After an affair is discovered, in most cases a metamorphosis begins for the unfaithful spouse. 

after an affair is discoveredBy Doug

Up until that time he/she may have been carrying on as if nothing was going on.  They were stealthy in their ways and they thought they would never get caught.

Then it happens. The affair is discovered.  It could have happened any number of ways; an undeleted text or email, an overheard phone call or perhaps they were caught red-handed. 

Regardless, this is when the post-affair-discovery metamorphosis begins.

This post will give you an idea of what sort of phases you can expect the unfaithful partner to ‘pass through’ after their affair is discovered.  I’m guessing that most of you have seen or experienced this first hand and can relate to what I’m about to share.

Keep in mind that these phases are derived from experience – both my own and from others I talk with – and are not based on research or any psychological or therapeutic principles.

One might experience all or none of the phases or elements within each phase and/or they may carry elements over into another phase or in a different order.  Additionally, it’s hard to say in all cases how long each phase will last.  Some folks will linger longer than others and some will even skip certain phases. 

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Phase One:  The ‘Tangled Web We Weave’ Phase  – This phase is all about deception.  When the unfaithful gets busted, most of the time they will attempt to practice the art of deception in its many dubious forms:

  • Denial
  • Covering up the truth
  • Lying/Trickle Truth
  • Secrecy
  • Gaslighting/stonewalling
  • Misplaced blame and anger
  • Minimizing the affair relationship – “We’re just friends.”
  • Excuses, rationalizations and justifications for the affair
  • Rewriting the history of your relationship/marriage
  • Possibly continuation of the affair is taking place

Phase Two:  The ‘I Need a Fix’ Phase – More commonly referred to as the withdrawal stage.  This is where the affair has ended by some means and the cheater is in a funk.  They are missing their affair partner and are feeling the effects of being cut off from the ‘high’ that the AP provided.  I believe this is the phase where most relapses occur. In this phase the cheater may experience the following:

  • Anger
  • Resentment
  • Blame
  • Depression
  • Easily shuts down during discussions and/or arguments
  • Reminiscence
  • Emotionally withdrawing/distancing
  • Ambivalence
  • Missing/longing for their affair partner. They feel they need to contact the AP.
  • Quiet – not talkative
See also  Surviving an Affair: Affair Love vs. Married Love

Phase Three: The ‘Hamster Wheel’ Phase – This frustrating phase is often where nothing seems to be happening.  There’s no progress in the relationship and the unfaithful isn’t doing anything to make the situation any better.  Lots of wheel-spinning going on.  This may be the phase where many marriages either make it or they fall apart and the CS never continues to the next phase as a married person.  Here are some common traits of this phase:

  • Doesn’t want to talk about anything affair related
  • Just wants to “move on.”
  • Desire to sweep things under the rug
  • Short temper
  • Seems to just be going through the motions and not really emotionally involved
  • They may have feelings of guilt, remorse and self-loathing to some degree
  • Stonewalling
  • More ambivalence
  • May make some attempts at reengaging with the BS
  • May start to really understand the damage that the affair has caused but doesn’t necessarily do anything about it.

Phase Four:  The ‘Head Out of the Ass’ Phase – This is when the unfaithful who wants to reconcile starts to ‘get it’ and figure things out.  It’s obvious that the affair is truly over and they are doing their best to try and rebuild all that they have destroyed. Here is what you might see:

  • Greater feelings of guilt and self-loathing
  • Will provide details and answer questions about the affair
  • Open to individual and/or joint counseling
  • Being transparent in word and action
  • Truly regret their behavior and the damage the affair caused
  • Begins to reflect and be introspective
  • Begins to make personal changes/showing growth
  • Remorseful and atoning for misdeeds
  • Open to self-forgiveness but may still be difficult for him/her
  • No residual feelings for AP and realizes fantasy aspect to the affair
  • Desire to reconnect, rebuild and re-commit

Phase Five:  The ‘Every Thing is Just Peachy’ Phase – In this phase after an affair is discovered, the ex-cheater is feeling good about things.  Trust has been rebuilt to some extent, the relationship seems to be going great and the future of the marriage is very promising.  It’s important not to get lazy though.  Here’s what to expect:

  • Continued personal improvement/development
  • May get a bit complacent in their marriage building efforts
  • There may be some backsliding towards past relational habits
  • If the BS brings up the affair, wanting to talk about it, the ex-cheater may either do so without issue or may be reluctant and even have a “You’ve got to be kidding me – that’s in the past!” attitude.
  • Continued transparency
  • Proactive, effective communication
  • Still may have some residual self-forgiveness issues
  • Committed to the marriage and intimate monogamy

how are most affairs discovered

Photo by tommaso79

See also  After Infidelity the Only Thing That is For Certain is Uncertainty

How Are Most Affairs Discovered?

I also thought it would be a good idea to mention the various ways that many affairs are discovered by the cheater’s partner.  Here are 30 common, rare, and perhaps even unusual ways that affairs are discovered – in no particular order:

  1. Suspicious behavior: The betrayed partner notices changes in their partner’s behavior, such as being more secretive, defensive, or distant.
  2. Phone or computer snooping: The betrayed partner discovers incriminating messages, emails, or photos on their partner’s phone or computer. (This is how my affair was discovered by Linda. )
  3. Unexplained absences: The cheating partner frequently comes home late or spends an unusual amount of time away without providing a valid explanation.
  4. Unusual expenditures: Suspicious financial transactions, like unexplained charges or withdrawals, can raise suspicions.
  5. Changes in appearance: The cheating partner suddenly starts dressing differently, paying more attention to their physical appearance, or using new perfumes/colognes.
  6. Emotional distance: The cheating partner becomes emotionally distant, showing a lack of interest or investment in the relationship.
  7. A “gut feeling”: The betrayed partner may have a gut feeling that something is wrong and confronts their partner based on that intuition.
  8. Physical evidence: Finding items like receipts, hotel keys, or gifts that the cheating partner cannot explain.
  9. Frequent use of social media: The cheating partner becomes unusually active on social media or starts using it more frequently, leading to suspicions.
  10. Changes in sexual behavior: The cheating partner may exhibit a sudden increase or decrease in sexual desire, or display new techniques or preferences.
  11. Changes in communication patterns: The cheating partner may start avoiding certain topics, using coded language, or becoming overly defensive about their privacy.
  12. Inconsistent stories: The cheating partner may provide conflicting or inconsistent explanations for their whereabouts or actions.
  13. Lack of interest in shared activities: The unfaithful person loses interest in participating in activities they previously enjoyed with their partner.
  14. Unexplained charges on credit card statements: The betrayed partner discovers unfamiliar charges for hotels, restaurants, or gifts on credit card statements.
  15. Changes in work routine: The cheating partner suddenly starts working longer hours, going on frequent business trips, or attending more work-related events.
  16. Neglecting responsibilities: The cheating partner begins to neglect household chores, parenting duties, or other responsibilities within the relationship.
  17. Anonymous tips or information from others: Someone close to the cheating partner may anonymously reveal the affair to the betrayed partner.
  18. Changes in social circle: The cheating partner starts spending more time with a new group of friends or acquaintances without a reasonable explanation.
  19. Sexual health issues: The betrayed partner discovers they have contracted a sexually transmitted disease (STD) despite both partners being claiming to be monogamous.
  20. Discovery by a friend or family member: Someone close to the cheating partner may accidentally or intentionally reveal the affair to the betrayed partner.
  21. Change in sleep patterns: The cheating partner may stay awake late at night or receive late-night phone calls, raising suspicions.
  22. Guilt-driven behavior: The cheating partner may display signs of guilt, such as being overly affectionate, buying gifts, or being excessively attentive.
  23. Sudden interest in privacy: The cheating partner becomes defensive about their privacy, such as changing passwords or locking their phone.
  24. Unusual emotional reactions: The cheating partner may become overly defensive, angry, or accusatory when confronted about their behavior.
  25. Lack of interest in intimacy: The cheating partner shows a decrease in physical or emotional intimacy with their partner.
  26. Spying or surveillance: In some cases, partners may resort to spying or using surveillance equipment to catch their spouse cheating. Or perhaps they hire a private investigator to uncover the truth.
  27. Confessions: Sometimes, the unfaithful partner may slip up and unintentionally reveal information about their affair, or they may be overcome with guilt and decide to confess voluntarily.
  28. Overheard conversations: Accidentally overhearing a private conversation or phone call can expose an affair.
  29. Scent or perfume: Detecting an unfamiliar scent or perfume on a partner’s clothing is a huge red flag.
  30. GPS tracking: Some partners may resort to tracking their spouse’s location using GPS technology, revealing suspicious whereabouts.
See also  Emotional Affair Recovery – 12-Steps for the Cheater

Okay, I think that’s about it.  I’m sure that there are some more ways that affairs are discovered, so feel free to add them and share your experiences below in the comment section.

Whenever you’re ready, here are 2 ways we can help you:

1. If you’re still looking for traction in your affair recovery experience, we’d recommend starting with an one of our affordable programs. Here are 2 options:

Survive and Thrive after Infidelity – A unique and complete resource that will guide you through the recovery and healing process starting at D-day. It will provide you with the knowledge and tools to not only survive the affair, but thrive! Get started now!

The Unfaithful Person’s Guide to Helping Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair: For the struggling unfaithful person, this program delves into the 24 ‘tasks’ that the cheater must complete for them to move from betrayer – to healer, while gaining a better understanding of their betrayed partner and what he/she is going through.  Become a healer.

2. Individual Mentoring – Whether you’re the betrayed or the betrayer, to talk to someone who has gone through what you’re going through and who can listen and empathize with you is an incredibly powerful and valuable thing. It’s not just sympathy – it’s empathy – and it’s irreplaceable. Reserve a session (limited spots available). 

    175 replies to "The Five Phases a Cheater Goes Through After an Affair is Discovered"

    • Amanda

      Thank you for posting this article! Though I was not “discovered” (I confessed my EA to my husband) some of the things above are what I am going through now. I am, without a doubt, stuck in the withdrawal stage. Today is day five of no contact. Five days is nothing, right? It certainly doesn’t feel like nothing, but I am grateful to have stumbled across this website as it really helps to read that what I’m going through is “normal”. As for my husband, that’s a different story. He seems to be taking it too well. He doesn’t seem to want details or to know much of anything related to the affair and says he already forgives me. In a way this makes it easier for me, but, truthfully, I want us to become stronger, better, healthier and affair proof in the long run, so I actually want him to know everything so that we don’t continue to live in this fake bubble. I have read countless articles and blogs about how a relationship CAN become better and stronger than ever after an affair, but how can we get there if he doesn’t want to fully see it for what it was? I realize I am the wayward spouse, I realize that I am hated by most on this site, but, I assure you, anything anyone has to say to me of negative value I have already thought about myself 10 times over. I had an affair, I am an ass, I can handle the negative comments, they won’t touch what I’ve thought of myself.

      • Scott

        “I have read countless articles and blogs about how a relationship CAN become better and stronger than ever after an affair, but how can we get there if he doesn’t want to fully see it for what it was?”

        Be careful not to use the same fantasy thinking from your affair when you’re trying to recover and reconcile. It will lead to drastic and dramatic mistakes on your part.

        You have two jobs. 1. Give your husband whatever he needs in order to heal. If he is angry and says hard things, take it. They’re words, not reality. You are no longer dealing with a man who loves you, he is only going to exhibit his pain for a while. My counselor asked me once if I loved my wife at the moment. I said, hell no! Who would love that? And the reality is, almost all betrayed spouses fluctuate in their logic and wants and frankly, I doubt he loves you right now. That’s what you’ve earned. It’s hard to love someone who causes you such pain. Ultimately, I decided the line she crossed was a boundary I would not live with or condone. She didn’t seem to want to do what she had to…which brings me to the 2nd point…2. Worry about yourself. And I don’t mean you ignore your husband, on the contrary, be present for him, totally committed to him, totally focused on him, when he’s in the room. The rest of the time you should spend finding out what the hell is wrong with you. You turned away from your spouse, ran to another person (a not very good person by the way) and took time and energy and love away from your husband. You need therapy. Intense therapy.

        By focusing on what someone says might happen with marriages that survive infidelity, you’re ignoring all the steps you need to take to get there.

        You just started. This is the roughest, hardest, most mine filled road you’ll travel. It’s no cakewalk and if your head is in the clouds, you might as well get an apartment and leave your husband and let him find peace.

        It’s not about him seeing what the affair was. It’s about you seeing yourself for what you really are and what drives this behavior, fixing it, and then seeing the damage you’ve inflicted.

        What, are you going to tell him about the time you spent three hours in the car with AP and all the stuff you discussed? Are you going to tell your husband about how you told AP about that goofy hat your husband wears on weekends, or the time you and hubby sat out on the front porch and argued about how stupid your favorite TV show was? You betrayed your husband’s most innocent trust. You told a stranger his most innocent and vulnerable moments. Believe me, he understands one whole heck of a lot more than you can imagine, what this was.

        The question is, do you?

        • antiskank

          Scott, I love your response! Very good points 🙂

          • Cher

            I confesed my affair to my husband as well even though our marriage was not perfect and I had completely felt ignored and lonley even when my husband was home. The affair didn’t last long at all just 2 weeks, he seems to want to work things out with us and this was not the first time our marriage has had trouble. It almost seems like our whole relationship has been hard on both of us almost from day one. It has been more than 10 yrs since we got together. But I’m willing to give it a chance and before this affair even started i fell out of love with my husband. So now I’m so damn confused as what I want to do. Stay and see if it works or do i just leave like i was planning on doing. I ha e not spoke to the man i had the affair with since i came clean with my husband. If I am to leave my husband it wouldn’t be with this other man. I read the article and i see some of the phase I’m in bit it is only parts or some of phase. What does that mean??

            • Cameron

              Your mentality is what is wrong with women and the world. You made your commitment, follow through with it. I was betrayed by someone just like you and it makes me sick to my stomach. Can you imagine what it’s like to make your last full measure of devotion clear to someone who would sleep with another person? Are you really so selfish you only think about yourself? That’s the whole point of cheating, putting your selfishness over someone who actually could love someone like you. Like I told the woman I love who cheated on me, “the truth hurts when you’re a terrible person “

        • Amanda

          I feel like I’m probably going to need to share my story or something because although everything you say makes perfect sense, it doesn’t all relate to me. I’m starting to think that some of the cheating spouses that some of you have were just plain mean. Go ahead and laugh at how I just said that. I’m mean for having an affair for sure, but geeze, I didn’t dare bash my husband’s qualities with my AP, and my AP didn’t bash his wife’s qualities. The worst we did was discuss significant fights that we had. My AP does not know of my husband’s betrayal, I would never share that with him. I never laughed at my husband behind his back or made cruel references to anything “quirky” things he does. This doesn’t make me a good person my any means, but good grief, I do still love my husband and always did. This won’t make sense to anyone here, but what I felt for my AP and what I feel for my husband are so completely night and day different. I can’t explain how I legitimately enjoyed time with my husband one day and had explicit conversations with my AP the next. I just did. My next therapy session is tomorrow, I’m hoping in time I can figure it all out.

          • Scott

            So your husband cheated too? Well, I must have missed that before. Then you’ve been a betrayed yourself.

            Sounds like you two are hell bent on hurting each other. And yes, there was a LOT of cruelty, in mine, and other situations.

            Good that you’re in therapy.

          • betrayedchump

            “My AP does not know of my husband’s betrayal”?
            Does your statement mean you were a BS before you became a CS?

          • natalie

            I relate to you 100%. The balance was so do-able. Speaking negatively was not what we were about, but more to help each other through hard times. I love my husband.

          • cheryl

            While working things out with my husband he would ask me time and time again if me and my AP would talk about him and we never once did. What was going on in my marriage did not concern my AP. I still had love for my husband but not the same love I once had for him before, I started to develop feelings for .y AP he was telling me he wanted to date me, make me fall in love with him and later have children. I was thrown threw a loop with him. I didn’t want any of that with him it was only to be set so I ended it with him.

        • Hope

          Iam the bs. I need help…I need the prospect of how a cheater things. I just can’t understand how someone tells you they love you and go have sex with someone for a week and phone sex for over a year waiting for the next opportunity to go and visit a long distance ex. & ex that never wanted to give him sex in the pass before me.
          Iam having trouble not behing hurt at the fact that he put another women in his heart.. the thought of him making love to ap for a week vacation it makes me crazy… I love him very much. He has always been a good husband & lover to me. He tells me he never thought of leaving me. He cut all communicatio with the Ap , change his phone number, change his email address to show me he was for real this time since he has said 3 other times he was done she would call and forgot his promise to me. Now we say we will work it out. But I am loosing him with my jelousy. Is like we are ok because he wants me to get over, that everything is over with the Ap, but I continuo to hurt because. Because in my mind I hate , he have part of his heart. I never would have thought that he wouls ever give in to a temptation. I thought. I really thought i had the most wonderful man in the world. That love me unconditional, that i was his every thing. I was so wrong. I know he is not the kind of men to be a cheated, but he scumb to all the temptation provated to him. He was always and excellent husband that tell me i was so pretty, but he never tell me i was the most beautiful women in the world, but yet he did told his ap. That hurt me like hell still does. He say he was lying to her but he is always been a men carful with what he says. And he breaks my fricking heartt how you are going to tell your ap. You are so fucking smoking hot you are the most beutiful women in the world. I told my husband I cant change the past, but you need to find the words to discribe me… what iam to you, because i dont longer want to implayed or belived things that are not said to me… i want to rebuild in facts and iam not willing to pretend i know what you feel. We were doing good till tonight that i got trigger with a joke that was not the best and told him. How do I deal with the pain of behing betray and feel less then, and move forward. Is like , I do good 1 week , then I get bad thoughts or something then we argue when we never did argue before and now we are doing it constantly. He say he loves me, but he is not going to be able to deal with me not behing able bring it up. I told him , I need him to tell me words,He trys but is heart for him so he is been saying. I love you but I want to know how, in my mind I need more, how you love me? I am not and ugly person, but I feel that he gave her more attention even do he always gave me attention as well. Iam angry as I told him I will never share you. I rather not have you!! He always say I pick you. I want you. I just go back to that recording in my head and I feel so angry because iam sure is more…I know I need to give him time to get over , but he needs to get the point and learn to rebuild me with words…I don’t think is to much to asked, but I I get over my insecurity that he views her that way… I don’t care how other man view me… I wanted my husband to find me the most beautiful women to his eyes. … I hate, I hate he gave his heart to someone else, but yet he say he never stop loving me……I know is the biggest bullshit to love two people when you give attention to one the other just take second place.. He is trying to do all the thinks he did not do before I know he is trying. like making the bed etc. He is retired and I go the work and during my work hours was when he talk to the ap. All started innocent that she needed help because her husband wanted to kill her , that she needed money to get a place away from him because she had broken ribs…that she would pay him back. so my husband pay her apartment which she pick the most luxurious apartment in Mexico for almost a year from January to October and that’s is because I discover the contract and the affair. After helping they started talking she will send him pictures , but yet saying that she was a shy person. I found her profile on the app they use to tak and she is showing all her assets to him and 600 other people. I told him , i never say iam a shy person , but i have not show my 2pc bikini in my profile. The strategy that she is a damicel in distress. My husnand plan a trip to go see her and stay for a week. He told me he really wanted to go scuba. I did not think nothing because. I hate that he things she is good , that she had and abused life all that compassion, I have worked all my life and pay for everything I have, I have never asked for nothing not even to my husband one I was a single mom. Which I needed all the help, now you are going to provide all the help to her… I know is in the pass, but it hurts He trying hard for me to be over, for me not to ever bring the affair to the conversation, I hate that he only tells what I want to hear when, we are fighting. I told him , how important are the words and all you are going to tell me is I love you very much.. he is sincere, but I want to hear. I know your hurt she really did not meant are my precious gem something. How you are going to tell her you are the most beautiful women in the world. And for 12 years you never tell your wife that only pretty, beautiful your as i told him at of the over flow of your hear your mount speaks and if you dont learn to tell me how important iam to you. You are not feing it in your heart. It only means all that love you say you have for me is not that srong . He get upset and say iam the love of his life.. but you dont go cheating to the live of your life at least that is my opinion or if you do. I be damn you should be able to express more. You did it to the ap. So no break for you…I guess it would be better if he tells me I did something wrong in our marriage so I can take responsibility and change it…but you say nothing it just happen it not just happen plan a trip her a plane and have sex with no protection believing the ap she is fix. In what world God is just so big that she did not got pregnant. I did tell him were was your love. I did not choose you has sex with her and not protect me that is uncall for. No baby she is ok she was worried about you!!! That was the worse insult…the f ap. .. can you believed it..really I’m sure she has more man in her life. I been with the ex husband and you… ahhhhhh is so infuriating and yet because of love we forget all that shit…. I wish that never happend. I expected from the ex , but not my perfect husband that is no longer perfect in my eyes, but I still love him. I wish I did not care, I wish it would not hurt to know what it is for us the bs to think about getting over the hurt of them giving their time, money, attention , sex , phone sex to the ap everything that we dig up and what we know because he know them better then they know them self
          I do want to fight and I have been fighting for our marriage. I just don’t know how to get over the jelosy of him giving his all to the ap for that time. I wish he would have love me enough to stop it before I notice, I wish I never knew!! But unfortunately everything always comes out to the light. I know I need to hope one day is all going to be and ugly nightmare…and only that.

