The cheater should realize that there were specific internal reasons for the emotional affair and that it was the biggest mistake they ever made.

the emotional affair wasn't so great

By Linda

Last week we wrote a post about David Lieberman’s 10 phases of forgiveness and making peace with another.  I was particularly interested in phase 7, which is restoring the sense of balance to the relationship after an emotional affair. 

In this phase, Lieberman states that it’s important for the cheater to let the betrayed know that their actions produced no enjoyment or any type of beneficial results whatsoever.  The person needs to explain that their transgression was a mistake and if the cheater benefitted in some way, then he/she will have to give back more in order to make things right.

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This phase made me think about some of the comments that Doug has made on this blog and personally to me that sometimes have produced negative effects on my recovery.  He’s been asked what benefits he received from his emotional affair or why he continued it after d-day. He would respond basically that he was just having fun being with Tanya. 

His response was very difficult for me to hear and after reading about this phase I understand why.  I realized that if he still believed it was so much fun and he hasn’t fully processed all the negative aspects of his affair, what stops him from doing it again?

Often times the cheater will be in denial and afraid to admit the negative consequences of their actions. If they are able to admit that the affair wasn’t as wonderful as they thought it was, then they will have to explore more within themselves. 

See also  Healing from an Infidelity- Becoming Your Own Agent of Change

One question they might ponder could be: “What was missing within ME that made me vulnerable to engage and remain in this damaging relationship in the first place?”  Exploring this question puts all the responsibility on the cheater and removes the blame that they have imposed on their spouses.

The stages of an emotional affair…

In the book “Torn Asunder,” Dave Carder discusses the stages of an affair.  The initial stages are filled with excitement, fun and the chemical feelings of falling in love.  However, after the affair partners admit their feeling for each other the dynamics of the relationship changes.  This is when the affair partners will begin to feel guilt.

If the cheaters really take a hard look back to this stage of the affair, they may recall that the majority of the time they felt guilt, shame, loss of control and loss of their self-respect.  If they look closely at their actions they might agree that they became addicted to their affair partner because they needed for them to medicate these feelings and validate that they were okay.

The cheater needs to remember all the work and stress that was involved for only a minimal amount of positive benefits.  

They need to remember all the actions they engaged in to keep their secret.   

They need to remember the lies they told the people they love.   

They need to remember the fear they experienced when they forgot to delete messages or close their email.  

They need to remember the times they looked in their rear view mirror or behind their backs, wondering if they were being followed.

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They need to remember the effort it took to maintain two separate lives. 

They need to remember the feeling of their life spiraling out of control, unable to stop it.

They need to remember how they felt when they looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the person they saw…This person had become someone quite different – a liar and a betrayer.

The cheater needs to remember all the times they beat themselves up because they couldn’t stop this damaging behavior and in turn felt weak and out of control.

They need to remember the days they promised themselves that they would stop, only to find themselves texting and calling their affair partner.   

They need to remember the times in which they hated themselves for their actions and attempted to take their loved ones down with them by withdrawing or being overly critical.

Will I (Or My Spouse) Have An “Affair Relapse?”

Many times all of this stress will eventually catch up with them and can affect their physical health as well.  

They might begin to have headaches, heart palpitations, stomach issues, high blood pressure, etc. 

During Doug’s emotional affair I remember looking at him one day and I feared that he was at the end of his rope. He looked so desperate and I was afraid of what he was going to do.  I remember calling and begging his doctor to see him and try to do something or give him something to save him, because I knew I couldn’t help him.

If the cheater is able to process and remember all the negative implications of their actions the probability that it will happen again will be greatly diminished.  Why would someone want to return to something or someone that caused so much emotional turmoil?  

See also  Surviving an Affair - Rediscover Yourself After Infidelity

Instead of believing how wonderful their affair partner made them feel, they need to accept that being with this person brought them down to their lowest level possible.

And for the record, I know that Doug was just going back in time when responding to the questions about what benefits he experienced.  He has done quite a lot of self-reflection and is fully aware of all the negative aspects of his emotional affair and how the affair took him to his lowest levels.  I can’t tell you how important it is to me for him to have come to this higher level of inner awareness.

My hope is when a cheater is trying to gain forgiveness and they are asked why they did something so damaging, they can honestly tell their spouses that they looked within themselves and realized that there were specific internal reasons for the affair and that it was the biggest mistake they ever made. 

They can tell their spouses that the so-called good times they had during the affair were times they would love to forget because they represent the lowest point in their lives and they never want to feel that low again. 

And finally, they can tell their spouses they cannot recall any benefits they received from the emotional affair (or physical affair) relationship and they will do everything in their power to repair the damage they have caused.


    79 replies to "The Cheater Needs to Remember the Emotional Affair Wasn’t So Great After All"

    • ifeelsodumb

      Linda, this is great! Going to share this with my H tonight! Even though my H has told me that the guilt wasn’t worth it, I still feel he hasn’t looked into himself and asked “WHY did I do this”? I’ve had to drag answers out of him…and I don’t think that’s right! He should be the one with the answers AFTER he’s done a bit of soul searching…and then be able to share them with me on his own, not wait for me to dig it out of him!

    • chiffchaff

      I think that this is one of the big stumbling blocks for the CS’s recovery, looking within themselves and having to accept that they cannot continue to blame their actions on the BS. I believe that this is too scary for them, certainly early on, because, don’t forget, they are the weak ones in the first place. The were weak enough to try and take the ‘easy way out’ of their marital troubles rather than fight for it properly.
      I have also printed out this posting for my H. I’m not sure he’s considered the sheer effort he expended in mainting his double life and that the result of all that effort has been massive pain for everyone including himself. He’s still in the stage where the OW is perfection personified, but presumably not so perfect that he was prepared to risk his whole family and career for her.

    • Surviving

      Great post, perfect timing

    • Carol

      Linda, I cannot thank you enough for this website. I cannot imagine the strength you must possess to be able to do this for other people, to open yourself so honestly and revisit your pain in order to help others. According to my H, he knows why he did what he did: because he was vain and selfish and blamed me for our marriage problems rather than taking a good hard look at himself and his tendency to withdraw from our family and seek excitement elsewhere. The ‘benefit’ he got from the affair was, he says, mostly ego stroking. My trouble is that he said all of this right away — within a couple of days of D-day — and so I don’t know whether it is a real change in him or just what he thinks he should say. (He did not reveal the affair; he just got caught. And then panicked.) I guess time will tell (it’s been nearly 4 months since D-day). He has said that the OW is selfish, narcissistic, and not at all my equal (no kidding, said I; tell me something I don’t know), and that he regrets everything, has no positive feelings about the EA whatsoever. But again: how do you know that’s what he really thinks? I know him well; I know how ‘romantically’ he thinks. (And their EA was quite romantic: a kissing session in Paris! Late-night phone calls! etc., etc.) He came to all this so quickly, immediately, to try to stop me from throwing in the towel. He also believes he has had some sort of religious conversion (thanks to a co-worker — a woman and a friend of mine — when he came to work obviously upset after I found out, she asked what was wrong; he told her about the EA and she told him straight up that he’d committed ‘terrible sins’ and marched his ass to confession. And then she offered to help us in any way she could. The woman is pure gold.) The contact with the OW had gone on for six months; there were many lies to cover it up. So: how do you trust somebody who says all the right things but might not mean it? (This is someone who has had a lot of ‘honesty’ issues in the past.) Is it too soon for him to fully realize what was in him that caused the affair?

    • Rachel

      My husband has said that he regrets ever contacting this women and going to four lunches. He said that he had no idea that he was having an emotional affair until I and his therapist told him he was. He thought it was just catching up with an old friend. I find this hard to believe. Sneaking around on lunch dates and texting and he thought that this was ok??? He’s generally a very smart man.

      • Sam

        Rachel, my husband still cannot admit that he was having an emotional affair. He kept a “secret” e-mail friend for 3 years and even after D-day, he continued to justify his behavior (emailing back and forth daily, sometimes several times/day, skipping out of work to meet her for coffee) as just “having an innocent” friendship. To this day, he says he wasn’t thinking that he was doing anything wrong. He has apologized several times, and says that if he had known how much this would hurt me, he’d have run the other way and NEVER gotten himself involved with her.

