By Doug

For the last two weeks there has been a perfect storm of sorts brewing in our household.  A perfect storm of emotions for Linda, that is.  Monday night that storm finally hit and all hell broke loose.  It was like we went back in time three years to when I was involved in my emotional affair.  We talked, we argued, we cried, we yelled – and then it was calm again.

There were primarily three ingredients that combined together to cause this perfect storm of emotions, and one final straw that pushed her over the edge: (1) Stress caused by school starting up again and Linda having a class with some seriously behaviorally challenged third graders; (2) Her typically emotional time of the month (if you get my drift) and last but not least; (3) The third year anniversary of our D-day.  The final straw was a comment from a blog reader.

Monday nights are usually a night where I look forward to some alone time with Linda after she gets home from work.  The girls have soccer practice right after school and then immediately head on to dance classes for a couple of hours.  Normally, when we have this sort of time together during the week, we make ourselves a nice dinner, talk a little bit about our day and then maybe go for a walk or just lounge around depending on what kind of a mood we’re in.

When Linda got home we chatted for a few minutes and then she went down the stairs to my office as she normally does to read the days comments from the blog.  She came back upstairs after a bit and seemed quite shaken.  She had just read a comment from one of our readers who mentioned that her husband had reinitiated contact with the other woman – the final straw for her – and that she would be filing for divorce very soon.

This comment really shook Linda – more so than usual.  She told me later that she had been trying to maintain control over her emotions for the last week or so and this comment sort of sent her over the edge.

Many of the questions, emotions and feelings came flooding back to her.  What resulted was about a three hour discussion of things that we hadn’t talked about in months, though we had certainly talked about them numerous times before.  Our discussion became heated at times and there were tears shed by both of us.  To paraphrase the great baseball player, Yogi Berra, it was like deja vu all over again!  It was not a great night to say the least.

Along with the other influencing forces, our D-day anniversary (obviously a massive affair trigger) ignited memories of pain, sadness and despair that have been dormant for quite a while.  Most of what she was feeling is the direct result of fear.

If you recall, fear was the topic of last week’s discussion.  Fear is a tremendously effective motivator, yet at the same time can be a “paralyzer” and can hold you prisoner if you let it.

Outside of having the occasional flashback of the affair, she has two main fears that are occupying her thoughts.  One of the main things that she still fears is that I would one day run into Tanya somewhere, and would all of a sudden have this massive flood of feelings and such that I would maintain contact with her and eventually leave our marriage.  The second fear of hers is whether or not she will be able to meet all of my needs over the long haul. She fears that if not, then I will again be vulnerable to another woman.

See also  Our Affair Recovery - Two Subtle Shifts That Made a Difference

No verbal reassurances on my part (and there have been many) seem to have been able to help her with these fears, which I understand.  You see, it’s tough to convince someone who has gone through what Linda has as a result of my emotional affair that there isn’t any way that it could happen again.

So now I’m thinking to myself, “What can I do to eliminate these fears, or at least lessen them to an extent where they are not a factor?”  I agreed with myself that it really all boils down to transparency and communication.

First of all, I need to continue to be transparent in everything that I do, but I really need to kick it up a notch and be more transparent with my feelings.  I tend to tell my feelings only when I’m asked.  I rarely offer them up on my own, though I’m better at it than I used to be.  Just not a guy thing I guess, but it’s something that Linda wants and needs more from me, so I will attempt to get better at it.

Secondly, we have certainly learned to communicate better as a result of this whole mess, and we made a promise to each that if we start to slip back into that mundane marital rut that we were once in, I would let her know – and she would do the same for me.

We no longer take each other (and each other’s needs) for granted but sometimes life does tend to take over and old tendencies can start to reemerge.  We agreed that those tendencies need to be nipped in the bud immediately and actions steps need to be taken to get things back on course.

See also  How a Person Involved in an Emotional Affair Can Heal

As a side note to this point…Think about your typical day and how hard it can be to work on a relationship when you have all this other crap going on.  I won’t bore you with the details but Tuesday (a typical day for us), we were all on our way to work or school by 7:15 in the morning and we didn’t return home until after 10:30 at night.

Even so, Linda and I managed to slip a couple of hours of time for each other in there by going out for a quick bite to eat, a couple of beers and some conversation while the girls were at dance class.  We were both appreciative of that valuable time together even though it wasn’t anything special.

At times Linda does have a habit of trying to over-analyze my actions and the things I say (or don’t say) to the point where it causes her to be fearful and insecure.  Other outside influencers don’t help matters either, but I think these two simple strategies will help Linda get over her fears and help eliminate the painful thoughts that tend to circulate around her brain at times.

Obviously, I can’t be sure that there won’t be another perfect storm at some point in the future, but I will do what I can to transform it more into a gentle summer rain shower – and ultimately a bright a sunny day. Any additional helpful suggestions from you guys are certainly welcome.

    83 replies to "The Perfect Storm"

    • InTheFog

      Linda, I’m not sure this website is helping you guys any more. If Doug says he isn’t going to go off with T or any other women for that matter then I’d say he’s done all he can and in a way its either believe him or leave him.
      I don’t feel Doug should be held accountable ‘forever’. It was a huge mistake and he has done much more than most men would to prove how much he loves you and how regretful he is. Neither of you are perfect and in your shoes Linda I wouldn’t wish for Doug to be living his life constantly thinking “how can I make it better?” Do you want him treading on egg shells or constantly wondering what you’re thinking? Don’t you feel that would push him away rather than anything else?

      In my eyes if you love him Linda and forgive him truly then you need to move on and this website is a constant reminder of the past. Wasn’t the problem in the first place related to ‘your’ relationship- i.e. both of you at fault? It seems to me that he still isn’t forgiven and this is the shape of the marriage that you’re continuing to develop. Everything related to the EA is going to bring it back- what he did, all of the questions you had and D-day, but also you’re continuing to weave the EA thread into the rest of your marriage. Its as if its what defines you two now. Surely you don’t want that!

      • incognito

        I’m sorry, but I disagree. I think it is the very thing to keep the marriage important…realizing what can and does happen when we don’t talk about how we feel etc.

      • Doug

        In The Fog, RCR and Notoverit, Yes Linda had a meltdown of sorts, but I really don’t feel any sort of a setback at all really, because I sort of expect those to happen every now and again – especially around D-day. Managing it and learning from it is the important thing. I know that one day there will no longer be any meltdowns but total recovery does take time. We get closer every day to total recovery and right now our marriage is the best it’s been in a very long time. – if not ever.

        At this point, we’ve never really considered not doing the blog anymore, though I know that at some point we will indeed stop writing so much on this blog and perhaps start one that deals more with strengthening marriage and relationships. Right now it’s still a big part of us and we really do get a lot of satisfaction from trying to help others and from how everyone tries to help and support each other. Maybe I’ll just restrict Linda from it during those emotional times throughout the year! 😉

    • Jack

      Hi! I have been lurking on your blog via twitter for a month or so and have found it both fascinating and helpful, not so much from a practical stand point since I am recently divorced.
      May I suggest a book called “How to improve your Marriage Without Talking About it.” by Patricia Love. This book would have transformed and probably saved my 20 year marriage if I had read it a few years ago . It is the best one that I have read and I have read quite a few. It was much more insightful then all of the counseling on which I spent a small fortune. It is a book for both you and Linda to read. Get your own copies!

      • Kristine

        This is one of the few books I haven’t read yet, I will pick it up today, thank you for the recommendation!

      • karen

        Jack: Thank you for the book recommendation. I am ordering it today. Just a thought: I read in the reviews for the book you recommended where remarriages occurred when people tried what was suggested in the book. Especially if you and your ex-wife had kids, might be worth a thought??? Just sayin.

      • Doug

        Thanks Jack for the recommendation. It appears that Linda sneaked on her computer at school and checked out the book and gave me the thumbs up. I will be adding it to our Library on the site and will be ordering it at the same time.

    • Notoverit

      Inthefog’s comment shook me a bit. Yes, I will agree that Doug has done a lot, more than most, but please don’t walk away from this blog. Both of your insights have been extremely valuable to those of us who are not so far along. I too was shaken by the comment of that person. I had thought she was doing so well. However, her husband is not Doug or even my husband. I feel for her and her problems but I know Doug is trying as is my husband. I think Linda had a meltdown, we all do sometimes, and it seemed to clear the air for you guys. I know that when I do it, I feel especially bad about how I acted. My husband accepts that and we move on. No life is without problems, we just have a few more than others. Hey Doug, I bet she was as shaken as you about the meltdown. Keep trying and know that we all are behind you two!!!

    • incognito

      Hey, Doug and Linda, I’m not really incognito…just typing from a school computer that doesn’t recognize me for who I really am: Roller Coaster Rider! I can’t help but feel somewhat accountable as I realize it is my sad story this week that ‘did that to you guys’ but at the same time, here’s another positive thing to focus on:
      A friend of mine who is divorced and went through hell with a man who had multiple affairs over many years, was finally at the office of an attorney who told her this: “People can get remarried in five minutes. You just need to do what you need to do right now for the sake of yourself and your children.”

      That has helped an awful lot this week. More to come…

    • Kristine

      I’m not as far out as Doug and Linda (only 14m out) but I understand how things people say can trigger fears and emotions. Once I realized that allowing comments to still come through from some of the blog topics on here were triggering me, I had to unsubscribe from a lot of them. it’s reading about people’s pain and emotions when they’re in the thick of it that still take me back sometimes. Depends on what’s going on in my own thought life or how many of them that come through that hit a soft spot. You might have to do the same thing, Linda. Not read the comments all the time. I used to love to watch Family Feud but now I notice there are all these topics about adultery and it’s all handled so light and in humor. I can’t watch it anymore. Sounds silly but it touches a nerve. There’s nothing light at all about adultery/infidelity as we all know.

      Giving up the blog as someone suggested is up to you, Linda, but I would imagine from all the hard work you put into it and how much you’ve helped others as well as have been helped by others, you won’t want to. I can’t give up my own blog either, it’s sooooo therapeutic for me, the writing in general. I’m a writer at heart so it’s something I *want* to do, need to do.

      Like many of the experts say, infidelity no matter emotional or physical or both is TRAUMATIC! Flashbacks happen – this is part of the process, yes even this far out. One day though it won’t be this way is my belief 🙂

      Blessings to you both, I find it particularly inspiring that Doug is still looking within to find where he can help Linda instead of saying “enough is enough.”

    • tryingtoowife

      In the fog
      This to me sounds like a typical comment of a cheating, guilt feeling spouse. As if us the Betrayed had a magic potion that we could just simply, accept, forgive and move on, just like that, at the click of a finger all done, very quickly.

      Don’t we all wish that we could do so? Yes, we would love to ‘learn’ how to do that, and yes the act of betrayal is a huge mistake and Doug and most of the partners that reads this site are doing the most they can to help us in healing and finding closure from this extremely painful and destructive episode in our lives. But, if there is one thing that we ALL know is that it takes time. It takes time for the betrayed spouse to work through the pain, and it takes time for the betrayer to prove that he understand the devastation of such a selfish act.

