rebuild trust after an affairIt’s pretty evident that one of the biggest struggles that our readers are experiencing is rebuilding trust after an affair. 

By Linda

If I were to summarize what a betrayed spouse needs for trust to be restored, I would have to say that there are basically three things in general:

  1. They have to find a way to cope with the immediate emotions, pain and stress (both physical and mental) that is caused by the affair.
  2. They must believe that their spouse is committed to the relationship.
  3. They must determine the chances of an affair happening again.

If these three things are not addressed, the chances that you can rebuild trust after an affair are greatly diminished.

So what can a cheating spouse do to help their spouses in each of these three areas?

Rebuild Trust by Helping Your Spouse Cope With the Initial Emotions and Pain

Stop the behavior that is causing the pain.  End the affair and cut of all contact with the other person.  Communicate to your spouse if there is any contact attempts by the other person or yourself.  Stop whatever it is that has caused the trust to be broken.

Own it.  Take responsibility for what you have done and the pain you have caused.  Do not blame your spouse for your actions.  Be remorseful and express grief for what you have done and communicate that you understand what you have done to them. Let your spouse know that you are willing to do whatever it takes to make amends.  Allow your spouse to express their anger and emotions.

See also  Reader Involved in Emotional Affair

Commit to change.  Taking responsibility is one thing, but you also have to prove that you are ashamed of your behavior by working to eliminate the causes of your behavior.  Show your spouse you want to save the relationship.  Ask your spouse for forgiveness

Understand their pain.  Express your sincere concern for the pain you have caused and make an effort to understand how the affair has impacted them.  Show them that they really do matter and that you care for them.

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“The Unfaithful Person's Guide to Helping Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair”

If you want to discover the 24 healing ‘tasks’ that the unfaithful spouse needs to carry out, then you should check this program out now.

Rebuild Trust by Showing you are Committed to the Relationship

Be truthful.  The betrayed spouse will more than likely have trouble believing they have all the truth after the discovery of the affair.  If they believe the truth has been withheld, then they will also feel that  you’re not committed to them or to the relationship.

Be willing to share details of the affair.  Let go of any secrets.   Be honest, as the betrayed will withhold trust and will not be able to move past that if they feel the truth is still unknown.  It’s best to do this completely upfront and not in bits and pieces.

Answer all questions from your spouse in a non-defensive manner – no matter how difficult or painful they might be.

See also  9 Ways to Not Recover From an Affair

Prove That You Will Not be Unfaithful Again

Just do it.  Words are cheap.  Show you are trustworthy and committed by your actions. Be consistent in your actions in everything you do – even the most remedial daily tasks.  Show that you can handle your life in a competent manner by working hard, being a good parent and working hard at your affair recovery.

Be thankful.  Your spouse didn’t ask for all of this pain and to have to go through this.  Let them know on a regular basis that you are appreciative and grateful that they chose to stay with you and didn’t kick you out on the street.

Really listen.  Show that you care for your spouse by your willingness to listen to their side of the story and how the affair has impacted them.  Let them express their pain without getting upset or angry.  Let them know their pain is important to you.  Trust is about what they need, not your discomfort.

Transparent communication. Communicate openly and honestly at all times with respect to your actions, intentions and motives.  Also, remember that your spouse is not a mind reader, so let them know what’s going on and trust will grow.  Let them check up on you or monitor your activities if need be.

Be trusting yourself.  Be willing to trust your spouse and they will be more likely to trust you in return.  Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Don’t battle for control in the relationship.  Share the decision making and the process for healing by validating their needs, opinions, interests and abilities.

See also  Dave Carder on Why Men Stay After an Affair

Get rid of self-centeredness.  Be focused and sensitive to your spouse’s needs and desires.  Do things that are in your spouse’s best interests and do not pursue self-serving activities.  Show real concern for your spouse.

Be proactive.  Make sacrifices in order to help build the foundation for your spouse’s security and happiness. Help them as much as possible during this healing process.  Do not be hesitant.  Your actions will only serve to reveal your heart’s intent.  Discover what it is that you can do to help in the healing process.

Did I forget anything?

Well, I’m sure there are some of you who can add a thing or two to this list, so feel free to do so in the comments section.

As you can see, the cheating spouse has to do quite a bit to recover, heal and rebuild trust after an affair.  The cheater’s willingness to do what’s necessary will show that they are committed to the relationship and are interested in their spouse’s healing and eventually trust can begin to grow.


    46 replies to "Things a Cheating Spouse Can do To Rebuild Trust After an Affair"

    • Jessica

      As always a good post with great timing. I am stuck on #3. I forwarded this to my spouse. I just keep struggling with there are no guarantees he will do this again. I never thought he would do this the first time… He is doing everything right at this point maybe the trust isn’t back yet.

    • SamIam

      “Get rid of self-centeredness.”~ wow! I still see this in my H. Early on, of course I thought the affair was because he was so unhappy with me, our family, our home, and our lack of wealth~ so when the dust settled somewhat I would ask him~ “Are you happy?” and he would not ask me back. It seems to me that this is all about him. Even when he tells me he loves me, I ask why and he says “Because I feel good here” or “I am happy here” ~ geesch ~ what about me? Oh well, something else to work on…..

