Translating Affair Speak – Who Are You and What Have You Done With My Spouse?

affair speak

By Sarah P.

Have you ever noticed that your wayward spouse says some of the most off-the-wall things sometimes?

Never in a million years would you have expected some things to come out of the mouth of your dearest and beloved husband or wife. Yet, there you are, standing in disbelief, while your husband/wife is very passionately saying words that do not make any sense to you.

It leaves you wondering, “are you my spouse’s evil twin?” You feel the urge to start searching the house because you hope this is merely a misunderstanding. You hope that your spouse’s evil twin gagged your spouse, tied your spouse’s legs, and left your spouse sitting in a basement recliner watching his or her favorite television program.

Or, perhaps while you were not looking, a giant alien ship hovered over your house. The ship used a tractor beam to steal your spouse and then replace him/her with a clone. You believe this because this man or woman that stands before you is simply not your spouse.  This person sure looks like your spouse, but he or she is not acting like the spouse you know. Worst of all, this spouse-imposter is saying the most unbelievable things!

This is certainly not the person that you married. And so, you continue to search your spouse’s eyes trying to discern if your spouse is in there somewhere.

In a prior post, I mentioned that cheaters seem to follow a “script” because they all do the very same things. There was even a book written about this very behavior called “The Script” by Elizabeth Landers and Vicki Mainzer.

Infidelity seems to turn good people into mindless robots who all act and think the same way. It does not matter if these cheaters are rich or poor, religious or atheists, if they are young or old, handsome or plain, newly married or married for many years; they all do the very same thing. Is there some evil robot and/or space ship conspiracy that steals good spouses away in the night? Do these marriage-destroyer-bots implant a chip in their brains that causes good men and women to say and do the same heartbreaking things?

Affair Speak

What recently occurred to me is that there is a certain language of infidelity. In fact, this language of infidelity is actually a foreign-language separate from English. Unfortunately, to the untrained ear and mind, affair speak sounds just like English!

To all of us listeners who are not having affairs, affair speak seems to tell one story while the words mean something else entirely. Betrayed spouses don’t know they are listening to a foreign language since it sure sounds like English to them.

The biggest secret that cheaters keep is not that they have their own script but also that they have their own dictionary. Words that are technically English, or French, or Spanish (or any other language you can think of) take on alternate meanings than the understood meaning in each language. For those of us bystanders not in the know, we draw certain conclusions based on such words. Cheaters know the real meaning.

Translating Affair Speak

Today I wanted to serve as a translator as sorts for the rest of us: betrayed spouses and betrayed children, as well as third parties such as friends, extended families and co-workers. Why? Because the cheater does not want you to know the real meaning of affair speak. If you did, well, you would figure out pretty quickly that cheaters who outright abandon their families and marry the affair partner are villains.

And if you learned the true meaning of affair speak, well, you would also gain insight pretty quickly and not stay stuck on the “I could have been the problem” merry-go-round for so long.

You are NOT and never were the problem. As we have said before, the perfect storm can arrive and sometimes people make mistakes, but there is always a choice. No matter how trying the marriage, there are always infinite responses to situations and there are choices that do NOT involve having affairs. Having an affair is one choice of many and it is always wrong.

Recently I got a bee in my bonnet because of another chapter in the story of the two adulterers in my husband’s workplace. Nina, the woman who spouse-poached Steve, has been loudly telling everyone within earshot, including patients, about how she is being victimized by Steve’s children. She makes sure everyone hears her lies version the sordid tale and that she comes out smelling like roses each time.

I realized today that people like Nina are actually using English as a foreign language. I decided to term that language “affair speak.” (By golly, Watson, I think we are on to something!!) This was a huge aha moment to me because I realized that unless people know they are hearing affair speak and know the meaning of these words, they will be misled.

In the best cases, this just means large groups of people have been lied to. But, in the worst case, it causes betrayed spouses to be shunned, abandoned by their communities, and left feeling as if they caused it all. In the worst cases, this causes irreparable harm to betrayed spouses. Today is the day that I shine a light on affair speak. This is the wake up call to all betrayed spouses and anyone else who is the real victim of a cheater’s affair.

Cheaters of the world – we are on to you – and we will expose you for what you are. There will be no more using your words against us.

Betrayed spouses – Knowledge is power and it’s time for all betrayed spouses out there to take back your power!!

Welcome to the warped world of the mind of a cheater who has not yet had full insight. Words and phrases that are common to this language are the following:

It’s All in Your Head

This is a form of gaslighting and gaslighting is abuse. This phrase is meant to make you feel crazy. It is also meant to get you off the trail of what is actually happening. Don’t believe it is not in your head.

Humans possess this crazy thing. Some know it by the name of intuition while others call it listening to your gut. Still others call it a sixth sense and yet they are all the same thing. This feeling is meant to tell you something; it is your internal alarm that something is not right. I am here to tell you that your gut instinct is often correct.

There is something that we humans possess called the ability to read and transmit meta-communication. This is what I believe is responsible for gut instinct. (Yes, there is a scientific explanation; it is not as woo-woo as you might think.) I wanted to digress for a moment and allow a Marie Hartwell-Walker to explain this:

“When two people who want to be close to each other instead find themselves in constant turmoil, it is not because they aren’t communicating. In fact, they are probably communicating far too much in their frantic efforts to try to get through to each other. The issue is that they aren’t understanding each other’s code.

We all know how personal codes work. Ask someone how she is. She responds, “Fine.” If said simply, we take it to mean that she really is fine or at least fine enough or maybe that she doesn’t think you’re the person to tell how she’s really doing these days. It doesn’t require a response and we both just move on. It’s the kind of exchange we do all the time. It just keeps the social wheels moving. But imagine the interchange happening between a young couple at the end of a long and tiring workday.

“How was your day?” he asks.
“Fine,” she says with a shrug and a sigh.

What happens next is critical to the growth and stability of the couple. If the guy accepts the “fine” at face value and moves on, she’s likely to be hurt. She may even accuse him of not listening to her and not loving her enough. If he is tired himself and was only responding to the ordinary social exchange, he will feel unjustly accused and may protest his innocence – which will only make her mad enough to say some version of, “you’re not listening” or “you just never understand.” The ordinary question, “How was your day?” escalates into a fight with both members of the couple eventually pouting in their respective corners, each feeling right but also misunderstood and disconnected. This is what’s called “metacommunication” in action. In the early 1970s, Gregory Bateson coined the term to describe the underlying messages in what we say and do.” (1)

As you can see, it is not all in your head. Nothing is all in your head. Even when we are reading an email or a Christmas letter, we can pick up on meta-communication. Someone may write how everything has gone well and how their kids are doing great and how they are doing great. And yet, you are left with a feeling that something is off, even if you cannot pinpoint it. That is the essence of meta-communication. So when your spouse is telling you it is in your head, don’t believe it.

Translation: “I am angry that you think I am having an affair and there is no way on earth I am admitting to it. So, you had better back off or I will tell you how crazy you are in order to throw you off the trail.”

He/She is Just A Friend

This is the favorite phrase of a cheater who has not been caught and who is in denial. In fact, when someone says this, the other person might not be an affair partner, but it is heading that way.

If you trust your spouse, you will believe him and you might even feel silly for “imaging things.” Many people give their spouses the benefit of the doubt. People who do this are not naïve or too trusting—they are usually simply the very best of people. People who give the benefit of the doubt are often those who would never cheat and could never imagine cheating. They have integrity and assume everyone else does too. They will sometimes feel guilty when they hear this and chastise themselves for not being more trusting. This is exactly what a cheater wants.

Plus, can married men and women really have friends of the opposite sex? Consider this opinion by Debra MacLeod of the Huffington Post:

“While there are a lot of ways to screw up a marriage, spouses who have close opposite-sex friendships are toying with one of the riskiest and most short-sighted behaviours that commonly lead to infidelity and ultimately divorce.

Many of my consults begin with a client saying something like this: “My husband is constantly texting a female co-worker…he says they’re just friends and that they only talk about work, but he’s always laughing and smiling when he’s texting her.”

