Spouses cannot wrap their head around the idea of why cheaters cannot leave their affair partners. Rightly so, we assume that it would be an easy decision, especially when the affair is no longer a secret.

why cheaters cannot leave their affair partners

By Sarah P.

Featured Download: “The Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Affair Partner Now”

If you’re the unfaithful, get it, read it and carefully consider the advice. If you’re the betrayed, give it to your unfaithful spouse.

It’s the most troublesome, frustrating, and heartbreaking situation of them all: when you realize that even if your spouse stays with you, they won’t or can’t break it off with the other person. 

After all, the affair was a choice that the wayward spouse made and it should be just as easy a choice for the wayward spouse to leave the affair partner. Obviously, we all have choices in life and so we don’t understand why the wayward spouse can’t make the best choice, which is to let go.

But this choice is one that is difficult for the cheating spouse because there are other forces at work that have to do with manipulation. Most people make choices freely – without the pervasive influence of manipulation or other external forces.

The Complex Dynamics of Leaving an Affair

So, even though we might feel that leaving the other person would be an easy choice to make, this is not necessarily the experience for the wayward spouse. When the wayward spouse keeps stalling, delaying, and pretending to break it off, the betrayed spouse becomes angrier and more heartbroken the longer the wayward spouse  doesn’t make a decision to leave.

It feels terrible to think that someone outside of the betrayed spouse’s marriage has seemingly as much power or more than the betrayed spouse.

Though it could be argued that there is manipulation everywhere, such as in a Burger King commercial, this type of manipulation that goes along with selling food has little to no consequence over people’s lives (unless they are food addicts.)

Manipulation Beyond Commercials: The Real Stakes of Affairs

Each time someone turns on the TV, they might see a delicious DQ Blizzard or their favorite burger advertised in tantalizing ways. But, if those same people, due to a diet, say no to the ice cream or burger.  Restaurants will not stalk them, threaten them, or threaten their families. Restaurants will not make them and their families feel unsafe and restaurants won’t cause people to live in fear of the future.

It’s easier to truly exercise free will in these circumstances where the stakes are low and where there is no additional penalty for saying “no.”

On the other hand, the type of manipulation that comes as part and parcel of an affair is in a whole other league. There is really no free will in staying or leaving because of all the influences and control that occurs during an affair. I call these manipulations that are generated by the other person or the situation itself the Four M’s:

  • Momentum
  • Madness
  • Mystery
  • Malevolence

This combination creates a scenario where it can be notoriously difficult for the wayward spouse to leave the other person.

The Misconception of the “Better” Affair Partner

So, the wayward spouse does not stay if the other person is more attractive, younger, or makes more money. The wayward spouse does not stay because the affair partner is “better” than the betrayed spouse. The affair partner can never be better than the betrayed spouse because having an affair with a married person is a fatal flaw.  Having an affair with a married person makes the other person 100% worse than the betrayed spouse.

Thus, the wayward spouse doesn’t stay because the other person is better in some way. The other person is never better than the betrayed spouse and does not have the ability to be better due to his or her actions. 


A friend said something interesting one time about momentum. He realized sometime well before his first wedding that the woman he was to marry was not the right woman for him. (This was not because he was interested in someone else and he was not having an affair.) He knew that if they were to get married, they would get divorced one day. Yet, they had already paid for everything and there was no getting money back.

He was also profoundly ashamed to send a wedding cancellation to the 300 plus guests. By the time the actual wedding ceremony happened, he and his wife were not even on speaking terms due to both of them realizing they didn’t want to be married. They divorced a few months after that.

He told me that it all came down to the momentum of the situation since the engagement and wedding happened quickly. He recounted that one night when they were dating he told her that he loved her. She immediately called her parents and told them they were engaged. He of course questioned her about it and she said, “If you love me that means we are engaged and getting married.” (I will disclose that there was a cultural element at work here for both of them.)

The Affair: A Riptide of Emotions and Decisions

Her parents and his parents started planning a wedding the next day. He felt carried away and each time he questioned or suggested taking a step back there was trouble. Each time he did, he was guilted to death by her and her parents since they were living with her parents by that time. Do I believe him? Of course!

I think a lot of people in monogamous pairings get carried away with the momentum of relationships, especially if there is a cultural element at work. But, I think the momentum is even stronger when there is an affair involved. The wayward spouse just keeps getting in deeper and deeper.

The wayward spouse has decided to dive head first down the rabbit hole and the deeper the wayward spouse goes, the more risks the wayward spouse takes.

But, the affair can also be likened to a riptide that is moving at 15 knots per hour. This riptide has pulled the wayward spouse out to sea before he or she even realizes what happened. What started as just dipping a toe in the water on a sunny day got out of hand within minutes.  Like the wayward spouse, the swimmer thinks it is easier to be dragged out to sea than to fight the strong current.

Inside the Mind of a Cheater: A Real-Life Confession

Though we don’t often get unfiltered views of how the wayward spouse feels during the affair. Fortunately, I have found a comment by a cheater and I am sharing an addended version of his comment with you. I will let his comment speak for itself:

“My lover is a work colleague. She’s 27. Her husband walked out on her and she kept breaking down in tears. I would put my arms around her to comfort her and, one day, it ended up with us kissing passionately. I was feeling sex-starved, I guess, and she later said it felt so good to know that a man still desired her. The sex was blinding. She is amazing in bed and is up for anything I suggest. It’s the sex life I’ve always dreamed of — but with the wrong woman.

My wife is such a great partner. We have built up a good business together and she stood by me while I helped my family through their money troubles without complaining about the drain on our finances. Now we are in a position to start a family but it’s never going to happen while she has no interest in sex. I also know I can’t go on living a double life like this forever. My wife still loves me and I really do want to change, but I also want kids and we are not getting any younger.” (1)

The Catch-22 of Infidelity

The momentum of the affair is obviously carrying this fellow away. He doesn’t indicate that he wishes to leave his wife or mistress. He also implies that his excuse for cheating is that his wife has no interest in sex.

His thinking is certainly flawed and he is putting himself in a catch-22 situation. He doesn’t want to leave his wife and so he uses the excuse of a sexless marriage to justify carrying on with his coworker.

If he were thinking clearly, he would have either worked out his sex life with his wife (if he really does have a problem there) or he would have divorced her. This bring us to our next point….

why cheaters cannot leave their affair partners


So, by the time the wayward spouse is far enough down the rabbit hole, he or she will certainly be having tea with the Mad Hatter. In the Mad Hatter’s domain, all of the distortions and illusions are easy to believe. I use the terms madness to refer to the affair fog.

See also  Marriage Fitness Review

The affair fog also creates what I call the false soulmate connection—the phenomenon where the wayward spouse is wrongly convinced that he has found his soulmate. But, before we begin, I wanted to provide a refresher on the affair fog. Doug and Linda found a spot on definition for this phenomenon:

“The term “the fog” can be described as being similar to being brainwashed. The thrill of the affair envelops the wayward partner in good feelings, and the excitement can be overwhelming. They feel a new high, a feeling of being in love. The person begins to rationalize with themselves in order to cover up their feelings of guilt.

They may convince themselves that their marriage was already bad, that their partner really doesn’t love them, and that the affair partner must truly be their soulmate, because he or she is the only one who understands them.

Then begins the repeated internal dialogue of the rationalizations over and over again in their minds. It is as if they’ve become addicted to the affair, needing the constant high it brings, many times with total disregard for the betrayed.

Over time, they really begin to believe all the lies they’ve told themselves. Their beliefs are reflected in their actions, loving to the affair partner and angry and hostile toward the betrayed. Wash, rinse, and repeat, and soon they are deeply entrenched in the fog.”

The Affair Fog: A Neurochemical Perspective

Do you remember those old TV shows that were sponsored by a particular company? For example, an announcer would come on during commercial breaks and say: “Old Yeller was brought to you by General Motors (insert General Motors tagline).” Well, this same thing pops into my mind when I think of the affair fog. Only it sounds like this: The Affair Fog is brought to you by Neurochemicals. You may think your spouse is crazy, but it’s just his brain on drugs.  Obviously, this also applies to the female wayward spouse as well.

Don’t underestimate your spouse’s brain on drugs– because an affair lights up the area of the brain that is responsible for pleasure. Affairs are kind of like someone in the hospital with their own morphine button. Just as they start to feel bad, they just press the button and life is all blissful again. Press. Press. And press some more. 

The Dopamine Effect: Understanding the Addiction

An article I was reading said this about the neurochemistry and pornography* and what he says in my opinion equally applies to the neurochemistry of affairs:

“When we imagine eating at a favorite restaurant, shopping for a new gadget or having sex, the brain releases dopamine and our senses call out, Gimme, gimme, gimme! The more intense the experience, the more dopamine is released in the brain. Without this neurotransmitter, we would stay in bed all day with no motivation to eat or pursue meaningful goals, relationships, or sexual pleasure. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter behind all motivation in life.” (2)

The Brain on Affairs: A Dangerous Cocktail

Affairs release neurotransmitters that bathe the brain in a chemical cocktail.  This is quite a cocktail, especially when oxytocin (for bonding) and nonrepinephrine (which is like cocaine) are added to the dopamine (which induces pleasure and can be likened to heroin).

Can you imagine your wayward spouse taking cocaine and heroin in one night? Add to that the chemical responsible for bonding, and voilà, you have the recipe for a very dangerous and hard to break addiction. Yes, indeed, your wayward spouse’s brain is on drugs.

Neuroplasticity: The Brain’s Adaptability to Affairs

I wanted to continue with this same author’s line of thinking since porn and affairs create the same kind of scenario: 

“Every time a person views porn, or eventually even thinks about porn, the burst of dopamine strengthens the connections between cells. The stronger the connection, the easier it becomes for cells to communicate on that path. This idea of the brain changing itself is called neuroplasticity. Whether learning to ski, learning to speak a foreign language, or looking at porn, the more we use a particular neuropathway, the more our brain changes, making the pathway stronger.” (2)

The Transformation: When Your Spouse Doesn’t Seem Like Your Spouse Anymore

Porn and affairs both change the brain and so it could be argued that this modification can explain why your spouse acts so crazy during an affair. In some cases, the wayward spouse is so far gone that you might find yourself wondering where the guy you married went.

You will ask yourself, “who is this lying, angry, distant, entitled, selfish person that I share a house with?” It’s as if your husband or wife has an evil twin and sometime in the middle of the night, the evil twin snuck into your bed, gagged your spouse, carried him/her off halfway across the world, and then started living with you in your real spouse’s place. Because the person you are sharing a bed with sure looks like your spouse, sure talks like your spouse, and shows up to your spouse’s job, but where did your real husband/wife go? Where did that once considerate, thoughtful, honest, patient, loving person go? 

The Gaslighting Game: Navigating the Wayward Spouse’s Denials

Then there are the plainly stupid things that your spouse says such as: 

  • She’s just a friend
  • We are just coworkers, in fact, she/he is not my type.
  • I want to stay married to you but I can’t bear to break up with her/him. It will hurt her feelings.
  • I love you, but I am not in love with you.
  • She/He is meaningless to me (all the while the wayward spouse keeps seeing the other person.)
  • I can’t believe you don’t trust me!
  • It’s not what it looks like.
  • You are blowing this out of proportion.
  • My wife/husband and I don’t have sex any more. (Said to the other person.)
  • Or, my favorite one said to the spouse: “It’s all in your head!!!”

That’s right, a wayward spouse’s favorite comment is to tell the betrayed spouse that they are seeing things; indeed they are imagining things. The betrayed spouse starts to feel a little crazy because the wayward spouse often encourages it. The wayward spouse is in such a selfish mode that he or she would rather gaslight his or her spouse to death than come clean. That is unforgivable.

So when you as the betrayed spouse notice all of those things, you are correct. Thinking these things is not blowing it all out of proportion or seeing things that are not real. This is a very real phenomenon and it’s so real that it destroys countless lives each year. Then you add to that the madness of the other woman or other man.

Featured Download: “The Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Affair Partner Now”

If you’re the unfaithful, get it, read it and carefully consider the advice. If you’re the betrayed, give it to your unfaithful spouse.

