ultimatum after an affairThere is a tendency among the betrayed to walk and talk on eggshells.  They are afraid to say and do things that are going to piss the cheater off and possibly push them further away. 

On the surface, it seems like a logical and safe way to handle the situation – whatever it may be.  After all, you’re probably being told that it was your actions, lack of action or your surly disposition that was at fault for the affair in the first place. 

But if your cheating spouse is distancing himself or herself, continuing their lies, gaslighting, refusing to help in the healing in any way or refusing to end their affair, then you have to put a stop to this right away.  You can’t be a doormat.  You have to regain control somehow.  You have to feel safe.

So how do you do that?

The first thing is to face your fear straight in the face and make the decision that you’re not going to put up with the crap anymore.  You are not going to be disrespected, dishonored, devalued, blamed, chastised, tricked, lied to, deceived or otherwise abused in any way.  You must take your power back!

Perhaps the way to do that is with an ultimatum. Yeah, yeah, we know…ultimatums don’t work, they’re wrong and many of you don’t believe in them.  But sometimes you just get to the point where nothing else is working and you have nothing else to lose.

Conversely, there are many who have used the ultimatum from day one (D-day) and had good success with it.  Obviously, as with any thing, you need to evaluate the situation and decide for yourself if an ultimatum is worth the risk. After much thought and consideration, one must weigh that risk against the potential rewards and ponder the possible outcomes.

To give you more to think about, here are several quotes from experts and readers with their take on giving ultimatums after an affair…


 

Susan BergerMarriage and Family Therapist, Susan Berger says: 

“An ultimatum is a powerful response to such a situation. It can be enough of a shock to break the spell and force your spouse to begin to think rationally again, and to weigh the real price he or she is paying for continuing with the other person.

However, the ultimatum only works if you are completely ready to follow through. It is something that needs to be well thought out and not rushed into. It is important to understand where it is coming from. Are you making a serious statement about your limits? Are you ready to back this statement up? If you say you are going to move out, or get a divorce, or otherwise limit your involvement with your spouse, are you really ready to do that?

Or are you giving the ultimatum in the hopes that it will give you control over the situation, not really intending to follow through? If so, it is important to understand that in the trance, your partner may not take the threat seriously. Action is the only thing that they might be able to understand.”

You can visit Susan’s site here.


 

One of our readers shares her experience…

“For months after D-day, my husband continued to see the OW. He wasn’t making any progress on our relationship, and despite him telling me that he wanted to be with me he wasn’t making any effort. One day I’d had enough. I sat him down and told him – it’s me or her – you can’t have us both any more. I told him not to rush into his decision, not to just feed me what he thought I wanted to hear and not to make me wait once he made up his mind. This happened on a Wednesday. I told him he had until Friday. Everything became very real to him that night. Emotions were high, and I think for the first time he knew I was serious. At first he said he’d need time to think it through (which was what I expected….) and then he said he needed to leave. I was devastated at that moment, assuming he had gone to be with her again. However, an hour or so later the phone rang and it was his mom. He had gone to her, told her everything and asked for her help. She had stopped him in his story when she found out I had no idea where he was to call and stop me from worrying. That moment – when she called me to make sure I was OK did something to him. When he came home that night he said he chose me. Our family. Our marriage. And since that night he has been here for us. It hasn’t been easy, there have been slip ups and moments when I think it’s not going to work but he’s trying hard to repair the damage he caused….

I was so afraid of giving him an Ultimatum, knowing I might not get the answer I wanted. But the truth is, I just needed an answer. I needed to know what he wanted and I needed him to be done playing games. As hard as it was to do, it was the best decision in the end. And I truly feel that it would have been the best decision even if he had chosen the OW.”


 

Another reader chimes in…

“DDay#1 I didn’t give an ultimatum – I was too scared of the answer (and since then he has said if I’d done that he would have left) – and he continued to contact OW despite telling me he wasn’t. I even saw the email recently where he ‘broke it off’ with her and it went along the lines of ‘I need to give my wife a shot but I’ll be in contact again soon’.

After Dday#2 – I gave him an ultimatum, said I wanted a divorce, and I was SO angry. I left him for my sister’s. As a result he had to tell his parents about the PA and what he’d done, I came home to see where he was at about a week later. He finally seemed to get it, was upset and teary, but very confused. I went away again, before I could get sucked back into his ‘world’ and considered the worst – that he didn’t want to be with me, accepted it and then went home again. Worked strongly on myself.

I’m not sure if the ultimatum worked but something finally made him see the pain properly for the first time, maybe he got his head out of his ass. Anyway, he seemed to work hard on things for about 3 weeks after that and now he’s not putting in much effort again and I feel like leaving.