      If both parts are willing to save the marriage and create a good relationship for the future, is imperative to get through ALL the pain at the right stage of the relationship, as now, and hoping that in the future the triggers will not hurt so much, or hurt at all and therefore it can finally not even being noticed or mentioned, just as in any normal lives. The time needed is different for everyone, but in most case I have seen, the cheater would ‘happily’ move quicker into the healing process than a betrayed person can. After all, you cheaters, at some point made a decision to have something, and the ability of carrying on while destruction was happening at your feet. But the fog is thick, and when it goes, EVERYONE has to put the same amount of work to put the pieces together, and equally. There is no winner in this mess, and love alone does not make it work by itself. Holding back feeling is like a bomb, that eventually will explode. The trigger is there? So it shows that we need still more time, and strength to keep going. This site has been a life saver for many, and sometimes it gives us tools to work in our own marriages problems. Hopefully Dough and Linda eventually will not be sensitive to comments, because they will be completely healed. And that goes for us too.

    • Notoverit

      Hey RCR! My prayers and thoughts are with you!

    • InTrouble

      Not that this is a popularity contest, or that it matters what I think, but personally I agree with InTheFog.

      I don’t know if anybody posted this yet, but people might find this pertinent:

      While the whole piece is interesting, but I especially liked this passage:

      “…Taking the steps to reconnect intimately can feel like pouring salt on an open cut. This is especially true if your attempts to understand the affair are demanding a full disclosure of events. The more time spent on the detective work of who, what, where and how the affair happened, the more painful will be the attempts to re-connect. Opening up and dealing with the insecurity and uncertainty of this fragile time can become quickly impossible if the meaning of what happened gets overrun with its details. Learning to ask for what you really need to know in your heart and not your mind is a big step towards discovering a path towards a newly defined relationship whether it be reconciliation or separation.

      Successfully working through these painful passages depends on developing a whole new level of empathy. Empathy exists between people in the field out beyond right and wrong. It takes and holds both partners’ experiences equally and creates a kinship of shared humanity. Asking questions that allow both partners to focus on why the affair happened and what it meant to each of them is an entirely different kind of discussion. Having the courage and curiosity to want to know what your partner learned about his or her self with someone else and what it felt like for them to feel like they were betraying you even as they had their own needs met is where a new intimacy can be born…”

      • karen

        InTrouble – thanks for the article link. Very interesting read and I’m sure much appreciated by CS’s. But very limited in scope, IMO, that scope being the premature rushing to end a troubled marriage when infidelity happens and of completely ignoring a key ingredient in recovery: fulfilling the CS’s needs going forward and not obsessing on the past and beating the CS’s on the head incessantly with it. I will go to Heaven believing that a serious character flaw exists to some extent amongst all CS’s that allows them to cross moral marital boundaries and engage in a PA or EA regardless of the sorry state of their marriage at the time they had the affair, and that just as the scope of this link you provided is germane and essential to recovery, equally so is what is done to address this character flaw by both the CS and also the BS so that the likelihood of another EA or PA is diminished going forward. And what needs to be done is probably different for each couple and I can say from experience is not easy to accomplish. And can I add, perhaps sarcastically (my apologies): this article interestingly doesn’t mention any need by the CS’s to admit and/or address their failure to meet the needs of the BS’s in the pre-affair marriage. So it was just the CS’s needs not being met pre-affair????? No, the difference is the BS’s didn’t go look elsewhere and betray their marital vows. It’s hard for this BS not to beat my wonderful CS over the head with that one when I’m feeling down. Take care.

        • Linda

          Karen, welcome back, I have missed your comments. I totally agree that while the CS will “justify” their affair by stating that their needs were unmet, or they were lonely, neglected, etc. I also feel that the BS’s were feeling the same exact way. I feel that it is imperative for the CS to figure out why they chose to cheat while the BS didn’t. In our situation we were equally taking each other for granted, equally wrapped up in our work, children’s lives, stress why did Doug make the decision to cheat while I remained faithful. I feel that until the CS understands what made them so vulnerable, the BS will never feel the security to recover from the betrayal.

          I also wanted to comment on my “episode” the other night. I truly believe that in order to heal our marriage we both needed to understand and emphasize what had happened to each of us. However I believe the CS will never feel the pain and the trauma that was induced upon the BS. Unless they have experienced some sort of betrayal, rape, assault, they will never understand how a trigger can induce some much fear in a person. They didn’t experience the fear of losing everything they had believed in, they never felt the uncertainty of knowing if their spouses were going to stay or if their were loved. For the BS, all they know is their spouses are capable of hurting them very much and without a complete guarantee that this will never happen again, we will never feel completely safe. So any sort of trigger or reminder is very difficult for us.

          I know that in order to move on with a marriage you cannot allow this fear to consume you and I feel that I have handled that pretty well. However their are times when everything seems to come over me like a wave and I have to just let it go. I was optimistic that I would do better this year, but about a week ago my mind began to follow the same pattern as it had for the past three years. It was almost like a cycle and as much as I tried to fight it nothing could stop the feeling from coming back. I am sure it was my way of coping with the pain and I have learned the best way to deal with it is to feel it and let it go. I cannot deny that it is still there and doesn’t hurt, because it does, but I have learned not to allow it to control my life. I also feel it is an opportunity for us to grow as a couple. Sometimes we need to have these conversations, get angry, and put everything on the table, it could have been worse, we could have sat there and kept our feelings bottled up like we used to do. I feel we have made great progress! Linda

          • Paula

            Hear, hear, I wholeheartedly agree. And that is the crux of the whole damned thing, we BSs were in a VERY lonely and vulnerable place, too, and we did NOT choose to stray, or we even actively chose NOT to stray (I know I’ve had offers!) and that isn’t supposed to sound morally superior, but I guess we must have stronger ethics about other people’s feelings

          • Jackie

            My CS had experienced the trauma of an affair in his former marriage. His first marriage ended because of his ex-wife’s affair. He was devastated, and gave up on that marriage. Because of that experience, and his sensitivity, I never expected that H would do the same to me.

            I realize that my H affair happened at time in his life in which he was very vulnerable. He had all the classic signs of going into a mid life crisis, fears, aging, feelings of not being useful, peak in career. Add to this, minor health issues, being over worked, a dull routine marriage, and minor depression.

            This was what set the stage for the affair. All H needed was someone who showed some interest, attention, and who could stroke H ego. As H said to me, ” I decided to explore these feeling some more.” The rest is history.

            So what I’m trying to say here is, having experienced the trauma and results of an affair first handed is not enough to prevent someone from having an affair. I think you will also find this happening in some of the writings on your site.

            I believe that one must look deeper in one’s self, to find what is most important in their life. People need to have purpose and motivation to do the right things to achieve their goals. Unless one has direction in their life, they will continue to muddle through life, exploring in a senseless sort of way. Those with purpose, direction, and motivation tend to stay on the correct path in order to achieve their life long goals. This also happens to be the healthiest path to longevity according to the book, The Longevity Project by Howard S. Friedman, PhD. and Leslie R. Martin, Ph.D.

            Perhaps that is why more men stray. Most women seem to have relationship, marriage, and kids at the top of their list of purpose and motivation in their lives. While most men seem to have job, sex and personal fulfillment at the top of their list.

            I believe, until individuals in a marriage place their marital relationship high on their list, affairs will continue to happen.

          • melissa

            Very well said, Linda. I agree with your points.

    • changedforever

      I cannot imagine EVER getting to the point of “…having the ‘courage & curiousity?’ to know what my H ‘learned?’about himself while betraying me…?” I really do not care to ever find out any more than I already know of what it was like “in the fog.” My H screwed with a psycho who’s life’s work was/is to homewreck with married men, eliminate any offspring produced during ‘it’s’ homewrecking rituals’ while screwing with their AP’s heads & any others related to the partner (I.e., my children.) What more do I want to learn/visit from that episode?
      I’m happy to start at ‘SQUARE ONE.’ (I.e.,Breaking Free From the Affair vs. Revisiting it.) IMHO. In all honesty, you need to feel your betrayed spouse’s pain…you obviously do not…yet. But m H does. With that, comes intimacy. I don’t need to experience any more pain (as you suggest as ‘courageous..?’)

    • Paula

      Linda and Doug, I am sorry that you experienced this “trigger,” and I also question the health of continuing on with the blog if it causes such stress. That said, we ALL really appreciate it so much, and I, for one, would be very sad not to have a place where I can let the “rubbish” out – way too regularly, but it really is better out than in for me! But, I most certainly don’t want it to be the cause of the negative emotions hanging around for you guys, as you obviously have a good marriage, that is healing, and maybe running this is not good for you?

      RCR, I think you are going to have a wonderful life without your H, it will obviously take some time, but you are fabulous, and it’s time you were allowed to be, without all of the negative stuff that your H has caused over the years for you, you will eventually be somewhat free of that weight, and able to enjoy your family, who sound incredibly supportive, and this is fianlly time for YOU! I know it may not really feel like that now, but I have visualised that space many times in the past couple of years, and I know it could be a good place to be, and I’m sure you will definitely make the most of it.

      • Roller coaster rider

        Paula, I so wish I could meet you for coffee and a chat, as I have connected with you and your story, and I really want to see “the farm” you have spoken of. I cannot express easily what this week has been like, but I know I am loved by many and I have such a glorious forward look, just as you said! I am going to write a book! Oh, and Marie/Empty and Numb: it might be interesting for you to know that, yes, my H is truly a narcissist, and he has just traded in “us” for well, something infinitely less precious. It’s nice to be in a place where I don’t have to worry, work, or “worship” at that unworthy altar anymore.

        • Saddenned


          I am glad you still kicking even though you have been through some tremendous pain. I am almost 7 months out from D-Day and 3 1/2 weeks ago, I found a very strange email from my H to a friend. It wasn’t sexual in nature, but it was borderline inappropriate. He was out of town, so I confronted him on it. He panicked of course. I wasn’t done, I confronted the girl on the other end of the email (she didn’t respond to his email). She is happily married and took his email as a joke because he often jokes like that. The whole situation made me realize I cannot let my guard down. Then I wonder if I can even live this way, in constant fear that I am going to be hurt so badly again. I told my counselor about the email and she thinks it wasn’t anything to worry about. I am just confused anymore of whether I want to stay or go. My situation is a little different in the fact that we have kids at home and one is his from a previous marriage. I don’t want to lose her. In a sense, I envy your strength.

        • Paula

          Thanks RCR, it’s a mutual admiration society! Meeting for a coffee would interest me, too, unfortunately, I live in New Zealand! Yes, we do have a lovely farm, and live in a gorgeous part of the world. I’m glad you are feeling okay, I know when I made the decision to leave permanently, there was a great feeling of lightness and relief that I didn’t have to do this anymore. As you can see, though, I am back with my OH, I didn’t think we would reconcile, but we did, I still have difficulty with the fact that this is a good man, who did a stupid and cruel thing, I don’t think he has poor personality traits, just got under a huge amount of pressure, and cracked, just at a point in his life where I had re-introduced a threatening person back into our lives (I know that is absolutely no excuse for what he did to me) and I really want to forgive and move on, but wanting it doesn’t make it happen, because this will affect me and the way I deal with people forever.