          • Helen

            Same I feel you so much. It goes deeper than we thought. Well we didn’t think we knew. What would it take to make them stop. It’s made me so sick to the core this time I have barely eaten in over a week now. Happy F.#*^N New year to me

      • Beatrice

        I don’t think it is other people’s business….I am sure you had your reason for cheating….there’s no point in saying you should have left him when you were not happy…

    • TryingHard

      You aren’t hated and you won’t get any negative comments unless you starting denigrating the wife/girlfriend, making excuses for your affair, blame your husband, or do anything less than accept 100% responsibility for your affair. That’s not to say 100% responsibility for problems in your marriage. Different argument. You marriage may or may not have had problems before you affair. Doesn’t make any difference but you chose a wrong path by having the affair. Whatever problems you had personally or in you marriage you made them exponentially worse by cheating, lying, and betraying your husband.

      Maybe a better choice since your husband doesn’t want or need the details is to find a good therapist you can talk to. Understand this is his pain, he’s the only one who makes the rules of how he can get through it. Maybe you would like to talk about your AP or the affair. He doesn’t want to hear it. Most betrayed spouses have a limit about the details they need. Some want all the gory details and some want none. His rules this time. Sorry.

      Also he may have exited the marriage emotionally already. Maybe your affair is the straw that broke the camel’s back and he’s working on plan B. He may even be having an affair of his own. Who knows. Relationships are weird like that.

      Regardless YOU need someone to talk to and it’s obvious your husband doesn’t want to talk to you so find a good therapist. Finding one who deals in infidelity is imperative. If you are counting the days since NC you are obviously NOT over your affair. Your husband doesn’t need to hear this. It’s like pour lemon juice on a cut. Find someone independent to talk to for your sake and his.

      Good luck

    • Amanda

      Thank you, TryngHard. I appreciate your response, and you hit the nail square of the head. Not an ounce of me blames MY choice on him. Not a bit. If things were so bad I could have left and chose not to lose myself instead. There’s always a moment in the early stages of every affair when the “friendship” goes from innocent to crossing a line. That line for us was discussing our marital issues with each other. Huge mistake and one that I didn’t even really catch myself doing until it was too late. I remember when the first flirtatious remark was made, everything in me knew that it would be wrong if I reciprocated, and I didn’t listen to myself. I walked that good girl side of me -the one with morals and integrity- right out the front door and slammed it behind her. I would give anything to go back to that day. That girl is gone forever and I, and the damage I caused, are what’s left. So now all I can really do is own what I’ve done and rebuild myself from scratch.

      You are right, I’m not even close to being out of the affair. Though I have not had contact in five days, everyday is a struggle to see it for what it was; a total illusion, a fantasy and a hurtful one. And of course it doesn’t help that he didn’t see it that way. Sites like this one are what keep my head on reasonably straight and help me focus on what’s real. I also like how this site is meant for both the wayward spouse and the betrayed. I think it’s helpful to see all angles of an affair even though it can be hard to face.

      I am in counseling. Great suggestion. I’ve been to only one session so far but will be going to another one this Friday.

      Anyway, I’m not sure what your personal story is but I very much appreciate your opinion and advice!

      • TryingHard

        I’m happy to hear I helped you with a little insight.

        You story is so old sadly it’s a cliche. Don’t know if was the real deal or not. Only you know the answer to that. Yes indeed you were conflicted. That’s the pressure from your Spirit telling you it’s wrong and your flesh telling you to go ahead, YOLO and whatever entitlement you thought you “deserved”. I get it I have that every time I want another cookie!!! The flesh is weak and irrational. You may call it your id and super ego. Whatever, it was the good you telling you it was wrong. You should have listened to your better self.

        Look, I am not against exiting a marriage, I’m against cheating. I have no idea the state of your relationship, what it was or wasn’t, is or isn’t. Don’t care, that’s not why you cheated. Figure this concept out first and the rest will follow. This is where finding some good books to read will help.

        All I can tell you is you have a longgggg road to hoe. Reconciliation after an affair is NOT for the weak or weak of heart. Men take the sex part VERY personally and I’m pretty sure this is why your husband refuses to talk to you about it. It’s an attack on their masculinity to core of their self worth and idea of what a “real” man is. I think you would be doing more harm trying to make him talk, get his feelings out, understand what you did. He’s pissed, you took his masculinity away. He’s licking his wounds by himself. I get that, eventually we all have to do it.

        My story, I’m a betrayed spouse. I’ve worked my ass off putting my life back together. My husband has too. It’s been a painful process probably the most painful loss I’ve ever had. I’ve never lost a child, but I can safely say this is the worst experience to date. I blame my husband 100%, but I have no sympathy for the OW that insinuated herself into my life. And yes I say MY life because she knew my husband was married. I come with the deal, my marital contract says so. She was an opportunistic bitch. I don’t have to sympathize with her, she’s no one and nothing but a nightmare. She’s made no effort to apologize or pay back the money she was loaned. She has terminal cancer and I don’t feel one ounce of pity for her. I hope she is in pain and suffering everyday.

        So while I have great tolerance for adulterers who repent and show remorse, change their lives, show respect to each other, I have NO tolerance for any less. I think people can change, but it takes GREAT effort and introspection. I’m not a man, but I have read oh about 30 books on infidelity, narcissism, socio/psychopathy and I understand the difference in the feelings about infidelity between the sexes. It’s painful though, no matter what sex you are. Most men will write you off and sorry to say eventually do. I have little hope for your marriage to survive this given what you’ve written.

        You may be feeling a lot of guilt, shame, embarrassment, whatever but trust me you are NOT feeling the gut wrenching pain your husband is experiencing right now on a daily 24/7 basis. I hope you will approach him with great character, compassion, humility, understanding, and empathy. Just try to put yourself in HIS shoes for a while. Imagine it was he who had the affair. Imagine him in affair right now. Maybe doing that it will get you out of your own head in trying to figure out what the other relationship really was. I think by dwelling on the affair you are still fantasizing about it and that’s not good for you, your husband or your marriage. Just stop it.

        Also do not lie to your therapist. Spill it all even if you think she will think poorly of you. This is NOT what therapy is about. It will not work if you do otherwise. You may as well throw your money out the window.

        I hope you will focus on you. Figure out your shortcomings so you can be in a healthy relationship either with or without your present husband. Otherwise history lessons unlearned will repeat themselves.

        • To much pain

          I sure would like to talk with you. I understand you perfectly!!

      • Les Ismor

        You know I read one counselor who said that exposing and making your partner end the affair is the worst thing to do.
        Counterintuitively, let them go on…protect yourself but let the affair run it’s course.
        Chances are the affair partner will lose their luster (just like you, the partner, did). That’s when you decide to offer them the chance to work for the relationship.

        You are still in the affair because it is still a fantasy and escape for you. Immerse yourself in it, abandon yourself to it.
        I wish I had left my wife to continue hers. It actually makes me laugh at how stupid I was. Three months into it (per her reckoning) I discovered and made her end it (probably with several hidden hook ups after that).
        I never doubted myself in terms of being a good father and good husband. I know from actual offers that I remain attractive to women.
        So what a fool I was to speak up. I should have focused on myself, improving my true self and left her to this other guy (who was cheating on his wife). The idea them together in the long run…laughable.
        But I wanted to fix things and so confronted her, since she is my wife.
        Of course that only fueled resentment. I was the destroyer of fantasy, taker of dreams, the tired old sameness.
        Five years later as of Jan. 22 this year she is beginning to make overtures…discreet, never apologetic, but softening.
        It’s ok because I don’t care in many ways. I want sex, that’s been years, but not having grown together the last half decade I see how old she’s grown. If we’d grown together I’d see maturity and growth. Now she’s old. The only game in town as far as sex for me, but that’s my choice. I’ve grown to understand that. Sex is not enough to lure me, I need more and she’s still not getting that piece. Maybe she never will.
        I’ve already faced and made peace with that a couple years ago. I don’t know what she can do to fix anything at this point. It took years to break, years for me to get where I am, so maybe it takes more years.
        I trust God now. I neither need her to trust me nor to trust her. I am married regardless of anything except one of our deaths. Life is filled with things other than her, sex or companionship. Those things would have to be very deep to lure me back.

    • Scott

      I think you’re right on phase 3 for sure. That’s where my marriage collapsed under the weight of her not giving a crap, expecting me to fix it, bailing on counseling, getting defensive again, and going back to setting her “boundaries” – “I won’t be punished by this forever”, “you’ll never get over it and I won’t live that way”, and so forth. She claimed to want to reconcile but on her terms. Healing is always on the terms of the hurt. You can’t walk into an ICU and tell someone, “hey, I know you had open heart surgery, but you should be running marathons by now”. It’s not realistic. Those who are harmed are tasked with healing. Those who do the harm are tasked with knowing their harm. You can’t repair something if you don’t own it 100% and if you don’t own the harm. That means empathy, openness, humility, not pushing an agenda, not pressing for commitments, and maybe the single worst sin any cheater can commit, pointing out the shortcomings of the faithful spouse. You can’t have that conversation, ever! It takes years for the betrayed to get over their hurt, and when they do, if they want to discuss their own shortcomings they can do that. The cheater pointing them out is a recipe for disaster.

      It’s funny, I’ve said it forever. Every cheating spouse that divorces has their moments where they simply expect the unrealistic. One cheater told me not too long ago he wishes his ex wife (married 24 years) would be his friend at least. I told him that wasn’t going to happen. And last night my own ex wanted to discuss what a great marriage we had when I was trying to straighten out insurance issues for my son. Now, in what world would I ever want to discuss that, so of course I told her, “I’m not going to discuss this with you, and yes, I am glad we are divorced.” She still wants to rewrite history, still wants to engage in discussions, still wants to be my buddy. I’m not going to do that. So why press?

      But I digress. The 5 stages are good. I think most people have been through something similar. I do wonder if there’s a period of time where the cheating spouse believes they can do whatever they want because their spouse won’t leave them, because they did cheat and actually didn’t lose their marriage. Almost like a hubris?

      • TryingHard

        Dear Scott

        What kind of crazy ass woman were you married to that would let a guy like you go????

        • Strengthrequired

          Th, Scott, I too wonder that myself. Foolish follish woman.

          • Scott

            That’s so kind of you both. Thank you!

        • Struggling

          Do you think this is a proper reply made by a woman to a man on this site?

          • TryingHard

            Not following what you are asking?

          • TryingHard

            OOPS. LOL after thinking about it I think I get what you are saying 🙁 My bad. I believe you are saying this because this is what a lot of OW say?? Maybe yes maybe no. I’m sorry I insulted you sensibilites. I should have been more sensitive.

            Ok how about this. Scott–I’ve read your posts and it sure sounds to me like you went out of your way to work with your wife and gave her lots of latitude for reconciliation and your healing. She chose to squander those efforts. You sound like a kind, smart, healthy individual that truly wanted to make his marriage work and forgive his cheating wife. I am sorry she chose to eschew your efforts. I am sorry she chose to continue her affair with her scrawny boyfriend tossing aside her relationship with you and your children. I am sorry she acted like an entitled, selfish narcissist. What kind of woman does this?

            Is that better Struggling 🙂

            • Scott

              LOL…TH I didn’t read it the wrong way, just took it the way you intended…funny stuff…

            • TryingHard

              I know right Scott? It never even occurred to me I was being less than “proper”? I sure hope no one else thought I was putting it out there?? Egads I’ve been out of the scene so long I wouldn’t know where to start!!! But I didn’t mind rephrasing 🙂

            • Strengthrequired

              Th, I understood what you meant, I agreed, lol. So I’m right along side you my dear.
              So what it’s worth, “what TH said” lol

            • TryingHard

              Thanks SR–You know I think I would truly much rather say “YO dude that biotch be cray cray!!!”

            • Strengthrequired

              Love it, I don’t think your alone in your thinking…

      • tryingtorecover

        Scott- your posts have helped me immensely, this one in particular. I think I cam to the same point you wren at. We are in stage 3 and my husband is responding with the same remarks that he came back from from counseling. He told me his counselor stated he is “in a precarious spot to either take it and be punished or move on.” He refuses to open the phone account and states that he doesn’t trust me and I should just start to trust him to build trust. He is extremely defensive again and is accusing me of cheating at my 20 year high school reunion I attended with 6 female friend fro high school…absurd and deflecting. His is digging in his heal..setting his boundaries and I see the writing on the wall.

        I appreciate what you stated : “Healing is always on the terms of the hurt. You can’t walk into an ICU and tell someone, “hey, I know you had open heart surgery, but you should be running marathons by now”. It’s not realistic. Those who are harmed are tasked with healing.” I couldn’t agree more and I only wish that my husband could see this. Through my own counseling though I have worked on detaching and realizing that I cannot change what he believes, sees, and acts. He may never share these thoughts of wisdom yo shared in which I agree fully.

        I made the choice, based on this stage, information and your personal experience to move on. I started to look for apartments and a second job so I can afford to reside on my own with my two children and hopefully take my dog. I truly wanted or 20 year marriage to work though the future of our marriage was an illusion now- just as their on and off 12 year affair was. I feel a sense of relief knowing I will be on my own soon and I can now help in another way. He won’t even fully be honest, He won’t ever fully take responsibility. He won’t fully see the impact it had on me and our children. I no longer have my eyes wide shut.

        • Scott

          I am so glad that my posts helped you out. It’s always sad to see a marriage break up, but I also think everyone has their breaking point. I simply could never accept that I was going to be one of those guys, who gets trampled on, lied to, used as a doormat, and feeds the ego of a narcissistic partner, while she goes off and makes herself feel better at my expense. I’m glad you’re moving forward…I know it was a tough decision, and I respect the courage it took to make that decision.

          • Stupid Gal

            Yep it’s a battle that is literally eating me up from the inside out Can’t even barely stomach any food I caught them out red handed because I listened to the actual audio footage of a video that was taped with the brightness down and this was done whilst I was in the same house just in another room. You can imagine how naive gullible and foolish I feel amongst everything else.

      • Priya

        I can relate so much to your comments. I am a BS going through recovery with my CS ( husband) who has been saying such mean things to me that I am wondering if he thinks he is the victim who was forced to have an affair because of a “bad spouse” he had to deal with for past 14 years. I have two children aged 2 and 7 yrs old and I want to save our family but my CS is so arrogant that I am beginning to wonder if I will ever be able to live with a mean and selfish person who can blame his BS and point out short comings that never existed or were ever mentioned before during such a time. Its hard as a BS because now I know his loyalties can change with the next golden opportunity for an affair. It’s hard to break away and stop trying to make it work with a person you love and got betrayed, especially if you have children and are an emotional fool like me. The cheating spouse invariably had stopped loving their partner and that is why even they were able to carry on the deception And an affair for so long. Sometimes we BS’es are more like Moron’s to believe that the CS still loves you ! the fantasy bubble is busted and they do not want to lose the real deal that provides stability, there is nothing much to it.

        • Champagne

          Please never feel that because you are loving, caring, devoted, loyal and wanting of a true love ❤️ that you are or should ever be considered a emotional fool, Those emotions make us who we are and aware and sensitive to the feelings of others.

    • Amanda

      TryingHard, I’m rereading what I’ve written and I’m struggling to find where I may have given you the impression that my hurt is greater than my betrayed husbands. If showing my own wounds (self inflicted-you betcha) are in any way minimizing his or yours I’m sorry, that’s really not my intent.

      I’m more than willing to accept that this will take a great deal of effort on my part to earn back his trust. As far as him getting past the sex, there was no sex. It was an online emotional affair, we never met in person. To me this is still just as serious as a physical affair so I’m treating it as such.

      It sucks ass that you feel my marriage is doomed based entirely on two of my posts. Seriously, it really does suck ass, no better way to put it, your comment really does make me think that maybe our marriage can’t be salvaged. Either way, I will do whatever it takes to do so. I have purchased three communication/marriage rescue type books over the past five years and for the first time, EVER, his hands are holding them and not just mine. For the first time, EVER, he doesn’t leave the room or roll his eyes when I bring up and issue our marriage is having. For the first time we are communicating. Now, perhaps it’s only because I’m apologizing a billion times for what I’ve done, but hey, I’ll take it!! So will our marriage make it? I don’t know. It’s too soon to tell. I certainly hope so.

      I love this forum, I do, but this is a tricky place for someone like me. Everything I say will be analyzed and read into and assumptions will be instantly made. I’m okay with that, it comes with what I did. If I said that my husband went on a few dates with a woman 12 years ago, while were together, and I only found out about this 6 months ago, many of you would believe this is why I chose to have the affair. Ah another bullshit excuse!, you’d all say. Well it isn’t why. It would be silly to think that. Morals are moral and character is character, I lack both of those and THAT’S why I had the affair. And yes, there’s more, but this is about owning what I’ve done so I will only discuss the affair.

      So it’s all good, I have thick skin and I can handle a little scrutiny from people, it’s okay. Right now, it’s perfectly okay.

      • TryingHard

        You didn’t. I was giving you a suggestion. One thing you can’t do on these forums is parse what we say that belongs to you and what doesn’t.

        Given there was no sex and no meetings your husband probably isn’t taking it too seriously. It’s when the sex is involved. Men are like that. They are more concerned about the physical aspect where women are more concerned about the emotional. That’s probably why you’re so invested in this “relationship”. It’s not real, it’s only your emotions. Your husband isn’t taking it seriously because well there was no sex. You’re lucky. Many men think if there’s no sex it isn’t a real affair. LOL some men even think if there was only oral or mutual masturbation it wasn’t sex. Remember Bill Clintion, “I did NOT have sex with that woman”. Um, yes Bill yes you did 🙂 So from what you’ve written it sounds like your husband is following the norm and thinking since there was no sex it’s all good. You missed a bullet!

        Now that it’s on the table that there was no sex you should count your lucky stars your husband is so willing to let it go. Now you ask any woman on this site if it’s ok their husband had an on line emotional “affair” and you will hear a much different story.

        I think more to the point you should look at your own story and try to figure out why a pretend on line affair held such meaning to you. Personally, I think those affairs are weird. Sorry if that hurts your feelings. I hope you figure it out before you have a real PA or in person EA.

        Not trying to be mean and I’m glad you have thick skin. So do I 🙂 All we can go by is what you post. I hope you get yourself and your motivations for your actions on line figured out and you have long and happy marriage. Only you and he are in control of that.

      • Carol

        I am you. Except what I’ve done is worse. My best friend’s husband started flirting with me many years ago. At first, I thought the compliments were innocent gestures of kindness. When I blew them off and joked that he needed glasses, he came back even more direct, convincing me I was too hard on myself and that I didn’t know how pretty and sexy I really was. I should’ve said “Thanks, but this is inappropriate.” Instead, trying to avoid sounding like a bitch, I said “Thanks, you’re very sweet to say so.” However, that acknowledgement opened the door for further emails that became flirtatious and suggestive in nature. At first, it was funny. There were innuendos and just teasing. We never discussed our marriages, never bashed our spouses, and we never said we loved each other. The conversations escalated to purely physical stuff… sexting, I guess. He always asked to see me and would tell me how mich he wanted to hold me and and show me how a woman should be treated. Ultimately, a day came when I decided to take him up on his offer.

        It wasn’t good. I felt absolutely horrible and guilty for what I allowed to happen. I lacked the guts to tell my friend what I had done, and I needed attention so badly that I entertained HER husband’s flirting and allowed it to go too far. I cut him off immediately! I told him it would NEVER happen again.

        Although he tried to continue our relationship by begging to see me again, I told him I couldn’t live like this and that we shouldn’t have done it in the first place. We betrayed someone we loved and we can never do it again.

        We promised each other to take this secret to our graves and that we would never tell anyone what had happened.

        He continued to try to talk to me occasionally over the years, even finding new ways to contact me after I blocked him on email and phone. I couldn’t even visit my friend at her home or attend the same gatherings he would attend because he would corner me and touch me every time she left the room. He would make suggestive comments in front of her, as if he WANTED to be found out. My friend never accepted why I didn’t go to her house, but I always made an excuse. I had to avoid him at all costs because he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. I know I created that problem by saying “yes” in the first place and I deeply regret it.

        Their marriage has been in trouble recently (a few years). He’s an alcoholic who fell off the bandwagon. He started by taking her pain meds and he is drinking a lot. They’ve had physical fights. They’ve both cheated. She moved out recently and started dating someone else.

        Well, he came face-to-face with her boyfriend over the weekend. The next day, he asked her if she still loved him — but didn’t get the answer he wanted — so he told her he had an affair with me, spelling out every little detail. He said he had to “clear his conscience,” but I see this only as a way to hurt her more. He knows she values friendships more than anything and he knows that she had already forgiven me for flirting with him (he told her THAT part last year during a fight). She and I have had a strained relationship since. I should’ve told her the full truth last year. But, I didn’t. I couldn’t hurt her any more than he was already hurting her, and I didn’t want to lose her as a friend. So, I denied that anything more happened. I lied.

        And now it’s all out in the open. I’ve finally admitted the one-night stand. And our friendship is over. I deserve it, I know. I created this problem and I have to face the music.

        I wanted you to know you are not alone, even though you might feel like it. People make mistakes. We are human. I never thought I would cheat with a friend’s husband, but I did. I have lost my best friend and I have to live with what I have done.

        Hugs to you! Forgive yourself and learn!