Or this: “I know my wife is always texting or on Facebook with her personal trainer. Now she locks her cell phone and has changed her online passwords. If I ask her who she’s talking to, she freaks out and says I’m being paranoid, jealous and controlling.”

Do you know what the above scenarios have in common? In both of them, the spouse who is having the opposite-sex friendship knows full-well that the behaviour is as shady as hell. But instead of respecting their spouse’s feelings, they continue to indulge in the ego-boost or thrill of it all.

Some people don’t agree with my stance that opposite-sex friendships should not exist within marriage. Some people might say that it is old-fashioned and that men and women are perfectly capable of having platonic extra-marital friendships with a person of the opposite sex.

In cases where the friendship involves two people who have absolutely no sexual attraction to each other and who are not sexually compatible whatsoever, that is true.

But in reality, many opposite-sex friendships involve people who – if circumstances were different – might be potential sexual partners. Indeed, many opposite-sex friendships are maintained because of a simmering attraction. One or both people are keeping their “friend” on the back-burner as a potential mate in the event their current relationship ends.” (2)

Translation: “I don’t want this person out of my life because I am getting an important ego-need met. Therefore, I will make you feel guilty so that I can fly under the radar. I will make you the problem.”

talk about infidelity

I Can’t Believe You Don’t Trust Me

This phrase has a similar effect and often causes guilt and self-recrimination in a betrayed spouse. If a betrayed spouse is a trusting and also trustworthy person, they will believe they are the problem and it will cause them to focus on themselves. This is exactly what a cheater wants and why he says it.

Translation: “How dare you shine a light on what I am doing with the other person. I want to do what I want to do and you need to ignore what is happening so that I can continue seeing the other person. I don’t want to end it.”

How Dare You Invade My Privacy! 

This phrase is meant to make the betrayed spouse the problem and take the focus off the affair. If the betrayed spouse is a nice person, they often allow the cheater to bully them because a part of them feels guilty for snooping. Don’t fall for it. Plus, consider this important point by Willard Harley, PhD.

“In marriage, this destructive predisposition is manifest in a variety of habits that I call Love Busters. But among those destructive habits, there are few as damaging as our tendency to be unfaithful. Yet, I estimate that over 60% of all marriages experience infidelity, one of the most painful experiences a betrayed spouse can have in life.

So snooping is reasonable, especially when there has been evidence of a budding romantic relationship outside of marriage. If Joyce were to check up on me without my knowing about it, it would probably be based on certain facts that would have aroused her curiosity. But knowing now what I know about the devastating effects of unfaithfulness, I’d encourage, not discourage, her — unless I was really up to something I didn’t want her to know about.

What are some of the red flags that would lead a spouse to snoop? The biggest and brightest of them all is for you to claim a right to privacy. If you were to refuse to give your spouse your passwords to your computer, social networks, or cell phone records, or to what you do with your time away from each other, that would trigger almost anyone’s curiosity. What’s my spouse trying to hide?” (3)

I believe that there are cases where snooping is warranted. I also believe that in marriage we must be fully committed. I do not believe in having secret email accounts or other things that allow people to fall into unhealthy behavior. My email accounts are all password-protected and so is my computer. This is because of the nature of the work I do and the confidentiality involved. I take confidentiality seriously when working with others. However, I have no secret email accounts, I don’t use Facebook, I don’t have a twitter account, and I only have a LinkedIn profile for my prior career in high tech. Generally, I don’t use social media unless it is to publicize a piece of writing. No one has told me to do this; I believe it is the best way to be. So, if your spouse talks about invading privacy, you might want to worry.

Translation: “How dare you find out about the other person or realize something else might be brewing! You were supposed be the quiet and ignorant spouse so that I can have my cake and eat it too.”

I Didn’t Want to Hurt You

Often, this is genuine. Unless someone is having an affair specifically to get revenge on a betrayed spouse, this statement is probably true. But, it is also a cop out because many cheaters expect the betrayed spouse to be less hurt since they allegedly did not have a hurtful motive. Their motive does not matter—the hurt is the same for the betrayed spouse. I do not believe your spouse wanted to hurt you. No spouse wants to hurt you unless they are a sociopath. But, then even sociopaths are not necessarily thinking of hurting someone else; they are just being themselves. Most spouses are not sociopaths and most spouses do not want to hurt their betrayed spouse.

Translation: “I wasn’t thinking about your needs. Just my own. Yeah, I did not want to hurt you, but hurting you was not even on my radar at the time. I wanted what made me feel good at I was not thinking of who would be affected by my actions.”

I Never Loved You

This is an excuse; a form of denial; a vengeful thing to say. On the other hand, it is a phrase very common to the affair fog. Unless a cheater has made amends and fully understood his part, he may believe this. I don’t believe this phrase is true—ever. Because people simply do not marry people they never loved. Unless someone is in an arranged marriage in a culture different than Western culture, I do not believe this is true. At some point people both loved each other dearly enough to take a walk down the isle. It is not small act.

Translation: “I am not a bad person and only bad people hurt people they love. I am very confused by my actions. So, I must just be a good person and that obviously means I never loved you.”

Fell Out of Love

This is a different flavor of “I never loved you.” Some cheaters will admit to themselves that they love and loved the betrayed spouse. But, it is a real ego blow to cheat on someone you love because it makes you look like a villain. Very few people want to be the villain of their life stories and so they have to make things up in order to feel better about their actions. I do not believe that most cheaters fell out of love with their spouses. The reason I do not believe this is that very few people end up permanently leaving their spouse to be with the other person. So, if your cheating spouse is still with you and tells you they fell out of love for a period of time, do not believe it. Your cheating spouse is most likely dealing with what is termed cognitive dissonance. He or she cannot reconcile his actions with the person he believes himself to be.

Translation: “I am a good person and the only reason I had an affair is because I fell out of love with you and in love with someone else. You can understand that, right? It is the only explanation for my behavior: you must be the problem.”

Our Marriage Was a Mistake From the Start

This could either be denial or self-serving behavior. It is yet another extension of claiming not to have been in love. It is something that is said when a cheater is deeply mired in the affair fog and he is fooling himself or herself.  Once again, this is not real. It is a signal that your spouse has a long way to go.

Even though it is hurtful to hear, do not believe it until time has passed. The affair fog takes over a person’s life and some people come out of the affair fog more quickly than others.

I believe the number one predictor of how long the affair fog will last correlates to underlying addictions. If a cheater is an alcoholic, a drug user, or a sex addict, the affair fog can go on for ages. On the other hand, if a cheater is mired in addictive behaviors, this is one of those situations where I tell betrayed spouses to strongly consider leaving the relationship. Unless someone who is addicted goes through a lengthy and professional treatment program, he or she will not change. Even then, some never change.

This is difficult to accept for a spouse who has invested time, energy and love. What is worse is that people with codependent patterns are often naturally attracted to addicts. This is not because codependents are bad people—no, codependents are some of the best people because they want to take time to heal or save others.

Unfortunately, they also believe they alone can rescue people and this is where they get stuck. There is the phrase: you can lead and horse to water, but you cannot make him drink. None of us can rescue others unless they want to be rescued. Unfortunately, many people struggling with addiction do not want to be rescued, so discernment is always required.

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Inside the Mind of the Unfaithful
Understanding Why Cheaters Do What They Do

Doug and Tim share their experiences as ex-wayward spouses and answer the top 11 burning questions betrayed spouses typically have for the cheater.

 

I have personal experience with this through my family. My mom’s sister was married to a man (my uncle) who did not want to be rescued. In fact, even though they were well-off and could afford the best facilities in the country, he failed these professional treatment programs.  In the end, he did not want to be rescued.

This story is truly one of the saddest events I have encountered because my uncle was (otherwise) an amazing person. He was smart, at the top of his professional game, handsome, charismatic, and extremely generous with everyone he met. When my aunt and uncle were in town, my uncle took us to only the best restaurant and made sure everyone ate the most expensive meals. He took pleasure in treating others. He was extremely generous with his time and money. He went through periods of being sober and he was so successful it made up for the times when he acted out his addictions.

