Valentine’s Day Triggers

This is a painting within a painting within a painting within a painting within a painting. This painting is also like a rabbit hole of sorts. I picked this image because it metaphorically shows the confusion that affairs cause for a betrayed spouse. Affairs are not real, affairs are not three-dimensional, affairs are deceptions, affairs are trickeries, affairs are fantasies, and wayward spouses often cause confusion about who did what, where, and when.  There is nothing “real” about an affair. Also, this painting is really cool!!!


By Sarah P.

I have written about this before, but I always like to revisit this concept as I get new insights on the idea of why I do NOT believe affair partners can love each other. Plus, Valentine’s Day is almost here and that means betrayed spouses must prepare for the dreaded Valentine’s Day triggers.

If you are in the process of repairing your marriage, I do not want the other person of Valentine’s Day past haunting you and metaphorically darkening the doorstep of your brain. I do not want that shameless other person taking away the joy that you can cultivate in the moment.

You might wonder if I know what it’s like to experience Valentine’s Day with a spouse who had an affair. The answer is yes and no. My ex had acted violently – beat me and violated me – to ensure I was not in my own house when Valentine’s Day came around.

Like Goldilocks, the other woman wanted to ensure I was out of the house before she metaphorically ate my porridge and slept in my bed permanently. So, I did not attempt to even fight for that relationship because what my ex did couldn’t be taken back and I didn’t want to go back to such a horrible human being. There was no reconciliation with my ex, even when he started having second thoughts.

That Valentine’s Day, I gathered up all of my single friends who had been burned by relationships that year and we went to an Indian restaurant and had an “anti-Valentine’s Day” party.

Each of us told stories about our exes and the horrifying things our exes did in private when they thought no one was looking. There were some memorable stories told that night and none of them are remotely appropriate to repeat on this blog. Suffice to say, we all roared with laughter until the restaurant was closing for the night.

However… if a couple has been married for a long time, there is a good chance that one partner wants to put the hard work into reconciling the marriage. That is a noble and honorable goal.

But, then the triggers come.

Valentine’s Day could very well be the largest trigger for betrayed spouses.

If a cheater was with the affair partner during Valentine’s Day or even sent the affair partner a gift, this knowledge is enough to drive a betrayed spouse over the edge.


Well, aside from wanting to claw the eyes of the affair partner out, a betrayed spouse will experience their stomach twisting itself into all kinds of knots, wondering if somewhere in the deep and seedy recesses in their spouse’s mind, if there was “real love” between their spouse and the affair partner.

The thought that there was real love between a cheater and their lover is enough to send a betrayed spouse to bed for a month. While in bed, the betrayed spouse will alternate between sleeping, freezing, weeping, squeaking, seething, barely breathing, screaming, dreaming, pleading, shrieking, competing, daydreaming, retreating, and score-keeping. It will not be a good thing.

So, what sends a betrayed spouse to bed?

The idea that some bottom-dweller was and is more lovable than the betrayed spouse.

In fact, this is likely one of the biggest myths that must be destroyed: that affair partners truly love each other or that affair partners are capable of cultivating love. (They aren’t).

It is important to examine this so that your Valentine’s Day is not ruined.

Plus, I want you and your spouse to have a good time on Valentine’s Day. I do not want your wonderful dinner to be sullied by thoughts of the other skank or other Lothario who disrupted your lives with the force of a tornado.

Hint: Tornados do not love. Tornados destroy everything in their path and they just keep on swirling and twirling around until entire towns are leveled. Tornados do not stop and look back to survey they damage they caused, look at all the lives and homes they have wrecked, and feel a twinge of guilt.

Nope, tornados just keep on going and keep on destroying anything and everything that is in their way. It’s just want tornados and affair partners do.



Love, Infidelity, and How an Affair Works

I will tell you that it is impossible for infidelity and love to exist in the same space.


All of the actions and the feelings that occur during an affair have nothing in common with love. In one of the later sections in this article, I will address the definition of love and analyze the essence of love itself.

But, before I do that, I wanted to define how an affair works and discuss whether or not betrayed spouses are flawed in some way.

At one point or another, just about every betrayed spouse will have at least one fleeting thought that he or she is flawed.

This thought often leads to a betrayed spouse wondering if they caused an affair and if their wayward spouse loves or loved the other person.

That’s where it all starts to unravel and dark thoughts often flood into the mind of the betrayed. I can tell you betrayed spouses are not flawed and these flaws did not cause a cheater to cheat. Cheaters cheat regardless of their spouses.

So, let’s first look at how the average affair works.

An affair is an experience that must exist inside a bubble of fantasy, deception, willful suspension of reality, and smoke and mirrors.

An affair is an experience that is made of a strong brew of adrenaline, endorphins, cortisol, dopamine, neuropeniphrene, and oxytocin.

Note how oxytocin and oxycontin are spelled very similarly?

I do not know if that was intentional on the part of the pharmaceutical companies, but both substances are drugs.

Oxytocin is a drug/hormone that the brain releases to create strong bonds between individuals. When a mother is breastfeeding her baby, her body releases oxytocin and this strengthens the bond between mother and child.

Oxytocin can also be released just after sex.

Oxycontin is a synthetic drug that relieves pain and was created to be a powerful pain-reliever.  But, taking this drug is often accompanied by feelings of euphoria. This is why oxycontin became the drug of choice among upwardly mobile homemakers during the early 2000’s.

Oxycontin relieved feelings of boredom or depression, but relieving these feelings came at a price: Oxycontin is highly addictive and too much of it can suppress the breathing center in the brain and this causes people to die during their sleep.

Having an affair is a drug.

Affairs cause a person to feel more confidence, cause them to feel euphoric, and often cause them to become obsessed with the object of their affection. Having an affair causes powerful neurochemicals to be released and the person having an affair is no different from a drug addict.

This is most true when an affair is new.

This is when the neurochemicals are at their most powerful. A brain experiencing the excitement of the early stages of an affair is no different than as brain on cocaine, methamphetamines, and heroin.

There is something that betrayed spouses must understand: there is nothing special about the other person. There is nothing better about the other person. The other person is merely a drug – drugs are harmful – and the affects of drugs always wear off.

If a wayward spouse came home and told you that he or she did not love you anymore because they fell in love with cocaine, would you be insecure and tearful?

I am sure you would be outraged when it sunk in that your spouse was using drugs. You would likely call in-patient rehabilitation facilities. You would probably issue ultimatums and lock down ALL bank accounts.

But, you wouldn’t walk around the house obsessing over how you could grind yourself into a white and sniff-able powder.

See also  How to Tolerate Less After the Affair

You would not become obsessed with thoughts such as:

  • Is cocaine more beautiful/handsome than I am?
  • Is cocaine smarter than I am?
  • What can I do to become a sniff-able powder so that I can enter my spouse’s nose and love on all those neglected nose hairs?
  • Is cocaine younger than I am?
  • Did my spouse do cocaine in our bed when I was at work and did cocaine sneak out the back door?
  • Has cocaine been sending nude selfies to my spouse?
  • Does cocaine weigh fewer grams than I do? Do I need to lose a few grams to be as attractive as cocaine?
  • Has my spouse been buying jewelry for cocaine?
  • What does cocaine have that I do not have?
  • Did my spouse send cocaine flowers on Valentine’s Day?
  • Was a condom always used when my husband’s nose shared deeply intimate times with cocaine?
  • Why can’t I do for my spouse’s nose what cocaine does for his nose? Cocaine must be so much more limber than I am.
  • Cocaine is so nimble that cocaine can probably get into all kinds of places I cannot. If I only did more yoga, cocaine wouldn’t have come between us.

No, you would not be thinking such thoughts if your spouse came home and announced they did not love you anymore because they had fallen in love with cocaine.

If your spouse said such a thing, you would realize your spouse had become quite a severe addict and you would likely make phone calls to get professional help for your spouse immediately.

You would not take it personally since you would realize your spouse had become so troubled that he or she thought buying cocaine and getting hooked on this very dangerous drug was the answer.

Well, the other person is literally nothing more than an addiction. Since the other person is an addiction, all addictions must end.

Our brain naturally habituates to elevated levels of a certain neurochemicals. That means the affect of the drug wears off. It ALWAYS wears off.

Our brains have built-in systems that ensure we never feel too high or too low. If the other person is a drug to your spouse, their power will wear off.

Here is a good description of how the typical affair goes:

“Affairs always begin with much passion, excitement and a taste of something ‘new’. Individuals might meet someone, and realise that they have been very unhappy in their marriage for many years. They will tell their affair partner that their marriage was already ‘over’ when they got together.

They will air all of their dirty marriage laundry – about how awful their spouse was, and how they never felt whole, or appreciated, or able to grow in their marriage.

They will believe that they are moral people, with high values, and would never have considered an affair, until they met ‘The One’. The one person who is so special and different and unique that they are willing to compromise all of their values to be with them.

However, frustration and disappointment quickly begin to creep into the relationship. They may still share a bed with their spouse while the divorce is going through. They may place family commitments above commitments to their affair partner. For example, family functions with the soon-to-be ‘ex’ may take precedence over ‘date night’, or romantic getaways.

Sometimes, I counsel couples who got together through an affair, and are struggling to build a successful relationship, despite their initial passionate feelings towards each other.

For couples who began a relationship through an affair, and later marry, the statistics aren’t positive. According to the studies that have been done, over 75% of those marriages will end in divorce after five years.” (1)


Marriages between affair partners have very grim statistics.

But, this is no surprise.

It is impossible to build a strong relationship on a faulty foundation. A couple that left their marriages and married each other can metaphorically build the biggest mansion they want.

However, such couples can only metaphorically obtain building permits for lots located on sand dunes and located in the worst hurricane zones. That giant mansion will usually be flattened soon after it is built.

I think it’s terrific that marriages between affair partners do not work out.

That’s how it should be and thank goodness it is this way.

Also, just because someone marries their affair partner does not make it a valid marriage. In Judaism, God does not ordain such unions. (Neither do I).

Let’s back up…

Did you notice how early on in the excerpt above the author talks about the rewriting of the marriage that occurs when someone meets an affair partner?

This phenomenon is very hurtful, but it is also so cliché that I actually roll my eyes when I hear such things. When people speak of their marriage, most are happy until they meet Randy McDandy or Katy Von Flakey.

The affairs partners are most often people from the bottom of the barrel who seek to use a married person for some kind of gain—especially financial gain. The justification cheaters use to validate their “true love” often border on the absurd. Every time I read about someone making excuses for their affair partner, I think of this clip from Best in Show.



I would like to say that such people are fictional, but I can assure you they exist.

Early on in my marriage, my husband and I were invited to dinner at the home of a surgeon and his girlfriend. They did not tell us that they met while they were both married.

Since I can read situations, I had it figured out less than five minutes into meeting the couple. My husband and I had seen the movie Best in Show. The entire night, I felt as if I were swept into an alternate universe and as if I were dining with the couple in the above clip.

When I realized these people actually exist, I had a difficult time keeping a straight face during the entire dinner. I made small talk with the wife who reminded me of the actress in the clip. 

I asked how she and her “beloved” met and she skirted around the whole thing. I never got a straight answer. So, I made more small talk and asked about their hobbies or activities she and her “beloved” enjoyed.

She talked for about 45 minutes about how they went about picking out the matching treadmills in their workout room, how they decided which identical tennis shoes to buy so that their shoes always matched, and when they decided to use which piece of workout equipment and how.

This was ALL they had in common.

She also had no issue with the fact that her lover, the surgeon, beat up his wife when his wife would not settle on the divorce terms he wanted.

Oh… and his four kids? Well, those were just ornaments that visited from time to time. Her children were already grown since she had her children in her teens. Sometimes the mistress thinks it’s worth it for a wife to be beat up by her husband if it means the mistress gets to move into the giant house (while the wife and kids huddle together in a studio apartment).

Please note the sentence in italics is snark; however, it is truly what the female lover believed. Yes, some people are this sick and selfish.

Information About Affairs Can Come in the Strangest Places

I was at the store today and the woman who worked as the cashier mentioned a woman who was targeting her husband at work. I told her that type of person is called a spouse poacher. Of course, she had never heard the term before, but she was relieved to hear a term existed for such people.

She told me that her husband was a good and honorable man, but that he had a clingy coworker who would not go away. She explained that her husband had to switch the shift he worked without telling the coworker because the coworker would be mad. Then, she reiterated that she – the cashier- was happy to have an honorable husband who would never cheat on her.

A female in line behind me then began to talk. She mentioned she was retired, but that prior to being retired, she worked in a field where the men were no more than commodities to spouse poachers. This woman said that the aggression and intentionality of spouse poachers sent chills up her spine.

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I mentioned that most spouse poachers would not care if the wife’s children were homeless, were crying, and were shivering outside in the rain at midnight. The woman in line validated my statement as true.

She said she had witnessed many women knowingly go after married men to an unusual extent. Married men were a challenge; married men were exciting; affairs were exciting. The woman who was in line with me had witnessed many acts of spouse poaching and still could not wrap her head around why a woman could do that to another woman (the wife). The woman in line was most shocked by the blood-lust she had witnessed in spouse poachers.



Does Being Betrayed Make You Flawed?

The answer is….

  • NO
  • няма
  • 沒有
  • Dili
  • όχι
  • Geen
  • ના·     არა
  • Babu
  • 没有
  • Hayi
  • Cha
  • Dim
  • Rara
  • Nee
  • Teu
  • Ee e
  • いいえ
  • Nem
  • नहीं
  • Tsis muaj
  • Nr
  • Tidak
  • Uimh
  • Ora
  • жоқ
  • Che
  • Үгүй
  • He
  • Yox
  • 아니
  • Không
  • ບໍ່ມີ
  • Chan eil
  • Yo’q
  • ਨਹੀਂ
  •  نہیں
  • Nihil

I hope that list brought a tear to your eye. I spent much time looking up the word for “No” in different languages of the world. The reason I did this is to reinforce the idea that being betrayed does NOT make you flawed.

Plus, I thought it was really interesting to see how the different languages of the world say the word “no.”

Are you someone who is afraid to say “no” to a request that is unreasonable?

If you are, please use one of the many ways to say “no” since the list contains forty different ways to say “no.”

In saying “no,” you set an essential boundary.

And I am sure that if you memorize at least ten of those ways to say “no,” your wayward spouse will become either very intrigued or very paranoid. Either way, these words are empowering.

You have a right to say NO and I have provided you with forty different ways in case your spouse did not hear you the first time!

If he did not, you have thirty-nine more ways to say “no” and to make your wayward spouse feel less powerful.

Now, let us explore this idea of feeling flawed in more detail.

On the Tiny Buddha website, Kirsten Davies writes:

“I used to think when someone cheated on me that I was flawed.

You see, I had a core belief that there was something wrong with me. I never felt enough. I’m not even sure I can fully articulate this feeling, but whatever it was, I just didn’t feel enough. Slim enough, pretty enough, clever enough, worthy enough, or just, well, anything enough.

I’ve now come to see that when someone mistreats you it has almost nothing to do with you. Other people’s behavior is about them.

I’ve come to realize that my ex flirting and engaging in a sexual manner with other women had to do with his insecurities, and nothing to do with me not being good enough.

It was his issue, not mine. It was his ego that needed a boost, and he used other women for that because he wasn’t emotionally or intellectually developed enough to boost himself.

I believe we must be responsible enough to look after our own feelings and not make someone else responsible for how we feel. He was still trapped in a cycle of thinking he needed someone to make him feel happy. He needed to use other women to boost his self-esteem.

Previously, I’ve felt that my world was falling apart when a man cheated on me or left me. I felt my value decreased the moment he didn’t want me.

I can now see my value just is, it’s innate. We are all born worthy—worthy of love and good enough. Even if no one in the world can see it, it’s the truth. I am enough exactly as I am. I don’t need to be anything other than who I am. I have nothing to prove to anyone anymore.

I’ve realized that I am more than lovable. When someone doesn’t or can’t treat me the way I want and deserve to be treated, it’s not a reflection of me.