I really feared the ultimatum, but the limbo was worse than knowing the answer in the long run.”


 

Mort Fertel 2Marriage and Relationship expert, Mort Fertel has a little different view…

“If you want to restore your marriage, do not give your spouse an ultimatum. It will not work. Let me explain why. And let me explain how you can get your spouse to end their affair or stop their addictive or obsessive behavior.

In a sense, it’s empowering to think and even say to your spouse, “Your behavior is unacceptable. And if it doesn’t stop, I’m leaving you.” An ultimatum offers the ultimate role reversal. It puts you, the victim, in control.

Understandably, that’s appealing. And there’s no doubt that in the short run you’ll feel better. But it also feels good to eat dessert after every meal. Just because something feels good does not mean it is good. The question you have to ask yourself is: Will an ultimatum give me the result I want? The answer is no.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Mort, what about tough love? Shouldn’t I set borders and boundaries?”

If you give your spouse an ultimatum, you’ll establish clear rules for your marriage. You’ll set borders and boundaries. But where will the motivation come from for your spouse to live by the rules? In other words, the rules will be clear, but why would your spouse want to adhere to them?

You see, if your spouse is a workaholic, an alcoholic, having an affair, into porn or involved in obsessive or destructive behavior, the problem is not a lack of rules, but rather a lack of motivation to live by the rules.

Your spouse knows their behavior is wrong. Even if they won’t admit it, even if they justify it, deep down they know that their behavior is immoral and that it’s destroying your marriage and soiling their soul. The problem is that they don’t care. The problem is that they lack an internal motivation to do the right thing.

Your spouse has to want to stop. The key is their inner motivation, their will. An ultimatum imposes rules from the outside; it does nothing to address the lack of motivation on the inside. Bottom line: although giving an ultimatum feels good, it misses your target.

Your target is your spouse’s inner motivation. The secret to affect someone’s inner motivation is to connect with them.”

You can visit Mort’s site here.


 

A reader offers caution…

“The ultimatum only seems to really work if the BS is secure enough to back it up. Otherwise, deadlines pass, promises are broken, and there are no repercussions. What’s the incentive for the CS to truly understand what’s at stake? Therefore, ultimatums should not be taken lightly. The BS has to be prepared that the answer they might hear may be “I choose her/him over you,” and it’s important that they be ok with that.

Ultimatums should never be used as a threat, never out of anger, but rather as a calm rational decision by the BS that a line in the sand is being drawn stating they have reached their limit. A change is going to come and it’s going to happen with them or without them.

When the ultimatum is presented in this way the CS’ response is less likely to come from defensiveness and fear, and more likely to awaken in them the severity of their actions. For me, I would rather know where I honestly stand with my partner, and if she found someone else she should let me go to live a life with someone that will care for me. Rather that, than to live in fear.”


 

3 more readers give their take on the subject…

“I gave an ultimatum, a few in fact. I gave an ultimatum before I was really ready to face the consequences of him choosing her and it does not work. He did choose me, but for my efforts I was rewarded yet another dday. It was after this occurred a few times that I gave a “real” ultimatum because I was ready to do so. He chose me again and I am about 4 months from that dday, and so far so good – I believe he knew that I was serious that time – they can tell.

So my advice on giving an ultimatum is this – First, don’t give one unless you really mean it and you are healthy enough mentally to move on if necessary. Second, (and I know it’s scary!) but if you give one, and you really mean it, and are prepared for whatever the outcome is, and they choose their AP over you, YOU STILL WIN. You win because you can start your new life and no longer live in the turmoil and heartache that is this nightmare.”


 

“I think ultimatums are a bad idea. Here’s what happened in my case: I suspected my wife was having an affair, did some investigation, and found out my suspicions were warranted. I confronted her with the evidence and told her she had to leave the house immediately. It was the cruelest thing I have ever done to a human being, ever. I was beside myself with rage and feelings of betrayal and simply had not thought things through. I was also convinced that this was the end and that I was going to get a divorce.

Then I saw that my wife had nowhere to go, so I let her stay, at least for the night. We talked the following morning, and I told her that she needed to break off contact with the other man. She said, “I can’t do that.” Over the following days, I had a chance for introspection, had been doing some research, and realized that I didn’t really want the marriage to end.

Problem is, the ultimatum forced the affair completely underground, and forced them closer together. It’s been going on for about 4 months now, and it might have been wrapping up sooner had I simply not interfered.”


 

”The turning point was when he saw me packing my suitcase. He asked what he could to do get me to stay. I told him he had to choose right then. So he chose me and has had no contact with her since that night. But I still feel bitter that it took an ultimatum to get him to do what he should have simply done willingly.”


