What are the typical defects in the relationships when affair partners marry and why are they more likely to divorce?

when affair partners marry

By Linda

In the past we have written about some of our neighbors who have experienced infidelity in their lives, as well as my brother’s situation. As a result of a neighborhood block party and some time talking with my mother, we were inundated with news of cheaters beginning their new lives with their affair partners.

We heard about divorces being finalized and new homes being bought and how excited they all were to begin their new lives. I really couldn’t feel hopeful or happy for any of these people (even though one of them was my brother).

I really feel guilty about that because I want my brother to be happy but I just have a gut feeling that this wasn’t the right way to accomplish it.

I was feeling really frustrated and of course wondered why Doug didn’t take that same path to a new life. I also began to wonder how happy these couples will really be once the shine of their relationship wears off. So I searched the internet looking for answers about the success rate of second marriages, particularly marriages when affair partners marry each other.

I know somewhere on our site we mentioned the percentage of these marriages that are successful and I know the percentage was very low. However, I wanted to know why.

I was lucky enough to find an article that summarized a chapter from Frank Pittman’s book, “Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy” that described the typical defects in the relationships when affair partners marry and why they are likely to divorce.

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9 Defects When Affair Partners Marry

The intervention of reality. During the affair the affair partners are in an intense state of stimulating unreality. The second marriage itself seems to be the switch that illuminates the mess that has accumulated. To them it was as if the romance appeared real while the divorce didn’t. Only after their marriage did the divorce become real enough to see that it was a horrible mistake. They were so caught up in the infatuation that they never got around to figuring out if what they were doing was sane.

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Guilt. People who have wrecked a family have inflicted much pain. As reality sets in they see many things they were overlooking. They may have no or little guilt during the affair and divorce, so the guilt they feel after the remarriage may come as a complete surprise to both of them and they may not know how to handle that revelation.

Disparity of Sacrifice. Divorces are expensive both financially and emotionally. Anyone losing a great deal will be drained, exhausted and depressed. It is particularly difficult when the exhausted partner marries one who feels triumphant that they have won the battle and took them away from their family. When affair partners marry, the new couple may feel a disparity in what had to be sacrificed to bring them together. They may not understand the emotion that was involved and what they had to give up in order to be together.

Expectations. Then there is the feeling that anything that cost that much emotionally had better be worth it. The greater the sacrifices, the greater the expectations for the new marriage. They believe that everything will be perfect just as their affair was. Unfortunately, what they will find is the ordinariness of real life. The more people enjoy the battles involved in wrecking and escaping marriages, the less they are likely to enjoy the business as usual of the new marriage.

General distrust of marriage and of the affair partners. It is obvious that when affair partners marry at some point in their marriage they will begin to question if their new spouse will also cheat on them. How can a marriage that began as a lie have any trusting foundation?

See also  Why Some Marital Affairs Last Longer Than Others

Divided loyalties. During the affair and the divorce the affair couples isolate themselves. They not only erase the betrayed spouse from their awareness, but also the children, relatives, friends, etc. They live in their own little world protected from the devastation that they have created, safe from anyone who tries to pull them apart. After the remarriage, they long to reconnect with these people only to find that is not so easy. Everyone involved is hurt by the betrayal and not as forgiving as they have expected. They often find that they only have each other and that can be very lonely.

Romance. People who are in love with romance, or in love with being in love as Dr. Huizenga would say, do not understand the physics of relationships. When the romance fades, romantics know little about how to solve those problems. Rather, they believe that they have just fallen out of love. They do not understand how to have a deeper more meaningful relationship. They move on from romance to romance never finding true lasting love.

Blaming the betrayed spouses. During the affair and the divorce the affair couples convince each other that the defective marriage was the fault of the betrayed spouse. To acknowledge otherwise, now that the remarriage has taken place, seems a betrayal of the rescue fantasies that fed the affair in the first place.

Unshared history. Even if a new marriage survives all of these obstacles, there is one further characteristic of second marriages: the absence of a shared history that brings familiarity to relationships that begin earlier in life.

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If an affair wrecked the first marriage, the history is painful and embarrassing for both parties. They also have a difficult time discussing the past because it may promote jealousy and insecurity. When affair partners marry, they do not want to hear the good qualities of the previous marriage and spouses. They also don’t want to hear about all the good times they had shared. They are literally starting over and trying not to bring the past with them. Often times this can be lonely and disheartening, and eventually causes them to forget who they really are.


I believe that most of us (betrayed spouses) realize that many of these defects would play out similarly if our spouses chose to leave and marry their affair partner. I am pretty confident that none of these obstacles were discussed or even thought about while our spouses were involved in their affairs. I imagine that it would probably take awhile before the fog lifted and the consequences of their actions were realized.

For a powerful post written by an “other woman” who married her affair partner, click here.

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    47 replies to "When Affair Partners Marry: 9 Reasons Why They Might Fail"

    • upsanddowns

      Very interesting post! If anyone reads Elle magazine, just an FYI that there is an article written by tennis champ Chris Everett about her last two divorces. S She said that as a tennis pro, she was taught to not be controversial or cause conflict when speaking to people. As a result, she grew up quiet, not addressing her needs out loud and consistently looked for male approval. he divorced her husband of 18 years due to an emotional affair with golfer, Greg Norman. She said that Greg made her feel excited and gave her the validation she always felt was missing. The marriage only lasted 2 years in part because Chris Everett herself explained that she “married her affair.”