I’ve learned that it’s my job to put my best interests at heart and love myself enough to walk away from anything that doesn’t serve me or build me up.

This time I discovered an inner strength much sooner than I previously have. I walked away when I discovered the lies; previously I would stayed trying to fix myself when I wasn’t the one that was at fault.

I now recognize that I am a complete person all alone. I don’t need someone else to complete me.

I function and enjoy my life on my own. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy being in relationships—I really do, and I think it’s so magical when two happy, complete people come together and share their lives.

Relationships are places of spiritual growth, and they can enhance an already happy life. Their purpose is not to make a miserable one better; that’s too much power to hand to any one person.

Love is a place of pure positive energy. If someone has to put you down in order to try to keep you then that’s not love; it’s control. Control is based on a scarcity model of love, and that’s not positive energy; it’s fear-based.

I have never understood it when people said that love isn’t enough. Love is always enough, but love is about loving actions, loving behavior. You can’t claim to love someone yet lie to them; the two things don’t match.

1. When someone cheats or mistreats you, it almost never has anything to do with you.

You are good enough even when their actions may have you believe otherwise.

2.  Someone else’s bad behavior doesn’t reflect badly on you.

Someone cheating on you doesn’t make you look silly. It highlights that they have issues they need to work on.

3.  Your value and worth aren’t tied to anyone or anything.

Not your weight, relationship, or job.

4.  Love is never bad; love is amazing, pure and simple. Cheating hurts, lies hurt, being heartbroken hurts, but these things are not love.

These cause pain, but cheating, lying, and hurting others are done out of fear, not out of love. Love is, in fact, the only thing that ever makes the pain better again, and you can start to love yourself today. Self-love depends on yourself.

Set the standard for how people should love you by loving yourself wholeheartedly.

5.  Just because one relationship doesn’t work that doesn’t mean the next one won’t.

Don’t give up on love; give up on the people who made you think love wasn’t good.

“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” (2)



What Is Love?

Love is a verb. Love is unconditional. Love is consistent in its nature and does not falter. Love is unselfish.

Loving people are incapable of hurting others- especially the innocent.

Love is honest. Love is forthright. Love is constant. Love is altruistic. Love is benevolent. Love is kindness. Love is putting all that is for the highest good first.

Love is loyal.

Love is sincere.

Love is empathy itself.

Love does not envy others.

Loving people do not take what does not belong to them.

A loving person does not knowingly do evil to others.

Love is always honest and never deceitful.

Love protects all that is good. Love does not engage in activities that harm others.

Per the above definition, do you see infidelity having anything in common with Love?

Me neither.


Because infidelity is selfish, infidelity is dishonest; people in the infidelity mindset only see their own needs or they fool themselves. People who have affairs do not care who they hurt as long as they get their needs met.

Here is an addended article published in the New York Times. It was written by a mistress, Karin Jones, who dated married men:

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“I am not sure it’s possible to justify my liaisons with married men, but what I learned from having them warrants discussion. Not between the wives and me, though I would be interested to hear their side. No, this discussion should happen between wives and husbands, annually, the way we inspect the tire tread on the family car to avoid accidents.

A few years ago, while living in London, I dated married men for companionship while I processed the grief of being newly divorced. I hadn’t sought out married men specifically. When I created a profile on Tinder and OkCupid, saying I was looking for no-strings-attached encounters, plenty of single men messaged me and I got together with several of them. But many married men messaged me too.

I was careful about the men I met. I wanted to make sure they had no interest in leaving their wives or otherwise threatening all they had built together. In a couple of cases, the men I met were married to women who had become disabled and could no longer be sexual, but the husbands remained devoted to them.

Before I met each man I would ask: “Why are you doing this?” I wanted assurance that all he desired was sex.

What surprised me was that these husbands weren’t looking to have more sex. They were looking to have any sex.

I met one man whose wife had implicitly consented to her husband having a lover because she was no longer interested in sex, at all. They both, to some degree, got what they needed without having to give up what they wanted. But the other husbands I met would have preferred to be having sex with their wives. For whatever reason, that wasn’t happening.

At 49, I was just about there myself, and terrified of losing my desire for sex. Men don’t have this drastic change. So we have an imbalance, an elephant-size problem, so burdensome and shameful we can scarcely muster the strength to talk about it.

The first time I saw my favorite married man pick up his pint of beer, the sleeve of his well-tailored suit pulled back from his wrist to reveal a geometric kaleidoscope of tattoos. He was clean-shaven and well mannered with a little rebel yell underneath. The night I saw the full canvas of his tattoo masterpiece, we drank prosecco, listened to ’80s music and, yes, had sex. We also talked.

I asked him: “What if you said to your wife, ‘Look, I love you and the kids but I need sex in my life. Can I just have the occasional fling or a casual affair?’”

He sighed. “I don’t want to hurt her,” he said. “She’s been out of the work force for 10 years, raising our kids and trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. If I asked her that kind of question, it would kill her.”

“So you don’t want to hurt her, but you lie to her instead. Personally, I’d rather know.”

Well, maybe I would rather know. My own marriage had not broken up over an affair so I couldn’t easily put myself in her position.

“It’s not necessarily a lie if you don’t confess the truth,” he said. “It’s kinder to stay silent.”

I never convinced any husband that he could be honest about what he was doing.

I didn’t have a full-on affair with the tattooed husband. We slept together maybe four times over a few years. More often we talked on the phone. I never felt possessive, just curious and happy to be in his company.

After our second night together, though, I could tell this was about more than sex for him; he was desperate for affection. He said he wanted to be close to his wife but couldn’t because they were unable to get past their fundamental disconnect: lack of sex, which led to a lack of closeness, which made sex even less likely and then turned into resentment and blame.

What these husbands couldn’t do was have the difficult discussion with their wives that would force them to tackle the issues at the root of their cheating. They tried to convince me they were being kind by keeping their affairs secret. They seemed to have convinced themselves. But deception and lying are ultimately corrosive, not kind.” (3)


Let’s put aside the fact that all of these married men were most lying about their marriage.

Does a married man having sex with a stranger clandestinely to protect the feelings of his wife sound like love to you?

Yeah, me neither.


Loving Yourself

And now we get down to the original painting that started the other paintings. Here I see a beautiful woman who is beaming with joy because she painted a beautiful bird. This is a very beautiful painting and I am sure this woman spent many hours creating this work of art.

One of the ways we can love ourselves is by engaging in positive activities that show objectively we are awesome people.

One of the ways to overcome being betrayed is finding that bad-ass YOU that is still there underneath all the garbage that someone else dumped on you. You, the betrayed, are still a diamond, regardless of what garbage your cheater has brought into the relationship.

What a cheater does actually does not change the fact that you are a diamond. What a cheater does is not something that defines you at all. What you do defines you. What someone else does to you defines THEM.

No matter what a cheating spouse has told you about his or feelings for their lover, you must correct the cheater when he or she says it was love. Then show your cheater this article.

You see the definition of love actually PRECLUDES acts of infidelity.

Do not let the unfaithful folks of the world dirty the noble concept of love by referring to drunk, stand-up sex in an alleyway while leaning on a garbage can as an act of love. To whom was this a loving act?

And what about the homeless population trying to find shelter from the cold in an alleyway? This certainly was not a loving act for them to witness. Next time, keep your pants up, go to the store, and buy blankets and hot meals for these people attempting to find shelter from the cold. Don’t degrade them further by showing them your bare butt whilst they are trying to actually sleep.

In Summary

Infidelity is not love. Infidelity can NEVER be love. The definition of loves PRECLUDES infidelity. The next time your cheater says they love the other person, send them my way so I can set them straight.

I am sick and tired of the noble concept that is love itself being defiled and used as an excuse by the cheaters of the world so they can attempt to fool others into thinking they are noble people. Cheaters are not noble; infidelity is not noble; breaking wedding vows is not noble; shattering families is not noble.

The unfaithful are not allowed to co-opt noble values and noble acts in an attempt to make infidelity seem remotely okay. Infidelity will NEVER be okay. And I no longer accept cheaters who want to use the language to describe actual noble people and apply it so themselves.

I am no longer buying it. How about you? What will you say the next time your cheating spouse says it was true love with the other person? Will you laugh? Will you cry?

Is there a part of you that believes your spouse is genuinely in love with someone else? If so, tell me all about it in the comments. I am happy to reassure you.

Finally… a note to readers. I love all of you. I am happy we are here together supporting each other and helping others through the hard times in life. I think that is a very miraculous thing, don’t you? I think that is a kind of love and it is a valid one. Happy Valentine’s Day!!




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Regaining Control:
Dealing With Obsessive Thoughts, Triggers and Memories of the Affair

Arm yourself with a variety of techniques, practical strategies and  knowledge to help you to manage those intrusive thoughts, triggers and memories of your partner’s affair.




    100 replies to "Prepare for Valentine’s Day Triggers: Here Is Why Affair Partners Cannot Truly Love Each Other"

    • Sarah P.

      Chirp, chirp, I hear the crickets. If anyone is out there, I would love for you to share how you deal with Valentine’s Day triggers. We all have them and it would be amazing if we could all swap ideas of how to deal with painful triggers.

      Here is how I dealt with them.

      1) I never went to a restaurant or other place my ex and the OW went. Since the OW had such a big mouth, that was easy.

      2) I ensured that I found new activities and new hobbies, This is excellent advice in general because you meet new people and discover you have talents you never thought of. This is empowering.

      3) If affair recovery is new and D-Day was recent, go out with your friends for Valentine’s Day and wear your best clothing. Let your wayward spouse take out an elderly parent or elderly relative for Valentine’s Day. There are many lonely people on Valentine’s Day and expand the horizons of your wayward spouse by showing him or her they are not the center of the universe and there are good people out there who need to be cheered up (without your wayward spouse getting anything out of it.)

      4) Get a list of everywhere your wayward spouse went with the affair partner and declare all those places off limits. I know it sounds harsh, but you will probably feel bad if you go to those places. Go find new places and make NEW memories with your spouse.

      5) Make it clear you will not accept any flowers or presents that were given to the other person.

      But, in the end, it really takes time. It takes time to process what has happened to you. And the time that it takes is dictated solely by you. You must live with the pain and you take your time to heal, however long it takes.

      Does anyone else have practical ways that they avoid triggers during Valentine’s week?

      Or has the affair affected how you see Valentine’s Day forever?

      Valentine’s Day is going to be difficult for some… can anyone out there share how they get through it each year?

      What is hurting you most this week… what are you struggling with?

      There are many hurting people out there even if they are not making comments. So it would be great to chime in if anyone has some ideas on how to get through this week.

      Many thanks,

      • Shayne

        Sarah – this was an amazing article and very appropriate for me considering where I am at in my infidelity recovery. I read every one of your articles and they are filled with brilliant information and it seems just at the right time for me.

        I got through Valentine’s Day by basically ignoring it. My husband ignored it as well. However I did honor my 16 year old and he loves Valentine’s Day or any holiday where he gets gifts and the grandkids as well. I went into the day with no expectations and found myself that night upset that husband didn’t even mention the day and how it would affect me so I guess I did have expectations.

        I found out about his affair one year ago and was completely crushed. We have been married 27 years. Then I found out a few months later that his affair had been going on for a full year. He told me a few weeks ago that the affair has ended but that they still text to check in with each other. Said he doesn’t want a divorce and that they are each going to do the right thing and stay in their unhappy marriages – yes, really, he said that to my face. I said how noble of the two of you. He said loudly he just wants to get back to ‘normal’. Whatever that is.

        I am a different person than I was a year ago or even two years ago as I worried for a year that he might be having an affair but could not find evidence.

        Anyway I so appreciate this article and your suggestions about certain places and restaurants being off limits. I have a list like that that I just refuse to go to. He says he is in love with her and I replied ‘that love is not built on lies and deceit and destroying spouses and families’.

        I could go on and on about triggers but thankfully I am doing so much better and preparing to be able to support myself and 16 year old in the likely event that this marriage will not work out.

        I look forward to many more of your articles.

        • Shifting Impressions

          Shayne….your response to that completely insensitive statement of them staying their “bad marriages” was priceless. It always shocks me how the cheater often thinks they are doing you a favor by staying and they are the only ones that have a decision to make.

          I told my husband not to do me any favors and he was only to stay if that he actually wanted to be with me. I told him I loved him and wanted to work on the marriage. I also told him it would break my heart should he decide to leave but that I would survive. His response was interesting….he said he didn’t know if he would survive.

          Oh..and that getting “back to normal” line is cheater speak for “I just want to move on and I don’t want to talk about it”

          Sounds like he still has his “head up Ass” to borrow Doug’s favorite line….as did my husband for the first year or two after d-day. And still texting to “check in with each other”!!!

          It wasn’t until my husband started showing true remorse and a willingness to listen to my pain that we started slowly moving forward.

          Five years later….I still battle triggers, now and again. But not nearly as often and not nearly painful. We are still moving forward.

        • Sarah P.

          Hello Shyane,
          Thank you so much for the feedback!! I always welcome feedback because then I know what kinds of articles people need to read. So if you have any special requests, let me know… and that goes for everyone else too. If anyone has special requests, let me know. This blog is truly for READERS and we hope it is an essential tool for healing. So always tell us where it hurts and we will work on it!

          Shayne, I LOVE the way you responded to your husband and love Shifting Impressions’s comment too.

          Sarcasm voice: “Oh, if it’s SO BAD for you to stay in your unhappy marriage of 27-years, I will call the attorney and take over half of your retirement, sign up for spousal support that lasts for life, take half of your social security, and seize all your bank accounts. Then, you can be happily unmarried and poor. Then you will have to work twice as hard to make ends meet and have no social life at all. So, if you are truly unhappy, I will be absolutely happy to take all your money and leave. I think you and your OW will love living in a basement, studio apartment together because then you can really “be close,” just like you always wanted. Truly, it’s a win/win situation!”

          By the way, when people talk about being noble by staying in unhappy marriages, what they are actually saying is they are cowards, they are unhappy with themselves, but they know if they divorce, then they will have no one but themselves to blame their unhappiness on. But, of course even if they do divorce, if they are like my ex, they will NOT look at themselves. They will say things like, “The OW was NOT who she presented herself so be and I am soooooo unhappy.” In other words, such a person can never be accountable.

          Shayne, I am so sorry what you are going through. But, every time you look at him, remind yourself that HE is unhappy with himself and will never be accountable for that. He will always look for a source outside of himself that makes him unhappy and say, “Woe is me.” I am sure the OW is the same.

          Take care and BIG HUGS,

    • Hopeful

      In general Valentine’s Day is not a huge trigger. There were years where it was blah or forgotten. For me I do not put a lot of weight on this day. Saying that though it is nice to be remembered. But kind of a commercialized holiday.

      For me I really focus on my kids. They appreciate whatever I get them and do for them. It is also fun. I make a dinner with all red items. Put something special in their lunch. This just makes me happy.

      If my husband asks what I want to do or what I want I have ideas. One thing I do not do is say “I don’t know”. I really make sure to have ideas. That way if he does something I am not disappointed.

    • Sarah P.

      Hi Hopeful,
      That is so nice that you do that for your children. I am sure those special touches are fun for your children and they will ALWAYS remember them. Putting something special in a child’s lunchbox feels magical to them and dinner with red items is also fun. You are a great mom and I am certain your children appreciate all you do.

      Good point about stating what you want when a husband asks. Tell them exactly what you want because no one is a mind-reader.

      I have to admit Valentine’s Day has lost any meaning to me as a person. It is commercialized. But, I also understand Valentine’s Day is special for others. My wedding anniversary is February 15th, so the two are always melded together.

      Anyone else? What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

      Thanks for your comment, Hopeful.

    • Sarah P.

      Is there anyone out there who is struggling to believe this article? Is there anyone out there who is unable to get past the idea that maybe a spouse loved an affair partner more?