    • Still struggling

      I would like to add that for me I will never trust him the same way again. We have made leaps and bounds in regards to him regaining my trust again but in the future I don’t think I will ever be able to give him the benefit if the doubt again. He will have to prove my suspicions wrong.

    • Notoverit

      BE TRUTHFUL! I had my D-Day over 13 months ago and I collapsed like every other BS on this site did. Eventually I began to rebuild but there were always niggling doubts about what my H was telling me about his feelings for the OW. He repeatedly said he didn’t feel anything for the OW; that it was the excitement of the texting and sneaking around to call her that was his reason for doing the EA. It made him feel good. BUT, all the evidence pointed to more and I just wouldn’t let it go. We were/are in counseling and I kept saying that he was lying about something. My God, I’ve known the man for 34 years so I ought to now when he is lying. Well, about a month ago, he admitted that he fell in love with the OW for a time. That sent me right to the bottom of the well again – all the pain and hurt I had worked so hard to get over came rushing right back to the surface. This time I had tools (some from this site and some from the counselor) to deal with it but I am still a long way from recovery. I have trust issues and now I question everything. If he had told the truth initially (no matter how hurtful) I would be a lot farther along than I am now. If the CSs think they can hide behind “The real truth will hurt you more” or “I was afraid to tell you”, then they are wrong. Your spouse or significant other can usually tell when you aren’t being truthful (that can be almost as damaging). So just grit your teeth and tell the details, how you felt, what you did and answer every question. It is best to get it all out in the open at the beginning so that everything can be dealt with. Doing it piece-meal is very hurtful and keeps tearing open the wounds. Trust is built on truth and marriage is built on trust and truth. It is all inter-related.. So the CS needs to understand that to rebuild, he/she must be completely truthful.

      • Paula

        Hear, hear, Notoverit! THE most important thing! Truth from the outset, there’s already been too many lies, stop them immediately, lying to save feelings is total BS, and doesn’t work, we’re actually not stupid, althought we looked it while we didn’t pick up on what was going on. We do know you, CSs, we’ve loved you for decades, warts and all, we sense when there’s something amiss, when you’re not being true truthful.

        Hardrecovering, I wish I could help you with your dilemma, My OH says he didn’t love his AP, but they had a VERY close and fully sexual affair for about 15-16 months, and when I kicked him out in April of this year, after two years of trying to recover from this, he immediately met up for coffee several hours later (she lives several hours away) and then drove up to her house two days later – “to talk” – and ended up fucking her again. Not in love, apparently.

        • No Doormat

          Not in love (with anybody but himself). Just a selfish asshole.

    • Still struggling

      Samiam. Maybe advise I received from a wonderful confident I had would help you. Instead of asking why he loves you… Ask him “what does live mean to you?”. I never got the nerve to ask but maybe I will after reading you post.

    • SamIam

      Still Struggling
      I will try that again~ last time I asked I did not get a good response ~ but it has been a few months now. We talked last night (heated) and I told him that this whole thing is about him~ his “I” “I” “I” stuff~ so what about me~ let’s talk about me!! lots of work to do yet.

    • hardrecovering

      Its been almost 1 yr since my husband has had no contact with the other women ( I think, after all how can I really be sure?) They had a 2 yr affair and he was truly in love with her. I just cant seem to move past this. I feel torn everyday whether I would be better off without him or keep trying everyday to move past this. After one year the pain is still fresh I still dont trust him at all even though in the past year he hasn’t given me any reason to believe he has contact. I love him very much but just cant seem to forgive him. Everyday something reminds me of what happen. Even the polictial debate when they mention infidelity bring up all my emtions again. I cant seem to get away from it. We have been married 36 yrs. I now realize that in the 36 yrs we have been married he cheated on me almost the whole time with one women or another. Is there something wrong with me to keep trying to make this work?? I haven’t been on here in awhile but I thank all of you for the support you give one another. I wonder if I will every be happy again.

      • suzie suffers

        Have you ever gone to marriage counseling? Could he have a sexual addiction? My husband cheated both during his drinking days and his sobriety. I wanted to keep trying and I couldn’t get over the affairs to the point that everyday we were having some kind of “discussion” regarding honesty, trust, comparison of me to her, what he felt for her………….on and on.

        Doug, do you have any direction on how to find a marriage counselor that REALLY helps. I know you endorse Huizenga and Gunzberg….and I have my skeptism about endorsements for website “self help” although I subscribe to them both for input, I’m not sure this is something an individual can survive with self help books. Especially when the CS will rarely read ANYTHING.

    • Still struggling


      I feel your pain. I have myself backed off with trying to talk about it with him. Not sure that this has helped. I don’t know which way to turn. At times I have resolved myself to working on me. I don’t have the answers and probably never will. I just keep trying to find peace with myself and hope that is enough. Hope you have a Merry Christmas.