    • elph

      You beat me to it. And I’m certainly watching Leeann rhimes recent marriage too. All the stats I’ve read say the majority, like 85% or close too don’t last past 2 years total. For very similar reasons as posted above. My wife is coming up on a year ( or I’m guessing a year since the EA started, didnt become PA till Jan from what I gather) anyway, I’ve seen them fight for the most part amd a few reasons stem from above, as well as just personality stuff. But alot of it is expectations. Mostly in comparison to what each is actually used too. Go figure

    • Jackie

      Had a distant friend whose marriage was destroyed by her H affair. The H married the AP. H was going thru a stressful reeducation time when the affair happened with a co-worker. The ex-wife and kids were devastated. H lost a great woman who truly loved him and badly hurt his 3 very young kids, one a baby. Ex-wife would say they had a wonderful marriage and ex-H was always very attentive in the marriage until the affair came along. H and ex-wife remained friends and everyone get along well. Ex-wife pulled her life back together and created a career for herself.

      Fast forward 8 years. H has a new baby with the new wife. He has just started another affair. Ex-wife asks him, “Everything was going well in your life. Why are you messing it up again?!”

      I used to think, “I wouldn’t be surprised if her H had another affair again someday.” I didn’t think this because I wished unhappiness on him again, but because the affair worked out well for him. He got what he wanted and learned little from all the devastation he had caused. Now he is just doing it again.

      Some people just don’t learn the lessons they are meant to learn from their mistakes, they just keep making them over and over.

    • Lynne

      I have a good friend who went through something very similiar to what Jackie described above…….

      She met a man, who she ultimately ended up marrying. While she did not meet him as part of an affair, he had cheated on his first wife (something my friend found out from his ex-wife after marrying him). They were happily married for five years before his behavior changed, with him becoming distracted, sullen at home, and secretive about his phone and computer usage. After three or four months of this, just having come back from an out of town trip, he told her he was leaving her for someone else. Needless to say, she was absolutely shocked. He explained to her at the time that he had done it before and will probably do it again (Lord, what happened to people that they see themselves this way!). So, he is now married to the AP and has a new baby with her. All I can say is God bless the AP he just married (she was also married at the time the affair began), as she is now married to a man that has destroyed two of his marriages by way of affairs, shows no remorse for either, and has verbalized that he is likely to do it again. Now that is a GEM of a man if I ever saw one!

    • Lynne

      To add to my last post, I would hate to be the AP he married! How long do you suppose it will take her to realize that she should just be waiting for his next affair to begin. Could you ever be secure in your relationship knowing that your H is a two-time cheater, and you met him under the same pretense, therefore it is your destiny to sleep with one eye open, while you wait for the other shoe to drop! More than anything, I feel sad for these people…..something truly horrible had to happen to them in their pasts to believe that this is a life “well lived”. And don’t even get me started on the SIX CHILDREN they have between them that are being raised by these ridiculous role models!!!

    • just me

      Even though my H firmly asserts that he loves his AP and she understands him in a way no one else ever has I can already see these things chipping away at their relationship. He says he loves me, but he is “in love” with her. However, his guilt keeps him from telling anyone at work that he has moved out of the family home. He is embarrassed to come into the neighborhood because neighbors will see him and he assumes they’ll know what he’s done. How must it feel to to her to be the deep, dark, dirty secret?

    • changedforever

      For those of us who ‘rescued’ their CS from running away with their AP (as I did,) I’m sure in more time (I am 11 mths from DDay as of today,) I may get to the point of not reliving all the horrid dates, details & triggers & take solasce in knowing I not only saved my marriage, but my family’s “life” as well…maybe in time I will ‘celebrate’ what I did. But not until I’ve ‘re-lived’ all the dates which were soiled…one of which was our 25th wedding anniversary (‘celebrated’ last October)…coming up in 3 weeks…for now, I am overwhelmed daily with the ‘why didn’t I know/shoulda/coulda’s.’
      Thank you Linda for this post…and for reminding me that I was the rescuer of my relationship…I’ve also recently dubbed myself ‘director’ of my relationship as well: I am steering this ‘ship’ (almost dashed to peices following my H’s affair, I am the strength and common sense guide. I have used my strength training to ‘hide’ my excessive weight loss, I’ve continued to embrace my return to my faith, and I am a survivor. I hope to one day feel ‘good’ about what I’ve accomplished but this road I’m is nothing short of a Twilight -zone episode…scary as hell with no end in sight…yet.

      • madismum

        What exactly did you do to rescue your family? Please let me know what worked for you and your family . I’m so confused and am willing to try anything! My husband has left our family for his AP in another state. My H and I have school aged children together and I don’t want to lose our family, divorce feels so wrong deep in my gut. The pain my children and I are experiencing is horrific. I am pouring over the internet to find information. Some relationship websites say dont talk to our spouse unless they come out of their affair fog and come home on their own. Some say become the person I was when we got married(over 20 years ago). I’m 50, have a job, drive hours a day for carpool and afterschool activities, have all the home care responsibilities, etc. We met when I was in my 20’s, I had
        no responsibilities- I was a young girl.
        Please let me know.
        Thank you.

    • Jackie

      Funny, I’ve often used that Twilight-zone analogy myself. Glad all of us sufferers of affairs can share our experiences and insights here on this blog.

    • InTrouble

      This post bothers me because I suspect that there is no real data evaluating specifically marital success or failure in instances where people have married after an affair. There is data that shows the divorce rate to be higher in second marriages in general, but I think it is misleading to assume people who have been in affairs together necessarily suffer a higher divorce rate. (Sorry, but I’m a researcher and a bit of a stickler for misrepresented “facts.”)