          To Doug, I hear what maria says, but I’m not sure she has you pegged, I think we can all be selfish/act in a selfish way from time to time, as CSs, you guys did something that fundamentally changes how we BSs view ALL of our relationships in life, but I know that most of you didn’t understand, or care at the time, about the permanent consequences of your actions, I’m not sure why you never learned this lesson before you did damaging and unloving things to us, but I don’t think that necessarily makes you a narcissist, or a passive aggressive personality, maybe temporarily, and it doesn’t mean you can’t learn (make positive changes, in a deliberate, and measured fashion), and I think you are trying to understand Linda’s position, all the time, even just by still being involved in this very blog. I don’t know about labelling you with a fairly severe personality dysfunction, if that were completely true, I don’t believe you would be here, and I don’t believe Linda is stupid enough to keep trying with you. Not one of us is perfect, but most of us participating here are trying to improve our minds, to live smarter and better lives. Sadly, I’m still unsure whether even the most remorseful, hard working, now self-aware and completely devastated CS, over their own actions, can ever regain enough trust to let the BS feel safe and totally loved again, despite what many BSs say here about their improved marriages, I’m 2 + years into this, and I don’t know that I will ever feel whole and comfortable again, and maria, I don’t think it matters if it is with this man, or any other in the future. I can never regain the lovely, lovely relationship we had for more than 20 years, because of someone else’s selfish actions, that I couldn’t, and still cannot, affect.

    • maria

      Hey roller coaster rider…. I adore you and am so proud of you. I believe Doug is a Passive Aggressive. He is unaware of most of what he does but has a serious fear of vulnerability. You can see it within his writings. When the going gets tough for passive aggressives …. they get a going. Much like narcissists …. they blame everyone else for their lot in life. The PA (passive aggressive) is born from a controlled childhood in where the child was no allowed to emotionally develop or was judged as strange for thinking outside the box. Other factors go into this as well.

      When Doug says …. he doesn’t communicate his feelings voluntarily ….this is a passive aggressive. He knows what hurts Linda but he refuses to give her what she needs. I have sensed jealousy of Linda by Doug …. among other PA traits. I suspect it was very difficult for Doug to ever admit he was wrong throughout the marriage.

      Again, I did two years of therapy with a severely PA man. It is the rare man or woman who suffers from these traits that is able to change to be a connected full partner. They are great at “pretending” not to know what you mean or need. Excellent at looking innocent.

      I urge …. If not already …. For Doug and Linda to see a counselor that specializes in negative personality disorders. There is a great program for PA husbands …. Google ” Passive Aggressive Husband”. There is an amazing program. Doug’s anger comes out sideways. He’s unable to connect deeply to his emotional needs. Hence, why Linda is not fully healed.

      Linda may want to take a deeper look as to what she really wants in life …. an emotionally connected male …. Because not communicating is NOT a “guy” thing. Not communicating is a person with deep issues.

      The question Linda should be asking herself is not whether or not she can meet Doug’s needs. The question should be for Linda is whether or not Doug can meet her needs. Anyone that can step out and abandon a marriage is severely disturbed…. If it is a longterm affairs. Again, my opinion and from what I observed over the last 20 years.

      My advice is for Linda and Doug to Find an expert in this area and seek counseling at least one time a week. Doug and Linda should be in individual counseling one time a week. Linda needs a two week spa vacation alone to gather her thoughts and should het away once a month by herself to a spa like retreat for accupuncture, emdr, biofeedback therapy and other therapies to remove the pain body. The pain is psychically in her body and if not removed will cause severe health problems.

      Doug needs hypnotherapy to be regressed to childhood and become a man…..which he is doing. Linda burns at a much more evolved wattage. Doug …. and those like him are stuck burning low light and in ego.

      Linda needs to understand she has options and there are real men out there that are emotional beings with integrity that are honest, compassionate, driven.

      We pick our spouses to finish out childhood businesses. Linda is clearly done with being a victim.

      If Doug works hard to heal his childhood …. Linda and Doug have a real chance.

      I do see Doug trying hard but he is still stuck and Linda is still waiting. Read between Doug’s words ….. It’s all there. On a last note Doug should be proud of himself for continuing to evolve and work hard. Linda is too amazing to not get what she needs.

      • Kristine

        Doug & Linda,

        I want you to know that I don’t agree with this poster (maria) at all. I can’t imagine how it must be to expose your deepest hurts and the worst parts of yourself here, even anonymously and online, only to have people criticize and even give you labels and psychiatric diagnoses based on one circumstance in your lives that you’re sharing.

        I personally, Doug, am really in awe at how much you allow yourself to be a punching bag on here at times in the comments. It can’t be easy to open yourself up, expose your faults even though they were in the past and continually put yourself on the examining table to a group of strangers regardless if they know who you really are. So many times it’s easy to view the CS as damaged, evil even, beyond help because of what was done no matter what they’re doing in the present or have done to right the wrongs whereas the BS is always viewed as the saint, the righteous, the moral one. I am a BS and I know, from the work my husband and I have done in these past 14m that is takes COMMENDABLE WORK by both parties. Yes, one partner strayed and created a horrible circumstance, I don’t by any means am watering that down and what it does to a marriage, to the BS, to the family but to come back, work hard and repairing things says so much of each person, the BS and the CS. It’s hard work and the two of you wouldn’t be where you are in your marriage if you guys weren’t BOTH doing the hard work necessary. You both have done so much ME work and WE work it really shows how two people can get beyond infidelity and back to a happy place. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t’ come with wounds at times but I would imagine where you are now there are way more happy days than blow up days. That says something and I appreciate you sharing how even with all the hard work there are minor set backs, moments of momentary relapses. it helps me not to be discouraged when I have those moments and to know it’s normal and that we’re not in a bad place.

        Linda and Doug I THANK YOU for opening up such a vulnerable part of your lives and sharing such a personal part of your marriage to help others and to keep doing work in your marriage. I *hope and pray* my husband (who also has communication issues but is learning and getting better) would be as open with others one day and share on my blog things from his point of view. He’s not there yet, but I hope one day he will be. It would mean so much to me.

        Again, thank you! I found this blog when I was in stage 3 and was considering if I could get through this. I happened to stumble upon a post by Linda that expressed that phase (only it wasn’t called stage 3) and it summed up everything I was feeling and going through and then reading Doug’s comments about where he was at during that phase helped me to understand my husband better as well. It was truly what I needed to keep pressing through to get to stage 4!

    • maria

      On a last note, RCR ….. You also need the therapies I suggest for Linda. You need to be schooled and process this marriage through much therapy and deep spirituality or you will repeat. Us codependents are magnents for negative personality disorders.

      I am so freaking happy for you. You are an inspiration for all. Being married is a choice …. One in which equality and the 80/20 rule apply. Marriage or love should never be a battle.

      I wish you well and know you’re going to find safe love…. real love. Xoxo

    • Happyagain

      Doug and Linda, I have been following your articles for some time now and have not responded very many times, but this is one time I felt I needed to. Please do not stop what you are doing. Too many people depend on someone to help get them through this mess. I personally have found them right on target with what has happened in my marriage. After 39 yrs of marriage, 3 children my h totally loses his mind after receiving devastating news about his health. The person he chose was sadly his boss. It was an EA at first but was quickly developing into a PA. I was fortunate he sought help with a therapist and ended the A, but not before he left once to be on his own, ended it, came home and then started it backup again. Once I realized it was happening again I threw him out. Best move I ever did. It caused him to realize that he was losing everything he held dear in his life – me, his children, and his grandchildren. He came home just a week later after I saw true remorse.
      We are now past 2 yrs out and our marriage is better than it has ever been. We both have learned so many things about each other that neither one us had ever shared in all the years we were married. Finally, he is able to let me into his private world and that is a major step.
      I would like to take this opportunity to invite you and Linda to attend a Weekend to Remember. It totally changed the dynamics of our marriage for the better. I can honestly say that we are both happyagain and more in love with each other than we have ever been. Will I ever have a metldown again? Who knows but at least we both understand that that is a possibility and he knows what I need for him to do if that does happen. He does understand that my meltdowns are caused by what he did and that hurts him so much when they do occur.
      I wish everyone healing.

      • Doug

        Happyagain, Thanks for sharing your wonderful success story and we appreciate your kind words. Perhaps you can share a little more about what the Weekend to Remember is all about.

        • Happyagain

          I would be happy to share. A Weekend to Remember is a marriage getaway. It is a time to reflect solely on your spouse and put your marriage back into perspective. It begins on a Friday night and continues thru Saturday afternoon and then again on Sunday morning. There are awesome speakers who use their stories to show you what God intends marrige to be. Go to and read all about it. It is a part of Campus Crusade for Christ. On Saturday evening they want you to plan a “date” night. It can be as simple as a picnic but something that would be a time you both can share enjoying. For our ‘date’ night my h took me out to dinner at a nice restaurant. We were also celebrating our 41st wedding anniversary. They suggest you give each other some small gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive ours was not but something from the heart. I gave my husband a gold key on a chain. When he opened it he said this is the key to your heart, I told him yes and please protect it. He has not taken it off since that night. He gave me a locket that says “I have you in my heart”. Neither one of us knew what the other one was getting until we opened our gifts.
          At the Weekend to Remember you are not asked to share anything with anyone but your spouse. You are not divided into small groups and it is not marriage counseling. It is simply a time to reflect on each other and your marriage. I encourage every couple to attend at least one if you truly want to make your marriage the best it could be.

    • InTrouble

      Karen – I do not disagree with anything you’ve written.

    • Lynne


      Very interesting comments and observations! I am curious as to what your professional background is. Counselor? In other words, where does this wisdom come from?

      To all-

      Again, if you haven’t already done so, do yourself a favor and go to the “baggage reclaim” website! It is rich with information on being in a relationship with a narcassist, passive-aggressive, or emotionally unavailable partner. It talks a lot about not just blaming our partners for the bad behaviors that have been obvious (looking at the red flags/denial that perhaps we chose to ignore out of love and desire to make these relationships work), but really looking at ourselves and why we have accepted, rationalized and diminished bad behavior. It also talks about what we are getting out of it, our co-dependency and how it tracks back to our upbringing, as well as the story we tell ourselves about ourselves.

      It is an absolute must read–while it certainly doesn’t apply to all of us in this situation, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it applied to a high percentage of us. As soon as I read 5-10 of the posts, I quit blaming my man. He is who he is, and who he’s going to be, and the signs were obvious from the very beginning–I chose to ignore or rationalize it, so it’s time for me to take responsiblity on my side for choosing this man and why!

    • Lynne

      Here’s an example from the website above that really spoke to me in my situation……

      “I know how frustrating it is to encounter someone who tells lies, distorts what happened in the relationship by carefully editing out their contribution while amping up yours or fabricating it, and then has the audacity to try to force their version of the truth on you and others. I’ve seen abusive people swear blind that they love the people that they mistreat and particularly through this blog, I’ve witnessed many a woman in particular throw away their self-esteem, time, energy, health, friends, family, and even money trying to be right”.