    • TrustingGod

      Scott, as usual, makes perfect sense. I wish I did not identify with everything that he said, but my STBXH did just about everything Scott listed, which is why I am trying to determine whether to file for separation immediately, and then divorce once I get a good job with health insurance. Yeah, stage 3 is the make-or-break, and apparently can regress right back to stage 1, as in, “I’m not sorry now. I didn’t cheat on you. I didn’t do anything wrong.” I didn’t want to have to separate before getting a job, due to money issues, but STBXH did something that really made me look at what he’s become, and that the reason I’ve been feeling like my husband doesn’t really care about me or our children much is because he DOESN’T. I am sometimes terrified at what he might do, because I know now just how sneaky he is, and how much he lies to our faces and expects us to believe it. He got angry when I told him I wanted the keys back to our rented house, and then told my eldest son he didn’t even have them. “Look–they’re not on my keychain!” Because he doesn’t realize I’ve always paid attention to everything he says and know he made and showed me four copies of each key when we moved in. So I’m afraid to leave the house without one of us on it, in case he decided to come back and take anything and everything he feels entitled to, or which would make me even more dependent upon his goodwill, since we will be homeless or go hungry if he decides that he should deposit his check elsewhere, and I may not be able to get a support order in time. I hate having to be nice to someone who has been so cruel to me, but he is being nice so far, and I mistrust that a LOT, especially since he already threatened to move the funds elsewhere if I didn’t respect his “rights” to see his kids. Only our toddler was happy to see him. He barely interacted with our teenage son, and my eldest reported that he looked bored long before the two hours were up. So maybe I won’t have to worry about weekly visitations. Maybe he’ll be happy with bi-weekly so that he can say he’s a good father (LOL).

      Anyway, I hope Amanda can get her head straight right away. The AP doesn’t know the real person, she doesn’t know who he really is, and the only thing she needs to do is figure out how to be totally transparent about everything, and sorry always, sorry enough to forget about the AP. Maybe she could pretend the AP is a terrible person who was party to deliberately hurting her husband in the worst way imaginable–oh, wait, he was! No romanticism allowed of the AP.

      • Stupid Gal

        Yep it’s a battle that is literally eating me up from the inside out Can’t even barely stomach any food I caught them out red handed because I listened to the actual audio footage of a video that was taped with the brightness down and this was done whilst I was in the same house just in another room. You can imagine how naive gullible and foolish I feel amongst everything else.

    • Amanda

      TryingHard, thanks for clarifying:) I haven’t posted on forums before and this is the first one I’ve felt comfortable enough to share on so I’m learning now how they work.

      No feelings hurt over here! Yes, online affairs are very weird lol. Weird but dangerous. Why? Because who on earth can get hooked into something that will never see the light of day? This is certainly what I thought a few months ago. I would secretly giggle at people who got so swept up in ridiculousness and could not figure out what the big deal was. I think it’s this assumption or mentality that leads to online affairs, which leads to emotional affairs, which can, and often does, lead to physical affairs. I stopped it before it got physical. I guess in my twisted affair fogged mind I knew that no man could forgive a woman who went the extra mile(literally) to screw a man and to screw over her husband. And another part of me really didn’t want to sleep with another man. My husband is my first and only and I’d like to keep it that way. Sadly, this doesn’t make me any better. Pictures were sent and phone conversations were eventually had (and not the kind you have with your grandma). To me, this is just as bad. To a man, perhaps not. But because I am a woman, and I’m dealing with fixing me and not my husband, I will take accountability for the feelings I’ve hurt regardless of precisely how much they’ve been hurt. And remember, my AP has a wife, she’s a woman who will see this “affair” as the real deal and I can’t ignore that I will forever impact her view on her marriage, husband and possibly men in general.

      TrustingGod- Me too! I hope my head can get straight too, and soon. I’m harboring way too much guilt to think straight at the moment, but I’m getting there.

      • Scott

        “To a man, perhaps not.”

        Betrayal knows no gender. Ask me what the hardest part of my ex wife’s infidelity was, and I’ll tell you the sex was tough, of course, giving herself to another man, but it goes so much deeper. She had a pet name for him. I saw her notes where she discussed how he smelled, his clothes, why she fell for him, how she felt safe with him. I literally felt violated from the inside out. She attacked every corner of my emotional and mental being. And it wasn’t just because some 20 year old punk put his penis in her.

        I think it’s safe now for you to assume all your assumptions are part of the reason why you’re on this board. You brought an expectation of what your life was and was not going to be, and when it didn’t end up that way, you couldn’t confront the person you committed to, and ran instead to someone you built a fantasy around.

        Don’t make the mistake anymore of assuming infidelity is one thing to a man and another to a woman, or that it’s about some excuse or justification.

        Find help, find counseling, heal the damage the best you can. But know that regardless of gender, infidelity is about selfishness, about entitlement, and about running from yourself. You won’t fix yourself and perhaps your marriage if you think in the very way that got you into the problem to begin with.

        • Veronica

          U got me. You brought back things I hide from myself.

    • Tryinghard

      I get how it happens. And I’m sure you got very caught up in the fantasy of it all. You assumed he was being honest because you wanted to assume that but no you did not know him. It wasn’t real it was all words and a sell job. You could have been anyone to that guy. You were just the fish that bit so he set the hook. He’s probably moved on to another fishing hole by now. Guys like this don’t invest much in relationships obviously.

      My h had a four year relationship with a woman both physically and emotionally and it was very easy for him to cut it off. You settled for crumbs. No woman should ever do that. I will never understand women who do. Why would anyone want to be someone’s secret, hidden in the dark only brought out for some sick prurient satisfaction. Don’t they have any pride or self worth. Surly you think more of yourself than that? Maybe your marital relationship is lacking somewhere or you are personally lacking somewhere so fix it. There’s plenty of good help out there rather than turning to some nasty internet fantasy .

      I hope you can fix your marriage and relationship and if not you move on and don’t cheat or pretend to cheat again. And no I doubt his wife will think it’s too funny but maybe she’s doing the same thing. Don’t worry about her. You’ve got your own mess to clean up.

    • antiskank

      I’m glad that you understand the message that TH is offering. I’m sure you can also understand that as a betrayed spouse, (at least in my case) the initial response to a cheater is a combination of anger and curiosity. The anger does subside a little if the cheater is willing to be honest, open and take full accountability. I am sorry to say that I can’t muster much empathy for the pain and suffering that a cheater may feel but understand that it happens.

      It sounds like you really want to fix your marriage, I hope that is true and it works out for you. I would find it much easier to forgive and move on if my cheating husband had been as willing to clean up his mess. If I try hard, I can see how the affair can happen, It was the continued lies and stonewalling and emotional abuse that I am having great difficulty with. If you really want to save your marriage, you need to fully understand that and do the necessary work, no matter how difficult or inconvenient.

      I have found this site to be a great help and a comfort to me on bad days, an inspiration on good days. It saddens me to know that so many of us are going through this but helps to know I’m not alone, not crazy, and others are getting better and moving on. I learn so much from the people on this site and I really believe that we can learn a lot from your perspective too. Sometimes the responses may sound harsh but remember they come from a place of pain. Maybe you can help us understand — why? How could you?

      good luck:)

    • Tryinghard

      LOL. Looks like I’m not the only one with strong opinions here. I am NOT coming from a place of hurt or anger. I am coming from a place of right and wrong!!! I’m not “picking” on Amanda or anyone else. I’m telling the truth.

      There is no point in coddling people or patronizing them. We are all adults here. Take the advice or don’t. But you come here and lay yourself out asking for help/advice I’m going to give the best I got.

      This is a shit situation whether you are the victim of infidelity/betrayal or the perpetrator. It’s hard to see the forest for the tress. I don’t feel one bit responsible if someone takes my words differently than I intended.

      When I address someone all I know is what they’ve written. The say affair and that has a lot of meanings. You take it personally that I assume sex was involved, not my problem. You are the one responsible for explaining your story. And maybe my words don’t apply specifically to YOU they may resonate for someone else.

      I’m not a psychologist. I just have a lot of personal experience and have read a ton of relevant material. What I say doesn’t apply, don’t pay attention, move on. It’s a blog. Personally I like reading all points of view. I don’t tend to take too much personally. Anyway there you are and there you have it :). PEACE OUT

      • antiskank

        Hey TH, I couldn’t agree more!! I love your posts, they are one of the things I look forward to seeing on here. Right and wrong is a given!! My CH often tells me that I am too concerned – too black and white about such things as right and wrong!
        We all express it a little differently but I sure didn’t see you as picking on anyone. I love how you tell it like it is and I know you will keep it up. I am not trying to speak for you or interpret your meanings, I can only say how I feel and on any given day or time of the day, and that can change at a moment’s notice!
        Although we all have the betrayal and resulting fall-out in common, there are so many variables in each relationship situation that we could never explain it all to someone else. That’s one of the great things about this blog – we get so many different perspectives and circumstances that make us think, some fit, some don’t. Love it, keep up the great input, please!

        • TryingHard

          HaHa–Keepin it real Antiskank, keepin it real 🙂

    • Amanda

      Love the responses:) Not too harsh at all and I can appreciate that everyone is still hurting, so all comments will be viewed by me with a great deal of respect.

      Scott, I really do apologize for thinking for even a second that all men will react to an affair the same way. My comment was mostly based on articles and blogs that I’ve come across, and a good chunk of them that were written by men seem to state that men and women will react to an affair quite differently. Sex seems to be the hardest part to get over compared to other elements, again, this is just what I read. Thank you for sharing your experience and enlightening me, getting perspective is why I’m here:) As far as straying instead of confronting issues within my marriage, oh boy, as untrustworthy as I may be in many eyes right now, trust me on just this: I tried ridiculously hard for YEARS to fix many of our issues. It was me that made appointments with three different counselors over the years. It was me who begged him to see a counselor for some of his bad habits (he never went, I even set up the appointment!). It was me who saw a counselor on my own time in hopes that maybe, just maybe, if I trained myself to accept that he won’t change, I could fix our issues without his help. It was me who bought the books and me who scheduled the date nights. Sorry for ranting, LOL, but I promise you, the ONLY thing I truly did wrong was stray and not separate from him, either temporarily or forever. I made the wrong choice. Like many fools, I got swept up in the nice words and caring nature of another person (genuine or not). Again, and please believe this, I am in NO WAY excusing my cheating simply because we had issues. There is never a reason to cheat. Ever. Period.

      Antiskank- (sooo weird typing that knowing that I am seen as the antiskank) A cheater of any kind would never- unless they are in serious denial- expect you to have any empathy for them. I, myself, wouldn’t accept a drop of sympathy for my actions. Any yucky feelings I have were essentially self inflicted, feeling bad for anyone like me would be like feeling bad for a person who deliberately holds their hand over an open flame.

      I’m really sorry you aren’t getting what you deserve. It baffles me. I can’t imagine being anything less than super understanding towards my husband after what I’ve done. Was there at least a moment of some serious ass kissing(for total lack of a better way to put it) and accountability?

      As for why or how I did this? In a few months time I hope to have really good answers to both of those questions. Sadly, right now, I don’t. None of this was really a first for me. For 10 years I worked in a male dominated job, so I’ve heard the pick up lines and the compliments and had zero issues flicking them off and feeling sorry for the men who hit on a me knowing very well that I was married. So why did I stray now? I have loving feelings for my husband, I find him attractive and, at his core, he really is a hell of a catch. So again, why now? I can bore you with details as to why our marriage was suffering prior to the EA, but I really do believe that cheating is simply a character flaw and not symptomatic of “bad marriage”. Maybe it’s a short lived character flaw, but none the less, affairs ONLY happen when as person has lost their integrity. I’m not even sure if I buy into the willpower part anymore, if you have integrity and compassion for your partner and respect for yourself, it really doesn’t take a whole lot of willpower to avoid crossing the line. But this is just my opinion. So sadly, I can’t really say why or how I could do this to someone I love, sorry:/

      I can, however, share with you my embarrassing thought process throughout the EA, and I predict many others thought the same way I did.
      I lied to myself big time. Over and over again. Told myself what I needed to hear in order to justify what I was doing. I picked apart our marriage and got angry at him for things he didn’t care to fix and things he did in the past in where he chose not to put me first. “He didn’t put me first, why would I put him first now?”. Crazy and ridiculous things ran through my mind just to keep feeling how I was feeling. Do not get me wrong, those things still bug me (though we are finally communicating now so I imagine we will discuss those issues and more once we are done dealing with the affair), but I no longer use them as excuses for my actions. But that’s pretty much it in a nut shell. I became the biggest liar. To myself, my husband, my friends and my family. I know I’ve said nothing that you all haven’t already heard or read about where affairs get their flame from, but I thought I’d share.

      There’s one last thing I want to say here, and I hope saying it doesn’t piss anybody off. You will all get past the pain you are feeling right now. People can get past any pain eventually if they follow the steps to do so. I know you all know that. But I hope you all know this too: Regardless of how things turn out, you all get to live and die in a way that cheaters can’t. Ever. You all win, in the grand scheme of things, you win. Times a million. When asked if you were ever unfaithful, you get to proudly say no. You get to live your lives knowing that you never compromised your morals and self respect for something so bloody embarrassing and disgusting. Cheaters lose. But again, I’ve no doubt that you all know this. Anyway, I so hope that I don’t offend anyone by saying that. And also, I don’t know everyone’s personal story so if you’re reading this and thinking that I’m way off, feel free to tell me, I will take no offense at all.

      • Shifting Impressions

        I appreciate you saying that you lied to yourself over and over again… I believe this is what my husband must have done. One has to justify their actions to themselves one way or another. Just hearing you say that or should I say reading it helps me understand just a little.

        As for saying we will get past this…..I’m not so sure. Even if one does get past the betrayal one is never the same….I know I will never be same. But you are right I would rather have been betrayed than the one doing the betraying.

      • Scott

        Amanda, I don’t know you, so I don’t have reason to hate you, or to despise what you are or who you are. And even if I had reason, I’d likely not hate you, I’d just keep my distance if I didn’t like you. So feel free to stop worrying about like or dislike. You came here for answers, and I’ll be blunt and tell you the truth. I take at face value that you are who you say you are and not someone who is trolling or looking to make a mockery of the pain and agony betrayed spouses go through. So I will answer you. And I will be honest, in as polite a way possible.

        You are not thinking clearly. You know intrinsically what you did was wrong and you are expressing the construct of the situation, but you are in the moment when it’s still fresh, as is your husband. Ask me what my first two weeks was like, and I will tell you it was hiding, and putting on a brave face, and telling her how good I was about it, and in my mind I was tormented, beyond belief. I cried every day in the shower for months so I wouldn’t show my pain. But when my ex started crossing into terrorism, I stopped hiding my pain. Your husband will change. Quickly. You will too. And you have no idea what the next three or four months of your life is going to be like. And it’s not good.

        “You get to live your lives knowing that you never compromised your morals and self respect for something so bloody embarrassing and disgusting. Cheaters lose. But again, I’ve no doubt that you all know this.”

        That and a bag of donuts wins me nothing. No marriage. No single home for my kids. No pride in having a lifelong loving family. Nothing. My morals and ethics do mean a lot to me, but because I wouldn’t cheat has nothing to do with the fact that she did choose to cheat. She did choose to run to another man. She did choose someone her daughter’s age over her husband and family. What do my values mean? A lot. But there’s no scoreboard. I didn’t win anything. I just accepted my fate and moved forward. Try doing that. Try being the mother of a dead child. The daughter of a murdered father. Maybe you are already and you know what I mean. All these things, so far out of your control, so removed from what your ‘ethics’ are. Do you see a scoreboard here?

        “There’s one last thing I want to say here, and I hope saying it doesn’t piss anybody off. You will all get past the pain you are feeling right now. People can get past any pain eventually if they follow the steps to do so.”

        It doesn’t piss me off, but it is a teachable moment. Let’s just chalk this one up to one of those things you don’t ever want to say to a betrayed spouse and let it go at that. Again, it’s wrong thinking. ‘You’ll get past it’ is a nice way of saying, “it’s not that bad, you’ll pull up your bootstraps and get er done.” Good stuff. Condescending as hell, but funny. You have no clue what this all means at this point, so again, let’s just say, no, you don’t ever say this, and for the love of god, don’t say it to your husband. He’s likely to smash every breakable object in the house. At minimum.

        “As far as straying instead of confronting issues within my marriage, oh boy, as untrustworthy as I may be in many eyes right now, trust me on just this: I tried ridiculously hard for YEARS to fix many of our issues. It was me that made appointments with three different counselors over the years. It was me who begged him to see a counselor for some of his bad habits (he never went, I even set up the appointment!). It was me who saw a counselor on my own time in hopes that maybe, just maybe, if I trained myself to accept that he won’t change, I could fix our issues without his help. It was me who bought the books and me who scheduled the date nights. Sorry for ranting, LOL, but I promise you, the ONLY thing I truly did wrong was stray and not separate from him, either temporarily or forever.”

        You are blaming your spouse. You might not think you are, but you are. The ONLY thing? Wait, what?????? How the hell do you think you got into an affair? Your frustrations at what he did or didn’t do is about your expectations of his reactions. Here’s an exercise for you. Make four columns on a piece of paper. Write down your action. Write down his reaction. Then write down what you expected him to do in reaction. Then right down YOUR reaction to his reaction.

        Then ask yourself, why your expectations don’t match his actions. It’s not HIM that’s the problem here. I don’t doubt you did work, or that you tried. That’s not even the point.

        “I did this” “I did that” “I thought this” “I thought that” – seriously? You THINK you carried the load. You think you bear the burden. You think you own the exclusive territory to right and wrong. This is my point. You only did one thing wrong? Ever? Oh.My.God. Please please tell me you didn’t lay this one on him yet. If you haven’t, dear Jesus don’t say it.

        ‘I know cheating is wrong honey, but I did everything right and you did everything wrong and now I did this one thingy but hey, people get over their pain, so work on being perfect while I admit to this one thing but nothing else.’ PFFFFFTTTT. Come on!

        Did you marry your husband assuming he was perfect? That’s a really crappy expectation of another person. So why weren’t you happy with him the way he was? So you didn’t like everything. So you didn’t feel connected, and yes, maybe you honestly did pay more attention to the relationship than he did. So what? That means nothing now. Your affair is the issue at hand. Not him missing some therapy appointment 18 months ago. There’s no ‘justice’ you can seek for things that happened years ago. The only thing he sees right now is someone who was within moments of sleeping with another man, and heck, he may even think you did sleep with that other guy.

        My ex told me one time, “you did so many things to hurt me and I did this one thing”. I told her, “funny, you ask forgiveness of this monsterous event, but you wouldn’t forgive all the little things you hold against me now.” And yet, thinking back, I was always home, I helped daily with the housework, dishes, vacuuming, cleaning. I was affectionate. I was her teammate, partner, had her back. I was my kids soccer coach. I didn’t smoke or drink when they were young (I drink now dammit – LOL) I read them stories. I got up in the night. I drove them to school, so they didn’t have to take the bus. I wasn’t perfect. I didn’t expect perfection. She did many, many, many things wrong, and was at times horrifically cruel to other people. But when it came right down to it, she only saw that she did one thing wrong. IN 16 YEARS she did one thing wrong. Is that you Amanda? You did one thing wrong? Please, get over yourself.

        I KNOW your husband did things wrong. If he did everything right, his name would be Jesus. He’s not perfect. That doesn’t mean shit right now. Who cares? You dropped a 50 megaton nuclear bomb on your marriage and now you think talking about him not making a therapy appointment is going to solve something? It’s your expectation here that’s the issue. And now, because you cheated, I’m willing to bet your husband will tell you you’re going to do all the work. I would, and in fact I did. Your husband didn’t betray you. You betrayed you – READ THAT AGAIN – you betrayed you. You showed the entire world, and yourself, that you escaped reality to a fantasy when times got tough. And in the process you betrayed the man you claim to love. You love him so much you pointed out to a stranger on a website that he wasn’t perfect. Do you really think we haven’t all heard that one before? Please. I was born in the day, not yesterday.

        Time to drop the excuses. Time to let go of the fantasy that he’s perfect. In fact, in your posts I see a lot of fantasy. This shit is real Amanda. That’s real pain he wears in his eyes. That’s real anger in his heart, brewing, waiting to come out. Spend some time reflecting, really, and I say this in the hopes you can heal. It’s your issue. Nothing that man did or didn’t do, or your perception of him, is the problem. You are. Stop blaming the victim. I don’t buy it and I’m not going to buy it. If you really, really want to fix this, start with the elephant in the room. Don’t talk about “communicating” well. That’s code for “I finally get to tell him all the screwed up shit about him.” – and maybe even make him admit he did something wrong. That’s called fishing for justification. And I don’t buy justification. Lady, if you told me that crap your spewing I’d throw your ass out of the house for good. You emotionally cheated with another man. That shit hurts horribly, like Aushwitz hurts, like PTSD forever hurts. And you’re going to happily bounce along now because you’re “communicating” about all the shit he did wrong? Wakeup Amanda. Help yourself not to make the famous cheater mistakes, please, I’m begging you!!! And there’s a ton of articles on here about cheater mistakes. Mistake number one, after Dday, spending time talking about all the betrayed spouses shortcomings. 5 years from now he will still feel the sting of that. You want to hurt that man more? Tell him his screw ups need fixed. My answer? “Listen blankety, when your a** figures out why you sent nudie pics to some piece of blankety, then we can talk about my issues, and only when I think you honestly figured it out, not some BS excuse.”

        Maybe your husband is a nicer guy than I am though, and he won’t say it quite so mean.

        Lying to yourself is a bad recipe for creating a bigger rift in your marriage than you’re already trying to heal.

        Time to be honest, completely honest, with yourself. You didn’t seek attention from another man because your husband didn’t make an appointment. And I am willing to bet if you focus on fixing yourself instead of thinking this is a one off bad choice, you’ll end up in a much better marriage. You have taken way too much for granted.