      • Healing Mark

        Why would you suspect that there is no real data of this kind? I can see where there would be data, but would question whether any such data was, as is often the case with surveys, an accurate measure of what the survey is measuring. Assuming that persons that married after having an affair (either where the person that they are married to cheated, or they were the person cheating, or where both were cheaters) were willing to answer the survey, the survey would technically evaluate how the respondents were fairing after the respective affairs and with respect to the new relationships, which new relationships could involve persons that the cheater had settled down with after the applicable affair which would not necessarily be the person that was involved in the applicable affair.

        So, when looking at the people who would be responding to this type of survey, you would be getting input from persons that had a marital relationship and, for whatever reason, chose to establish a damaging relationship with a person outside of the marriage, which new relationship ended up preceding the end of the marriage which existed at the time the new relationship was established. It wouldn’t matter whether the cheater ended up marrying the person they cheated with. What would matter is to what extent did persons who were married, cheated, divorced, and then remarried ended up being married for any extended period of time (subjective matters such as how happily remarried they might be would not be the subject of the survey). If I were going to bet on the results, I would bet that persons entering into a marriage with an affair under their belt would tend to be less successful in maintaining a second marriage than a person entering into either a first or second marriage without having previously had an affair.

        The results, as you might imagine, would be somewhat self-fulfilling. A person who has not only failed at maintaining a marrital relationship in the past, but who has contributed to such failure by betrayl and lies in connection with an affair, is not one who you would expect to succeed in a subsequent relationship. And if you are surveying persons who each cheated on partners prior to getting together and becoming married, it should not be surprising that such persons might have difficulties succeeding in the second marriage. I personally know two couples that have remained married for an extended amount of time after coming together after affairs, but I would bet that they are the exception (there are unusual circumstances involved in connection with each) rather than the rule. But, betrayed spouses should not take solace in the fact that their cheating spouse is not likely to succeed in a marriage that results from an affair. The fact is that the cheating spouse is going to end the existing marriage if it appears that doing so is the best thing to do at the time (assuming somewhat rationale behavior at the time), so whatever problems have arisen with respect to the existing marriage need to be addressed, whether they are ones that existed prior to the applicable affair or arose as a result of the affair, and if they are not, the cheating spouse may move on and it really won’t matter that much at such time whether the cheating spouse’s next relationship is successful or not. The fact will remain that an existing relationship will have ended and the betrayed spouse will be left without a partner and dealing with all the negative effects of not only having been cheated on, but also having been cheated on and then dumped.

      • Big Dog

        There are two groups of people reading about affairs. Those having one and those that are the victims of one. My guess would be that you are having an affair and you don’t like what you are reading. Again, it’s only a guess. If you are having an affair, I would encourage you to stop. I know you want to believe that only great things will come from this relationship, rest assured it will not. What you are doing now is rationalizing your poor decision to be involved in an affair. If you were comfortable with what you are doing then why do you care about remarriage statistics. My apologies if I am wrong, but I don’t think I am. Someone much smarter than me said how you finish is more important than what you do now. Disengage from the affair and you will finish strong. I hope you will make the right choice. I’ve always believed that grace exists for just such a situation.

    • TW

      I am 4 months since D-Day. Straight up I asked my husband to choose (bad decision in hind sight) and he chose her. I asked him to move out and I went away for 2 weeks. When I came back he told me he wanted to come back. He has since changed his mind a further 2 times, mostly sitting of the fence for a total of 3 months. 1 month ago, during our first attempt at marriage counselling he decided to tell me that he thinks he is going with his original decision, and choosing the AP. I was disappointed that he chose that situation to tell me this. He has never indicated that he wanted or was willing to work on our marriage as an option, to see if we can make it work. He has always just chosen her.
      He says he still loves me. I have been trying the NC approach for the last 3 weeks. He has contacted me about a few things (some unnecessarily), I have responded (nicely) but not initiated any contact. He says nice things to me, wishing me well which is very confusing for me.
      I am finding NC very hard. But I can see and have read that it is the best approach, even though it feels unnatural. I am finding it very hard to move on because I spend my time wondering if he will do the 180. I still love him, but I have no idea how the other relationship is developing, but in my head it is perfection (of course). I don’t know how long to wait and be patient. How long has it taken others partner to turn around?

      • Kristine

        TW it took my husband 10 weeks to turn around. I didn’t intentionally go the NC route. What I did instead was pray. I knew the actions were not of my husband. He was blinded and deceived by sin. I prayed God would would turn him around to honor his Covenant. I showed him unconditional love while he was in that sin but I didn’t reach out to him for any reason unless it had to do with the kids and finances. It was very hard. I had to see him quite a bit because it was summer and there was more orchestrating the kids schedules than normal. I wanted to reach out and touch his arm, tell him I loved and missed him but instead I had to sit by and let God work on him instead. My husband too was very polite, wished me well, things like that. It was heartbreaking. I thought from the way it looked in the natural that he was happy and had no regrets. God kept whispering to me my husband would be home soon but I didn’t see it. Well, 10 weeks was soon. Out of nowhere he asked me to the movies and from there it was history as they say. He cut it off with the OP and moved back home.

        In addition to praying I also did some things in the natural I knew the OP was doing to “win” him. I figured if she was going to try and turn a man from his family I’d remind him what he was missing. I looked my best whenever I saw him and when he would reach out through emails by keeping me up to date in what was going on in his life (like the time he sent photos of him and his friends at a baseball game to me) I complimented him and how he looked. I knew she was stroking his ego so I was going to as well.