      You’re right even if they don’t tell you that you’re right. Any person who will lie, twist, and bully their way around you isn’t going to just roll over and be present to the truth. Even though they won’t qualify what you experienced or admit to their lies or mistreatment or whatever it is they’re distorting, your version of things is just as valid.

      Having boundaries, treating yourself with love, care, trust, and respect, and being prepared to be emotionally available will enable you to validate your own truth. You know how you feel, you know what you did or didn’t do – you validate you.

      Pain in the arse that it is, you also have to leave them to their devices rather than trying to invalidate their version of events. Obviously if it’s stepping into legal/professional circumstances then there are ways to deal with them, but if it basically comes down to trying to get them to admit the chain of events in your relationship, or own up to their mistreatment etc, if they’re not decent enough to step up, don’t force it.

      When there is a wide gap between your ‘realities’ this represents a difference in values and mentalities. It just confirms how incompatible you are.

      Don’t travel from here to eternity trying to force someone to share your reality and own up to your version of the truth. If you both don’t share similar values, particularly when it comes to integrity and honesty, you’re never going to share an honest, healthy relationship anyway.

      You’ll realise that you’re being really honest with yourself when you know the reality and you’re OK with letting it be and getting on with your own thing instead of making it your vocation to ‘teach’ others the truth.

    • maria

      Lynne, amazing post. I’m an MD and soon to be author on this very subject. I divorced my passive aggressive husband when I was young with four small children.

      Luckily, I was financially fit to afford all the support I needed. Two years later I fell in love with a wonderful psychiatrist who specializes in negative personality disorders. Together we have co-authored a book about the reality of longterm cheaters. There is not one longterm cheater that doesn’t fall under the negative personality disorder. Together my husband and I have over 10 years of research in and countless subjects studied.

      My marriage to my passive aggressive husband almost killed me and my children. Yes …. longterm cheaters are always with a codependent who became the “director” within the marriage where they practiced little accountability. This is not gender specific either. More women are passive aggressive than men. Men are scripted to not talk about it. Scripted religiousity society in itself also creates the cheater.

      Doug recieved what is called a severe narcissitic wound. Doug was forced to change or he would lose everything. Nobody wants to be evil. But cheating is the most evil act one can do to another….especially because we know that this shock to the victim causes major depression, ptsd, heart disease, cancer, stroke, heart attack.

      Cheaters are very selfish and underacheiving jndividuals. This we
      Also know from research. Essentially longterm cheaters are trapped in a mirror and at the emotional level of a 9 yr old. Who wants to be involved with that?
      So …. in the end my book as well as others link negative personality disorders to longterm cheating. And cheaters are essentially rapists, spousal abusers and domestic violence predators. I know of a few other books being launched in the next 3 years to support these new psychological findings. Can cheaters be reformed? Yes. But we are talking 4-7 yrs. Is he/she worth it for a gamble? Some yes … Some no. Only one can decide for themselves.

      My kids are grown. They don’t want to have anything to do with theory cheating father and he remains broken ….. All because he was selfish, scripted, and can’t get over his abuse as a child. My children are married with kids and successful careers. They married their soulmates and are deeply spiritual.

      Me …. Living happily ever after with an intuitive man who was constantly proactive in our marriage …. Works harder than I do sometimes and is full of constant communication and romance. That is out there for all of you if you chose health and self love.

      I aplaude those whi have had enough to get out and those who heal. The grass isnt greener on the otherside …. Its all about ones choice to stay to now dead grass or go grow their own. 🙂

      • Lynne

        God bless you Maria–you couldn’t be more on target. And what you said below is golden…………….

        “We pick our spouses to finish out childhood businesses. Linda is clearly done with being a victim”.

        This is exactly what I have done in my own life (it stopped about two weeks ago, and I couldn’t feel lighter and more at peace if I tried!). My parents were emotionally distant narcissists (and still are to this day), who dimished their children and their worth at every turn. At 13 years old my mother essentially abandoned me aand put me on the doorstep of my biological father, whom I had never met before. At 15 years old, my father put me in a foster home and moved to Chicago.

        Now I ask, is there anyone out there reading this story that would be surprised that I have been in two long relationships in my life with “severally emotionally distant” men. What a coincidence that is, huh! So I find myself at 50 years old feeling like I just got hit up side the head–I, in my infinite wisdom, have been trying to work out these childhood issues by choosing these men…..of course they are comfortable and known, just like living with my parents all over again. Both men are been emotionally bankrupt, devoid of understanding their behavior, liars and accomplished at always having a different version of what really happened. And me, I have had enough! Hence my mentioning in a post yesterday that I am now on the “bullshit diet”……no more letting people slide across my boundaries and values, no more rationaling their bad behavior and choices! I can’t change my current man, I can only change me and what I am willing to accept to be in a truly healthy relationship. No more talking about his five year EA and why he did it because unacceptable behavior is just UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR! I just lost 200 pounds on the diet….HIM!!!!

    • maria

      Forgive my spelling. I am always on my phone … Texting. I do hope this all helps. I think I’ve opened Linda’s eyes pretty wide. I hope she and Doug continue to heal. I hope Linda finally gets a teammate, an intuitive man who romances her 24/7. Doug can’t do enough to make Linda feel whole ….honesty, love and communication at nauseum will be the only they survive and that has to come from Doug or he will end up alone.

    • battleborn

      Good evening. None of you have seen me respond to this site before even though I have been a long term reader. I have read most of the posts and have been either saddened, heartened and sometimes bolstered by many of them but this one has got to be one of the most blistering that I have ever read.

      Linda and Doug, I believe that you two should be very proud of this site. Not only have you continually reminded us that you are not medical professionals and this is purely from your heart, you have provided all of us plenty of thought provoking information and assistance. You have gone out of your way to seek information from professionals, literature and even offered to bare your souls about your own trials and tribulations through your mentoring program.

      It would be a great loss to those persons going through a EA/PA if you left this site. What is important about the Emotional Affair is if one would start at the beginning of “the story” and read through it, one would see that not only are they not alone in their pain and sorrow, they would be able to see there is a possiblity of light at the end of the tunnel. Granted there will be ruts in the road, and many will not make it to the end, but it is important to understand there can be a future after an affair.

      Linda, It saddens me to read that some believe that you should end the blog because of a trigger. I believe that an affair will never be forgotten; forgiven perhaps, but never forgotten. Regardless if three, five, fifteen or twenty years have gone by Doug’s affair will always be with you. And while it is sad, the fact remains that there will always be that one trigger that comes into your life. There can be no shame in that. Therefore, why would anyone believe giving up the site be a good thing?

      Doug, I am also saddened to think that you have been labeled so many things. Other than a CS (and names that Linda reserved for you), you are just that. It does not help to have people tell you that you have a negative personality disorder; designate you and all long-term cheaters as rapists, spousal abusers and domestic violence predators with the mentality of a nine-year old. Nor does it help the many of us who read your posts.

      I prefer to believe, as most professionals, that you and the other CS are human beings who have made serious errors in judgment and are in need of help without all the slanderous titles. Granted there are those who destroy everything in their path, but to label everyone who has an affair is unfair.

      Lastly, I am a BS. I am in the process of mending my marriage to a man who is definitely not an underacheiver. I am the one who has the personality disorder and if the “professsional research and studies” are correct, I am the one who should have had the affair not my husband. Medical information is fluid. Studies are just that, studies. They can state statistics, but they cannot definitively state that everyone can be lumped into a criteria.

      I guess my two cents would be best summerized by saying – Linda and Doug – I am one who appreciates that you have opened up your most personal tragedy to the world. You have helped me realize that (1) I am not alone in my discovery; (2) the pain is real but will diminish in time; and (3) it’s people like you who deserve credit for trying to help others who don’t have any other place to turn for solace.

      thank you from the bottom of my mending heart.

    • maria

      Lynne … You are truly amazing. What a painful story that I can relate to very well. I am certain you feel lighter. Keep on the healing and discovery. Try those therapy methods so you never ever repeat again. As you said … When you stand in ethics to honor yourself …. Only then can you truly heal to love yourself. Therefore, longterm cheaters become unacceptable no matter w a t the circumstances. When we get married we understand the vows. There is no temporary insanity plea that works.

      Do you want a spouse that could actually threaten your life and then make excuses for his or her attempted murder or do you want a life if saftey amd love? Do you really want to give an attempted murderer another chance at killing you?

      Do you want a c+ spouse or the a+ you are because that is how much youve given. Reciprocation is key. Haven’t found any research to suggest longterm cheaters change enough. Keep on your beautiful journey. Xoxoxoxo

    • shattered

      Okay, I usually don’t post too often but the “inthefog” post really motivated me to. All due respect to the “inthefog”, as everyone is entitled to have and voice their opinion. However, I just want Linda and Doug to know this. I know that this blog may cause reminders and triggers that can be painful. I also know that at some point you guys may decide to discontinue it in the best interest of your marriage or selves. I will understand and respect that decision if and when it occurs. But, I do want you to know that this blog not only saved my marriage, it also may have saved my life! When I stumbled onto this blog, I was actually googling “stupid things women do after an affair”. You see, I was pulling up the OW’s picture and staring at it for what seemed like hours each day. I don’t know what the hell I was looking for, I felt like I was loosing my mind. I also felt hopeless. My husband’s eight month PA with a co-worker came on the heels of other signifigant tragedies in my life. To put it midly, he could not have picked a worse time to have an affair. I felt as if I was in a dark hole with no way out. For a long time it seemed as if my kids were the only thing keeping me going, but after a while it seemed as if everyone might be better off without me. Long story short, I found this site and started working on healing myself and my marriage. Now, not only do I have hope, I KNOW that i have a better marriage and a better understanding of my self and my husband than ever before. I am not going to justify his behavior. It was disgusting, no other way to put it. But I also know, that he, like me, is human. We feel pain and sometimes that pain helps to lead us to make horrible errors in judgement. We make mistakes, terrible ones. Once that occurs, it’s a ball that keeps on rolling and before you know it you’re in over your head asking how you got there. Now, we are more in love than ever! He, like Doug has done everything he could possibly do to reassure me and help me heal. He continues to do so. However, I have my bad days. Sometimes, really bad. You see, the perfect storm that Doug describes happens in my house too. I worry after it happens, but then I read that it happens to others as well and it puts it all perspective. This journey is not a snapshot of any one or two moments, it’s the whole story, the big picture. Evidently Linda and I, and many others, think that it’s worth it. Thank you guys!!!