      • Gina

        Hello Sarah,

        I sometimes question, as well, if the affair couple “perhaps are in love.” My husband had (still is?) an affair with a girl 30 years his junior. Ridiculous! What made a lot of sense to me in this article is that strong, healthy relationships required two “whole” people. While I’ve decided to stay in this marriage until I find any new “proof” of him cheating, I have become stronger as an individual. I know I can make it on my own if needed. My kids are in university, so they, too, will have to make adjustments but are strong, independent people. Although an extremely successful business man, my husband is weak (physically, mentally, emotionally) and not whole. As a loyal wife, I’ve tried everything to help him, but he chose to have an affair instead (and lie about it for nearly one year while still intimate with me). Anyways, I believe that perhaps the affair couple believes they are in love, but it’s on such rocky footing and both people are not strong or healthy enough to truly love.
        I hope this rambling helps.
        **Strangely, my husband and I actually had a good Valentine’s Day. I had no expectations and even bought myself flowers. He bought me flowers, as well, picked up dinner, and gave me a nice card. I continue to have huge, thick walls built around me, but I just enjoyed the day and expressed my appreciation for his efforts.

        • Sarah P.

          Hello Gina,

          You know it seems to me the “strong businessman” part of your husband is a social face. I will also guess that if you leave him, he will have a nervous breakdown. There are many people who are weak physically, mentally, and emotionally. They are like buckets that have a hole in the bottom. They constantly look to others to fill them, but since they have a hole, they can never be filled. Even thirty women thirty years younger than your husband cannot fill him.

          You have learned that you have to be a whole person and you have become one.

          Your husband can fix his hole, but he must do it through therapy. No one else can fix our own leaky bucket but ourselves. To be “whole” we must fix the “holes” in our bucket first.

          I am so sorry your husband had an affair. And I hope he knows that young woman is only interested in what is in his pants… and that thing would be his WALLET. You should hire a forensic account or forensic detective to find out if your husband has secret accounts. They almost always do. Everyone says their husband would NEVER go that far… and yet 99% of them commit financial infidelity when there is someone else in the picture. Women that young need to be “bought off” frequently to spend time with old men.

          I don’t want to offend any readers, but I will say this: I was responsible for editing a city newspaper and photographing and building 200 different advertisements for local city businesses. It was a summer job and I got it because I was the most qualified person. I did not have to compromise my moral values – ever – at any point in my life. Every job I ever got was due to hard work, education, but mostly hard work. I was taught that no one owed me anything and I was taught that no job was below me. I was a waitress for a while AFTER I got my first Master’s Degree because that was the only job I could get within one day. I had bills to pay. I remember many men in their 50’s and 60’s who were very wealthy who would come on to me because they thought I was this starving, young lady and I would latch onto them if they tried hard enough. The answer was NO. I refused to lower myself to being bought by someone. I took pride in being a waitress because it taught me valuable customer service skills. These sugar baby/sugar daddy things trigger me because I know how fake it is on the part of the young woman. Also, she never thinks of the feelings of the wife- she just wants her Prada purse. Oh and if she has to lay on her back and fantasize about a young actor (or fantasize about what outfits she will wear with her Prada purse) then it’s worth it. There is no thought for the wife, the children, or the family they are harming.

          I hope you hire someone to look into the bank accounts. You must protect yourself.

          And for the readers out there… I KNOW what I am talking about. My husband has been doing some wacky things for a year now and he has been moving money without my permission. And I am looking into it. I practice what I preach and I do not give advice to anyone that I could not take myself. Please hire some kind of forensic accountant to make sure he doesn’t have hidden accounts in Taiwan or somewhere else. Apple Pay now has a bank in Taiwan that Americans with no link to Asia whatsoever can sign up with. (I found this out in a jarring way). 🙁


          • Gina

            Thanks for your great reply. My husband is handsome and wealthy, but he can barely walk 10 minutes (unless it’s on the golf course) without complaining about every joint in his body. He’s always grumpy, and is extremely egocentric. I can’t imagine any other woman wanting to be with him except for his money and for the challenge. I agree that he will never be fulfilled. We have amazing, smart, and healthy kids, and I have learned to believe that I am a catch at my age; yet none of this is enough for him.
            About the sugar daddy thing: he flew her to Paris, New York, and other places without me knowing. Can you imagine: he took pictures of the hotel I recommended he stay at while she must have been hiding in a corner somewhere! I had no idea he was doing this.
            As soon as I found out he was having an affair, I hired an amazing lawyer who said they would do a forensic financial disclosure when the time comes.
            The entire thing disgusts me, but, like I said, I know I’ll be fine if I have to ask him to leave. I will pack his bags and have them waiting for him outside our garage door if/when I find out he is still with this horrendous person. As far as I understand, she is a narcissist, at the age of 26 has various implants, and has had previous (and current?) older men pay for her expenses. Why are men sooooo stupid?
            I often ask if I am stupid waiting for the next affair to show its ugly face, but I feel I am in a good place and am giving my husband one last chance.
            I’m sorry, too, that you’ve had to go through this nonsense.

      • Cheryl

        Whenever my husband and I actually talk about his affair, he will say that they are past the “honeymoon” stage. He tells me they have had many emotional ups and downs over the past two
        years and it hasn’t been all fun and secret dates like I imagine it to be. But he also tells me their fights or arguments are passionate or highly emotional. (That makes me feel great ????) So, I do worry that maybe she does “get him” and he feels like she understands his heart and he feels like I don’t like the real him. That i don’t like the weak man he actually is, but she loves all of him. These things hurt my heart so much, but I’m also thinking quit being a pathetic cry baby and be a man! Get over the Whore and get control of yourself!! So, yes I do worry that since their affair has now been 3 years, though the past year has been a process of him trying to end it and fall back in love with me, that it isn’t a fantasy affair, they fight about real things. However, he has never been away with her, lived with her for one day, or even spent time with her after office hours. With the exception of texting her nonstop while at home and vacations with his family.
        I’m really struggling because it’s now on a week of supposedly no contact with her but when he ended it he wouldn’t share with me exactly what he said. When I asked if he told her he loved her, he didn’t deny saying it. He said he couldn’t be hateful and end it like the scripts in all the books say to do, that this is real life with real feelings and he doesn’t want to hurt her feeling any more than she is already hurt. So this didn’t make me
        happy at all and I actually told him that doing it that way was a set up for them to continue their affair. He said he didn’t expect my response and was hurt at my reaction.

        • Rose

          He’s still having the affair. Time for an ultimatum.

      • stillshocked

        I fear that my WS and his AP are actually really in love and that it isn’t going to fizzle out or loose the luster. When he and I have talks about the affair, he will tell me he can’t explain it but she “gets him” and he doesn’t have to explain what he is feeling or thinking. Their affair isn’t all secret lunch dates and roses, they have real fights and arguments about real things and when they argue it is more passionate and emotional. They have had an active affair for two years before I found out. He had lost all love for me and expected me to kick him out. When i discovered the affair, I have fought for our marriage and changed myself for the better. This past year of discovery has been a big change for us both. He has been trying for moths to end his affair and has done so twice but can’t seem to stay away from her. He says their relationship isn’t even that he wants to divorce and marry her anymore, but that he can’t imagine never having her in his life and not being able to talk to her. It’s part of his work day running over to her office, seeing where she wants to go lo lunch, etc. when the weekend comes she pressures him to keep talking all weekend so he does text her all weekend but their affair has never been an overnight date or even going somewhere after the work day. I did learn that he took personal days and spent afternoons with her while I thought he was at work. Over Christmas break I believed he had gone 12 weeks with no contact until I checked the phone records. So, since about two- three weeks ago I have been at the point of not being willing to be cheated on anymore. He once again said it needed it a week ago, but wasn’t willing to share what he said to her. He told me that the scripts the expert want the WS to say aren’t realistic that this is real life with real feelings involved. He doesn’t want to hurt her further. I asked if he told her he loved her and he didn’t deny it. I wasn’t happy with this way of ending it because, as I told him, it was just a set up for them to resume their affair. So, we went out and enjoyed an evening on VD. This morning I ask how he is feeling and such…. he is trying to stay occupied.. sominask if he has talked to her or seen her and no response. I’m at the point of wanting him to just leave. I can’t takr it anymore. But our college age kids have no idea what’s going on and he hasn’t left our home. I feel like it’s allnip to me as tomwhst I will tolerate, if everyone’s lives crumble once I say I’m done. But then I worry my emotions Nd hurt feelings are sabotaging our chances.

        • Kittypone

          Still shocked
          My heart goes out to you. If you don’t set the boundaries for your H, he will still be a fence sitter and have his cake and eat it too. You’re the only one who knows what you are willing to live with and what you’re NOT willing to live with……from what I have seen, no life that begins by destroying a family can succeed long term, so even if your H and the AP are “in love” now, once the reality of every day life, bills, children, stress, work, AGEING, and all that jazz sets in, that’s where their “love” will truly be tested and who knows if it will pass that test or fail it. You can only do your best, keep working on yourself, know that this is NOT YOUR FAULT, and that there is NOTHING WRONG with you as a woman. HE chose to have the affair. HIS responsibility. You decide if he is worth all the heartache and pain you are going through for your relationship. I know I am wondering the same thing for my own marriage of 30 years…..

    • Better days

      From a relatively recent discovery perspective. A little different issue with this day and certain others. Because lots of us know “they” had special plans or events they followed thru with on this day. My biggest issue is wondering which if not both AP’s are going to have a moment of weakness remembering how special this day was last year. I would like to think this is just me being insecure but, it would be interesting to hear from an unfaithful or if there have been studies to indicate how temped they are on these special days vs any other day they shared together to send a, “just thinking of you” message. In the grand scheme of things, to me, anything they did on this day is not much different than anything they did on many other days. But I wonder if they require a little extra strength on these days and if it’s more likely a relapse may occur on this type of day.

    • Untold

      Do they make valentines cards appropriate to give to an unfaithful spouse? It’s so hard to find one I’m comfortable giving.

    • Exercisegrace

      Every betrayed spouse struggles with the horror of another woman taking a special place in her husband’s heart or mind. But from the distance of 7 years post d-day, I will pose a “chicken or egg” theory for everyone’s consideration.

      We had been married for over 20 years at the time of his affair. We had always been the couple that other couples envied. We were each other’s best friend, and we felt that we had a true partnership. This is how he described us to the ow when they first started working together. The psycho took that as a challenge. To upset a solid marriage was a real ego boost for her. I spent a LOT of time during recovery trying to figure out where it all went wrong. How could he have been unhappy enough to cheat? He had never complained, we were not fighting, etc etc. I have come to the conclusion that the cheating spouse often is NOT unhappy in their marriage prior to the affair. For us, we had some unhappy and/or stressful life events going on. Here’s a new flash. EVERYONE DOES. It’s how we respond to those stressors that divide the cheaters from the faithful. Two of our parents had recently died, our business and thus our finances was struggling, we moved, we had adopted two babies and jumped from a family of 4 to 6! And the list could go on. It was a difficult time and it was hard. But I saw it as a season and I was confident that better days were ahead. My husband on the other hand, was being flirted with at work. It was a vulnerable time and he failed. He lapped up the attention. He loved the ego boost. As I often put it? She grabbed a shovel and helped him turn a Molehill into a Mountain! She fed his discontent. Little annoyances were turned into major character flaws in me. If I had been up all night with one of the babies and dinner wasn’t cooked, or the house was messy? I was a bad wife. Or I didn’t respect him and how hard he worked to provide for me and the kids. Never mind that he didn’t pitch in and help. Or offer me a chance to sleep in even once in awhile! Ever so slowly our story was rewritten. High school sweethearts? Married too young, big mistake. We were always best friends? I was possessive and kept him on a short leash. We had always liked to do things and go places with the kids? I was boring and ignored my marriage. We made the choice together that I would be a SAHM and wife? I was stupid and a freeloader sponging off of his income. We let our kids come and sleep in our bed sometimes, where we told stories, songs and did shadow puppets? Bad parenting choices that I forced on him.

      I think you get the picture. Suddenly I was married to a man I didn’t know, who told our history like we had fallen down the rabbit hole. Later, he was very ashamed and disgusted with himself. He admitted that facts were twisted to help him justify his disgusting choices. He even said in a counseling session that he couldn’t understand how he let it all happen. That he had loved the life we had, but let stress and depression take over. The newness and excitement of the affair were like a drug that made him feel temporarily better.

      So for those in the early stages of this? Just know the ow has absolutely nothing on you. The fault is in your spouse for deceiving themselves and choosing the temporary rush of an affair. Nothing based on lies and deceit can ever be right. It can never flourish because it is planted in rotten ground. Often the marital discontent is sown AFTER the affair has begun. You aren’t crazy. And the ow is just a whore, begging for scraps to fall from the marital table.

    • Sarah P.

      Honestly I think they do need more strength because the chance an affair partner will reach out is high. I am very sorry that you are going through this.

    • Sarah P.

      Hello ExerciseGrace,
      It’s good to see you around.

      What happened to you is very common
      in terms of the viciousness of the other woman. There are many other women out there who cannot stand to see the happiness of a married couple. It’s almost as if it’s bait. The woman cannot stand that she didn’t get (fill in the blank) and so she targets a woman who did get (fill in the blank).

      It makes me sad to hear about everything that was beautiful in your marriage and family. I sense there was so much love and inclusiveness to go around. I still allow my autistic son to crawl into bed when he is scared. Of course my husband and I wear clothes to bed in case he wakes up from a nightmare and runs in. But when they were younger, we read stories on the bed. Your marriage and family sounded beautiful. It makes me sick to my stomach that someone intentionally wanted to destroy that. But, I have been there myself. With my ex, we were that couple. Thank God we did NOT have kids. The OW was a loud mouth and described to many people I knew how tantalizing it was to destroy the wonderful life of someone she never met. She never met me face to face. She just found my ex attractive and when someone told her not to bother because nothing would come between us, that was all the challenge she needed. She relished the fact that she took nearly everything from me. She told people I knew she prayed for my suicide so the house would not have to be sold. My ex actually lost his life long, male best friend in all of it. After my ex introduced her to his best friend and she bragged about taking me down, his best friend never spoke to him again. His best friend was not my best friend because he was a guy. But all three of us traveled together. I always welcomed his best friend wherever we went. His friend knew I was one of the most decent people you could ever meet and was also a coworker and knew that I was one of the top people in the company due solely to my hard work. He was so disgusted that my ex allowed this to happen, he never spoke with him again. That says volumes because they had been best friends since they were small children. I never asked his best friend to stop talking to him and never confided in his friend. His friend did that of his own volition. People who met the OW described her as the scariest person they ever encountered. My point? These women exist.

      ExerciseGrace, for new readers do you mind sharing the fallout of what happened after the affair? Your story is one of the ones that makes me the most angry. All affair stories make me angry but you had to suffer some very real things that went beyond emotional devastation. And that part sends chills up my spine.

      I suffered stage one cervical cancer as a result of my ex playing around with the OW. I was lucky I could carry a child after the treatment for the cancer.

      As I recall you suffered some health issues as well. And that makes me feel terrible. ????

      • Exercisegrace

        Hi Sarah! Yes I’d be happy to write up some details for our newer people.
        That’s amazing that his friend stood up to him. Not many people have that strength of character! Headed out now, but I’ll get busy writing later!

    • Eagle2435

      This is an interesting article – we are only 4 months out from d-day but are doing well. My wife had the guts to confess to me even though she thought I would leave, because she had already ended the affair and felt that I deserved to know about it.

      I was able to come to terms pretty quickly with the fact that affairs are complex things and that it had nothing to do with me. This was, admittedly, helped by the fact that the gaps between myself and her affair partner are vast chasms and plainly obvious (he’s 20 years older, physically much weaker and very unattractive, depends on his wife financially, etc. etc.)

      I never asked my wife if she loved her affair partner. I asked her if she ever told him she did. I knew she couldn’t actually have loved him. After she told me that she never said she loved him, she thought for a moment and said “I never felt like I loved him…I don’t think I ever could have loved him.” Validation for your article right there.