        Our daughter started carrying photos of the family in her little photo book. She was so distraught that we weren’t together and her family was separated. I made sure to put a few of me and him together during happier times. I knew she (the OP) was trying to show him how happy she could make him so I figured why not remind him how happy he had been before.

        I did all this quietly. I didn’t beg. I didn’t threaten. He saw me going out with friends to lunch, I’d drop the kids off and he’d see an overnight bag and ask where I was going, I’d tell him where which was always friends but I saw he was starting to show concern and interest. I had been a crazy woman after I found out about the adultery, begging, crying, questioning, worrying… once he moved out I stopped all that. He saw me calm, strong, taking care of me. I stopped being stressful and allowed the situation he chose to stress him out instead.

        As it turns out, I found out when he returned that the pressure I was putting on him to make a choice and stop his actions now turned to pressure by way of HER because she thought she had finally won, she thought things were going on her way so she was very vocal about all the changes she thought was going to take place. The kids schedules, the divorce, etc etc and that’s when he woke up and realized that wasn’t what he wanted.

        TW if you haven’t been to Rejoice Marriage Ministries go and read about standing for your marriage. I can’t thank that marriage restoration ministry enough.

      • monica

        Thanks TW for sharing that. I have been praying for an answer also.

        • Angela

          There is data: 23% of all second marriages succeed but 25% of second marriages that result from affairs succeed. People who have gone through affairs together actually do slightly better probably because they’ve sacrificed to be together, they’re trauma bonded from all the hypocritical judgments they endure publicly. About 70 percent of people admit to cheating but affairs are almost universally condemned.
          The main reason first marriages do better is because family issues are simpler when you aren’t trying to reconcile with children from two different families. People who haven’t survived a divorce are too scared and lack the confidence that they will survive if they leave their miserable marriages. Marriages require work and knowledge whether they are first or second or third. If you keep doing the same things you get the same result.

    • Kristine

      One of my friends, her ex husband was cheated on by his first wife. She married the OM. Even though he knew how devastating that was and the pain, he cheated on my friend and now they’re divorced. He swears the OP is the woman for him and he’s in love and that he never loved her but merely married her because he hadn’t really dealt with the pain and sorrow from his first wife. Now his first wife is about to divorce the OM because after 5 years, she can’t take being unhappy. She said it was downhill pretty much right after she married the OM. You’d think that would wake up my friend’s ex now to what he’s doing but he’s like a train with no brakes on. It’s hard to watch.

    • InTrouble

      Healing Mark — Thank you for your response. Are you familiar with specific studies? I just think a discussion based on hypothetical research is a little silly.

      • Healing Mark

        There may be such studies but I have not looked for them. Was just expressing my opinions, not attempting convince anyone whether my opinions were right, wrong or somewhere in the middle.

    • Briana @ 20 and Engaged

      My dad cheated on my mom and married the woman who became my stepmother. Obviously years later is was no longer an issue. Everybody was grown up, got over it, and we were a blended family. Well, after 18 years of marriage, my dad and stepmom got divorced after my stepmom cheated repeatedly. Part of me believes the union was never truly blessed, even though they had great jobs, a great family and many things couples would kill for. Wasn’t enough for my stepmom. I don’t like to think “once a cheater, always a cheater” but I do think God is choosy when it comes to which unions he blesses.

    • blueskyabove

      Both you and your AP are married. You both get a divorce and marry each other. How do you ever get past the fact that ‘you are now sleeping with someone who cheats on their spouse’?

    • Anita

      Should a marriage end in divorce, it should not matter whether your ex spouse is happily remarried or not. You start over with your own life. My ex and I have been divorced for a few years now. We divorced because he was involved with a coworker and he wanted to be freed from the marriage. Even though they never married, he did remarry someone else, and I am happy for him.
      Time and forgiveness heals wounds. I want my ex husband to have a happy marriage. My children went through enough when we divorced, they are all adults now and have made relationships with their new step brother and sisters, and step mother.
      When you don’t forgive others bitterness and resentment set in and to wish others well becomes impossible. There is a new life for you when you can forgive others, and go on with your own life, who wants to live in the past, it better to forget what lies behind and press on into the future.

      • Jane McCarthy

        Sorry, that only exists in Disney. Reality is when people are hurt and betrayed, it sits inside for a long, long time. You hope that eventually the ex spouse will smarten up and at the very least admit his or her mistake. Unfortunately, we never get what we keep hoping for.

        • Nope

          Jane, sorry but your comment, like most here, reflects emotionally driven and undeveloped understandings. Going through the difficult process of therapy where you will learn to assume responsibility for you own feelings and behavior, instead of blaming others, will be worth the journey. Please seek a qualified psychologist and find a truly wonderful life. Ps… Anita is right and far along the path of enlightenment.

          • Gene

            Sorry, Nope but you too are living in a fantasy world. I have always assumed responsibility for my own feelings. I was responsible in my marriage, an elder in my Church and spent all of my spare time with my wife and family. Unfortunately, my wife had an affair with a church member, a one night stand with another man and a lengthy affair with a third man who she wanted to marry. In order to keep my family together I stayed in the relationship even though my wife never took responsibility for her bad choices. After 30 years, I still get strong feelings of hurt and pain even though I long ago forgave her. It is something you deal with every day and to tell somebody otherwise is only branding them as being abnormal. So, don’t write about things you obviously know nothing about.

            • Untold

              Amen to that Gene. You can forgive and move on, but not forget. Adultery and infidelity are not accidents or mistakes. Such intentional, willful deceit and betrayal leave deep deep scars. We learn to live with it but it never completely heals back to the way it was.