    • Julia

      I have posted once or twice, but mostly read and thought about the material posted here. It’s a great site for us betrayed spouses who find it hard to just “get over it”. My husband left me in May 2008 after a 3 month emotional affair for a woman 15 years younger who gave him just enough sex to make him leave me, then stopped the sex until the divorce was final. We reconciled before that happened, however I am finding it hard to ever trust again. I wonder if I am trying so hard to make this work because I am now 60 and am afraid to start over.
      I think most of us surf the web and there are a lot of great sites online for marriage help. I’ve been steered to a few from this site. Something about this post from Linda and Doug made me think of Dr. Willard Harley and his Marriage Builders site. There is a lot of good material there. One thing Dr. Harley states that is a little different from other, equally gifted marriage counselers such as Dr. Huizenga, Dr. Gunzburg, and Larry Bilotti, is that spouses should not trust each other.
      I would like to quote one paragraph from Dr. Harley’s Coping With Infidelity, The End part 2
      “I don’t trust my wife completely and she doesn’t trust me, and thats why neither of us has had an affair. Lack of trust does not make spouses paranoid and miserable, it makes their marriages safe.” I think more men will have a problem with that that women, however, I don’t know.
      I have over 700 emails I have saved in the last three years from many brilliant therapists, including this site, Emotional Affair Journey, I refer back to to try to rebuild my marraige. The one by Dr. Harley, however, is the one I am most comfortable with regarding the TRUST issue. The really crazy thing about the whole past three years is that my husband made $90,000 as a Registered Nurse in 2008 which, I think, had a lot to do with why a divorced woman of 40 (nurse co-worker) pursued him, (he was her boss), doing everything she could to break up our marriage, bought phones just for them to use with each other, calling and texting him all hours (reciprocated by him), even to the point of providing him a house rent-free for several months, and convinced him to have knee replacement surgery on both knees, which I had requested him to get other medical opinions on which he did not do, and which led to him being in so much pain after the knee replacements that he had to retire, at 58, from being a registered nurse. The ironic thing is he put as grounds for his divorce from me was that I only wanted his income from his nursing. First 15 years of our marriage we were eligible for food stamps. Our yearly income did not start to improve until I, with a workman’s comp settlement from an injury that left me unable to work, made it possible for his two year nursing program leading to yearly rise in salary until 2008. We have struggled for the last two years and are still struggling waiting for his Social Security Disabilty to start, which is why I have not had the money to invest in either Dr. Gunzburg or Dr. Huizenga’ s programs. I read all free info I can get. I did get Mort Fertel’s progam, but my husband just could not get into it. Side note though, it is harder to cheat when you are broke and in physical pain. My husband and I are doing well. I, like Linda, have an occasional trigger, which I am beginning to think is going to be lifelong. We can forgive our loved one, but cannot forget the debilitating pain, emotional and physical (I lost 20 pounds, down to 80 pounds from 100 by the end of the affair and found out I had rapid heart rate I am on lifelong medicine for). I also tried to harm myself a month after we reconciled when he told me he still “loved” the other woman. I have serious abandonment issues left over from my childhood. Not only did my husband leave our home in May 2008 but he paid for my 28 year old daughter who had been in Rehab for meth addiction to regain custody of her daughter we had been raising for 3 years out of fear he would be hit with child support for her from me. I lost both my husband and my granddaughter by September 2008. We reconciled in October. Again, ironically, now we get daily calls about her car, a 2008 he bought for her to drive(in his name) in June 2008 and she has had 2 early term abortions she has so personified to my 9 year old grand daughter, my grand daughter tells people she has a dead brother and sister and they have names. We also think she has gone back to using, but our hands are tied. My daughter is still living in my husband’s ex-girlfriends house which is 45 miles away. My daughter does not want us in her business and does not care that where she lives is still hurtful to me. I am still trying to accept many things which I cannot change, and still looking for wisdom to know the difference in what I can, and cannot, change.
      My prayers have been, and will continue to be, for all of us who were cheated on by those who put themselves first (when they cheated) with absolutely no thought of what their actions would do to us. And as the song goes CHEATER, Cheater, I hope all the women rot in hell for the part they played in our heartbreak, I think God understands my heart and will forgive me for that.

    • Running Dog

      This is my first post. My wife and I are about four months into our recovery from my EA. This site has been a powerful resource and I can not understate the value of what all the many writers have brought to these pages. The fact that three years into this, there are still wounds needing to heal for Linda and Doug is a sobbering statement as to the work ahead for my wife and I. Thank you all.

    • Kristine

      Hi Julia,

      I’m glad you found yourself here and have been able to slowly move past this devastating circumstance.

      I, too, have read those articles you speak of about not trusting your spouse – it seems foreign to me. I don’t think I can turn that part of my brain off to NOT TRUST someone. I’m leery by nature, not a blind-trust kinda person but I do trust the people who I let into my close circle. The Circle of Trust so to speak. I wouldn’t be able to form close relationships if I held to that standard for myself because it’s TRUST that gives me the ability to allow people to draw close to me and me, them.

      My thinking is, regardless if you trusted someone or not, if someone betrayed you on any level it would still hurt. If you don’t trust your spouse, I don’t see how that guarantees fidelity either. A person can do what they want to do regardless of trust or not. I have a hard time understanding that philosophy. In fact, I could see one spouse saying to another ‘You never trusted me anyway!” I don’t know, maybe it’s me.

      I do recognize I have lost the blind trust I once had with my spouse and I doubt it will EVER return. I do trust him in terms of where he goes and what he’s doing but my heart is guarded. After someone does something so horribly cruel – how can you go back to blind trust? It doesn’t seem possible to me. It’s human instinct to want to prevent it from happening again but I do think even if my husband had not stayed together I would have had this same mindset with someone else. If my spouse of many years could do this to me I would have believed anyone could. Why would someone else be MORE trustworthy? They wouldn’t in my opinion. I have seen what selfishness does and no one is immune to it so I would have believed I’d be open to it again with someone else as well.

    • mil

      Running Dog,
      Can you explain what you got from it????? As a BS I am desperate for views from every angle. PLEASE answer!

      • Running Dog

        I think there were two things that I got from all the posts that were most helpful. First, it gave me an appreciation of what my wife was going through. One day it seemed like we were suddenly having a really wonderful reborn relationship and then the next day, there was no end to the despair and anger she was experiencing. It was truly frightening to see such wild mood swings. But seeing how other wives experienced similar swings helped me understand and be supportive and able to respond when she was ready to “come back” to me. The other thing I gained was a more complete ownership of our problem and realizing how important my role was in helping her through this. I hope this is helpful to you.

        • Kristine


          you’re already in a great place, researching here to see how you can help your wife and learning and then applying it to how you react to your wife. That will go a long way in terms of helping her heal and letting her know you understand her and want to dig deep to help. I wish my husband was as proactive in this as you are already!

    • mil

      Julia, sorry to be thick….you said it was an EA but she gave him sex then stopped it until your divorce. Did you mean sex texting and stuff? My H had an EA with a woman 20 years younger and the few texts I discovered ( out of hundreds) mentioned stuff like feeling randy at the thought of her in lace undies and saying he told her he’d wait as it ‘somehow made it more exciting’. Are these the sort of things you mean? If so, why would she stop that until your divorce? I am 57 and know what you mean about thinking we should cling on to what we have at our age LOL.

    • E

      I admit I haven’t read every word here, but triggers are a reality to all of us. Does anyone think that triggers can actually be part of our healing? That they are just going to happen and that avoiding them completely is not realistic, but actually rather impossible? Is there insight anyone can offer on how to use those triggers to grow from them and continue recovery? I personally spent part of my weekend around a woman who herself was a trigger for me (her current personal life). My H’s understanding, patience and reassurances to me were comforting and I felt like I moved forward a bit because of it.

    • Notoverit

      Maria I am appalled at your snap judgments. And what are we to read from your words? Self-importance? Narcissism? Delusions of grandeur? Excuse me, but you don’t really know these people well enough to be making this type of judgment. I thought you had to actually sit down, do a few sessions and then make a diagnosis. I sincerely do not agree with you. And, as for your husband, is he always right? If so, then there must be a problem there. Just saying…And who signs things Xoxox except high schoolers? A little regression therapy for you might be in order.

      • battleborn

        Amen, NOI. If I walked into a counselor/doctor with that kind of assumptions, I would turn around and walk out at their first word.

    • Julia

      To Mil, sorry I was not more clear. Husband met other woman in Feb 2008, they immediately started an EA with 3 hours a day texting and phone calls, they worked together weekends at local children’s hospital as registered nurses, all this without my knowledge. First clue I had something was wrong was after a minor disagreement with him in May, out of the blue he asked me for a divorce, this after 32 years of marriage but he wanted to live in our home for 3 weeks. Found out later, he immediately called her and told her he had finally asked me for divorce. She asked him then to take her to play golf (his passion) the next day. He left me note he was looking for place to rent and he went to her house for golf, followed by sex. Two weeks later, after another argument, he called her and she told him to leave me and come to her house where he spent 2 nights, with sex, and then she offered him a rent house she had rent-free. It was after she had him living where she wanted him to and a sexual affair for three weeks, that she said no more sex until our divorce was final. She was 40, he was 55 at that time, I was 57. I discovered a love-letter email she had sent him the middle of May by then and notified his supervisor they were having an affair. They both denied it and continued to work together as nurses on a children’s unit until August 2008 when he took medical leave for two knee replacements. He has not been able to work because of knee pain since that time. We reconciled in October 2008 when he was still denying the affair ever became physical. I had his phone bills and personal email account access by then, but I did not want to believe it had been sexual until he finally admitted it in December 2008 after I kept after him about their affair. I told him then if he could not tell me the whole truth about the affair, when he was saying it should not matter, how could I know he would not lie to me about the present and future. I was raised in an alcoholic, verbally and physically abusive home, and have problems trusting. Perhaps I did “take him for granted” prior to 2008 but the other side of that coin is that while I love him now, always have, I don’t know if I will ever trust him again. Both nurses and golf are triggers for me now. I found out how much gossiping went on when husband was at work, talking to other women about our personal lives and past tragedies. We have lost 2 children during out marriage and have two children with drug issues and I still do not understand how he could tell strangers all about me, but didn’t want to tell me anything about them. A bunch of divorced nurses just don’t care who they hurt with the games they play. Several marriages broke up at the hospital when nurses are supposed to be working, not playing grab-ass. Sorry if I’m rambling, we are doing all right now, just broke waiting for his disability, but then a lot of people are struggling in this economy now.

    • maria

      I’m sorry to have struck a nerve that warrants such “high school” like bullying by making fun of my writing. I’m rarely at my computer and use my phone to write on here …. as it is quick and easy.

      My husband and I are both doctors. We’ve seen hundreds of clients that have suffered infidelity. I can tell you through our research these are the traits of longterm cheaters.

      We have not treated one couple without being able to dx negativism personality disorders. Ppl come with dominant personality traits.

      Cheaters (again … Our opinion and with well documented research) that are longterm suffer from negative personality disorders. The severity ranges on a scale. If I had to guess, Doug is in the middle of passive aggressive and narcissistic.

      Why ppl take offense is purely their own fears. There is no ill will and most negative personality disorders can be cured … Save full on narcissim.

      You must research the subject first … Rather than take offense. It will help you to understand where the “marriage infidelity experts” have gone wrong.

      Religion and scripted society also are at play. When anyone uses “its a guy thing not to communicate or express emotion” is clearly pit of touch and really is saying ….”I don’t want to and I don’t know how”. When Linda has expressed the need for constant communication… and Doug won’t provide it … Then Linda’s health is yet again compromised … this ought to tell Linda ….”can’t and won’t”.