      As far as V-day triggers, this was obviously the first Valentines Day since finding out, and last year the affair was just starting so there were no gifts exchanged or anything special done, although the physical part of the affair started about 3 weeks later so it isn’t an easy time of the year. I didn’t really have any triggers other than seeing a Facebook memory.

      The memory was a post from 2 years ago that my wife had done because she was out of town with the kids visiting her parents. She had our 4 kids make signs and took pictures and videos and posted them on Facebook and said “Happy Valentines Day to the love of my life, the best husband and father ever.”

      The memory made me smile, but then made me sad because just one year later, even though I was the same person, I had gone from ‘the love of her life, the best husband and father’ to the one that wasn’t wanted, and that there was someone else that might be worth losing the love of her life and her 4 children for.

      Personally, I just showed her the post and we talked about it, she apologized again (as she always does) and we had a great rest of the night. I know it’s not that easy for everyone. I’ve always naturally had a strong sense of self-worth and a large capacity to forgive my loved ones whole-heartedly and not dwell on the past. It has come in handy in this recovery, as has my wife’s effort.

      Blessings to everyone still dealing with the pain especially around this time of year. My anniversary is in a couple of weeks and with that comes the knowledge that the physical affair started less than a week after. I think that may be a harder time than Valentines Day. We’ll see.

      • Better days


        You have a lot of faith in what she is telling you and her current actions. It seems to be working for you and your family and I congratulate you. You are stronger than I.

        I am a bit more skeptical. I only go by her actions, which appear to be good since confrontation day. Though, she lied straight to my face, day in – day out, for a year. What’s one more series of lies now? The value of anything that comes out of her mouth is very low. Being that it was nearly a year long affair, there aren’t many days on the calendar that I can say she wasn’t with him either physically or by communicating with snap chat nearly 24/7. This includes anniversaries, x-mas, birthdays, thanksgiving, Easter. You name it.

        I think getting to where you are is the goal. However, I’m not going to rush it or be naïve in the least. I can’t help but think I would be an absolute idiot to let my guard down now that I know that she’s capable of sticking a knife strait into my back. I’m 7 months out and I’m not even close. My intention is not to jade you, because that is what you are trying to overcome. But many people can predict almost down to the very detail how these situations play out and their poor choices don’t always end here. Just saying…

        • Eagle2435

          Better days, It’s definitely based on her actions and not so much her words. She didn’t divulge the whole truth when she confessed and it did trickle out. As it was trickling, she sat down and wrote me a letter detailing what she had left out and everything she could remember that I wanted to know. She’s given a lot of details and doesn’t hide anything.

          But I still check the phone records at times. I still look at her phone, her email every so often. She’s been an open book.

          She did lie to my face for 6 mos., but I had gut intuition that something wasn’t right. I still trusted her, but it showed me that I can trust my gut. Right now my gut tells me that she is wholly committed and has deep regret. And she’s shown it. Sometimes I actually have to encourage her when she’s really self-loathing a lot.

          Ultimately, I realized that I was going to have to trust to a certain degree from the get go. You can’t keep tabs on them 24/7 and you can’t control their actions. So if you’re going to be in the battle and restore your marriage, there’s going to be some tiny bit of trust that will be given by me simply because I’m not with her all the time. Over time as she proves it more and more, the trust grows.

      • Exercisegrace

        Eagle, I hope and pray you are one of the very few that has the whole truth on d-day. Most of us have found out the hard way that our spouses don’t spill everything if they don’t have to do so. But you have a good attitude, and your self-esteem is on track! Hold onto that, because at some point the triggers may seem overwhelming. Know that it’s normal. Best of luck on this journey!

        • Eagle2435


          Oh I definitely didn’t get the whole truth. I’ve seen her confessing without being caught as a big difference in our story. She had ended the affair and didn’t have to tell me, I would have never known for sure.

          She told me but left out important details, so they did trickle out. In her words through recovery, she was simply clueless as to what to do to help me heal, and didn’t know it would be such a big deal for me to have details.

          • Hopeful

            Eagle, This was similar to us. My husband had ended everything 15 months before dday. I would say he minimized what he did both frequency and length of time. For me dday 2 was much harder. He had two sporadic affairs. On dday he made them sound like mini one night stands. Well when it came out he knew these women for 10 years. Granted he would go over a year without talking to them and only saw one of the ow 3-4 times in those ten years. I think anyone who cheats tells themselves whatever they need to. In my husband’s case granted his affairs went on for a long time so he could not tell me even which year he met one. He knew it was between three years in the fall. Seriously I lost my mind. But as he said it was not something he wanted to remember or celebrate. He lied to me and most important he lied to himself every day.

            I think you are right you need to make sure her actions match her words. And you are also right you cannot keep track of everything. Honestly with technology if my husband wants to cheat he will find a way. I feel I am more in tune with how he acts and behaves.

            • Eagle2435


              they sure do lie to themselves A LOT. For 9.75 years I was a model husband and father, and in 3 mos. I turned into a completely horrible person?

              They literally have to be on crack to think that their new version of the truth is reality.

        • Better days

          My situation is different in that my wife didn’t confess anything, she was caught. I don’t know how that compares. However, she later admitted that if I didn’t call her out on her lies in the first couple of weeks, she would have continued to see him. She admitted their first agreement was to lay low, aka be more secretive. It was only my persistence calling her out on things that didn’t add up or make sense. I have no doubt, she would still be seeing him today if I would have bought her minimizing lies.

          • Eagle2435

            I really do feel like her confessing was huge. To me it signified that she was completely done with the affair, done with the secrecy and done with the lies – she did lie to me about who it was with when she confessed, although I believe there was a strong sense of self-preservation with this – she thought I’d go in to her workplace and beat the guy up lol.

            So she thought she’d lose her job and her professional reputation, which would impact her ability to find another job. I get that, even though now she says she should have just told me the whole truth from the get-go now that she understands.

            I think the thing we have to understand is that once they’re out of the affair fog, things start to make sense again, which means the affair now makes much less sense (or no sense in my wife’s case) to them.

            I think she was still a bit foggy until I actually found out who it was – at that point she was trying, but that last lie was the roadblock. Once it was all out, I confronted the guy and scared the hell out of him, the fog completely dissapated. Everything was really real for the first time, and since then it’s been a total turnaround.

            Since that fog lifted, she was able to process and dig deep into her own self-reflection to figure out why she did it, etc.

            • Hopeful

              For us I think it was a major factor that he broke it off 15 months before dday with both women. There was some minimal texting but no in person contact at all and everyone seemed to move on. I did catch my husband since he left his ipad at home while out of town and sent some less than ideal text between with his friends and a girl they met out. That was nothing just juvenile crap. Here I thought that was the big deal. But nope way worse. And he minimized it all on dday. His thought he said was to protect me since he was not sure I would stay and want to work it out with him. So why hurt me more. I think that could be it but I am pretty sure he wanted to preserve himself. In the end tons of lies for years. You do not just get this way all of a sudden. He let things slip. And even though he ended the affairs he was not acting as he or I would expect a husband to act. At least for my husband too as I evaluated pretty much everything in his life was self centered and pushed the boundaries. He was not a pathological liar or anything but he pushed the limits. But I think that is how he got through his days and years. If things were good or if I was a good person then he was a total jerk doing what he was doing…

    • Sandy

      Sarah P. This article was great. And in my mind I know it’s true but getting myself to believe that in my heart is really difficult. I still find myself almost 2 years after d-day struggling tremendously with this. Now my husband has chosen to leave his family and continue his affair, perhaps this is why I still struggle with it. We didn’t have a bad marriage we had a normal marriage with normal issues. It certainly wasn’t perfect but there was love until she came along and suddenly he had never felt so connected to anyone in his life and could not imagine letting her go. He is now working so hard to create a new family with her and her children and with my children. It is also very sad and so very destructive.

      • Sarah P.


        Unfortunately… that is the delusion of the affair. People meet someone they lust after, they call it a “real connection” (it’s NOT) and then they rewrite their ENTIRE marriage so that the marriage is unrecognizable.

        How are your children taking this? Shame on him!! Shame on both of them!! It is so wrong to bring children into this. Can you get full custody because this is just a horrific thing he is doing to your children and to hers.

        I don’t know if your husband is interested in FACTS. But, the research has determined that what he is doing is the fast-track to ruining his children’s lives and her children’s lives. And it is completely UNTRUE that if a parent is happy with an affair partner, the children will be happy. It’s the opposite… the children will be very unhappy and it will destroy them. What will it take to have your husband stop destroying the lives of innocent people who did not ASK to be brought into such a situation?

        Stay strong,

    • Frustrated and Hurt

      Thank you for the article. My husband of 24 years met the OW while on business in another city, in another country. Their affair went along without my knowledge for a year until D Day when I discovered it now 14 months ago. In retrospect, his actions of being distant, argumentative, more frequently absent, not “engaged” with family life, blaming me for many things and never wanting to have sex were the “A-Ha” moment of clarity.

      Once it was out in the open he admitted he was planning on leaving me. What he did not anticipate was my reaction to the affair. He thought that I would throw him out immediately and I think the OW banked in it. He didn’t think I would fight for our marriage and want to figure out why it happened so we could deal with it. Since that time he has broken it off with the OW numerous times, but always misses her after a few weeks and then gets his “fix”. They text and phone each other. Sometime going for weeks without contact. She rants, has contacted me. To me it is absolutely an addiction which she also feeds and the long distance scenario keeps it “fresh” but safe enough for him. She wants more and has told him as much. He’s told me he can’t give her what she wants – presumably a permanent relationship yet he continues with the affair addiction.

      I realize we need to get to the root of the problem which to me was an abundance of temporary stress in our lives caused by many factors as well as communication, putting marriage on back burner while raising teens, jobs, illness, etc. Not once did I fall out of love with him, but I certainly made mistakes, too. To me our marriage is worth saving.

      He is a fence sitter. He claims he “loves” both of us for different reasons. He has moved in and out of our home five times. I feel due to his addiction, he never gives it enough time to get over his need to a fix and it is hurtful. I know the OW is putting pressure on him. I don’t think it will last. He hides his trips to see her from everyone. He knows it is not acceptable.

      He tells me that he “fell out of love” with me for a while and “had moved on” in his head presumably then met her on a business trip. They “connected”. I don’t think that is the real situation – I don’t think he dealt with the stress of our lives and found an escape and it was exciting.

      I’m at the end of my rope. As for Valentine’s Day – he asked me out for dinner. He was not with her.

      He says he needs time to make decisions whether to come home or move on. I think he would have left me long ago if that was truly what he wanted. I think he grew accustomed to two lives and I’ve told him until she is gone we will never be able to heal and see if we can salvadge our marriage.

      So all that being said – how can he say he loves both of us? Will this ever end?

      • Exercisegrace

        Frustrated and Hurt….I am so sorry you are going through this. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will end until either you or the ow says it ends. He goes back and forth with no consequences, being adored by two women. He is the center of attention and few cheaters will give that up willingly. My best suggestion is to find a good therapist who has experience with marriages in crisis due to affairs. Hopefully they will be able to help you both have some clarity as to the next steps.

      • Hopeful

        Frustrated and Hurt, I would suggest seeing a therapist and figuring out what you want and need. You cannot control him but you can put in place the boundary and expectations for your marriage. Having the right therapist support you is critical in my opinion. They can walk you through this and give you the support you need. This is really hard stuff to work through. I know I got to the point where I had to work through what I needed to. I realized it was important for me. No matter what he did or decided then I would be in a better place. I needed that whether we stayed married or got divorced. My guess is from his back and forth mentality he does not really know what he wants. He needs therapy too and I am sure seeing someone together would help. But for me I started with myself. I needed that support. I felt weak and worn down but the therapy helped me feel strong and resilient when faced with all of this. That way when you say your expectation and boundary is no contact ever with the ow the therapist will help you be strong and understand what enforcing that means. At least for me after 20 plus years of marriage the boundaries were basically what my husband wanted. Hang in there!

        • Frustrated and Hurt

          Thank you for the advice. I am working with a therapist and just today made the decision to start really focusing on me. It is important regardless of my future. This all happened just as we became empty nesters and like many, raising kids and working became my “hobbies”. It is time to rediscover myself. I have tried to establish boundaries in the past, and then haven’t stood firm. It is my own fault. I am much stronger than I was In the early days, but the hurt still feels raw and while I have friends and a career, I’m lonely quite honestly. I miss him, but I am angry at the same time and know darn well I don’t deserve what happened to me and it was not my fault. It is so hard when the person you’ve spent half your life with having a beautiful family together does something so hurtful.

          If you have any advice as to how you set boundaries, I’d love to hear them. Thank you!

          • Hopeful

            Frustrated & Hurt, I was not in your same shoes since my husband had ended things way before dday. But even then I set the same boundaries I just did not have push back. I would lean on your therapist and make this a priority. For me it was as simple as I cannot consider staying in a marriage if there is contact with the ow or any women. To work at rebuilding our marriage I needed to have the potential of building back the trust. And I knew that would take a lot of work from both of us. However I knew that was not possible if there was still contact or behavior that was unacceptable to me. I said I was willing to give him a second chance. My list of boundaries was long and actually over time we added items. I found that at about 15 months past dday my expectations elevated. What was okay in the months post dday no longer was enough for me.

            For boundaries it was no contact, if there was any contact by either ow, their friends or any person of the opposite sex he had to tell me immediately, together we would decide how and if to respond. I would see all contact. We decided how either of us would handle it if we by chance ended up in the same place as the ow. My husband called me on the way to work, during lunch and on the way home. If he wanted to do anything besides work he had to tell me. He could only tell me in person or by calling, no texts. If he wanted to go out to watch a game with friends, golf etc then he had to ask in person or call me. He has to tell me who, where, when. If any plans changed he had to call me. While out he had to check in. He would discuss with me how much he was going to drink and what time he would be home. I could go on but this was the level of detail.

            I had access to all of his accounts, passwords etc. I could pick up his phone at any time.

            He made a commitment to himself to give 100% effort for six months. As he said love is a verb not a feeling. And for ten years on and off he was not being the person he should be. He vowed to live his life with 100% transparency and authenticity to be the best husband and father. One thing I should mention is he is a mental health professional. He has the education, training and professional experience to face this. He knew better also but that is in the past and something we had to work through. He was at a huge advantage recovery wise because of this. It took him a while to really face what he had done and he had to work through a lot. But at the center of it he knew what he had to do to make our marriage work without anyone telling him. I do not think everyone or every man has those tools.

          • Hopeful

            Frustrated & Hurt,

            Part 2…that last one was getting long..

            We decided for the first year and even longer to spend as much time together as possible. We said no to everything we did not have to do. So we only worked, worked out, grocery shopped and took care of our kids. My husband’s friends noticed and he just said he was focusing on his family. It was almost like a full on immersion.

            After we worked through the initial shock phase we decided to set up one time a week where we would talk about the affairs then over time it was talk about our marriage. This one time a week allowed us both to mentally prepare, not focus on it all the time (since I could have done that), and be more positive with our time together. I kept a daily journal and that allowed me to reflect back and see what was bothering me or I wanted to bring up when we did talk. Without doing this I would go off on tangents or rant. He would get defensive or not know how to help me. So when we did talk our time was well spent. I found it to be more effective and all of a sudden he was not defensive. I think since he knew it was coming. It was not like he walked into the room and I hit him with all of my thoughts. This worked really well for us. Over time it progressed to us talking about our marriage.

            My husband brought home an article that started a lot of this. It was in The Atlantic and it is called The Masters of Love. It features John Gottman. I love his work and so does my husband. It was great since it was a magazine article and it just has lots of good info. For my husband it was more manageable than a book. I devoured every book I could. My favorites were the Gottman books and Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass. We also saw the one man plan of Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus. It was a way to approach critical issues with humor which is a tactic many therapists use to relate to their patients.