            • De

              I agree it takes a very long time.

    • SuzieSuffers

      So he got his cake anyway? You divorced because of the affair…did he ever try to get back together with you after that relationship ended? You two were happier without each other and did the affair just bring the “bad” marriage to light. Funny how guys seem to get remarried pretty quickly but they are the ones the most quickly leave the marriage for an affair because they weren’t happy in their marriage….or is it they weren’t happy with there partner and just didn’t think working on the marriage was worth the effort…..then why are these guys so willing to put so much work into affairs and new relationships…..it just wasn’t meant to be. That’s what I’m trying to find out…..my recovering alcoholic husband has had more affairs being sober than not….although the counselor said he might just be switching addictions to sex to get the high……ego stroke. Or is his having all these affairs because he really isn’t “in love” with me any more. Telling me that he loves me is like telling me he loves his brother….it’s a neutral feeling. Maybe I have nagged too much about him discussing all the affairs…..he doesn’t want to tell me anything that I haven’t found out. Do you think there is someone out there for you? Why is it the CS find someone so quickly?…….they are walking free without guilt or remorse baggage, whereas our self esteem is crushed and we’re more cautious to test the waters to see if we really are attractive enough, smart enough, slim enough, young enough to attract someone that isn’t like the CS.

    • Anita

      Hi Suziesuffers,
      A few days ago I decided I wasn’t going to post anymore, but I realized even though my drama was over and forgiven, I could still be supportive to others who are going through all of this now.
      Suzie, when I was dealing with my ex husbands affair and later divorce, I prayed everyday, it gave me the strenght I needed
      to get through.
      Before all that happened I was not a forgiving person, not because I didn’t want to be, it was because I never thought much about it. Forgiveness it one of the greatest gifts. When your hurt by someone, the worst thing you can do is hold on to that hurt. Forgiving them doesn’t not make them right for hurting you, but forgiving them takes the poison away from you, so you don’t stew in that posion. Hurting people hurt other people. When you have love inside you give love, another words you can’t give what you don’t have.
      But you also have a choice to stay, or to go. But forgive.

    • Anita

      Your husbands actions and choices, have nothing to do with you. You are not responible for what he does. These problems belong to him, he may decide to deal with them or not. I know your angry and hurt but forgive him. Your self esteem should not be affected by his issues. God loves you, and what your husband does, will be between him and God. You are only reponsible for you.

    • sunflower2012

      I am lost. I was in what I thought was a long-term, loving relaitonship that was leading to marriage. Or so I believed, and was given every indication through words, actions, etc. that this was our plan. That was until I uncovered his secret “fantsy affiar.” That is how he described it. Long story short. The man I beleived I would marry was actually having an affair at his workplace with a married woman. Fast forward to less than one year. The woman’s husband ultimately divorced her (she lost custody of her two small girls), and she is now married to the man I believed I was going to marry. Pain and betrayl everywhere. I’m still not recovered. Can any realtionship/marriage survive under these circumstances? I do not have those ansers. My ex who is now married to the person he had an affair with has shown no remorse towards me. He left me in the most brutal of ways, through lies and betrayal. All I want to know is if the two of them have any change at this new marriage of theirs.

    • Anita

      I know your hurt, however be glad you found this out before
      As far as this new marriage of theirs, forget him, and put him in the past. He’s a married man now, so he needs to
      stay faithful to his new wife now.
      Don’t wait around to see if their marriage suceeds or fails,
      instead forgive him and move forward with your own life.
      If he really wanted to be married to you he would have,
      sorry I know that hurts, however it better to know now and
      leave this in the past. Someday there may be a wondeful
      gentleman who will treat you the way you deserve, this guy is not the one, count your blessings.

    • Leah

      The absence of any data in this article bother me, too. It seems to be written as a vindication to those who hope the new relationship will end in failure. According to this piece – http://aboutaffairs.com/2008/02/can-relationships-that-start-as-affairs-succeed/ – about 25% of marriages that started as affairs succeed. I was surprised by that statistic. A possible explanation is that about a quarter of such affairs involve monogamous people (not serial cheaters) who were married to the wrong person and it took meeting the right person to get them out of the marriage. Unfortunately, the faulty timing will make both partners the “bad guy” for a long time, resulting in alienation and estrangement from friends and family. I think, at the end of the day, the author should extend a little compassion and acceptance to her brother so that the family can move on and be healed.

      • Lisa

        Leah were you the ow? Can’t say I have ever heard a justification like the above by anyone other than someone who had an affair themselves. I pray you don’t encourage anyone to “get out of a marriage” for someone else & I pry that you were not/ are not involved with another married person.

    • Brenda

      Ok – For the sake of compiling data as well as enlighten both the CS & the BS – I’ll share my story. In 1999 I had been married 24 years. I had an affair with one of my husband’s softball buddies. He had been married for 21 years. We both decided to leave our spouses for each other. Because my AP had a wife who didn’t work, he had to pay alimony – scheduled for 11 years (half the marriage) ad then up for revisiting the need again. We married each other in 2004. We both have adult children that struggled with our decision (2 each) but ultimately, we’ve been able to secure a relationship with all but one (his daughter). In 2009 my current husband had a year long A with a co-worker. I didn’t suspect a thing – he came to me and told me. We’ve been going through some pretty intense MC. He can’t quit his job and on top of that, he has high government security that does not allow anyone without clearance to enter his place of business. I affectionately call it “Fort Knox”. His ex took him back to court to extend her alimony (it’s quite a nice sum) and won. So now it continues. Where I had thought we’d finally be able to be free from the past in terms of no longer having obligations to our previous spouses that will not happen. Our children do not know of my H’s 2nd affair. He said it was a mistake. He was 54 and she was 35, made him feel young again. Until she envisioned him completing her young family.