    • changedforever

      I am 6 mths past their (my H. & his AP) ‘last contact,’ & 14 mths since being surprised with a DDay where I had NO IDEA…and I’m still reeling from that … EA, PA, STD, coninued contact, other EAs I’ve intercepted…you name it… I’ve been thru it. So I will tell you this: (hardrecovering,) expect the unexpected. When you hear from a lot of us to ‘try to work on yourself,’ as hard & difficult as that may seem…you have to do it. At worst, it distracts you from all the triggers all around you, at best, you may soon be able to have better days than others: days of hope. Also, you need to know that your H (like mine) is going to have to learn how NOT to be a cheater, how NOT to be a liar and that will take OUR encouragement and YOUR reassurance that this new ‘lifestyle’ change will come to him. Now I know what you are thinking…how will you know it will…? YOU DON’T. You just have to hope.
      I’m here if you need support…along with many others. Hope this helps some.

    • Still struggling

      Anybody else find that they have more intolerance for certain types of people since Dday?

      Had a situation arise at work today. Background is…. We have a secretary that has trouble being accurate and efficient in all aspects of her job. We work in healthcare so this can be a huge problem!!!! Today had another situation occur and I approached her and manager about problem. Her response was once again it wasn’t her fault. I tried to walk away and made a comment about that being a typical response. She responded back in condescending tone. A switch went off and I told her that she was not my parent and that she did not have the right to talk to me that way. I was calm but firm. She left sick with migraine and was crying from what I am told.

      My dilemma is this. Was I appropriate in my response or was I taking my frustration about his ea out on her? You probably don’t have enough background info to truly answer but has anyone else questioned their reactions this way?

      Is this a growth were I have learned to speak up and not be walked on again or have I become an un bearable monster. Of course everyone I work with was happy about confrontation because they want her gone.

      • Notoverit

        No you are not an unbearable monster. I think the EA has shifted something inside of all of us BSs. I have said time and time again that over the years, to make things run smoothly, we have suppressed our feelings and opinions. What I don’t get is why do we care if we hurt others with the truth? What I mean is we try to soft-sell criticism or correcting others when they aren’t doing their job (I think just like we were doing at home). It’s okay for everyone else to say exactly what they think to us or do exactly what they want to us but, in their minds, we’re supposed to sit and take it. Learning that we made this mistake at home with our spouses, thus allowing them to take us for granted, spilled over into other parts of our lives. We are not other people’s punching bags. I have also noticed that I am back to calling people on what they are doing just like I did when I was younger. I think that we have regained some of our self-confidence and now refuse to down-play our opinions.

        Don’t question that you had the right to call this secretary on her mistakes. Her biggest mistake was blaming others ( I hear this so much in this day and age that I am sick to death of people refusing to take responsibility for their actions – ring a bell anyone?). Her next biggest mistake was to keep opening her mouth. She should have taken her correction and then gone back to work, hopefully with a clearer understanding of what she had done wrong. It’s a job and if you screw up, expect to be called on it.

        I know this sounds dreadfully similar to our relationships with our spouses. We didn’t speak up; we didn’t call them on how the marriage was working; we wanted things to run smoothly without drama and mostly we cared so we thought we were doing what we were supposed to – loving someone. It is not wrong to learn to express you opinion in the marriage or at work. Personally, that secretary would have gotten a lot more castigating out of me, so I think you handled it rather well.

      • Anita

        Still struggling,
        From time to time we all feel frustration at our jobs, and
        if our lives are filled with stress on top of that, our nerves
        are over loaded, it can cause us to say and do things we
        normally would be more tolerant to.
        However, if you have to work with this person, keeping peace
        between you will be more helpful, instead of a atmosphere
        filled with tension. This person may also be having her
        own personal problems, and is not focused on her job.
        There are times in all of our lives, when we go through
        tough moments for whatever reason, and I know for myself,
        if I was having a bad day at work, it helps when my coworkers
        are understanding. I also try to return that same understanding when they are having a hard time.
        If your coworkers want her gone that is sad, because she also
        has to make a living, and has to eat and pay bills.
        Your right this is a time for growth, and compassion for others
        shows your kindness and is also more peaceful for you inside.
        Gossip is hurtful, and you won’t have peace inside of you,
        and it shows the worst of you, instead of the best.
        Hurting people, hurt other people.
        Don’t let your husband’s affair, change you from a kind
        person, into a someone you don’t want to be.
        I agree your husband should never walked all over you,
        but you need to confront him, and leave you coworker out
        of this, she has the right to work in peaceful atmosphere,
        and earn her living.

      • suzie suffers

        I don’t think either you are correct or a monster……I think “squashing” our emotions all the time with our SO will make it “leak” out somewhere else. Your comments of sarcasm are a “sly” way of telling her something without really addressing it, which I know for me has been a way I’ve dealt with issues with my husband’s affair. Walking on eggshells has mad it so that I find I will say things sarcastically because I have attempted so many times to address things with him and have been “dismissed” that I now have anger and I am also afraid of his reaction if I do address the things he wants to sweep under the rug……so I think I dump a comment or two letting him know my anger to “test” the water. REALLY bad communication. Yes, I know I have been short with my kids at times when I was really angry with my husband because my fear of rejection from him in expressing my anger made we push it aside……but it will eventually come out.

    • Still struggling

      Thank you both for your kind words and encouragement. I am a very understanding and compassionate person and usually try to give people the benefit if the doubt. I know this secretary has her own problems at home and I have often been the person who has tried to be kind to her. Unlike my coworkers I am not above apologizing when I am wrong. This was not an isolated error. Yes people have the right and need to make a living and do their job. However when you are not effective in your job and you continue to do the same things over and over it’s time to move on. Much as in marriage.