        This apology isn’t really enough for me. I gues I feel that as long as he doesn’t admit that he was having an affair, he’s still at risk of doing it again. In his mind, because his “friendship” with this woman wasn’t sexual or physical in nature, it really was not as terrible as I make it out to be.

        I just don’t understand why guys are so stubborn when it comes to these things. In what strange world is it ok for a married man to be meeting a woman -other than his wife – for coffee and having long, intimate conversations with her while keeping it a secret?

        It’s been 8 months and I’m still heartbroken.

        • CA

          Sam, I know your feeling of being heartbroken. My husband had a similar situation with so physical contact. It only went on for four months but I feel that is only because I discovered it. The OW (who he didn’t know at all) approached him in the lobby of his work building and handed him her card saying she would love to talk to him. I can’t believe he called her. They also e-mailed/texted talked on the phone several times a day. They would meet for coffee nearly every day in the beginning. He said that started to feel wrong so it went mostly to talking. She asked him where it was going and told him how much she was attracted to him. He told her it could go no further. She asked if they could continue to talk because she liked talking to him….and he said yes. I know what you mean about what world is that OK in. We are married 30 years and have always had an exceptional marriage. No fighting, no issues, we communicate really well. He adores me and has always told me this. I dont understand how something like this can happen to an intelligent person. He is very sorry, remorseful, has vowed to do whatever he can so that I can heal. He has been true to his word, we have gone to MC, cried many, many times together. I am also still so heartbroken though even after six months. I just want to feel better. I have felt sad more in the past six months then I have in my entire life. I hope we both can continue to heal. My MC tells me it will take time and that it was a huge trauma. Who would have ever thought I would be here at this point in my life. I guess my perfect life was too good to be true.

    • Lynne


      It seems to believe he saw it as just “catching up with an old friens” given your previous post below…….

      Some days he wants to stay and some days he wants to leave because he feels that there is someone out there that he can have more of an emotional connection with then me. So he is confused and I’m getting sick of being jerked around. He looked up his ex after 30 years. She dumped him, picked the other guy. Now during their lunches she said to him”we should have stayed together” and he said “yes we should have. This tells me that my 24 year marriage was just a lie. He’s been missing her and when things were going bad between us is when he looked her up. Went to visit her then he took her out to 4 lunches that only lasted for 1 hour. Said they had a connection just like 30 years ago. They picked up right where they left off, they had fun, she discussed how miserable she is being married to the wrong guy. Touched his hands during the lunch and kissed him on the lips good bye one time when the lunch was over.

      Did he tell you about each of the lunches at the time they occurred? Had he told you he looked her up after 30 years? If not, and they were just old friends who were catching up, then why not? I went through a similiar situation–lunches, phone calls and such that were withheld from me, but my H claims there was nothing to it. I say that’s bunk, as no one would hide something like this if there was nothing to it. My H said he didn’t want to upset me……my question was, “if there’s nothing to it, why would you think I’d be upset?” Two counselors have said exactly the same thing to us. People hide things out of guilt, shame or fear! He’s still never answered the question as to which one it was.

    • Rachel

      Lynne-no I didn’t know a thing about the lunches. And no he didn’t tell me that he looked her up until he confessed in nov. They started in feb. Ya, he says it was just catching up. But my problem is he has fallen out of love with me. He loves me but not in love with me. He’s confused if he should stay with me or go with the ex g.f. Because he was emotionally connected to her 30 years ago. He is not emotionally connected to me. She is married and miserable but hasn’t left her husband. So my husband is risking losing me and our boys to go to her even though she’s married and be with her because of what they had thirty years ago when he was 20 . He doesn’t even know if she is going to leave her husband for him. There connection was 30 years ago! People change ! There lunches were the honeymoon stage! He just doesn’t get it!!! I told him if he leaves he’s not allowed to come back!

    • Rachel

      My husband didn’t tell me because he said I wouldn’t understand. He’s right! No husband should be taking his ex girlfriend out to lunch ( he never takes me anywhere). Or texting her. especially when he was in love with her. A love like no other, soul mates. But she dumped him thirty years ago because their relationship was too perfect and she was sacred so she choose some other guy. I just think that my husband couldn’t handle the fact that he was rejected!

    • Sad

      Dear Linda, thank you so much for another great post, after “the 10 phases of forgiveness”. Perfect timing as Surviving said. What you stated in the last paragraph are my hopes too! My H is doing everything he can to repair the damage he caused. He is more ready to look within himself for reasons to have the affair, to weigh the benefits against the shame, guilt and stress of the affair. I call this the “waking-up”, which is a long and gradual process towards gaining forgiveness. BUT, I think, it is only when he awakens to the fact that he did not benefit in any way from the affair, that he finally “regains full consciousness” and finally able to see for the 1st time the full extent of the damages he needs to repair. And it is only with such thorough repair, will I be able to put down my resentment, forgive and put the past behind. This is a very long and painful, but courageous process for both the CS and BS. Linda and Doug, thank you again for sharing your experience and analysis to help our healing.

    • CompletelyLost

      I agree, I am extremely tired of prying answers from my H. Why was it so easy to open up to the OW, but H cannot talk to his wife of 14 years? He doesn’t even seem to have any guilt, or at least he doesn’t share it with me or show it to me. I just want to leave, most of the time. It’s been just over 4 months since D-Day and I am tired of feeling like I am the only one hurting and feeling the pain of what he did. He once told me how easy it was to talk to her, what the heck about me???? He acts as if it never happened and doesn’t want to discuss it at all. Tells me he wishes it would just go away.
      Are most men the “ignore it and it will go away” type? He used to share his feelings about our lives, the kids, his family and all he does now is tell me about his day at work and complain about our children. Why can he sleep well at night and I cannot?

      • Sam

        Although this doesn’t offer any real consolation, it’s at least a little comforting to see that my husband isn’t the only one showint this pattern of behavior.

        Maybe it’s a guy thing? I’ve read that for a woman an affair of the heart is much more serious than a PA. I’m not sure if this is true.

        In a way, some days I do wish that he had just gone to a prostitute or had a one night stand at a bar – instead of developing a deep friendship with another woman. It hurts so much. 🙁

    • Healing Mark

      Linda. I disagree that the CS must (if this is what you really meant) conclude that they did not benefit in “any way” from the affair in order for the BS to fully heal and genuinely forgive the CS. Benefits for the CS, if any (and I feel fairly certain, although I’m not a CS, that there are some), must be judged based on their ultimate effects on the marriage/relationship damaged by the affair. The benefits that have been damaging to the pre-existing relationship (boost in ego that cause the CS to unduly criticize BS) are to be acknowledged as having in no way benefited the BS notwithstanding how good they made the BS feel at the time. On the other hand, I believe that there are some aspects of the occurrence of an EA, and perhaps a PA, that can benefit the CS, and potentially also the BS (often in a perverse kind of way), and as a BS my hope was always that any such benefits would result in a healthier and happier marriage on down the line. This is the case for my wife and me, and I am now confident that if any problems in our marriage arise in the future, they will not be the result of my wife’s EA and anything that led to it or anything that resulted from it.

      • Doug

        Healing Mark, Though it would be wonderful if the CS did not benefit in any way, realistically if the CS realizes that the numerous consequences of their affair far outweigh any benefits would be sufficient. I agree with you that there can be benefits for both the CS and BS in the way of a happier healthy marriage, as is the case with Doug and I, but unfortunately this usually doesn’t come to light until after much pain, suffering and effort – Linda.

    • changedforever

      I shared this post with my H..and he said he felt none of these things…now THAT is scary. No guilt, no shame…? And we are more than 16 mths from DDay #2. That must’ve been why there was a DDay #2. All the work we have done and all he can ‘remember’ is that the OW did validate he was OK. OK? A then 54 yr old married married man living at home w/his wife & 3 kids, dating a subordinate 1/2 his age….who can’t remember nor answer the questions I need to know…but can remember SO many details about the OW…like you CompletelyLost….and he loses no sleep at night. With no recollection of anything negative ‘during’ the affair or affair fog, just how do I get where you are Linda?

    • Rachel

      Isn’t it funny that they all can sleep! When I mentioned to my husband that his 30 yr ago relationship that was so great and he emotionally connected to the love like no other, and he was The same age AS OUR SON ! He just looked at me and smiled and said that I should be a therapist! Hopefully soon he will see the light of this ridiculous dream that the grass is going to be greener.