      When one gets married …. They know that cheating is horrific. Yet, somehow rather than turning toward the marriage …. They can so easily turn away. This type of longterm cheater has no sense of self.

      Profiling is easy with a longterm cheater. These types put little effort into the marriage and had no care to honestly communicate or take an equitable role in the marriage …. yet have always displayed an “entitlement” complex.

      Linda enabled this by being the “director” and excusing laziness.
      Doug cleary had such little regard for his children and family to grasp what it takes to be a role model. He was a selfish little boy.

      We all come from dysfunctional childhoods. Not a one of us has grown up scar free. Yet, most have a sense to evolve. Doug never did while Linda took on all the responsibilities and was kicked in the face by the very man that was supposed to love and honor her. Doug …. rather than being a stand up man …. rushing to therapy to save his marriage … Got to play fantasy with an idiot.

      Linda was left to do everything. By pure definition of this example Doug was in full on narcissitic mode. Fog? Good lawrd, what bs.
      How about horrifying display of the ultimate selfishness.

      To cheat for that long of a period … The Chester hates and resented himself, his wife, his kids and blames his lot in life on everyone else but the man in the mirror.

      Many cheaters face what is called a narcissitic wound. They don’t even recognize themselves. Many cheaters don’t have a narcissitic wound. Therefore, they continue to abuse.

      My opinion and based on over ten years of research. I applauded both Doug and Linda. If Doug continues to worship the ground his wife walks on and heal …. They have a great chance to survive this. As Linda realizes day by day hoe beautiful and worth it she really is … she is going to truly evaluate whether she wants to stay. Linda burns bright. Doug … Not so much but he is working on it. Doug is a brave man and truly recognized how horrific he has always behaved. This pair have a great chance at joining the 10% of healthy married couples.

      The grass isn’t greener on the other side and Doug is clearly in this marriage because he recognized just how much he gambled and how lucky he is that Linda is remaining with him for the time being. Linda, like many men and women …. may never be able to get over it.

      That was the gamble that Doug took and the burden he will have to bare. Hopefully, Doug can catch up to Linda’s intelligence, ethics and mentality. So far …. looks promising. Better yet …. Doug and Linda need to clear out childhood abuse. That will solidify that they remain together. Regression, emdr, spiritual philosophy study, meditation together, accupuncture ….. and placing all problems in the open …. attending family therapy with children for full disclosure to enlighten children on both Doug and Linda’s childhood and to help their children not repeat …. all must do steps to keep their marriage alive. The healing will take a lietime of constant healing modalities and deep spiritual practice.

      Looks great for them. They are the few that can survive this because they are building their lives around it. The wound will never go away and at anytime Linda needs to blow …. Doug needs to take it … Own it and express deep deep remorse.

      I think Doug and Linda are truly amazing.

    • Alone

      Running Dog –

      You and I are on the same time-line as far as D-day. I am a cheater as well. Quick question for you: has the fog lifted for you? I’m trying to make things better with my husband and move forward and I am wondering if I am just slow in this process. I feel like I should be moving out of the fog much more quickly. Are you still struggling with the “fog” or has it lifted completely? If you are in the fog, does your wife realize it? If you aren’t in the fog, what did you do to get out of it? I thought it would have been easy to just move on from the EA, but I have really struggled in that area. Maybe it’s a choice, and I need to choose to be out of the fog.

      What a mess I have created when my husband deserves so much better than me. Just really want to make this right. Thanks.

      • Running Dog

        I am not sure if I can give you a quick answer. To be honest, I’m not sure what you mean by fog. I can tell you that very quickly when I had been discovered, I realized that I was willing to do whatever it took to save our marriage. I knew I had to end the affair immediately. I tried to be as honest as I could with answering her questions about the affair. I agreed to our seeking counseling. Part of the healing process has been a brutal examination of self and why I did this in the first place. So I see myself as being relatively clear headed about the steps needed to help us heal. I’m no psychologist but I wonder if the “fog” you describe is a coping method to deal with the pain you must be dealing with and I wonder if you can make a conscious effort to be real to your spouse and completely engage in the healing process. My best wishes for you and your spouse.

        • Kristine

          Running I applaud you for realizing after you were discovered that you wanted your marriage and ended the infidelity. My husband did not. he left and then 3m later came to his senses and returned home. The rejection and abandonment makes healing even more difficult but it can be done.

          You doing the ME WORK that needs to be done and taking the hard looks at yourself to figure out why you went this direction is so imperative and what every BS wants their spouse to do. It’s the self-examination of each spouse and the marriage that can truly bring about healing and a NEW marriage. yes there is pain in the midst of that work but it can be rewarding in the end.

          Keep it up! I really do wish my husband was doing this for himself because it would benefit him, us and help with my healing as well.

    • Lynne


      When you refer to “long term cheaters”, what do you mean? I completely agree with you that one needs to look under the hood to find out what is causing these behaviors in the cheater, rather than simplifying the reasons behind it. It seems that there is often a lot of excuse making here, instead of truly getting to the heart of who someone is, and why they might have made the choices they did. Whenever I see a BS saying that it must have also been things they’ve done in the marriage that contributed to the unhappiness, I want to scream. Yes, we should all look at our own stuff too, but the CS always had the opportunity to come to you and simply say “I’m not happy, what should we do?”

    • battleborn

      Maria, This is not a blog to begin counseling no matter how informative it is. I cannot speak for the other BS, but you hit a nerve with me because you were so adamant that all long term cheaters are the same. You lumped them into the same category, used the same terms for each and everyone of them. It is, in my opinion, that no one fits the same criteria.

      Perhaps you have noticed in your research and practice that most LTC have the same tendencies, but to what extent? Why would you label allof them rapists? Don’t rapists, but definition force themselves onto another without consent? Unless you are using the word as a verb thereby the word can be used as a way “to treat something in a violent, destructive, or abusive way.”

      If that is your definition then you would be better understood by the BS to explain your verbiage. The layperson hears the word rapist and immediately thinks of a sexually violent act against the body. Most individuals would believe your use of the term to some would be related to someone who is in prison for rape. I’m sure that is not what you meant, at least I hope not.

      I still stand by my earlier response. Your comment…

      “Why ppl take offense is purely their own fears. There is no ill will and most negative personality disorders can be cured … Save full on narcissim. ”

      … is not the reason why I took offense to your post. It was your holier-than-thou attitude without knowing any one of us. Some of us may surprise you if you had spoken with us. The fact remains, while you and your spouse are well-qualified to speak on the subject (in your opinion), the posts you made were not helpful to those BS who are just beginning to find out they have been cheated on – you scared them into believing they are married to a rapist or spouse abuser. Not good!

      Please take this post as a call to save your counseling for those who have been working on their “problems” for a period of time and let those who just found out get to the point where your opinion can make sense.

      • Broken

        Maria has posted in different areas under another name as well. She is the most angry person on this forum. She has more time on her hands then anyone yet proclaims to be a doctor and in another post she said she was a surgeon now shes a therapist. She says all cheaters are narcisstic and all betrayed spouses are co dependent. She does more damage them good to anyone who reads her postd and causes pain to those who are desperately seeking help and reassurance. Just ignore her. I wish they would ban her from this site.

        • Doug

          Hi Broken, Yes her other name was “Empty and Numb” I’m sorry that you feel that she causes more damage than good, (and God knows I don’t agree with much of what she has to say) but I feel that it is important to get all sides of things and don’t really believe in banning anyone unless they really say something offensive, try too hard to sell something, spamming, etc. Maybe I should add..pissing me off too much in there as well! 😉 I read her comments, shake my head and move on.

    • Notoverit

      Here, here Battleborn! I applaude you. And as for bullying, Maria, what exactly are you doing when people don’t agree with you? You attack verbally- what does that say about your own insecurities? I am a lawyer married to a doctor who was the CS. We are not stupid people. We have done the research. You are definitely in the minority here. I don’t agree with you, your husband or your research; which, by the way can be manipulated. You are entitled to your opinion but it’s just that, an opinion. I think your stuff, how did you put it?, is BS. I think that your attitude is not very helpful. We are not reacting in fear to what you said but, rather, in utter disbelief that someone could be so judgmental about an entire group of people. I am sorry, but I am done with this discussion. Just know, your advice is not welcomed by me. I will avoid reading it in the future.

      • Kristine

        notoverit, I’m with you. Anything posted by Maria will be ignored by me. I knew that from her first post. Anyone, esp a “doctor” who would read posts on a blog with no real hours of time spent with someone and then try to make clinical diagnosis on someone and their past based on such a flat analysis needs to be highly suspected to me.

        Just like there are bad plumbers you can hire that can come in and botch up a simple job and leave you with thousands of more dollars of repairs, we all know there are horrible doctors as well who can make misdiagnosis, inject their own personal agenda and mess up someone so bad they’re worse off than when they came in and need of years of counseling to repair what the original doctor created.

        That’s what this maria represents to me. A “doctor” who is closed-minded, has taken her own personal experiences and theories and now tries to inject it and apply to EVERYONE. There is no real “doctoring” here just pointed fingers and warped opinions. There is no one application fits all and doctors who have that theory are DANGEROUS and of no help to anyone but their ego in thinking that they’re right and have everyone figured out before they even sit down.

        • jessica

          She has posted on this site before as Marie, you are right the only way to deal with her is to ignore her.

          • melissa

            Hi Jessica
            I thought so too (that ‘maria’ had posted before) – different name, I think. Whilst everyone is entitled to their opinion, I do believe that everyone’s circumstances are different and generalisation and putting labels on people without even knowing them is not helpful. I’ll follow your advice to and ignore posts from ‘maria’

    • rcr from a different place

      This is to all of you, my friends really, who have been in the trenches with me and who continue to display courage and wisdom despite having gone through incredible pain. I am still reading what you write and although past done with a CS I gain so much from your thoughtfulness and help. I believe I may have stirred up some of the controversy on this particular blog and for that, I am sorry, especially if it caused anyone pain. I am walking dead these days, only not really. The marriage is over and I am genuinely relieved but I say to you all, don’t give up if there’s a chance you can move to a better place together. I think of you and pray for you and I will one day soon not even be thinking about affair recovery. I will be happy and hopeful and healed. I believe it and that’s what I’m waiting for. Can’t post much, CS is looking for any shred of me and nothing in me exists for him anymore. He killed it all.

      • melissa

        Take care, rcr

      • Kristine

        RCR thinking of you. Praying for you.

    • mil

      Running Dog, when I said ‘what did you get from it’ I actually meant ‘what did you get from your affair’? I would love to hear different points of view as to how it made you feel and when you finished it immediately what did you say to your OW? Was it a shock to her, what reason did you give her to finish it and how did she take it? My H said he told her it was going nowhere and they both knew that so finishing was no big deal. I find that impossible to believe.

      • Running Dog

        That certainly is a different question so here’s a different answer. What did I get from the affair, from the other woman? Its fair to say that the relationship with my wife had been suffering for many years. There were many external pressures on us and instead of finding ways to work together to overcome our problems, we both became hostile and angry. Our intimacy was shot and our friendship sorely challenged. I began to believe my wife didn’t really love me that much, that there would no longer be any passion in our marriage. What started as a supposedly innocent pen pal exchange with a woman in another state quickly became a full blown emotional affair. What I got from this illicit relationship was someone to pay attention to me, that I thought I loved and who I thought loved me. In looking back on it all, I think there were two needy people, unable to express their needs with their own spouses and who turned to each other in desperation.