Then, there was his shadow side and his shadow side was the addict. When the addict was on the prowl, he was physically violent and hateful towards my aunt and my cousin. He went downtown to pick up prostitutes and go on cocaine binges. This went on for several years; he was a real Jekyll and Hyde character. It is one of the reasons my aunt stayed for many years. She is the strongest, smartest, and most no-nonsense woman I know. No one intimidates her. So, she was very confused when she and her husband would have many great months and then all of a sudden the addict would emerge. The last straw came when he threatened my aunt’s and cousin’s life with a weapon and also tried to move a prostitute into their home on the water—all in the same week. My aunt took my cousin and went into hiding and my uncle committed suicide.

This is what addiction looks like. At the time, my aunt thought him picking up prostitutes was the biggest problem; she knew no better. No one knows any better if they do not have prior experience with these things and she did not. My mom and her sister came from a home where everyone worked hard and was expected to work hard; where no one drank or smoked; and church was on Sundays and it was mandatory. My mom’s parents are still alive, living in their home, and married after 70 years.

I had to digress on this point and bring up addiction because I do not think I say it often enough: an affair is the least of your problems if your spouse is an addict.

Back to the point: the phrase “our marriage was a mistake from the start” is just another aspect of the affair fog.

Translation: “Even when we were dating, I knew we were not meant to be together. I thought this is what love was, but I was wrong. The other person has made me understand what true love is and so you and I were a mistake from the start. Really, we never should have married.”

Again, even if your spouse means this at the time, it is not true.

And My Favorite—He/She Is My Soulmate!

This is the ultimate in denial and cognitive dissonance. It is also the ultimate cop out. This is a cheater who has truly been fooled by the other person and who believes that an affair is love. They cannot comprehend what they are doing is wrong because they expect that by declaring someone a soulmate, they do not need to take ownership. Sometimes people who say this are truly cowards because they cannot admit their flaws. Other times, this is a sign of the affair fog. I believe that if this false belief persists too long, it is the belief that breaks up marriages.

People who are prone to call the other person their soulmate usually have unresolved conflicts from childhood. They secretly believe that romantic love is real love. It is not. Often, people who believe the other person is their soulmate are caught in a relationship where the other person mirrors their shadow side. Or a “soulmate” is someone who makes them feel comfortable because they both had the same type of abusive childhoods and have never dealt with them. These people feel comfortable together in the most unhealthy of ways.

On the other hand, this is also the sign of a midlife crisis. Like the man at my husband’s work, he was at the age and stage of life where he was ripe for a midlife crisis affair. I believe the other woman knew this and exploited it. Of course, he had to go along with it. The sad part is that his affair and upcoming marriage to this woman has destroyed his entire life and he perceives it as progress.

He has been kicked out of his church, dropped by all of his friends, frozen out by his children, lost a beautiful home, told to leave his previous job since it was a work affair and probably endangered patient safety, and lost a lot of his retirement. Most of all, he walked away from a truly amazing woman. He has inherited three of the other woman’s children, all under the age of 12, and all who barely tolerate him. Yet, he spends all of his time saying outloud that he is so happy he can finally marry his soulmate! Just like Linda’s brother, I think he is rude in for a rude awakening.

The denial runs deep when a spouse believes their soulmate is the other person. The denial also runs deep for the other person. For example, I found this anonymous post on a message board:

“We met on the job (aviation industry). We are both married, both in miserable marriages. He has 2 kids, 3 & 6. Devotes his whole life to the children and they are his whole life. We have been having an affair for close on two years. Probably see each other once every 4 – 6 weeks. We are total soulmates in EVERY way imaginable. We both have tried to part company, but something undescribable draws us back to each other. He respects my privacy, I respect his. We tell each other everything and anything about our lives. Email each other several times a day, and have been doing this for the 2 years. He won’t leave the marriage (has been totally upfront about this) because he wants the children to not turn out dysfunctional with divorced parents. I won’t leave my marriage either. I fully and totally understand that he won’t leave, and I don’t plan on leaving my husband for him. 

WHAT TO DO ??????? HOW LONG WILL THIS GO ON – FOR EVER ???? IS IT POSSIBLE FOR AN AFFAIR TO CONTINUE LIKE THIS INDEFINITELY ???? Big part of the problem is that I am totally emotionally involved with him, and just can’t imagine my life without him!”

Translation: “I am the best of people. I go to church, I recycle, I donate 15% of my income to charity, and I even help old women cross the street! The only reason I had an affair was because I finally found my soulmate. Finding a soulmate is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you should be happy for me! You should be helping me plan my wedding to my soulmate and I will even let you walk me down the isle to give me away.”

In Summary

Are you shaking your head yet? I am too. This is one of those posts where I realize once again how outrageous someone’s thinking becomes when they have an affair. But, the most important part to realize is that you and your cheating spouse are not on the same page when your spouse is having an affair. Heck, you are not even speaking the same language!

Do you have some examples of affair speak? What is the most outrageous thing you have heard? Tell us in the comment section below.

Sources

Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed. Meta-Communication: What I Said Is Not What I Meant. From:  https://psychcentral.com/lib/meta-communication-what-i-said-isnt-what-i-meant/

MacLeod, Debra. Why Opposite Sex Friendships Will Destroy Your Marriage. From http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/debra-macleod/opposite-sex-friendship_b_6646482.html

Harley, Willard. Snooping: Is It Right or Wrong? From. http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi8121_snoop.html

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62 Responses to Translating Affair Speak – Who Are You and What Have You Done With My Spouse?

  1. TheFirstWife May 9, 2017 at 6:51 am #

    Very well written article. My H was so out of character I thought:

    -he started using drugs (he did not and does not);
    – he was having a mental breakdown
    – he was starting with dementia or other mental illness
    – he had a brain tumor

    One minute our marriage was wonderful and the next thing he is telling me that IF we ever divorced that tons of men would want to date me. What the hell was/is he talking about?

    He was trying to dump me to be with the other woman.

    So after a particularly chaotic day where he walked in the door and announced he wanted s divorce, we went to our counselor. Three days before he was telling the same therapist how much he loved me and wanted to stay married. Now – wants a divorce.

    Makes no sense. No fight or argument or anything happened to cause a change. Except the OW was still around and putting pressure on him.

    So I called the OW that same night (same chaotic day) and she told me the affair was still going on.

    Now everything made sense. It was all crystal clear. The “I love you but not in love with you” I had been hearing, we don’t communicate anymore (no HE did not communicate), the lying and trying to cover it up – it all made sense now. My H trying to blame me for his unhappiness and mid life crisis.

    And then in revenge mode the OW sent me all the emails between them. It really opened my eyes as to who my H REALLY was. How he was STILL lying about all the details about the affair. Lying about all of it to try and save his neck.

    The sad result is that I now have been forced to see that my H is not the special person I once thought he was. He is a great father and funny person and is trying every day to mitigate the damage and hurt and pain he inflicted on me for a year.

    However you cannot treat someone like a yo-yo – I love you, I don’t love you, I want to stay married, I want a divorce etc and not expect permanent damage to the relationship.

    After 3 years I still feel shattered even though he is going everything possible to make amends. I guess I finally saw how his first EA of 4 years and then his next affair shed some light on who I really married – a self centered ego driven man. It is funny b/c he always treated me well – never missed a birthday or anniversary and was thoughtful and kind.

    Except he expected he could live his life without any sense of communication. Never picked up the phone to say he would be late. Would come home hours late – no call.

    I suspect he was very flirty with women – loved and thrived on the attention. Of course he will never ever admit that. But I know it is true. I saw how he would behave in front of me – with other women.

    So yes, the affair speak and behavior is typical and it seems most chesyers follow the same script. Until you call them on it and they become angry and are in denial about all of it.

    How sad that the betrayed spouse is left to pick up the pieces.

    • Sarah P. May 9, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

      Hi TFW,

      What a tremendously painful experience and it’s easy to understand why you still feel shattered.

      But here is a question: how much of your husband’s behavior do you believe was due to an affair and how much was actually him? As we know, the affair fog turns the most (seemingly) sane people crazy.