 

Kim Bowen is a Licensed Professional Counselor and she wrote an article that we want to share an excerpt from…

Kim BowenWhen Are Ultimatums in Marriage Necessary?

Ultimatums become necessary when your partner pushes against your bottom line and refuses to take whatever steps are necessary to make things right again.

Your bottom line is the place where you cannot continue to feel safe, secure and respected in a relationship as long as certain behavior goes unchanged. It’s the place where you feel you can’t continue in this relationship if something doesn’t change.

Sometimes, ultimatums are the only way we can protect ourselves and the relationship.  If your husband is an alcoholic who refuses treatment, how can you protect yourself?

You can’t make him do the right thing.

You can’t control how much he drinks.

But you can control what you will tolerate.

You can control how much misery you endure and how long you wait for him to see how his behavior is destroying the marriage…

She goes on to say…

What I like about ultimatums is that it shows your partner that you really do mean business, and it gives them the chance to clean up their act sooner rather than later.  (Later is oftentimes too late.)

The most common reason women leave a marriage is that, for women, the longer the resentment builds up, the greater the chance she will shut down.

When her partner does change, it no longer matters to her.

By the time he’s willing to change, she’s already given up.

Read full article here.

 

So, to wrap things up…Yes, ultimatums can work – and they can also backfire on you.  Use the information in this post to formulate your own opinion and strategy.  Try to determine just in what situations or circumstances it’s appropriate to use an ultimatum, when it is not, or even if you will ever want to use one at all.

With that said…

We’d like to hear your experiences with giving an ultimatum after an affair. Have you given your cheating spouse an ultimatum?  If so, what was it and what was the outcome?  If you have not given the cheating spouse an ultimatum…why not?  What fears are holding you back?

Please share your comments, thoughts, advice and experiences in the comment section below.

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    37 replies to "The Ultimatum After an Affair"

    • TheFirstWife

      This a tough position to be in. I had to confront my H a few weeks after DDay1 on whether he was staying married or not. The shock of my being very direct scared him and I got “of course I choose our marriage”.

      Of course I wasn’t stupid and did not believe him and I actually said that to him. Right then and there. So while he had no contact with OW he still missed her.

      And it did not stop their reconnecting 2 months later and starting up again.

      So while it was not an ultimatum to pick one of us, it was a question or decision that needed to be made. Do you want to stay married? But the affair fog had a huge impact. Words were one thing and actions were totally contradictory.

      So in November after I agreed we should divorce I again was a yo yo for him. He wanted a divorce and then he didn’t want it and a few days later he wanted the divorce and then hours later he didn’t.

      I just know that at the end I felt like I wNted the divorce b/c I could not deal with his mid life crisis any longer.

      So I don’t know which route to take. Ultimatum or not. I think you get to the point where you can no longer tolerate being lied to, disrespected, cheated on, etc.

      It seems in many cases when the wife decides to walk- that is when the CH gets the wake up call that we are no longer playing. Too bad it has to come to that.

    • TheFirstWife

      Sometimes I think the CS wants the BS to ask for the divorce. This way they can have a clear conscious b/c they can say they did not want/ask for the divorce. Their spouse did.

      I made sure my H said those words. I was not going to give him an out in that arena.

      • Doug

        Thanks for sharing TFW, I think you’re right. I read somewhere that if the affair is what’s commonly referred to an “exit affair” this can be a common occurrence. The CS is actually hoping to be given an ultimatum, which gives them the nudge they need to leave.

    • Alice

      Doug, if Linda gave you an ultimatum after she discovered your involvment with Tanya, what do you think your reaction would have been? Do you think it would have been effective or do you think it would have pushed you closer to Tanya?

      • Doug

        Actually she did give me an ultimatum eventually – in fact two of them. At first it was the, “It’s either her or me” – and my reaction was to choose Linda and end the affair with Tanya. Then, some time later, when I wasn’t doing a whole lot to help her heal, she gave me another one…”I’m not happy. You need to get busy, or else…” (paraphrasing) That ultimatum helped motivate me to get my head out of my ass and to start doing the work necessary to help her and our marriage.

        • Rachel

          Doug,
          Were you in an “affair fog” ? If yes, what did it feel like?

          • Doug

            Hey Rachel, Was I in the affair fog? For the first ultimatum, yes, but the second one, no. The first one happened maybe 5 or so months into the EA (remember I’m horrible with timelines), so things were still pretty fresh with Tanya. The second one was maybe 18 months or so after when we were trying to recover and all I wanted was for the whole thing to go away.