      So here we are in the year 2013. I definitely feel guilt & remorse for leaving our spouses the way we did. And it was foolish of me to think that I was the only one for my current husband. Obviously not so. But I was and still in love with this man. We’ve been together since 1999 – making it 14 years, married 9 years. Would I do it again? Not at the expense of my children & the pain we left on our spouses. I can honestly say that as a CS I didn’t give it a lot of thought, but as a betrayed spouse, I can sympathize with their pain.

    • Tazzle

      My son left his wife of 13 years and my 6 year-old grandson. My grandson had always been a Daddy’s boy and clung to my son, worshiping him. Then, my son met a real skank and left his wife and my grandson to move in with her and my grandson was left by the wayside. Not to mention that said skank also left her husband and kids. My son and I barely speak to each other now where before, we’d talked to each other every day. His new wife is jealous of his family and has worked hard to isolate him because she knows we disapprove of her and she’s even done her best to keep my son from seeing my grandson, where before, she fought tooth and nail to try to win his affection away from his mother. My son has seen his family and former friends unfriend him from Facebook because she stirs up resentments when we welcome his ex-wife to our homes. What are we supposed to do? She’s the mother of my grandson, their nephew, cousin, second cousin and they want to stay in touch. But, it enrages his new wife. We all detest her and I’m sure that my son can’t be happy that he’s barely heard from me a half dozen times in the last year when we used to talk constantly. It’s too stressful. His wife screens my calls and blocks them or she and I end up in a screamfest and she works with him so I can’t call him at work. The only two people in the family he stays in touch with are his cousins and they tell me he’s lost so much weight that he looks skeletal. I’m alarmed and can only conjecture that he’s suffering from remorse and depression. It’s not a good place for him to be. He once told us how wonderful this woman was and how he loved her because she encouraged him in his dreams and wanted him to soar as high as he could. Instead, it seems to me that she’s clipped his wings and caged him.

      • Sam

        Sounds to me like she’s massively insecure and has huge doubt that he’ll stray on her eventually (which will happen)… and by the sounds of things she sounds very selfish, and that she won’t be the “new wife” for much longer. Sounds to me as if he’s realized that it’s NOT all what it’s cracked up to be with her, and she’s desperately trying to keep him under wraps because she knows what he’s capable of.

    • Lisa

      The road to recovery will be challenging. However, sometimes divorces are blessings, meaning you get rid of the person who’s creating grief in your life. The reward for you is when you finally shake them loose, you’re able to thrive in your new life, become the person you’re supposed to be without pouring your life into something that never intended to pour their life into yours. Keep in mind the ten commandments and how God strongly advises against adultery, find a way to forgive the cheater because you don’t want to go to hell for no reason, especially the cheater and the OP. Everybody say AMEN!

    • Rashid

      My so called best friend cheated on his wife of 20 years and Lied to me and my cheating wife of three years and soon to be ex, will be marrying this cheater friend
      This guy is 18 yrs older than my ex and planning to marry her and has money but will lose a lot after divorcing his current wife
      He had lower back problem and is ugly as hell and will get two kids from my ex,
      This is his fourth marriage and ex s third marriage so let’s see after both cheaters marry and see how this last as it’s based on greed and lust only

    • Annie

      I know having an affair was wrong. Let’s just start by saying that. I am a Christian and I am disappointed that I let things get so out of hand. None of this justifies anything or makes it okay but I started dating my husband when I was 20… married at 22… planned and had first baby at 23 & surprise baby #2 at 24. After I had my babies I began experiencing post partum depression & I had some minor (but painful) health issues that progressively got worse after my pregnancy up until now (I’m almost 30) … I stayed at home w our kids, my postpartum became chronic depression, I didn’t do but the bare minimum around the house because everything was a task to take care of my kids & I would spend a lot of time at my aunts or mother’s for the extra hands and help. During this time my husband would play w the older kid when he got home from work and then retreat to his “man cave”. He barely spoke to me unless it was to make “suggestions” to make my life or health issues easier. Other than sex maybe once a week we didn’t really talk or do anything together unless it was to “fix” me or “nag” about the house or things he would do different. I was very lonely, my self esteem was just about gone, my health washetting worse & I was creeping on 200 lbs. & my main goal everyday was to get through the day. Anyway, I met this guy at our friend’s weddings. They coupled us to walk together in the wedding party … I wasn’t attracted to him at all. A few months later he commented on a pic on Fb and we talked on and off for close to a year. We would talk all the time and laugh and carry on… and, it got physical after attempts from each of us to end it so we could “do it right” and leave as little devastation as possible (he is divorced but has small kids). The thought to leave my husband started before I even knew this guy existed. I have left and am In the process of filing for divorce & my husband is not want the split at all (for the kids). I have had enough of being made to feel bad and/or guilty for demanding better for myself. I would love for my kids to grow up in a home w both parents but it’s more important to me for them to have happy parents. I feel like I was damn near emotionally abused & I am still to this day getting a guilt trip and he is trying to manipulate me back. For whatever reason I’m struggling to not fall for it. Bc I don’t want to hurt my kids any further than I have. My affair wasn’t something I went looking for and it was even possible bc of the 5 years I had spent feeling and being made to feel like I had and bc of the thoughts of wanting out anyway. After talking to, getting to know, and spending time w this guy I am incredibly attracted to him & when something happens he is who I want to tell & genuinely care about him. Once everything is final I would want us to take this slow & date & go from there. He listens to what I have to say about the situation but doesn’t comment bc he doesn’t want me to resent him for the part he played in all this & I also feel like he knows how hard divorce is & what a mess all this is and is having a hard time dealing w it. Not that I blame him I guess. My husband found out about the guy months ago and knows him and I try to keep a distance. He’ll tell me how awful and hurt he is mostly bc he says he can tell how much I care about the other guy (husband had revenge affair) but he asked the guy to just wait til divorced to continue anything w me. The other guy and I will text some at this point and I’m missing him like crazy. Husband just keeps telling me how other guy will see “how I really am” and not want me & I am messing up our kids & his relationships w our kids if I go through w it. I know the other guy cares about me & I feel like he wants to give this a chance. But, that’s not what’s in the forefront of my mind. I’m worried about my kids! And, the guilt is a lot… I know what I did was wrong but most of the guilt I feel is from not addressing my depression and problems w my husband when it started. I would say little things here and there & he knew I was on antidepressants (which he thinks is dumb) I don’t know why I carried on. I can’t sleep. Im not even sure I made a damn bit of sense through the telling of this tale but there u have it. Shit happens I guess. & Life is hard something