    • ifeelsodumb

      It IS funny that they can all sleep like babies! Even AFTER DDay, my H never had a sleepless night, even though I’d walk the floor for hours!!
      Do you think it’s because men can compartmentalize things so well? I know my H gets into “work mode” and he can shut things out pretty well!! Even me!! :/
      All I know is I couldn’t even stay in the same room with him, it would upset me so much to see him sleeping like a baby, while I was in such turmoil!
      @ Linda, my H has told me that nothing is worth seeing the pain and anguish he has caused me and our children….and yes, I do want a better marriage now…but in reality, facing all the pain from this past year, the turmoil that has been in my house, the anger I still have towards my H, the trust that is gone, and knowing how much work we still have ahead of us…seriously, at this point…I’d rather have my “old” marriage back, because in my eyes our marriage wasn’t so bad, and now that my H is being more honest about himself, he can see that this is more about HIM and his lack of communication then it was about us having a “bad” marriage….Maybe in a few years I’ll look back at this posting and laugh, saying how wrong I was…but at this time in my life…Nope, not there yet!

    • Bobse

      I can’t believe how similar all of our experiences are! The sleep thing must be a bs thing, I would wake up in the middle of the night and the thoughts would take over. That has gone away now, with the acceptance that I cannot control my wifes actions. All I can do is keep healthy boundaries and hope the fog lifts before I decide it is time to move on. “he is so easy to talk to” I don’t know how many time I heard take! In a fantasy relationship with no burden of chores, work, kids, money, etc, It would be easy, but unfortunately our relationship is based in reality! Stay strong, we will pull thru this and be happier, hopefully with our spouse, but if need be, with out them.

    • Disappointed

      My husband is not sleeping and says that he is always thinking. He wishes the EA had not happened but does not regret his feelings of awakening and is clinging to his thoughts and feelings for the OW and mentions her at least once in every major conversation. Always in a positive light. They have been done for almost 3 months. Sometimes I feel it is gaining strength as an unmatchable ideal rather than losing strength over time. I am miserable and finding it hard to see importance in anything but the shambles of my marriage. I love him and am in love with him, but at this point I do not think he will ever step back and see all of this as he needs to for us to repair the damage he has done with the EA and deal with our problems as a couple. We need help with conflict resolution and coping with our differences. I know he loves me, but we are so stuck.

      • aida

        dear disappointed,

        i’m hardly the best person to give advice, but i’m gonna throw in my 2 cents’ worth – if you don’t mind. honeybun, LOVE YOURSELF. while i personally know how it feels (trust me, i’ve been thro’ it TWICE continuously in 10 years).

        but right now is not the time to settle the problem. y’know why? because i believe you are still emotional. and i’ve done some pretty stupid emotional things in my life – you can take my word for that, and the results were not pretty. so henceforth, when I’m stuck, i’m gonna take my kids to a big park….one where there are lots of trees and kids on bicycles. I busted my knee recently but it’s better slightly now, (hubby was very worried about it but eventually now he kind of got used to it – esp since i wasn’t laid up sick anymore).

        anyways, go out, buy yourself some beautiful pink or red or yellow (any bright coloured) flowers, put them up in nice vases at home and open your windows to the sunshine (and the noise of the traffic).

        go out and wine and dine and forget about the problems if you can. maybe go dancing.

        you know, they say good couples don’t become good because they solve all their problems. good couples are good and hence they solve all their problems. instead someone said that problems are like goldfish. you may tend to overfeed them and they die because they are so bloated.

        so, go out, and have a good time ….. go bike riding or just walking. clear your head ….. don’t focus on the problem. You might even become more radiant, more attractive, and more fun to be with….. Heck, you may even find yourself too good for a cheating husband….but that’s another story.

    • csb

      My husband has said that he regrets ever contacting this women and going to four lunches. He said that he had no idea that he was having an emotional affair until I and his therapist told him he was. He thought it was just catching up with an old friend. I find this hard to believe. Sneaking around on lunch dates and texting and he thought that this was ok??? He’s generally a very smart man.

      Rachel, my H of 30 years reconnected with an old GF on FB. The EA lasted at least 1 1/2 years before I caught him. Like your H, he insists they were just “catching up”. My question to him was, even if he really did think it was just a friendship, they why secret lunches and daily phone, text, emails? I’m still having a hard time getting HIM to admit it was an EA or majorly wrong. His take on it is he knew I didn’t like her and warned him to stay away, but he wanted to talk to her, so he ignored my wishes….THAT’S not a big deal?!

      He tells me he got scared at the end because he could see she had feelings for him…as was evident by the love letters I found from her to him. He was “trying” to get out of it. Well, then why did I find a message from him to her less than 3 weeks before he was caught where he made jokes about “being sorry he ever met her secretly, but not really sorry, LOL” (yes, his own words).

      My biggest stumbling block in the healing is that he really does’t think he did anything that major, they were only “friends”. Thankfully she lives miles away, otherwise I’m sure it would have been a PA, even he admits he doesn’t know where it would have gone.

      • Sam

        It’s shocking to see the same pattern of behavior and reasoning in all the husbands involved in an EA. Wow! I thought my husband was the only one. Up until today, reading all this, I’ve felt very resentful for this kind of attitude. I’ve actually wondered if he’s not just an irresponsible, insensitive, egotistical a$$*&l3!

        (However, he’s generally a good guy in all other aspects of our lives. He’s a good provider and an excellent dad. )

        Not to excuse our husbands, but it does seem guys can be so dumb when it comes to this. Maybe it really is a Mars vs. Venus type of thing.

        • CA

          I agree that the husbands can really be dumb about this kind of stuff. I can’t believe he would have ever taken that first step when a total stranger approached him and basically said she wanted him. I have told him do you know how many men have come on to me in our lives….I don’t get it. I have never felt the least bit interested or curious or whatever their excuses are. I truly do believe we are wired differently. My H has been so very remorseful, sorry, and supportive and swears there is no way he would ever let anything like this happen again. I don’t feel so sure. I’m scared that there is something in him that would. It is so tough to fully trust again. How do you get there?

    • mona lisa

      Your story could very well be my story! Facebook, “old friend”, just “catching up”……Hell, do they all go to the same school of bullshit? Oh, and the best one was ” I was trying to get out of it, but just didn’t know how”. Pa-LEASE! I wanted to throw up when he said that to me. JUST FRIENDS don’t have to hide their phone calls, texts, and emails. Your husband is another “King of Denial”. But of course he is not the only king of that, I live with one too.

      • Sam


        On days like this, I regret not being a lesbian. 😉

    • Lynne

      CSB & Rachel-

      My H did the same thing (though she was not an old girlfriend from years back) with a woman he met shortly before we started dating. They had one date when they first met, but according to him SHE wasn’t interested in a romantic involvement. It seems I’ve read a lot on this site that suggests the pull of rejection is a very strong contributor, and particularly for men. My H and this woman continued a friendship (???) for 5 years, with most of it being hidden from me. There were private phone calls, emails and meetings, some of which I found about. When I would ask about them, he would diminish them and deflect. Then there were the lies, “no I have never gone to lunch with her”, “I would tell you if I had” etc. She’d call his cell in my presence and say it was someone else. Plus, he would occassionally throw out a provocative statement……”he was sexually attracted to her, that’s how men are wired”, “I think she might be attracted to me because everytime I mention you, she changes the subject, “I don’t know if I even want to be friends with her anymore”. I told him twice that I was uncomfortable with their friendship, especially with the above statements, and I asked twice to meet her. These were all ignored.

      After a few months in counseling we’ve learned a lot about each other and what we want for our relationship going forward, but to this day, he says she was nothing more than an acquaintance. Our counselor does not fully believe this, nor do I. We have suffered greatly through this process as he claims to have virtually no memory of things he said or done over the five years this was occurring (a classic case from the book “Mistakes Were Made But Not By Me”). When I attempt to share some of these instances, he says they do not sound like him or something he would ever do. It is an interesting (to say the least) healing process when someone is able to completely disconnect themselves from their own behaviors. I’ve had to accept that what matters is that I know the truth of the things that happened and that will have to be enough.