            I hate to go on much longer and I am happy to answer questions or go into more details on anything. I think working on yourself is critical but until there is no contact then at least for me I would not feel our marriage could be rebuilt. Even through this recovery process I have told my husband no contact and not cheating is not enough. I stayed and gave him a second chance but I want the best possible marriage I can have. And I laid out what I need. I am very direct and specific.

            I totally understand too wanting to be with this person you have built a life with. You are the only person that knows what you want and need in life. We are all different. What I have told you is what worked for me and what I want and need. We were so close and had been together 25+ years. Everyone was jealous of us. We had no financial issues, our careers were huge successes. And through his two ten year affairs we were still really close. It was confusing for both of us. We have worked really hard. And we both know that this will always be a part of our story. We are closer than ever and I know part of that is because of what we have been through.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Hopeful,

              I thought of you today. I remember you talking about how your husband had a crowd of male friends and one was not a friend to your marriage. He said bad things about you that were untrue.

              My husband came home from work today. He has a married boss who doesn’t understand why my husband and I are not out drinking just about every night with people in some exclusive club his boss joined. My husband said that’s not how we live our life. His boss told my husband that me and my husband are “agoraphobic shut ins” to taunt him.

              You see, my husband does not drink because it is a lifestyle choice he made. However, I am not at liberty to choose whether or not I would like to drink. Why? I have a terrible genetic illness and alcohol will send me straight to the emergency room. (No, this is not a “wink wink” story about me being a recovering alcoholic. If I drank, I wouldn’t live long enough to be classified as an alcoholic).

              Anyhow, in psychology we know how people “frame” their thinking can affect their mental health. We also know that how other people define us can affect our mental health.

              My husband’s boss has two children and a wife. He and his wife have two live-in nannies to raise their children. The boss and his wife work all day and then go to exclusive bars at night for executives. These clubs cost several thousands a year just to join. And that doesn’t include the food or drinks. These two have children, but never want to see them and they never spend time with their children. They even take vacations without their children, who are both toddlers.

              Then there is me and my husband. We have chosen to raise our children and to spend as much time as possible with them. My husband chooses not to drink and I have a genetic illness that doesn’t allow me to drink. We take our children on all our vacations. And my parents live 10 minutes away and take our kids once a week overnight. My parents also see our kids once a day because they pick them up from school. I work from home full time and homeschool one child. Another child is on the autism spectrum.

              I have to admit my husband’s boss’s comment made me angry. I have never said anything bad about them or how they choose to live their life. That is their business. But, because me and my husband live our life differently, we are called agoraphobic shut-ins. I know my husband’s boss was taunting him in hopes he would join the drinking club. I don’t find that cool.

              In reality, I am a stay at home mom, who works from home, and who chooses to raise her children who both happen to have special needs. We take many vacations as a family and spend a lot of time with our children. We are non-drinkers, non-smokers, and we do not take recreational drugs. It’s how we choose to live.

              On the other hand….Agoraphobia is a terribly debilitating anxiety disorder and those who have it deserve so much compassion. The disorder is so difficult for those who have the diagnosis and have to live with it each day.

              I doubt they would appreciate someone who knows better (my husband’s boss) making fun of this condition and using it to taunt others. Considering my husband’s boss is a doctor, that’s really a gross thing to say. He KNOWS better.

              It made me realize that this is the number one technique people use to pull others into an affair. They take something that is OBJECTIVELY good and normal and then redefine it as a very bad thing.

              Raising your kids and not drinking makes you an agoraphobic shut in!

              Your wife wants you home for dinner by 7pm? Why she must be a control freak!! She must keep you on a leash because she wants you to have family dinners! The horror of such a controlling woman! (SACASM)

              For whatever reason, I have not been very susceptible to this kind of taunting. I recognize it for what it is. And I recognize people redefine good things as bad as a manipulation. I am just sorry when innocent people are susceptible to such taunts and throw away a perfectly good life for a bad one, just because they believe the false definitions of others.

              Hopeful, I recall one friend of your husbands said some untrue things about you in order to loosen your husband’s boundaries. Care to tell any new readers more about that?


            • Hopeful

              I am sorry that has happened to you. I find people that respond this way are uncomfortable with how our decisions make them feel. If we don’t drink what does that make them. I too could care less if someone else drinks. But if I am out and have water so many people cannot take it. And I will never be made to feel like I should drink when I do not want to. That is just my personal belief. Same thing if we raise our kids and they don’t what does that make them. They have to justify their decisions. We make similar choices how to spend our time also. Especially since dday I would say much more family focused. Or even as a couple or individual self development.

              My husband had a friend/acquaintance who always spoke negatively of me. To my face he was somewhat fake or would joke about me. How I was fancy, high end, affluent, from the big city etc. Really non of it true. My parents spent so much quality time with me growing up. We did not have a lot of material possessions. But we had lots of quality time. And much of it doing things like planting a garden, planning dinner, crafting, sewing, Nothing fancy at all. Well he had an image of me. And this friend grew up with nothing. So perhaps his impression and even the reality is that I had so much more. Overall people are drawn to my husband which this person was. Well he would always say not so nice things to my husband about me. Guess what? This friend was the one person who introduced him to both ow. Of course what happened after that was 100% my husband’s responsibility. However I find it interesting that this friend was the connecting point. Considering my husband said both time he was not looking, pursuing or creating any sort of a relationship with this women. One tracked him for about three years before she could get his cell number. Luckily this person is out of our lives for good along with the ow.

              One thing through this recovery phase is once we worked past the initial pain, anger and hurt then we moved onto how my husband lived his life. It was 100% selfish. He only thought about himself at all times. And he surrounded himself and always invested in his friends more than me or our kids. I know it was all gas lighting but if I said something that contradicted one of his friends or expressed not liking what one of them had done I was a horrible person. How could I think that way. But at this point he was selfish, immature and was so far gone. He had to tell himself whatever he needed to in order to get through the day.

              And in the end you are right. His boundaries lowered I think in a large part due to this friend’s influence. Again it was my husband’s responsibility to recognize this and make better choices but it did not help things at all. Not one of his other friends would have ever created that type of situation ever. It was a perfect storm.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Hopeful,

              What’s interesting is you and I had similar childhoods- lots of quality tine with parents and activities that were not expensive.

              It seems fi me that man who introduced your husband to the OW’s could not stand to see a family that was good together. I am also sure that man was jealous of your husband. And the man was probably projecting his own (false) inner-narrative about women onto you. Since your husband’s friend grew up with nothing, he could have been saying to himself, “A woman like her would never like someone like me. She is too much of a rich girl to like someone like me.” And then those thoughts would make him feel inadequate. So he hurt you by introducing your H to these OW’s and I am certain it was intentional. Now, were that man’s judgements about you true? NO, they were NOT true. But due to his insecurities, they were true to him. And that made him feel ashamed. What better way to take someone down than dangling bait in front of her husband. Even though I don’t know this man who introduced the OW’s to your H, I get the sense this man may have had a crush on you as well. (Kind of like in elementary school when the boys tease the girl they secretly have a crush on). But this man couldn’t have you because you were married. And deep down inside he believed someone like you would not date him if she were single… and so the anger and shame rose up in him. That’s my read on it. I know there is more to it, but I always got the impression there was some anger at you because he had a crush. Men have said to me in the past that they find reasons to hate women they cannot have just to cope. It’s dysfunctional but it is real.

              I get soooooo tired of the “mommy wars.” That’s not my term; an author called it that. I do NOT care how other families live unless of course children are being abused. But otherwise, I don’t care. If a woman chooses to work, it has nothing to do with me. I have been on both sides. I worked outside the house after my first was born and had a day nanny. I deeply regret it because my son still remembers it. He felt abandoned during that time. I stayed home full time after my second was born. There are pros and cons to both and each family must decide what works for them and it’s not my business. But I don’t like being called out just because I am a stay-at-home mom and don’t drink. This world is upside down.

            • Sarah P.

              PS- Sorry for the typos. I really need to stop typing on my phone, but it’s easier.

              PPS- Working women, I have NO beef with you. I work too. It’s just that I do it inside the home. And I have no beef with nannies either. It’s all about what works for each couple and it’s their decision and not my business.

              I don’t like being told that something positive I do is pathological. That is not okay and it makes light of the experience that people go through when they do have agoraphobia. It’s nothing to joke about and it’s not okay to define people who want to spend time with their own kids as agoraphobic.

      • Eagle2435

        I guess we can’t say for sure if it will ever end, but most affairs do. Many of them end when the CS’ marriage ends, but many also end and the BS allows the CS to stay.

        I’d say he’s still definitely in an affair fog, or he at least goes in and out of it. While they are in that, it’s tough for them to even recognize the damage they’re causing and what they are putting at risk.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Frustrated and Hurt,

        No, your husband cannot love both of you. The definition of love PRECLUDES affairs. You said it yourself– it is an addiction. And somehow both of these addicts (your H and the OW) know how to press the addiction buttons.

        If I were you, I would see a therapist, get an attorney, and get a forensic accountant. You need to find out what is really going on and you MUST protect yourself. You never know what he will do next and you need to protect YOUR assets.

        What has this OW said when she has called you? Is she from a foreign country?


        • Frustrated and Hurt

          Hi Sarah,
          We all live in North America – the OW in one country and my H and I in another. Nine hour drive between cities. I prefer not to provide any other details.

          She is a really “something” and oh so “classy” (sarcasm) and has called twice saying how much she loves him and clearly he doesn’t love me or our children. How he has lied to me and the my H wasn’t happy. She calls him her boyfriend and soul mate. How she “should” have run the other way, but she didn’t. How I “deserve” to be happy. She has exposed her children to the affair. She was married when they met. Trust me – I think she is very desperate and has invented herself to be a “perfect” girlfriend. She has emailed me so many texts which read like teenagers.

          Trust me I have seen a therapist for over a year. I am getting stronger every day, and have had initial legal advice. I do not want to give up on our marriage; however, I know I can’t control him only me. I am trying to find myself. It is difficult and lonely – we have always been very social with couples, organizing events, travelling and have/has so many future plans. I truly want our marriage to work out. But know I do not deserve to be treated badly.

          • Sarah P.

            Frustrated and Hurt,
            I am really sorry about what you are going through. How does your husband feel about you wanting to save your marriage? Maybe the fact that there is another country in the mix could help. It is not as easy.

            She has emailed texts? That is really strange of her to do that. It’s unconscionable that she exposed her children to the affair. That scars kids for life.

            What did you tell her when she sent the texts? What possibly did she think she would get out of doing that?

            • Frustrated and Hurt

              Hi Sarah,
              I think she sent the texts to “justify” it because they “proved” the affair was mutual and not her chasing him. They were filled with lies that he told her as well as pledges of love, ultimatums from her, calling me the other woman, and how much they “love”’each other. Throughout she was angry for him not “making a decision” and to remind him he wasn’t happy. I know I’ve been lied to as well; however, I know because they involved me. Basically trying to keep us both on the “line”. I disnt respond the first time out of shock, but the second batch, I told her she is pathetic and desperate and did she seriously think she would be in an affair where her AF partner told the truth to sum it up. I’ve now blocked her from everything.

              I think she is a lunatic and manipulative with the ultimate goal of landing my husband. Who knows what lies have been told to her innocent teenagers, family and friends.

              My H says he does think our marriage has a lot more good in it, but needs to be certain before he comes home so he doesn’t hurt me anymore and he loves two women. He’s sorry for doing this to me yet it doesn’t stop. Meanwhile tearing up our family and I know the OW doesn’t care whatsoever what this to does to me and our kids. Why doesn’t he see this? And how desperate and manipulative she really is?? I know that will never last – it was built on lies. No honest foundation.

              I think the distance has made it safe in his mind, but it is all crashing down on him. He doesn’t know how to deal with it. I’m keeping more boundaries around me and he know it and have been clear regarding it being unacceptable.

              I know nothing will change with her in the picture and I can’t make him do it. Rationale thoughts don’t work. I am tired of playing the victim card and need to figure things out. Like many of us, this is not what I thought my life had in store for me and I want off of the merry-go-round but it is harder than I would have thought it would be to get off.

      • Prayerful

        Wow, I feel like I’m reading my life. My husband hasn’t left our home but he can’t break away from his AP. He is addicted to her and it’s oart of his work day routine. He can’t imagine not having her in his life. Where does that leave us? He doesn’t want to loose me but I’m at point if not being able to take much more.

    • Better days


      Your husband is going to take what ever time you give him to figure it out. Whether that’s a couple months or a couple years, that’s your choice. Because it could be a couple days or even hours if you choose.

    • Heart-Broken

      My WS tried really hard yesterday. We have a tradition of making heart-shaped pizza for our kids, which he took over. He also bought them their chocolate and made my favorite dessert, creme brûlée. I didn’t say “I love you” this year and in the evening I got dressed up and went out for a glass of wine with our two adult daughters. I was really trying to focus on self-love and preserving my own energy.

    • Sarah P.

      Just popping in quickly. Today is my anniversary after a pretty bad year. So, I wanted to ask a question. I just saw the comment about cards for cheaters. When my son and I were at the store last night looking at anniversary cards, I kept asking myself silently why there wasn’t a section called “Cheater’s Valentine’s Day” or “D-day Anniversary” or a “I no longer trust you, but it’s our wedding anniversary” section. I see Hallmark stores closing. And maybe it’s because Hallmark has not caught up with real life.

      The imp in me is thinking of creating downloadable cards that people can print and cut out with scissors and then fold. They will be free to all EAJ folks of course. And I promise I will make some funny and others hard-hitting since people approach conflict in different ways.

      Anyone have ideas for what they want cheater cards to say?

    • Kittypone

      D-day will be 2 years on the 25th of this month for me… husband’s birthday happens to be on Valentine’s Day as well, and the skank sent him a video 2 years ago for his birthday….you should’ve seen her… tender, yearning-looking for him, entreating him never to forget how much she loved him and thought of him, and dreamed of him… she longed for the day where they would finally meet face to face so she could tell him once more everything he inspired in her heart…..just remembering all that bs enrages me to the boiling point….so, yesterday, he made reservations to a nice restaurant, I get all dolled up for him, we go and eat and have a nice time….I asked him REPEATEDLY to have pics snapped of us looking all cute and all that…..and he drags his butt and just doesn’t get around to it…..finally, two hours later, already home, he whines that he is no longer interested in having pics taken….THAT did it for me…..just before going to bed, he complained that after having had such a good day, I had to go and ruin the end of it with my bad mood about the stupid pictures….I let him have it but GOOD and was even tempted to sleep in the other room but thought that it was still his birthday and I didn’t want him to sleep alone on valentine’s night…..but my eyes were raw today from all the crying I did last night and today at therapy as well….I am just SO HURT that he doesn’t care to “show me off”’to the world, yet, for that skank, he would take selfies EVERY DAY AND POST THEM ON FACEBOOK just so that she could have her fill of him, but now, to have a picture of US TOGETHER is such a drag… I going crazy here or is it that the no longer cares to snap pictures because the “motivation” (namely, harlot woman) is no longer in his life, therefore, no “need” to make memories anymore???? Someone please give your thoughts!!!!

    • Sarah P.

      Hi Kittypone,

      Reality check …

      Your husband is lucky he has never met me. I am the woman who will look at a husband like yours and tell him that he is lucky to have a wife like you. And he had better take her picture because she might just be gone soon. Why? Because if someone like you talks to me for long enough, your self esteem will rise so high that you will question what someone like him has to offer since he is not trying.

      I will tell you to remind him that since he prefers women who send pleading and soppy videos to married men, you can do that for another married man as well. But, since you are more decent you would in reality choose a single man to send videos to and you would brighten that single man’s day by sending him imploring videos begging for more time to tell that single man about his awesomeness.

      Your husband would not like that.

      Clarification. I am the Queen of Reality Checks.

      I would NEVER ask a wife to actually lower herself to the level of another woman. I would only ask the wife to say things to her husband that would cause him to have the insight that he could be left at any moment – that a wife has other choices – that there are many men in the world who would be interested in a wife.

      Okay before everyone thinks I am terrible, that is just my outrage talking.