      What else could your husband do to make up for it, if anything?

      • TheFirstWife May 10, 2017 at 8:06 am #

        Hi Sarah

        The EA that lasted 4 years from the late 90s – he was not in love with her but she was madly in love with him. His behavior was just gaslighting and disrespectful b/c I confronted him many times but he always denied there was anything there. In my opinion even a one sided EA is wrong and he now admits that.

        His jack of accountability and showing up late with no call or no regard – again nothing to do with an affair. That was how he acted. After 15 years of explaining myself until I was blue in the face about please call and let me know where you are – I finally gave up.

        His crazy out of character behavior was 100% affair related.

        He no longer does any of those things. He calls and let’s me know where he is and his ETA. No more events where he is out to 2 am. He stopped that years ago. If he has a business dinner he is home by 10 pm (dinner at 8 pm).

        He is trying very very hard every day.

        But I just cannot get past the fact that I lived a life married to a guy I really did not know. We dated 5 years and were married 25 years when his mid life crisis took hold of him. I never would have expected that from him.

        So I think the fact I was blind sided by it AND he lived a life I had no clue existed (b/c I believe he was very flirty with other women) and the fact he was going to dump me for the OW leaves me feeling like I am on quicksand.

        Not feeling like I sm on solid ground and not sure I ever will. I dthe itvonevdsy arcs time. Thst is all I can do.

        • TheFirstWife May 10, 2017 at 11:41 am #

          Should be taking it one day at a time.

  2. TheFirstWife May 9, 2017 at 6:58 am #

    Oh and at one point he thought we should all be friends. Because the OW was his friend – and I cannot tell him who he can be friends with.

    I swear this is true! I saw it in an email.

    He wanted me to be friends with his girlfriend who was 20 years younger than him, covered in tattoos, self centered, didn’t tske any responsibility for her role in the affair, drama queen, arrest record and history of bad male relationships that she posted all over social media.

    Yes I would choose her to be MY friend.

    That hoes to show you how crazy an affair can make you.

    SMH (shaking my head)

    • Sarah P. May 9, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

      Hi TFW,

      I think that is part of the delusion of the affair fog. I do believe they are to some extent ‘crazy’ when they are in this phase just like someone on drugs acts crazy.

  3. Joey May 9, 2017 at 11:36 am #

    This article is great. I, unfortunately, was not able to save my relationship. I went through two years of false reconciliations and her breaking no contact where I finally needed to walk. I come back here every once in awhile as although I am doing better, I still have triggers. First DDAY was 3.5 years ago, but the last DDAY was only a year ago so still have some ways to go to healing.

    This article reminds me of some of the crazy things my ex would say, and thankfully, I can chuckle now. One example of our conversations:

    Me: You have been sleeping with him for how long?! Doesn’t he have a family? Doesn’t he want to spend time with his children?

    Ex: He is a great father.

    Me: I am sure he is when not having an affair, but during the affair, that’s hard to believe. He took time away from his family.

    Ex: When we were together, he would show me pictures and videos of his kid’s activities.

    Me: Why wasn’t he at the activities?

    Ex: He told his family he needed to work late.

    Me: Was he working late?

    Ex: Why ask when you know the answer?

    Me: Ok – so let me get this straight – he told his family that he needed to work late so had to miss his kid’s acitivites, but he lied because he was with you. And then after you sleep together, he shows you pics of the acitivies he is missing. And that makes him a great father?

    Ex: You make it sound so horrible..

    Me: I think I need to call my dad and thank him for being at everyone of my sporting events growing up.

    (Full disclosure: I can be a smart ass sometimes…)

    Also – recently, I ran into her and we had this exchange:

    Ex: I still can’t believe you gave up on me..

    Me: Weren’t you the one who gave up on me? You justified your affair because I worked too much, was stressed out, fell asleep on the couch, and liked to socialize with my friends. If you can justify an affair because of those reasons, I can certainly leave you for sleeping with your AP in my bed..

    (Full disclosure: I really need to get better at the 180 and not let her get to me. But sometimes, I can’t help it.)

  4. Joey May 9, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

    Another one that really irks me:

    “I was never going to leave you.”

    When she says this to me, it triggers me so much. Does the cheater honestly think that makes us feel better? Reading story after story, the majority of cheaters don’t confess on their own. They don’t have this epiphany where they all of sudden realize they are doing something horribly wrong. No – they get caught. They lie. They continue the affair. They get caught again. They lie/gaslight. They continue the affair. Finally, the betrayed bucks up and either walks or tells the cheater to leave. Then the cheater ends the affair and begins to do the work. Granted, many of the unfaithful spouses don’t leave, but it isn’t reassuring to hear it.

    The above triggers me because it terrifies me to think that if I didn’t catch her every time, would I still be living a lie? She would probably be cheating, I would be the naïve betrayed spouse thinking I have a great partner.

    Cheater Translation: I was never going to leave you, but I certainly wasn’t going to stop my affair any time soon. I had everything I needed and wanted. I had my comfortable home life and my exciting, thrilling life with my AP. I was never going to leave, but I certainly was going to continue my affair. Afterall, my affair is justified, isn’t it?!!

    • TheFirstWife May 9, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

      Joey. Thank you for sharing. I understand how hard it is to make the choice to leave or end the marriage. It is just as hard to stay sometimes (as you can attest to) because you are faced with issues as a result of the affair.

      I am trapped b/c I love my H. He is not cheating and doing everything possible to make amends. But my heart is shattered – yes I love him and then there is the “but” part of that sentence.

      Joey I hope you have emotional support – it saved my sanity and helped me cope. My Therapist used to say I was the calmest most rational about to be divorced single mom he ever met. Well I say you can’t make someone love you and want to be married to you. After 25 years either you do or you don’t.

      Joey I also liked the conversations you had with the ex. It’s s good thing I cannot get in trouble for the responses and comebacks I have in my mind. I don’t say them to my H though sometimes I want to. But I love your response to your ex about giving up. Hahaha I guess she thought the triangle would continue. You were “really ok” with her affair!!! SMH (shaking my head)

      I just love how the cheaters blame the spouse. My H travelled extensively w/ his job. I was home alone with two small children and never complained. I thought we were a team. I made his life as easy as possible. I wanted to be a loving and caring wife.

      However his mid life crisis had him turn to someone else to find “happiness”. And he TRIED to blame me. Except I would not allow him to do that.

      The irony of the affair is this: now he loves me and wants to stay married and plan out future and Blah blah blah. Well how about the fact my CH told me he didn’t love me, he was bored, he wanted someone else, we don’t have anything in common any longer (nees to me) and pointed out all my flaws???

      So Joey I agree those things can be hard to hear, hard to accept.

      I think in the end you did the right thing by ending your marriage. My therapist said if you feel you have tried your best and cannot get it to work, you can leave the marriage with no guilt or remorse. You did all you could. And if that wasn’t enough for your exW and the affair continued, I think you know there was very little left.

      BTW is the exW still with the AP? That usually blows up when a marriage ends.

      • Joey May 17, 2017 at 11:23 am #

        Hi Firstwife – sorry for such a late response. To answer your question, no my ex is not still with her AP. When me and the AP’s wife finally had enough and kicked them to the curb, he freaked out and went back to her and dropped my ex fairly quickly. I think he respected his wife for finally sticking up for herself. He didn’t think she ever would. I live very close to them so unfortunately I see them frequently. I am 15 years younger than him, he is a big-time executive, but it still makes me laugh when I see him because he looks so uncomfortable and ashamed. I ran into him with one of his colleagues once and it looked like he was going to faint. Gives me a little comfort after what an ass he was for all those years. Not such a hot-shot afterall…

    • Shifting Impressions May 9, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

      Joey
      Actually….I love those smart ass responses of yours!!!

      Yeah, that I was never going to leave you line is a killer….as if they are the only one in the relationship that has a choice.

      I am so sorry, you had to go through that.