The Illusion of Perfection in an Affair

Here is a comment from a married (other) woman who is having an affair on her husband. If this doesn’t sound like addiction, what is:

“Hi- I have been having an affair with the most amazing man for 6 months. I think it needs to end as we’ve fallen in love, totally & utterly. The pain of the situation & the problems it causes is getting unbearable for us both. We had the most amazing time last Sunday, beautiful, sacred & I didn’t want to leave him. Everything feels so right when we are together, like time stands still, like there is no one else in the world, even if we are in a crowded place it’s just us. We are addicted to one another, inspire & motivate one another. It’s the most amazing relationship I’ve ever had. He just gets me and vice versa.” (3)

The Justification and Denial in Affairs

Well, she is cheating on her own husband and she too has a brain on drugs.

Notice how she says it is causing problems, but then goes straight into describing how she has never had a relationship as amazing as this. She is justifying it by the allegedly beautiful, sacred time they are having together.

But think about it—if you go out on a date with someone and you are each on heroin and cocaine whilst out together, your perception of the situation and yourself is going to be really altered. Both people will feel powerful together, both people will be flooded with feel good chemicals, both people will be living in the now, and both people will feel bonded.

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The Madness of the Affair: A Powerful Illusion

In this state of mind, a fire hydrant is going to look “spiritual” and meaningful to them and so they might label what would otherwise be a mundane connection as spiritual. Because after all they have found their soulmate!

Now the Mad Hatter is laughing hysterically. This is the madness of the affair and it is a force to be reckoned with. It is one of the reasons why the wayward spouse might find it difficult to leave the other person. The wayward spouse is being asked to give up a very powerful illusion. Only the WS thinks the illusion is reality. The WS needs to first figure out that he/she dove down the rabbit hole in the first place before he/she is coming out of this one.

Why Cheaters Cannot Leave Their Affair PartnersMYSTERY

Mystery is a powerful thing and this is why the wayward spouse can often choose someone who is many steps below the loyal spouse. It doesn’t matter if the other person is such a lowlife that they just crawled out from underneath the nearest rock and looked up to find something better.

The point is that there is mystery to be had underneath that rock, even if it’s just a dank place filled with moss, nastiness, and insanity. The wayward spouse hasn’t explored what’s underneath that particular dank rock and the WS hasn’t seen that particular brand of insanity. The other person and their rocky home is pays inconnu as the French say.

Add to that how and where they interact. Wherever they are, they meet under fleeting and intense circumstances and the wayward spouse never knows what will happen next. The immediate and far future is a mystery and the WS wants to live it and know what happens next.

The WS will never know the other person as a whole person since everything feels like a first date. The wayward spouse will only know what is essentially a hologram of the other person—a projected and illusive perfect version of the other person. The wayward spouse will never see past the illusion. The WS will never know a real future with their affair partner, complete with life’s stressors. The WS exists in the “now” with their affair partner. This all adds to the mystery.

The Fantasy World Versus Reality

The WS doesn’t have to raise children with the other person, the WS doesn’t have to argue over money, doesn’t see dirty clothing, and will never see the other person at their worst. The other person exists in a bubble of fantasy where real life just does not happen.

In this fantasy world, every encounter is just like the first date played over and over again. It’s all infatuation, chemical highs, wine, carefree conversation, and roses.

The wayward spouse does not have to be an adult and face real life with the other person. Everything is one big illusion and the WS will never know what is under it—more mystery.

The other person can play dress up and project whatever image the WS requires. They can present themselves as the type of person that the WS wants and the OP can pretend to be something that they are not. The other person is like a wolf is sheep’s clothing, or like a pig in a dress. The other person just happens to cover his or her snout well when with the wayward spouse.

Contrast this with the all too real life that a wayward spouse has with his or her spouse. The wayward spouse knows about their spouse’s past, knows about the all too real past they had together, knows there will probably be a very real future with his or her spouse. The mystery has gone out of real life. Most of all, the wayward spouse doesn’t have to live in the now with their spouse. They have checked out and inhabit a fantasy world full of mystery and intrigue.

The Thrill of Secrecy

Dr. Valerie Golden says, “Plus, sneaking around has its thrills. The sex itself may be more lusty because it’s clandestine. Having sex in the married couple’s bed, for example, becomes a daring thrill, full of lust and passion, in a way not possible otherwise. Likewise, unprotected sex. The need to be secretive, sneak around undiscovered, grabbing quick sexual encounters on the fly, can be a huge turn-on in comparison to a dinner date with a single man who calls on Wednesday night for Friday. Especially for rule-breakers, it’s just more fun being naughty. And bawdy.” (4)

All of this adds to the mystery of the situation since everything is clandestine.

why cheaters can't leave the affair partner


There is always going to be some malevolent thinking or doing coming from the other person. After all, the other person is in the affair to win. The other person will always put his or her happiness above everyone else’s. They don’t care if they leave a trail of bloodied and broken hearts in their path so long as they get what they believe they deserve. They will justify it is all kinds of ways.

Here is an example of that malevolence as told by a woman who was able to get her lover to leave his wife and small children for her:

“Emotionally, David had left his marriage years ago but now his family had to cope with his physical removal and the pain of the reality. It felt as if people presumed that I had lured David away with a trap. David had lost his home, his family and his friends. He was going through the most difficult time of his life. I, conversely, was going through the best time of my life, having finally met someone I truly wanted to be with. I’d get angry that what I perceived as a very special time was marred by other people’s disdain.

I have no regrets, though. I firmly believe that we did the right thing. We could have lied, buried our feelings. But I believe that I was entitled to take happiness when I found it. People naturally look out for themselves and that is what I did in the end. Where would I have been if I had looked the other way? My principles might have been intact but I would likely have been holding on to them alone.” (5)

All I have to say is ouch. Notice that she did not even try to hide the fact that it was always about her. She believed that it’s better to lose your principles in life rather than to be alone. (Plus, she doesn’t know that she would have been alone. She could have easily chosen a man who wasn’t taken.) Her spending the rest of her life with someone who was never hers is not justified by the idea that she might have been alone. Are you kidding me?

The Consequences of Selfish Choices

If everyone threw their principles to the side we would have a very ugly society. For example, a man could walk down the street and see a new BMW. He could hotwire it and drive it around until the car was found and he was arrested. With such reasoning he would tell the judge: “I don’t deserve to go to jail. I was walking after all. Do you prefer to force me to walk alone than drive around comfortably in someone else’s car with a friend?” That reasoning would not fly in a court of law. The thief would be laughed out of the courtroom and then thrown in jail.

Then there is the kind of malevolence that occurs when  someone tries to leave the other person. Here is a comment from a from a man who wrote to Suzie Johnson:

“I met a woman at an out-of-town convention. She seemed so confident and sure of herself; I was immediately smitten. Although I had developed some pretty strong feelings for her, I knew that I didn’t want to leave my wife. I tried to end it and she threatened to go to my wife.  I want to end this affair, but I am scared to death of what might happen if I do.” (6)

This fellow found himself in the honey trap and that honey trap turned on him.  The sweetness of the honey trap turned to bitterness and fear once the other woman realized she would not get her way.

The Lure of the Forbidden: Mate Poaching Dynamics

The man (wayward spouse) is now in a catch-22 situation. It is obvious that he understands he made a mistake and he wants to leave the other woman and repair his marriage. But, the other woman is not having it and she is threatening him like a rabid dog.

As I have said before, the other person is usually in the affair to win. When they see that they are not going to win, they become very vindictive. The other woman in the above scenario is holding another’s woman’s husband as an emotional hostage.

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I am guessing that the man in that situation didn’t see that coming either. After all, he was caught up in the mystery and the illusion, not being able to see the reality of such a person.

The man in the above scenario now gets to live with the fear that the other woman might tell his wife on her time and tell her story before he even gets a chance to speak. The other woman will likely exaggerate or lie when she tells his wife because her end goal is to break up the marriage. The other woman might tell his wife that he never loved his wife and prefers to be with the other woman. It occurs more commonly than you might think.

The Psychology of Mate Poaching and Emotional Blackmail

Dr. Valerie Golden says, “Mate poaching is a robust phenomenon, and it is here to stay. When single women see a moderately attractive male, they are more interested in him if they believe he is already in a relationship! In fact, one sizable study found 90 percent of single women were interested in a man who they believed was taken, while a mere 59 percent wanted him when told he was single. For some, the food on someone else’s plate always looks tastier. If someone else wants him, he must be worth wanting.” (4)

Emotional blackmail by the other person is common.

Obviously, if the other person wanted the relationship to break up, he or she would’ve broken it up herself and found someone who was single. But, that is not what the other person wanted. The other person is sticking around because the other person has a goal to either break up the marriage and be the next spouse, or just to break up the marriage. The other person wont’ let the wayward spouse go so easily.

If the WS tries to leave, the other person will use all kinds of emotional blackmail to make him change his mind.

First, the other person will likely try guilt. Then the other person will say that they have been misled, that promises have been broken, and that years have been wasted. If the wayward spouse has a conscience, the other person’s pleas will induce guilt.

If that doesn’t work, the other person will likely pretend to have some kind of mental breakdown and possibly threaten self-harm. The other person will threaten to send all of the emails, text messages, and photos to the spouse. The other person will tell the wayward spouse that if the wayward spouse leaves, the OP will ensure that the WS suffers more than the other person. Personally, I don’t believe that these are empty threats.

Persistence and Promises: The Never-Ending Pursuit

Or it could be that the other person refuses to give up. It could be that the other person is so low on the totem pole of life that he or she has everything to lose. The other person tells the wayward spouse that he or she will never give up as long as the wayward spouse is alive. And the other person may say that the wayward spouse is his or her soulmate and that he or she cannot let go and will not let go.

The other person may not even ask the wayward spouse to leave house and home, but assure the WS that he or she will be happy being the wayward spouse’s lifetime lover. (We know that he/she is lying about not wanting to take his/her spouse’s place. This still has a malevolent intent behind it all.)

The wayward spouse finds it difficult to give up on someone who says he or she will always love the WS. Especially if the other person continues to pursue the wayward spouse and acts like he or she wants nothing in return, except for the pleasure of the wayward spouse’s company.

The Psychology Behind Mate Poaching

Dr. Valerie Golden continues: “Mate poachers, whether they want commitment or just sex, have a range of tactics, from dissing the current partner (e.g., “You deserve someone better . . . someone like me.”) to showcasing desirable qualities that the current mate lacks (e.g., “She’s cold and unfeeling; I, however, am warm, vivacious, and loving.”) Still others engage in “bait-and-switch” tactics, initially offering sex with no strings attached, only to expect down the road that her man will become so attached that he can’t bear to live without her.” (4)

Why Cheaters Cannot Leave Their Affair Partners


While this article has explained the reasons that it is difficult for a wayward spouse to leave the other person, none of the Four M’s serve as excuses not to end an affair.

The Four M’s of why cheaters cannot leave their affair partners can make it very difficult to end an affair, but never impossible. They are simply meant to explain the various mechanisms that are at work during an affair that can contribute to keeping the affair going.

Affairs can cause attachment to the other person, but nonetheless, the other person should never be the wayward spouse’s issue. The loyal spouse and the children are the only real victims—never the affair partner.

So, no matter how much momentum, mystery, madness, or malevolence there is, these are never an excuse for a wayward spouse to continue their affair. The Four M’s are meant to help the loyal spouse to understand what happens psychologically during an affair, but they can never be used as excuses.

In the end, affairs are a choice that the wayward spouse and the other person make together. (It takes two to tango.) A loyal spouse should never feel second best to the other person and a wayward spouse needs to realize this and behave accordingly.


If you are a wayward spouse reading this article and want to end the affair, I think it’s pretty clear that ending an affair has to be a process that involves no contact. Dr. Rick Reynolds says this about ending the affair:

“Be clear about whom you owe what: Ending an affair is messy and wounded souls abound in the aftermath of an affair, but your affair partner isn’t the victim. If they knew you were married then they at least had the opportunity to make a choice to enter the relationship. Your mate had no choice in the matter (even if you felt they didn’t want the marriage anymore, unless you asked for permission they had no choice). Restitution needs to be made for the victim, not the perpetrator. Your affair partner’s healing isn’t your responsibility. You can’t end an affair by continuing to play “knight in shining armor.”