            When you ask, What did it feel like? I’m going to assume you are referring to how I felt after being given the ultimatum, so I will answer in that context. This happened after an argument and a particularly painful morning for Linda when she finally had had enough. It was probably the worst day for her of the whole awful mess. She was crying. I was crying. So it was emotional for both of us. Without a doubt that day made an impression on me as far as the pain I had caused her. Probably more so than any other day up to that point. It basically kicked me in the head and woke me up to what the hell I was doing and it helped me to rise above the fog just a bit and go ahead and start to end the affair. I wasn’t angry or resentful. I was probably even a bit relieved in a way.

    • TheFirstWife

      So here is my question. Why does it take an ultimatum or threats to get the CS to stop the behavior? And start working on the marriage?

      That kind of seems like the CS is a child and needs to be told what they are doing is wrong. DUH!

    • Eyeswideopen

      It’s really pretty sad, that while your in shock and falling apart, you also have to be the one to try and make rational decisions in regard to strategies on how to save your marriage! Ultimatums, asking, (some cases begging) for the CS to make some kind of decision, asking, (pleading in most cases) for details, asking for the REAL TRUTH, the list goes on and on. I’ll never understand this no matter how many years it’s been since D-day.
      If your cheating and you really want out of your marriage, then say so and LEAVE!
      If your cheating out of boredom, just for the excitement, fun of it and you’ve been busted, STOP right then and there!
      If your cheating because of a mid-life crisis? And you’ve been caught, STOP!
      Why must we beg, plead, cry, cry, cry & cry?
      You either have made a horrible mistake and once caught, realize this, and do all you can to try and make things right, or if you know that your going to continue in your affair, now even being more vigilant in your sneaking and lying, and really want out of the marriage, then just have some balls and be honest and get out!
      Making the BS go through anymore pain, stress, hurt, is just outright cruel and unfair. YOU did this! YOU chose this route! Now YOU help fix it!
      If you have any love left for your spouse, in whatever capacity, YOU need to, and owe it to them, to do the right thing NOW!
      I am so tired and discouraged listening to everyone’s, (more so the BS) stories of heartbreak and pain continuing long after the affairs have been disclosed. Pardon my French, but it’s BULLSHIT! Enough is enough!! Your “AFFAIR” has been outed, your Spouse now knows, what else do you FU**ING want?
      YOU (CS) need to do the right things NOW! Wether that means leaving, or staying and working on your marriage.
      Do not make your BS have to lower themselves anymore than they already have with this crap.
      Do not continue making a fool out of them.
      Do not play them and make them believe your all in, and then have them find out, all has been lies.
      You and only You, chose do to what You did, now YOU need to find all that same strength it took to lie, cheat, sneak, betray, etc… to either work on your marriage with 100% honesty and commitment or be man or woman enough to walk away! It is not fair to do anything other than that!

    • theresa

      I’ve had al the conversations. In my head. Some of them actually traveled the path to my mouth. But I don’t even remember which ones or when.
      But I do know I berated him and me. In my head. I’ve had the feeling that things are not real until they’ve been said out loud. Or put into print. There remains a certain level of “fiction (wishful thinking) that cushions the reality (pain).
      And, yeah, this is bullshit. It could not have been any more real and painful. Even the stuff I only said and heard in my head.
      I wish I had come to this realization a long time ago.
      Thanks for saying it out loud.

      • theresa

        Sorry, seems like my spelling and grammar skills have taken a vacation

    • TheFirstWife

      Eyes wide open. Great comments. All true.

      • Eyeswideopen

        Thank you!

    • Eyeswideopen

      Theresa, I don’t know what happened to me this morning, lol. I guess I just can’t stand the fact that we the betrayed should have to make any ultimatums whatsoever! Bad enough the truama that was bestowed upon us, then we have to push, beg, plead etc, to get our BS to do the right things? Am I missing something here?
      It will be D-day 4 yrs for me this month, and though my spouse didn’t take that long to get his head out of the sand, (about a month) and never relapsed, It still was a horrendous time in my life, that has left permanent scars.
      I have no problem working on my marriage. I understand we weren’t perfect and stuff happens, and though I do not accept any blame for his choices, I do not want to have to beg or plead for anything in regard to what he did. Theresa, I hope things are going ok for you and your marriage, and I wish you all the best! Sorry we’ve all had to meet under these circumstances, but thankful that we can lean on each other!

      • Eyeswideopen

        oops meant CS

    • TheFirstWife

      I think there is a definite pattern here. The book should be titled “Whst to Expect from Your Cheating Spouse”.

      Included would be:

      1. Lies and deception
      2. The Nothing Is Going On phase
      3. Realization of the Affair
      4. More Lying After Being Caught with Proof and Evidence
      5. The Affair Fog
      6. The Ultimatum
      7. The Decision
      8. The BS Does All the Hard Work
      9. No Counseling Needed for the Cheater
      10. How to Live After the Affair

      Those are my chapters based on everything I have experienced and read here.

