Anyone?

        Here is what I have to say: PLEASE SEE A COUNSELOR EVERYDAY.

        Also, please hire an attorney/barrister and document everything. ALL OF IT. Figure out how to ensure that your husband pays the bills. Consider a professional mediator.

        Doug, Linda, and I also do mentoring over the phone if you need to speak to one of us.

        Others who have gone through this… can you chime in?

        Also, please go read our most recent blog post and post your story in the comments there. The commenters are usually most active on the most recent posts and you can always post off topic. This blog is here as a life saver and people will rally around you, but please go and post your comment on the most recent one so that the others will see what you are going through and can respond.

        Big hugs,

    • tony

      Not a good idea to bring politics into these articles. Hillary stayed for political gain…case closed.
      Once the trust is broken, you will always have that mistrust in the back of your head…especially in bed.
      You can stay with the cheater, but it will never be a fulfilling marriage. You will be staying with the cheater for the wrong reasons and just go thru the phony motions. That’s no way to live our short lives. I left my cheating wife after giving her ample time (because of our young son) to get her head out of the fog. It’s not the best scenario, but it was the best choice.

    • Don't Put Up With It

      I know this is from a few years ago but it REALLY pissed me off so I had to comment. You really should leave politics out of this entire website as it only serves to divide people further. As for Trump’s affair, his girlfriend Marla Maples (IIRC?) was pregnant with their daughter TIffany. I think that was the ultimate reason for the divorce and for him marrying Marla, which didn’t last, of course. Trump is unfortunately like many Type A high level businessmen who can get whatever they want and who has women throwing themselves at him, which is what his unfamous “grab them by the P” statement was about….he was talking about gold diggers who throw themselves at wealthy married men like him. That was all lost in the effort to simply smear him, which is why that locker room comment was retained for TWELVE YEARS.

      As for Hillary, she is not a moral paragon, in fact, she is a terrible person in her own right, in MANY MANY ways. She only got to where she was politically because of MEN. She rode the coat tails of men like her husband and the men of the Rose Law Firm to get whatever she got politically. She slept with at least 2 men at Rose (while married of course), Web Hubble who is the bio father of Chelsea (his legal daughter looks EXACTLY like Chelsea – they look like twins, and Vince Foster, whom she had a very long multi-year affair with that everyone at the law firm and around them knew about. That was one of the things that make Foster’s “suicide” look so suspicious. She and Bill have what amounts to an open marriage, I would call it an arranged marriage, in which each does their own thing – Bill with men and Hillary most likely with women. I don’t care what they do, what offends me is how they present themselves as a couple when they are anything but and haven’t been for a long time.

      And THIS is why you should all avoid politics.

    • Jennet

      Acceptance _ this is the main thing in this horrific journey.
      Time ,,_ is the second most important thing .
      Forgiveness for yourself and when you are ready for your partner.
      I am three years since DD I have accepted what has happened and each story is an individual one but we all suffer the disbelief,the hurt,the pain that person we love most in the world can do this to us.
      Once you have accepted then healing can begin whether you chose to stay or go that is an individual choice.
      Time – it just takes time to heal,time for yourself,your family and also time for your partner. There is so much hurt, grief,shame so many emotions to deal with.
      I feel at peace with my choice to stay and work on my marriage it’s been so very hard! One step forward and many backward.
      I can’t say it’s better than before the affair because I didn’t think there was anything wrong with what we had, totally blindsided by it all. What I do know is that it has made me stronger In my belief of myself.
      Now I don’t doubt the love my husband has for me and strangely enough I don’t believe he ever stopped loving me during the affair
      I d on’t believe you can switch off 53 years together in one ‘fantasy’ moment I do think you can be besotted with someone else and change everything you believe in. I expect a lot of people will think I’m being naive in saying that. In our situation there was so much going on illness,death just getting older (we are both in our 70’s) and a so called ,’much younger friend’ turned into something else. I think In my husband’s case it was hiding from reality.
      All I can suggest is that you get as much information you can.
      Try not to compare yourself to the other person ,very difficult to do when your imagination drives you mad.
      Do things that you enjoy.
      Talk to close friends, not so much to family as they are understandably biased.
      Good friends will be truthful and should be able to get everything in perspective.
      Good luck In whatever you decide to do.

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