If you feel your decision places them at risk of self-harm then hand them off to someone who can help them by calling 911. Clearly communicate that you realize the damage you’ve done to your mate and family and that it’s over. Let them know where your loyalties lie and that you’re going to do all you can to help your family heal. Set clear boundaries: Clearly state that you want no contact and how you will respond if they attempt to reach you. Let them know you will not respond or that your mate will respond. Don’t be naïve, your affair partner will most likely try to make contact, and for most there’s a part of us that hopes they will. Letting them know up front how you will respond helps them understand that you’re serious about ending the relationship.” (7)


*What do pornography and affairs have in common? They both release the same neurotransmitters in the brain. Then, there is the idea that the brain cannot necessarily tell the difference between neurotransmitters released by pornography versus the same neurotransmitters being released by the affair. This is because of something called mirror neurons. When we see a movie, for example, there are mirror neurons in our brain that cause us to feel as if we are there. Our brain can experience the situation as if we are actually there.


1.      From a Dear Deidre column in The UK newspaper the Sun. From https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/279928/i-love-my-wife-so-why-am-i-cheating-on-her-with-girl-from-work/

2.      Cusick, Michael J.  From http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/features/29332-this-is-your-brain-on-porn

3.      Broken Twin. Affair Is Destroying Me But I Can’t Let Go. From http://www.loveshack.org/forums/romantic/other-man-woman/356262-affair-destroying-me-but-can-t-let-go

4.     Golden, Valerie.  From https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/apologies-freud/201210/why-women-want-married-men       

5.     Hardie, Sarah. I Was the Other Woman. From http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/mar/01/i-was-other-woman-married-men

6.      Letter to Suzie From http://www.goasksuzie.com/how-to-permanently-and-gracefully-exit-the-affair#.V1dK6hWDGko

7.      Reynolds, Rick. Ending the Affair, Close the Door. From https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/ending-an-affair-close-the-door


    95 replies to "The Four M’s: Why Cheaters Cannot Leave Their Affair Partners"

    • TheFirstWife

      I think the reason the CS does not leave the AP is because of selfishness, stupidity and some other words I cannot put into print.

      I get the whole “high” from the affair. However it seems to be more the norm now. The attitude of “I deserve to be happy” and “soul mate” mentality is just a bunch of justifications snd excuses (in my opinion)

      I saw it happen right in front of me and I completely agree with the points in this article.

      But it all stinks. To the cheaters out there – what are you thinking?

    • Rachel

      Great words, The First Wife.
      It makes me laugh now of the words that were said to me. The ridiculous reasons that ta-ta said how much better his ” soul mate” was than I was. Not to be super religious about this, but I do feel someone saw how unhappy I really was and my life was flipped upside down and I put it right side up.
      Cheaters are cruel, selfish individuals. I always heard even before the affair, wear this for me, do this for me,me, me, me!!!!!! What about me???
      I was lost inside of myself. Kept the family a family. I hid my tears, in the shower, anywhere my children couldn’t see me. I hear the evil words and put downs often in my head. Have to remember who they came from and I tell myself I am a good person regardless of the hurtful words because that person is so unhappy with himself he will put anyone down.
      I now hear from my special man, you look great in whatever you wear. If you want to cut your hair, go ahead, whatever makes you happy. I am blessed.

      • TheFirstWife

        Rachel. I am so glad things worked out for you. Emotionally abusive relationships are hard to recognize when you are in them.

        But when you can take a step back you see things more clearly. I am so glad things are going better for you.

        I will always remember your story how the ExH now denies the whole “soulmate” thing. He sounds obnoxious and abusive and bi-polar all rolled into one.

        Glad you survived – it can only get better.

        • Rachel

          Thank you, The first wife!

      • Ann

        Have been following your story for about a year and a half and so glad to hear that life for you has turned around for the better.
        Take care

    • Hopeful

      It is so sad what they do and say to themselves and so true just excuses. I have said that over and over. Granted I wanted the explanations/excuses. It was important for me to hear what he told himself no matter how crazy it sounded.

      One thing for my husband is he had two affairs that lasted about 10 years and were both sporadic. So it made sense why he would cycle through nasty behavior. As he explained it he would be so down after seeing/being with/texting one of them he would push away but as time would pass he was able to be kinder and grow closer again. I also realized quickly that neither of these women meant anything and they could have been anyone. Even if they thought they were special in some way he was cheating on them too. It was nothing special at all. For him it was an escape. And I like the Alice in wonderland analogy but for my husband it was more like falling down a rabbit hole. Once he fell he could not escape or get out. He said the worst part was he always regrets that first night since at that point he felt he had done irrepairble damage. And to this day he said it haunts him every day and he will die with it being his biggest regret ever.

      In a way there is some comfort these women were not soul mates or amazing in his eyes. But in a way that is scary he could risk all we had/have to be with someone he could care less about and knows very little. How broken, sad and pathetic. I have said to him it would have been hard for him to say he loved them or they meant something but it is also hard to hear they could have been anyone and meant nothing to him. One woman he had not texted or had any communication with when dday happened. The other he had not seen in six years and had random emails with her. It is all so odd. Some days I still think what am I doing would I be better off all alone? Yet he is being transparent and putting me and our marriage as his number one priority. And I even find myself thinking I am so lucky to have him but then I think am I crazy?

      • TheFirstWife

        My exact sentiments and situation.

        You would throw away a wife and family and good life for someone you don’t love???

        What does that say about me/us now?

        Does the cheater ever think of that? Of course not. They only think of one thing. Themselves.

    • TryingHard

      What a great description of what the CS goes through after DDay. The only thing you left out was how maddening it is for the BS, who just jumped on the crazy train ride, witnessing all this behavior from someone we trusted and believed were incapable of this kind of behavior.

      I remember all the conversations after DDay 1 especially when he had a lot to cover up and certainly didn’t want it all to come out. I was amazed AMAZED how contradictory he was. I couldn’t believe the crap coming out of his mouth. It was as if I was living in some parallel universe and this guy was speaking a foreign language. Those conversations were absolutely crazy making. The line in the sand and the rules kept changing. I had no idea what was up and what wasn’t. I seriously don’t know how I got through it.

      Looking back it all makes perfect sense. But at the time nothing made sense. Maybe if I’d had this information during those early days I would have known better. I’m certain we could all list the stupid things cheaters say and find a lot of similarities. Point is these cheaters are effed up!!!!

    • Emily

      I feel like if you say to a woman/man who has been cheated on ” You can leave the CS and be happy and live a great life guaranteed…or you can stay with the cheater and eventually get passed it all after some rough times and lead a good life” the betrayed spouse would choose option 1 every time and leave. I think fear of the unknown is what keeps people trying to make it work.

      How can you ever trust the CS again really and truly? These people are so cowardly and lie so much and even upon discovery don’t immediately realize their mistakes and then are so narcissistic that they believe they are now faced with some insurmountable choice between 2 people that want THEM so badly? It’s so gross and ridiculous. It’s hard for me to comprehend that there is forgiveness for this.

      • TheFirstWife

        I used to think the same thing. You cheat on me = I leave you. I believe you can never go back to fully trusting someone who did something like that. Yet you can see the cheater or former cheater is still a good parent as an example.

        I believe you cannot get back to 100% trust ever. But you can repair the damage and still have a great relationship/marriage.

        I have this internal struggle because of my core beliefs. I have a hard time accepting my H as a cheater.

        It is not easy. That is why so many marriages fail after infidelity – it just cannot work in so many cases for so many reasons.

      • Rosalyn

        Totally selfish is what it is. I asked my cheating spouse how he would feel if I done to him what he did to me. He said “I wouldn’t like it at all. Well why do it? Surely you knew it was wrong. He still won’t admit it was an affair. Yet when I confronted him and it all came out, he told me “I don’t love you anymore, I’m in love with her, Were soul mates”.
        To this day, I get annoyed when I hear those words “Soul Mates”. They weren’t his words, they were her words. Her words, her excuse for trying to poach a married man. These words from a woman who had cheated on her husband with a married man who was separated and living with another woman. So she stole a 2 time looser and then while living with him tried to steal my husband. I shake my head and wonder what was he thinking?

      • Don

        My wife came home late & had been fucked hard. She showed me the naked pic of the black man who fucked her & I understood it all. He was hung like a horse & he fucked her lights out. She told me she would be needing that a lot. I sheepily said yes. He owns her now. She will let him do whatever he wants with her. My sex life is over.

    • Hopeful

      Tfw I agree with you a lot of what I struggle with is that his goes against my entire belief system so how are we able to be together.

      For us my husband had become a much better parent, husband and person. He had okay moments along the way but I can now see how these affairs and the guilt and shame affected him every day. It really was a mess and it was not just about our marriage. It makes me sad but I am glad he has turned the corner.

      I am not sure if I will ever 100% trust him or not question him. I think that is lost. My therapist said it is a good thing and it is a way to protect myself and normal good behavior. I find I am more vigilant and less permissive. I do have triggers still. And as my therapist said and my husband agrees he lost all of that trust and freedom and might never get it back completely. What I have found is we have a new normal. He checks in with me a lot. It evolved from needing him to check in to he has created a new habit.

      And I think about the scenario of leaving and what it would be like. I do like sharing my life with someone and I cannot even imagine not seeing my kids every day and holiday but I would be fine on my own. Where I am now I do not see that I could really ever trust someone 100%. Maybe I am damaged but after going through what I did I am not sure I can say anyone is 100% trustworthy. After going through this I see a lot of unhappy couples who just wander through their days getting by and never confront or deal with any of it. Whether things get to the level of an affair but I see it more than ever now lying about money, time and where it is spent, going out with friends and it goes on and on. So I think that is a false sense of security to think someone else will not betray you in some way it is just not a realistic view of the world. And maybe I am settling for a man that hurt me more than I could ever imagine but giving him a second chance and being open, upfront and transparent and working together he is more thankful to me than ever. Maybe I will regret it some day but without being vulnerable I will never know.

      • Don

        Acceptance is the first step in forgiveness but it will never be forgotten! And, the chances are high that it will happen again. More often with the wife than the husband.
        Women who go black once will do it again. Husbands have to accept that.

    • TryingHard

      Hi Hopeful\
      I used to beat myself up for not getting to “trust” as I thought I should. I also did the same for “forgiveness”.

      I’ve decided there are degrees of trust and forgiveness. So OK maybe my degree of trust isn’t what it was pre DDay BUT do I really need that kind of naivete/innocence/ignorance in my life anymore?? I say HELL NO. I feel much safer trusting, but verifying. And my big girl-panties are fitting- very -nicely -thank- you -very- much!!! I truly don’t miss those “innocent” days about which some lament.

      As for forgiveness–that’s on my terms too. I have forgiven as much and as well as I can. I actually don’t want to punish him anymore. Sure sometimes I get a small trigger and think “ugh why did you have to be such an asshole?!?!?” But I move on.

      If this is forgiveness, then I have forgiven. And as far as I’m concerned, my pain, my forgiveness and my interpretation of what that is. No body dictates that shit to me. Certainly not anyone who hasn’t been through what I have been through.

      My h and I have a great relationship. Even when I question him, we laugh and he’s honest and hugs me and looks me in the eye and reassures me with his words and actions. So help me God if he’s lying or fooling me I will nominate him for next years Oscars!!! You’ll recognize him, he will be the one with the ear missing!!!

      • Shifting Impressions

        Trying Hard
        You had me laughing out….good thing I’m home alone and don’t have to explain the “asshole” remark to a certain someone!!! Because that’s exactly what I say to myself every now and again.

        It’s a a good article, Sarah….lot’s of food for thought. How is it that some one can have so many good qualities and yet at the same time lie and betray the one closest to them??? So many people that do so many good things seem to have no problem being unfaithful…..such as Martin Ludther King, Jf Kennedy etc….both had multiple affairs, apparently.

        I really struggle with this…..my husband has so many amazing qualities and yet betrayed me.

        Yes, if mine is fooling around now he could be up for an Oscar as well….and yes he will also have an ear missing!!!!!

        • Takingitback

          If mine does it again it wont be his ear thats missing…

      • Merchgirl

        You made me laugh girl!! You have to laugh some days cause it sure beats crying headaches!! 🤣🙌

    • TryingHard

      That is such a great question !!!!