        It ended quickly when my wife decided to look on my computer while I was away and she found volumnes of emails between the two of us. She looked because my behavior had changed becoming so awful that it was clear to her that something was going on. Amazingly, I had no sense of this and interestingly, it was this realization that I was so out of touch with my own behavior that allowed me to look so much more critically at myself. When she confronted me I quickly came to my senses as to what was more important to me, that I was willing to do whatever it took to save my marriage.

        The great irony is that in our coming back together, we both realized how much we loved each other and the love and passion and intimacy that had been missing has blossomed in a way I could only have dreamed about. There are some really tough days and its going to take a long time for her to regain some reasonable sense of self and trust towards me but I know we’ll make it. I regret horribly the pain I’ve caused her but I am so, so gratetful for the chance to make our marriage stronger and more satisfying than it has ever been in the 30 plus years we’ve been together. Again, I wish you the best in your recovery.

    • mil

      Julia, you and your circumstances could be me. I married 1977 and the OW was 20 years younger than him when he got involved with her when he was 56. Their EA started evolving around Feb 2008 and I discovered her existence in June 2008. He is a golf fanatic!! She, as far as I know, isn’t and I don’t THINK theirs became physical.
      How did your H get involved with her? Mine’s a dentist and she was a dental nurse who was secretary to the local committee and had to ‘liaise’ with my H who was chair of the committee. They liaised much more than necessary!!!!

    • Briana @ 20 and Engaged

      I’m glad that you’re willing to be more transparent for your wife. Some men just figure “she should get over it” but like you said, sometimes verbal reassurance just isn’t enough. Keep the communication and transparency up and she’ll come around.

    • InTrouble

      Alone —

      You’ve expressed your frustration with how long it has taken for “the fog” to lift. I hear you. It seems like “the fog” may never truly lift.

      We went 8 months with NO contact other than 3 times seeing each other in the distance in public and not talking. During that entire time I desperately wanted to talk to him, but I complied with our no contact agreement, and I was getting used to it, but the desire never truly lifted.

      When he contacted me recently it was as if those 8 months had never happened, “the fog” rolled in heavier than ever. A few things have occurred since then which have renewed my determination to get out of this thing once and for all – and this time things are so dangerous and scary and out of control (for me – not for him, he got divorced) that I may have reached a true breaking point – but it always always always feels like dangling from a spider web. (It occurs to me how apt that is – “What a tangled web we weave…”)

      Nothing seems to help. I know I just have to DO it. I’ve done some tough things in my life…I don’t know why I can’t seem to do this. I am trying though, I really am.

      My husband does not want to discuss this and I hate how much I’ve hurt him. We need to be in counseling together, but for a number of reasons I (we) haven’t pursued that. It may come yet.

      I so wish I could just get on with a normal life. You have no idea.

    • Alone

      Hi InTrouble – after this week I haven’t been feeling good about posting here, like I might be causing trouble and pain for other people as a CS. But after reading your post again, I just had to jump in there. I’m scared what kind of replies I will get.

      Here is the deal: I am starting to realize that this fog probably won’t ever totally lift and that’ s just the way it’s going to be. That really upsets me 1) Because I want to have a great marriage with my husband and I don’t want him to hurt ever again and 2) I have been doing everything in my power to get out of this “fog” and I wanted to hear that it will lift as some point and soon.

      Maybe the “fog” is dependent on what kind of affair and/or how long it persisted. Maybe it’s harder for some CS to come out of this than others. I don’t know but it SUCKS.

      I guess my point is this: I’ve had no contact with the OP but the urge is there everyday. I guess I am still truly addicted. I came to this site to help me figure out how to let it go. I want to let it go… But for some reason, like you, the fog won’t seem to lift. I’ve also had a lot harder things in life than just not talking to one person or having them in my life. So why can’t I do this one simple thing? I understand completely what you are saying about this InTrouble. And don’t you feel so weak and ashamed that you are struggling with this? I do. I should be able to just turn the other way and forget the OP like they never existed.

      I feel very selfish writing this post… This is the last thing I need to be worried about, I need to be focused on my husband fully. I just want people to understand that I am coming here for help… I genuinely want to make things right but still struggling with this fog. If you have a magic cure, please share it with me. Maybe a concussion would help.

      InTrouble… I hope you can be strong and make it work with your husband. We both know this is the best outcome for everyone involved. I’m telling you that, because that would be what I need to hear if I were in your shoes right now.

      Thanks for posting.

    • dazedandconfused

      In Trouble and Alone, thanks for being honest about your feelings. It is definitely NOT what I wanted to hear, but at this point I am much more interested in living in REALITY than deluding myself that everything is hunky dory. My CS insists that he is completely over the OW (a high school flame that lives 2000 miles away.) However, it occurs to me that he might just be saying that because he knows it is what I want to hear and doesn’t want to cause me more pain. What worries me is that if the fog never really fully lifts, there is a decent chance the CS and OW will reconnect at some point in the future. I would rather end things now than have to deal with that devastation in the future. Any advice on how I can tell if he is REALLY over the OW? Do your BS’s have any idea how you are feeling?

    • Paula


      Funnily enough, the pain and frustration you speak of about your addiction to your affair partner, is very, very similar to the pain and frustration I feel, as a BS. I understand your frustration. I just desperately want to stop feeling so bad, I try and try, but can’t get the images and replays out of my psyche. I don’t understand why it is so hard to “let it go,” just exactly the same as you can’t understand why you can’t “let him go.” I, too have faced tough stuff in my life, why not let this go, why not choose happiness? I am choosing, and choosing and choosing, but I can’t shake the fear and the pain. I have a CS who genuinely is sorry, has showed it, continues to show it, and I can’t seem to “get well.” I absolutely love and adore this man, always have, and I don’t want us to be like this anymore. I have now got to the point where I can’t bear him touching me, which is so weird, as I am a very sexual person, and our sex life has always been really, really good – even when he was shagging her! He’s being very understanding, but it must be killing him, the sexual frustration I feel is bad enough, and I really want to make love, but I just can’t bear the imagery that goes with it now, it turns me to stone, and I just want to vomit, and it’s so hard to bear. This has all happened since AFTER the two year mark, isn’t that bizarre???

    • Alone

      Hi DazedandConfused – I feel terrible for your situation. And honestly, I can’t tell you if your husband is “over” her or not. I think every situation is different. And maybe men are a lot quicker and better at letting go of the OP. Maybe they are just less emotional and can let go easier so it’s possible that when he tells you that it is the truth. Maybe Doug can weigh in on this issue. However, this theory that men can let go so much easier just makes me feel that much weaker in my situation and also, in a way totally STUPID. Most days I REALLY hate myself. Sad thing is, if this OP ever contacts me, I know that I will have an immediate relapse. I doubt he would, but I need to have my guard up.

      As for me, my husband does know that I have been struggling with as I put it to him “getting over this other relationship” but he does not understand to what extent. Obviously I can’t be totally truthful about my feelings or situation. It would only cause more hurt. I don’t think I am good at hiding my feelings, but I do try to hide them as much as possible when I am with him. I mean what other choice do I have? I know these feelings are wrong and I am trying to work on my marriage, so I just try to hide them. I already feel like an idiot that I have these feelings. And honestly, it is really hard to hide these all the time. I guess that’s why when I walk into therapy or drive in my car alone, it just comes out.

      I would say these are clues that maybe your husband is still not over this other person, totally based on how I am acting in my own situation:
      – Emotionally distant (I will talk but don’t feel a deep emotional connection and he can sense that)
      – Quiet (Lots of time I am just quiet, very subdued. This is not my personality at all, and I know it is a direct effect of depression.)
      – I try to plan lots of fun things for us to do with friends (I know this is weird, but it’s like an escape from reality for me)

      Paula – I can’t imagine the hell you have been through. My affair was mostly emotional, with some physical but not a full blown PA. I don’t think my marriage would have survived in any way, shape, or form if I would have had a full blown PA. If you have a spouse that shows you genuine remorse and is sticking with you, then I say run with it! If I can ever get to that point where we are healed, I will NEVER put my husband through this again. Or myself. It is a living hell for everyone involved. I hope you can choose happy, because he chose YOU. Just my two cents worth… I know it’s a hell of a lot easier said than done.

      And for all of the BS reading this – I want you to know that even though I have these feelings for the OP I am remorseful. I don’t want to live this way, to feel this way. I want to be on a path to healing in my marriage. I know I am being brutally honest on this blog, but it’s one of my only outlets. For me, writing this out is helping me heal. I’m trying to learn to move on and make things right.

    • melissa

      I’m a BS but I think I can understand what you’re going through. I can’t advise in your personal situation but – if your H is up to it – it might help to defuse the situation by actually talking about it. Saying ‘I’m still confused’ is no bad thing.

      Your H probably suspects this anyway and might be in hell worrying about it.

      Is there anything about the OP you can laugh about, something you don’t like about him (no-one’s perfect), can you make a list of his bad points? It might help you to realise the part of fantasy in your thinking. When my H admitted that the OW was ‘a pain’, even grudgingly, I suddenly felt that she wasn’t this perfect person there was no way I could compete with. It was such a relief. I’d love to be able now to laugh about the OP with my H, laugh about her awful English, her prima donna ‘me me me’ attitude… but we’re not there yet.

    • Paula

      Very well put Melissa, that all helps, actually, despite my pain, we do laugh about our OW, that’s healthy, but we did a lot when he was shagging her, too! He’s never had a great opinion of her, as she was the cheating ex, with a very shallow personality, so an easy target for our mirth 🙂 However, she turned on the “friend” face for him when he was having a tough time, and was a good listener when I wasn’t, I was very distracted (stressed to the max about work, trying to come to grips with all the changes to our life he had recently made, without consulting me properly, running around after kids like the proverbial blue-arsed fly!) and that was what turned it for him.

      Alone, I agree with Melissa in being quite honest about your confusion, as the distance is the worst thing in any marriage. I believe honesty IS the best policy, as I think that is the way to “get over him.” Keeping him shut up inside of you is kind of just like protecting your memories of him, you need to pull those memories out and examine them, and as Melissa said, of course there are good (great?!) memories, but there must be something you can pick at, and hopefully your pretty picture of him may start to unravel a little. Obviously you do edit the details a little in order not to cause ridiculous harm. My OH was “over” his affair partner before I found out, but I still felt for him, and even her, as it is very hard breaking up with someone, no matter the circumstances, and she had been a good friend to him, in a sense, listening to him when he needed her, but mostly just relieving the misery that he was feeling at the time, and having some fun with him when there was precious little fun in our lives, however, of course, in another sense she was a terrible friend, as she should have advised him to talk to ME! I didn’t get any fun, I was bloody miserable too, but I didn’t cheat, I kept trying to get him to talk to me about what the problems were.