      • Annie

        It’s hard to put into words everything that happened in the past 5 years and all the mess that was 2016 but I rambled on and did the best I could lol. I don’t feel like I’m a bad person. I never would have thought I would do anything like this or see myself doing this ever again. The sneaking and all that has been awful & I’ve hated it. I really care about the other guy but I don’t want him to be why I left my husband. I feel like he helped me to feel better about myself and feel more like myself which may have given me the gumption but the hurt & the thought to leave came long before he did. I have been trying to leave but he sucks me back w threats of cutting me off financially, my fears about hurting my kids, and bringing those low self esteem feeling back up. I’m wanting be stronger and stand on my own two feet. Maybe the guy can be a really awesome bonus. But, this is happening regardless of him. Even baby steps are moving forward

    • Malcolm Bernstine

      I can relate to the hurt and the pain and frustration the Suffering The Anger the sleepless nights the weight loss trying to figure out going to professional counseling beginning to waver in faith lose motivation.going through a divorce can be traumatic. my wife after 25 years came to me and said that she wanted a divorce only to find out that she had been having an affair with an old College classmate. and through the divorce process she became so bitter and angry and deceitful. Just the other day I received a message through Facebook Messenger seemingly from her boyfriend asking for my advice how to talk to her because she’s been distrustful in the relationship. But I’m not sure if it’s from him or her. Meaning she could have used his phone to start up emotions. but I was advised to be careful because she’s scorn and upset realizing she’s made a big mistake. I have watched my soon to be ex-wife become a whole new person. She has traded everything for this affair. She was bold and arrogant without remorse. my heart goes out to anyone who is dealing with and divorce especially based on affair. I would love to help others get through it. I have a strange detailed documented process and am willing to share it. Malcolm Bernstine, Ph. D.

    • Malcolm Bernstine

      Please feel free to email me and ask me questions I’ll be more than transparent to help someone else.thank you Malcolm Bernstine Ph.D.

    • Angie

      I know that there are exceptions. My husband and I are one. He was married for 35 years and never had the courage to leave. It had been a marriage driven by guilt — to please his parents after they bailed him out of some legal trouble while in his late 20’s.

      I was married for 17 years and had been divorced for two (after our children entered college) when our friendship moved on to something powerful. He asked her for a divorce when I moved six hours away from him. I totally understand your points and we as a couple have acknowledged most of them. We talk openly. And listen closely. And are sure to keep the lines of communications open.

      Sometimes it is not understood that the partner who is asking to leave the marriage suffers greatly as well. Sometimes it takes far more courage to walk away and create a life that is true to you than it is to stay in something that is dead and buried.

      We are committed to making it work. We have been through a LOT in the course of two years — parents dying, selling of multiple properties, managing young adult sons, giving up 60% of his net worth, dealing with the rollercoaster ride of everyone’s emotions including our own. And we are solid. It is not a struggle with him. It is easy.

      Our time of isolation is transitioning back into a vibrant, connected world that we have made for ourselves. We are true partners in every sense of the word and would go to the mat for the other. I am blessed to have found this man. And I look forward to making a life with him and living it to the fullest with the time we have left.

      • Beth

        Boo!!! Courage? Not sure why you would be posting here. You are not going to get mich support. My ex was hard to live with, but we lived each other. I did so much to accommodate him because I CHOSE him, and because I wanted our son to have a family to come home to with his own family someday
        Wel, my ex suddenly found the “courage” to lie and sneak around and then to say he was out, not willing to work on our marriage at all, & quickly married his 15+years younger AP, who worked for us in our small family business and whom I had more than once thanked for being such a good employee that my then-H could relax a little in his literally 7-day-a-week work. She claimed to be a devout Christian, had invited me & my H to dinner at her mom’s home with 15 other people fro.m their church, had even worked with our teenage son some, and yet 7 monthsafter that dinner (if not sooner) was sleeping with my H before he had even filed for divorce. Yes, I was not a perfect wife, but he made the choice to violate the vow he had years earlier chased & implored me to make. He discarded me when I was no longer young, when I was between jobs after 18 years at one, makin g more than half our income, paying the bills, caring for our son and pretty much running our household by myself.