      In reality, I do think it’s very crummy what your husband did. What he did is extremely hurtful, it’s very passive-aggressive, it’s mean, it feels humiliating, and he disregarded your needs. I don’t know what kind of marriage you have, but I would ask him if he sees you “in the picture anymore.” I would ask him why he felt no birthdays photos are needed. But ONLY if you are comfortable. And only if it doesn’t cause him to yell.

      Where are you in your marriage counseling? Have you begun?

      Your husband is acting like a petchulant child. And that’s ALL on him. It’s all about whatever ridiculous story he is telling himself in his head that has NOTHING to do with you. But, it still hurts you like crazy. Even if it’s not about you, it still burns.

      How can we help?

      Big hugs,
      Sarah ????

    • Hopeful


      I love the card idea. That was really hard going and looking for a card for special days. It was hard enough to even consider buying one for my husband but then to look at what was available. It felt like a cruel joke. I think making them something you could color would be cute and therapeutic on some level.

      Conversations with my husband are so open now and at a new level. We say exactly what we want to which is liberating. We were talking about a family going through divorce. And I was talking about a conversation I had with a good friend about that, being a working mom, women having it all etc. Well I said if we don’t work out then I would want our arrangement to be xyz. And it was a very progressive arrangement. He was impressed by my thoughts. But he quickly said “maybe I should not say this but I feel like we have already made it”. I still have that hesitation and lack of ability to make myself fully vulnerable. It is scary. But that was revealing to me. And I think he is right. After what we have been through we can tackle anything. I hate what he did but we are so strong, united and tougher than ever before. We can face it all together… teens, elderly parents, health issues etc. Life is not easy and I will never say I am glad he cheated on me but I do see it as a silver lining that we are where we are today because of it. Thanks for all you do Sarah, I hope this year holds all that you deserve and more!

      • Sarah P.

        Hello Hopeful,

        I am glad things are going well with your husband. I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone, but if you can make a marriage stronger and more united, that is the silver lining. I do not blame you about fearing making yourself vulnerable. I would say that your husband needs to earn that back in you. And it may take a long time.

        As for cards… I think a card that people could color in would be great.

        When I was at the store, looking at the images on the V-Day cards and NOT the words, I got quite a chuckle.

        There was one V-Day card with the image of the most frightening and psychotic T-Rex on it. The T-Rex had giant teeth, was supposedly smiling, and had the most psycho looking eyes I have ever seen. The T-Rex was holding a giant heart in it’s tiny and short T-Rex arms. I laughed so hard because I could not imagine who that card was for. It was actually a grandfather to grandson card. Since my son was with me, I asked him if he would ever want to visit with a grandfather who would send such a Valentine’s Day card. My son said, “Heck no! What kind of grandparent would send a child a card like that! Only a crazy one!” I agreed. I said if you want to make your grandchildren fear you, that would definitely be the card!

        There was another card with Adolf Hilter’s face put onto a Victorian woman’s body and he was wearing a bonnet. The front of the card said, “Remember me?” I did not even bother to open it to see what the punchline was. The front of the card was too offensive. But, on the other hand, I will say that betrayed spouses have as much love for the other person as Jews have love for Hitler. (Which is NO LOVE AT ALL… only hatred, despair, and remembrance of their own personal Holocaust).

        Anyhow, yes, I would love to create some cheater cards. Do we have any artists out there?

        Note…You do NOT have to be a professional artist to be an artist. If you can draw a stick figure, that is good enough for me. Does anyone have any feedback on what a cheater card would say?

        What would a cheater V-Day card say and what would a cheater anniversary card say?

        I think I would write something along the lines of:

        Hello Cheater,
        Today we have to pretend everything is normal because it is our wedding anniversary. But, I don’t like playing pretend, I like reality. So, I don’t need the flowers or the cards or the restaurant or whatever else. This day has been ruined for the next several years and maybe forever. So, don’t offend me by pretending everything is normal.

        Your kind of sort of spouse…?
        (Fill in your name)


        Roses are red
        Cheaters are blue
        You are moping about the other person,
        And all I can say is (blank) you.

        Or maybe something from Ren and Stimpy.

        “You cheated on me.
        Happy happy, joy joy!

        And the most offensive idea… there is the “B Song” from South Park. For the betrayed wives out there, substitute the words Kyle’s mom with the name of the other woman. Maybe you could create a singing telegram in an mp3 file. If no one can imitate Eric Cartman’s voice, I can do a pretty good substitute.

        Ideas anyone?


        PS- I have had a VERY rough year in my marriage and there is no sign of it slowing down. It seems my husband has fallen into full mid-life crisis mode and when it happens, it is like a ticking time bomb. Pretty soon these men announce in a fake, sage-like voice, “I have to find myself.” Then they go and find themselves in Julie, and Jenny, and Jenna, and Jeanie, and Vicki, and Carol, and Susie, and Sissy, and Sammy. They think they are on a path to enlightenment, when really they are just creating the downward path to a metaphorical rung of hell in Dante’s Inferno… and it’s NOT going to be fun like this song:

        • Eagle2435

          Sarah, what about this for a Valentines Day Card:

          To My Cheating Spouse, on Valentines Day:

          Valentines Day is one of those special, joyful days
          Filled with thoughts of love and tenderness;
          A day to remember all the special moments of
          A life shared together….

          But you cheated.

          I know its so very hard to love the same person
          Who’s loved you day after day,
          But I’ve learned that some of us are strong (not you),
          And there are weak ones that just run away. (you!)
          I’m sorry that the care and love I show,
          Doesn’t make you feel alive,
          And somehow I and the children
          Can’t fill the void you have inside.
          That void is honesty, loyalty, faithfulness –
          Traits you can’t just go out and get,
          And clearly I was mistaken
          That you had them when we met.
          And now when I pray and ask the Lord above
          Why I couldn’t have a love that’s true,
          He told me ‘we all have our devils to deal with’…
          And the devil I have
          Is you.

          • Sarah P.


            YOU HAVE BLOWN ME AWAY!!!!!! I am spinning.

            My oh my, I had no idea we had such an awesome poet here. The last line…. blown away. Where did you learn how to write poetry? (As in, is it a hobby or something you took classes in at school?)

            But, I know how you feel. It is so sad when you realize your marriage has been hijacked by evil.

            I think that should seriously be printed on a cheater card. Eagle2435, if I draw out some cards that are free and downloadable for people here on the site, would I be able to put that in one? You would get credit of course!

            Who else has some cheater card content!

            • Eagle2435

              I never really learned how, I just write. I’ve probably only written 20 poems in my life and they’ve all taken me under 30 minutes to write from start to finish. (wasn’t including this one, I wrote this in 5 minutes and figured the first part would be the outside of the card, and the message looks like any other V-day card, then the inside has the rest of the message) I’ve had a few published because teachers took them and did it. 🙂

              If it takes me longer than 30 minutes to write it will probably suck, because it would mean I wasn’t inspired. So, most of my poems either make people cry or say ‘Oh shit” lol. They all have poignant last lines, in fact, the last line usually pops in my head first and then I work backwards.

              Anyway, it’s interesting – I’ve written poems about my Lord and Savior, I wrote a tribute for my mom, also one for my dad, I wrote a poem for my brother and sister’s weddings (they got married in the same summer) that wove through childhood to that present time, I wrote one for my own wedding, I’ve written a couple others for my wife, I’ve written one for each of my 4 children…but I don’t know if I’ve ever been so inspired to write as I have after the affair. I’ve written at least 4 which is more than I’ve written on any one topic.

              My wife read them and said they were good and asked if I was more inspired to write poetry after the affair than for other things. I said I thought one of the reasons I was is because I write when I’m trying to understand something, and to clear my head. I wrote a lot of letters and notes to her about what I was feeling and thinking, (1) because it helped me to process better and say the things I felt with a clear mind and without getting angry at her, and (2) it helped things sink in on her end more.

              I think another one of the reasons I felt more inspired is because, if the greatest thing a person can do is show real, true love for another person, than infidelity is the complete antithesis of true love. You’re taking someone else’s real, pure love – something that you promised to cherish and protect, and promised to return always – and you spit and shit all over it. You completely reject and betray the one who has done more for you than anyone else in the world. Someone else has poured their heart and soul into you, and you take that heart, soul, and their efforts, and you say ‘it doesn’t matter – surely this other person is better. They haven’t spent the last 5/10/20/30 years investing in me, but they have to be better. I’m afraid/depressed/lonely/stressed out, etc. but the one who has cared so deeply for me won’t be able to help. I’ll go to someone else, without a thought of the damage it will do…as long as I get what I want.’

              Truthfully, this is not the poem I would give to my wife. The one for a cheating spouse that sees their wreckage, has and shows deep remorse, and works hard to rebuild and restore….that card has a different message, with more grace.

              I’ll end with one of the things I did recently that was an eye opener for my wife. She has shown as much empathy as possible during recovery, but it’s almost impossible to put yourself in someone else’s shoes if you have not been there yourself. After she confessed, obviously it was a confusing and bewildering time with a lot of emotions for me. I thought I wanted to work on us, and then I would think I didn’t, and then sometimes I would think that I could get to the point where I wasn’t hurt, I wasn’t angry, and I even cared for my wife, but that I just wouldn’t be able to get to the point where I loved her again without regrets.

              So, right or wrong, I put myself on some dating sites, not really knowing what I wanted. Probably stupid, but so be it. I told her I was on there. Now, I have 4 kids, but I am still a catch. 🙂 I was actually quite surprised to see how much attention I got, from women in a 20 year age range. I talked to a few of them but not much. My wife wasn’t surprised at the attention, but I don’t think it sat well with her either. She wasn’t angry, maybe just worried.

              Anyway, I decided that I wanted to stay and work it out after seeing her efforts. I told her in a different way. I wrote her two letters and instructed her to read one before the other – the first one went into detail about how I had met someone – describing this person in detail and their good points. When she read it (I wasn’t with her), she sobbed much like I probably did when she confessed her cheating. The 2nd letter told her that the woman in the first letter was her, and I met her 13 years ago.

              It didn’t gloss over the infidelity, it just detailed the woman that she was before, and the woman I know she can become. Although it immediately preceded a happier note (which I didn’t receive when she confessed of course), the first letter elicited a very visceral response, and she was able to understand my pain of betrayal much better. (even though she realized that if I had decided to leave I would have been justified)

              I haven’t been inspired with the words of the poem yet, but one day I’m hoping to write the poem ‘I met someone’ with the aim of communicating that, in a world of infidelity, the ‘someone’ we meet should be the spouse we met so long ago.

            • Eagle2435

              Oh, and I don’t need any credit…just royalties if you decide to sell them! lol – our new business Sarah! I already have 10-25 in my head! Different categories too – Cheater Funny, Cheater Birthday, Cheater Anniversary, Cheater Dark, Cheater Divorce, Cheater Non-Romantic…hahahaha

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Eagle,
              I wrote a long comment and it disappeared. Care to email me some cheater poems? And yes, CheaterCards could be a business. LOL. Because NO ONE has touched this market. No card company wants to catch up with real life.
              I have an idea about how you can write your poem about I Met Someone.

              [email protected]

              And anyone else who has cheater cards, please email me! I would like to make some as a preliminary ideas create a post with them!

            • Doug

              Sarah, Your comment didn’t disappear, it went to admin for approval because you had more than 2 links included (a tendency that is prevalent with spammers). I just approved your comment.

            • Sarah P.

              Awesome, thank you. I thought it was user error on my part. (I fat-finger all the time.)

            • Sarah P.

              Hello Eagle2435,

              Well, it seems to me The Muses have shined and smiled upon you. I took many poetry writing classes when I was in undergrad as electives. I will tell you that I still rely on The Muses for “downloads.” I call them downloads because they arrive very quickly (without warning) and I have to type furiously fast to capture all the words.

              I have an idea about how you can write your poem “I Met Someone.”

              1) Start with the two letters you wrote to your wife expressing this concept.

              2) Create a sheet with ‘linear ideas’ that you want to express from the letters.

              3) Then looks for concepts to highlight and words that rhyme.

              The title would be “I Met Someone.”

              And the key phrase would also be “I met someone.”

              It might start like…

              I met someone who was… (fill in descriptive words).
              We had (fill in what you had with your wife.)
              And it made me feel (fill in the blank)

              Then, I met someone else.
              She was (describe how your wife acted during her cheating.)
              It made me feel (describe how you felt).

              The phrase that accelerates the poem could be:

              “But, life sometimes changes and rearranges.”

              Describe more about what happened during your wife’s affair.

              Then talk about the pivotal moment: the confession.

              Then discuss your pain.

              The work she did..

              Then add something like… And the other day, I met again that woman again.

              It made me feel…

              Finish it with why it was worth it to meet that woman again and how much it means to you.

              Or something like that.

              That’s a very basic outline of where to begin if you want to write that poem called “I Met Someone.”

              Since I write about infidelity here, most are not aware I have been a freelance writer on the side for years. (And from the typos I can throw out while writing on my iPhone, no one would ever know! I am the type who needs an editor because I get too used to my words and can’t recognize the typos.) I was always a freelance writer since college and started at a city newspaper at the age of 20-years-old during a summer. I was paid to put together 200 business profiles of local businesses and took photographs of the businesses.

              But after my Master’s, I moved far away and took a job in software as my day job.

              I am also an artist and do off-the-cuff sketches of scenes in pencil or I use computer software and a digital pen. It’s all done for relaxation and expression. I would never sell the art. I give it as gifts to people. I like painting people’s (deceased) pets so that they can have comfort. And I use photos of the pet when he or she was alive as a reference and I create photo-realistic digital paintings using a digital pen and programs that give artists 200 different kinds of brush choices, endless colors, etc.

              I would love to create cheater cards for the EAJ community that they can download. I would love it if artists and writers stepped forward to help.

              None of you have to post your stuff here. You can always email it. It doesn’t have to be fancy. In fact, I love the drawings in Hyperbole and a Half. She graduated as a art major, but she draws in a child-like way to tell stories. Her drawings and stories are HYSTERICAL.




              Care to share more of your cheater cards, Eagle? If you or anyone else gives me content, I will draw them and them create a page where everyone can print them, cut them out, fold them and then color them. If you want to email me, you can email them to:

              sarah@emotionalaffair,[email protected]

              And of course, each creator will get credit for their work, even though they won’t be sold. I would like to create them to give people a laugh and also for them to download.


        • Heather

          These are AMAZING!

    • Heather

      Thank you for this article. I needed it. On the 5th-yes, just a few days ago- my husband came home and sat at the kitchen table and sobbed and told me that he couldnt stay because he was in love with a coworker. He said that nothing has “happened” but that because of his guilt he just can’t face me. We are one of those couples who normally live separately during the week because of work. He and his son live together in the other residence. (She has not stayed there,) The other woman has been around for years, and I always knew he had a friend at work. He joked and called her a “work wife.” Somewhere along the line, I think he or she confided too much. Our marriage has actually never been better, up until now. It is so hurtful. We haven’t had the hint of an argument. Physically, it has been better than ever. We laugh and talk all time. Lately, though, she had been doing little passive-aggressive things. Calling the house at 10:45 to “thank him for all his help at work.” I did not react. I trust my husband. The next day she apologized to him. (Of course she did. She wanted to see if she got a reaction out of me.) Inviting herself to his place on the weekend. He would then leave my house early and go hang out with her. He did tell me about it, and others were present, but this all snowballed into a pattern of half truths and secrecy that completely undermined an otherwise blissful marriage. Now, here’s where we are: He said he had to think about things. I told him that he needed to make up his mind because if he left my house, we are done. He sat and cried for two hours and I finally asked him to leave. (It was late.) I think he thinks he loves her. I don’t know if I would take him back. For me, lying is bad enough.:(

      • Sarah P.


        I am SO SORRY.