    • Sarah P. May 9, 2017 at 5:19 pm #

      Hi Joey,

      I am sorry that you continue to be triggered– it is really hard. 🙁

      But, I am glad you left the marriage and ‘gave up’ on your ex. Honestly though, she gave up on your marriage first so she is not justified to say such things. Also, your smart-ass comments are the truth. No matter how the truth is stated (smart-ass or not) it is still the truth. I also shudder to think what would have happened if you had not caught your wife.

      Whether it is right or wrong, I see things a little differently when women get wrapped up in affairs to the extent your wife was wrapped up. When it goes that far, I rarely believe it is salvageable. As you can tell by this blog, there are many trustworthy women in this world who would never harm their marriages. I hope that you are able to find love again with a good woman.

      Sarah

    • TryingHard May 10, 2017 at 8:58 am #

      Hi Joey– lol. Yeah I got that too. I was never going to leave you. Oh boy thanks a lot asshole!! You were just going to have your cake and eat it too at my expense. How noble !!!

      Your convos with ex wife were brilliant and spot on. Score one for the good guys!!!

      And remember it’s always better to be a smart ass than a dumb ass!!!

  5. Hopefull May 9, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

    I heard so many different things. If I bring them up now my husband cannot believe he said them. He told me I would actually get along well with one of the ow and we were not that different. That was the wrong thing to say the day after dday. I could go on and on. It is a terrible thing to go through. At the time it was very confusing. I was fortunate I guess since he had broken contact with both ow about 15 months before dday on his own. So even with that he still was living in a distorted world. I have since learned this is what he had to tell himself in order to not feel even worse. He knew before, during and after what a horrible thing he had done so that was his coping mechanism. He shocks himself with how he behaved during and after his affairs and even around dday. I think he had gotten so used to the narrative he told himself. It is good I see his progress but it is disturbing what he was capable of physically and also how he was able to convince himself.

    • Sarah P. May 9, 2017 at 5:27 pm #

      Hi Hopefull,

      Well, people must convince themselves of lies because people cannot reconcile that they are good people and yet do so much harm. Some people who have affairs are good people who get caught up (especially MLC affairs) and others are people who would have cheated anyways. They all go deep into denial. From what I understand, your H had very sporadic contact and that counts for a lot in terms of the ability to rebuild. Still, it doesn’t matter if it was sporadic or not, hurt is hurt.

      On the other hand, there are men who had frequent or daily contact, they still have as much a chance of rebuilding if they want to. It’s just that with more contact, it is harder on the betrayed spouse and I believe takes a little longer. There is more to overcome. But, good people who want to make amends (and who break it off) all have an excellent chance of recovery.

      How has your husband been this week?

      • Hopefull May 9, 2017 at 7:07 pm #

        I agree that it is never easy when there is any form of an affair. I think it hits everyone hard even the wayward. I do think our recovery was quicker since he was in no contact already when dday happened. The fact that he had already made the decision to end those relationships helped. He still was distant and he has even said he struggled with being close due to the guilt and shame. He worried he would die and then I would find out. In the end he wanted his reputation and image to match. Now he is working on that in an authentic and transparent way.

        Things have been good recently. I am not sure if I wrote about this a couple weeks ago on another post but he had another episode of extreme guilt for being out with friends too long, drinking too much, missing too much of our family day. I was not concerned from a behavior standpoint since he told me where he would be, with whom and when anything changed he was in contact. It was all planned out in advance so I had no issue with that. Several friends were visiting from out of town so I figured it would be more time spent together catching up. He ended up coming home late and very down. He was still home earlier than in the affair years but late for his new self. And I could tell he had drank too much. I made a decision I was going to not confront it that night but the next day. Well he got so upset with himself about everything and not that he did anything “wrong” at all. He was crying and everything. It lasted a long time tangential thinking etc. There was not much reasoning or understanding it all at that point but it was upsetting.

        Over a week later I brought it up to him. It took a while since I needed to make sure the kids would not be around. I was also frustrated and resentful that I had to bring it up. I need him to hear that. These are the things that concern me more than another woman. These are his issues and behaviors and he sweeps it under the rug. He was open to talking right away and said it had been on his mind. Basically the night got away from him, he did not keep track of what he was drinking and regretted not coming home sooner or drinking more water. So again this is what I worry about. He does not make good decisions for himself and is influenced by others behaviors and the environment he is in. I worked really hard to listen but focused on key questions. I zeroed in on the alcohol and his friends. He knows it is not good especially in that quantity. He has made a promise to sit down and talk more in depth about his time out. He is also making a promise to pick and choose what he does. In the past he did anything and everything. He has improved but wants to improve more. In the end I said to him this goes beyond trusting that you will not cheat on me in any way this is about what kind of marriage and relationship I want to be in. I am done being in a marriage where you come home a mess and upset you did not come home earlier etc. To me the big concern is his lack of ability to watch out for himself and make good decisions. This did hit him hard and he said hearing it that way makes him take notice. So I think it was good I said it that way. I am serious though even if he never cheats or looks at another woman that is not the only standard I have. I want more and expect a lot. So we will see…

        • TryingHard May 10, 2017 at 7:57 am #

          Hopeful–I like what you said. You have higher standards for his behavior/actions. You’ve set the bar higher. I have too. No disrespect. Staying out late with ones pals and getting drunk is disrespectful. Regardless he gets upset with himself. Regardless he apologizes. Again another poor choice that you have to deal with. long after the hangover has ended. It sucks. I hear you.

          It’s annoying when they use the excuse “the night got away from me”. WTF ? You would think he’d be hyper aware of the time and how much booze he’d consumed during his evening out. Most annoying is they feign ignorance and take on a roll of self victimization even. Fact is he’s a smart big boy. He’s in charge of himself and again they fall short.

          • Hopefull May 10, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

            TH, Exactly what you say too. I mean I think at a young age like 5 years old I was capable of making better decisions. And that is my underlying concern is we are who we are. We can work and try to change but when stress come up or difficult times do we revert back to who we truly are. For me it seems so clear. I think this is why I cannot ever comprehend having done what he did. I mean I would have to be drugged, held at gunpoint, bound etc to do what he did. I mean nothing could have allowed me to even step in that direction. And what I thought initially was such a violation of me and our marriage I now see is how he does not take care of himself and watch out for his own best interests. So if he does not make the best decisions for himself then how would he ever even consider what is best for me or our marriage.

            I fear I am getting tired of this. I feel like we have great stretches of time and then I wait for a shoe to drop. And here I thought I would always be worried about his behavior with women but I see that is just one outlet but it takes place in all aspects of his life. And I agree this idea the night got away. I mean I have been out and I get it you say you are leaving and you keep getting pulled into conversations. But guess what at a certain point I leave. And no one has ever made me drink straight vodka over and over and then not realize what I have done. To me this is the issue. The good times are great and he is making a huge effort with me/himself/us. But it is these little blips. With the night out I would have discussed how late he was out and how much he drank and that there needs to be a new boundary no matter what but then coming home all down. I was fine with him out but I am not prepared to deal with that. You were gone all day and night and come home down. He saw it as good since he misses us and me so much. But in the end after talking I think it is the guilt from what he did. He is so overwhelmed by it. He is struggling with how to have fun with friends but still feel okay about himself and not worry too much about me. What a mess. All I can say is I am exhausted and trying to figure out a concise way to bring this all up to him.

  6. Shifting Impressions May 9, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

    Really good post, Sarah

    I can totally relate…..the stuff that came out of his mouth during the affair and for about two years after d-day had me scratching my head more than once.

    I once asked him if it was worth it….the answer was that he was, wait for it, “still alive”. Translation I should be so thankful that he had the OW to bare his soul to. Otherwise, who knows what he might have done….oh please!!!!!

    • Sarah P. May 9, 2017 at 5:21 pm #

      Hi Shifting,

      Wow, he had the other woman to bare his soul to. Um, he was supposed to bare his soul to you.

      I bet the other woman loved all that ‘soul baring’ because she could find lots of material with which to manipulate your husband.

      Shifting, has your husband ever done any kind of self-reflection about his part?

      • Shifting Impressions May 9, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

        Sarah
        He has but, maybe not as much as I would like. He had two EAs during our marriage, about 15 years apart. Both times were low times in his life….I do believe depression was a contributing factor.