      I do love this man and hope that this challenging journey will only make us stronger together. We have certainly had a lot of discussions about what each of our boundaries are in a relationship and what’s important for us to feel safe. Trust is something that is growing back and will continue to take time, as well as positive actions on his part. I know that I cannot control him, so should he choose this unfortunate path again, I am confident that I will walk away with my head held high, knowing that I have been clear about what’s important to me in a strong and healthy relationship. I look as this as a BIG MISTAKE on his part, and one that I am willing to move past, but also one that I will not accept again.

    • Saddenned

      It took me 9 months to admit to my H that I wasn’t willing to take the blame for his choice to step out of the marriage and betray me. It is easy to say it is because of the other person, but it is a choice. It is like the “devil on the left shoulder” helped you give in to a moment of weakness. I told him that I was unhappy during that time period too, but never thought to step out of our marriage and the look of shock came over his face. I told him he was a jerk for hurting me the way that he did. The release was amazing. He sat in shock…

      As a BS you need to not take the blame of the EA. If the marriage is going south, yes both are to blame, but not for the other making the choice of stepping out of the marriage.

    • Lynne

      Mona Lisa-

      Count my “KING” in, too! What’s that they say……the cheater always follows a script? That must be in a special book we don’t know about!!!

    • csb

      Mona Lisa – I can just picture our two presiding over the kingdom….bet it would be a pretty crowded place!! Yes, mine said he wanted to get out of it but he figured out she was “crazy” and was afraid she’d contact me if he cut it off. He was trying to “slowly back off” of communication ..ha, ha!

      Lynn – you sound like you’re in a bit of a better place than me, we’re committed to rebuilding, but we’re just “getting by” right now….filling empty moments with basic talk, etc. I’m still very angry and hurt. May I ask how long since DDay for you?

    • SoulBroken

      Wow I have been lurking around here for about four months now, since Dday #1 which involved finding out about the most recent EA of my husbands, during my snooping trying to get as many details as I could find I found out about another EA that went on for about 4 years! It ended five years ago, but it is still devestating to me.
      Now I try to walk around like my heart is not broken, and I am sure my husband thinks it is all behind us, I have done so much research on how to “fix’ our relationship, and I feel like I have done so many things to change myself and my husband the one who did wrong, has had little effect on his life. In fact it seems like his life has improved since I found out. It just sucks..I don’t think he will ever understand the hurt and devestation he has done to my heart and soul. When I read this article I thought about sending it to him then thought all it will do it start stuff up again, he will again go into the reasons why he felt justified in doing what he did and again tell me it was so long ago why am I still thinking about it.
      I just think it is not fair, I played by the rules, they didn’t, yet they are suffering no reprocussions for their actions, I am the one paying the price.
      Thanks for letting me vent 🙂

    • sharkgirl

      Having a bad day. So wish I could show this site my husband but a) he thinks all this is mumbo jumbo and b) i think he might say what he thinks I want to hear rather than what he needs to say because he means it and realisation has hit.
      So much of the above rings true for me. How long do we live life like this, when it can be so great but then there is just this nagging about when will it come the change the acknowledgement. I to like Lynne know the truth of the matters, but can we truly move on with them if they don’t acknowledge this. I try to stay strong to the clarity I have, he crosses my boundries and I too will be off, but it will be his decision and if he can’t be honest he’s hurting himself and our kids most. He too would rather ignore it and it goes away, sleeps like a baby and goes about life seemingly like nothing has changed for him. So is the grass greener on the other side, will time make it all ok for us, is the best it will be I’m not miserable but I’m living with the memories of his mistakes and how long can I do that for, is it just easier to call time now. What can you do to make them realise or think, I’m done ‘dragging up’ and trying to get him to talk but cause until he does I don’t know what more I can say and until then it’s still there waiting to be dragged up again. Can someone do a checklist or something that we can give them, some sort of guide for them.

    • Disappointed

      @soulbroken – I feel the same way. The OW is a stay-at-home and is with her husband and two kids, my husband is on his own five minutes from his work and earning more money to fund his “freedom” than he ever did for us in 17 years. I am alone in our home, memories all around me and unable to keep the house unless I get a better job. I carried him for years and if I wanted a divorce now I would pay spousal support. I want to reconcile and he is still thinking. He knows they can never be together and in more lucid moments that it would not have gone anywheree and praises her for her sacrifices for her family. Nothing about this is fair, it just is. I am hoping that some day the pain will ease instead of growing greater. One day at a time…

    • Paula

      After more than two and a half years of dealing with all of this, reading, meds, suicide attempts, shrinks, counsellors, and more counsellors, three separations, and me being about to walk away from all of this, feeling like I’d given it my very best, yesterday, we were back at our “most recent – ha!” counsellors, and having finished yet ANOTHER round of “family of origin” background work (12 hours of which – we were SO very over that) in counselling with him last year, we were back to it, and into the “meat” of things. I feel like there has been some kind of shift, thankfully! Our “Passionate Marriage, or Crucible Approach” based couples psychologist has finally made me see, PROPERLY, and probably more importantly, made my OH see, that this is not about what is wrong with me (I had been wondering why I wasn’t any better, in fact, am way worse than the first six months of this journey) He pointed out that with our family of origin core insecurities we were not responding to each other in the ways that were required, as my OH was not consciously aware of them, and how they pushed his buttons, etc. I was more aware, but didn’t really realise how I had taken on the subservient role, that didn’t make me feel safe within our relationship – or anywhere in life for that matter, especially since the affair. My OH has tried so hard to help me, to fix me, to be what he thought I needed, to ask me what I thought I needed, etc, etc, but none of that was working because I’m NOT BROKEN, I’m perfectly normal, and just trying to get to the bottom of how our lovely little world imploded! We are just doing our “stuff” (ie working our insecurities and their reactive behaviours) independent of each other.

      I was so proud of my OH, a big-old-fashioned-boys-don’t-cry-let-alone-do-therapy man letting himself be educated, and it was pretty harsh on him, the counsellor didn’t hold anything back, about his own psyche. (He has “I’m all alone and I’m not good enough” family of origin “shit,” out to prove himself to the world, very successful in his career, outwardly loving and caring – actually, he is inwardly, too, just had a “moment” in life that went very pear-shaped) who is driven, not by money, but by the satisfaction he gets out of a job well-done. He was/is the fixer, the guy who never got it wrong, who didn’t need any help, etc. Therefore, my “I’m responsible – eldest child stuff” and other core insecurities, have been bashing up against his in such a way for me to feel like I don’t matter, I’m of little worth to him (or the world!) In order for us to heal (and note I didn’t say ME to heal, lol!) he, especially needs to show me his vulnerability, for us to learn to be more intimate, and by that, I don’t mean sex, or “closeness” – but TRUE intimacy. I’ve been holding back because I haven’t felt safe, and he has judged me to be defective because “I’m not better yet.” It was an awakening of my OH, that was weird (and quite uncomfortable) to watch, I desperately wanted to leap in there to his defense, but didn’t, of course. He is very defensive (because “he’s not good enough” – ie, “yes I am, look at me, hear me!) and it took a lot for him to accept this, but he did, and he does, YAY!!! Very, very difficult and uncomfortable 3 hours, but we both agreed, worth it – HUGE for him, as he was so over the whole idea of counselling as we were driving the 2 and a half hours to the therapist’s office – actually, so was I, lol! For the last 4 or 5 months, I have been desperate to find out why I was not okay yet, what was wrong with me, in order to get my life in order, to progress on, and I thought I would probably be progressing along on my own, but needed to find out “more” – and I was comfortable with the idea of moving on with my kids in tow! Yesterday has changed my outlook, and my OHs. It’s going to be really hard work being so self-aware of our “shit” in order to change the way we were, to massively change how we react, but we both want to do this so badly. It’s weird, but I have heard many of you here saying that you wished your CS was engaging in the healing process, I didn’t really relate to that properly, as I thought my OH was trying – and he was – but he was doing the wrong things, and now I feel like he is fully engaged, when I didn’t realise that he wasn’t, not in the way he needed to be. His eyes have been opened, he is prepared to see what it is about him and his background that made him react to what HE SAW as a withdrawal of my support, for the first time in 20 + years (she doesn’t agree 100% with me on this, therefore she is not on MY side, and I don’t have her support, ie, I didn’t agree with him on something important, probably for the first time ever, and he saw it as me “leaving him” emotionally, so he was “feeling somewhat entitled to having an affair, because she doesn’t care about my anymore, so there!” mentality of the time.