        I do NOT believe in the concept of the “work wife.” I know some people think its harmless, but I have found it is dangerous. There is only one wife and that is The Wife. I had a coworker years ago that talked about how happy she was that her husband had a work wife… this was all the back in 2003. And I told her at the time, it is DANGEROUS territory. Well, she said her marriage was solid- and it was solid. And she was very beautiful too. But, one day the work wife won out. (Sigh).

        Honestly, I have always kicked men out after an affair. ALWAYS. But, I did not have children in those situations. Do you two have children together? If you don’t have children, then bailing might be a good thing. When people don’t have children, then no one small and innocent gets hurt. Sure, us adults get hurt, but we are adults. Do you two have children?

        I am so sorry…


        • Heather

          No, we do not have children together. And, he felt so guilty talking about it that all he could do was sob. I was in shock. I just kind of stared at him. I told him that if he chose her, there would be a divorce, and no contact. I asked him if he wanted that. He shook his head, “no.” I basically had to make him leave…mostly out of frustration because he wouldn’t talk to me and it was getting late. We haven’t spoken, but he says he wan’t to get space from both of us to “think” and then talk later. But, honestly….the longer he’s away, the easier it is to have him gone. I am feeling indifference. 🙁 I do miss my husband in a sense, but I am not really sad. I was very angry for a while. I think he needs to feel the pain of not having me around.

    • kittypone

      Sarah P.

      You are SO RIGHT……we have been in marriage counseling since July 2017……he stopped his individual therapy since May 2018…..I haven’t stopped mine since I started in March 2017……at one point during our crisis, he admitted to the fact that one of the things that “sealed the deal” for him with the OW was the fact that she spoke to him with such “tenderness” and so much kindness, as opposed to my assertiveness and “harshness” and disrespect towards him all the time……because of course, SHE’S the one dealing with his nagging, the never ending dirty dishes in the sink, an ADHD teenager at home and a bipolar/suicidal daughter as well……SHE’S the one dealing with his yelling all the time about finances and my lack of a good handle on those……SHE’S the one he yells at for the cats litter box being full and SHE hasn’t cleaned it yet……SHE’S the one who lives full time with HIM, right? WRONG……THEY HAVE NEVER MET FACE TO FACE EVER; but they have exchanged plenty naked pics of each other, engaged in plenty of phone sex and literally THOUSANDS of texts messages over the course of a year and a half, while wifey here was none the wiser….he denied ever sending her any money, until the personnel guy pressured him and asked him (we are military) and that’s when he admitted to only sending Money ONCE (so he says, I don’t believe him at all) so of course, I’m resentful, angry and incapable of fully moving on as much as he wishes I did….. I think I had a flash of insight on Friday as I was having my therapy session……I told my therapist that I believe my husband is “punishing” me because that is his way of exerting control over me….you see, he blames me for the fact that his affair was found out and that the aftermath snowballed out of control because of my reaction to Dday….he admits to his wrongdoing, but blames me for blowing everything out of proportion…….he was made to go to individual therapy, to marriage counseling, to accept mentors and even pastoral counseling, none of which he initiated or wanted, so, I figure that because my reaction precipitated that he do all of that without him wanting to, then “his life” was being managed for him and he hated that…, as I need him to provide me with emotional support as I deal with the trauma, I feel that he is withholding his affection, as this is one thing HE can control at will and can’t be made to give it……could I be right in my assessment of the situation, do you think? Tell me what you think, as I also feel that he is lucky I have decided to stay with him…..even last night, before he went into his phone, he looked sideways at me to make sure that I wouldn’t see him putting the passcode into the phone, and when I called him out on it, he denied it, but I screamed at him “just give me the reason I need to leave you, damn it”!!! “Go on, contact your harlot, so I can leave you for good”!!! Hasn’t spoken 10 words to me since…..

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Kittypone,

        Don’t people in the military get punished for having affairs? Is she military?

        Your husband has an addiction. All that phone sex and sexting and naked picture taking provides him with dopamine hits all day long.

        And since he has never met her, he probably doesn’t”t know she likely has five other guys going at the same time. Women like this never have just one. They don’t spend hours doing sexy photos just to send to one man. No, they usually have several men, all in separate fish tanks so the fish do not know about one another.

        Yes, I do believe he is exerting control over you. And he sounds like a controlling person. And this is NEVER a good thing. It seems you are his emotional punching bag for his anger, control, and addiction issues. If she is in the military, I would report her.

        One time a woman from the military went after my husband. I looked her up online saw she had been divorced three times and all the men filed– one cited infidelity on her part. The woman was not even 40 years old. I told my husband she could no longer be his buddy at work. She announced her engagement to someone else nearly immediately. I have no proof of an affair. All I know is she had picked out many targets- my husband being only one of them. I am grateful the man she eventually married was single. That was an eye-opener to my husband. She was targeting many men of status just to see which one would cave in first. Again, I am SO GLAD she went with someone single and went far away. Still, these women are awful. I think the OW in your case has several.

        And you do not have to take his yelling. Start recording him every time he yells. If he lays a hand on you, he will be severely disciplined by the military. Your husband is weak and addicted and that is why he is being controlling and mean.

        Patricia Evans does wonderful interventions for women married to emotional abusers. Her interventions are done on the phone and they are not expensive. She wrote all the books about emotional abuse before it had a name.


        • Rose

          I think I need to write a post on the dopamine issue, something I’ve studied a lot. It’s not only affairs that cause it; every time someone hits “like” or “love” on your Facebook post, you get a dope surge. It’s why my H is seriously addicted to it.

    • Kittypone

      Sarah P.

      She is not military. She is an almost illiterate, married mother of 3 young children, living in a third world country as a flea market stall vendor….her husband is an accountant, so she’s not too terribly poor. I did taunt my husband when I mentioned to him the fact that while he was heating up her eyes and her ears with all the sexual pics and phone calls, had he ever thought for a minute that she was very likely cooling it off with the next door neighbor?? Her husband works out of town a few days a week, so the time and opportunity is right there……she likely thought that my husband would be her sugar daddy as she is 17 years younger than him and he is far away enough to never bump into her husband, but close enough to visit 2-3 times a year (or so she thought); she even told him that she thought he was financially secure enough to afford to travel ABROAD 2-3 times a year to VISIT HER!!!! The gall of the harlot!!! As for my husband, he HAS been disciplined quite severely and is still in probation; he was demoted from an administrative position back into the field; and he has never laid a hand on me; has never called me an untoward name or demeaned me with harsh words, far from it, what he DOES is speak quite loudly, but I give as good as I get, so I wouldn’t consider myself to be an abused wife. What he DOES have is a micromanager attitude and demeanor (which I promptly shoot down whenever he exhibits it) and having been in therapy for almost 2 years, I have learned a thing or two about setting boundaries, believe you me!! If you asked me if I love my husband, I would have to say “I don’t think so” only because I don’t have any warm and fuzzy feelings for him. Now, if love is action, a verb, then I would say that by my actions I am SHOWING love, but I don’t FEEL in love. Does that make any sense? I’m willing to spend the rest of my life with a husband I don’t feel in love with, but to whom I show love every day through my kind actions and behavior. Am I insane for doing this?

      • Sarah P.


        Love is a verb, so no you are not insane. This culture greatly misunderstands the meaning of love.

        Love is NOT warm and fuzzy feelings. Those come and go and can be rekindled. But, they are mainly the stuff of infatuation. (Now I am referring to the kind of warm and fuzzy where you feel your stomach drop or spin when you think of that person. That is infatuation and the expectancy someone has when thinking of their favorite drug, knowing that will access that person who is a drug soon). Yes, people can be drugs.

        But love is a verb. Love is being loving toward a person and doing things that are loving, such as putting off immature or selfish desires for the good of the family or marriage. Love is showing up, love is keeping promises, love is integrity towards our spouse and fellow beings (human or animal), love is unselfish and looks at the best interests of the family and spouse.

        I think people can fall out of love when someone has hurt them profoundly, but still do acts of love for the best interests of the marriage and family. I think love can be rekindled in a betrayed spouse if a wayward spouse tries.

        We quite often hear from cheaters: “I love you, but I am NOT in love with you.”

        Well, this same thing happens to betrayed spouses.

        Betrayed spouses can fall out of love with their spouse. A betrayed spouse can also say, “I love you, But I am NOT in love with you.”

        It all depends on someone’s psychological make-up. I do see your point, because that has happened to me in the past. I can fall out of love with someone. They can kill it by doing the things I have told them over and over NOT to do. That would be: don’t flirt with other women blatantly and constantly because it opens doors that are NO good. And if someone cheated, it was over.

        So, yes, I know all about these “harlot” women. And there is always more than one man in the picture. Even if these women are married to a reasonable person, they are always looking to trade up and USE UP the person they trade up to because they are USERS and nothing else. They are a type of parasite and they know sexuality is the easiest route to parasitism of the weak. It doesn’t matter if the man is a CEO- he can still be weak. And for whatever reason, there are many men who actively lap up any and all attention. It doesn’t matter where from. I have never understood that. It’s the equivalent to eating out of a garbage can when you get gourmet and homemade food every day at home. There is NO reason for it. But yet, they lap up all the garbage and drink from the gutter. Even my dog knows better than that. (Sometimes) 🙂

        Oh women can be suckers for attention too- look at all the Instagram posts where women are looking for admirers. Not okay.

        Your husband needs a reality check. There could be twenty men she is speaking with. If her husband travels a lot, that is a lot of time for her to find more “suckers” who are mesmerized by the accent and the foreign allure. (I have traveled so much that I can tell you people are more or less the same wherever you go. The foreign mystique goes away pretty quickly).

        Watch this clip from The Simpson’s starting at 5 minutes until the end. (It’s only about 2 minutes long from there). It’s an eye opener!


    • Blindsided

      I am glad that Valentine’s Day is over. We had a fine day with one hiccup that I will tell below – exchanged cards, H gave me flowers, went out to dinner. A very nice day, and probably a bit “more” then we had done in the past, pre- affair. We never really made a huge deal out of Valentine’s Day.

      BUT last year, the affair was in full swing. I was in a constant state of panic, H was in an affair fog that I would not go away. In the immediate 10 days prior, OW had texted me that affair was over (liar); a few days later, H sent OW an email ending affair, which she agreed to (both lying). Then, on Feb 15 I saw an email from OW to H telling him she loved him. I thought I couldn’t be shocked like I was on D Day, but this was huge. I didn’t see him reply one way or another. But I knew that the game had changed.

      Though today the affair is over, and has been for several months, the triggers on days with which I have a definitive memory are very difficult and strong. Yesterday when I left work, I texted H to tell him I was headed to the restaurant to meet him for our Valentine’s dinner. He didn’t respond. As I was driving my heart began to race as more time went by without a response. I started to imagine all kinds of things in my head. After about 1/2 hour he called, said he was on his way, and seemed overly concerned with when I would arrive (I know now I was reading too much into that, but that is how the triggers work …) In my heightened state, I decided that I would go to the bar where the two of them carried on most of their affair – surely they were taking a stroll down memory lane on this romantic holiday! Thankfully, his car was not there. I had created an entire scenario in my head. I have done that far too many times …. I wish it would stop.
      He has given me no reason to believe that they have had any communication whatsoever in months … yet I am still on high alert, I continue to “look” for trouble where it doesn’t exist. I hate my lack of trust.

      • TryingHard

        Don’t be hating your lack of trust. It’s there to protect you. And it’s soooo normal. Keep checking feel ok about checking and pretty soon one day you will realize you aren’t checking anymore and don’t even want to. Until then don’t beat yourself up for “checking”. No matter what that checking is 🙂

        • Blindsided

          Thanks 🙂

    • Kittypone


      I relate fully to what you are saying. Even tho my H and OW never met face to face, therefore, didn’t have a “PA”; BUT…..there was phone sex and plenty naked pics exchanged, so in my book, that was as bad as having a full blown PA. The triggers are no joke!!! It’s been 2 years from Dday and the cold sweats, the panic attacks and anxiety episodes are debilitating still!! The spurts of rage and anger still happen (less frequently, tho) and the imagined scenarios of him still contacting her are worse than a sci-fi movie…….so many times I wonder if it’s worth it to go through all of this when I’m not even sure that I still love him…..we’ll be married 30 years after Mother’s Day and I guess that is why I still hang on……

      • Blindsided

        I stay after 35+ years of marriage, and 42 years total, for one reason: I love him.

        It’s simple, but it’s not easy.

        • Kittypone


          Can you help me? I “think” I love him, but I don’t “feel” that I do…..and of course, I am the BS, so I don’t have and AP waiting on the wings for me to end my marriage; I TRULY don’t “feel” that I love him. I do ALL things that is expected of a wife and then some: I work outside the home, all 4 of our children are grown and on their own, I keep an immaculate house, I take care of myself and look good, I cook, do laundry, have a good relationship with my in-laws, we have many good friends with whom we share and have good times with……. so…..after his betrayal and thorough break of trust, I feel like I “can’t “ give all of myself to him and keep a part of me to myself and guard my heart against being taken advantage of again…..we also have been married for 30 years and been together for 35…’s a lifetime!!! I DON’T want to start from scratch with someone else, I feel that is such an uphill endeavor at this point in my life!! It’s like I’d rather try my best to make a go of our battered relationship and try to rebuild to the best of our abilities than to call it quits and just hand him over in a silver platter to the harlot… I being selfish and egocentric or am I legitimately doing the right thing?

          • Shifting Impressions

            My d-day came a few weeks before our fortieth wedding anniversary, so I know where you are coming from.

            It’s been five years and in all honesty those “loving feelings” took several years to return. But slowly and I mean very very slowly they are coming back. But I know that deep down there is a part of my heart that still has walls around it.

            If I were you, I wouldn’t beat yourself up about it…..this is a long hard journey! Be kind to yourself. Trying Hard is right, some of that lack of trust is a form of self -protection. And yes, slowly slowly the trust can be rebuilt.

            • Kittypone

              Shifting Impressions
              I thank you! I thought that I was being a selfish bitch by not letting him “go” to the OW even if I wasn’t feeling so loving towards him myself; like if-he’s-not-for-me-then-nobody-else-can-have-him-either……I pray with all my might that those loving feelings do return in due time, because it sucks to spend the rest of your life wondering if this is “it”…..

          • Blindsided

            I agree with the prior comments. Be kind to yourself, and accept that your heart/brain is protecting you.

            I can tell you that the love I have in my heart for my husband never goes away, but there are days when I can’t stand him, literally. I don’t like him one little bit … I don’t feel “in love”. Some days I look at him and wonder how in the hell he could have done what he did to our marriage. You know all the feelings …. I don’t have to go into detail. But on those days, or soon thereafter, I try to connect with him … take a trip down memory lane talking about our kids, grandchild, happy things that happen in our family – not specific to our husband and wife relationship. Funny vacation adventures, early days of our dating, whatever … it helps me to remember why I love him, the great life that we built together. There is no one else that will ever love our family the way the two of us do, that I can talk to endlessly about our kids, etc. And inevitably a warm, genuine connection returns between the two of us.

            Getting out of my head and into my heart helps tremendously. Look back at old photos, listen to memorable music, reminisce … give your heart a jumpstart by hitting on all of the senses. See if you can summon those happy times, those feelings. I recently got a whiff of cologne in a public place that was one my husband wore many years ago. It is amazing how immediately my brain was transported back in time.

            Even after all of the hell of this past year in particular, and the past 4-5 years in general, I can honestly say that there is no one I would rather spend my life with.

            • Kittypone

              THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU!!! You have just hit the nail on the head!! Get out of my head and get into my heart and the memories we have built together!! That’s it!! The connection has to come back!! I know that he is making an effort, even if it’s not to the level that I would like it to, it is still better than no effort at all….I do acknowledge his progress and tell him so, but also letting him know that slacking off is not permitted if we are going to rebuild on a solid foundation……you have given me invaluable tools and I love you for it!! ????????????????????

            • Shifting Impressions

              I love the advice Blindsided has given you. Taping into those good memories can really help. My husband and I have started laughing together more again…much like we used too. Amazing how laughing together lifts one’s spirits.