        He is one of those people that would stuff down his feelings…..even growing up…the lost child in a large family.

        Anyway, he is working much harder to live in the present and get in touch with his feelings. We are still moving forward…baby steps. He does show genuine remorse.

        But as the The First Wife said….I was shattered by his betrayal.

  7. TryingHard May 10, 2017 at 8:11 am #

    Very good interpretations of the word salad that comes out of cheaters mouths. I heard them all and more. Listening to his words was the most head shaking experience I’ve ever endured.

    I knew at the time what he was doing. Justifying, making excuses, whatever else. But words matter. Words hurt for years. Those words still ring in my ears. Some are very laughable and we have laughed over them. Such as “I think you two should sit down and have a conversation. You’d like her. She’s a nice person”. The fact that he still has a face after saying that is testament to my self restraint!!!

    The really bizarre conversation was about during the time of his affair we were watching a show in HBO called Big Love. The show was fictional but was about a Mormon, or similar sect, family with what they called “sister wives”. He actually convinced himself that this was a plausible relationship style he could have and why not??? WTF we aren’t Mormons!!!! It’s crazy making!!!

    How do normal people come up with this stuff? To me it speaks of their complete fuckupedness!! It’s tiring trying to figure it all out. But good job in this explanation.

  8. Puzzled May 10, 2017 at 10:29 am #

    Great article Sarah. I think that most of us were blindsided by our spouse’s behavior and their “affair speak”. At the time, the words never registered like they do now. The words coming from my wife had to be the truth, right? She’s the one who pledged to love and honor our marriage 21 years before, right? That’s the hard thing. I look back now and realize the truth behind the words she spoke. Where do I begin? I guess that I can go through each in order of timing for me:

    1) Fell out of love: I consider this my D-day #1 when things started spiraling out of normal. My wife had been acting “off” for a couple days and she was sitting on our front porch. I walked out and asked if everything was ok. She looked at me and said “I’m not happy and haven’t been for years” and, in the same conversation, “I guess I’m just not sure if I’m in love with you anymore”. Talk about the 1-2 gut/head knockout shots. I was floored but this was my wife. If she was unhappy, how can I help? What can we do to make things better? That’s all I could think about. An affair was the furthest thing from my mind. I asked her if she wanted to leave me and she said “I don’t know”. I left the house to go work out and try to clear my head because I was reeling in confusion. When I came home, she wanted to talk but didn’t really know what to say. During the conversation, she said, “I’ve done something bad and feel like I’m in a pit” and “how could God forgive me”? I was completely confused by her words but, still, an affair NEVER crossed my mind.

    2) Just a friend: On D-day #2 and way too many times after, my wife just kept convincing herself that they were “just friends”. She still hasn’t told me who her “friend” was. But, I remember, when I asked her “who is it”, her response was “I can’t tell you”. I responded with, “You can’t tell me, or you won’t tell me. It’s a choice”. It never occurred to her how far past the point of “friends” she’d passed. It wasn’t until I laid it all out for her about the affair, over a year later keep in mind.
    Me: “It all started out pretty innocent like a hi or how was your day. It made you feel nice. Then it got to be a little more often, sometimes in the morning, or late at night, just so you both knew you were thinking of each other. You got a rush out of this and liked how you felt. By this time, you were gone. You slipped off the edge and you were having an affair.”
    Her: “but I never slept with him”.
    Me : “No. It was worse. You gave him your heart. You chose to text him. You chose to close me out. It was an affair of the heart. It’s called an emotional affair.”
    Her: “But we were just friends”.
    Me: “texting another guy at 2:38 a.m. is way beyond a friend. What was so important to say to him that you would wake up in our bed at that time just to text him”?
    Her: “I told him good night”
    Me: “Now do you understand? You don’t text ‘just a friend’ at 2:30 in the morning”.

    3) How dare you invade my privacy/don’t trust me/it’s all in your head: These I put together because they walk hand in hand. I asked her if there was someone else and, of course, it was “no way” and “how can you not trust me”. The crazy part or I guess the selfish part was when I found out there was someone else. I wanted to be able to look at her phone and her messages, etc. and she blew up about that. I looked at her phone and she blew up about her privacy and that she had nothing to hide (of course she didn’t because she deleted everything). This was early in finding out (June 2015). We were starting to get along better or so I thought when I happened to get her ipad out on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I guess she forgot to delete everything & things weren’t as good as I thought. Once again, she responded with “he’s just been a good friend while I’ve been trying to figure things out” and “how dare you invade my privacy”.

    Sorry for the long post but it’s actually good therapy to type this. My wife is seemingly doing her best to make things better. We are in a better place but the fear/anger still linger for me. I can go days without thinking of things but then it will hit me and I’ll picture her looking me in the eye and lying to me. That’s what lingers the most. When I begged her to look me in the eye and tell me there wasn’t someone else, she lied. She looked right through me and said “never”. I pray that someday I can forget that picture.

    • TryingHard May 10, 2017 at 10:53 am #

      Puzzled– “I’ve been unhappy for years” translates to –look how wonderful and noble I am. I’ve been miserable for years, DECADES EVEN, and yet I have stayed with you! I am so wonderful for sacrificing MY happiness for YOU. I didn’t go to counseling and cost the family money. I endured my misery. It is you and your bad reaction to my taking a little refuge from the misery you’ve caused me in the arms of my fuck buddy!

      They are so predicable!

      Hugs to you Puzzled. Quit trying to parse their words and look for hidden meanings or what they “really mean”. They are effed up and yet we want to continue a relationship with them!!! Chumps must be the supreme gluttons for punishment!!

      It’s laughable really.

      • Rachel May 10, 2017 at 7:00 pm #

        Haha I love this trying!!
        My ex told me and my boys that he was never happy with me. Never??
        We were married for 25 and dated for five (red flag).
        Effed up for sure!

        • TheFirstWife May 10, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

          Rachel. I don’t think your ex would know happiness if it bit him lol

          • Rachel May 11, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

            Lol for sure!

        • Hopefull May 11, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

          My husband says he hears this all the time especially from ex husbands at work. All of a sudden once the wife wants to leave them she becomes the crazy one and the one with all the problems. He says how can they be fine with the wife for usually 20+ years have several kids and live a life and all of a sudden they are a problem. It so shows how they are the problem and by doing all of this they have zero insight. He says it is a really common attitude/perspective.

    • TheFirstWife May 10, 2017 at 12:57 pm #

      Puzzled. I agree those words are hard to hear.

      My H wasn’t happy for about 18 months prior the affair. Of course the OW knew but I did not.

      So yes I agree the affair ramifications for the victimized betrayed spouse are:

      Finding out your spouse is not Happy
      Finding you have been cheated on and lied to
      Realizing your spouse can look you in the eye and LIE LIE LIE!
      Feeling pain and emotionally distraught b/c of selfish actions and choices
      Having multiple DDays (as if 1 is not enough)
      Reliving the trauma again and again via triggers
      Wondering if your spouse is still cheating
      Wondering how you will get through another day with the pain and heartbreak
      When they pick up their phone – who are they really emailing or texting or talking to
      How many affairs were there – any you still don’t know about?
      Continued lying about details surrounding the affair – I think many do know the answers but choose not to provide the details
      Realizing your spouse is a COWARD.

      And so on. For me it is realizing the guy I truly believed I married was not that guy at all. Maybe now he is that guy but you don’t treat someone like a doormat and not respect them 100% and think you can repair that. Or cheat on them more than once and think you can wave your magic wand and poof**. It all magically goes away and we live happily ever after.

      I used to tell my H – please do not cheat. If you really think you found someone and that is what you want, just come home and say it. At least I will respect you.

      Of course he didn’t do that either.

      Selfish selfish behavior – that is what cheating is.