      I feel like I can finally exhale, PHEW!

    • Rachel

      Ok people I need some serious advise. Just got back from my therapist and boy is she not happy with me. She said that I’m just a puppy dog following my H around. We are at a trying point and things seem to be going ok. He has to make a decision to stay with me or go to the ex. G.f. He has fallen out of love with me and remembers the emotional connection that he had her 30 years ago. When he was 20. He’s having a hard time deciding because a lot is at stake. The therapist is mad because I’m not taking care of myself by letting him be in the drivers seat.

    • Notoverit

      Mona Lisa and CSB,

      I heard the same thing “I was going to end it”, “afraid of cutting her off because she would tell you,” and the best “she was starting to annoy me.” This all after my H spent the last week texting every three to five minutes and spending hours on the phone with the OW (while I was asleep). Honestly, they do have a script. The night I caught him, the idiot had just spent 78 minutes on the phone with her. Yeah, I believe he was going to stop it. The only reason he stopped was he got caught. Can my H be part of the Denial Kingdom? He was having waaay too much fun with the texting and talking, all the rush from the secrecy. He still maintains he was going to quit. Right…

    • Lynne

      Hi CSB-

      In answer to your question, it has been 13 months since D-day. And the first 10 months of it were agonizing! I am not a yeller or a rager, but I did want answers (as we all do). I have never had questions about what they talked about or did (partly because I can’t undo the past), but I did want to know “why” he was doing it. What was he getting out of it? What was the need? These questions have still never been answered….in fact, he doesn’t seem to understand the question. There was nothing to it, he wasn’t getting anything out of it, wasn’t interested in her…..blah, blah, blah. Our counselor said that his greatest concern was that my H needed to get to the WHY? He also said that the WHY had nothing to do with me, but goes back to my H’s early years. I finally had to accept that we were never going to get the answer to this because my H isn’t open to asking himself those questions. In other words, if there was nothing to his friendship with this woman, why would he need to ask himself this question. While I wish we had gotten to this discovery (vulnerability), I can’t squeeze it out of him. He can grow or not grow, he can choose to remain unaware of his actions and behaviors, but it is not my responsibilty to drag him where he’s not willing to go.

      It’s as if I finally have this peace about most of it. I can only control myself, my behaviors and reactions. I hope he’s learned from the devastation this has caused us, but that is up to him. If he ultimately can’t control this within himself, it is his flaw. I have never felt like this was my fault, that I didn’t give or love enough, or lessens my self esteem in any way. You show people how you expect to be treated, and while I will give him this one chance at forgiveness for his actions, there won’t be another. And were it to happen again there would be nothing that would even need to be spoken, as I would leave without any conversation…..only a goodbye and I wish him the best in his life.

    • ifeelsodumb

      @ Rachel,
      Seems to me…YOU should be in the drivers seat, so I can understand if your therapists is a bit put off with you! Have you read through the last several months of this blog because it’s been posted on here about taking care of yourself….FIRST!
      Here’s one I really liked
      Your therapist is there for YOU…I would listen to her since in her line of work, she see’s this everyday!

    • ifeelsodumb

      @Paula!! WOOHOO!!! I’m soooo happy that you made a break through! And as I read your posting, I thought to myself about my H wondering if this could be our problem also….He has been trying off and on the last several months…but not enough for me!! And he is emotionally distant, and I now know it’s because of his home life as he was growing up! I’ve been doing a lot of research into how your family makes you the person you are today….and what you said about “True Intimacy”, NOT sex, is where MY H has a problem!! So please post often on what you find out about this…I’m VERY interested!!

    • changedforever

      Lynne & NotOverIt…I just had the same conversation ‘meltdown’ with my H last night…if ‘it’ was ending why the ‘ramping up’ of texts, calls, lunches everyday during that ‘last’ week (he’s a teacher…there is no ‘going out for an hour lunch’ time..but he did it!) Why the Friday night, all day Saturday then out Sat night (that night was eve of DDay.) He can’t ‘remember…’ so frustrating when he can remember what meds the OW was taking(from 16 mths ago…?)
      And Rachel…during our 1st counseling session (3 days after DDay#1) our counselor did the SAME thing…gave him til the following week’s session to ‘decide.’ Must be a counselor protocol thing…that was the longest week of my life…and one of the worst. I still to this day bring that up to my counsellor as ‘how could you put me thru that…?’ When H ‘decided’ he was advised there was to be no contact. And there was plenty. Unbeknownst to me my H was emailing the OW the ‘updates’ of our counselling sessions. My advice to you: when your H decides, tell him there is truly to be no contact, none. No drivebys, no emails, or secret accounts. Or you are done. Look him in the eye when you say this…even ‘shake’ on it. Trust me. Maybe if I had done this all the contact that led up to DDay#2 wouldn’t have happened….best to you.

    • Notoverit


      As I said before, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST. Letting your H run the show is definitely not in the cards. It is hard to come to that but you have to take a stand. Give him the option – stay and work on this or GET OUT. I know from experience that this can possibly kill you. The grief, the anxiety and all the attendant problems from them only increase while your H waffles around. Being weak is not attractive. If he decides that he wants the OW, then put the toe of your shoe in his butt and give him a shove out the door. You have to take care of you. Time to take a stand.

    • ifeelsodumb

      Notoverit, MonaLisa and CSB…count me in the “Denial Kingdom group” also!! In my case, the OW’s H found out about them 3 wks before I did….and of course he demanded they end it….and they did, for 3 days! Until the OW figured out a way to text my H going through her home computer, so the texting wouldn’t show up on her cell ph. bill!
      When I asked my H “WHY didn’t you end it then, if you were feeling guilty and bored with her, as you claim? His response “Well, I thought I’d just let it slowly die out, and I WAS telling her to talk to her husband, and open up to him more”! HA!! My H, the freaking marriage counselor!!
      But of course, when he had to go out of town 10 days after the OW’s H found out…guess what my H did…He texted the OW all the way to his destination, a SIX hour drive….they texted each other the four days he was gone, and then the six hour drive home, yes, texing while driving!!! BUT remember now….He WAS feeling guilty, and was getting bored with her!!!! AUUGGHH!!! So I asked him “Why he heck didn’t you break it off when you had the PERFECT opportunity? He has NO answer to that question! But he doesn’t feel like he was ever in “the fog”….But then again, according to him…they were “just friends” catching up…for four months!!!! I dunno about you all…but when I run into an old friend…it has NEVER taken me FOUR months to catch up with them!!
      I’m now 13 months past Dday…and in a better place…My H IS trying and he really does seem to be sorry, but I also know that we have more work ahead of us!

    • Lynne


      Perhaps you can look at it this way……..he made the choice to cheat, now you make (and get) the choice about what happens now. That seems fair!

      NOI is right on. He can stay and put his efforts into rebuilding your marriage NOW, or he can leave and decide what he wants on his OWN. If he sees that you’re following him around and waiting for HIM to make a decision, why should he hurry to make any decision at all?

      If you do draw this line in the sand, be sure to remain calm and composed. You can nicely let him know that this limbo stage is over, you love him and would like to work on it, but you will no longer remain in the in-between……lifes to short, so its time to get back to working on our lives together, OR NOT!

      Hang in there–you will get stronger and better–and decide for yourself how you deserve to be treated.

    • Rachel

      Not over it- I have given him the option to stay and work on it or get out. Well he can’t decide what to do. Well, if the lunches were just a time to catch up with an old friend, what’s the problem? Not understNding this mess at all! Does anyone know how to get a list of phone calls or text message phone numbers? I have Verizon and they just give a total amount due. I want a print out of each phone number and text messages.

    • mona lisa

      Contact Verizon and request an itemized statement for the dates you need. All companies will do this, if the account is in your name or your husbands name. There could be a small charge for this, but well worth the money. It took me almost 6 months to get my husbands cell records because he was using his company phone. However, after much persistance I got them. Be prepared, because for every one text or call he has admitted to, records will probably show 1o times that. My H said he called or texted the OW maybe 20 times. When I received the printout, there were over 600 text messages, and 9.5 hours of phone calls. A cheater willl try to blow smoke up your ass, but it is impossible to deny the evidence!! And when you get these records, be sure to make a copy and put it in a safe place. My H was so pissed when I got those records that he put them through the shredder. He had no idea that I had already made and stashed a copy.