      My h is a golfer. Wouldn’t cheat if his life depended on it. In business totally beyond reproach. He takes money from petty cash and pays it back!!! I found a diamond ring that I turned into instance. We paid the insurance company back!!! Who does that?? But betray me. Haha no problem!! Yes sarah I’d love your take on this

      • Hopeful

        So interesting. Same here with my husband. He has a great reputation but that is really all surface. No one would guess what he did based on his family, friends and work life. For my husband he was selfish and most of all must not have liked himself. He said he was a damaged and unhappy person. For me they are all excuses but it is interesting how he can be so well liked and have the greatest morals in all aspects of his life. In a way I wonder if that led to it. Always feeling the pressure to live up to an expectation and to be everything to everyone. My one question my therapist even wonders is why was he able to hurt the one person closest to him? All I know now is he also would win an Oscar if he is cheating on me now.

        • Shifting Impressions

          With my partner….it isn’t surface….he really is a wonderful caring man. I loved him more after almost 40 years of marriage than when we started. And I actually liked him as well.

          D-day came about 2 weeks before our fortieth anniversary…..happy anniversary, right??

          But, how he could have betrayed me this way, still haunts me, over two years later.

          • Hopeful


            Exactly I do think this way too. And my husband describes it as his reputation vs character. He has an excellent reputation. Yet he himself says his character is lacking. He says a good person could not have done what he did to me, our family and in turn our children. My husband is the best and everyone tells me that all the time. People gush about him professionally to me and I hear it around town. And my friends go on and on how lucky I am to have someone like him and to have met at such a young age. Yet they have no idea. He is no monster but someone who i describe as a good person does not do what he did. He cared about others including himself over what should have been his priorities. And he could have dealt with whatever he was feeling or not feeling in a million different ways besides having two affairs. He is the one with the problem and the flaw. He agrees 100% with me and has worked really hard to repair our marriage. It is helping and we are moving past this yet we still have many conversations and they are transparent and open about any and all topics. I have made my expectations clear and he knows what is at risk. If he cannot be that person to me and not just to everyone else then I need to move on. Right now I am his #1 priority and have been since dday. I don’t see things changing but I am aware and paying attention. Certain things haunt me also yet I have made the decision that our marriage and family are my biggest priority and I am going to give it my all as long as my husband is as invested in himself and us.

          • Merchgirl

            I think those demons will always haunt us! More or less depending on what day it is or triggers. I am 4 yrs out and been married 38. It feels just like a death and memories of that “before” life creeps up every now and then.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Trying Hard
        Exactly!!! The other day my husband didn’t want to bail on a commitment because he had a better offer……After all he said was “I gave them my word”!!!

        I didn’t say anything but I am sure you know what was running thorough my head. I think the betrayal hurts more because they wouldn’t “dream” of being deceitful in any other area of their lives.

      • Sarah P.

        Okay, I will take a shot at answering the question about why men who are good in other aspects of their lives are able to cheat (and some even cheat multiple times)!

        So, let’s start with Martin Luther King Jr. and JFK. You may not like my answer to this. In their case, they were not as good as they seemed. I saw a documentary recently that showed MLK plagiarized a lot of theological work from the early 20th century. His graduate thesis was also plagiarized. The night before he was assassinated, he was busy washing his hotel room with drugs, alcohol, and other women. Source: http://www.garynorth.com/public/335.cfm
        There are also some New York Times articles from the early 90’s about this.
        Basically, MLK Jr. was not necessarily as good as he was made out to be.

        Then, there is JFK. Some people worshipped him (like my dad) and some people despised him (like my mom’s dad). I feel more neutrally toward him, but I think he was a great President. In his case, he was able to compartmentalize his sexuality and hide it away from doing what was right for the country. There has been some talk of his marriage being arranged with Jackie O. (It was not a marriage for love.) In this case, that explains it all. Often aristocrats, both Europeans and Americans enter into arranged marriages and both people in the couple have lovers. (Look at what Prince Charles did. His was also an arranged marriage to Diana since his family did not approve of Camilla.)

        Let’s go on to someone who really had a sterling record for many years by all accounts. The person I am talking about is David Petraeus and his affair with Paula Broadwell. When his colleagues talk about him they go on and on about his unshakeable integrity, honor, and drive to do what is right. Yet, David Petraeus messed up when he had an affair with Paula Broadwell. He is the former CIA director and military commander and during his affair he leaked classified information to Paula Broadwell. Paula was sleeping with him while writing his biography titled “All In”. Yes, a million jokes can be spun from her book title and the fact that he was “all in” in other ways too. So what happened here? Well, Paula Broadwell was married as well and her husband was a very dashing and handsome physician. She chose to stray in order to have relations with a man old enough to be her father. And David P. choose to stray after being married for many years to his college sweetheart. I am going to say that this is just part of the same old tale that has played out for thousands of years. David P. had tremendous power and could do things for Paula. Paula was a young bombshell many years his junior. A young woman is attracted to an older man with tremendous power and an older man is attracted to a younger woman’s beauty. Obviously, David P. had an achilles heel and it just took Paula B. to find it.

        Or, if you want to really simplify things, my dad can clear it up in one short phrase: “The guy was thinking with the wrong head.”

        Unfortunately, men have a biological disadvantage that we women do not have. They have a very biological foundation to their drive that causes them to need frequent physical relations. It’s not an excuse– it is a fact of life. Still, men need to learn how to channel that fact of life into avenues that don’t harm their wives. Some men are better at channeling it toward their wives and others are not.

    • gizfield

      My husband’s girlfriend was definitely “a pig in a dress.”.

      Good article.

      • Sarah P.


    • TryingHard

      So doesn’t all this evidence about these seemingly “good guys” just beg the question that the BS gets the blame for the husband cheating on them????

      Society HAS to find the answer to seemingly good men cheating so it doesn’t happen to them. She’s frigid, she let herself go, she’s a nag/bitch/crazy. We’ve all heard it maybe even uttered it ourselves before it actually happened to us.

      Just another question to which there will never be an answer.

      • TheFirstWife

        I agree. The CH is a “great guy” so it MUST be the BS.

        That is how society views affairs. Not always is it the fault of the cheater.

        How many movies has the CS meeting the soon to be AP and it is portrayed as “true love” and “soulmate” and all that crap. It is so cliche. That love at first sight crap. Cue the romantic music …..

        Anyway I have gotten to the point that I don’t care what other people think. My H is not what he portrays himself to be (at times).

        I treated him well and he had no reason to need to cheat. We had a good marriage at the time he was cheating. It was his choice to not face his unhappiness that had nothing to do with us.

        I just don’t know how the CS survives each day knowing what they did to the BS.

        • Sarah P.

          It’s definitely not the fault of the wife and I don’t like these arguments about frigid wives.

          The eternal question that my best friend and I have is: why do men feel like they need so much variety?

          I mean, for us, we are happy with just one partner. Period. To us, nether regions are nether regions and we are fine with one, thank you. But, to many men, they cannot be happy with one nether region even though all women have the same nether region. My best friend and I will never understand this. I think it has something to do with infidelity.

          Maybe a guy out there would like to chime in on why some men need a variety of the very same thing. We promise we will not come after you with torches and pitch forks.

          • TheFirstWife

            I think men don’t view cheating and sex the same way women do. Their affairs are not always focused on love or sex, despite what it seems.

            They love the attention and adoration and the praise they get from the AP. It is an ego boost.

            And that is why I think men cheat. It is an ego boost.

            It is illicit. It is taboo. And they cannot help themselves.

            Their brain gets the “high” and then they start to become addicted to it and the result is – an affair.

            It is all so cliche. And ridiculous.

            I think the same pattern applies to eomen cheaters but for some of them it can be more emotional. Still the same – a cheater is a cheater.

            • Still Baffled

              EXACTLY!! Bang on TheFirstWife.

              This is one of THE best articles I have read. And I have ‘read it all’. And it helps. Thank you to the author. There is a tiny bit of relief in understanding more fully.
              Here is the big fat question which I am always left with when I am done reading things such as this..
              When in this fog, as the BS, what do/can you do??????
              My husband has moved out 8 months ago. I have known abt OW for over a year and a half. We have a 3 year old daughter. We used to be ‘that perfect couple’.
              I love him still. Yet, I have never stood for any of this. No way.
              He can not/will not remove this woman from his life.
              I am struggling still, baffled, and it feels like absolute torture.
              So, yes, the above article is bang on. Now what? For the betrayed….???
              I am not scared of being alone. I enjoy it. That being said, this is my husband, the man I love, the man I committed my life to, the father of my child. I want to share a rich and happy life..together.

            • TheFirstWife

              Still baffled. I am sorry you & your child are suffering through this. It is so unfair to both of you.

              In the affair fog is the worst part of an affair. The BS is blamed for everything that is wrong in the CS’ life. At least that is what I went through. For my H it was mid life crisis and turning 50. So cliche down to the much younger woman covered in tattoos with a long history of failed relationships and drama queen. That is what he pursued. She had no children (but was very willing to be the stepmom to mine).

              There is some underlying “draw” to your H’s OW. If you can figure that out it may start to make sense. I doubt you can do anything about it though.

              You sound like a strong grounded person. I know you must be b/c you have a young child. So you are thinking of your family. As a responsible adult.

              Unfortunately your H is not in the same mindset. He is not thinking of you and your family FIRST. He is thinking only of himself FIRST.

              That is hard to fight against. My H told me many times during his affair he no longer wanted to be married. Not because of her but it was his choice. Turns that was a lie – she did have something to do with it b/c she did not want to be the OW. So after 25 years of marriage I get to be cast aside.

              My CH did end his affair and the fog was brutal. I couldn’t do anything right. His misery was my fault.

              Two months later they got back together. And then he asked for a divorce but lied that she was involved in any of it. So typical.

              What I learned was that my H is a world class
              Liar. But no matter what I tried I could not snap him out of the affair or affair fog.

              Not until he asked for a divorce 2x in 1 week. I had enough. Not getting answers. Continued drama from him. Him becoming unglued. So I called the OW and she told me everything.

              So I kicked him out. Told him we were through. Took my power back and regained control.

              That is when his head spun so fast and he knew I was done with this crap. He never spoke to her again. In revenge mode she sent me all the emails between them. His biggest lie was he did not love her. Well i saw him planning to leave me via these emails. I saw him profess his love via emails. In black & white. He still denied it. All of it.

              So my advice is make sure you and your child are happy. Doesn’t sound like you are sure whete this will end up but if you can make a life – with him as your H or without him as your H that makes you feel happy and fulfilled, then you have attained success.

              When we were at the end and I asked him to leave he begged to stay. So I obtained a post nup from him and any $ in my name is not part of any future divorce settlement. So financially I am well protected. What’s mine is mine for me & my kids.

              I hope things change. But only he can make that happen. So sad to say. Maybe one day he will wake up before it is too late.

              In my experience there isn’t much you can say or do. This affair is new and exciting and boosts his ego. I told my H I was his 30 year relationship but I would not be a 30 year old ever again. If that’s what you want – be my guest. I am not making a fool of myself to keep him as my H. I am better than that.

              Cheaters have affairs for so many different reasons. But I think it is mostly an escape and who boost. The AP or OW/OM is usually fraught with issues because no rational or moral person would cheat.

              My Son in high school is now dating a girl who has serious issues including sex at an early age, drinks&smokes everyday, cheats on him all the time. She is an OW in the making. So I get to see how some women end up being the OW. It all makes sense. So very sad.

              I wish the best for you. I hope he sees the light and realizes his mistake before it is too late. And if he decides to come back, protect yourself and your child.

            • TheFirstWife

              One thing that makes the CH take notice is when the BS moves on.

              No more calls & texts & aid & support. The BS pulls way back. They are no longer available.

              That has woken up a few cheatung husbands. Not saying deny your H time with your child but make it polite and businesslike. What time are you coming and when are you dropping off (if that happens).

              I need $ for the child’s care – please send me a check. Polite. Firm. No emotion.

              He can’t have his cake and eat it too. This may be the wake up call. If not at least you are setting boundaries for your “new” relationship. Get a lawyer also. You need custody arrangements in writing, support in writing, and most importantly he needs to abide by these new rules.