      • Eyeswideopen

        TheFirstWife…. So spot on. But have to say, so very sad. Not to say that things don’t get better, they do in a lot of cases. But to have to go through the wringer to get there is just so cruel!

    • Fragments of Hope

      I agree Eyes Wide Open, what a difference it would have made if he stepped up and did the right thing himself rather than having to be led to the realisation like a child. Our marriage was in tatters by the time the affair was disclosed but he only disclosed it because he needed my help in choosing between her and me because he didn’t want to “lose his family or her”. I had to keep a clear head, despite all the hostility and coldness I’d experienced during the affair. I was the one looking at the true pluses and minuses of our marriage as he convinced himself there was nothing left. He was sharing kissing cat emoticons with the OW on the same evening as us having a serious conversation about our marriage future and possible separation. (he’d told me they weren’t in contact at that time) He was like a teenager.I was the one who subtley showed him (the music from our favourite movie playing when he came home, our favourite show on the telly later), texts to him about our daughter. When I found out he’d lied about continued contact (he was supposed to stop texting while we discussed our future) I said why would I want to be married to a man who lies.

      I specifically did not tell him to get out as other commentators have said, and as he admits, he was always a ‘coaster’ he would have loved and felt hard done by if I had said leave. He would have felt the decision was made for him. His problem was that he was not making any decision at all.

      It all broke through and it suddenly hit him what he was about to lose, he was devastated and broke it off with the OW. We cried together, went through all that hysterical bonding in the next few months. But THEN nine months later she contacted him, he had not dealt with the strong emotions he’d felt for her and kept in contact for a month behind by back while he tried to sort out his feelings for both of us. Once again, he did not do the right thing, he lied to my face several times. As you say Eyes Wide Open, I still feel aggrieved that he did not learn his lesson on D-Day one and live by his values when she contacted him. The truth was (and still is to some extent) that he is emotionally naive, has poor emotional intelligence and confidence. So I am still the emotional engine and that’s hard to accept after what I’ve been through. Yesterday is the anniversary of D-Day 2. I felt strong and that I could be okay but we’ve had a couple of very bad exchanges around it where he is not stepping up with the emotional support needed. Perhaps he still can’t. There’s been a mismatch on the emotional side for the twenty years we’ve known each other, though we gel in many other ways. I’m stereotyping here but is it just the case that many men just do compartmentalise, shy away from conflict and just can’t ‘do the emotional stuff.’ Are we asking for more than is possible even if we deserve it after all the pain?

      • Eyeswideopen

        Fragments Of Hope, Ugh! It so sucks. The whole merry-go-round crap. I agree some Men just aren’t emotionally equipped to do some of the work necessary to repair the damage. With that said though, I wasn’t lucky enough (or maybe I was) to have read the thousands of texts that went back and forth with my CS and his AP, but I can tell just by the massive amounts, that there was def some emotional stuff going on. After he was caught, I heard how he helped her through some family issues, etc… well that to me is working his emotional part of the brain.
        Again as I had said in my earlier post, I can and have gotten past the actual EA, but its the throwing me to the curb in those early days that I still struggle with. The trusting issues now, that my Husband would have my back if something might happen in our lives is the scary and sad part. We were a team, together 35 yrs at the time of his EA. He knew the other woman 3 months. How does a person who claims to still be in love with you, and for so many years, dismiss all of that for a person he barely knows? And with no PA involved. Thats the part I can’t get past. I wish you only the best through this horrible journey.

    • TheFirstWife

      Fragments of Hope. My exact story. DDay 1 and swore no contact but months later he was back and then DDAY2.

      He only snapped out of it when I was ready to leave.

      They just don’t get it. Duh!

    • TryingHard

      The timing on an ultimatum is crucial. However I believe from the onset of DDay you as the BS must establish firm boundaries. As long as the affair continues there is NO use to even think you are in any kind of reconciliation.

      So what you do as a betrayed spouse is just as crucial and that is NOT to attempt to get in his head, explain, beg, whatever. Start moving on with YOUR life. YOUR plans with or without your spouse. I

      I don’t believe the BS ever has to say “It’s her/him or me”. That is implied by the WEDDING rings. That’s a given. It is the BS who is in charge. You’re happy with your spouse still carrying on with the AP so be it. If not you make it very clear the arrangement is NOT acceptable under any circumstance. There is never room for three people in a marriage. Unless of course you just don’t give a shit and need the status quo.

      By YOU moving on and making your own plans that is ultimatum enough.