    • Lynne


      If he is not making a decision and keeping you in limbo, I would encourage you to think about making it for him–for him to make NO DECISION is not an option. I suspect this may be what your counselor is referring to.

      As to your Verizon bill (this is also the provider we have), do you have online access to the account? If so, just log in with your Username and Password. You can then go to the billing tab. It will let you look at past statements for the last 6 months, as well as Unbilled Statements, which would be all calls/texts from this current billing cycle. It will show you incoming and outgoing calls, length of call etc.

      Also, if you need to find out who the call is to or from go to “”. This is a free service where you can enter the number and they will anonomously auto dial it. They will then replay back the persons recorded voice mail message to you on your PC. This works for cell numbers, but not for landlines. For landline numbers sign up for “Spokeo” at $14.95 per year. You can enter a name or phone number and they will tell you who it belongs to, their address info and such

      I am sorry to say that I’ve become an amazing spy over these last few months 😉

    • Anita

      Why would someone to return to something or someone who
      caused so much emotional turmoil?
      Very good Question!
      As former betrayed spouse, years ago when I went through
      this I wondered about this same question.
      As betrayed spouses are the ones who go through the pain
      and turmoil of it all. So why would the cheating spouse want
      to go through all the turmoil, because if it was painful they
      wouldn’t. They don’t feel the betrayel, nor the pain of.
      Instead they feel the infatuation, of that relationship.
      If the affair is found out before they are ready to let go,
      they may feel the infatuation until they decide to get
      over it, at the same time still working to save their marriage.
      Betrayed spouses have no way of knowing what the real
      truth is inside the cheaters head, they can say and do many
      things to get the betrayed spouse off their back, the real
      truth will be revealed only through time, and this is where
      the trust gets rebuilt if the cheater remains faithful for the
      rest of the duration of their marriage.

    • Notoverit

      Also Verizon has online services. If your account is in your name or your husband’s name, you can set up the account. I got all the sent/received and the phone calls for time my H was in the EA from the computer. Verizon deletes the record of the texts after three months but the phone calls are on the website for a year.

    • Notoverit

      ACK!!! I hate the “I CAN’T REMEMBER” and the “I DON’T KNOW” answers when you know they do! I have learned to watch eye movements, rapid blinking. Oh yeah, he does remember, he just isn’t saying.

    • Paula

      Rachel, please, for yourself, I urge you to follow through on your comment to him about stay and WORK on it (ie no contact, working on re-connecting with you, etc) or get out. I would certainly encourage you to ask him to leave if he can’t/won’t do this. Otherwise you are doing as your counsellor has suggested, and letting him get away with his destructive behaviour. He needs a short, sharp shock. You ARE a strong and desirable woman, and he needs to appreciate that, not be followed around like a faithful dog waiting for him to decide. YOU take charge, you’re worth it!!! All the very best with this, we’re all backing you!

      My OH was texting the OW more than 500 times per month, ang hours worth of call time, also. This was a man who would text maybe less than 20 total texts per month to everyone all together (!) previous to the affair. Fairly telling, but I wasn’t really even onto him, I didn’t think to check the bill until after I was informed about their affair, that’s how much I trusted him, I never even clicked! Dummy, that’s how I felt about myself, what a complete idiot! (I know better now, I just believed him because he had a PhD in lying, he still shakes his head in disbelief when he thinks about how easily it came to him, he had no idea he was capable of such duplicity, amazing facts you find out about yourself!

      IFSD, thanks so much for your encouragement, it does feel good to have made some major progress again, FINALLY! The funny thing is, I thought he WAS doing the right stuff, so did he, and he was committed to making things better, so he was being consistent, he was ALWAYS trying to be considerate and caring, etc, but didn’t realise he and I were “blaming” me for “not being over it” – even the language we were using in the therapy session was very telling! I wish you all the best, too, you’re moving in the right direction 🙂

      mona lisa, I had to giggle when you mentioned the copy of the phone records, good thinking under pressure, and you’re right, I multiplied everything by a factor of at least 10 when I was told things – eg, how many times do you think you slept with her (question near the beginning) – “maybe 5 or 6,” I was shocked, because I thought it had been a once or twice thing – friendship overstepped the mark in recent times – until he said that, and I realised it was long-term, and probably 50 or 60 times (he now admits it was probably somewhere in the late teens, as they lived a fair way apart, and would go months without seeing each other, at times. He also broke it off with her twice during this, until she threatened to tell me, and they would resume, strong resolve, huh. Why didn’t he just beat her to the punch, confess to me, stop with her and put a halt to the madness?) At the end of the day, who cares about the details – although it was important to me that I knew, the reason for that need-to-know was I needed to see if he would tell me the truth about anything, or if he was going to continue to lie forever, so that I could make some informed decisions about whether to quit now, or give him a chance to improve our situation.

    • Anita

      I believe a cheating spouse will never know the full exent of
      the pain the betrayed spouses feels, unless they have gone
      through it themselves. Its like a husband watching his wife
      go thru a pregnancy and natural childbirth they see what
      happens and know there is pain in the contractions, but
      they don’t feel it, unless of course the wife sweezes the
      family jews during her contractions, then maybe there
      maybe some understanding. Thought everyone could
      use a smile!

    • Anita

      Sorry about the bad humor, but to be truthful, unless someone
      experiences the same type of pain, its hard for someone else
      to feel that same extent of grief. I know how I feel when I have hurt someone else, I feel guilt until I apologize. The
      pain I feel is the disapointment with myself, of letting
      myself react or not keeping myself at a level that is
      satifactory with myself.
      I rather be the person who got hurt, than to be the person
      who hurt someone else. I can forgive the other person,
      and go forward with my own life. But I hate hurting others.

    • chiffchaff

      Last night and today is difficult. We had another session where my H answers oe of my questions. he really didn’t want to this time and asked if ‘Do you not just want to have fun instead?’ – which pretty much sums up his whole attitude. I’m getting to to the end of my tether with his vacillating. He won’t talk about the ‘sex’ aspects of his affair or why we can’t be intimate as he says he doesn’t want to ruin things with us in discussing it badly. He says he wants to get professional help for this aspect which he says is central to problems with our future. What I find hard, and have told him, is that I now feel more attractive and confident in myself and my appearance than I have done for years and still he makes no comment or positive actions towards me. I will always feel, from the emails I saw from him to OW, that she was some sort of sexual athlete who did things to him I just couldn’t (probably wouldn’t) imagine. I don’t think he’s considered any of those phases about his affair, how much damaged it’s caused and whether, on balance, it was worth all of this pain and distress.
      My current anguish is how long should I wait for him to look at me for who I am, not who he decided I was because it justified what he was up to with her? How long? Very dperessing.

    • Rachel

      Thank u
      You Mona Lisa so very helpful.
      Well this morning I told my H that it’s either her or me he needs to make decision. He said that it’s difficult and he was trying with me. Not enough I said! You need to give 100 % to commit to us or forget it. Told him until he decides there will be no physical contact and he can sleep in the basement. Done! I’m in the drivers seat! Think I’ll go vomit!

    • chiffchaff

      @Rachel – well done! But I agree, taking control of it all is also scary. The OW really does have it easy… do OW’s/OM’s ever come on this site? It would be interesting to see their views sometimes.

    • csb

      Rachel – good for you!!
      Lynne – you said you still don’t have the “Why” from your H, I haven’t gotten it either, which is really hindering my healing I think. As you said, his “hill to die on” is that it was only a friendship, he never intended anything more, etc. so the “why” is not even existant.

      We are currently co-existing, nothing more. I just don’t know how much longer I can go through the motions with the feeling of “this is all there is, and all it will ever be”. It was almost better when we were having our daily discussions about the EA, at least then I felt like we were being proactive, no matter how painful those discussions were.

    • Helena

      OMG, Lynne, sounds like a GREAT resource, thanks! I can’t believe I never heard of that in all my sad obsessive Googling of numbers and whatever! I’m going to get a paid subscription, so that people don’t know I’m using to check them out. (The free version leaves a number on people’s cell phones that leads to a recording telling them they’ve been “spy dialed.” The paid version leaves a number that can’t be connected to.) This will cut down on all my pathetic agonizing over unfamilar numbers in my SO’s phone records.