      • Holding On

        I’m glad to hear you say that you realize the OW was a good friend (in a sense) to your husband – listening, relieving misery, and having fun. My husband was very lonely and was reaching out for anyone to give him attention. He had given up on getting that from me, and frankly, I had put him on the back burner for the kids, my work situation, etc. Of course, not on purpose, but looking back, I can see how he felt neglected. He had withdrawn from me.

        I feel kinda messed up when I say that in a way I am grateful that he was able to get attention, because it is sad to imagine him so lonely. Of course, I am completely devastated about the EA. It ruined parts of me that will take a long time to restore. It made me doubt who I am, who HE is, what kind of marriage we had. It has been a horrible 3 month ride. What he did was TOTALLY and COMPLETELY WRONG, but it is nice to be able to have a bit of compassion and sympathy. However, I still wish he would have come to me and kept boundaries up to keep our marriage safe.

        I’m sure that sounds totally messed up. Don’t get me wrong, I am furious that he went outside the marriage and flirted with another woman and spent time with her. IT WAS WRONG. If only he didn’t cross the line and make it “more than just friends.” 🙁 I would be jealous if he was talking to her and texting and calling, but I would be able to see it was a friendship that filled a void. Why the secrecy? Why the flirting? Why did he have to cross so many lines?

    • melissa

      Hi Paula
      I think you’ve nailed it. In my case too, I believe my H was over the OW in many ways but could not detach himself from her (he said he tried at times but as soon as she’d cry for help, he’d be running to her again – and of course, it did his ego no harm to have a relationship with a younger, pretty, vibrant woman, someone he said was ‘fun’). Like you, I don’t believe she was a friend to our marriage. She apparently told him she wanted to meet me but I don’t think she ever told him their relationship was unhealthy, she had too much to lose.

      However, I wish we could talk and laugh about her now even once in a while. A friend of mine whose husband had an EA calls it ‘the elephant in the room’. Anything (a TV programme, the mention of someone of the same nationality as the OW, a win at rugby by ‘her’ country..) can trigger a spiral of fear and sadness. I still compare myself (unfavourably) to her every day and, like someone said here a couple of days ago, I so want to move on and choose happiness yet I am still stuck and progress is slow. We’re off for a few days and these moments together are so precious – before, he’d have written to the OW how much he wanted her to be with him on these work trips!!

      • Paula

        Holding On and Melissa, I can see you are both centred and “together” women. I think it was me that said I desperately want to “move on” and choose happiness, melissa. I had a quick conversation this morning with my OH, and asked him whether he had ever considered that having her friendship, without the sex was an option. He said, I’ve done that with many women over the years, and he had, and I was never threatened or worried about any of that, until he crossed the line, and now I have doubts about all of those female friendships, were they okay? Well, he didn’t really answer my question, did he ever consider stopping the sex and carrying on the friendship, and now I’ve thought about it, that is exactly what he achieved, until she felt “I needed to know” – she obviously didn’t value his friendship once the sex had stopped. He told her they were never sleeping together again, and meant it, and carried through with it, but continued to text, etc. Even invited her out to a function we were having after their sexual affair was well and truly done with. See why I never picked up on any of this? Everything just seemed so normal. She was just a friend of ours. Holding On, I too am devastated that he was so sad and lonely. It’s not messed up how you think about things, because I really relate to the way you put that.

    • maria

      I don’t take anyone’s attacks personally. I know how much you are all hurting. It is the majority of longterm cheaters I speak of. I realize I envoke fear. Not my intention.

      Firstly, one must look deeply into why they would tolerate such abuse. Yes … we all make mistakes but infidelity isn’t a mistake it is a choice …. a deeply selfish act …. One that is life threatening to the bs.

      Now the cheater may be unaware that he/she is causing life threatening issues toward spouse. There is a very real disease called “broken heart syndrome”. This leads to death.

      The authors of affair repair get to the surface and give great tools to go only so deep. There are so many complicated situations within infidelity. Through my research I have gone to the root of thescripted man and woman. Religion and society play such and enormous role. One of the biggest is how boys are raised.
      Mothers and society do a real number on their sons. They are taught to degrade women from birth on. When your boy brings home a girlfriend and the mom calls the girlfriend a slut …. What do you think this does to a son? When boys can’t express sadness or cry because they are called “girlhood men”…. What do you think this does to what a boy thinks about women?

      when bullying amongst boys goes on ignored what does this teach the boy? What happens when boys are taught masturbation and sexual feelings are bad or they are teased by parental figures for masturbation or given the message “no sex before marriage”? What happens when society calls women “whores and sluts”? What is society telling men through media by selling cleaning products by depicting the “good wife”…. Cleaning, cooking the dinner, playing taxi while the lazy male watches tv? What do sports tell men? Yikes …. infidelity is so much more complicated than that.

      Stats … 9 in 10 suffer from some form of a personality disorder. These are all new findings. Saving your marriage is a great thing, if you can and the cheater can dive deep to rid societal scripted norms and heal from childhood to grasp what the topical affair repair teachers tell you to do. Again, so much more complex than what the affair gurus are teaching. And until one starys from the root …. No chance in hell one will get a quality marriage.

      I see too mich manipulation and desperation to save marriages that were never worth it to the victim. Granted there are very few connected ppl in this world due to cult like religion. So until the vicitm realizes their self worth rather than their desperation to buy love from a longterm cheater …. a person who had such little regard for their welfare … The victims are going to react with anger for me and others that are attacking the root.

      Sure repair rules are easy but they don’t go deep enough. And only bandaide the real problem. As to “rapist”…. its a great term for me because raping a soul of the deep communication and live that was within the contract of marriage fits. Cheating is a rape and it is violent …. a truly violent act.

      Again …. I hope this helps.

    • maria

      I liken the affair repair experts to those that sold the infamous “Secret” ….. Think it and it will come. Lol. What a craze. Theres this tiny little thing called “quantum physics” …. It’s a vibration that requires force or action. In order to truly heal … One has to get to the root and not surface. Learning self love is our life long lesson. Change or independence is hard for anyone. I feel all the victims. Just because i got divorced doesn’t mean my x was out of my life. There was hell until kids were grown. I had to work four times as hard to make sure the emotional well being and psyche of my kids was intact. Lots to think about. Marriage should be run like a business steeped in spiritual ethics. That requires diging to childhood and evolving. I think everyone should be given a healthy therapist or coach at birth. Lol. Ethics is not taight in school …. Neither are life skills. More and more schools are adopting these teachings. My heart to the hurting and continued congrats to Doug and Linda. Xoxox

    • dazedandconfused

      Alone, thanks for responding to my comment – it really touched me. I am keeping you in my thoughts and wish you the best!

    • Julia

      To Mil, sorry it took me a while to respond. What state do you live in, have children, just curious, but wish you the best in your situation. Three hardest years in my life, 1976 when 5 year old son died in mobile home fire, 1987 when 18 year old son committeed suicide, and 2008 when husband left me for a co-worker. I never believed him leaving me like he did would rock my world the way it did.
      My husband was a registered nurse who had worked in a children’s hospital for 16 years, up to a supervisory position. They opened a new unit he transferred to at the hospital he worked at in Feb 2008. He was supposed to “help” a new nurse of less than 2 years transition to the unit. She was told to call him with any questions during their orientation to the unit, which started their everyday 2 and 3 hour conversations on the phone (his personal cell phone for “work”) for 3 months. She jumped when he said jump, stroked him constantly, asked his help all the time, asked his help on a nursing project she was working on, and told him she hadn’t had sex recently and really missed it, let him know she was available. Coincidently, the day he asked me for a divorce, I discovered later, he called her (got her address) and they set up their golf date for the next day, have found out they didn’t even finish golf game, got so turned on they quit game and went to her trailor for sex. (I’m not buying his golf obsession now) I thought my husband was smart man but after the sex started, it went on three weeks, she convinced him to leave our home for house he could live in she had available, she told him “they needed to stop sex until divorce was final”. Both of them knew from the beginning of the affair, if it was discovered they could lose their jobs as nurses, so they lied to everybody about it. She decided she did not want her parents (Christian people in their 70’s) or work to know about sexual affair with married, older man. But she strung him along for another 4 months of hell for me before he told her he was coming back to me because 32 years was a long time to give up on. Our divorce court date was 3 weeks off and I had told him I would subpoena both her and her father who was giving him free rent and let the judge sort out who was lying. My husband had told the court he was paying $500 month rent-Not true and I knew her father would not commit perjury, didn’t know about her. He has given up nursing and golf due to health reasons, and they are triggers, but when he gets frustrated over that I tell him to blame her, NOT ME> Crazy thing about it before affair, he did exactly what he wanted to. I was raising young grand daughter because of daughter’s meth addiction. Worked nursing weekend nights, but picked 2 to 4 extra shifts every week, played golf when he wanted, 2 or 3 times a week, and pretty much had all the freedom he wanted. He managed his own checking account separate from our bills and was making $7000 per month and I asked no questions, our families needs were met, he had a few thousand in his savings account. All of that has been lost by the affair. But I have pointed out to him, he had all that, and it was still not enough for him to be happy, without sex and attention from another woman. He knows, he threw all that away for a piece of as____ from a gold digger. He says he was out of his mind during that time. She didn’t know in Arkansas, after a 32 year marriage, the spouse unable to work can get alimony and/or spousal support up to 50% of working spouse’s income. Her prior marriage had lasted 6 years, so they just split their possessions. Again, I have rambled on.

      One comment I would like to make: Many of us betrayed spouses do not have funds for online therapists, one reason this forum is so great. Noticed newest marriage help is the Hendricks, they charge $400.00 for their marriage saving program. Many of us trying to restore our marriages have been hit by attorney fees, 2 separate living arrangements for months, health issues, or job loss. I cannot afford to buy all the programs and books I would like to and deeply appreciate the free help available online. Some programs like marriage builders, Larry Bilotta, and strongmarriagenow (there are more) have an enormous amount of material that is free, online. I still, after 3 years, get weekly tips from several of these sites which have helped me enormously and still do.
      As an aside, if I do not mention the past affair (2008), we do not really argue. We are getting along well as a couple considering we still have drama from our adult children’s lives to deal with, 2 out of 3 have drug issues and are in late 20’s, early 30’s, but have 4 precious grand-children we see every chance we get.

    • Fonnell

      I was wondering if the cheaters experience ANYTHING following their decision to leave the OM/OW; besides the cited grieving that takes place for the affair partner and the initial shame for having the affair. The victims of affairs struggle with so many emotions, constantly and for years apparetly. It’s my sense based on the reading I have done on this cite that once the victim agrees to work on the marriage with the cheating spouse, the cheater pretty much recovers. Their distress appears to be brought on mostly by the victim’s emotions. What sort of emotional struggles are the cheating spouses going through barring any prompting from the victims? I mean, are’nt you all afraid that one day we will simply recognize that we don’t need you, dont want you and you all muffed this up. I would really like to read something about the cheaters really struggling to make it “right” for their partners; fearing that if they dont meet their emotional needs their partner will just leave. Afterall, why would anybody want to stay with someone they cant trust? Really! What the hell is wrong with this picture?

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