        He never told me about her pregnancy that started months before he filed, on fact still hasn’t told either me or our son, previously an only child. Hiw courageous is that? Hiding a sibling?! You fool yourself about this “courage” business.

    • A tough lesson

      I know this is a very old post & I doubt anyone will scroll this far down, but I just need to write about my perspective on this topic after 35 years of experience. I don’t know if anyone else already told a similar story in a previous post because I haven’t read them all but if they did maybe my story will still have a slightly different perspective.
      So I’ll just say it right out: I so wish that my cheating husband had gone with his AP 35 years ago when he had to tell me about the affair due to an STD. I was 25yo and pregnant with our 1st (and only) child at the time. Because of this he decided to stay with me. I thought he was being so gracious because, you see, at the time the marriage counselors we saw were very clear in telling me his affair was all my fault and vindicated him in his decision. But something they did not consider problems either was his previous arrest for exposure or what I felt was excessive alcohol use.
      So I tried my hardest to be the good wife, rarely complaining about his treatment of me which I found out years later have amounted to hundreds of episodes of emotional and financial abuse leaving me a wreck and deeply trauma bonded due to his successful breadcrumbing of me whenever he felt it necessary.
      So fast forward 30 years and our son has long ago moved on with his own family & career and my husband’s anger, alcohol abuse, avoidance, etc. continued to escalate. I did everything I could to try to keep the peace because anytime I brought up a grievance he was able to gaslight me (before I even knew what it was) and make me so argumentative (crazy making, something else I’ve recently learned about) that he was able to justify all his what I know now were abusive behaviors. But sometimes I’d get so crazy & accusatory ( I was convinced that throughout our marriage he continued to have affairs, but I was never able to prove it) that he couldn’t stand the pressure and about 5 years ago he finally confessed to inappropriate feelings he’d had for a younger gal that owned a very small company that he had worked a 2nd job for (he was her only employee). He had worked for her for 5 years and the job and relationship, although he still saw her occasionally in a different circumstance, had ended about 2 years earlier. Turns out it was one sided. He actually had a “crush” on her that I imagine she was aware of and used it to her advantage but he swears it was not to bash me (he did this at his FT job with coworkers and subordinates) as he had with his 1st AP, she just made him feel like a big fish. I was never able to make contact and get her side of the story.
      So off to couples counseling we went where again, but with backing from well known, published therapists and programs like the Gottmans, EFT, etc. I was once again blamed for not treating someone now diagnosed (informally, based on his background descriptions ) with complex PTSD carefully enough. After 18 months of marriage counseling where we promised to do all kinds of reading and exercises I decided to leave. It made me feel even more abused. Only I was doing the reading & when I approached him to do the exercises, he used that opportunity to blame shift and be even more defensive.
      I finally had him move out of the house, which he was more than willing to do, because my gut instinct said there was more going on. That this EA was a red herring. Through some kind of providence, after almost a year of individual counseling, I was assigned a new therapist after the previous one retired. This one saw me a couple of times, heard my story, then asked if my husband would be willing to come in. Of course he is the master manipulator (emboldened by previous therapists) so in he came. I was worried this would turn out bad again for me but she assured me this was not a coupes meeting but a chance for her to hear (and see) his side of the story. After the 2nd session she again, like the others, recommended books for us to read, but they were different. Facing the Shadow for him and Facing Heartbreak for me, both by Stephanie Carnes and Mari Lee. Of course I knew he wouldn’t read his book so I had no interest in reading mine. In fact I didn’t even buy it I had so many already. But when we went back for the 3rd session this therapist actually asked if we had started reading our books. My husband had actually bought his, but danced around as to wether he’d started reading it. I thought well, this therapist is serious so I’d better buy the book. After skimming through it initially and reading a few chapters that caught my eye I realized the book was about being married to a sex addict. I had always kinda wondered and tried to bring it up a few times but was shot down each time.
      This book mentioned porn addiction often & I thought although I knew my husband had chosen “taking care of it himself” over me years ago & I had been told repeatedly “all men do that” that if he had been using porn, I would have noticed. But I finally got up the courage to ask. So last April, when we were in the depths of COVID restrictions with stay at home orders growing everyday, I asked because I was sure the answer would be no. But much to my devastation he affirmed he had been using porn ever since our son had moved out. Somewhere between 14-16 years, he couldn’t remember exactly.
      He is still living in a 9’ camper on our property (14 months now) where he moved when I initially asked him to leave because, although he swears he has stopped using porn and stopped drinking, these addictions were only masking some very severe psychological issues for which he might not be willing to be helped. After 8 months of minimal therapy (he refuses 12 step work, or anything else) he still has abusive, defensive, blame shifting & gaslighting episodes towards me even though I have put all kinds of boundaries in place.
      You see even though our son has his own family & lives in another state, I’ve also found out he had been manipulating our daughter in law as well as our son behind my back, telling them lies about me. She believed them and has essentially cut me off. My husband has still denied much of this, but my sister initially then I have gotten some truth from her.
      I also need to use his health insurance for medical issues that have come up in the last 3 years, including eye issues where it is unknown how much longer I will be able to drive.
      So the point of this story is not all cheaters are mentally well people and sometimes it would be much healthier for the betrayed in the end if the CS did indeed move on (with the AP or not). That certainly would have been my case. Trust your gut!

    • Talha Ubaidullah

      Jazakallah. The harsh realities of second marriages with affair partners, facing guilt, shattered expectations, and trust issues. It’s a journey filled with emotional challenges, highlighting the complexities of rebuilding after infidelity

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