      My h and I were separated for 3 months. We started MC, he said the affair was over (it wasn’t). I finally did lose my shit one day said ENOUGH!!! You want to work on this marriage you move back home and we earnestly go to MC with the intentions of reconciliation. If that wasn’t agreeable I demanded he tell me then and there because I was over it. Four years later and we are still together but all the mammsy pammsy prior to that statement from me and me losing my shit was a waste of time. He was still eating cake. He was scared shitless to come out with the truth but either he did or that was it.

      I say you want to be a doormat that’s your choice. I don’t care if you call it an ultimatum or not. Whatever you call setting your boundaries and making them clear to your spouse is without a doubt the only way to go.

    • theresa

      EWO, my journey has given rise to a few observations (or ramblings, rants…)

      — The BS must fix herself FIRST! You’ will need lots of inner strength and self confidence should
      you desire to stay in the marriage.
      – I feel as if I will never stop paying the piper for his dance.
      – The BS can NOT make the CS do anything!
      – There are no magic words, books, actions, activities that will get him to “get it”.
      – No heartfelt letters, texts, support tools, that can get him to see your pain, the damage he has
      done to the people, (who should be), the most important people in his life.
      – You are not front and center in his world.
      – The CS has relagated the BS to a very small, remote area of their psyche.
      – He simply doesn’t care about the effect his behaviors, choices, self indulgent activities have on
      the BS and the innocent bystanders (aka children).
      – Begging is the worst thing you could do.
      – Demand the truth.
      – Never ask a question if you don’t the answer
      – Feelings can not be controlled. You can only control your responses (actions). You are solely
      responsible for your behaviors, actions..
      – The betrayal was, is and will always be wrong!
      – You must decide what you must have to stay in the relationship.
      – Do not compromise your own values. Actions you define as unacceptable, are unacceptable
      for you too.
      – Never ask a question if you don’t the answer
      – Never assume
      – Trust your gut
      – You are not alone

    • Fragments of Hope

      Eyes Wide Open YES! I was thrown to the curb too and sadly did read the nasty and disrespectful comments about me through texts he sent to the OW. I UNDERSTAND he was depressed, felt that I didn’t care about him and that no-one appreciated him. I know where he was coming from when he thought that me making a fuss about things was wrong (his conflict avoidance. I understand but don’t agree. BUT saying horrible things about me to someone outside of our family unit – a huge No No. Then again, I have a much closer interactive relationship with my siblings than he has with his. WE love and hate each other but always stick together. That’s my family background. Him complaining to his OW made THEM a unit and ousted me. He IS remorseful now but it does pain me that there were lines he crossed and morals he compromised that he NEVER should have. I can understand feelings develop for others but to lose any loyalty to your long time partner – I minded him right back when we were in college together and he hardly had money to feed himself. It all counted for nothing!

      The First Wife – I just love your checklist. I still struggle with knowing how much we should keep understanding. They should have got themselves together much quicker once the damage was done. Yes I know they sometimes get stuck in the fog – don’t deal with things but for goodness sake are they really not able to see fluff and fantasy – vapour I call it for what it is. Here in Ireland we have this word plámás – my granny used to use it and do it. She used to tell the men they were great. Plámás means to really praise the person up to the skies, flatter them I guess. My granny used to complement my Dad for doing the sorts of things he should be doing anyway, care and consideration. Men seem to just lap it up. It’s like praising a small child. I’m not saying we shouldn’t all praise and uplift each other but it seems to be like drink to some men, they can’t see beyond it. The whole affair game is trying to get more of that flattery hit. While the wife’s ‘nag’ if they don’t see the husband as a god. I’m ranting here I know! Frustrating!

    • TheFirstWife

      Fragments. I had your same experience. Kicked to the curb and the OW in her revenge did send me all the emails except the ones that incriminated her.

      I was forced to learn how my disability played a part in his affair. Now my disability is not something you would know about and I am not in poor health but I do have limitations. But I never stopped my H from leading a full life and traveling.

      That caused tremendous pain for awhile. But then I thought why am I trying to fix this relationship when this disability is permanent and never going to change?

      It was and is devastating. So I felt we should end it. Of course his affsir was over and I was the greatest thing. He admits made a mistake in that moment. But it is hard to face when you have done everything you could to not let a disability control your life.

      I have forgiven him for that but I doubt you can ever get over that shock and disbelief that the person you trusted THE MOST would do that to you.

      So yes my H violated so many things. He told the OW all about our kids. Really?!

      I am sure he said horrible things about me to the OW but he denied that. I am not that gullible and stupid. He had the OW convinced he was leaving me for her. He denied that too but I saw the emails.