      • Puzzled May 10, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

        TheFirstWife: I always look forward to your responses. You’ve been through a lot and always have a good thought on things.
        It’s funny about the “not Happy” thing for me. I saw a co-worker of my wife’s while picking up sushi (this was sometime last year so at least a year after my D-days) and she asked how my wife & I were “doing” like she knew something. I said better but was completely thrown off by this. I told my wife that I saw her co-worker and about her question and that it seemed odd that she’d ask me something about us. My wife simply said, “well, they all knew were having problems” and was about to continue talking when I said “when were we having problems and how come I didn’t know that we were having these issues”? She had no answer. That’s the infuriating part. She created our “problems” and then apparently talked about them with co-workers most likely to rationalize her affair.

        You are so spot on with the reality of the person we married isn’t the same person. We all change over time. Our relationship changes. But we all have the choice to be true to our vows or to become a cheater. I know people want to say they don’t go into things wanting an affair. But I call BS on that rationale. They can choose to do right. They can choose to say no.

        And my wife is the same way, the affair is over so magically it’s a fairy tale ending. I’m hopeful that it will be but I’m still guarded. I wish that I could go back to my naive self that believed without a second thought.

        • TheFirstWife May 10, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

          I love how the cheaters rewrite the history of the marriage.

          I was not unhappy.

          He was. But more unhappy with job, career, turning 50 was a huge factor for him.

          But if you don’t do something about it or say something, are we supposed to be a mind reader? My H was never serious and joked his way thru everything!!

          And with no outward signs I am supposed to know he is unhappy.

          Freskin’ news to me. And why is his happiness MY responsibility?

          Because it allowed him to justify his affair.

          It is an excuse!!

          He tried to blame me but I shut that down quickly. I am not a bad wife – no drugs, no credit card isdues, not needy, not whiny, stand on my own two feet.

          He traveled extensively and I never complained.

          I made his life EASY. All his friends were envious. If he wanted to play golf I usually said ok. Go on a guys golf weekend – I said ok! Play basketball or see his friends – ok!!

          I thought we were a great team! Until he inserted two affairs in our life.

          I hope we make it past this – it’s been 3 years and I sm happy – he has changed and now admits he should have been better in some areas. No one is perfect but I certainly never treated him thecway he treated me.

          I have to work hard to put the past behind me. Not easy.

          • Hopefull May 10, 2017 at 6:39 pm #

            TFW, Everything you say is accurate. I totally agree with all of it. Part of moving on for me is acknowledging that there is no logical or good reason it is all just a bunch of excuses for what he did. Luckily my husband has owned up to it 100%. But there still is that coping with someone who lied to my face for 10+ years. I know it is on him and these are his issues but still hard to face. I too was like you always supportive, created an amazing life, was trusting and open minded about whatever he wanted to do work wise, with friends etc. Well he did not cope with that well. I am a little over 2 years out and some days everything is amazing but some days it is really hard to push through. I am thankful for sites like this. It is nice to read and hear me too.

      • Karen May 13, 2017 at 8:27 am #

        I no longer call it selfish that word sounds to simple. I call it for what it is. Mean cruel and abusive. Sorry but selfish to me is when kids do t share their toys not cheating that changes people’s lives forever selfish doesn’t do that.

        • Hopefull May 15, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

          I agree with this. I feel like there was definite emotional abuse before, during and after the affair years.

          • TheFirstWife May 15, 2017 at 4:46 pm #

            I agree. My H wasn’t abusive to me. But he certainly did a few things that were very self centered, like showing up hours late, refusing to end sn inappropriate female friendship etc.

            I guess being selfish and egotistical in that regard is abusive huh?!

  9. TryingHard May 10, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    Hopeful–If I may suggest, here’s how you bring it up. You say just what you just said to me. You are a big boy, you are in charge of you, I no longer want to mediate your self flagellation over your choices, I am not your mother, nights don’t just “get away”, you are in control and total control of yourself, NOT ME, figure it out.

    But and huge BUT I have my boundaries and I will not tolerate this behavior. Do not let it happen again.

    OK yeah big talk but you get my drift right?? Seriously it HAS got to be his own self monitoring. There aren’t enough GPS or lectures. It is HE who must be intrinsically motivated not to do this shit any more. Why does he want to feel like shit afterwards?? He’s not a kid anymore, kids do crap that hurt themselves. Adults don’t. I have walked out of plenty of parties, cocktail hours, lunches you name it. I just don’t buy that he is that out of control of himself. LOL it’s the old they would rather as for forgiveness than permission!

    • Hopefull May 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

      100% he loves that saying to ask for forgiveness rather than permission! So the opposite of me. I have said some of that but I need to restate it and lay it on the line. I have said the mother thing and I refuse to live my life tracking his every move and dig around like a private investigator. I am with you too I do not buy it that you lose track of time or drinks. Or if you do then maybe as I have said we are not meant for each other. And especially when it spirals you into misery and unhappiness. In the end I totally agree with you he has to be the one to fix this. He needs to do the work and be the responsible one. I have gotten to that point. I can only do so much.

      • TryingHard May 10, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

        Hopeful–Right on sister!!! You got this. I have faith in YOU, you got this. And trust me, I need to take my own advice sometimes too!!!! It’s so hard. Especially when things are going well. I suggest don’t do it when the heat is on. Give it a day and bring it up, still NOT easy and sometimes we do have to strike while the iron is hot otherwise it has no effect. Your h and his remorse tells me he DOES want to do the right thing but it has to be brought home to him that doing the right thing is HIS responsibility not yours and no amount of self-punishment will change that.

        Let me know what happens.

        • Hopefull May 10, 2017 at 6:40 pm #

          Thanks will do! It is always easier said than done. And part of me is waiting some since as my therapist said it is not bad to give him some rope and see what he does with it. Will he hang himself or make good positive use. I guess really seeing if he can deal with this on his own and not me managing him and his behaviors.

  10. TheFirstWife May 12, 2017 at 4:38 pm #

    I don’t know if this is true for all parts of US but here on the east coast, the Ask Amy letter was a real laugh (at least to me – and you will see why).

    Woman writes in after 30 years of marriage her H left her for a mutual friend. Very sad!

    She wanted to know what else she should/could be doing to heal. She listed all her activities including taking anti -depressants (sad).

    Her concern was that the H is surprised they are not all still friends. He thought they would be.

    What kind of a complete moron is he? Obviously he was cheating and keft his wife for their friend!!! Some people, particularly chesters, just don’t get it.

    This reminds me of Doug’s in-laws and the affair between Kem &Barbie. Ken thought his family would accept the OW?

    • Sarah P. May 15, 2017 at 6:59 pm #

      Hi TFW,
      I just read it and see what you mean. I feel terrible for that woman– talk about being blind-sided. Most impressive is that she is being adult about this– almost too much of an adult. She would be completely justified to go over there and tell both of them off and she would be justified to tell everyone in the world what was going on behind her back. 30 years is a lot of dedicate to marriage and her husband seemed to take things too lightly.

      • TheFirstWife May 15, 2017 at 8:33 pm #

        Sarah P. What I think is interesting about the letter writer is that she says he came home and announced he was in love with their mutual friend.

        So he was cheating

        And she is supposed to be ok and accept it and remain friends. Who would do that???

        Only a sick twisted person could think that his exWife would accept that arrangement.

        I know if my H & I had divorced I would have had to co-parent and I would be civil and polite. His friend?! Hell no.

  11. TryingHard May 13, 2017 at 12:01 pm #

    Karen–I agree. Selfish is too kind. I also hate the term fog.

  12. Rachel May 13, 2017 at 4:58 pm #

    The first wife,
    Those cheaters are just morons!!! My ex wanted to be friends after the divorce. Idiot!
    This way if you are friends it doesn’t make them look bad. It’s just one big happy family!! Blah!

    • Hopefull May 15, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

      I agree completely Rachel. It is all about them making themselves look good and feel better. If you aren’t friends then what happened. In a way if they try to be friends and you push them away then they blame you. They were trying, they were being friendly…

  13. TheFirstWife May 15, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

    I used to think the same thing. I believed my H (during his affair) was trying to get me to ask for a divorce so it would ease his guilty conscience.

    I was stubborn and I refused to let him have it his way.

    Until I finally was so fed up I just didn’t care anymore.

    Because his affair finally did me in. I had enough.

    In the end we did not divorce. And I understand some things better.