      I guess it’s kinda of like when my h didn’t have time for our family but found time for ea. this secretary complains that she doesn’t have time to do the job and it is stressful. But she finds time to do personal things on computer and such

      After thinking about it more I think NotOverIt got it right. I have found a piece if my old self. The initial conversation was not attacking and was truly an opportunity for her to grow and learn. I don’t think I will ever have tolerance for someone who cannot use constructive criticism as an opportunity for growth.

      Both points of view have helped me to think about the situation and right now it will have to be a wait and see scenario.

    • Anita

      Still struggling,
      If I was a patient in your healthcare setting and I saw staff
      members not getting along, I would not feel secure, nor would
      I want to be there. I would rather be at a healthcare setting
      where staff members treated each other with respect,
      because I would know that my best interest would be cared
      for. I would also be turned off by someone who is insecure
      and puts others down, because they needed to feel confident
      at someones expense.
      Also, unless you sign your coworker’s paycheck, its best
      to give yourself to the best teamwork possible, if not for
      you, then do it for your patients.

      • Lynne

        WOW……I know I should probably just stay out of this, but both of these responses seem overly critical, without the benefit of having been present and having more context.

        Still Struggling-
        I applaude you for setting high standards in the health care industry (Lord knows we need it in this country!). Your H’s affair included, keep holding people to a higher standard, as this seems to be missing in too many areas of our culture these days!!!

        • Anita

          I agree health care should be at its highest standards.
          However, we still need to be respectful to those, who we work
          There are ways of handling disputes, and making each other
          feel validated.

          • Anita

            Also, we can not control what others do, including your husband. Yes, he should hold himself to a high standard,
            but if he choses not to, then you have a choice to stay or
            leave that situtation. I can only speak for myself here,
            but I’m glad I am not in that situtation anymore.
            I know I would never trust my exhusband again.
            For us divorce was best, I refuse have to look over my
            shoulders or check cell phones, or computers or whatever,
            to make sure he was remaining faithful to me.
            I never want be in a relationship where I have to check up
            on the person I’m with, or have that kind of contol over
            them. If he can’t remain loyal, then why would I want

    • Anita

      Still struggling,
      I know your still hurting because of you husband’s affair.
      Please separate this from your work place. Your coworker
      also is not a punching bag for you. Constructive criticsim,
      needs to come from her boss, not you! Unless you have
      worked in other departments you do not know, what kind
      of work stress others have. Besides is this the type of person
      you want to be, giving out unwanted opinions and criticsim.
      Focus on doing the best job you were hired to do and think
      about how to best to care for your patients using your skills
      and be more tolerant to others mistakes. I have yet to
      find a perfect employee or employer yet.

    • Still struggling


      Thanks for your response. However I would like to rebut. First off, the incident happened behind closed doors and did not happen in front of patients. Second I have been a professional for 20years and I assure you that my frustrations have never touched my patients or the care they receive from me. My patients cOme first and if her mistakes didn’t affect my patients or their care I would let it go. This is not about a difference of opinion this is about hippa violations and patient endangerment. Her mistakes are potentially costly to the patients I serve. Multiple times patients have almost received wrong tests because of her omissions and sloppiness.

      I am very much a patient advocate and am very compassionate to people from all walks of life. I guarantee no matter what patient comes through the door whether they are the president, a convict, or the homeless they all receive excellent care in my hands.

      I have never treated someone as if they were below me and I expect the same courtesy from others. In the case of the incident I truly believe that I handled it with tact and grace. It wasn’t about attacking her. It was about addressing my concerns with her and protecting my patients.

    • Anita

      Still struggling,
      Your husbands affair happened, because of a choice he made.
      My exhusband also an adulterous affair, the bottom line is
      he hurt himself and let himself down more, than he did me.
      I did not let his affair change who I was, or how I treated
      other people. I also forgave him.
      This was his sin, and it belonged to him. I took no ownership
      in his choice to sin. Yes, I was hurt back then, but I had to
      let it go. I also went through the stage you are in now,
      where I wanted others to take responsibility. Well I
      had to change my whole thought process, and my attitude
      towards the world, because I was mad.
      I was 41years old, a couple of pounds overweight also
      bad family history, along with anger and resentment
      also didn’t help, but I had a heart attack. I have a stent now.
      In my cardiac rehab. I mentioned to the lady, all the stress
      I was under. She told me I had to change my attitude.
      She told me to let others take responsibility for their own
      actions. My job was to do the best I could, and let others be
      responsible for their own actions.
      Still struggling, I have no control over what others do,
      but I do have control over how I handle it.
      I am no longer married to my exhusband, because he
      chose to divorce me for the affair partner, they lasted 1 year.
      But hey its his loss!
      My life has peace and joy now, and a love for others, but
      it came through a growth process, from pain. I let the
      pain change me! I am also alot happier!