              Good luck in all of this.

            • Ann

              Hi SB
              My CH is still in the fog being manipulated by a woman who wants my life. There really is nothing you can do but focus on you and your daughter.
              My CH left me in 2013 for a woman who he wanted to marry, as he puts it “she was the one”. Six months later she ended things and my CH went on a dating site and hooked up with a drama queen where she has threatened to end her life a year ago and lo and behold a year later she hasn’t.
              He came back to me in 2014 but continues the EA loving the attention and ego boost he gets from her and just doesn’t see how she manipulates him and he believes he is saving her. Good Grief!
              I have showed him where the door is but he hasn’t left. As my life is a little complicated with my father living with me and owning half the house, and do not want to put my father through any more pain or have to move him at 89.
              But if my CH were to come to me today and say he’s leaving, I would say then go. I will be just fine on my own.
              So I do what I want to do, put money away every month and one day my CH will have to face reality when my father passes away and he won’t have this great wife around anymore.
              Hang in there as one day it will all fall into place for you whether you stay with your H or leave. Wishing you the best.

            • Karrie

              Reading all the articles about cheating makes me feel so sick.
              It seems to be the norm.
              I believe we all have the ability to choose whats right and whats wrong in life.
              Marriage is work. Life comes creeping in after the honeymoon and reminds you about the bills, and the obligations you still have.
              Finances, illness, in-laws, children – they can sometimes wear the shine off the best relationship. What can I say, thats life !
              I have a career in a male dominated area. I have always been fit, attractive, funny, out going. I had the opportunity to cheat or have an affair many times. Some of those times were available during stressful times in my marriage. Times that I felt unappreciated, lonely, stressed.
              Yes I was flattered, but my first reaction was to distance myself.
              I never wanted to encourage any thoughts from other men.
              Where there is smoke, there is fire. I never let anything have the chance to start smoking.
              I made it clear that I was committed to my marriage.
              Even if my soul mate had gained 20 or 30 pounds over the years, even if he had increased his methane production every night during he slept, even if I had heard the same jokes over and over again through the years, even if he had forgotten my birthday last year.
              I knew that I loved my husband.
              I found all the above items a little endearing. I would never dishonor him.
              My marriage, much like everyone else, has its highs and lows.
              I believed that you have to put effort and time into anything you find worth having.
              Which made it so devastating when he left me for a woman he had been cheating on me with.
              I was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Being home more – I started noticing things I hadn’t before. He is such a liar. The betrayal. This was not the man I had spent my life loving!
              Even after I had all the proof in the world. He kept denying.
              He moved out to be with her.
              Said I kept accusing him, so he did. I had forced him into her arms.
              He left our 2 girls and me, alone to figure it out.
              I confronted the other woman and asked her to back off while I was going through treatments.
              I initially wanted to see if my husband and I could work it out.
              That only caused her to increase calling and texting him.
              She would send pics of herself out with other men to make him jealous.
              The men that I work with told me later on that they never understood why I had been so good in my marriage, because everyone cheats. I should have got mine while I could.
              These men are educated, honorable, influential, men that are highly respected in the community.
              I made a commitment. I honored my husband. I did the right thing.
              Why can the cheating partners do that?
              I dont want to talk to him anymore, he always offers to take me to my doctor appointments.
              I will admit, at night I still cry for him. I wish he would walk in the door and say ” I have made a horrible mistake, I cant live without you.” I dont think I could ever let him come back. I cant imagine ever being with anyone again after this devastation.
              I am left to die on my own. To comfort my daughters.
              I grieve more for the loss of all that I had believed in,
              the good, the beauty, the strength and integrity of the world, than the loss of my own fading light.
              Why can’t people just do the right thing.

          • Alisa

            Hi Sarah,

            I’m a woman and don’t agree all nether regions are the same. Some men know how to make love and it’s better – size also makes a difference. Some women are tighter too and are better lovers. Plus I think it may just be like eating food. It would be boring to eat the same food daily. Variety makes it more exciting and tastes better.

    • TryingHard

      LOL Sarah P. So long story short as my mother said “a stiff cock has no conscience”

      • Sarah P

        It’s the old dinosaur thing. One brain in the head and one in the tail. Or a hat brain and a trouser brain.

        Seriously though, some women are just as bad, if not worse. It’s just that the motivations seem to be different.

        There have been several men in my family who have never cheated on their wives and of course there have some who have cheated on their wives. These guys all married in to the family and demonstrates that there can be some kind of family history component to having affairs or not.

        Then, we have one male, very loyal soul, on my dad’s side who sets the standard for all husbands. He is my great uncle and my grandma’s favorite brother. He lived a very long time and toward the end of his life he lived in a very posh assisted living facility about three hours away. My grandma had passed by that time and we tried to go see him when we could. One day I noticed that his wedding ring was falling off because he had lost weight. I asked him why he was still wearing it. He said, ” because I only have one wife and just because my sweetheart has taken a vacation to heaven does not mean that she is no longer my wife. When I got married I promised to never take my ring off and I know I will be seeing her one day soon.” He did join her in heaven eventually and was still wearing his ring, even though he was thin and frail. Yes, folks, that is a true story. My great uncle was from a long line of Ulster Scots who put loyalty and integrity above all else.

      • Rosalyn

        My mother told me, When the dick goes up the brain goes out the window.

    • TryingHard

      Maybe it was an arranged marriage for Jack but I believe Hackie adored and admired JFK. JFK was a great political hero but obviously an asshole as a husband. Totally took after his father. But all the Kennedys have a huge sense of entitlement. Yes I always think about the I Had A Dream speech and lament over the whole “content of their character…” Soliquey. I’ve read the same as you. And yes the David Petearus scandal boggles the mind. I so feel for his wife.

    • TryingHard

      Haha. Stupid autocorrect. Jackie. But I love her quote. “First time you marry for love. Second time for money. Third time for companionship”. #2 for me will def be for money!!!

      • TheFirstWife

        Married poor. Barely making ends meet. We have done well. Not rich but we don’t have severe financial worries right now

        I would not marry again. I would date and have relationships but not marry.

        • Sarah P

          How is your son doing, TFW? Hope all is well.

          • TheFirstWife

            Funny you should ask. We just had lunch on our patio – me & him. Very frank discussion btw.

            It seems the abusive GF may have cheated in him. She hung out all night drinking with some guy who has made it known he wanted to screw her. Literally. So she calls my son early this a.m. for a ride to her home. She is in high school and spent the entire night drinking in a park. How sad.

            The last week of HS plans and then we have very little interaction with her. It is hard to watch my son be manipulated and taken advantage of. More later

          • TheFirstWife

            So we just need to survive through Thursday. It will be hard b/c we will have to see her parents. I can fake it and be polite.

            But she is begging to come to his small grad party – we have said no she keeps harassing him every day. She lied and told her parents she is invited. I told my son we are not lying for her. If her parents ask we are not going to lie.

            I keep avoiding her drama. But Thursday will be a challenge for the prom photo opportunity and all patents will be there.

            What most parents are celebrating and enjoying we, unfortunately are not. But in the end my son has made his choice to go to the prom with her so we just have to watch the drama, however ugly it is.

            Just trying to do the right thing by my son in whatever small way I can. In the end I don’t want to alienate him and make it worse.

            But the GF would love nothing better than to have an all out family war/drama. We just won’t engage.

            I am always careful to say I don’t like her behavior or I don’t like the way she treats you/me/us/family.

            She will talk to my younger son like nothing is wrong and completely humiliate my older son in school. She is a narcissistic weed smoking alcoholic (at a young age) who will sleep with anyone. Gee doesn’t she sound like another OW in the making?

            Trust me she is already there. How sad. Up until last month I felt sorry for her and was nice and friendly. But she crossed the line and now I can no longer be understanding.

            Certain things are deal breakers. Sorry to say. I just hope there is limited contact after HS graduation.

            • Sarah P

              Hi TFW,
              You are certainly handling your son’s girlfriend in a saintly way. You are doing better than I would, I am afraid. The reason for this is there is no compromising with addicts. She is the type who cannot be rescued and the further your son gets pulled in, he will be like a planet orbiting a black hole and the gravity will keep pulling him in against his will. If I were you, I would find a way to knock your son out of her orbit. She sounds like she will be dangerous to his long term mental health and maybe worse. Stand your ground about the graduation party. She is not invited. She also cheated, game over. I don’t know how you feel about being frank with the parents if they ask why she is not invited. But if you are comfortable leveling with them you can concretely state factual behaviors of hers and say that these are not welcome in your family. I would also ask the parents what they plan to do to get their daughter sober. (If they continue the conversation, that is.) Granted this would be difficult for even me to do, but if someone were messing with my son, I know I would find myself confronting. There was a news article where a large mountain lion was after a woman’s 5-year-old and she kicked that mountain lion’s behind. Sure she was injured but both she and her child survived. That is maternal instinct and it’s OK to fight to protect your child.

            • TheFirstWife

              I agree with everything you said. But my naive son loves her. So that prevents me from doing things b/c now that he is 18 he can leave my house and I have no recourse.

              So I don’t want to do anything that will send him into her arms do to speak.
              Now that classes are over and he no longer sees her daily I have a few more options.

              But her parents have no rules and the older siblings are big substance users also. The father enables it and I don’t know where the mother stands on this issue. She was suspended this year from school for drug use. No consequences except no school. Still drove her car and had a social life same as always.

              Not my my issue except my son doesn’t smoke or drink. He knows the consequences.

              So I am hoping he is busy all summer so he sees very little of her. That is the first of many steps.

              Thanks for listening. It feels good to vent about some of it. My H is sick of hearing it. I don’t blame him. This has been a 7 year nightmare. They started dating in junior high to HS and then stopped and now are back to dating if you call it that.
              It is just constant abuse. I hope he learns something from this.

          • TheFirstWife

            After this whole experience I can see what us “normal” regular spouses are up against.

            My H’s OW (both of them) were so completely opposite of me. They both had major drama, crying phone calls – come rescue me scenarios that my H fell for. One took off and disappeared for a few days due to the pressure of the cheating etc.

            After reading the vindictive behavior of the OW from some posters here, I now know that some of the Cheaters who go after married men/women are just born losers who started this behavior at an early age and won’t take no for an answer.

            So I see someone in the making who has cheated on every person she has been in a relationship with. And I see what happens when they are adults – it continues. There is no respect or boundaries or moral code.

            God help us all against people like this.

            • Sarah P

              Hi TFW,
              Some men have a powerful need to rescue and the more messed up the woman, the bigger the need to rescue. A man in general can feel very powerful and in control when he is rescuing someone who is full of drama. Of course, it’s great that men are rescuers because they are the heroes of this world, or they can be the heroes of this world if such a desire is channeled correctly. So, rescuing and caring for someone is good but it has to be a gift given to the right person. Do you have any financial ties to your son? This is not something commonly done in American culture, but in some other cultures they simply cut off the debit card, cut off the college tuition, and cut the child loose so that he can learn his lesson’s early rather than later. I know it feels painful, but if someone is old enough to make bad decisions, then they are also old enough to figure life out financially. As long as the drama filled girlfriend and your son have buffers, your son will not be able to see her for what she is. You said yourself that the girl’s father enables. As long as her father keeps enabling bad behavior in his addicted children, he will keep getting exactly the same behavior from them. I am going to venture to guess that the dad of these addicted kids has some kind of vested interest in the having kids continue to be addicts. Control? Does he like drama? Guilt for a mistake he made as a father? Needs to have a life out of control to feel in control? Also someone like your son’s GF presents as if she has suffered sexual abuse at some point in her life. Most sexual abuse victims will not admit it even to their closest friends/boyfriends and they can even emphatically deny it if they are asked. They can compartmentalize it and separate it from everything else. As I said and have said before, trauma finds a voice. It may appear that she has not suffered trauma, but again she has all the markers of somebody who was sexually abused at some point in her life. Regardless, that doesn’t mean that she should be enabled or saved. People have to ultimately make the decision that Rockbottom is no longer good enough and it is a decision only each person for himself or herself. The rest of us need to get as far away as possible, if that’s possible, to avoid collateral damage in our own lives. She needs professional help and she is the only one who can want help and seek it. I hope that your Son is able to suffer enough at her hands that it breaks the spell. But I also hope that his suffering is very gentle and just enough to break ties with her while allowing him to go forward with his life without any residual damage. (I hope that her cheating does the job and he can move on.) And I am going to say it straight up: your son needs to realize that he needs to do everything to ensure that there is no conception of a child. I am sure that she will conceive one soon enough and make sure that it belongs to someone else. It would be terrible for him to get caught in such a mess. Most of all, he seems to be caught in a trauma bond with her. She being the one who created the trauma bond. Good luck and keep us posted.