      And I agree with the whe flattery thing too. It is what reels them in. Someone else finds them attractive and funny. You don’t have to focus on your kids and household repairs. You can be witty and charming and someone else who will believe your every word, true or not.

      Mid life crisis, depression, mistake. – call it whatever you want. It is cheating. It is self medicating. It is selfish behavior.

      And the hurt and pain is thrown onto innocent families and spouses.

      Funny thing is I used to tell my H periodically that if you find someone who is better and want to be with her, please do not cheat. Be a man and come home and tell me so I will still have respect for you. I will get over it but I don’t want to have you in my life knowing you are a cheater.

      I said this during a conversation in May not knowing he had already been cheating on me. He just say there and said and did nothing.

      So while I love him and want to stay with him I cannot help it to know my opinion of him has changed. So sad.

    • Fragments of Hope

      Yes, TheFirstWife, I remember so well a very open conversation we had in the garden one summer about the possibility of us ever finding another person if things didn’t work out between us and the idea that people can always care for others. Little did I know that he had already been several months in an emotional affair and did not mention a word – our conversation remained hypothetical and i was none the wiser. Why did he not just open his mouth then – especailly as he had ‘cooled it ‘with her at that point. Sadly he did not cool it enough and he was ready to leave me and take up a possible life with her a few months later until he broke out of the fog. Like your conversation with your OH, how can they stay silent when the chance is there for them to come clean, if not at that moment then soon afterwards. They don’t want to lose the adoration and the high they get from it. Its when they realise what THEY will lose when they start to see sense rather than deciding to step up and do the right thing. The OW sent me a mail straight after D-day one but I didn’t see it till months later. It was full of entitlement and how he had met her and her daughter together to prove his “commitment to her family as he would never otherwise involve an innocent child’. What about my innocent children and their whole world being torn apart if she had her way (she was a mother of six but wanted to replace her estranged husband with mine!) Headwrecking the whole thing.

    • Fragments of Hope

      Oh and re your disability, The FIrst Wfe so awful to have that mentioned, can an apology and remorse ever clear the hurt of that away. It’s like he took the most vulnerable part of you and paraded it to the enemy (someone without your best interests at heart.) I had a similar experience with something my husband told the OW about me at a time my father had had a heart attack. The cruelty of it, is terrible. A virtual hug to you!

    • TheFirstWife

      Thank you Fragments of Hope.

      I have forgiven his betrayal and realize he made a mistake. Howevet I don’t take things for granted and live one day at a time.

      The funny thing is that I see our relationship in a whole new light. Just yesterday I was telling him something that I felt. Not nasty or mean but just how I felt about something and he made a sarcastic comment like “nice thing to say”.

      I could see he was angered by it. So I tried to explain that I was just trying to explain my position and thought he would want to know and should know. I guess he would rather not know and keep his head buried in the sand and walk around in a fog.

      In my opinion that is why he ended up having an affair. Just keep pretending everything is ok when you have issues. Don’t deal with them and they will go away. Lie to yourself by saying it is not cheating b/c there was no sex. Lie to everyone around you and have an affair. Justify your “right” to the affair by telling yourself you deserve to be happy. And all that $h!t that goes along with it.

      Gee that sure does work doesn’t it?

    • Falling Ash

      I told my OH on DDay that he had to make a choice. He couldn’t have both me and her in his life. Maybe it was a risky strategy, but I would have followed through and kicked him out that very night IF he had chosen her. He chose me and our 14 years together over the 8 years of their “friendship” that he had spent secretly pining for her without ever telling her of his romantic feelings for her.

      Is this a record for a “silent” EA?

    • TheFirstWife

      Wow. You are a better person than I am.

      Not sure I could have withstood it. I think part of the allure is you always want what you can’t have. I believe psrt of what snapped my H to his senses was the fact that I was ready to walk.

    • Falling Ash

      First Wife – I agree completely. It took my confronting him on DDay2 about texts I had found, arranging to meet with her on a day I was away, to make him realise that what he was doing was an EA. Until then he had convinced himself that it wasn’t an affair because it wasn’t physical and he hadn’t revealed his feelings to her. They called thmselves each other’s “Best Friend”. Gag!!! I told him that the secrecy with which he had conducted it made it an affair. People don’t hide honest friendships from their partner. The lies he told me to be able to meet with her were told straight to my face. Like an idiot, I believed them because I trusted him completely. Never again! I will never take anything he says at face value. The onus is on him to prove his commitment to us EVERY day of our lives.

    • TheFirstWife

      Falling Ash. My H’s OW told me they were still seeing each other. I had to call her to get details on why he was acting so crazy. How humiliating is that!