    • Anita

      Still struggling,
      Yes patient endangerment and hippa voilations are bad,
      and she should be corrected or counseled on this, or
      whatever your workplace policy is.
      But as your recovering from the stress of your husband’s
      affair, your emotions are more sensitive now, then before.
      I agree with you not wanting to be walked on all over by others, nobody likes that.
      It also took time for me to move on after the mass
      destruction of my own exhusband’s doing. But I let
      the pain of that whole situtation, bring me to a spot
      where I could find that peace, I so deseprately needed.
      It takes effort to be upset, its also draining, and keeps
      you at a level that hurts you more.
      Letting others take responibility for their own actions,
      and you doing the best you can do, is something I would
      settle for any day. There is peace in that!
      I wish you the Best!

    • Anita

      When your spouse has an affair you make the choice to stay or leave. If you leave its over, you heal from that point on.
      If you stay, you stay knowing what your getting yourself back
      into. If you can fully forgive and move past the infidelity,
      than thats great. However, you need to put the affair in the
      past and let it go. There are no guarantees!
      Yes, the marriage needs to be worked on, and that where
      the focus needs to happen. Forgiving means letting it go,
      not digging it up when you feel like it. Yes, you will feel
      insecure, and not sure if you should trust again, but you
      made to choice to stay. You can’t change your spouse,
      only God can. You also can’t control them either, they are
      your equals, and you need that balance, if your marriage
      is to survive. Your cheating spouse controls, if they want
      to remain faithful or not. However, you get to choose if
      you want to stay with them.

    • Anita

      For those of you who stay in your marriage, at some point
      the affair needs to be put behind you, otherwise your marriage
      will be based around the affair, and the affair becomes the
      theme of your marriage. Also your spouse needs to know you
      forgave them, and not throw the affair in their face any
      longer. It is a hard lump to swallow, that your spouse was
      unfaithful, but if they are remorseful and you both want
      it to work, then let the affair go, and forgive.
      When your spouse asked for God’s, forgiveness God, gave that
      to them, and their sin was forgotten. They no longer
      need to bare the shame of their past.
      I was also a betrayed spouse, but my ex husband and I divorced. I also forgave him and the other woman.
      Yes, the scar will always be there, and I remember what
      happened but there is no more pain.
      I have learned alot since I divorced.
      Betrayed spouses, the horrible disappointment of being
      betrayed, by your spouse turning to another woman/man,
      and recovering from betrayel is a long hard
      journey of many emotions, and with no guarantees of
      it happening again. I believe trust can only be rebuilt
      on years of continued committment and faithfulness, of the cheating spouse.
      My best advice to the betrayed spouse is hope for the
      best, but prepare for the worst, if it never happens again
      that wonderful.

    • Anita

      Doug and Linda,
      Thank you for the use of your site.
      I finally can put closure on my own journey now.
      As a former betrayed spouse, I now can idenitfy, with
      the cheating spouse. For years I never understood why,
      infidelity hit my own marriage. However when I wrote the
      history of my own marriage from courtship to post divorce,
      I now can see why we ended up divorcing.
      Also, it does take 2 to tangle. Communication and forgiveness
      are so important.
      I was the hard headed one in my marrriage, I could carry
      a hugh garbage bag of unforgiveness from years gone past,
      and when we would get into a dispute I had my big bag
      of everything he did wrong, and I was a master of dirty
      digs. Unfortunately, even as a Christian, I didn’t know
      much on forgiving. Sadly my ex husband and I had a
      marriage based on actions and reactions, or the best
      way of saying it, we both needed to grow up, sad but true.
      So now I get to eat the full course of humble pie.
      But I am thankful, that God forgave us, of our sin.
      Doug and Linda, Thank You!

      • Doug

        Anita, I’m happy that you can finally have some closure to your situation, as well as learning and growing along the way.

    • Jane

      The hardest part for me right now is my H also has a business cell and I continue to suspect he is txting her using a phone that I can’t see usage. He also has not admitted to the EA and still contends they are just friends. He’s also still living with me and says he hasn’t figured out if he wants to stay or leave. This has me left in a constant state of limbo wondering if tomorrows the day he says he is leaving. I am trying to figure out when I should ask him to leave so I can heal because he J’s not talking and I have no idea where he’s at in our relationship. He won’t tell me if he wants to work on our 25 year marriage because he doesn’t know yet if he loves me. I would love for him to read your blog because. He would see everything he has said and done is exactly what has been dicussed. I’m at a total loss of how to handle this because every time I try to talk, he gets mad. Any suggestions?