            • Rosalyn

              Couldn’t agree more. After my husbands EA, I tried to understand the why of it all. She was a drama queen and even though she had cheated on her husband and then left him for the married man that she was having an affair with. She then started crying to my husband and winging about the man she had left her husband for. At first my husband told me she was just a friend. But he was infatuated and was trying to be the Knight in shining armour .The drama just kept on coming along with the 2 hour phone calls and 65txt messages a day and wonders why I didn’t like his friendship with her. I rang her and told her to back off and that’s when she packed up and left the guy she was living with. Next minute she is leaving town to travel with another married man. Sends my husband a txt message and photo of her with her new man. It said Im living my dream and going traveling. I thought that’s great. Little did I know the new romance only lasted 6 weeks. She snuck back into town and the first person she called was My husband. It started all over again but the difference was it was all undercover this time. That’s when shit got real. Long story short. He started treating me like dirt and I put up with it for about 2 months and then I snapped and asked him what his problem was. He tried to tell me it was just work. Blah blah. Then out came the truth. He told me she was back, he didn’t love me anymore. He was in love with her. Were soulmates !!! He then told me he had been thinking about leaving for a while. I said OK. You should go then! Then he started to back peddle. He said I thought you wanted to leave? I said Im not the one cheating here, you are. So you should go and be with her because Im not giving up my home. Ive done nothing wrong. I said if your in love with her, go and be happy. I will be just fine. I will work it out like I always do. Im very independent . I always have been. It how I was raised. She on the other hand was someone who plays the victim. The damsel in distress. The woman that needs to have a man to save her. We are exact opposite’s. He thought about it overnight. And the next morning the fog must have lifted because he told me I will end it and he did. But a month later it was his birthday and he txt him and tried to reengage . I told him Im not putting up with this crap. Its either me or her. Your not having cake and eating it too. And then another month later it was Christmas and of course she just has to txt him again. That’s when I blocked her number in his phone. She then went back to the man she was living with while cheating with my husband and married him. I don’t trust her one bit. Never will. Obviously Drama Queens get the attention.

        • Ann

          Hi TFW
          Like you I would not marry again if my CH decided to walk out on me again.
          I would say “see ya wouldn’t want to be ya”.
          I would date if a good man came along, and would not put up with any crap from him.
          But I know I would be just fine on my own and really not need another man in my life if another man did not come along.
          I like myself enough to be just with me.
          I would volunteer and be at peace.

    • TryingHard

      Still Baffled

      The only thing I can add is if you continue to do the same thing and expect different results, well that is the definition of insanity. Unfortunately someone has to be the adult in the situation and the my dear is YOU.

      As long as you continue to allow your husband come back and forth at his whim and feed some pathetic ” I’m sorry” lines he will continue to have his cake and eat it too. As Sarah P. explained, cheaters don’t want to give up either the AP or the BS. They want both and as long as you allow him, the triangulation he will continue. No it’s up to you to make the adult decision. This relationship isn’t good for ANYONE!! Find a lawyer fast.

      I know someone who allowed just the very same situation as you to continue for 15 years, 15 YEARS!!!! Now I’m not sure what happened in year 16 for her to say enough and leave him, but in my eyes that is 15 years WASTED and setting a terrible example for her children.

      Unfortunately, apples don’t fall far from the trees so is this what you want to teach you child? That it’s ok to allow yourself to be treated disrespectfully?? You are teaching your child that it’s ok to be abused and that maybe it’s even their fault. Abuse will rear it’s head in many forms.

      There is nothing YOU can do to make him “see the light” other than exit the situation. To put FIRM boundaries in place. In other words You aren’t going to stand for this shit one minute longer and start planning your exit strategy.

      I feel for you. You’ve been MORE that patient. It’s time to take action. Find a good lawyer, pack his shit up, and start planning a health future for yourself and your child. Or you can continue with the status quo and learn to eat the shit sandwiches that he is serving up to you.

    • Emily

      My grandmother recently passed away at 97 years old. She was never sick and had her wits about her until the last day. She was married to my grandfather for 72 years. Last year we took her to what would be her final Mothers Day brunch and she gave us girls a notebook of things she has learned. One of those things applies here “life may seem long but it is short. It is too short for gossip, unhappiness and needless struggle. I go to funerals for my friends and think about all the time we wasted on stuff that just doesn’t matter. Get rid of anything or any person that drains you.”

      Why spend weeks/months/years trying to convince your spouse that he should choose you over another person? Why struggle to understand the actions of a liar and a cheater? There is a saying “when someone shows you who they are, believe them”. Maybe instead of looking at a CS as having done something TO you, you can look at it like they have done something FOR you. They have shown you you were being fooled and that you deserve better. If the OW wants a man like that let her have him!
      Life is too short.

      • TheFirstWife

        Dear Emily. Your grandmother was very special. Her wisdom is so profound and so true.

        I just today had a conversation with my H. I brought up his 2 affsirs. One 20 years ago and the last one 3 years ago. I asked him why he treated me so poorly when I trested hom so well. I gave him everything andsfe his life so easy.

        But in the end, I pointed out, not one time in the last 3 years when you realized you were unhappy or whatever did you ever come and talk to me. Not one time did he ever just start a conversation and try to explain why TRUTHFULLY. Not one time did he ever start a conversation about his affairs or why they occurred or what he got out of them.

        And I know he never will. He has shown me he is a coward. And I thought so differently of him all these years. he was honest and caring and kind and understanding. He treated me well.

        Except he cheated on me twice. First time was not enough, no I got to relive it a second time.

        So now I feel like a doormat and an idiot for being in this position twice. And that upsets me to no end. I feel sooo stupid!!

        He showed me his true colors 20 years ago. I forgave him and moved on. He would not admit it was an emotional affair (those words were not used then) BUT I knew this girl wanted to replace me and cause our divorce. And he remained in close contact 4 years and denied anything inappropriate.

        So now I feel even worse. Which tells me why I am struggling these last 3 years since the second affair. He admitted the 1st affair to the second OW. And she told me.

        My mother slwats said a leopard never changes its spots. How true!

        My grandmother also passed at 97 and she too had her wits about her. God Bless those strong Zdepression surviving women.

    • TryingHard

      Amen Emily !! Problem is no one figures this crap out until the end and helluva lot a good it does then!! Too bad all of us can’t take grandmas advice. LOL we all know better–no. We just keep trying to force that round peg in the square hole. Maybe someday I too will die a brilliant woman like your dear grandmother.

      And I can say he finds himself another OW and wants to dump me for her o will damn sure let him!!! I’m too old for any more of this crap!

    • Emily

      The older you get the wiser that’s for sure. I just hate that I see so many men and women being mistreated in relationships I think because of fear of the unknown. I’ve said it before but my H cheated and I left him right then and there. It wasn’t easy and I questioned myself many times. I was scarred, humiliated and terrified. It was a real low point but not as low as I felt in the presence of my CS! I still to this day don’t want to be around him. We co-parent and get along fine but He does not meet the standards of someone I will have in my circle. I don’t know anyone who treats others that way and don’t want to know anyone like that.

      As I moved past it the cheating and the whole scandal and story had become the biggest blessing in my life. I don’t care if you are 22 or 72, you deserve to live your fullest, happiest life. It makes me sad that CS’s do horrific shit and their partners then start a whole horrific process of realizing thousands of betrayals, pleading for information, investigating and trying to make sense of it! It’s all bullshit.
      It’s not normal behavior to cheat on, lie to and betray your spouse! period. There is no excuse. There is no rationalization. There is nothing to blame besides selfishness, immaturity, cowardice and disrespect! There is no reasoning for it. Adults have conversations when things get hard. Men and women who do anything other than that are low lifes. They deserve their despicable cheating partners. Let them have each other!

      There are so many men and women in this world who are good. Who are kind. Who are honorable. It may seem hard to find but it isn’t. It’s not your responsibility to fix your marriage! If your CS isn’t doing anything and everything every single day to win you back then kick that asshole to the curb

    • TryingHard

      I couldn’t agree with you more!!! I am so happy to hear that you are doing well with your decision. I hope you co-parenting with you ex cheater is peaceful and that the children you had with him are well adjusted to their new lives. So many aren’t.

      I put cheating right up there with things people do that land them in prison. Had my husband committed the same acts to a business partner, well actually he did his business partner just doesn’t know AND it’s his father, he could have landed himself in prison! And yes it’s a cowardly act to commit as are others.

      I have a question for you. Now that you are single and I presume dating again or in another relationship, how do you look at that person? I mean are you wary that he may or may not cheat on you? Do you do things to make sure he isn’t cheating or won’t cheat on you? ie Do you check his email, his phone, his pant pockets etc? I’m really curious how those who dump the cheater and move on to another partner react to new relationships once they’ve been scared by a cheater.

      I hope you understand that my question is NOT to antagonize you but just out of curiosity. I read other blogs about “dumping a cheater and gaining a life” but truly I don’t see that many happy divorced people. They all seem pretty sad and bitter and still angry. Not all but some. So I’m truly interested on your take.

      • TheFirstWife

        In response to your question about future relationships, while I sm still married to my CH, I was cheated on in prior dating relationships.

        My atribute was I give someone trust until they give me reason not to. So when I met my H and we dated I did trust him. I did not transfer the deeds of prior relationships on to him.

        Now I am not sure what I would do after he cheated on me multiple times. However I dont believe, if we divorced, that I would get that heavily vested in a relationship again. Pretty sure I would never re-marry.

        If I ever remarried my exH would stop paying alimony. He isn’t going to get off that easy. I would make him pay until I die. And have no regrets about it.

        • Hopeful


          I agree I have always been a trusting person. I grew up with a family that had extremely high values and work ethic. Your word meant everything. And the last person I wanted to let down was myself much less anyone else.

          I do not know if i could commit to anyone else. It is hard to know. At this point I think I would be more than content being alone. I am not sure what that would be like honestly. But I do not have this feeling that anyone can be fully trusted. My husband had a great reputation and is super dependable to others he just let himself, me and our kids down. Which is major. We are working on that and why he felt he needed to put others above all of us.

          I agree on the alimony too. My husband says he would give me whatever I want if it came to that but we would have to see the truth. He swears he is not hanging on till the kids are gone which we have discussed this a lot. I gave up a lot for his earning potential to skyrocket and even invested good amounts of my money to help him. I did that with long term payoff and security in mind. So for us he would have to pay off long term not just child support and these early years. I cannot recreate my career and ever get that earning potential back. It is just impossible. So I did have majors issues of resentment and not feeling safe with him related to this. He has worked hard to assure me that I will not be in a bad position financially. I have thought of different options like a lump sum now but then % over the long term. But honestly I do not think if we were to divorce that I should ever stop receiving some payment from his business. I paid for a good portion of his education and all our living expenses for years. Tricky stuff and I hope it does not get to it but I have a lot of documentation.

      • Emily


        After my marriage ended I went into every new dating relationship with my eyes open. We can all see in hindsight things that were maybe behavior flags that we missed. Knowing more going forward about shady people and their behaviors my criteria for people I even casually date was much much higher than what it was when I got married. You know better you do better.
        So the answer is no. I don’t check phones or even think to investigate things because the men I was dealing with after my divorce were above such cowardly behaviors. One guy I dated after divorcing was not as forthcoming as I would like and so I ended that relationship with no hard feelings. I just knew I could never put up with any of that again. He maybe thought I was over reacting but I didn’t care.
        When your standards are high it brings a different caliber of people to our lives. That’s what I have found. I look at my ex husband in a whole new light. He isn’t even remotely appealing nor is any man that displays even a hint of similar behaviors. I am remarried and my current husband is so much different than my ex that we literally laugh about it. He is absolutely baffled that I even know my ex husband…let alone married him and had children! My husband now is the man I am convinced I was supposed to be with. He is kind, loving and treats me with the upmost respect. In his eyes, my ex is like a cartoon character or something. He looks at him like a foreign alien object.
        I will never forget one of the first times my ex met my now husband but then boyfriend. My ex is usually immature and silly so he said something somewhat insulting to me like “of course I told you I need the kids’ shoes (something like that) and you forgot them! Typical” and my new man looked at him, grabbed my hand and said “You cannot speak to her like that. I’m sure you can appreciate that tone doesn’t sit well with me and probably doesn’t sit well with your children either”. My ex didn’t even have a reply.