            • Blindsided

              Kittypone, So glad I could help. Thank you for your reply – you made my heart sing today 🙂 And Shifting Impressions – you made a great point too … laughing together is sooooo important. There is the biological/chemical reaction that occurs that opens your heart to the connection. Nothing better than a genuine smile, a belly laugh and all the better when it is shared with one you love.

            • Kittypone



            • Hopeful

              Kittypone, I would also add Love is a Verb. If you do not feel in love those are feelings. But take action and do something and you will most likely feel the love. Also after dday we said no to everything possible and spent all of our time together. Almost like an immersion program. It brought us closer together. The Love Language quiz helps too. Everyone feels the love from different things find out what each of yours are. You might feel the love in totally different ways.

              Also in The Atlantic is a great article called Masters of Love. It is so good and since it is a magazine article very approachable. It highlights John Gottman’s work. It gets to the root of what you are describing. All of his books are excellent too.

              And sometimes you have to take the leap and dive it. It is so hard after being hurt. I was very guarded but through therapy I did allow myself to be more vulnerable. It is a rough road but you are worth it no matter if you decide to stay in your marriage or leave. It will pay off for you no matter what.

            • Kittypone


              Part of our counseling included some mentoring and The Five Love Languages book was part of that mentoring. We both read it and discovered what our love language is; I think I mentioned to Blindsided and to Sarah P. the fact that I also felt that love in my case (or at least, right now) is a verb and not so much a feeling, as I don’t feel much of anything for my H right now; Lord knows that I am trying my utmost to regain those feelings back for my H, but triggers and my perception that he hasn’t progressed a whole lot in my opinion also hinders and blocks those feelings from coming back……..:(

    • TryingHard

      Doug–I really like all the new changes on the blog. Looks great and I like that there’s a reply button to a comment.

      So V day came and went with nothing important. He made reservations at our favorite restaurant, bought me a very nice card and flowers. I chose not to have a trigger. Vday has been a huge trigger in the past as a big event happened on that day on DDay year. I was determined NOT to let it trigger me this year. Actually for the last couple years.

      Yes he bought her cards, gifts etc. on V day. He also gave her gifts on random days. Did he tell her he loved her on V day? Probably but he probably also told her he loved her on other days as well. I also don’t put a lot of weight into those words as uttered from his lips because I’m still not really sure what he means when he says “I love you”. I used to think I knew. I’m guessing gifts and professions of love are just a small part of the whole affair. I have no idea if he really did love her. He says he didn’t and just said the words because she said them first. Whatever.

      So why should V day have any more significance, positive or negative, than any other day? I also don’t put a lot of value in contrived Hallmark celebrations like V day, mother’s day etc. I never have. Looking at the affair as a whole, V day is no more significant than the other 364 days of those years of the affair. I’ve learned to stop parsing the affair into days that were more significant than others. I can’t go down that rabbit hole of letting one day wreck me. So I faced V Day with my big girl panties on and pulled up. I enjoyed myself and his company because I was determined to do so . I know he regrets those years wasted on her and that’s all that matters.

      • Doug

        Thanks TH. I wasn’t planning on doing it this weekend, but a server upgrade made it necessary. Do you feel that the site is faster now?

        • TryingHard

          It did seem to get to the site faster and navigating to the blog was easier too. I like the updated look

    • TryingHard

      Rose-I hope you do write that article. But seriously and LOLOLOL whoever is getting a dopamine hit when someone “likes” a post on FB is one sad, desperate SOB in my book

      • Rose

        It’s absolutely true. When one of my friends “likes” my FB post, it doesn’t affect me that way. But dopamine is the chemical responsible for “pleasure,” so imagine your H gets a “love” clicked on his FB post. It’s a cute single female or one he’d love to hear from. Dopamine is immediately released, and he needs to get it more and more due to the brain’s now addiction to this particular social media. When he gets a text from OW, flattering him and sending him sexy-time things, the dopamine gets flowing again. This is part of the physiological reaction and part of the reason why an affair is hard to stop. It’s not love–it’s dope!

        • Kittypone

          That’s why the SOB would always tell me that he was “on the way” to breaking it off with the harlot time after time after time!!!! He couldn’t give up the fix!!!

    • Sarah P.

      Hi All,

      The other day I was trying to write out what the pain of betrayal feels like. I wrote a poem. Does this poem resonate? Who else has a pain poem?

      The Nature of Pain for the Betrayed and Betrayer
      By Sarah P.

      When you are betrayed,
      Pain breaks you.
      Pain shakes you.
      Then pain creates you.

      If you let it.

      Pain can make you soar,
      Or, pain can bring you to the floor.

      Which do you choose?

      Pain in not the first,
      And it will not be the last.

      Do you drink the poison,
      Or does the poison drink you?

      Do you know the difference?

      Some ask who to blame.
      Some ask who to shame.
      And do you know the essence, of pain?

      Does pain even have a name?

      Is pain named Jeff, or Harry, or Dan?
      Or is pain called Susan, Cindy, or Nan?

      Do people use pain,
      or does pain use people?

      Who is to blame in this romance of eternal pain?

      If you feel inclined to betray another,
      What do you say if you have a chance—
      With Dan, or Jeff, or Jerry?

      What do you say if you dance—
      With Maude, Midge, or Kari?

      There is the moment,
      And there is eternity.

      Which do you choose?

      There are consequences to your moves.
      Consequences to what you choose.

      There are consequences to what moves you.
      and consequences to not moving at all.

      There are consequences to who chooses you,
      and if you choose them too.

      Be careful when you want to find yourself.
      You may find yourself in someone else.
      You may find yourself in the worst pleasure,
      Because that pleasure will become your worst nightmare.
      Who gets the last laugh?

      How will you face it?
      How will you relate it?
      What will become of your betrayal?

      You learned long ago there is a higher road
      That will lighten your load.

      It’s called redemption.
      But, it always comes with a price,
      And always with a sacrifice.

      You will have to give up your selfish needs.
      You will have to hear the cries as your betrayed spouse pleads.
      When your spouse asks if it was true love,
      Will you tell your betrayed you fit hand and glove?
      Or, will you say it was not from above?

      Will you be present to face the pain of reality?
      The reality that you are not who you thought you were,
      Or will you have amnesia and say “it’s all such a blur.”

      Can you look at yourself again, knowing that you laid waste to a family?

      If you have decency, you will feel the pain of those your harmed.
      And you will accept such pain makes you feel anxious and alarmed.
      You will understand it wasn’t worth it just to be charmed.
      When you and your betrayed spouse metaphorically came unarmed.

      There are no easy answers.
      There are just eternal dancers.
      Each who wear different masks.

      All of us dance on the stage of life but for a bit.
      And some stay loyal, while others remit.

      And so pain is passed down through the generations.
      None learning, certainly the most awful creations.

      The world has fallen and the garden is no more.
      Hopefully one day, enlightenment will come and settle the score.

      -Sarah P. 2/15/2019

    • Sarah P.

      Who else has a poem?

      I don’t care if it’s three lines. Poetry slam time and there is NO judgement. Just art!

      And please don’t be shy. If you read the poem above and ask how I write these things off the cuff, it’s because I have been writing poetry for years. Mostly free form. But, I do love the art of haiku, senryu, and tanka. Short and sweet is often the best.

      Any poem is art because it comes from your heart and soul. I know that is cliche, but it really is true. So please, share away!

    • Jx

      Hi Sarah P,
      I’d love your thoughts on the OW who now lives with my husband and had a baby within the first year of them being together. My husband flies in to see our young children every 2 to 3 weeks for 1 night and she seems determined to be there with him more often than not, even though they don’t want her to be there. Last time she even verbally abused me!
      Can my husband possibly love this person???

    • TryingHard

      Love is such a tricky emotion right? I mean my idea of love may not necessarily be your idea of love. And as the song goes What does Love really have to do with it??

      Certainly when one cheats the cheater may say I always loved my spouse. Well they certainly didn’t act in a loving manner. Loving means you cherish and care for something very deeply. Obvs if you’re cheating you certainly aren’t caring nor protecting anyone very deeply. Not even the AP.

      Also people tend to idealize relationships. One simply has to look at an abused child that adores the abusive parent to know people do this. I believe we BS idealize our cheaters. We want to believe in them. We want to believe in our marriages. We idealize the relationships. Cheaters idealize their AP because if they didn’t well then they’d be nothing better than immoral dogs. Which of course they are LOLOLOL.

      Cheaters think they are saving face if they can say “I don’t know what happened, I fell in love.” As if they had no control over themselves and this huge love emotion simply fell on them and totally ruled them. LOL I call bull$^tt on that. Unless you are a 15 year old adolescent you have control and full agency over your actions. Don’t let your cheater convince you that he/she is a victim of Love.

      Forget about the love part and focus on the character and integrity of your cheater. Don’t focus on whether your spouse truly loves you. Does he/she respect you? Do they care about your safety, well being. Are they there for you in YOUR time of need. Are they remorseful?

      Love has NOTHING to do with it. It’s a fluid emotion. Some days we will feel more loving than others. Focus on their actions not their feelings of the day.

    • Rachel

      I’m so grateful I’ve found this website! And, this article has confirmed what I already intuitively knew.
      Back in early October, I discovered that my fiance’ was having an “emotional” affair. Trying to keep this as short as I can…the gist is that he started changing from the attentive, happy, caring, beautiful partner he had been for 2 1/2 years in about May. In July, he gave me an engagement ring. We didn’t set a date. (He is 65 and I am 59). Things just kept getting worse and in September he told me he needed a “break”. I went to visit family and friends over a two week period and then he went to visit his son for a week. So, most of that month we spent apart.
      One a Monday night in October, I walked outside to find him on the phone, over speaker, with another woman. I asked him who he was talking to and he smiled and said “just a friend”. I insisted that he tell me and he kept refusing, but I insisted. I learned that he had met this woman at one of his weekly poker games (he plays twice a week). back in May. He had been sneaking out of the house to call her for who knows how long. And, the day before I found out, he had been sitting next to me all day watching football and texting with her.. All day.
      He told me that he liked to talk to her because they didn’t argue. I laughed and told him that of course they don’t argue because they don’t even know each other. Then he tried to put it back on me because I had suggested that he talk to one of his friends about whatever he was having problems with in our relationship. He told me that I told him to talk to someone and he chose her!
      As I’ve been sober for 31 years, I understand addiction. He has admitted that he is addicted to playing poker.
      He left our house that night. He would come around every few days to grab some clothes and act like nothing was going on. I asked him several times whether he wanted me to take my engagement ring off, and he always said “no”. The reason I did this is because I made a promise to him that I would never leave, that I was committed to this relationship and unconditional love, for the first time in my life. I told him that if he wanted this relationship to end, he was going to have to do it. (I wasn’t going to let him make ME break up with him).
      Five weeks after he left, he admitted that he is now sleeping with her. He said that he would always love me but mustn’t be “in love” with e because if her were, he would be here with me. He told me that he couldn’t promise me anything and that we should go our separate ways and “see what happens”. I made him take the engagement ring off his finger and told him he needed to get take his things.
      He took his clothes and his tools out of the garage, but he did not take any of his furniture. He even left all the things that his 101-year-old mother gave to him, things that are very special to him. He left all that here.
      As far as I know, he is living with his son and son’s wife , and wife’s 16-year-old daughter in a shit-hole trailer house. Ever since I’ve known him, he’s been perplexed by the son’s marriage to a woman who does nothing. No cleaning, no cooking, no nuthin’. A good friend of mine said to me that “he’s taken himself to the wood shed’.
      I truly have not been “jealous” of this “other” woman. I know what kind of woman she is and she does not deserve one moments thought from me. I know who I am. I know how valuable I am. Sure, I have character defects, and they were evident in our relationship, but it’s something I work on on a daily basis. This woman is nothing but a symptom of his view of himself.
      I know his heart. We had a beautiful relationship for 2 1/2 years, and I truly believe that God put us together. We had both been on our own for several years when we met. We because friends at work and it took me six months to finally open my eyes to the wonderful man he was/is, and go out with him.
      The man and the behaviour I see now, is not the man I met, got to know, and love with all my heart.
      Through my recovery program, I am a devoted spiritual person,; therefore, I keep my attention turned to my Higher Power and my faith that no matter what happens, this will all be ok in the end. I’ll be ok. I would love to be able to be reconciled with him,, and I know that what is happening now is for a reason. I hope and pray that he will remember his values, his honour, his commitment to me, and the love that we shared. HI “acting out” right now is in total contrast with the values he holds. This is the power of addiction. I knew it, and told him so the night I found out.
      I’ve had three directives from my Higher Power…do your work (I have my own business and the day after he left our home I got two more contracts, so lots to keep me busy), get your house in order, and pray. So, this is what I do.

    • Sharleen

      The best article I have read about affairs. I get so tired of sites that talk as if the betrayed must accept they played a part in the infidelity. My marriage of 32 years before my husband cheated with a younger coworker poacher (had an affair with my husband’s married boss too) was very close. We did everything together and had a great sex life. During the affair I felt my husband becoming oddly distant and knew something was amiss, but it took a few more months to actually catch him. He treated me horrible, and I mean horrible after being caught. It would take a book to explain his nastiness for the last 3 years after Dday. It took a year for him to start to come clean and another for more truth. I learned to tape conversations because of meanness, gaslighting, backpeddling and stonewalling. I also have made my husband listen to many of them to see his behavior. He still lives in his shame world and after his cancer diagnosis got worse instead of better with showing empathy, with denial etc. Cheaters compartmentalize, lie, deny, justify and downplay so much during the affair and after being caught that they cannot face their own wrong doing and many times continue to see themselves as a victim.

      • Audra

        Where do I go? After a year of emotional abuse and D-Day I finally got up the courage to leave. I have been left alone for 10 months to be the sole caregiver in our home to our Young Elementary, school, aged girls. Because I had to parents die, and was diagnosed with a disease on top of the discovery, my trauma brain was out of control and because my two young girls were my only support system. I told them everything. I know it was wrong. I’m still working through behaving appropriately around them. He moved back into the home in October 2022, and though it seems as though we were working things out, he relapsed again, and again and again. Apparently not having any intimacy with the person, but contacting and checking in and getting together for brief conversations per check ins. They worked together, and the affair partner has started its own business and so he wanted to help it. I’m sorry I can’t use the words she or her as they are triggers for me. A month ago I decided to take my girls and move across the country and so I did. He and I continued to communicate via text and it seems like we were on the way to recovery, but he relapsed again last week and I had decided to go no contact because he started gaslighting, lying and doing the DARVO. I keep trying to do the right thing, but get caught up in patterns that seem to only cause me harm. I wish this man could get out of his affair fog brain, and just realize what he is losing. He has decided to be with a younger person of color who is very ugly and obviously sick. it makes me feel like I am not worth anything. With Valentine’s Day being tomorrow I know that he has not considered doing anything for me. He didn’t do anything last year, but he was with the affair partner. He claims that the affair partner didn’t need gifts or token of appreciation or romance , I think he appreciated that I keep trying to remind myself that what he has been offering for the past year is less than the bare minimum that any sane minded person would agree to accept. I am an attractive, thoughtful fun and creative selfless person and yet I still struggle with my confidence and so forth. I don’t understand why he is not fighting for me and our family. I truly do believe that he does not want a life with the affair partner, but I can’t seem to give up the affair partner I understand how it works. The affair partner massages his ego. It has learned how to manipulate him. There’s a part of me that wishes they would both disappear forever. The pain and the suffering are never ending no matter how much work I do on myself. I see two therapists every week, I am a part of a support group and do daily work with my faith and behavioral workbooks. It never seems like enough to fix my traumatized, brain and heart. I want so desperately to be in a passionate and loving relationship. Our sex life was off the charts the last two months before I left, but it wasn’t enough for him. The other relationship wasn’t super sexual but it was addictive. I think I might have become addicted to him through trauma bonding. I am sick about this. I wish that I could do some thing to reprogram or raise my memories and brain like the movie, eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.

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