      • No Doormat

        I know this was ages ago for you, but for the next person who comes along in your shoes (and I wish this had been there for me when I was in your shoes)… Why the hell does he get to be the one who figures out if he wants to stay or leave? He’s the one who’s wronging you; you should be the one figuring out if he’s *allowed* to stay. If you let him continue to think he can have his cake and eat it too, he will continue to attempt to do so. He has had FAR too much of the power in the relationship for FAR too long if that’s the point you’re at, and it’s time to take back control of your life. Say to him what you need to say to him, and LET him get mad. Him having to feel mad doesn’t absolve him of his responsibility to treat you with respect and honor his commitments. If, after 25 years of marriage, he doesn’t know by now if he loves you, he’s passive-aggressively telling you he doesn’t, and you shouldn’t waste a single second more on a gutless wonder who’s too much of a man-child to address *necessary* conflicts head-on instead of avoiding conflict at all costs because he’s too scared. If that’s where he is, he needs lots of counseling, like, yesterday. And he needs to choose to do it in the absence of distraction from “relationships” outside his marriage, or he needs to do it without the support and structure of the loving spouse he is taking advantage of. My husband already chose me over 20 years ago. He didn’t need to decide whether he was going to choose me again… if there was a question, then the answer was already there. He just didn’t have the guts to admit to being an entitled, self-centered jerk who was damn well going to do what he wanted to do and damn the pain he was inflicting on anyone who got in his way. He wanted to look like the good guy who was trying to figure things out instead of looking like the guy who decided it was time to get a new toaster when he got tired of the one he had, which was the reality of the situation. It’s painful to realize that the person you gave the best years of your youth to never even saw you as a person, but it’s even more painful to realize that I could have missed out on the chance to meet people who appreciate me and are generous of spirit and who want to be giving *to me* instead of always seeing what they can take *from me*. We deserve better.

    • ifeelsodumb

      Jane….how are things with you now? I see you wrote this back on the 29th…and it’s correct that your H has done everything you’ve read on here…it is a script that seems to be followed by every CS…weird, huh? Why do you feel your H is involved in an EA? Maybe I missed your “story”? You said you think he’s continuing to text her? If it’s all “innocent” ask him to show you his work cell bill…you”ll have your answer there!! Let us know how you are!

    • Jane

      Ifeelsodumb, when I first found all of the text msgs the first of Nov, he told me they were just friends, but over 500 txt msgs in a month are not just friends. He was also hiding in his “man cave” as well as txting when I was at work or after I went to bed. Then, when he was confronted, he left and called her. Then the next day he said he told her he would meet her to talk about it and left for a few hours that day to talk to her, like how I felt wasn’t important. He stopped using his personal cell when I confronted him 2 days before Christmas. He was txting her when he was shopping for me. We’ve been to counseling separately, but he’s not interested in going together because the counselor told him was an EA too and he doesn’t want to admit it is what I suspect. Right now all I’m doing is filling in the blanks since he’s not talking. The business phone has me at a loss. I want to believe he’s stopped as I ask, but right now, I just don’t think he has. Someone told me to call her and tell her to stop, just don’t know if that’s what I should do. Things haven’t changed since the last post. Just need to figure out when I should ask him to leave because I don’t know how long I can continue to live like this. The lack of affection and distance is very difficult.

    • ifeelsodumb

      Jane….is the OW married? A phone call to her H might help solve the problem….and if not, I would for sure call her and tell her that she is interfering in your marriage and you’d like her to BUTT OUT!! If your H gets angry, I’d tell him, hey, you brought this to our marriage, I’m dealing with it the best way possible! I’m really at a loss to help you…my H stopped all contact as soon as I found out…I think! I mean, I’m 99% sure he did…but can we EVER be 100% sure? Over time, I guess it’s possible! Anyway, maybe others will jump in here with advice…I just know for me, I calls ’em as I see’s ’em…Her H would get a phone call…or she would..and a promise of a visit at her work, telling her in a VERY loud, to leave my H the heck alone! She has NO respect for you..why show her any? Just my opinion… :/

    • blueskyabove

      (((Hugs to you, Jane))) – even tho’ I know it doesn’t make up for the lack of affection from your H. Just realize we understand what you are feeling.

      I can’t advise you on whether to contact the OW or not, that has to be your decision because you are the one who has to live with it, not me. I do agree, however, that the OW has no respect for you. She also has no respect for your marriage, and has no respect for your H either. If confronted with that statement both she and your H would undoubtedly deny it, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Kind, caring, considerate people don’t help others (and especially others they consider as a “friend”) self-destruct. I imagine your mind is having a difficult time dealing with the turmoil right now, but I just want to try to give you a different perspective. If you can see your H as a pathetically lost soul maybe it will give you the strength and patience to endure this ordeal in a much healthier way than I did. It took me months after DDay to realize that my H had hurt himself a lot by having an affair. He really had to sink low to be in a clandestine relationship with his AP. He became unrecognizeable. She didn’t get to have a relationship with the man I married. That man was honest and open, and full of integrity. She got a shadow of that man. What he had to become in order to be a part of her life isn’t worth having IMO. Why would anyone choose to have a relationship with a known liar and cheater? They must have to tell themselves an awful lot of lies to keep the affair going. It is truly a sad, sad hole they dig for themselves.

      4+ years post DDay

    • Jane

      What would a 27 yr old want with a 50 yr old man? What would a 50 yr old man want with a 27 yr old with a 3 year kid? Oh and BTW, she is single. I know he’s emotionally attached to her, but I don’t know if she is to him. Almost all of the txt msgs started from him, but she also has responded to him in all of the messages. I did talk to her early Nov and explained my side of the situation, however she did not stop responding to his messages. Then when he was still hiding to send her messages after confronted, he said he was hiding so I wouldn’t get mad, REALLY???? I got all of the stupid comments – I love you, I’m not in love with you, we have nothing in common and we are just roommates. I’ve gotten the trust speech about how he didn’t appreciate me checking his phone usage. As we all know, I have good days and bad days in dealing with him. It’s gotten better and I’ve worked really hard at the neutral stand, but that gets more difficult as time goes on and I don’t see or feel or changes in his behaviors which leads me to believe he’s still txting using the business phone. I still can’t wrap my arms around the fact that he needs space to sort this out when he told me in the beginning he’s been thinking about this for a long time. If he’s been thinking about it for a long time, why do I need to give him more space and time to sort it out? Sorry, I’m rambling — I have soooo many thoughts swirling around in my head about this which I also know I should stop doing if I want to move past all of this.