        • tryingtorecover

          Scott- I read what you wrote (above) to my husband….. no response as I expected. It’s okay though, it’s not my job to convince him they fair wasn’t all my little “faults” and “imperfections” as a wife. Overtime we argue about his EA he reverts back to our “marriage had many issues before the OW.” I express, every marriage has issues, and every person is reason to cheat. Furthermore having an affair only exacerbates the issue, and creates a bigger barrie, mistrust, resentments. No marriage ever become better by a man running to another woman (or vice versa).

          My husband did the same thing that Amanda described. He would pick me apart – the little things and focus on my shortcoming. At times I believe he becomes more nasty to get a reaction out of me to justify his behavior (self- fulfilling prophecy).

          I appreciate Amanda’s honesty on how she would justify her actions during the affair though I agree with Scott about the “scoreboard.” In marriage there is no tally. I think this mentality Amanda led you to the affair in the first place.. Making mental lists of your husbands imperfections and how he may have wronged you. I would encourage you to start looking at things differently if you are going to be in recovery (and I am a counselor). I say recovery because I view this as an addiction. You needed to hear these “words” despite theses catastrophic consequences. That is a hallmark of addiction. To be in recovery one needs to look at a number of aspects – one being, her/his thinking. Your thinking is the “old” way. The lists, tallies, etc., my suggestion: counseling twice a week and follow Scott’s suggestions. Scott had great insight and it’s helps develop more empathy where people who have EA lack… they focused on their own selfish needs to feel moments of escape and pleasure. Time to develop pro-social skills. Thank you Amanda for opening up. Thanks Scott for such powerful words of wisdom!

        • Champagne

          Thank you for your response to Amanda
          Scott, God this saved me from doing so much typing, Amanda please read thoroughly!!!!!!…Please!!!!!….Interpret and Comprehend!!!!!!!

    • TrustingGod


      I just can’t get past something when I read your comments. The overall tone is wrong. You are just too dang cheery for someone who is upset with herself about her EA. Don’t get me wrong, kudos for saying everything that a betrayed person would want to hear, and that which would supposedly get a BS to be more sympathetic and understanding of how it happened. But I just don’t buy it. I can’t shake the feeling that you are actually conducting a psychology experiment, and are trying to gain the trust of the frequent commenters and readers here in order to research your thesis. That is how you sound to me. Because I just can’t conceive of how someone who cheated and has only gone NC for five days could have such personal insight, and such a thick skin. But maybe I’m wrong, and you are the unicorn every BS is hoping for, the one who takes full responsibility and is willing to do whatever it takes, for years, to repair her relationship. But I doubt it. I just don’t hear the remorse. If you are for real, and not a researcher or a troll just trying to amuse herself, you’re going to have to step up your game. Dig deep and find the emotion that shows how torn up you really feel at your own selfishness, and the fantasy life you long to continue. Find the repentance that only comes when you look squarely into the face of the suffering you have caused. Find some more humility, because what comes through in your writing is only a superficial spackle, the right words, but the wrong motivation. It feels like manipulation.

      So, sorry if I’m wrong, and you are sincere. Hopefully your husband doesn’t feel the same way when you talk to him about this.

      • Amanda

        TrustingGod- I “hear” what you are saying. I can see perhaps where you are coming from to a degree. Here’s the thing, I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if don’t. If I cry the blues on here about how sorry I am, you’ll think the same way about me that you do right now. I promise you that. You may not believe it but you would. I’m not kidding when I say that I am fully aware that EVERYTHING I say on here will be picked apart. Everything. And it sucks, oh but I can’t say that, can I? Because if I say it sucks then I’m whining and I don’t have the right to whine, do I? And I can’t say how much I’m hurting too, because then I’m a delusional b*tch who cares about herself and not her husband and who expects pity from a bunch of betrayed spouses. Neither of those would be true, but can you understand that I’m a little standoffish when it comes to talking about the steps that I, too, need to go through?

        In a way I get it. To some of you, not all of you, I am the skank who messed around with your husband and turned your lives upside down. I’m not an individual, I am exactly like that woman you now hate, so I must also think the same way.

        As for being cheery…nope, I certainly don’t feel cheery. I won’t lie, it helps huge and makes the process easier and faster that my husband isn’t freaking out on me or harbors no hate in his heart right now. I feel very lucky about that. We’ve talked about why that is and he says for the first time in our marriage, he is no longer the bad guy or the guy who screwed up once upon a time. I don’t entirely understand that, but I can appreciate it.

        Seven days NC actually. Five, seven, ppft! same thing, right? Nope. Not at all. Every day I don’t talk to him gets a little easier. 5 days ago I didn’t want to get out of bed, couldn’t eat, couldn’t think, could only exist. Do I still feel the need to talk to him? Hell yes, I do, but feelings of remorse are stronger and I understand now those feelings are normal and part of the process and that none of it’s “real”. I don’t really miss HIM, but I miss the way I felt when I talked to him. Eventually that will fade, I can feel it, I didn’t 5 days ago, but I do now.

        It’s okay if you think I’m not acting the way you think I should or the way other cheating women act, that’s really okay. All I will ask is to please not mistake cheery for simply being respectful to those on here who may not be a big fan of me. I hope you understand, and if I’m wrong about assuming how you feel, then just disregard any or all of what I said.

    • Rachel

      Did you ever confront your ex wife’s affair partner? How did you find closure?

      • Scott

        I never confronted him. I told my ex one time, while we were divorcing, that I wanted him to apologize. That was one of my laundry list of requirements for reconciliation. She was and believe it or not, still is foggy about him, so that never happened. I started looking back through the years and realized she had betrayed me with so many men, and women, it wasn’t funny. She started our marriage acting like she was single, spent years hiding things and possibly cheating from me, and the last 3 years was like a kangaroo, hopping from whichever man or woman she could find to provide attention. So by the time the OM was in the picture, I realized, if it wasn’t him, it would have been someone else.

        That said, she was exposed on Halloween night in 2012. I walked into her friends apartment and she was white as a ghost. He was in a chair, and next to his chair was her purse. No woman leaves her purse next to someone she doesn’t know or trust completely. I knew then. I joked it up, but the next day, I confronted her, never him. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing I was weak. I know she talked to him, maybe even primarily about me.

        And I pretty much made up my mind on several different occasions that we were divorcing. Once when she told me her and the AP had decided it was best if she went back to me. I told her it was nice to hear a 20 year old little shit was making up my mind for me. That said, I live in a small town. I have a good deal of influence with a lot of people. And I’m certainly going to exert that influence on anyone anywhere in regards to him. I’m a really really bad enemy to have. And at the same time, I’m not overtly going to perform acts of evil, just let it be known, that he is not a person of character. I’ll let God handle justice.

        Closure? I just decided I would never know the truth and my ex and her drama was a waste of time. Not my monkey, not my circus. It wasn’t easy getting there, and of course I still flash back a little still, almost three years out. Amanda talks about getting over pain, easy for the person who inflicts the pain to say, my experience is its with you in some way forever, whether you let it own your happiness is a choice. Hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through.

        I am sooo much happier, and my life is going so well, and I thank God for that, every single day.

        • TryingHard

          I am sending a cyber bitch slap to your EW!!! I like to say “I can be your best friend or you worse nightmare. Your choice.”

        • Pippi

          I haven’t commented here in forever. But, I laughed out loud when I read “not my monkey, not my circus” as I use that expression ALL THE TIME to describe the fiasco my CS created with his bad decisions. Although I use the term monkeys (plural) — there were two of them!

          Glad life is going well for you Scott, and you are rid of the monkey(s). Peace and healing to all.

    • TrustingGod


      There you go! Almost. On here people spill it out, all the horror they’ve been going through. It is actually better, in my opinion, to be real. In your initial comments, you described your marriage, and mentioned your husband’s infidelity from years ago. You said, but that’s not an excuse…so why mention it in that way? I actually was a little concerned for you when you said your husband wasn’t all that upset. I thought, oh, because all the signs of problems in your marriage, along with that, probably indicate he has been cheating on you, too, for a while. Maybe not. Maybe he’s been checked out for other reasons, communication problems, etc. but I think it’s a possibility that you should take seriously. I actually wonder a little why you want to save a marriage that had so many problems. But maybe that’s because I am now separated from my husband, and can finally think a little more clearly without the constant rejection and unrepentant attitude that pervaded the atmosphere. I don’t have to check his phone anymore because I already know he is back to his old shenanigans, but I’m going to file for divorce soon, so what do I care? I tried to fix my marriage for my children’s sakes and because of finances, and belief that divorce is the worst option. But it has been torture, and now I can feel more peaceful. I don’t have to try to believe any more lies.

      But I don’t have the ability to say, “well, I have the moral high ground. I never cheated.” Because in my first marriage, I did. A one-night stand, and I know why I did it. My first husband was emotionally and physically abusive, and he had gone to Mexico for an unspecified amount of time and expected me to send him money that I was supposed to collect from people who owed it to him. I felt used and abandoned and unloved and desperate, and I did it out of a sense of revenge. He never found out, which was good, because he might have killed me. He abandoned me and our son a few months after his return to the U.S., and didn’t pay child support for the sixteen years he should have. And I can continue to lie to myself, and say, he deserved it, or that I was a suicidal mess that didn’t know what she was doing, but it was still wrong. I was wrong for doing it, because I was married. And some people might say, well, karma’s a bitch, that’s why your current husband cheated on you. But I don’t buy that, because that would mean that everyone who’s been cheated on did something to deserve it. I have had a mostly crappy marriage for 19 years, in which my husband has often made me feel unimportant, uninteresting, unloved, insecure, and used. Very similar to my first short marriage, and it took me a while to see that I’d married someone very similar to my first husband, because I’d thought I’d done so much better. And yet, as much as I used to fantasize sometimes about being with someone else–mostly just someone who loved me more than anyone else, appreciated me, and wanted to spend time with me–I didn’t cheat. I had a change of heart, and developed integrity. I would’ve been ashamed for my sons to know. I had too much to lose. And a few years ago, I became a serious Christian, and couldn’t think of committing a sin like that after everything God brought me through.

      So I do know some people can change, that not all cheaters will be cheaters forever. That’s also why I was willing to give my husband another chance, but he blew it, and I am tired of abuse and recognize now that he doesn’t love me and probably never did. I will be better off without him.

      And because I’m not trying to reconcile anymore, and I’ve already been in the blame the other woman/women stage and am over it, I don’t see you the way you think. I just think that you’re suffering from the lack of all the attention and pretend love the AP gave you, and don’t think you are anywhere close to understanding the consequences of what you did. You think you are, but you aren’t. It’s probably going to take a lot longer than you think. Until you can actually think of the AP as utterly repellant, and stop minimizing like you are now doing, comparing your behavior to that of other cheaters, you’re way, way far off, definitely stuck in the beginning stages. I actually would like to help you, but I think you are best helped right now by being called on your BS. It is natural to try to preserve your self-esteem by comparing yourself to other cheaters. People always excuse their wrongs by saying, “well, it’s not like I murdered someone.” And when a marriage counselor at my church tried to tell me that I had no proof of adultery and that only physical adultery was adultery, I thought he needed to check his Bible. But at least he told me that my situation looked hopeless. Reality check #1. But the truth is, wrong is wrong. It’s just like saying someone else is more dead than you are, if you try to excuse your behavior that way.

      So be real with yourself. Understand why you did it, and then put all the focus back on loving your husband and improving your marriage and being trustworthy. But please don’t compare yourself to others, or try to explain that people on here are over sensitized to the OW, and that you understand that they won’t sympathize with you, and that it sucks. You are still trying to get sympathy by saying that. Just look at the crap you did, and keep trying to adjust your thoughts and attitude. Ask yourself, am I doing that abhorrent behavior everyone says the CS does? Let me ask my husband, to make sure. And then stop doing said behavior. Maybe you’ll make it, maybe you won’t. But as long as you try, you will improve as a person, so the effort won’t be lost, regardless.

      • TryingHard

        Scott your post was great but I think Amanda is flattering herself. I think her husband checked out of that marriage a lonnnng time ago. He cheated, so she cheated. I don’t see any relationship to save for these two and what for? These two cheaters should take their lumps and move on.

        • Scott

          Yeah I wasn’t getting that from the earlier posts. I either missed it or I glossed over it somehow. His cheating was really the prime driver and it sounds like he ran right over top of her recovery. That said, exiting was probably the right strategy rather than seeking attention.

          I don’t think it’s a stretch to say two wrongs don’t make a right. God why do people do this to each other? So so sad…

    • TrustingGod

      Kinda wish I would’ve waited for Scott’s response before I opened my big mouth. It was so much clearer and made better points. I’m not sure TryingHard’s analysis is correct, though. It’s a little simplistic. But maybe I see things differently because I have cheated in a prior relationship, and think they should at least try. Then maybe they will be better people for future relationships. I don’t know. It wasn’t until all this happened with my husband that I even allowed myself to see the truth about what I’d done in the past, and repent to God for it. It was just my secret act of hatred towards my abuser, and I kept justifying it to myself, instead of calling it adultery. And that was 21 years of self-delusion. So I think some good can always come out of a terrible situation, but you have to be willing to admit what you did and what that makes you, so that you can overcome it, instead of repeating past behavior.

    • TryingHard

      Trusting God. I think you spoke very well. There’s no one answer here. We are all stating our opinions. Scott is very eloquent. So are you!

    • TrustingGod


      That’s true, there isn’t one answer for everyone. And none of us are MCs (thankfully?). I find myself vacillating between having compassion on people and thinking they are trying to take advantage of me since I’m a chump. I’ll be glad to be divorced and less hurt, humiliated, and full of rejection and bitterness over the whole thing. It’s hard.

      • Scott

        Right TG!!!!!

    • Strengthrequired

      Amanda, I don’t see why you can’t make your marriage work, if both you and your husband are both invested in the marriage and if you both love each other enough to stand by each other and being faithful to one another for the rest of your lives. That is something though both you and your husband have to decide.
      I don’t believe that the pain suffered by a bs is so easily to get past, it truly isn’t. It is with you for life, it gets easier but certainly doesn’t leave you. Those words, the lies, the blaming, everything the cs throws at you, who by the way also has an ap that is helping them belittle you, is not forgotten. It is a pain, a betrayal that crushes you from within, not just on the outside. There are reminders, that lessen, but will always be there, places, etc that were used for their affair, the phone, messages, emails, all a reminder. You only have to see your husband or wife whom ever cheated, with these things glued to them and you think the worse. Yes it lessens with time, but it is forever and always with you.
      If you leave each other, then it carries with you in a new relationship, that trusting nature you once had, is gone, so you guard yourself from being hurt again, and let me say, it isn’t easy to let your guard down.
      You may as well say, the bs is beaten with an ap, tormented with the use of an ap, made to suffer ptsd at the hand of the cs using an ap to inflict excruciating pain, whether the cs likes to believe it or not, whether they intentionally meant to do it or not, that is exactly what they did. Then you think of the children involved, what do you think they went through?
      If you want your marriage to work, then you need to be available to talk when your husband decides it’s time. Let me just say this as well, if the bs doesn’t leave the marriage, for a long time we ask ourselves have we made the right decision? We wonder if we can live with someone that could hurt us this way. One day we see improvement, we feel we can see a bright future, next minute, we are back questioning ourselves, whether we would be better off leaving.
      I do hope you can make your marriage work. It will be a tough long road, just be prepared that there is hard work ahead.
      Also if you really love your husband, do not give in to temptation, do not contact the ap anymore, put all of your energy into your relationship with your husband.

    • Tryinghard

      Trusting God
      I get what you’re saying. I can’t get a real feel for Amanda. It’s weird. He cheats, she cheats. She works at the relationship he doesn’t. He shuts down upon learning about her “affair”. I don’t get it. I dunno maybe there’s hope. There’s always hope but it seems like a stretch as I see it. Lots working against them.

      Meantime. I’m sorry you’re separated but it sounds like you are getting to a good place. It’s not going to be easy for you. My thoughts and good wishes are with you

    • Amanda

      Hi, my name is Amanda and this is my story (I think it’s about time). I am 31. Right!?? If I sounded young in my posts, now you know why. If I sounded older, come on over, we’ll have a glass of wine and discuss my life lol. Anyway, I met my husband when I was 19 and married him when I was a few days shy of 24. He is 8 years my senior. We have a 5 year old and a 20 month old. I’ve had 3 back to back miscarriages and we ended up having our second child through IVF. I lost my mentor, my father, when I was 23 and he was 47. So yes Scotty boy, I do get pain ,and it is for that reason alone that I do really believe that although you can’t ever fully heal from traumatic events, you can get past them. The scar will always be there, always, but you can eventually choose just how long you will focus on that scar for that particular day or week or month. Easier said than done, I know this. But once again, this is my opinion. In any event, let’s continue. My husband and I were dating for about 18 months when I suspected that he was attempting to replace me with a former “crush”. He denied it yet continued to leave me at home and go out to work functions without me. I also found out that they were going out for coffees and spending breaks together and bla bla bla. In hindsight, maybe I get how it started but still don’t condone it. I was a college student, I gained the freshman 15 and went from a size 4/5 to a size 7/8. I was the only female in a class of 24 and started wearing baggy cargo pants to be taken seriously. I liked the damn cargo pants too! But either way, he mentioned it once or twice and I didn’t I think it was a huge deal. The sex was also dwindling. We went from everyday, to every second to 2-3 times a week. Not a huge deal for a 20+ marriage but kind of a big deal for a relatively new relationship. My only issue with all of that is why on earth he didn’t just leave my ass. I would have been just fine. Why drag me along until you found a damn replacement? Fast forward to several months ago, I now know why. He didn’t want to be alone. Yeppers, if that crush of his would have liked him back, which she didn’t, he and I would cease to exist as a couple. Hard pill to swallow. Now, what saved his ass in my eyes him was telling me how grateful he was that it didn’t work out with her. How he knows it was a physical infatuation and nothing more and was happy that he and I stuck together. Anyway, and quote this Scott!, “I thought I forgave him. I thought I got over it and I thought I let it go. I was wrong,”. It stung. I love him but I hate that everything for those first few years was fake. All bullshit. I was the consolation prize. And btw, to this day, the girl is bloody gorgeous! I’ll give her that. I can’t even be bitter, she earned it. Two kids and the woman is still as size 2 lol. Two kids and I’m a size 10, woot woot……ya:/ Anyway, Scott, here’s what I’m thinking: You won’t know exactly how I feel and I won’t know exactly how you feel. You won’t really know what kind of a wife I was/am- despite what picture I paint for you- I’m sure my husband would paint one that looks different. And yes, Scott, your wife would paint one totally different from what you paint. Surely you know this.

      So how the heck did this girl get into an affair?? I “met” him in November 2014. Now, I want you to all swallow whatever you may be drinking and prepare yourself for a good laugh. Ready? I met him on an online game. Yep. I’m a nerd. Big time. When the kids go to bed my husband watches Netflix documentaries and I play RPG games and Modern Warfare and nerdy crap like that. But anyway, I joined a group of 20 people and he was in there and we found ourselves talking more than anyone else. Eventually we wanted to discuss some funny things that were happening within the group and couldn’t do it publicly without drawing attention to people so I downloaded this stupid message app. About 2 weeks after talking with him privately the conversations got personal and lines were crossed and it just progressed from there. Pictures were sent, (my top half, his bottom half) and phone sex happened. This went on for about three months. He called me one morning, his wife saw him on the phone which confirmed her suspicions and that’s where it lost it’s luster for me. I can’t speak for him. His phone was smashed and we didn’t have contact for three days. The idiot in me decided that I would see if she had Facebook to see if I could possibly see if he was okay. Her FB was wide open. The third comment down went something like this, “For 14 years I’ve given everything I am to this man and in the end he chooses her. I am heartbroken.”. This was it for me. I couldn’t fake it anymore and no lie I told myself could mask that she was as real as it gets. She was a real woman. She was me. As I said, my AP and I didn’t talk about our spouses often. In the beginning we discussed current fights we had with them but that was about it. I hate that it took some other woman’s feelings and not my own husband’s to shake me loose from the fog. Or to at least let me see that there was a fog around me. So yah, that’s my affair in a nutshell. Is it as bad as you thought? Who knows. Perhaps my affair stopped in the early stages, before it became physical. Anyone can decide that it isn’t a “real” affair, but remember, most affairs start off slow, assume that this was the early stages of something that could have been much worse. I don’t know. I’m living it form my angle and it seems pretty damn bad, but again , I don’t know how you all feel, and you don’t know how I feel. Fair enough? I hope so.

      “You are blaming your spouse. You might not think you are, but you are. The ONLY thing? Wait, what?????? How the hell do you think you got into an affair? Your frustrations at what he did or didn’t do is about your expectations of his reactions. Here’s an exercise for you. Make four columns on a piece of paper. Write down your action. Write down his reaction. Then write down what you expected him to do in reaction. Then right down YOUR reaction to his reaction”……… What upsets me about this is that I feel like you are picking and choosing what you “pick apart” or focus on. You need to be fair to me and read EVERYTHING I say. I’m not going to pull up quotes in where I used the word “US” or “OUR” when referring to marital problems, you can reread my posts and find them yourself. And, Scott, I believe I used those two words several times throughout my posts so don’t go thinking that I believe our issues were just his and not mine. When I said the “only” thing I did wrong was not leave, I did not mean that I didn’t add 50% of the problems in our marriage, I meant that instead of having the affair, I should have left. The affair was wrong. But I thought for sure that explained a few times over that an affair is a character flaw and has nothing to do with what the betrayed spouse did. Shit. Maybe I was wrong and I need to go over my previous posts. Or maybe you do, Scott.