    But the affair drama will never go away. It will subside. But never disappear 100%.

  14. TryingHard May 15, 2017 at 5:09 pm #

    If someone is slowly poisoning you and you aren’t aware of it, isn’t that abuse?? Exposing you to unsafe circumstances, i.e. crazy AP’s, exposure to STD’s, exposure to financial ruin.

    Yes cheating and lying is definitely abuse!!!

    • Sarah P. May 15, 2017 at 7:03 pm #

      Hi TryingHard,

      I agree with you 100%. In fact, more often than not, I do see infidelity as a form of abuse. Why? Because people who are unfaithful often end up doing very abusive things while they are in the affair fog just like you said– STDs crazy AP’s etc. This certainly is a can of worms though because some will not agree that affairs are abusive. However, they do contain all of the elements of abuse for sure.

  15. TryingHard May 15, 2017 at 9:50 pm #

    Hi Sarah-/just because it’s covert doesn’t make the abuse any less so. If I pilfer a few dollars at a time from the bank does that make me any less guilty of robbing a bank?

    The ability to fly under the radar exonerates no one. Cheating is abuse.

  16. Hopefull May 16, 2017 at 12:46 pm #

    I think it is emotional abuse. Lying to someone you have made a commitment to through marriage or even a committed relationship is abusive. Exposing to STD etc I agree is also a form of abuse. And I think the gas lighting or whatever you want to call it is abusive. Bottom line making someone feel worse about themselves to mask their lies is abusive. My husband was shocked when the day after dday I told him the silver lining was that by him telling me this I finally felt like I was not crazy and at fault for anything and everything in our relationship. It was a major ah ha moment. I mean of course I would have rather it never happened. But it was like my life flashed before my eyes. And especially since his affairs were sporadic over such a long period of time it all made sense how he would be connected and close and then a totally different person. However through all of this I was the one that had all the issues. I think over the years I took it more to heart and didn’t have a lot to argue back with his professional background and he spoke with such expertise of course. So I feel like that was total emotional abuse. He used that power over me all to protect himself.

    • TheFirstWife May 17, 2017 at 10:24 am #

      Hopefull. I know how you feel. My H lied about his first EA and tried to convince me it was all in my head and I was a crazy jealous wife.

      And he is not a professional like your in the field with loads of degrees.

      So yes the cheaters will craft lies and do whatever it takes to create a world where they can lie and cheat and steal to get what they want and live happily ever after.

      Until the world comes crashing down on them.

      Or until they change.

      Most often it is DDay that forces the change.

      And I agree, it is abuse

  17. TryingHard May 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm #

    Hopeful–Exactly!!! It’s like we were finally vindicated!!! We weren’t crazy. We weren’t crazy or being over dramatic for feeling something was wrong. Something WAS wrong!!

    It is abuse and I for one will NEVER ignore my red flags again!

  18. Shifting Impressions May 16, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

    Hopeful and TryingHard
    During the two EAs 15 years apart….I thought I was going crazy. I was the one with the issues right….it’s an eye opener, that’s for sure.

    I agree, never ignore those red flags.

  19. TryingHard May 17, 2017 at 11:37 am #

    Joey–And that is what you call Karma!! I bet he avoids you like the plague. And no he is def not a big shot. Not at all.

  20. Sad and Confused May 30, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

    These blogs have been very helpful for me so thank you. Hopefully you can send some of your experience and advice my way. My husband of 21 years (together 24 with 2 teens) and I have had an up and down marriage. Several times over the last 7 years he has said that this isn’t working and he wants to leave. I always cry and beg and say that I will do anything to make it right (out of fear of change, or for the kids I don’t know). Over spring break with our daughter, I found that he was texting a woman over a secret text app and she had sent nude pics. I couldn’t get all the texts but that was enough, when we got home I asked him and he swore it was nothing and he would block her. Fast forward 6 weeks and we have had another blow up and this time I agree that we should be done (enough is enough). I find out that as soon as he leaves the house he is texting and calling her again. She lives elsewhere so I don’t think that it goes any further but not 100% certain. Then he comes home and offers to go to counseling. I agree as he hasn’t done this before, always said it was a joke. We go to counseling and he keeps saying that I am not being open about my feelings. I have a feeling that something is not right still. I see that he is still communicating and then he plans a trip which is out of character. He gets mad when I don’t want him to go and says that I am acting weird and treating him like he cheated…hmmm. He goes and I find the emails planning a meetup going back weeks. I don’t think he ever met with her due to something in her schedule and I confronted him via text and he came home. He said they never had sex and he didn’t cross the line. I asked him to separate so I can figure out what to do. It is the only thing I have ever asked for in our marriage – no cheating – and believe me, he has a lot of leeway in his life. He broke down and says he will do anything to get me back – admitting this mistake and how badly he has acted over the years. I don’t know if I can trust him or if he is just saying all this because he got caught or I’m standing up and saying no for the first time. He hasn’t contacted her that I can find but he still has several female friends that he talks to and I don’t like that either. What to do and will he really change? Do i take him back and try to make it work or just move on? HELP please.

    • Shifting Impressions May 30, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

      Sad & Cunfused
      Only you can answer that. But understand…what he did constitutes CHEATING. I would want this to be the major topic in the marriage counseling sessions. If the therapist doesn’t agree…I would find another therapist that is knowledgeable regarding infidelity.

      I am so sorry you are going through this. My best advice is….take care of you and educate yourself regarding infidelity. Get help just for you as well.

      Only you know if this marriage is worth fight for……sometimes it helps to know, that you don’t have to have the answer to that right now. There are choices and decisions to be made but….often one is so shocked at the discovery of their partner’s unfaithfulness that you are not in the best state of mind to make these life altering decisions. Take your time….take care of you.

  21. Butterball June 9, 2017 at 8:13 am #

    Early on my husband said, “I don’t want to hurt you.” “I don’t want to humiliate you.”

    I am sure it was genuine 100%.

    A year on, it has become, “Why do you stay? You are humiliating YOURSELF.”

    In other words, somewhere inside him he does feel he is humiliating me but he is projecting it as something I am doing to myself

    • TheFirstWife June 12, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

      Butterball. Sometimes I just want to slap people. Your H being one of them.

      The next time he says why do you stay – you are humiliating yourself you should say this:

      I stay because I choose to see the love we have and the good in you. I am sorry you don’t see me for the person I am. Most men would be lucky to have a wife like me. I just wish your character flaws did not prevent you from seeing me for what I am – a living wife who believes in you.

      If he continues to say it- just keep repeating the same thing over and over.

      I might throw in a snarky comment like – because I haven’t served you with divorce papers yet but that’s just me (lol)

      • TryingHard June 12, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

        LOL first wife. I prefer the second retort.

  22. TryingHard June 9, 2017 at 9:45 am #

    Butterball– I hate that term “I didn’t mean to hurt you”. Their motive is not valid. They did mean to hurt you for their own purpose. It’s like the thief that robs you and says “I didn’t mean to hurt you when I robbed you of your money”. And then blame the victim for “allowing” themselves to be robbed and hurt by it!!!

    That statement is pure and utter victim blaming. Same as rapists saying the rape victim dressed provocatively and was asking for it.

    Call him on his bullshit. Do not accept his victim blaming excuse to get his on cheating butt off the hook. It is he who is responsible for his own actions and motives not you.

    Sheesh will cheaters PLEASE come up with some new material?? They are very tedious at best.

  23. Janice September 6, 2017 at 6:33 pm #

    I got the we just drifted apart and were basically roommates.

    gee maybe because you were spending all your time online with the EA an neglected our marriage.

    • Puzzled September 7, 2017 at 9:17 am #

      Janice-Don’t believe that crap. My wife gave me the “I love you but not in love with you” garbage and also the “sometimes people just drift apart” too. It’s all a smokescreen to their betrayal. They need to rationalize their cheating and make themselves feel justified. The sting of betrayal is bad enough but then the garbage that they spew out is unbelievable. Stay strong and demand that he ends it. Watch him text it into his phone and hit send. Or get on a three way call and listen to him say it. But don’t just let him do it on his own. He won’t.

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