        Real men make it known in their behaviors, actions and words that they are real men. Boys never change!!!

        • Hopeful

          Good for you Emily. That sounds amazing and it is good to hear such a different relationship with another person can be forged and be so strong and healthy. I think being with someone for 25+ years for me makes it hard to comprehend anyone else. For now I am working on what i have with my husband but stories like yours gives me hope that even if we part ways happiness is possible.

          • Emily

            It’s also good to realize if you raise your standards – someone (whether it be your husband now or someone else) will rise to them if it means enough to them. My ex relationship was a total mistake and didn’t last nearly as long as yours has so I’m sure yours has lots of value in it. Mine didn’t.
            I think it’s just good to know your own value and not let anyone tear you down. Their mistakes are theirs alone and it helps to know that.

            • Hopeful


              So true. It was funny when we really moved past me working through all of the pain and hurt and i started to see him finally open up things really changed. He was so busy trying to make me happy and not be sad and in pain. Once he started diving in deeper and talking about what he was aware of it really changed for me. I had to get past the hurt, anger and resentment. He then opened up and I saw that he was a mess and in a lot more pain than i ever was. It was kind of odd. It was a process and an evolution since i thought I am the injured one he had all the fun. But as things progressed I saw that was far from the fact.

              And as i saw him work through his guilt, remorse and everything else I found i had forgiven him. It was honestly a huge weight off my shoulders just like i have read. Not really to let him off the hook but I felt such a release. And through that process I realized my standards are higher than ever. What used to cut it does not anymore. I have high expectations and I want and need them to be met. And yes sometimes you have to point them out but honestly I want to be with someone that is in tune enough to take initiative and live up to my standards.

            • Emily

              That’s good! I think it’s important to not let these bad situations just be bad situations but instead look at them as blessings in disguise (big disguises obviously). If a bad thing helps you to live a better life then maybe it really wasn’t such a bad thing. My CS and that whole situation changed me and I was determined to not let it change me for the worse.
              If you grow from it and live a better life no matter if you stay in the relationship or not you win.

            • TryingHard


              “I think it’s just good to know your own value and not let anyone tear you down. Their mistakes are theirs alone and it helps to know that.” Thank you and ABSOLUTELY!!! This is exactly what I have done. Not only did I raise the standards for myself but I make certain he understands them. I gave him every opportunity to leave. He didn’t.

              Yes, I have been with my h for many many years. I cannot fathom life without him. And I know someday it will be so for one of us. I have never understood how people get rid of long term relationships on a whim. I know things get boring and tedious sometimes but it’s up to us to shake things up a bit once in a while.

              And yes my relationship does have a lot of value and responsibilities. Our divorce would hurt many people. I had to swallow my pride and I had to try. I knew I would have been dealing with a whole new set of problems. A divorce would NOT have been an easy decision but neither is reconciliation.

              My h has been awesome, and forthright and honest and loving and transparent and remorseful and apologetic. Had he not been all this I would have had no choice but to leave. It worked for me. Are things perfect? No, but pretty close to perfect in a lot of ways. And I wish you nothing but happiness and perfection. You deserve it.

    • TryingHard

      Actually my question was for Emily. Her life is the reality now. She IS single, unlike we who reconciled.

      And we can guess all we want what we would do if were single again. LOL point is no one realllly knows until they are in the situation (in example staying with a cheater. HELLOOO how many of us said we’d ditch the bastard????)

      But as long as we are projecting and guessing–HELL TO THE NO WOULD I EVER EVER EVER MARRY AGAIN 🙂

      • TheFirstWife

        Amen sister!

        My laugh of the day was your post.

        I never thought I would stay with a cheater. I never thought I could forgive a CS.

        And I would NEVER remarry again.

        Sad to say my H always treated me well except during his affair.

        What I am having a hard time accepting is not the affair but how quickly I was being kicked to the curb. For someone he knew 6 months.

        I think that is my major unresolved issue.

    • TryingHard

      That is awesome!!! I am so impressed.

      Many times BS leave their cheaters and don’t bother fixing their people pickers 🙂 Sounds like you did and set the bar for those you allow into you life much higher. That is great!! I can only imagine at first you were suspicious but it sounds like you met Mr. Right. I’m happy for you and good for him standing up for you. UGH why do exes have to be so damn snarky??? Isn’t co-parenting hard enough without adding your personal bullshit.

      Anyway I think you are an awesomely smart woman. I think you give great advice and thanks for answering my question.

    • Ann

      Hi Sarah
      Another great article.
      Yea I told my CH that his mistress is manipulating him by telling him she can’t live without him , and my CH was lead to believe that she was going to end her life.
      I said to him seriously and look she is still here today leading you to the rabbit hole,
      So once again he got rid of and blocked her number after I told him how lucky you are still to have me. He nodded in agreement.
      Will see in the next chapter of where all this drama leads him.

    • Emily

      Trying Hard – thank you! The point of my story about my Ex and new man was twofold. #1 My Ex despite cheating on me, continuing a relationship with the OW and smearing me after we broke up is still an unhappy person. Nothing has changed for him. he is the exact same person as he was 6 years ago when I got rid of him. And he still continues to blame me for his misery…the grass was no greener with the OW. If it was he would be happy and wish me well which he does not. The point about my new man and what he said to my ex was just that I was surprised my guy stood up for me. How sad is that? That is how it’s supposed to be! I was surprised he defended me without question and took my hand like we were a team. I was so beaten down in my old relationship it’s like I didn’t know how it should work in a partnership.

      I wish you well and hope it all works out for you as well. And I know it will if you just stay open to whatever the universe is trying to teach you…in the bad times and the good

      • Hopeful


        I totally get what you are saying. They are the only ones that can want to change and make the changes themselves. We have no control over others and their decisions and begs iris.

        It is interesting how your new husbands reaction surprised you. I find this happens to me a lot with my husband now. I have very high expectations yet at times I slip back into thinking that he might act the way he used to. It is hard for me to change what I think might happen after 25 years. Luckily he understands and helps me work through it and also shows me each time he has changed.

    • TryingHard

      FW—LOL I am so happy I could make you laugh. Yes my H treated me fairly well during the affair or maybe he didn’t and I was just very used to being treated like crap??? Dunno. All I know now is he treats me fabulously and when he slips even the teeny tinest bit I call him on it. So you could say I may be getting spoiled. Eff it, I deserve to be spoiled!!!

      Yes it was seemingly easy for them but maybe it wasn’t because well wouldn’t they be gone if it were??? Just sayin….

      When does one truly put the past in the past? I think you and I have most definitely have to get to that point. When is it going to be ok to let all of it go and move forward with out the shadows and reminders of what they did and just enjoy what they are doing now??? Note to self: Move. the. hell. on!!!!

      And NO I still would never remarry!!! Not to say I wouldn’t have myself a fine young boy toy 🙂

    • Tired

      This might sound very naive. But my husband, as many of yours, had allowed this ego stirring indulgence. Like most men he thought nothing of it, but then ended up in an affair. When my husband was caught he tried to do what any gentleman would do, end it. But the woman didn’t want that so he tried to placate her. He is too nice. He allowed her to keep contacting him. It eventually ended for good when he realised I was not going to be waiting around for him.

    • TryingHard

      Hi Tired–there’s a very good read called “not Just Friends” by Shirley Glass. I recommend you pick it up and read it. I hope your husband would read it too.

      Your problem is not unique. All of us have experienced the same feeling especially in the early days of discovery if it makes you feel better

      Tired you are not the naive one, your husband is. Many cheating spouses get themselves in too deep and do not know how to divest themselves if the relationship for many reasons. One they are scared shitless of an affair partner going all Fatal Attraction on them and their families. Scared that the AP will go crazy once the married spouse dumps them and they contact the BS or their children or worse of all the boss. Some part of them wants to end the affair and they try to cut the strings slowly. They hope the AP will get sick if waiting around and hopefully “take the hint”. They don’t. This strategy is probably the worst strategy for cutting the relationship. It just prolongs the pain for everyone

      This is NOT because he’s too nice or a gentleman. It’s because he thinks he’s smarter than both you and the AP and will do things his way. He’s the naive one. He’s the one that has bought into the common thoughts about affairs. These are the same men that buy into the “deny, deny, deny” theory. They also buy into the “what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her”. Fact is you don’t KNOW what he is telling her. You only KNOW what he wants you to know. This is absolute manipulation on his part.

      You say he’s “too nice”. If a carload of strangers came by your house and told you your roof was bad and they could replace it for very cheap would your husband be “too nice” to say no because he didn’t want to hurt their feelings? If a waitress/waiter overcharged you at a restaurant would your husband not speak up because well “he’s too nice”? No of course not. Your husband may be a very “nice” person. In fact it is nice people like your husband that sociopaths target people like your husband. AP are attracted to these seemingly “nice” men. They are easy marks for the sociopath

      In fact no my dear, it is not a function of your husband being too nice, it is a function of your husband being naive and even stupid and manipulative.

      He thinks he is in “control” of the situation and he is anything but in control of anything. He is so out of control. The sociopath AP is the one in control. She likes the challenge. Sarah P wrote a whole article on woman who poach married men. I suggest you read that. It’s here on the site. She finds his games funny and a challenge. A cat and mouse game to her. Once he stands up and forcefully tells her it’s over snd goes totally NC only then will she back off. Even then she may keep pursuing

      No my dear now is definitely NOT the time to be nice or passive now is the time to be totally assertive and forceful. Do not make excuses for his behavior it only enables them. Do not let the fact that it’s easier to blame the OW to cloud your judgement. Oh yes she is playing her role and part but your husband is allowing it for a myriad of reasons. You need to get educated very fast on the reslities of infidelity. Only then will you move forward and out of the mess.

      Hope I’ve helped Oh yeah ask me how I know. I’m married to the “too nice” guy too.

    • Destiny

      As far as I am concerned my cheating husband is to blame for his affair…not the other woman. He would have cheated with anyone, she just happened to be at the right place at the right time. That’s the thing with cheaters, they only think about themselves. Then after DDay, the use the same manipulation on the betrayed spouse to “save” the marriage as they did with the other woman to make her feel that he desired her more than any other woman. Cheaters are cheaters and will always be. To think that my husband could take something as precious as lovemaking and do it with her! Unbelievable! And I’m suppose to believe that it didn’t mean anything. Come on, when they were having sex they were physically one together. I could never forgive that! I have more self respect than to do that!

    • Angie

      Thanks for sharing this article. I am the spouse that was cheated on. My husband of 22 years became obsessed with this mentally damaged woman, who threatened suicide every time he said he was trying to break contact. I tried to forgive him 3 different times within a year and he just wouldn’t stop disappearing on me to go away with her for days at a time, making every excuse in the world that was unbelievable. I ended the marriage and paid him off to leave. He even tried to come back after I paid him off, he suggested that he leave his new fiance in my old townhouse while he lives with me as a roommate. I emphatically said “NO” and kicked him out, but unfortunately loaned him money to pay his bills, because I somehow felt guilty. I recently spoke with him, and told him to leave me alone and stop coming around, that we were NOT friends, and I didn’t want a friendship with him. I have been struggling with this situation. I feel like I somehow caused this. Everyone thinks that I am strong, but I am not. I have been questioning ever trusting any other man again. I gave everything I had to this marriage and I was in it for the long haul, even though I knew my husband wasn’t ever really going to be there for me. He has always been too selfish to be in a relationship. I had accepted all of his glaring flaws, I know I am at a crossroads and am concerned that I won’t find which direction to go for the rest of my life.