      “Time to be honest, completely honest, with yourself. You didn’t seek attention from another man because your husband didn’t make an appointment. And I am willing to bet if you focus on fixing yourself instead of thinking this is a one off bad choice, you’ll end up in a much better marriage. You have taken way too much for granted.” …….Again, I do not blame my affair on what he or I did in the marriage. If he walked over and beat the living crap out of me I still wouldn’t think it’s okay for me to cheat on him. I should have temporarily separated to gain perspective throughout our problems if he really didn’t want to meet me half way. Cheating was the wrong thing to do. Enough said. Scott, if you can’t accept that view, sucks to be you. I’m sorry you are still hurting. You didn’t drink back then but now you do? You are hurting, man. I get it. I was not a big drinker and yet in the last few months I had a big glass of red in my hands at 4 o’clock almost everyday. Hurt is hurt. Yours is worse, that’s a fair assumption.

      ” Don’t talk about “communicating” well. That’s code for “I finally get to tell him all the screwed up shit about him.” – and maybe even make him admit he did something wrong. That’s called fishing for justification.” …..Scott, I’m genuinely sorry if that’s what communication meant for you and your wife, but don’t project your marital issues on me and my husband. That isn’t fair and I wouldn’t do that to you or anyone on this forum so please don’t do it again. You are more than welcome to give your advice, even your assumptions, but be careful how you words things. I apologize if I’ve worded things wrong, you need to too.

      “You know intrinsically what you did was wrong and you are expressing the construct of the situation, but you are in the moment when it’s still fresh, as is your husband”……….This is one of the many things you were right on (yes, I said many!) This is all still very new to us. What we think now will, and should, vary greatly from what we will think many months and years down the road. I also do believe you are right in saying that my husband as yet to fully react to what I’ve done. I don’t know everything, I do know it will be hard, but of course I don’t know exactly how hard it will be. I am as prepared as I can be at this time to take an emotional beating from him. I’m also prepared for the One step forward, two steps back scenario. When I say prepared I mean as ready as one can be who hasn’t experienced it yet. But as it stands right now, we are getting there. Little by little, we are slowly connecting in a way we never have. Maybe some of you would see it as nothing and wonder what the hell I’m seeing, but I will grab on to the little things and hold on tight. We will get past this. We will. Yes, I said WE, sorry if not saying HE pisses people off. We are a unit, a team, and we will work on this. He will tell me what he needs, in his own time, and I will give it to him, I will bend over backwards. And when the affair portion of our sh*t is healing slowly, but surely, we will work of the rest of the sh*t that he and I have contributed to out marriage. There will be a scar that I have left. But I won’t let it destroy his life. Even if we don’t make it, and God, I hope we do!, I won’t let my actions affect his whole life. I will do what I can to minimize the damage. I will. If I don’t get the full picture now, I will. I know I will.

      TrustingGod, StrenghtRequired and Scott, I so very much appreciate your insight. More than you know! I read your posts over and over again and take in a bit more each time.

      TryingHard- I do appreciate your opinion but it’s hard to take it for what it is. I feel like you are so very much still stuck on what your husband put you through. I’m not sure how long it’s been since you two have started to reinvent your relationship, but you have so much of every emotion that it’s just difficult for me to see through it all. I know everyone else on here has pain too, I’m not for a second suggesting they don’t, but I just feel like they are a bit more constructive and accessible. Perhaps I’m wrong? You have given me something to take away though, if my husband is as unhappy as you are after an extended period of time I will let him go. I love him enough to accept that if I’ve hurt him beyond healing, despite my best efforts to repair the damage and his efforts to try and get through it, I will let him go and pray that he meets an amazing woman who he can start over with. I hope it doesn’t come to that but it is a very real fear of mine.

      • Scott

        You asked for advice, you got advice. Your personal attacks or assumptions have nothing to do with the advice you were seeking.

        For instance, “You didn’t drink back then but now you do? You are hurting, man.” Is a stretch at best. I have had two beers from my fridge in the last 3 weeks. So I’m not hurting, and I’m not a drunk. But if that value judgment is where you want to go to ignore my take on your situation, feel free.

        Your thinking, your actions, your decisions are what you asked for feedback on. That’s what I addressed. I wish you the best. Stay in therapy. Dig into yourself and find your answers. My posts are intended to force you to take a hard look at yourself. If you choose not to do that, that is certainly your right.

        I will make you a simple bet though, 6 months from now, a year from now, if you stay with your therapy, you will find your perspective on this situation is much different than what you are posting today.

        Good luck.

        • Strengthrequired

          Scott, my husband was hurting during his affair, went from a non drinker to a drinking way too much. Still amazes me hot the affair brought that as well as smoking out in him. Thank god I got him off it. Now that was someone who was drowning his sorrows. I used to say to him, I wish I could go off and forget everything and drown my sorrows, yet someone has to be responsible, someone has to look out for our kids.

      • betrayedchump

        Here is what I & every BS HATES:
        “I hate that it took some other woman’s feelings and not my own husband’s to shake me loose from the fog. Or to at least let me see that there was a fog around me.”
        We BS’s HATE that it took someone else’s feelings to shake you loose from the AFFAIR/BETRAYAL!!!!! WHY THEIRS & NOT YOUR OWN FEELINGS????
        We BS’s will NEVER, I REPEAT, NEVER, understand the WHY that YOU & ONLY YOU did to inflict such a damaging blow to your partner/lover/friend & your relationship/marriage!!!!!
        Amanda there are three truths, yours, your partner’s & God’s, who do you think has the pure, unbiased, correct truth????
        I applaud you for having the strength & courage to come onto this blog & open yourself up for some very hard reality slaps to your face, reality hits hard doesn’t it?
        I admire you for wanting to SAVE/REPAIR/RENEW your relationship/marriage, I Hope & Pray that you succeed!!!! Sometimes as in my experience, the CS just wants out & uses their Affair/Betrayal as an EXIT AFFAIR to end the relationship/marriage. I will tell you this from my own experience, my CS’s EA hurt me more than if she had a PA!!!! How will I ever truly know if her EA culminated into a PA???? I will also let you know that her Affair/Betrayal was the worst pain/heartache/anguish I have been through in my lifetime, 100 times worse than the loss of my parents, family members or friends!!!! She ripped my heart out of my chest, threw it on the dirty ground, stomped on it, then flung it back in the hole in my chest, turned her back & walked away! That is what you did to your spouse/partner when you had your Affair/Betrayal, here’s hoping you find it in yourself to stop walking away, turn around, walk up to your partner/lover/friend, mend his heart & close that wound in his chest!!!!
        “The Paradoxical Commandments

        People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
        Love them anyway.

        If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
        Do good anyway.

        If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
        Succeed anyway.

        The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
        Do good anyway.

        Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
        Be honest and frank anyway.

        The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
        Think big anyway.

        People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
        Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

        What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
        Build anyway.

        People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
        Help people anyway.

        Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
        Give the world the best you have anyway.”
        ― Kent M. Keith
        Peace To All

    • Strengthrequired

      Amanda, it’s good to hear your not going to give up that easily on your marriage. You got caught up into something that you never normally would have by the sounds of it, as did my husband. People make mistakes, it’s how we rectify those mistakes, how we learn from them, and how we take notice of how our mistakes affected those we love, that is what sets us apart from those that couldn’t care less.
      You and your husband made it through many years, with two young children to think of, they deserve that chance of their parents making things work, and showing them what their family means to the both of you. They deserve to be shown what real love is, and that when problems happen, that you don’t just give up on one another, and seek someone else to give what’s missing. I wish my husband hadn’t of fallen for the ow who to him seemed to be someone that needed saving. He chose to fall for her fake charms etc, instead of seeking out to protect our family, our marriage. I could have fallen down the same rabbit hole he did, but I chose to fight for my marriage, in the hopes he would see some sense. Hinestly it took a long time, and it did almost break us, but by that time when I was ready to give up, he chose to fight and hold on too.
      I cannot stress enough on just how much you need to not fall back into the fantasy of the om and start communicating with him again, it would truly be a mistake, if you want your marriage to work, there is only so much someone can take before they give up the fight, when they decide I cannot do this anymore. Don’t let it happen to you.
      My husband lied for months, even when caught out he kept lying, just because he didn’t know how to break things off with the ow, he felt responsible for her, yet wanted me.
      y husband though has lost the trust I had in him, I’m not sure when that trust will return, I hooe it does, but only time will tell.
      just don’t fall back into that trap of the ap, it’s so not worth it. Can I suggest some date nights, I know raising young children can take up so much time, but you need to keep some time for you and your husband too. Maybe even spend some time with your husband without the games. Good luck

    • TryingHard

      Well bless your little heart Amanda. Yes I am going to take advice from a fantasy game playing , sexter, cheating 31 year old narcissist!! You take my words or leave them. I could care less. The state of my marriage is unknown to you. Angry yes I am angry there are thoughtless, clueless cheaters like you amongst us. Yes I am angry there are people like you that care for only their needs and everyone else be damned. Yes I am angry that seemingly bright people like you, a self professed “nerd” chooses to waste her mind and talents on stupid fantasy games and makes up a relationship with one of the players when her talents could be obviously spent helping and taking care of others like your family for a start. I’m glad my anger showed through because your actions are bullshit and a bullshit waste of time. Good that you know the word projection because you my dear are an expert at it. Good luck to you on your “team” efforts!

    • TryingHard

      And since you’re so concerned about your weight being an issue in your perceived rejection of you by your husband, maybe a better use of your time rather than sitting on your ass playing games, sending nasty pictures of yourself to strangers and sex calls, you could to something more constructive like exercise. Join a gym, find a healthy eating plan. Heck it could even be a team effort!!! Just sayin. ….

    • TryingHard

      I love how people come to these blogs asking for advice and opinions about the state of their relationship and then begin to eschew and denigrate those people who give it to them. I love how, well yes cheaters come here saying they can take the comments but then when the comments and advice is given they tell their sad stories as if to almost to justify their cheating.

      Example– What does gaining the freshman 15 have to do with her cheating today? OK so maybe her freshman 15 was the cause of her then boyfriend to cheat on her? Well she should have run like hell from him right then if that were the case. Her father died? That’s sad. guess what my parents died too and I didn’t cheat. I hate to be hard- hearted but while this story is long and sad I don’t see the relevancy in it. What’s really sad is 3 miscarriages and two IVFs to produce two babies and how does she spend her time instead of taking care of her precious family and children, she plays computer games and sends naked pictures of herself because she wears a size 10, her father died and her boyfriend cheated on her in college!! I’m confused :/

      In case you think I’m being all judgy over here, make NO mistake, I AM!!!

      Some folks come here and ask for help. You want the truth. Well in the words of Col. Jessup, “You can’t handle the truth!!!”

      • Strengthrequired

        Th, those of us that know you from here, know what a wonderful insightful woman you are. We know you are one that is full of integrity and pride, and wishes nothing more than to help those who need it. I love how witty, straight to the point you are, it’s a refreshing change from all the bs that we all here have been subjected to.
        Hugs to you

        • betrayedchump

          Right On SR!!!!
          Who says she lost her MOJO?
          “Nothing erases the past. There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness. That is all, but that is enough.”
          ― Ted Chiang
          Peace To All

    • TheFirstWife

      Amanda, thank you for sharing your story with us. It is good to hear from someone who admits a mistake was made and owns it and is willing to try to rectify the situation.

      As you can tell many of us here are the betrayed spouse. We were forced into an ugly situation thru no choice. It is not fun (as you know by being in that situation in your past).

      I think Scott has made some excellent points here. His situation is similar to mine in that his ex-wife was with a much younger guy. My H had a mid life crisis and EA and physical affsir (though they only kissed and that was confirmed by the OW). She was 20+ years younger.

      I lived thru hell (as did everyone on this blog). I was told 2x he was divorcing me so he could be single. 20 years or more of his unhappiness came spewing forth as a way for him to justify his affair. The crap I listened to was crazy. Three weeks after the affair came to light he was still in heavy contact with her. I stood in front of him and said if you want to talk to her, feel free but stop trying to hide it. Do it in the open. Own it!

      A few days later I confronted him and started laying the groundwork for divorce. I was not going to live like that.

      Fast forward 2 years from DDay next week and we are better. I have forgiven him. I have had to readjust my view of him BUT I am not stupid. I have gotten past the post traumatic stress he inflicted. It will never be gone 100% though. I hate that!

      It was an ugly torturous 2 year ordeal. But thanks to my excellent therapist we survived. He continued the lies and hiding details (things I knew and called him on) which caused slow progress.

      I am telling you this because you are on a bumpy path with starts and stops. There were so many times I was ready to quit. My H was a good guy and always treated me well. We had a good marriage b/c I accepted him and loved him and just thought we had a great marriage. No one would have expected this. He is just not that kind of guy. Until he became the typical middle aged guy with a mid life crisis.

      So please give it your all. And so should your H. I think without counseling it will be harder. When I was ready to give up my counselor would give me some guidance that allowed me to find strength to continue to work on the marriage.

      It is not easy. But nothing worth fighting for is. Sadly in some cases the CS just doesn’t get it and you are forced to walk away (like Scott).

      I love my H but it has been a rough 2 years. If I ever even suspect something ever again or any lie is realized, we are done. No conversation,no reconciliation, just end it fast and clean. There are no more chances here.

      I hope you find some small glimmers of hope. My H and I now have a better marriage in terms of communication and connection. Great to see after 27 years. We make time to be together. And we want to be together.

      Try to stay positive with your H and try to show him every day in some small way you are committed to trying to rebuild your marriage. Your kindness may start to soften him and the walls may come down.

      I wish you the best.

      For others that are also on this blog, I wish none of us were here. We have been through a horrible ordeal. Our spouses treated us horribly, some marriages ending b/c of it. That is too bad. Hard on kids. Hard on families.
      I just wish people would voice their issues without cheating. I used to tell my H please don’t cheat as it only causes more issues down the road. I would ask him to please tell me what is wrong first. We would get through it. However he chose to be a coward and cheat. To be clear he pursued her. She was just stupid enough to say yes. She knew he was married but went ahead with the relationship anyway.

      All the best to everyone here and let’s just continue to try to help each other.

    • TheFirstWife

      Lori. I think you should have a post on the steps the betrayed spouse goes through. One of my hardest was having to accep my H as a liar and cheater.

      Another will be living through the CS justification for the affair.

      A third will be living through the affair fog and how so many of us are compared to much younger singles with no kids, mortgages, bills, teenagers, parents, etc.

    • TryingHard

      SR. You are the sweetest kindest most compassionate person here. I am definitely the Yon to your Yang. Love you dear one!!!

    • Strengthrequired

      Thankyou th, love your awesomeness. You are what people here need, someone that tells them how it is, without pussy footing around. Everyone has a choice, either take it or leave it. Your right, none of us know each other from a bar of soap, just know what each other say, but we all know we try our best to help each other, the best way we can.
      I for one am glad I have shared this experience with you, and so many others here.

    • Strengthrequired

      Husband just tells me one of his old friends left his wife again, starts telling me how before he left he was blaming his wife for all their problems. This man had an affair earlier but they got back together. Anyway, my husband is telling me what this man has done, and the way he was acting, not putting his family first etc blah blah blah. I told him it’s exactly what you did to me, told me it was all my fault, all the things I did or didn’t do, didn’t put his family first.
      Next thing my husband got upset, told me to never again put him in the same class as this man, he is nothing like him, and if I do I may as well leave and find someone else.
      Nice, how he forgets what an ass he was to me, during his affair.
      anyway he seems to think this woman is so wonderful anyway, he seems to think her husband had everything. Poor thing look what he has…

      • Tryinghard

        About a year after we moved to our new home we sold the unit right next to us. A friend of my husbands was divorcing because well he got caught screwing his stripper girlfriend AGAIN by his wife. This guy has/had lots of money. Her settlement was much better than she expected and she went on buying a beautiful home in our town, a vacation home for the winters and started taking exotic vacations. She’s wealthy in her own right and has a wonderful new boyfriend.

        I remember the conversations my h and I had with regards to his affair partner and his loss of personal wealth. The standing joke was “that was the most expensive piece of ass he ever had”. Seriously my husband acted indignant, made fun of, and ridiculed this sap all the while he was doing the same exact thing!! Fast forward to DDay and my subsequent hiring of this woman’s attorney to represent me :). Ha best move I ever made. My h was certain I wouldn’t get anything that he thought belonged only to him:). His lawyer educated him differently. But I digress. No indeed he wasn’t that guy. How dare I put him in the same category. I laugh thinking about it. I laugh every time some low life celebrity, politician, sport person or even town person gets caught cheating. I laugh at the ridicule they experience and who has lost more than Tiger Woods since his monumental cheating has come to light? I laugh at the queasiness my husband must feel every time there’s a new exposure. I don’t laugh out loud. I know my h feels awful and shameful and embarrassed about his actions. But if I have to bear the scars of the betrayal he inflicted on me well this is his cross to carry. This is his scar for his own behavior. LOL I think he should just get over it:)

        • Tryinghard

          And yes indeed they most definitely are the same as other cheaters. Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt !

    • TheFirstWife

      SR and TH

      I give you both much respect. I would have killed my H if I were in your shoes. In fact, if my CH said don’t compare me to the other guy and said if I did he would leave, I would have held the door open.

      I swear sometimes they act like children. “Oh my feelings are hurt b/c my wife found out I have been cheating. It is so hard on me (the cheating husbsnd).”

      Really. I wish I had a recording of all the times my H said he doesn’t understand why men cheat, what a loser, etc. hypocrite.

      I wish I had a camera of all the horrific things my H said to me to justify the affair. I don’t support him. I don’t talk to him. I don’t talk about things from the past (b/c what will change? Nothing. So why discuss it?). I am disconnected from him(b/c he is the one who doesn’t speak, not me). He blamed me for everything. In 2012 when he wanted to take on a different role with a big salary decrease I told him to go for it. At that point I felt like I was supporting him. I was willing to have him earn less if he was happier. End result? That job move and less money and his big 50 birthday and his anger and frustration led to his affair. Plain and simple. He blamed it all on me.
      Yup me, his wife, who watched us end up in debt, cheated out of commission $ by his former boss, tried to scrape it together financially as he was about to leave me with no $ and no warning, yup, all my fault.

      It will take some time for that anger to disappear. He now admits how ridiculous he behaved and is remorseful for all he said. At the time I did not even try to defend myself. Wasn’t worth the effort talking to a brick wall. And that is what he was. A brick wall. No sense or feeling at all.

      If my H ever gave me an ultimatum that he would leave me, My next 2 words would be “See ya”.

      I don’t know how SR. and TH do it. You are much better than I am. And I thought I was nice and kind.

    • TryingHard

      First Wife
      You must have read my story wrong. He never gave me an ultimatum or threat to leave me if I did XY or Z. I was relating a story about his hypocrisy during his affair. How he separated himself from those nasty “other” cheaters. Even made jokes about it. No he has been nothing but remorseful, ashamed, honest and contrite during our reconciliation. But I agree. If he had or does threaten me in any way two words There’s the door, ok 3 words. Matter of fact I’ve offered the door many times without threats or ultimatum. Actually we both know where the door is in this marriage. Just got to pay the price if it’s chosen:)

      • Strengthrequired

        Th, first wife, I know that when my cs said leave if I compare him to the om, that he dleant want me too. I truly think he cannot remember how he was towards me during his affair days. Unfortunately for me I remember. He sees himself as someone that would never treat someone the way cheaters do. It amazes me on how much he truly does not remember doing.
        When I saw him the other night after he said what he said to me, it was like nothing happened, all happy and loving, for me though I was still annoyed at what he said. We did talk about it afterwards, so I know what he said was not something said intentionally. Trust me like th, we both know where the door is, if one of us want out. His feet are completely in the door, at times though I think I am still undecided.
        Trust me, if he tells me to leave and means it, I wouldn’t stick around.
        So for now, instead of telling him what an ass he was, because he doesn’t remember, and doesn’t believe he is like “that” person, I will let off steam here because I know what he was like, I was on his receiving end, lucky him to not remember.

        • Tryinghard

          Yes this is the place we can write and communicate that which we choose not to say to the cheater. It’s hard though sometimes. Sometimes, oooo, we just want to say it, right? I’m sure when your h was describing the cheater your mind was racing with WTF thoughts. LOL. Been there:). I realize they see themselves in a different place. My problem is when he WAS in the same place as my neighbor cheater he derided him. Made it sound like he was above that while he was right in the middle of the same thing. So how is NOW different? Because it’s all out, we went to MC, she’s out of his life, he now remembers his morals, remembered his love for me, remembered everything he had to lose?? I guess so:). I’m trying, TryingHard.

        • exercisegrace

          SR, I commend you for not saying those things to him. I wish I had that much strength. While there ARE some horrible things I will never tell him, I have told him many of the hurtful things he said and did. He asked me once in the therapists office why I was telling him such things. He even implied he didn’t believe it! The therapist was quick to set him straight. But I answered the question. I said it was because he needs to understand WHY this is so hard to heal. He needs to know it isn’t completely about the affair itself, the inappropriate sex and emotional crap. Nor is it totally about the lying and deceiving. A great deal is about the deliberate cruelty on his part. He used to pick fights with me and I couldn’t figure out why!! Now I know it was to soothe his guilt. It is so much easier to cheat on someone you are pissed at isn’t it?! He needs to understand why our older kids have such scars and won’t or can’t fully lean back into the relationship with him.