    • Rachel

      Thank you Paula,CSB,chief chaff,Lynne,notoverit! you guys have helped me so much. I just back from my sons appointment with his therapist and she gave me a few minutes. She said the same exact thing as you guys did. My own therapist is ok but I feel that she doesn’t want us to work things out so I can give her a weekly 40.00 appointment. Our son heard the whole thing when my H dropped the bomb. Thats why he’s in therapy. Took it really hard. Of course he did, being 15 is difficult enough to deal with!

    • Cheated upon and feeling cheated

      I am just 3.5 weeks past D-day and struggling with my daily “ups” and “downs.” It is still so painful for me that he would choose to betray our vows (married almost 20 years) — not once, but twice (found out about both at same time). He seems genuinely sorry, has broken off all contact with OW (as much as I can tell — but there’s that trust issue sneaking in again) and is working with therapist on WHY he got to this place (although there still seems to be some blame there) So, asking you all out there: how long did it take you for the pain to subside? Did you ever get to a place where you could trust again? I know there will be different answers for every person, but I’m curious…

      • CA

        I am six months out and still feeling very hurt and not knowing if I will ever fully trust. That is with having my H being nothing but supportive, blaming noone but himself. I can believe the 1 to 2 years that everyone says. I’m tired of looking at phone records, e-mails etc. but I can’t seem to stop. (he knows I do this and says he has no problem with it)
        It does get better with time though. At 3.5 weeks, I was raw…totally destroyed. It controlled my every waking moment. Now I break down only about once a week or so. My H is right there with me and often cries with me. i wonder if he will get tired of that and just want me to get over it at some point. I hope you also have some support, love, remorse from your H.

    • Paula

      CUAFC, I feel for you. I was told by a couple of people who should know (eg therapists) in the beginning, that two to four years is “normal” – and that seemed SO long, I wasn’t going to feel that bad for that long, because we were working through it, it was over, and he regretted it very deeply and was committed to making us better again! Yeah, right! I am two years and almost nine months out from my Dday. I now know (I think I did then, too, to a degree, as I remember very clearly saying to myself and my OH that he had drastically, and permanently, changed the landscape of our – then – truly wonderful 22 year relationship, and we would never regain our innocence fully) that you never get back what you had, the degree of trust, everything is changed, and a large part of the journey is discovering whether it is still worth staying with this person, even under the changed circumstances, and building something different, but hopefully, still very worthwhile, and that, unfortunately, has taken/is taking a lot longer than I bargained for, even with my OH’s co-operation. I don’t believe I will ever trust another human being again, the way I trusted my OH, and our “friend” (the OW) he knows this, he is gutted he made this happen, but I’m okay, and I have learnt a lot, grown a lot as a person. I say to you that the pain will always be there, but it fades a lot, as the scar tissue forms. In a way, I’m glad it’s still there, it is a reminder of how bloody hard I’ve worked to be okay, to get to this point, it is very well-earned, somewhat like my pregnancy stretchmarks, they are a reminder that anything worth having is usually painful, you have to earn it to appreciate it’s worth.

      I wish you all the best in your journey here, you’re obviously a loving person to even be in your shoes, many just walk.

      • CA

        Wow your story sounds so much like mine. We also had a truly wonderful marriage for 30 years. I’m so glad you are doing well after 2 years.
        I have a question for you: Did you ever learn how this was able to happen in the first place since you had such a great relationship. That is certainly on of the main thoughts that I continue to obsess about. MY H does not really have an answer to it other than he was curious. The OW approached him with her card in a lobby where he works. She spotted him and wanted him. She was also married. I know what you mean about the pain fading some with time. I am only six months out and still have a ways to go. Take care

    • Rachel

      Cheated upon and feeling cheated-I feel the same way as u do about the betrayal. We’ve been married for 24 years and in nov. He dropped the bomb. The pain doesn’t go away. Not for me anyways. My therapist advised that I go on Prozac because I’m obsessed, consumed. Trust-nope. Can’t do that because he lied to me. Said that there was no one else and there was his ex girlfriend from 30 years ago. They’ve been in touch for years. She calls him on his birthday. Isn’t that sweet of her! Well his birthday is this Friday. On Saturday I am signing on to spy to see if she did call because I don’t trust a word that comes out of his mouth!

    • Healing Mark

      Roughly 10 months. And my wife had ended her EA a fair amount of time prior to D-day and tried almost from the start to do everything I asked her to do to try to assist with healing process.

    • Healing Mark

      Paula, I’m sorry, but I don’t get the “I don’t believe I will ever trust another human being again…”. There are trustworthy people and untrustworthy people, and you determine, right or wrong, which category a person falls into based on your experiences with that person. The fact that my wife had an EA and did and said things, or hid things, caused me to lose the trust that I had for her. She had to regain this trust through her actions after D-day, and she has been able to do that. Even before the EA, when I trusted my wife explicitly, I was aware that events could transpire that might cause me to lose my trust for her. That has unfortunately happened before with other friends (including a girlfriend) and acquaintances, so I was not surprised that it could happen with my wife, just very, very surprised that it did happen. After all, I had over 20 years with my wife and until the occurrence of the EA, she had never done anything that caused me to lose my trust for her.

      Sorry, but my wife’s EA, which hurt me tremendously and transformed me into a classic BS with all of the pain, paranoia and other “symptoms” so often arising as a result of the EA or PA, has had no effect on whether or not I can trust other people. I can now trust my wife as long as she has not fallen into infatuation with another man, understanding that once she slipped into an EA with the OM, the feelings that she loved so much, and her desire to keep them alive, caused her to become untrustworthy. She regrets this very much and understands that if this happens once again, she will have no opportunity to end her affair and regain my trust.

    • Paula

      HM, I think that is so great, that you are able to be this way, if you’d read my disclaimer, I said trust in the same WAY I did previous to the affair, I do trust people, it’s just with reservations now, I, too had been let down by people in the past, and it didn’t have quite this effect on me, but with the circumstances involved here, with a seemingly loving and honest partner, even whilst being questioned by myself, and a friend who just never let on that she was screwing my OH, still came out with me, lunched, danced, giggled, etc with me, I won’t trust people IN QUITE THE SAME WAY. It doesn’t make me wrong, or screwy, just a lot more cautious about protecting myself from the unscrupulous (and diseased, lol!)

    • Holding On


      The pain will lesson. For me: I think for the first 2.5 months it was a constant anxious feeling. Butterflies in the stomach and heart, a physical presence and my mind was constantly battling ALL day. I think after 2.5 months I FINALLY had several days in a row that I still thought about it, but a cloud had lifted and I could actually see the light. I thought about it but was finally removed from the emotions and feelings somewhat. I thought about it and said, “Yes, that happened, so what.” I remember thinking I was almost done and was finished with this “recovery” so much faster than the 2+ years that I had read about. After a few days, I sunk into “the pits”. Back and forth, in and out, a roller coaster of emotions. I really hit ANGER around 3 months – 6 months and still fall into that. I think I am in a rather SAD phase now. (7 months out) I am hoping to get out of this phase, it is depressing! LOL The thoughts are much less constant, but every few days I enter “the pits” and my thoughts overtake me into a down phase that lasts a day or so, but that is lessening. This has been my experience. I can’t really “think” on the EA or discuss and question my H too much or the emotions and feelings – usually anger, rage, disgust, deep hurt and sadness enter in and take over. Not pretty! Then I yell and scream and nothing is accomplished.

      The trust hasn’t returned for me. I no longer check email or phones, well maybe a couple times a month? But I’m not obsessed about if he is cheating or not. He is in charge of him and if he does this again, it is DONE. He is well aware of that. I can’t be his babysitter. Someone mentioned once that trust can be rebuilt in little ways, like noticing him being where he says or how we still have trust in him with finances or the children, etc. Those things are positives to focus on. Your spouse being transparent and dong the little things that slowly add up over TIME (love that word!). I think I trust my H to never do this again, however, I have not come to trust him with my heart, to trust him to choose right for US and our future, to care for ME and US enough to let him have my heart and feel safe with him again. There is a distance that might always be there. That saddens me. I hear BS share that they have learned so much about themselves through this, and that they are so much stronger, but that the sparkle, the specialness, the exclusiveness of the marriage is gone. That makes me so sad. I’m really hoping that we get to a better place through all this. I really do want to fully love my husband again. Fully forgive. Fully trust. Be ONE and ADORE him again.