      His first EA in grad school – from the moment imet this girl I told my H to watch his back. I could tell she really liked him. She pretended to be my friend. Fast forward to year 2 of his friendship and I found out they had an argument and she left a screaming voicemail messsage for him at work. His whole office knew about it except me. I found out by mistake as one of his colleagues mentioned it b/c she thought I knew.

      So since my H traveled extensively for the past 20 years I wonder what has really gone on.

      My H now admits he was wrong to have kept up a friendship with grad school girl. Bu that was only after the most recent OW told me he admitted to her about the whole EA snd how I confronted him.

      Most recent OW convinced my H he did nothing wrong and it is ok to have friends. Friends your wife doesn’t know about.

      Sometimes I wonder why I put up with it all. Honestly if I did not have children I wonder where I would be. ?

    • Fragments of Hope

      The First wife when you say hide from issues, pretend it’s okay cos no sex and say it’s okay cos they deserve to be happy, you are So talking about my husband. And my husband Ow told me they were still in contact too second time round. I have a hard time getting over the humiliation of that.

    • Bs

      After wife came clean i was at my lowest point of my life, it was a wednesday i told her while you live in this house you stop seeing him, sure enough friday came two days later and she was ready with a bag left to see him but didnt tell me i was left with my son she didnt even say goodbye and just left, i was assuming she went to see him but i didnt know so i wanted to know so i can be mad for a reason so i track the phone sure enough she was on her way she notice i track her so turn off her phone and didnt come back until sunday crying that she missed our son (wtf do you leave if you miss him) we talk and she was clear she wasnt going to stop, i gave a weak ultimatum ask to move she saw couple of apartment and realized it was going to cost her at least 1000 a month, we talk again and she suggested she will stay as a wife but needed one day to see him and she will continue as nothing happen here at home, she says she only wants the travel dinners and conversation from him, its been two weeks and they text each other all day long he doesnt know the agreement here, i dont want this agreement anymore but ibdont want to ask her to leave i think she should leave on her own, she claims he offered her to move in but our son would stay with me, he lives 5 hours away i dont think she would relocate but at this point who knows, everything is so misterius that i think she is planning something and she is not telling me i think buying time, i want my marriage i guess im affraid of the answer, i been keeping myself busy, where do i go from here?

      • TheFirstWife

        I am so sorry for you & your child.

        FYI my H was one foot out the door and about to leave. He realized what he had done and did an about face. We are still together 2 yrs later despite his wanting a divorce AND being in the affair “fog”. The fog is the part where the cheating spouse (CS) believes the affair partner is sooooo wonderful and perfect and soul mate and all that crap.

        By the way that is called infatuation. DUH

        Your wife is being ridiculous. Either she is in or out. Brother this plan of one day with him.

        Get a lawyer and therapist. Start documenting everything. You need proof of affair. For custody sake you need evidence.

        When my H decided to stay I had him sign a post nup. Any $ in my name or certain accounts he does not have access to during a divorce proceeding.

        Protect yourself and your child.

        God Bless. Until the foguftd you are dealing with an affair addict.

        We have all been there.

        • TheFirstWife

          ….until the fog lifts

    • Michael Thomas

      I believe an ultimatum is eventually needed and strongly believe in. I don’t think they should be given as soon as discovery but as time goes on and the affair starts to loose its appeal, especially now that you know there is one, it has definitely lost a lot of it’s mystery and secrecy and appeal,You cannot allow yourself to continually be disrespected and manipulated, lied to and treated like an unwanted option. I followed the advice of no ultimatum and got literally abused and taken advantage of by my loving wife. Finally I decided that I was concerned about me, my life, my health and my future and I wasn’t having it anymore. Amazing when I no longer cared what she did and who she did it with and I that was done…and meant it that I became all of the sudden(or not exactly sudden) the most important person to her in the world. If I hadn’t she would have continued for as long as I allowed her. So don’t be so afraid of doing it. Just be prepared to be happy with whatever the result is because obviously if you are giving one you are not happy now.

    • tryingtogetover

      I definitely had to give one, but was fortunate (ha! hard word to use) that it was nearly two years into their affair and so my husband was getting exhausted by it anyway. The “fun” was gone. He was trying some weird game of making things “okay” for both of us, keeping her as a friend and me as his wife. But she was demanding equal time, and because we had started marriage therapy and he was not supposed to have contact with her at all, he was lying to me more and more often. But the time I discovered they had gone underground and gave my ultimatum he was ready to give her up – so that is why it worked. Maybe if I had tried very early on he would have used some line like him needing to “take a break” from the marriage or whatever. So, not sure if the comment is helpful to anyone – I am just reiterating the fact that timing needs to be on the side of the BS. But it definitely woke him up.

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