          Here was my analogy in therapy. What if you and I were in a hotel that caught on fire? You walk out of the bathroom just realizing something is happening when the t.v. falls from the wall and knocks you out cold. I spend the next two hours trapped, scared and trying to keep us both alive while also trying to communicate with rescue workers. You wake up in the hospital, knowing but not fully grasping what happened to us. It is only when I tell you the story, that you grasp the full picture of the hell we were in. And how could you? You were out of it. My husband’s affair was like that. He was absent. Out of it. He didn’t witness most of the hell the kids and I went through.

          • Strengthrequired

            Eg, that’s exactly it. He was abscent and didnt see what me and our kids went through. He likes to think of himself as the perfect father and husband. I used to think of him that way too, but it hard to think of him that way anymore, I ve seen and experienced the evil twin.

            Th, what is it about, when they don’t believe they were that terrible person, but when they witness someone else doing the same thing, they can’t believe that they could do such a thing. It baffles me, because that is what makes it hard to move forward, when they don’t believe they were that way, as if they were asleep the whole time just dreaming, then they woke up, and thought well what a bad dream. Unfortunately it wasn’t a bad dream, it happened.

            Now how crazy do I feel.

    • exercisegrace

      I’m late to this discussion, but thought I would share a little to help anyone who might have a similar situation. My husband wasn’t caught. He ended the affair on his own. They continued to work together for a year afterwards, as she assured him she could separate business from personal. He wanted away from her but didn’t know how to easily dissolve their company, and was a little afraid of her reaction. So he took the easy way and waited for HER to leave. It took her a long time to realize he actually MEANT IT when he said it was over and she did leave, but tried to burn our life to the ground on the way out.

      So he didn’t really go through all the stages, per say. By ending it himself, he did so when he was ready. Things improved for HIM when the secret was out in the open and he was relieved of his tremendous burden of guilt. So there was an odd time of him feeling BETTER in many ways while I was nearly non-functional. In some ways he did still have his head up his ass. I think it’s pretty hard to own such a devastating mistake. As far as the peachy stage, I don’t think he has ever been there. He is wrecked by what his choices have done. Permanent damage to his relationship with the kids, etc. He hates who he was and who he feels that makes him today. He never wanted to be “that guy” and he can’t stand that he was. For the most part though, he has done or is doing, everything I have asked. At times he resents certain things that remind him he is not fully trusted. For example, I might ask him who he is texting. It is a long hard road, and more than that it is a journey. Once he put his feet on the path to cheat, it veered his life (and mine) in a totally different direction. That is not to say we can’t have something good or don’t have good in our life. It is just not the relationship either of would have wanted. I wish we could go back to the complete trust and sacredness of what we had. It was wonderful and sadly we both know that.

    • Rachel

      Excersise grace,
      Boy, I totally get your comment of deliberate cruelty . My ex would also pick fights with me. For no reason. It blew my mind. To soothe his guilt,
      It totally makes sense. He hated me. He thought of the craziest excuses for getting rid of me.
      I just woke up from a dream of him yelling at me. Calling me names and preaching to me of all that I do wrong. Just what I lived with. it just doesn’t seem to leave!

      • Lisa

        I write here from 2022. I too, lived through my husband becoming emotional abusive to myself and my two little boys. He seemingly hated being anywhere near us and constantly whinged at me that I didnt ‘let him’ do anything he wants. Not sure if it was guilt or just plain old dislike and resentment. He was cheating with a family friend for god knows how long as whilst I was begging that he get help for his claimed depression. Why did he have to destroy me on his way out?

    • antiskank

      To hear you say that you still have dreams and the pain of the cruelty you experienced truly makes me so sad for you and scares me too! We deserve so much better. If you still feel it now that you have moved on to someone who treats you so much better, I question whether I will ever get past it. I’m glad that you seem to be doing so well in general though:)

      EG, I really got your mention of deliberate cruelty too. that’s probably the hardest thing to get past. My CH must have been feeling great withdrawal and was obviously very angry at me for ending his fantasy affair. He attacked everything about me from my appearance, my personality, even my hobbies!! It is very difficult to imagine now that he sees me in any other way and I don’t feel the same about him. I am really trying but like you, the relationship that we have now is not what either of us would have wanted. I really do miss the security of knowing what a wonderful person I married. We do have good times but the sadness and doubts are never far away.

    • !HAIL MARY!

      This was an informative article. I had no idea if we were making progress or not. I was able to determine my CH was in stage 3 – the hamster-wheel spinning. It has felt for the last 6-8 months we are “spinning our wheels”. A perfect analogy.
      While I have felt that I’ve had to take the lead in every step we made, (he of course never wants to be the one to bring this topic up first. I know each time he his hoping it is the last time he’s going to hear about it.)

      I feel I have done what I am supposed to do – even getting down to each and every single lie and trying to make the step toward forgiveness.
      He tells me that I cannot let go of some things. I feel that I cannot let go of them because I haven’t gotten to “the bottom of it” on some issues. Once I get the whole picture on something – it will make perfect sense – even if it’s painful for me to hear, it will make sense when I know what I’m hearing it is what actually happened, and I am able to heal from there and move on. Without that, I have no peace. I still have nightmares where I wake up, fighting in my sleep, crying and completely emotionally wrecked for the day when I dream about things that happened.

      These are not fantastical dreams, but dreams of events that really happened. Why does this continue to torment me, why does it continue to cause me nightmares, and why can I not reach a place of peace for healing to even begin. It’s been 11 months since Dday. I was still catching him in evasiveness and dishonesty months later. I know his refusal to be honest and come clean, up front, would have lessened the time this takes,(which also angers me a great deal) but I am at the point where I think of taking my own life at least half a dozen times a day. When can I expect some personal peace? This has destroyed my life, a career I was trying to embark on and turned me into a person who won’t trust or have patience with anyone else in the world either. People who knew me a year ago are looking at me and asking “What has happened to you?” One person even thought I had become a drug junkie because of my weight loss, obvious distress, disheveled and emaciated appearance. At wits’ end and making my “Hail Mary”.

      • CBb

        How are things? And you? Any better?

        • !Hail Mary!

          Still the same. 😐

          • CBb

            So what can any of us on this blog do to help you?

    • TheFirstWife

      Hail Mary. I have been in the EXACT PLACE you are. I will write more later as my son is coming. He knows nothing about this

      And today is 2yrs since DDay. I will try to offer insight. I will pray for you.

    • TheFirstWife

      Hail Mary

      Today is exactly 2 years when my H came & admitted his EA. It then became a PA in that they kissed. I had no warning, clue or idea any of this was going on.

      Like you I was floored. But was like a sucker punch to the stomach. I then watched for the next 3 weeks as I saw him getting ready to leave me. True mid life crisis. He was angry and mean and nasty and 25+ yrs of all he had bottled up (his own doing not mine) came out. Hatred & rage. It was ugly.

      He was going to leave me with 2 kids, no $ a mortgage and just start a new life w/ her, the OW.

      I was suicidal, severe anxiety + can’t eat or sleep and cry 24/7. He did not care.

      For the next 2 years I am in therapy w/ a great guy and he was able to provide tremendous support.

      And for 1 year my H lied, hid, denied and “forgot” details and facts when I asked questions. It drove me crazy. The craziest thing was he denied loving her when I saw it in an email to her (more than once).

      And then Doug (of Linda & Doug of this blog and website) stepped in to answer why men do that. Why do they lie about details. How can they not recall things. Why do they appear to be so nonchalant about things.

      And Diug answered with a list of reasons. And things just started to make sense. Here are a few things he told me.

      1. They are embarrassed by the whole thing (true here).
      2. They have blocked out details b/c they are too painful to remember. (Also true)
      3. They realize what they “thought” was a wonderful affair in reality was toxic and they were in a fog (true again).
      4. They got some reward for their ego being stroked and liked it so much they could not stop the progress of the relationship.
      5. The comparison of the wife to the OW skewed their reality so much they were in “la la land” as I call it.

      We JUST crossed the bridge on all of this in May almost 24 months after the EA/PA came to light. Why? Because my H said something that turned everything around for me. In my mind I conjured up some fabulous relationship they had and probably made it out to be more than it really was. My H just recently told me that in the 12 months he knew her he only saw her physically 8 times. What?! Yup 8 times. That makes the relationship less significant to me. Wow!

      Had he shared that it would have saved me a lot of anguish and torment. To him it was a non important detail (b/c as he says, cheating is cheating even if it happens once).

      I believe that if the idiot CH could just understand when we say we forgive them that we really do, it could make a difference. I think they continue to lie like 3 year olds getting caught. They don’t believe if they actually told the truth it could help. They don’t have the confidence in us as their loving spouse.

      What a shame. The continued lying only prolongs the drama and agony. At one point I told my H I should have divorced him already b/c I was so done with the crap he was giving me.

      Hail Mary I suggest you need to talk to someone. You need to get your power back. Why let someone who so disrespected you win? He should want to take HIS life. He did you wrong.

      The affair has NOTHING to do with you. I learned this the hard way. It is their choice to cheat. You as the wife are the unwitting victim. You get sucked into their drama.

      Find a church , counselor, support group, trusted friends (here on this blog helps) who you can talk to. If you met me now I am so different than I was 2 years ago or even 1 year ago.

      It was HIS choice to cheat. His mistake. His mid life crisis. His issues.

      I would not do that to someone I love as it is unfair and cruel. And if I did make a mistake like that I would own it and stand up like s man, not like a coward (which is very typical).

      I had to get myself together for the sake of my kids. I didn’t want them to see this. And I had anxiety for 18 months after DDay. But I hid it well but it was bad. But I congratulated myself on being strong, being there for my kids during a rough summer, making good decisions, remaining level headed and listening to my therapist wheni was ready to throw in the towel.

      Please keep in touch on this blog. I want to know how you are doing (we all do).

      And please know you will rise above this. Hold your head up. Look I the mirror and tell yourself you are better than this. Put yourself first every day. When these guys realize they no longer have you to push around, boy do their heads spin. It worked for me and saved my sanity. Trust me.

      We have ALL been there. One day you will decide the path you need to take. If he cannot meet your expectations then you will decide what to do.

      My H and I have a different marriage now. But is better in many ways and I am grateful we reached this point. Some of us do get tithe water place like Linda & Doug. It is a second chance. Please know you can get there too if your H can make some changes, be transparent and real. That is all it takes.

      keep praying. I have anew phrase or word I just came across yesterday at church. P.U.S.H. Pray Until Something Happens.

      • Smacked Angel

        This was a long-distance relationship online between my h and a ow, but I found a picture of her bookmarked in his ipad. She was wearing a dress unzipped all the way down to her butt and showed her entire butt with the “come _____ me” look over her shoulder. All women know what this pose is. He says he doesn’t. LMAO.

        I know he forgot he bookmarked it because I found it almost 2 months after it was sent. He claims she had a crush on him and that he was shocked when she sent it to him and that he completely forgot about her sending the picture. He was spending 18 hours a day on the chat line/game they played together for 4 or 5 months straight. I felt as if he forgot I existed during that time. I found texts to her saying things like “you just made it a good morning” (5 hours after the picture was received). Thank god technology tells us what they don’t want us to see if we are smart enough to find it. One of our biggest points of contention was him “forgetting” she sent that picture. He’s not a “porno” man – I’ll give him that, and I can see him trying to ignore such an overt come on from her, but gimme a break. No one forgets that someone sent them such a picture. I’m sure you can imagine the drama that has gone on.
        She now denies ever even sending the picture which makes me think MUCH more happened when that picture came through the screen. For him to deny it is one thing, but once she found out he was married, even she denies having sent it at all.
        Don’t know what to think. I’ll stay with him I guess, but he’ll never get my whole heart again.

      • Smacked Angel

        Smacked Angel is the same person as !Hail Mary!

        • CBb

          Sounds as if your H is acting like all the other jerks who continue to lie after being caught red handed. My CH was so bad (in lying) that when I saw emails he wrote to the OW telling her he was making plans to leave, she questioned him on how that would work with his friends. How would they accept her ( blah blah blah).

          His response to her was that people who love him will accept her b/c he loves her.

          I saw that in writing. And he tried to explain to me that it was a hypothetical question, not real. Right and I am the Easter Bunny.

          Lie after lie after lie.

          So the damage is done. I just call him on stuff whenever I feel the need to.

          He dug the grave for himself.

          I almost ended our marriage over the continued lying. Hard to live with but I know why he did it. He thought he would hide it b/c I would be even madder and upset if I knew he wrote that. Warped thinking.

          Where are you going from here? You are in a tough position.

    • TrustingGod


      It sucks for those of us who were willing to forgive what we shouldn’t have to, and are met with the unrepentant attitudes and continued selfishness of a spouse we realize we never knew. I, too, am looking for a job now so that my family won’t be at a poverty level on what my husband can give me. I have believed and prayed and done my best, but my husband’s actions finally convinced me that he doesn’t love me, and probably never did. I still struggle with the hope that he will repent and change, but I also realize that it might take years for him to become what I actually need him to be. I don’t need someone who is a liar, a coward, a cheat, and doesn’t value his wife or children. I don’t need a selfish person who isn’t capable of true intimacy and doesn’t understand the responsibilities and restrictions that marriage places on him. I don’t need someone who denigrates me to deflect attention from his own bad behavior. I need someone who loves me, values me, has the morals and strength of character to be a true partner. I may never find such a person, but I am trying to come to grips with the fact that I don’t have that now, and that the minimal financial boost and sometime assistance with life isn’t worth the constant rejection, the feelings of mistrust I have to live with, or the behavior I have to ignore in order to keep the peace. Hopefully you are able to take a fresh look, too, on what you are really losing. It’s a terrible struggle to be a single working mother, but I hope and pray that I will find peace and love in my life, and that it will drastically improve. I pray that you, too, find peace and love and healing, with or without your spouse.

    • TheFirstWife

      TG, I hope you find things are better for you when you are about of the clutches of your miserable life. It does hurt like hell to know you can be cast aside like that. But better you find out now what you are really married to.

      It may be that once you leave it could snap him back to reality and make him realize what he lost. It may be too late then but o see it happen often. All of a sudden when you no longer need him, he wakes up and finally gets it.

      I hope your ordeal/nightmare ends soon. No one should live this way. I pray you find peace and happiness soon.

    • antiskank

      Hi all,

      I have a question or two for you.

      Although I have definitely come a long way since discovering my CH’s betrayal, I still have many issues. Many of you seem to be in a better place than you have been since the betrayal changed your lives. In many of the posts lately, I see how there is feeling that the cheating spouse truly loves you now.

      I am not suggesting that this is not the case, but I can’t seem to get to the point where I believe it in my case. How do you get to the point of believing? My CH said so many hurtful things to me after the first D-Day that I can’t forget. He pretended for the next 2.5 years that he was all in and wanted to be with me, declaring his love at every turn. He started doing thoughtful things for me… Then I found out that he was still missing his skank, not really committed to our marriage at all. That seems like a VERY long time to still be holding on to the feelings evoked during the affair. When I tried to end our marriage, he became very upset and begged for another chance, which I gave him. I just can’t make myself believe that he loves me in any way.
      Is it because your cheating spouses have answered all your questions? Changed their behaviour? Apologized for all their indiscretions? What am I missing? Is he just with me for convenience, comfort, and security?

      Next… My CH is not a talker, not good at communicating on any level, and does not often admit to having any emotions! Have you had to deal with this? How do you get this kind of person to be the one that brings up the issues? How do you communicate your feelings and get any response back? I have tried everything I can think of and am tired of making no progress. Any progress is short lived and his behaviour quickly reverts to form after a couple of weeks. I just don’t feel that his efforts are honest if I have to be the one to initiate discussion and not only lead it, but pull him along by the nose. If I don’t bring it up, he thinks things must be going well.

      I can’t see us getting through the all the necessary stages and putting it all behind us because I often feel he just doesn’t get it. He just wants to avoid discussion and move on. He seems to jump back and forth among the stages, never getting to the final stage, but even going back to stage 1 quite frequently.

      Any suggestions?

      • trying2bstrong

        I have read these posts since discovering my CH affair and never posted myself….but 2.5 years later and your message here sounds like you are living my life. I am near to calling it quits thinking life can’t be any worse being on my own…but I am 60 and scared of being alone…if he would just talk to me about it without getting defensive. I cannot bring up anymore although I think about every waking moment. I am going crazy while he acts like it never happened. I hate him and what he has done but I stay because sometimes I love him, too.

    • TrustingGod


      Reassess what your marriage has been, and what it is now. You’ve answered your own questions, from my point of view. No real consequences=no real change. Ask yourself why you’re staying, if you don’t feel loved and can’t trust, and your husband doesn’t put in the work. If you do even more, and nothing changes, can you accept that?

    • TheFirstWife

      Antiskank. I think that TrustingGod nailed it. I once read something in an Ann Landers column (remember her?). Her question you need to answer is are you better off with him or without him.

      I was in your exact place. I had to get past the hurtful things that were said and thought my H was “all in” in rebuilding our marriage. He then started up again after 6 weeks of no contact w/ OW.

      When I found out I asked him to leave and got the same response – begging for another chance. Sorry sorry sorry.

      We just passed 2 years from DDay 1 on Friday. My H made ALL the mistakes of hiding things, lying, details were not provided and not adhering 100% to our new boundaries.

      I saw him slipping back to some old patterns especially in the communication department.

      I was frustrated and saw less progress over time.

      My therapist said men don’t communicate. They don’t go deep and heartfelt. They need to learn it. I told my therapist that was BS b/c when we were dating he was different. And the therapist said yes, it was different b/c he had to win you. Once you were won (or married) then the H reverted back to his usual self.
      Same is true for his actions after the affair. They will do what the CH needs to do to win you back but they usually cannot sustain it.

      It is maddening and frustrating for us as the BS.

      But you have to step back and say can I live with the changes made? Are they enough for me? Is the effort sincere?

      I am able to say yes to these questions. My H does try and for that I am grateful. Even if he makes a mistake he acknowledges it. He is remorseful for all he said and did two years ago.

      It is hard for me to believe he is staying married sometimes as he did almost walk out the door twice. I have anxiety about it but I have planned for myself that may happen one day. I love him but I sm not without a plan B. And I hope it does not come to that.

      But I cannot control him. I just try to be happy and live my life, with him included. If things change, I know I can move on w/out him both emotionally and financially.

      Back to you. You need to figure out if you can live with him knowing you are more invested in the marriage than him. He may actually think he is doing a good job communicating with you and repairing the marriage.

      I spent 24 months frustrated. I was ready to bail a few times. But I am in a better place but I had to shift my expectations. As long as I see an effort is being made I am okay with that.

      What can you settle for or accept to make you happy? Or maybe there is nothing left in him and you are standing alone fighting the good fight while he retreats.

    • TryingHard

      I think you’ve gotten some good advice. I’ve always said that affairs have nothing to do with whether or not the cheater loves you. I believe they do, they just love themselves more. An no cheating sure isn’t acting in a loving manner.

      After that it’s all about respect and caring about the relationship. It’s hard for them, but too bad right? It’s hard to communicate, FOO issues, resentment, blah blah blah. Maybe you’ve gone thru MC and are at a sticking point? Only you know that. I do know from my own experience after the affair I want to be treated pretty darn special, and that’s different for everyone.

      You really have to look at you not him. What are you willing to put up with? What are your tipping points? What are your needs especially now? Why are you staying and look reallllly closely at that. Most the time I hate to say it’s fear. Include me on that one 🙂 But what are we afraid of? Not saying that your fear isn’t valid. Mine is for me. Some fears are reasonable some not so much, ie no one will ever love me again because of ______________(fill in the blank). So question whether or not you will have a more fulfilling life with or without him? I say fulfilling because I think “happy” is so cliche. What is happy anyway?

      Know too that all of us have been at that frustration level. Heck I love go back to visit it once in a while and punch it in it’s face!!! Make the changes you need to make. Make the demands to have your needs fulfilled. Fulfill your own needs. Then you come to accept your decision and life is what it is from there. You can make it great or miserable. I have faith in you. I know you will come up with the answers that are good for you. Sometimes it’s staying and sometimes not so much.

    • antiskank

      Thank you all for your great advice! I guess I get to this point every once in a while where I can’t quite decide whether I should stay, whether I should accept less than what I want, whether he still has feelings for the slut, whether he has any feelings for me…..

      You are right on so many points. I’m sure there is some fear associated with ending my marriage. After all, we have been together since I was 16 and will be married 41 years this year. We have been together for my entire adult life and then some! To split would mean that my whole life was wasted on someone who at one point claimed that he had never loved me. Finances would also be a big concern for me. He has been a big spender, dropping thousands in casinos and buying unnecessary junk. Our debt has gone from a very manageable level to way out of reach in the past 7 years (about the time he met the skank, hmmm) And although our kids are adults, they feel very strongly about us staying together. They have been upset about our issues without knowing the entire story.

      Those are a few of the reasons I want our marriage to work. I want to validate my life and identity in that setting. Although I still question whether we can stay together, I think I still love him. Sometimes I question that too, but still see positives in him. I do feel outraged and indignant over many of the things he said to me while angry that I stopped his EA. His criticisms of me and his attitude were the most hurtful things that anyone has ever done to me, and all while I was at my lowest point after his betrayal. He is far from perfect – physically, emotionally, or in any way so what gave him the right to treat me like a lower life form? I assume that this is how he still sees me.

      You have given me a boost to believe again that I can do it. I can take on the world!! I have emailed him a 5 page rant disclosing all of my concerns and ongoing issues. He has until this weekend to respond and determine a course of action. I will not accept apathy and avoidance any longer! I do not feel happy or fulfilled. Good word by the way! If I can’t feel that, what’s the point?

      Determining whether I will have a more fulfilling life with or without him is a very tough question. There are pros and cons both ways. As a counselor pointed out when I wanted to call it quits – How do you know that the next guy you meet will be honest, trustworthy, loving, not have insurmountable issues?