    • Hurt&Angry

      About a month ago I discovered that my husband was connecting emotionally with another woman through text and email. He deleted almost every trace of his communication besides the ones I discovered on d-day, and a few that he missed (in error). The communication was very sexual and overly friendly. He also kept provocative photos which she had sent him during the duration (about 2 months). I have never felt the emotions that I was feeling the moment that I discovered the photos and texts. I thought I had carefully chosen my spouse – someone that I truly trusted and believed in, and who believed in me. Someone who could never do anything to hurt me. I thought we had a relationship that others admired. Now, I can’t get the images of this OW out of my head. I have never felt so much pain in my life, and it was caused by the one person I believed would never hurt me.
      When I asked my husband if he had been having an emotional affair with the OW (someone we had met several months prior), he denied any contact besides on a ‘friend’ level. When I told him what I had found, and when he saw how upset I was, he became very withdrawn. I wasn’t sure if he was upset with what he had done, or that he was caught. He immediately stopped contact with the OW, and is really trying to work on our relationship. Insists that it was strictly only electronic communication, nothing by phone, in person, or physical. However, his only explanation for what he did, is that he has communication issues. He says that the only things wrong in our marriage were/are him and his issues. I’m so confused, angry and hurt. My emotions are all over the place, and I feel like I have nothing to work with. We have been going to counseling for about 3 weeks now, and although we have gotten a lot out on the table, I feel like I can’t move past his explanation for what he did. Clearly there is something missing in our relationship, but of the hundreds of times that I have asked what he feels is/was missing – he insists that it is only him. 12 years we had grown together in what I thought was a committed relationship, and now I feel like I don’t know this person.

      • Ifeelsodumb

        Hurt & Angry,
        The feelings you are having are perfectly normal…I remember my own DDay, 15 mos ago, I looked at my H and asked him “Who are you”? Because at that time, I really didn’t know the man I had been married to for 25 yrs…who was this person that could hurt me so badly..who could LIE about me to the OW, and who could be so secretive and devious, for over 4 mos?
        This is NOT an easy thing to get through…it takes months to just process the anger, fear and feelings of betrayal and mistrust!!
        That IS a HUGE one for me….I NEED to trust this man who I’ve spent over 25 yrs with…and I still don’t! He destroyed that, and it’s not something that comes back overnight…and the sad thing is, I truly believe he IS sorry for what he did, and as far as I know, and believe me, I’ve checked, he broke off ALL contact on Dday…but I’m STILL struggling with the trust issue…it’s not as bad as it was right after DDay…but still, I know I’ll NEVER trust him 100% again! I’m probably at 75% trust right now…hoping to get to 90%…some day!
        I’m sorry you’ve now joined this “journey”…you will find A LOT of useful info on this blog…I suggest you read and comment often! because you learn so much from Doug and Linda and others on here…
        I would suggest starting here: This post will help you identify where you are in your healing…this post has helped me…I was in stage 3, feeling immense anger all over again, and I didn’t know why!! Now I know that it IS normal…I’m in stage 4 now, and it’s a lot better! I still have my moments of sadness that this ever happened to us…and anger that my H would do this to us…but ii doesn’t last as long as it did before!
        As for your H saying that it is HIS problem…he’s right! He chose to do this, now he has to own it! There is another post on here.. Your H should read this and then DO IT!! He needs to figure out WHY he gave himself permission to do something that has the potential to destroy your marriage and to hurt you, HIS WIFE, so badly!
        I will tell you that my H didn’t do much the first year to help me heal…he stopped all contact with the OW, then waited me out, hoping that with time, I’d “get over it” !! He has since found out that it doesn’t work that way!
        He is now doing more to help fix the damage that he caused and to fix what is “broken” inside of him (long story, but he came from an upscale but abusive family, where he learned to shut himself off emotionally, to protect himself)
        Anyway, we have a long way to go still, and he’d like to go back to what we had before, but I have told him several times, there is NO going back because THAT marriage is dead…he killed it when he had the EA so now we have to start over and rebuild…it’s a slow process, and I firmly believe that without the help from your CS, you cannot heal…you can accept what happened…but there can’t be healing!
        A good booklet I recommend is “How To Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair” by Linda MacDonald….it’s only 98 pages, an easy read…and it helps YOU to know what you should be getting from your CS, and it helps the CS know what YOU need to heal completely!
        Good luck to you…and READ this blog…Remember, you are NOT crazy for the thoughts and emotions that you have right now, you ARE normal!

    • Jessica

      He’s telling you the truth he alone is to blame.

    • Csab

      Self centeredness is still apart of my h. Being transparent, I think he is working on it.
      Funny he hasn’t thanked me for staying, yet I have thanked him. What’s wrong with that picture?
      Looks like my h, is still in the fog……

      How much longer will this take?