      But it does take TIME, so prepare yourself for the long, hard, process and be gentle with yourself. I think it would be helpful to know that whatever you are feeling is NORMAL. So many times, I was trying to figure myself out and “FIX” me. I so wanted to get off the roller coaster and be done. I wish I could have just told myself earlier in the process that it is okay to feel this way. We have had quite a shock and less those feeling and emotions come, but find a good way to deal with all of them. Take care!

    • csb

      Holding On – 4 months since DDay for me and my H of 30 years. I am in the same place you are, now I am just consumed by sadness…..for what we were, for what we lost, for what we will never be again. I’m still struggling to allow myself to “not be ok”. After all, he ended his 1 1/2 year EA with an old GF, we are committed to making us work, I keep thinking “why can’t I just get beyond it and focus on the good direction we are trying to go in”.

      That sadness you mentioned is suffocating, in retrospect, our marriage wasn’t perfect or this wouldn’t have happened, but I yearn for that feeling I had when I thought it was perfect!

    • Ifeelsodumb

      csb…I wonder if this is where the term “Ignorance is bliss” came from??? :/

    • Kristine

      My H had no problems sleeping in his adultery. Since he’s returned he’s often awake at night remembering what he did. Or wakes up during the middle of the night and can’t sleep.

      • DJ

        Kris – as usual, we find ourselves in the same spot. My husband slept well all during his affair, but now has difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, too.

    • aida

      guys, i thought i was the only one going thro’ this situation, apparently, there are many of us undergoing similar issues.

      if those idiots think that they are able to get away with such things, let’s just revolt. You know the cheaters are prob so snug and cozy now thinking : ah, the little woman is after me, means she is desperate for me, so whatever i do, she’s gonna still be around for me anyways, in the meantime let’s check out the other woman.

      now, i’m not suggesting divorce for all and sundry, but there is a point to the NC advice. live your own life, create your own happiness and pray. I think prayer is a good way to get our lives on track… You know, if he really loves you, he will go home to you one day…..


      – my answer, based on my own experience – the answer is NO. not in his current state, not while he maintains his high horse and says, “It’s all your fault!” because not all of it was mine. he had made some lousy decisions and he had chosen to lie. over several years. he lied without batting an eye. i’m sure your husbands lied.. without batting their eyes. is that the kind of father who should be bringing up children? is that the kind of partner you wish to build your life on? a liar?

      i’m not a saint, but as horrid and as rude and as uncaring as I am, I don’t lie, and I have values – at least I don’t go around messing people up. even without the big cars and the big income and the good looks, if i die tomorrow, i can still say, “I really did the best i could”.


    • DJ

      Aida, you’re absolutely right. My coach has said the same thing. I have been on this journey for 15 months, trying to figure out if I can really stay with a man who betrayed me and lied to me for six years. My coach thinks that I would never be able to fully accept him back unless I could be convinced that he had made real changes in his attitudes and actions. Is it possible? I believe it is, for a few – like Doug, one of my heroes. My husband is still inconsistent – I’m still watching and waiting.

    • chiffchaff

      My H has also had a wide range of illnesses that I think were probably due to the stress of what he was doing. The hardest one to deal with though was his chronic back pain. This is because until Dday#2 I believed that it had been caused by a long haul flight back from Boston. Now I find it hard to muster any sympathy seeing as now I know that he spent two whole days ‘in bed’ with the OW before that long haul flight and that was probably the cause of his back pain…. I will have to say something soon about how I feel about that.
      He does seem like a different man since Dday#2 when he told me every sordid little detail and confessed (in the dark) to still being in contact with the OW. After being very down indeed, then angry, then down, then sad, then ridden with colds, he seems to be more stable. However, now, with valentine’s day looming, I worry that he’s already sent the OW a valentines card or something. I know he’s weak, so if he hasn’t done this I will be impressed, or disbelieving… I want so much to be able to believe him but I can’t most of the time. He was such a GOOD liar for so long.
      anyone else hating the concept of valentine’s day?

      • Notoverit

        Not real fond of Valentine’s Day. My H has planned a trip and a special dinner etc. Heart’s just not in it. I really don’t want to go but I am going to try.

        My H had a lot of physical problems too while he was involved in the EA. Guess all the antacids in the world won’t get rid of the cheating heart burn. LOL. He said that while he was talking to the OW at the last, he was consuming them. Also complained of myriad aches and pains. He also didn’t have a problem sleeping (guess it’s a way to escape from the inner turmoil). Now he can’t sleep – walks the floor while I am passed out (probably escaping myself).

      • Cheated upon and feeling cheated

        HA! In the year or so of my CS’s EA/SA, he went almost completely bald and what was left turned gray. He developed gastrointestinal problems and was buying some “triple organic fiber” to manage it — and his eyesight deteriorated and now he has glaucoma. He’s not much of a complainer (about things like this — he belongs in the “suck it up” camp) but his historical problems with a disc in his neck were flaring up more regularly, it seems to me now. I can’t speak to his sleep habit now as i have kicked him to the couch, but I know sleep wasn’t so great during the EA/SA — I certainly hope that’s because of guilt, but I don’t know. He always said business was on his mind. Of course, they were texting/calling back and forth HUNDREDS of times a day, so I guess he had a lot of business work to catch up on in the wee hours LOL.

        I am sleeping with a shocking amount of pharmaceutical aid, approved and managed by my DR, God Bless him. But no matter how long I sleep, it’s my last thought of the day and my first thought of the morning. Pain.

        As for V-Day, I’m not terribly pumped about it just 4-5 weeks after D-Day. Last Valentine’s day we had just started therapy, and so things were really fragile. We had agreed we wouldn’t celebrate it. I bought a bag of foil-wrapped hearts to give to the kids, and then I offered one to him as a “peace offering” and committed to working on our marriage. His response felt chilly to me and I was hurt by that. Little did I know then what I know now — that for a year of marital therapy I was busting my hump to keep our marriage together and he was having an EA/SA — and lied to our therapist about it!

        So we shall see how he handles Vday THIS year. I don’t really know what to expect — if anything at all.

        BTW all you EAJ fans, my 20th wedding anniversary is coming up soon — so how do you think THAT is going to go? I’m really scared.

        • ifeelsodumb

          My H was involved in his EA when we celebrated our 25th anniversary…unbeknownst to me! We went to dinner at a VERY upscale restaurant…but that was it! No gift, no card..nothing! Bu since this had been the norm for him, I really didn’t think much about it! Ok, to be fair, he would get me a card for our anniversary in years past, but it was never a big deal to him….
          Anyway, this past anniversary, we did nothing! He wanted to go to another very nice restaurant…I didn’t! It’s not the same anymore to me…I did tell him that when I feel I can forgive him 100% and trust him again, I would like to renew our vows, privately, just the two of us…and begin celebrating THAT anniversary instead. 🙂
          We are planning a week long getaway in May…just the two of us, and I’m hoping that I will have reached the forgiveness/trust that I feel I need, and we can then renew our vows..

    • changedforever

      CheatedUpon…your anniversary time will be difficult but its just getting thru that day and then going on from there. It was just a couple of months BEFORE our 20th that my H began his cheating or, shall I say the slippery slope behavior….he had just turned 50…maybe it was the beginning of his midlife crisis…? The next 5 years (unbeknownst to me) involved more & more slippery slope behavior…and it was thru & on our 25th that his PA was occuring. Needlesstosay our 26th was VERY difficult to anticipate and get thru…as DDay#1 was 4 days later. I know how you feel. You will get thru it but unfortunately it may no longer be the celebration it once was. I’ve come to accept that … but I’m sure I will be where you are

    • Roger

      Thanks for the insight. I finally realized that there was nothing remotely beneficial about the emotional affairs I had. Even though I still have issues with transparency and lies I’m relieved that my affairs are in the open. I’m recovering slowly from a life of deception. But I must admit that not having to look over my shoulder is a much better way to live. My wife deserves all the credit in the world. Her patience has been astonishing. Why would I jeopardize my life her? I don’t know. I’m trying to be the man she deserves. Thanks again.

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