      I am not worried that I am not good enough to have someone else love me as I know I am fantastic!!! It just seems to be where he is concerned that I don’t feel that way! I commend anyone who can get past the nasty things said and done to them in betrayal and develop a better relationship.

      TG – you’re right. I need to be able to trust and feel loved. Those are just basic necessities of a relationship. File them in my back pocket!

      TFW – I admire your ability to look at things the way you do. You seem to know what you want and what you will accept. We have had many similar issues, and I have the same questions. Some days I can say yes I can accept them and other days I don’t think I can! I am still looking for more, I guess.

      TH – You mentioned my favourite word – respect! Big time importance for me. I want to be loved, respected and yes ! I want to be treated special too, darn it!!. I want to feel like someone truly wants to be with ME! I hadn’t really thought about fear as being a valid reason before, thanks for showing me how it can be a consideration. When you weigh the reasons, it is a definite factor.

      I don’t have all the answers for me yet but I do have more. I know what I need, can accept, won’t accept and still have a few negotiable areas. Thank you for helping me to see some of them. I will definitely pursue my goal toward a more fulfilling life whatever that means for me.

      • betrayedchump

        BRAVO!!!! Sounds like you have finally set your boundaries with what you are willing to live with or without!!!! NOW HOLD FIRM and DO NOT WAVER!!!!
        “I have accepted fear as part of life – specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back….”
        ― Erica Jong
        Peace To All

    • TryingHard

      You have just written the perfect example of Gaslighting. WOW, how do they do it with a straight face? So weird, so so weird.

      Hang in there 🙂

    • TheFirstWife

      Yes gaslighting is the perfect word.

      Try to blame the BS – justify why the cheating happened. It was ALL MY FAULT. Haha

      Deflect from your own poor choices. That will work too.

      Bury your head in the sand so you don’t have to own up to anything.

      And continue to lie when caught. That will really help things get resolved and fix your problems.

    • lookingforthelight

      This may have already been stated, but I am new to the site and really struggling with recovery, I enjoyed this post. My husband has done and said everything I need, he has been very cooperative and empathic. I can’t even think of anything more he could do or say at this point… So, I’m guessing it is within me from here on out and I just feel stuck, constantly like there is something bothering me, but I can’t put my finger on it. Is there a “Phases the Betrayed Goes Through After an Affair is Discovered” out there anywhere? Again, sorry if I’m just missing it. It’s been about 4 months since I discovered his EA and I just still feel it eating at me, but can’t figure out why… Anything that normalize this feeling would be so helpful.

    • James

      My wife of 14yrs and two kids betrayed me from 4 months back. I discovered last month. The issue is eating me like hell. Attended one counseling session with her but only found out later she was still lying about details of affair. I stopped going. Im relying of online counselling from websites & blogs. For sure sexual marital betrayal is the worst thing a human being in love can ever experience. Its so intense and powerful its reduces you to pulp. My problem is knowing how to tell is she genuine & ruly remorseful, its hard to read a human mind that has lied to you in the past.

      • Cheryl

        I was the cheater and my husband did the same thing he relied on the online counseling. I told my husband every day how sorry I was. He would ask about it for so long and I felt nothing but shame I would keep things from him till I could fully feel like I was able to talk about it and not want to crawl into a hole and hide from my shame. I had to get over my own guilt so I could fully open up to my husband about it and he understood but he’d get frustrated when I didn’t tell him everything but with comfort to each other we were able to talk it all out and now it’s been 3 yrs and we are better than we ever were before the affair.

    • Cindy

      What do I do, when after a year of learning my husband of 30yrs is still in the affair and has been living with her during the year, but he says he still loves me??

      • Shifting Impressions

        So sorry you are going through this. Is he willing to leave the affair partner? In my opinion he needs to make you his only choice. If he says he still loves you….he needs to put some action to his words, otherwise it’s only words.

        This is the time to take care of you. Ask yourself what it is that you want? Find yourself some support. If he is not willing to stop all contact with the other woman….are you willing to live with that?? Are you willing to put your life on hold while he cheats on you??

        All such hard questions, right?? But often the cheating spouse forgets that the BS has choices too. In fact we BS often forget that we have choices as well.

        • Cindy

          I think my husband doesnt know what to do. Im at the point of not caring anymore. Ive become bitter towards him.

          • Shifting Impressions

            Do you know what you want?? Perhaps you can take your focus off of him for a bit and focus on what’s going on with you. What are you doing for you???

            • Cindy

              I’ve been seeing a counselor, for over a year now. That helps me some. My job keeps my mind busy and not think about him, to much. I take care of my elderly Mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease. We have two grown children, our eldest, our son, is a Juvenile Diabetic, since the age of 7–he is 30 now. He keeps me busy too.
              But when I have some time to myself, sometimes, I think about my husband.
              But not as often as I used too.
              He acts like I don’t exist or ever existed. That hurts me the most…but I don’t know how to handle it sometimes.

            • Cindy

              I dont really know what I want at this point. We both decided not to divorce.
              I can’t take much more of it. He’s gone around telling people we both know together, that I’m on drugs and Iamm not.
              On December 1st, 2007, my husband came in from work, gathered some of his things and told me he was leaving me. He had found someone else. I didn’t know our marriage was in trouble at the time. We we married for 21 years, he hit middle age crazy issues!! He was 41, she was 22. Then in April 2008, he was sent to prison for 7 years. I should of left him in there to rot, but, I didn’t. I stood by him, sent him over $25,000 and waited for him, faithfully. After 6 months of being home from prison, he tells me has found someone new.
              We were married for 30 years that year. We were fixen to renew our vows. But I’ve lived thru being devastated, cheated on, lied to, used and I’m still sane?? His can this be??

            • Cindy

              correction–How can this be?

    • Shifting Impressions

      I’m happy to hear you are seeing a counselor……you have been through so much. You sound like someone who puts others people’s needs before your own. And yet you are still standing.

      Cindy, you deserve so much more than what your husband is giving you. You say you have both decided you don’t want to divorce. Why is that? What are either one of you getting out of the marriage?? Does he show any remorse??

      • Cindy

        I think we both thought we would get back together. But ive taken the first step and he is going to be in shock when i slap him with divorce papers. Im tired of him living his life….im still stuck kinda. I want to move on.

        • Shifting Impressions

          You absolutely deserve a good life…..take care and keep us posted. We are here for you.

          • Cindy

            Thank you and thank you for your words of encouragement & support. Next Tuesday, July 18th, will be very hard for me, it will be our 31st anniversary.

    • Jen

      Thanks for the stages. As the BS can someone tell me what goes on in stage 3- I feel like this where I am. It’s been a month and half since d-day and I kicked him out because he chose to continue seeing AP. Some days he’s so convinced on divorce other days he’s nice to me but totally trying to avoid me.

    • Danni

      there is one fallacy I see repeated ad nauseum-the I cheated BUT, “I love my spouse”. You don’t. You don’t know what love is or feels like. Love is, “you are the one flower, all others are weeds.” In real love there is no part of your mind that desires another. To the woman who cheated and her cheating spouse-how long do you want to continue this waste of life?

    • Giovanna

      Wow, this blog post is extremely accurate and helpful. My husband betrayed me and had an emotional affair with a coworker. I found out about it 11 months ago. The affair happened in 2016 – 2017. He ended it, but took about 18 months to get over her. He also built a fantasy for himself where the affair was just a “harmless flirtation” with an “office wife,” and “I never slept with her!!” So he was the hero in his own mind and tied up the lovely memory with a pink bow of a special time, when he still had the ability to attract a much younger woman. He also said, “it’s in men’s nature to desire a younger woman who makes him feel 10 feet tall!” He told me, in an off hand comment, about the affair, I guess thinking that I would praise him for resisting temptation. For me, it was the missing puzzle piece that made his behavior during that time very clear. He was emotionally absent from me, would not have sex with me, hyper critical of my looks, unsupportive. He would say, “why don’t you make much of me; a man needs that in his wife.” I was, at that time, under an enormous amount of stress as I dealt with my father’s terminal cancer, traveling to another city to care for him and support my mother, etc. It was a very dark time. I admit that I withdrew emotionally, but I felt like I was getting no support from him and I was frightened.

      In any case, once I found out about the affair, I was able to dig up all the “evidence” that the relationship was far more than just an office friendship. Clearly my husband was deeply in love with this woman, not a healthy normal love, but a crazy, secretive, obsessive, addicted kind of love. During our recovery process (and I did think about kicking him out early on), he went through nearly every bullet point in phases 1, 3, and 4, some even in phase 2. We are in phase 5 now.

      My issue is that he still lapses back into, “I didn’t sleep with her! I said no! Why can’t you move on?” He has a lot of trouble acknowledging the intensity of pain that a betrayed spouse feels when their partner has an emotional affair. This morning, he threw Ross-Kessler at me. Seriously?!?! I think I could be much further along, if I could believe he truly deeply understands that his emotional affair, even though there was no physical contact, was incredibly damaging to me, to us, and to our future.

      • Ron

        I hope you have moved forward with filing for divorce. I can tell you if there was a howorker involved it turned physical. There’s nothing to work with. You deserve so much more. My STBXW said all the same stuff. “He’s just a friend”, “it was only a kiss.”, they try to minimize what they did.

    • Michelle

      Our 15 year old discovered my husbands 3 week affair by way of pictures and messages. I offered him to stay, he chose to leave. He has blown through thousands of dollars with this woman in a three month time since leaving. He has avoided me and his children for those 3 months. He has cut off all funds to us as well. We had a wonderful 20 yr marriage, we didn’t fight, had all the same interests and hobbies, sex, any kind of toy he could want…vehicles, atvs, etcNo logical explanation for it. He says this is my fault, then it was our daughters fault for finding him out. I had to file for divorce because of the financial part. I DO NOT want it. He claims he does and it looks to me like she has left him already about a month ago ( the day after Christmas) Is it possible that he will gain some perspective on this and wise up? Come home before the divorce is final? He is so mean and manipulative now, like he has flipped a lightswitch. He is constantly lying to anyone that will listen and he actually believes his lies to be true. Says I said and did things that I never nor would ever do or say. Swears he was miserable, but nobody that knows him would believe him. He adored me and our girls. I’m desperate to save my marriage.

      • Fractured heart, wounded beat


        I’m sorry for your current situation! This is such horrible pain to experience. I think the confusion of dealing with an idiot wayward spouse only magnifies the hurt. Know that you are not alone in this.

        It’s hard to give you the answer that will calm your mind. I remember posting the same kind of comments, hoping someone would say it would be alright. Just wait x number of weeks and he’ll wake up from this insanity.

        Much of this hinges on your foundation before this occurred (which sounds fairly strong) and his ability to pull his head out of his rear end! I hope, for you and your girls, that he wakes up soon.

        My only suggestion is that you give all appearances of moving on. Make him FEEL the outcome. Don’t be mean but remove him from your life and don’t include him in daily stuff. I would often remind him about how he didn’t live in this house anymore, confiscated his keys, and began making changes without his input. He’d arrive to a vastly different house.

        My husband said that many of those types of things started the cracks in his jacked up mind (he lived with the OW for two months). He didn’t like “how things were between us” when he would visit. Not fighting (although there was that), but the distance and coolness.

        One thing I did was take my kids on a week long multi state roadtrip. This is when he really started to wake up. Additionally, it was great bonding with my kids and quite empowering for me. I returned with more optimism about my potential single mom life just as he was ready to end his time in the gutter. I DID NOT WANT A DIVORCE EITHER but I had to move forward with some acceptance of that possible outcome.

        This is a horrible experience but I’m sure that you will emerge a stronger person because of it, as many of the wonderful commenters here have achieved. If he wakes up, you may be able to craft a better relationship in the long run but if he doesn’t, find a way to be the best that you can be.

        Prayers for you and your girls!

        • Michelle

          Thank you so much for your kind words. I am trying to make changes for my girls and I. They want nothing to do with him and he wants nothing to do with me or them either. Its like he has just shut off the fact that we even exist. He has no contact with his children for 4 months now….I’m taking your advice and he will be met with a much cooler attitude when he does randomly show up. No more begging, no more telling him I love him. He wants single life, I’m giving it to him.

      • Ron

        I’m very sorry you have to go through this. I can tell you from experience that you need to proceed with the divorce. Don’t just give it the appearance that you’re moving on, DO MOVE ON! You and your kids deserve so much more.
        I should have left my STBXW 20 years ago after the first dday. There was many other ddays in between 2000-2018 when I finally filed. The phrase “Once a cheater, always a cheater” is very accurate. I should have realized that. Even the last time I fought 7 months for her to come back. She even knows she’s with a serial cheater herself. She now has to monitor him 24/7 and that’s no joke. Her and her AP have destroyed more than 3 families. We have 4 kids and her AP has 5 kids with 3 women. But she’s the “one”.
        Please don’t be a Plan B which is what you are if you take him back. He’s already shown you who he is. And that goes for anyone that has been cheated on. Let them go!

        • Michelle

          Thank you for your kind words. This forum has really helped me in not feeling alone in this. I am still completely shattered but I know me and my girls will be fine. If he doesn’t want to be a part of our lives, its his loss. I am getting stronger everyday.

    • LaDonna

      OK, so I’m here as “the other woman”. I know…UGH! It all started innocently, no really, it did. We had a mutual friend. We started chatting, online. I was in the early stages of divorcing my husband of 20yrs. I was dying internally from the lack of love and attention from my husband, so I was primed to be swept off my feet by this attention and “friendship”. I knew that he was married, and I never crossed any lines, but then again I guess she could argue that just having this “emotional affair” was crossing the line. Touche! But after several months of these conversations, both online and now actually talking on the phone, he professed his love for me. I knew, undoubtedly that he was everything I had looking for my entire life to have in a partner…except that he was willing to cross that line while still being married. But I interpreted it as *I* was everything he was missing…so I felt “special”. Yes things were difficult and were going to get much more so, but love concurs all…right? Apparently not. Even after she found out (every woman has built in radar for this thing), she didn’t leave. He didn’t leave. But the affair continued…for 3yrs 6mo., until I could no longer be “the other woman”. After I made the concessions to travel to be with him, always under my name, on my dime, he said ” it has to be her leaving me, not me leaving her, because my job/employer wouldn’t understand this, being in the spotlight of a nationally broadcast Christian radio co host.” I finally drew my line in the sand and gave the ultimatum. He said he just couldn’t do it. As far as I know, they’re still together. I’ve lost the mutual friendship because of this. I have the mark of being a bad person because of my mistake in believing he loved me. I questioned everything about a new suitor, when we both started feeling that we were falling for each other, it was so hard to get back to trusting another man again. Why am I sharing this? Because affairs, infidelity, “hooking up”, it doesn’t end well…99.9% of the time. I now struggle with wondering “was it all lies?”, did he really understand that” this was no game to me?”, “was this a game to him?”, I WILL NEVER KNOW! I want to be an adult and wish them both well and hope they make it, but to be perfectly honest, I COULDN’T CARE LESS!!

      • Jitsu

        I have no respect for married women going after a married man or vice versa.
        Any persons going after other another persons spouse knowing they are married is what’s wrong with this world
        Imagine if everyone tended to their own gardens imagine, how they would flourish.
        Perhaps you should have told your spouse you lacked the attention not coming from him
        I don’t understand blaming the spouse, for your lack of communication.

    • Jess

      Curious of stages if the marriage does not make it and they run back to the AP.

      • Doug

        More than likely they stay in (or return to) phase 1 but may have elements of phase 2.

        • Jess

          Ugh! Thanks for the response. Any advice on what to do when he is choosing the ap over his teen children? Our eldest teen said to him… it’s either a relationship with me or a relationship with her. He has chosen the ap, and both our teens have spiraled quickly. Both have dropped out of college/high school, angry, sad, depressed and self destructive and have picked up the beginning stages of addictions. Both have done therapy, it did little to help. He told the oldest who he use to be very close to (daughter) that the two relationships are separate. He is also convinced that I am alienating the teens, what I have told him multiple times is they are not 5 and can’t be easily distracted by a happy meal. Basically they know what the hell is going on. I’m at my wits end as this game of his has been going on since 2017, and of course not his first affair.

          • Sammy

            Bear in mind, even if he runs off to the AP, if he cheated on you then he will likely cheat on her at some point (either EA or full blown PA). Once the excitement and novelty wears off they get bored and start the cycle all over again.

    • Lulu

      Well my husband went through phase 1 in denial then when I showed him proof and to explain his actions instead of being sorry and trying to make things right he tells me “things are not working out I want a divorce” I told him he was a chicken shit and that was his way of copping out and not being reponsible for his wrong doings. Later he came up with excuses as to why he was cheating and make me believe it was my fault I told him NO your lame made up reason for your infidelity are lies and two months later I am about done moving out and leaving I try to tell him how much he hurt me and he answers me with the same bs that he felt he was not wanted and that is such a crock he is just a lying cheating %$%^&*&. Will he ever admit to being wrong and doing me so dirty if I told you the whole story you would cry for me. He took my job, my home, and my life from me. Without any warning I was a good wife and faithfull and took care of him and he knows how much i loved him. How could he lie to my face its like he believes his own lies. He became a sociopath.

    • Cheryl

      I was the cheater I cheated on my husband for about a little over a month. I was being placed as a second to everything else. I felt unwanted but I wasn’t sure he loved me. So one phone call and the guilt just came over me and I blurted out I’m having an affair. I told him everything and I thought a divorce would be so much easier for me, I wouldn’t have to tell him things about the affair, who it was, where we would meet and all the details. Took a year of us talking since our communication was very lacking. In the end once my guilt took over I felt so horrible for what I did, I couldn’t say how sorry I was to him for the pain I caused him and our marriage. I think you husband needs to have his guilt set in and then he’s finally going to realize how wrong he was for asking for the divorce. He will then know what such a good thing he had in you and by then you may have moved on. Stay strong and I hope you can mend your broken heart.

    • Les

      About 3 years out from my wife’s affair I have come to fully accept that she did not get to have something with someone else while I was denied that same experience. By that I mean there is no longer a part of me that is angry that she had an affair while I sat home remaining faithful.

      Affairs are sad petty things. Throwing away the potential of a marriage for the potential of an affair is not something that should make the ‘betrayed’ angry. It’s disappointing and sad, and the betrayed is more the partner having the affair – they betray themselves.

      Close in to discovering her affair a part of me wanted to have sex with someone. Not her, at that point she had denied sex for 4 years. I had literal offers that if I wanted sex, I could have it. Tempting, but at the end of the fantisizing was the realization that cheating is not who I am. Once I realized that my staying was a choice based on my values, vows and view of marriage and family the anger subsided. No choices are ever perfect, but marriage and family were and remain my choices. Her behavior only reinforces that in me now.

      I don’t know what she does, she knows and if she chooses not to pursue reconciliation I cannot nor would I force her to. I remain open to it. She repeatedly says she wants to/will divorce. I don’t know what stops her. She is the income earner, I have stayed home with the kids since her maternity leave on the first ended. I quit my job and stayed home, it was planned on mutually before we had kids. So, she is perfectly able to divorce financially; she left emotionally and physically prior to her affair. I have no idea why she stays. It no longer matters. I’m a husband and a father. She is a wife and mother. We both choose how we pursue those callings. Our wedding vows contained no ‘if than’ clause or ‘I do, as long ashe/she…’ . The wedding vows are unilateral and every minute of every day we both decide if we will live up to our word. That is a very freeing thing to understand; choice and it’s consequences.

    • mtnGoat

      I suspect my wife is somewhere between stages 2 and 3 right now. The only bullet of stage 4 she has is willing to talk to a counselor, which we have been doing. She has finally gone no contact (for the second time, I thought she did last year but that was a lie), due to our therapist’s suggestion while we work on things, but I think she holds a hope that she’ll be able to have him as a friend still. They were “best friends” a decade ago, long distance, and only romantic sometimes. I don’t think she will be able to cut him out completely, and she has been very sneaky in the past about ways to talk to him. She won’t even let me look at her phone records to ease my discomfort, and if I ask ANYTHING about him she will blow up, blame me for not communicating or being quiet, threaten divorce, etc.

      Just venting I guess…hoping we can get more to stages 4 and 5 soon.

      • Les

        Stop reacting to her.
        If she says she wants to work on it, etc. Let her say it and if you see signs she is…consistent signs, then go along with it.
        Otherwise figure out what fears you have that are making you insecure enough to react. It’s a game changer. Don’t buy into the ‘tough love’ approach. But do learn why you react the way you do to try and fix everything or to anticipate and proactively or reactively jump on whatever her latest test is.
        It’s not ‘being an Alpha’ but you need to be driven by your own values and beliefs.

        I was doing the same thing. I told myself I had to because of the kids, etc. The kids certainly matter and so did everything else I was telling myself but what didn’t matter was jumping through hoops to keep the marriage together.
        She didn’t cheat because of you. Her body image issues (same from my wife, same supposed reason to cut off sex) are not the cause of anything, they are the excuse she’s chosen. You cannot save your marriage.

        But…good news…neither can she. Because you can leave any time. You can cheat any time. You can abandon your values and morals and character at any point in any day as long as you live.
        Are you going to?
        Did she?