    • TheFirstWife

      Angie. I’m sorry you had to find us due to infidelity. But you will get some great advice and support.

      One suggestion is to find a counselor who is experienced in infidelity to help you. It can make a difference in how you process this.

      Your post states some very compelling reasons why you knew the M wouldn’t work. They are hard facts of a marriage killer – cheating, lying, continued cheating, selfishness, his lack of doing anything to put you or the marriage first.

      So why do YOU struggle? What makes it so hard to accept you did everything you could but the M just wasn’t going to survive with only one partner trying to. make it work?

      Do you view the D as a failure?

      Do you view the D as a failure b/c you could not get it to work?

      During my H’s A my therapist told me that to have a “successful” Divorce you have to be able to look back and know you tried your best. That you did all you could but the M just could not continue for so many reasons.

      I think if you re-evaluate your M you can see where you did put n ????% and then some. But you cannot change someone. They have to want to change. And yiur H made the choice to cheat. He made the choice to disrespect you. He made the choice to walk away from a loving supportive spouse.

      And that has nothing to do with you but everything to do with him.

      I hope this helps provide a different perspective for you.

    • Katie

      So if the WS got the OW pregnate what then how can he have no contact or how can a marrige move forward? Also if the OW is also a WS in their own marriage does that make some of these scenarios even more addictive?

    • TryingHard

      Doug and Sarah
      I think you need to apply some firewalls to this site. It looks like some trolls are posting some spam which may or may not contain viruses not only to your site but to the readers as well.

      Not an IT person just thinking the last post looks pretty suspish!

      • Doug

        Hey TH, Thanks for your concern. I mistakenly approved a comment from a spammer but removed them earlier this morning and the spammer has been blocked. If they are still showing, try refreshing your browser and let me know if they’re still there. If there are others that you are aware of, please let me know. And so you know, we have a firewall and other security software in place to stop any attacks, but I know that even the best protection can be infiltrated by bad people!

        • TryingHard

          Thanks Doug. Yes I saw the comment. I have no idea how these people send their phishing stuff. I just don’t want it to be from your website. Glad to hear you have security in place.

          Just like those Nigerian Princes who send me emails that they have milllllions $$$ for me and all I have to do is send then $5k to get it, I can sniff those people a mile away 🙂 LOLOL.

          • Doug

            You mean those Nigerian Princes emails aren’t legit?? Damn! 😉

    • KimmyB

      More often than not an Affair Partner is also a VICTIM….as the Wayward Spouse has lied to the AP as well telling her he’s Single. This happens all the time. The AP believes him with those rose coloured glasses, he is lying to his Spouse ……and his AP to have his emotional and sexual needs met by AP and she falls hard for him not realizing he is married. She ignores all of the Red Flags from the WS until he gets caught and now everyone is blaming the AP when in fact she wasn’t even aware of his cheating ways and she is just as broken as his wife! If he’s lying to his wife he’s probably lying to his AP too. Just sayin’ sometimes the only person to blame is the WS.

    • Betterdays

      Kimmy, no doubt the cheating spouse is lying to the affair partner. And I fully appreciate there are many cases wherein the AP was fully duped by the cheating spouse thinking he may have been single or otherwise available. However, I disagree and think that more often than not, the AP is fully aware the CS is married. And my view is that more often than not the AP is also married. There are other sites with lots more traffic than this one(no offense meant here) with two to three new stories being told each day. I’d say easily 7 out of ten stories, the CS and the AP are both married. Both sharing the same tactics, secret messaging apps, etc., to keep the affair under the radar.

      • Sue

        I agree my spouse cheated with his best friend wife for over 2 years and they both denied denied it. I hate them both and hope they’re never happy😡oh they aren’t together she told her husband that it was all my spouse doing like she had no part going to the motel and acting like a s@@t. Not sure if I’ll take him back or not.

    • Ali

      I found out a little over a month ago about my H’s affair. He denied it at first but once I said her name he came clean, I snooped through his phone. He has since changed the password, talks to her still and we’ve talked about separating which I told him to go if that’s what he wants. He then me toned divorce which caught me off guard since I would like to work on our marriage. We’ve been married 2 yrs and have a 1.5 yr old. Ever since my pregnancy he grew distant and well, cheated on me around our 2 yr anniversary. I keep going back and forth whether I should wait it out, while working on myself or just ask him to leave. Again he still talks to her but says it’s nothing serious, year right. Then whyd he leave to work early tonight(he works at night)? My H is a nice guy too, cheating is totally out of his character. I’m so confused.

    • Hindsight

      I am the cheating wife (common law, no children, no shared property). My ex AP psychologically tormented and abused me. He was an ex from the past. We had a violator and unhealthy relationship in our teens and when he contacted me out of the blue, I thought talking to him would help heal up some of those wounds I had. He expressed how sorry he was, would send me long emails saying how he was young and stupid and he would never hurt anyone now let alone me, how I never left his thoughts, and he even sent me videos of himself crying. Now, in the aftermath of a year and half of the APs mind games, it’s obvious he was solely out for revenge. (For cutting him off in the past and calling the cops on one occasion). He couldn’t stand seeing me successful (I’m a public figure of sorts) and he had done little to nothing with his life. Our conversations of the past got more and more intense and by the time we met in person I was hooked by the fantasy of healing my old wounds and establishing some sort of civility with this person 20 years later. The whole affair was an emotional roller coaster that turned into an addictive pattern of mind blowing sex, vicious fighting, soulmate talk and mushy make ups. In the makeup phases he convinced me that no one knew me like he did because he knew me when I was young and knew a lot about things I had gone through that I hadn’t told anyone (all of which he later used against me). The last year was brutal. He would use the fact that I hadn’t left my husband as an excuse for his abusive behaviour, even though I had repeatedly told him I need to tell my husband what was going on. The first time we slept together I told him I was going to come clean to my husband. He told me that my husband didn’t deserve that and since I was already unhappy and planning to leave to just keep everything hidden. I went along with this seeing his reasoning. Leaving wasn’t/ isn’t financially easy and I would have been a bad predicament.. six month into the affair, I was still living here with the husband because of housing difficulties and money. Although we completely stopped having sex and any kind of intimacy, my AP was living and repeatedly told me I was playing games with him. He threatened to hurt my husband on several occasions just to get him “out of the way.”
      It was a terrifying situation. And the psychological abuse got so bad that I went no contact on one of his many silent treatments. (Where I believe he was seeing other people himself). Its been a month since we spoke, ive blocked him everywhere and we live in different cities, I’m in therapy and have symptoms of ptsd. My husband does not know anything about the affair. I ‘m still planning on leaving and am making good headway after convincing my family to help me financially (they have no clue about the affair either).

      This is the first thing I’ve read that opened my eyes to the fact that the AP is not the victim. I had been feeling extreme guilt for not leaving my husband sooner and blamed myself for all the abuse and convinced my self that I deserved the torment. But he was/is a predator.. I’m not the first woman he has “taken” from a marriage. It’s all been a game to him. And he lost because I wouldn’t budge (move). Ironically, it’s not because I wanted to fix things with my husband, we have significant issues of our own, I was planning on leaving prior to this thing starting- but I ended up staying because the AP scared the crap out of me! I had no idea what would happen if I was living alone.
      What I have learned from all of this is that no one can fix or relieve me of my unhappiness, whether that is within a marriage or some other aspect of life, I have to do that for myself. The AP is not the victim here and gaining that new insight will, I think, help me heal from the abuse.

    • Anna

      Hi my man won’t admit to sleeping with his guy friend every Saturday and Sunday coffee morning run. He comes home with cum in his underwater and showers. He gets angry and denies what I find in his pants, saying I put it there. His friend is bisexual. He is not interested in sex anymore. but will not leave the realtionship. I care for him…….He will not change!!!! I just want love in my life and to be happy. but he won’t let me. He threatens to take my children away.

    • Nicole

      I think that society’s view of the “frigid or overweight betrayed wife” and the “lowlife , pig in a dress, other woman” is just so unfair. Even in this article, nothing derogatory is being said about the wayward husband. It is him who cheated on the wife with the other woman. It is his fault. Yet we blame either woman depending on what point of view you take. Until we, the betrayed wives, put blame where it belongs, with the wayward husband, they will continue to cheat and believe it is not their fault. My wayward husband actually blamed both me and the other woman for his cheating. He said, “Well if you hadn’t let yourself go, and if she hadn’t given herself to me, none of this would have happened!” Wow, talk about denial. Um…it was your ____ that got serviced, and you took it out of your pants yourself. Divorced and happy!

      • Pig without a Dress

        I was wondering about this, too. Everyone has their fair share of responsibility, but calling the other woman mental and evil isn’t far from calling the wife frigid, really. This is the WS’s problem. You don’t even need to get derogatory. We need to hold men accountable and stop making women responsible for their shortcomings.

        I know I’m not welcome in this place, but I regularly read infidelity blogs to try and understand my situation better. I now know that I have been lied to, that there is no good way out and that almost noone is ever going to believe me anymore.

        The husband made the first move and I was flattered, then accustomed to it, before I found out he wasn’t in an “open relationship”. I was the one telling him that he needed to communicate better, be more honest to his wife AND me, and mention her in conversations instead of constantly leaving her out like she wasn’t part of his life! This kind of dismissal isn’t a result of infidelity, but a measure taken to set it up and continue to do it!

        Don’t be naive. When nothing changed, I warned the wife and now I’m going to go far far away, It wasn’t because I “like to stir things up”, I genuinely wanted to warn her. When I met her, I really tried talking to her as empathetically as possible. Another life is possible, honesty is possible, love is possible. If you don’t want to live in a fairytale world, go out for coffee with the OP, and see if you can still authentically love your man. You deserve living a life full of truth, where everything is mostly what it seems. Sadly, she didn’t have the courage to leave and instead started threatening and humiliating me later down the line. Even if the OP is mentally ill. What kind of person takes advantage of that to satisfy his unmet desires? What does it help to demonize anyone? Maybe there is something like a marriage fog, similar to affair fog.

        And now I will disappear completely. As soon as I finish my education, I leave with love and rage and hope for everyone’s best in my heart. The only question I have left is: Why does it always have to be the women making changes to accomodate men who lack integrity? Why are they the ones ending up isolated from their surroundings? WS said he’ll always keep me in his broken heart, but that doesn’t mean anything and I’ll be living out there in the real world, with a real life and real friends one day, hopefully.

    • Angel & Craig

      My favorite denial lie was the one where he told me that he was treating me so distantly and hatefully because he had erectile dysfunction even though he had had sex with me two days in a row within 4 weeks before he met her and he had sex with me again within 2 weeks after she found out he was married and their relationship lasted great. Of four and a half months. Hiding “erectile dysfunction” my ass.

    • Craig& Angel

      Correction: their relationship lasted all of four and a half months. I don’t know why my phone thought I said the word great but based on the way he was behaving I would certainly say that they were having a great time together.

    • Marriageover

      After over 3 and a half years of my husband betraying me with a co worker we are getting a divorce. I have read everything I could from Doug and Linda. I finally encouraged my husband to make an appointment to speak with Doug. I prayed he would realize his over 100 betrayals and all the broken marriage boundaries. Following the session my husband stated Doug said he did not have an emotional affair. I guess Doug called it something else. Now my husband will not leave the job as he committed to for the sake of the marriage. He has also begun to break other boundaries he set with her. I assume my husband lied to Doug, as I actually witnessed him physically placing his hands inappropriately on his coworker twice. On lookers have commented on how sensual he is with her. I had hoped my husband would have been enlightened but rather he received the message he needed to continue his choices.

    • Jane

      When you are in high school or single it is called “falling in love”. Once you get married and develop the same intense feelings for someone ekse, it becomes called “infatuation, fantasy, emotional affairs, limerance etc” If a therapist told you your spouse had simply falling in love with someone else, there would be no therapies to suggest and therapists and counsellors would be quickly unemployed because everyone understands what that would mean for their marriages. However, call it by one of the textbook psychology names and they rake in thousands trying to get the spouse back. If you research the signs and symptoms of each of the above terms and compare to the signs and symptoms of “falling in love’ you find them to be exactly the same. Interesting. If you don’t believe me, just spend a few days researching yourself. There is no different, all the timelines for this and that are exactly the same.

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