      I called him earlier and asked if he was on his way home from work yet? He said no, it was already 5pm. I mentioned to him that he said he would be home to eat dinner with us, he then got angry at me, and said ” what am I supposed to do, I’m caught in traffic, I still have this place to go, I still have this to do, bla blah blah.
      So of course, who apologizes for getting him upset, me.
      Even though it was only a comment, reflecting on what he had already told me earlier that morning. He would be home to eat, he wasn’t going to be all day. So why not just call and say something.
      My children and I barely see my h as it is, once a week we have dinner as a family.
      Works late every day, was supposed to stop working in Saturday’s, but that hasn’t changed.
      I wonder at times, here I am, waiting for my h every single day, looking after our children, yes he works, but how the he’ll did he make time for the ow, when he still can’t make time for his family. Or is it he doesn’t want to.
      Granted he has a lot of work to do to fix our business, but what about fixing our marriage too.
      I feel most of the time foolish. I wonder at times, no matter how much I love this man, would he really chase after me if I left. Would he other, or would his work get in the way.
      I mentioned one day, that I would like t go away for a little while with our kids so he can have a break from us. He turned to me and said, you ca go, but your not taking the kids.
      I said to him, no the kids come wit me, you will be working. No you ca go and I will look after the kids.
      Of course I didn’t go, but, how was it say for him to make tha decision to stay with the kids when every other time it’s all about work.
      I wonder too, why is it our men seem to treat us their wives like our feelings don’t matter. Yet they put their best foot forward when it comes to relatives, friends and business contacts, as well as the ow. Why does every one else get the person that we so desperately deserve and want.

      Doug maybe you can answer that? Is it because we are the closest to them, that they know we will still be there for them.

      • Doug

        Csab, I’m guessing that in many cases it’s because they know that you are there and that you are not going anywhere, so they wind up taking their wives for granted. There may also be some resentment or anger or something like that. Of course, if the affair is still going on or there is still contact, then that would be the obvious reason.

    • Csab

      Thank you Doug, I do know how he would get when ever she would talk to him, especially at the beginning as he would be Loving one minute, then it was like he was a different person. He would argue for no reason, and question my feelings for him. She always seemed to manage some sort of conflict /wedge between us, which I see it was her way of trying to keep him near her. She was trying anything to try and get him to leave me and should would get desperate. Yet all it was doing to him was confusing him and stressing him out.
      What I have noticed though, a lot of the things he would say to me, even messages he would send me from the time he was well in the fog, he doesn’t even remember.
      So I know he really wasn’t himself and she was using him like a puppet, pulling his strings at a time he didn’t know what was happening.
      Alot of things are just a blurr to him, wish it was that way for me, because I had to hear it all. You know the things you mostly remember are the things that tend to cut deep within.
      This ow stooped very low in so many things, even to try and convince my h of me putting some sort of curse on him to hurt him. It just makes me sick on the lengths thisnwoman went too, to brainwash my h.

    • Jill

      I know deep down my husband has had and may even still be having an affair. And I think it’s been going on for years. I also think it’s someone I know…a friend or even a neighbor. I just need some more solid proof. I may even have to go back years in phone records to see if I find anything. How else can I search? He’s good at hiding (clearly) and deleting.

    • Doin

      My wife would not have cheated if it had not been for her black boss. He came on to her so often & made it difficult for her. He would cop a feel often and put her in compromising situations. H complemented her, gave her raises and told her how beautiful she was and what a great employee she was. Then one night at quitting time he hugged her, felt her up and she gave in to him. She began letting him have her for several months. I got suspicious and confronted her and she was honest & told me the whole story.
      I hugged her, told her I loved her, said I understood it and said I would live with it until it ended. AIt still has not ended several years later.

    • Michele

      Just like a bird, I will trust my wings over the branch. The problem is… My wings have been broken by a tragic windstorm affair and the healing is taking a long time. Sitting on this branch alone trying to heal is also hard and my branch seems really weak too. Some days I just want to fly away and find a new more supportive branch, but my wings aren’t strong enough. Some days I feel like the branch is getting stronger and I do feel it’s a safe place to heal and then the wind comes along and I question the strength of the branch I’ve chosen or the pain in my healing wings lets me know that I am stuck. I don’t feel safe, or protected enough to heal on this branch. It hurts mentally and physically. Especially when you see other birds flying around landing on branches and being supported by both their own wings and the branches. They even seem to be better sheltered from the wind. Ouch!

      I trust that there is nothing respectable, loving, or kind about texting, talking, or building an emotional connection with other women while married to me. I trust that the other women also knew that there was nothing respectable, loving, or kind about texting and giving their care and attention to a married man. I trust that they all knew that, and that’s why it was kept a secret from me.
      I forgive myself for trusting and believing that other people hold the same respectful standards that I do. I forgive myself for trusting that my own standards, and respect for him and others would protect me.
      I also forgive myself for the times I tried to match his disrespect with my own disrespect and I trust that I can make respectful choices to honor and respect myself, my marriage, and my family. I only trust and forgive myself and that’s what I’ll focus on to heal myself because it’s only me I can trust now.

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