        Got your answer to that? Good! Because now you have a clear picture of the opponents in this situation. You know your limits, you know your values and morals. More importantly you consistently choose to uphold them no matter what has come and gone and what society, family, friends…your own wife vomited up on them. You held on.
        What are you worried about after that test?
        What. Are. You. Worried. About???
        You can’t stop the chaos that is her in this moment. So what…you already know that your roots are planted in the soil that gets you and anyone you need to get through things through them. You’ve forgiven (though that will be on-going). After ALL this $hitstorm you have chosen…not been forced…chosen to forgive.
        Where’s she at? I don’t mean physically; where is she at?
        You can only remain ready and open to work with her if she chooses. Till then work on you or on whatever you can but DO NOT work on anything for her unless it is something YOU see value in…VALUE, not fear. Do not let fear guide you. Constructive criticism, even from a cheater is still valuable but never change out of fear. Change because a legitimate flaw was pointed out to you or you uncovered it. Do not change from fear of what might be or what might be lost.

        I woke one morning thinking as usual that I must get up out of bed and get going. It occurred to me that the voice inside my head was my mother’s. She was dead at 91 five years before. I realized that for most of my 58 years I was reacting in fear to that voice. Get up, get moving…to avoid getting yelled at or somehow penalized. Then I began laying in bed just because I could…but that wasn’t fulfilling any more than jumping up to be busy. Eventually, after much honest analyzing of myself, my mom and my ‘why’ throughout life I realized how much of my life was driven by a low level fear. My marriage was very similar to my childhood with my mother…at some point I had begun trying to anticipate and proactively counter my wife’s anger/disappointment, etc. She didn’t force me to, or even ask me too. I don’t know if that has anything to do with our problems but I sure realized it had nothing to do with the solution.
        All I do know is that I do what I am trying to be much more now. I tell her no. Flatly. If I don’t agree with something at some deep level I don’t try and make it work or do it to keep the peace, because the peace won’t be kept anyway.
        I’m much happier and able to be happy, even with her. She has her own issues. I don’t worry if she’s dealing with them or not until she comes to me about them. Things are a little better actually, but if they weren’t I know I will get through it and that my best chance is to hold to what got me through so much already.

        Keep going, you’ve gone through hell already.

    • Jon

      So recently my wife ask for a divorce. After a week she admitted to an affair that lasted more than a year. She had told me that she was going to tell me the day earlier and the guy she cheated with told her I would take everything if I found out. I would also take our daughter from her. I told her I forgave her and was still willing to work on the marriage, to which she agreed. She told the other guy she wa staying with me and he cussed her and hung up. The next day he showed up at her work threatening her that he would ruin her and if he couldn’t have her no one would. She defends this saying because he was hurt. This part actually makes me as angry as the cheating itself.

      It pretty much started a few years ago. She was depressed and had a low self-esteem because of her weight. I would try to show affection but she would shy away or say I was being clingy. After awhile I was tired of trying. She never made advancement towards me and mine towards her got farther and farther apart. A couple of years ago she started working out and losing weight through a class. The instructor is the man she cheated on me with. He is also 36 years older than her. He helped her lose the weight he told her the things she needed to hear and boosted her confidence. He was able to use that to work himself into a relationship with her. That’s the Long and short of that.

      It’s been 2 weeks and she has decided to seek counseling. I am on board with this and think it may help. She however told me that she still has attraction and feelings for this other guy. Every time I try to get close to her I’m brushed away. I don’t know how to rekindle the attraction. We haven’t been intimate for years, because I got tired of being shut down. She says she wants to work it out with me, but I don’t feel she is committed. I feel like I’m already back in the same routine of being brushed off and feel like giving up already. Is it a lost cause?

      • Cheryl

        No this is not a lost cause. Don’t give up on her. I was the cheater in my relationship and my husband never gave up on me. See if doing couples counseling and talk it through. My husband and I didn’t do the counseling but we would stay up for hours and talk and we did this for at least a year. And it’s been almost 3 yrs since my affair. Try little things to rekindle the relationship get to know each other all over again. Don’t be to pushy and take your time cause thata what you both need at this time.

      • Les

        Leave her to fix herself…not leave the marriage, just don’t engage her more than necessary.

        Women do not react to affair discovery the way men do. Men jump through hoops to make it work if they want to avoid divorce. Women don’t.
        You tryingto make it easier on her will do nothing to facilitate reconciliation.

    • Maddie

      After almost 50 years of being together. He walked out a week before Thanksgiving last. 2 days after Thanksgiving he was home again. Apparently the affair had been going on Via social media long distance for two years with the occasional Meetup out of state during those years. I was totally blindsided the day he walked out. There has been one apology since he’s come back. With the statement of I want our marriage to work. My question is how long do these phases last? I have seen bits and pieces from all of them.

    • jim

      Some of you may be dealing with a spouse with Narcistic personality disorder. I relized this 20 years afefter my divorce. It may change the way you proceed.

    • Jane

      I had affair with a married man for a month. I wish people wouldn’t call it fantasy etc. It’s the same as when you meet anybody and fall in love, call it limerance, fantasy, etc. Why can’t people believe married folks can just fall in love like everyone else. Call it what it is. A married man got sick and tired of his wife for whatever reason, and came over to my house. He planned it months in advance, no accident. Then after D day and his wife made him break up with me, they went to counselling, they suddenly had “date nights:” every single night after never having gone out together in over 10 years. He will do everything possible not to kicked out, not because he suddenly loves her again, but because he cannot afford to lose 1/2 of everything he made over 30 years. That’s the main reason men stay with wives, get real everyone. A man does not walk out of his own house into another woman’s house if he truly loves his wife. If you read what most men are writing about this, this the the thing they all agree on. The fell in love with another woman. Period. When they get caught, they have to go back unless they want to spend the rest of their life paying alimony and splitting all their earnings. Women’s comments just seem bitter and seems they cannot truly understand their husband will say anything, do anything to not get kicked out. My are logical about relationships. They will do whatever is needed based on their overall picture of finances. Men are all about their wealth, whereas women are all about emotions and relationships. Men feel worthless in a relationship unless they can bring assets and support them with their jobs and money. My guy is lying through his teeth to his wife to keep from going broke. He continues to see me even though they are going to couseling and going on date nights…every single night….lol. I am not happy he is lying like this to his wife either. One night on date night, he hired a private investigator to figure where I had gone. I think most men just go through the motions with their wives after getting caught. Do you really think a man who hated his wife for the last 10 years and never took her on one date, suddenly just loves his wife again, just because he got caught????? He was forced to stop seeing me or have his entire life ruined overnight. Like I said before , pay attention to what the cheating men are writing. They seem to tell it like it really is. Men fall in love with another woman. Men leave their houe to go be with them. Men get caught, and unless they want to lose everything, men then are forced to stay with their wife. Over 50% of cheaters end up divorced after 5 years. That’s the statistic nobody ever mentions. Most cheating men admit that after they are forced to leave their AP, they miss them throughout the remainder of their marriage, and half will leave their marriage after 5 years.

      • Shifting Impressions

        So glad you got all that sorted out for us!!! What makes you think that the man who would betray his wife would be honest with his affair partner!!!! Cheating is a cowardly and dishonest behavior….no matter who does it.

        • Jane

          Shifting Impressions—I agree with you on that point. However, that is not what the focus of my message was about. I just believe most all women on all these affair boards are in complete denial about what’s going on with their husbands. Their counselors, therapists etc would lose all their business quickly if women just used their common sense about why men left them for another women. In order to deal with the horrible heartache ,these therapists make up all kinds of fancy rationales, fancy phrases, fancy reasons for why man leaves a woman. That’s all I was trying to convey. If you go on sites and read what mainly the men are saying, it is just very simplistic; they lost love and passion for their wives and fell in love with someone else. I found what the cheating men were saying very fascinating because it completely invalidates what 99% of these online therapy sites are saying. Like I said, watching my guy continue to cheat on his own wife even while he was going through all the motions of counseling, therapy, date nights etc etc. was upsetting to me. It was all a lie and I was not happy. But it was also a wake up call about what goes on when men get caught. To expect a man to suddenly love his wife again after getting caught is rediculous. But yet that’s what nearly every therapy site attests to. I would suggest women go on the men’s sites and read their comments. Another thing I discovered is that the male therapists often say this very same thing I am writing about, they tell it like it is instead of sugar coating everything. Just something to think about.

          • Cheryl

            So why do the women who cheat on their husband’s cheat on them? I’m a women who cheated on her husband. It’s not that I didn’t love him or I don’t love him, I wasn’t the person or anything to him for so long it just became a routine foe him to come home not talk or give me attention even when I would be the one coming to him. It was a quick affair didn’t last long and my husband and I have made it work. We are better than we were before we talk and we have time for us.

          • Shifting Impressions

            You do realize that people (men and women) that cheat often lie to themselves in order to rationalize their poor behavior. It’s easy to shift the blame elsewhere rather than be accountable for their own actions.

            So if you want to base your “theory “ on what all these cheating men are saying….be my guest!

            • Jane

              Shifting—Those excuses and mumbo jumbo logic are the exact types of rationales you get from therapists and marriage counselors these days. Believe what you like, but common sense goes a long way.

            • Jane

              Shifting—-Yes, it is true, my discussions were mainly commenting about what the cheating men are saying. That was my point. I just found it fascinating that they are not at all agreeing with what these online therapy sites are saying. That’s all I was saying. It really woke me up. I am just encouraging those with cheating husbands to check out what the cheating men themselves are writing online. They are not making excuses for their behaviors, just telling it like it is. Female therapists especially give hundreds of complicated excuses and rationales for a man’s behavior, whereas the men just are pretty clear….they got bored and fell out of love and then fell in love with someone else. Pretty simple. When they get caught, they usually try to save their marriage so they don’t lose everything.

          • Shifting Impressions

            What do you tell yourself that makes it okay to be in a relationship with a married man?

            • Jane

              I’m disgusted with myself actually, but I fell in love with a neighbor over many years and then he finally acted on it one day. I’m ashamed . We are so madly in love however, I might just have to move to get on with my life. Again, my post was about the reason cheating men left their marriage is all. We all know we are doing wrong here. Let’s not kid ourselves. No….this whole cheating business is wrong, and like I said in my first post above. I am very disappointed watching my guy continuing to lie to his wife. The whole thing is a nightmare. Again, this is not the reason for my comments. I can tell I have hit a nerve with women when I comment on why men really cheat. I start getting attacked for cheating on a cheating website…lol. Yes, we are all doing something wrong here, let’s face it. This whole thing is a nightmare, but I cannot control my heart. The only reason I commented was to suggest women check out what most cheating men are really saying. as to why they stray. It’s not all at what these online therapy says are saying.

          • Shifting Impressions

            It’s an interesting point of view….but I can’t say I agree. I would dig a little deeper into the topic if I were you. A really good read into the subject is WHY DID I CHEAT by Andrew Marshall

    • Jane

      How in the world do you love, respect, and honor a husband that you cheat on. I am happy you have made it work again but your experience is the exception not the norm. Your definition of “love” is different than mine. I would never cheat on someone I truly loved. You cannot create chemistry where there was none before. But yes, you both could realize neither one of you want to start over alone, so you make “it work” and decide to stay together and “make the best of it” again. Perhaps it is different for women when they cheat, but the majority of the cheating men tell a completely different story. I could never stray from someone I loved just to have a loveless fling with someone for a month anyway, so I just don’t understand how that happens. Understand I am not at all judging, it’s just I cannot fathom ever doing that. with someone I loved. Why would you be with someone even for a moth if you don’t even love them to begin with. I just know that when I fall out of love with somebody and the chemistry is gone, there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to restore that love for me. All the date nights, months of therapy, etc will never restore the feelings that I have lost. That is also the point that the men’s sites make as well. But I also understand we are all different too.

      • Cheryl

        You sound bitter cause the married man is staying with his wife and still keeping you as a piece of ass whether he wants to be with his wife or not. I’m still young I’m not afraid to move on I just decided what I did was totally wrong to get my husband’s attention and should of went about it a different way but like my husband says this was his eye opening to be more committed to us than to everything else. Your seeing this from a man’s view not a women’s view your the mistress so you juat want to keep justifying your actions. You knew he was married but you acted on it so in everyone’s eyes you’d be labeled as a homewrecker.

      • Les

        In another comment you admit you’re disgusted with yourself over the affair…really over the way you are behaving for this man. I have never in my life felt disgust being in love with someone. When I was dating and cheated on someone (who I broke up with days after cheating on her) I felt disgust and disappointment at myself. Because that is not who I wanted to be, nor who I had ever been…and was forced to admit that it was now indeed who I was.

        Most men I know are not proud of their affairs. They pretend to themselves that they are in love with the AP, but mostly it’s about themselves. Other men who are married, not cheating, see this clearly. What would be more interesting and informative than reading cheating men’s perspectives would be to read or talk to married men who don’t cheat and get their perspectives on men who do…even some of our best friends. It’s not the wife, it’s him.
        My wife cheated on me in 2018-19. It’s eye opening not just to be cheated on and discover it but to stay and watch and listen to your spouse with newly opened eyes. We have children, all younger than teens at the time. So when she said that her affair was not about me I already understood that in many senses.
        It was about the family first and foremost. It was about chaos brought into our children’s lives, through no fault of their own. Her first solution was divorce. I said no…which with no fault is meaningless because ultimately the injured party can’t stop divorce in a no fault State. But I got a good lawyer. She got a lawyer. Thousands of the family’s dollars spent…but it delayed things and in the end she saw that divorce would financially damage her more than me (she is the earner, I stay home full time with the kids), my lawyer was very good and I told her I would go for full custody.

        So we are married still. Things are not much better in many ways. The kids are happy and well adjusted and not shuttling between residences. I’m certainly not unhappy but I’m not happy because it could be so much better. But she chooses to refuse to work on things. If you look around, at any given moment any relationship is up or down. The idea that if you stop loving a spouse, it’s over is interesting and seems pretty fluid really. No one I have met loves their spouse in the same way as they did when dating. Dating is easy compared to marriage. But the depth of marriage compared to dating is not comparable. I think we too much see ‘love’ as the dating type. Most people don’t date their parents, but they love them…and often hate them at the same time. Because the parent child relationship is deep and real for most people. Actual love is not romantic or passionate, it’s deeper.
        I can tell you this because I’ve stayed and it’s been about 5 years with not much relationship change between us. The anger has subsided. I learned that forgiveness frees you from the death grip of the other person and/or situation. It’s a different marriage for me now. I can actually see again the person I married. My anger and resentment over the affair have transformed into a real view of my wife. I accept the bad, that was easy after discovery. By staying I see the good again but I see there are things in her (and in myself) that block the true self from being allowed out.

        In short I don’t need an affair or divorce or remarriage to somehow ‘reward’ my endurance of what I’ve been put through (and believe me the opportunities and justifications are there). My wife is damaged, as we all are, but she is damaged like an addict or alcoholic after a drink or a fix. He affair was not at all about me. In fact that’s why it took her 10 years to have it and that’s why it was with a married man.
        Affairs ARE fantasies. The fantasy isn’t the feelings involved, in fact the reality of the feelings is what reveals the fantasy aspects of an affair. Unless your man got married to a woman he didn’t like or she completely and deliberately lied while they dated his relationship with you is a fantasy. What is lacking in his current marriage will remain if he is with you…because he is carrying the ‘lack’ like a virus inside himself.

        Ask other men that aren’t cheating, like I said. Ask married men and married women who are committed to their marriages.
        You know, everyone wants to make a million dollars but very few want to put in the commitment. He’s not going to operate any better with you than he does with her, unless he changes things internally. The fact that an affair is his ‘solution’ to those issues isn’t a good sign. He has a lot of skin in the game, he should be making the moves, paying the price to achieve the dream of you. You’re a sideline player so no real cost to you, that doesn’t require the commitment yet. Take it from me. I live with an married affair participant; they’re not content well adjusted people…and like the drunk or the addicted only they can decide to change that. I would say a good start would be honesty, no matter the cost, for what you love and he seems unable to take that first step.

        • Jane

          Men and women can both grow apart and fall in love with other people; just like anyone else. I’m conflicted too. Although I feel disgusted and ashamed of myself, at the same time it is the most wonderful loving experience I have ever experienced. I do not believe one can create chemistry where there is none, despite all the therapy and date nights in the world. I blame it on our mobile society. A 100 years ago, people stayed in the same location for a lifetime. Today, it is possible for both partners to meet up to 100 different people daily in their work and community activities etc. That’s just my take on how these things start and also the chances of affairs starting are doubled with most women also having jobs outside the home. I don’t blame either spouse or the affair partner. It just happens innocently in most cases. I’m not talking about wild physical meet ups, I’m only talking about true love affairs which neither party can give up. Despite marriage contracts and taking vows etc, in the end we are only human. And humans are fallible.

    • Jane

      Whoa—-take a deep breath lady. So you think I’m bitter….lol. You had a fling to get your “husband’s attention”. Well, you ARE young. Somebody in your life made you pissed…something in my comments hit a nerve.

      • Cheryl

        No not at all but you are saying your not on her judging people but people in glass house shouldn’t throw stones, you were/are the other women and still the other women seems like he’s just going to keep you as the other women. So what I made a mistake past tense but you still keep making the same mistake by still sleeping with a MARRIED MAN and in your head you just keep saying men won’t leave their wife’s cause they don’t want to start over or lose half of everything. So you think a smart man is just going to live out his days with someone who will make and keep him miserable. I highly doubt that.. No one in my past life made me pissed I’ve been on my own since I was 14 and I keep my circle small.

    • Jane

      We are having an emotional love affair only for now. He has never touched me, nor will I allow it until he becomes legally separated or divorced. We have both agreed to contain this somewhat at least for now. I can’t control how my heart aches for him, but we are controlling our physical passions, at least for now. If he loved his wife, he would not be jeapardizing his entire marriage on an emotional attachment. I really cannot comment on physical affairs as I have no experience with that. My comments were about emotional affairs. I honestly don’t know what that would be like at this point. So no, as much as you wish he was coming over and sneaking around for a “piece of arse” as you say, that is not his motivation. This is simply falling in love, just a pure emotional affair. Yes we know this is wrong, but unlike you, I have judged nobody on these boards for their actions. Everyone here on these boards is somehow involved with cheating….lol. I thought that’s why we are here…to discuss things related to cheating. You are bitter and pissed because you were cheated on, that’s as clear as day. It’s not anybody’s fault. People change, grow apart over the years and develop new interests, and meet new people. It’s a reflection of our mobile society in my opinion. But when a man leaves for another woman, it’s because he has developed feelings. Believe what you like. I wish you well and saying so long for now. Name calling is not why I’m here, and not stooping to your level.

    • Ally

      I’m new here. I’m the BS and just found out few days ago. I’m stuck at trying to find answers as of why, why if he said to love me he could cause so much damage and pain. He is stuck in no talking phase. We only had a brief conversation after DDay where we talked about the issues we had as a couple. Now He said he needs more time to pick the right words and talk again. The wait is killing me. Our main marital problem was communication, and he is proving why. I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m confused, but the insight of all these stories has been very helpful to understand what’s going on. I’m also starting therapy this week. I need to heal for me and for my kids. Thank you

    • Coping

      Ally, I’m sorry for the intense hurt and shock you must be feeling right now. It’s totally normal to be dealing with a storm of emotions and questions that don’t have clear answers right away.
      Remember, cheating usually comes from deeper issues, not just the obvious problems in a relationship. It’s about what’s going on inside your husband – not just the issues in the marriage. The “why” can be really tough to get to, and you often won’t find a good answer early on. It’s a hard question, and it’s something to dig into when you’re in therapy, where you can get the help you need to sort through your emotions.
      The fact that your husband isn’t talking right now might feel like he’s betraying you again, and it makes sense to be upset by that. But him taking time to think carefully about what to say could mean he’s trying to avoid making things worse. It’s not much, but it could be a sign he’s being careful, even though it’s tough to deal with.
      It’s perfectly okay to feel angry, sad, and confused. Not talking right now is really hard, but you’ve got a chance to start working on healing yourself. Going to therapy is a huge step forward. It doesn’t just show your kids how to take care of themselves, but it also gets you on the path to feeling better, no matter what your husband does.
      As you go through this rough patch, keep up with your everyday life and reach out to people who can back you up. Stick with friends, family, or groups that make you feel supported. Healing isn’t just about getting past the affair; it’s also about taking care of yourself and finding happiness in the parts of your life that weren’t hurt by this.
      As you and your husband begin to talk more, it could be a good idea to make some rules and have clear expectations for those talks. You have the right to want honesty, openness, and a plan for when you’ll talk things out.
      Your courage is clear in your search for answers and your steps toward healing. Keep holding onto that bravery — it’s what will get you through this incredibly tough time.

    • Ally

      Thank you, Coping. I wish I was as brave as it sounds. But I cry everyday. We are separated now. And only communicate via text for home or kids related issues. He had promised we would talk by now but that’s another broken promise. The fact he is incapable of talking to me right now and at least apologize leads me to think he just wanted out. And I’m honestly confused on what I want. He knew cheating was a deal breaker for me, but deep inside I miss my husband very much. My pride tells me to get a lwwyer right right and get over it, but my heart has a little hope. Has anybody felt that way?

      • Doug

        Hi Ally, I’m sorry for what you’re going through. I think what’s most important right now is for you to focus on YOU and your own healing and wellbeing. Your husband is going to do what he’s going to do until he figures things out. In the meantime, be good to yourself, set boundaries, get some support, do therapy, exercise, eat right, etc. There probably is no rush for you to make any life-changing decisions right now. Give yourself time to catch your breath and get your feet underneath you a bit first. That said, it may not be a bad idea to talk to an attorney and/or financial advisor so as to get your financial and legal ducks in a row – just in case. Hopefully, at some point your husband will have a change in heart and demonstrate remorse and be proactive in the affair recovery process. Please take good care of yourself!

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