One of our readers shares her experience with contacting the other woman – and it turned out to be a positive thing.

contacting the other woman

By ‘Anonymous’

I had a conversation with my husband’s affair partner.  It was amazing and clarifying and helped with my healing.

Here’s the short version of the affair story.  They worked together.  They still work together and that won’t change.  We have made this decision together because it is best for us financially. 

They also don’t work in the same building and don’t have regular interactions, though they do have to contact each other for various issues from time to time.  They serve on some of the same committees and have both participated in the same small group projects since I’ve learned of the affair.

The affair lasted a little more than a year.  It was mainly an emotional affair with some kissing.  Toward the final months it became physically intimate. When I confronted him, he immediately said ‘I won’t do that anymore.’  The next day he called her to break it off.  She agreed and they have not tried to reconnect.

I called her to ask for a meeting.  I explained I wanted to have a conversation, I did not want to confront, shame or belittle.  My desire was to talk to better understand her motivations and intentions with this relationship with my husband.  She said yes, explained that she has deep remorse for the pain she’s caused and hoped a conversation would bring me peace.  We met for about 90 minutes in a small room of the local library.

The conversation took place nine months after the affair ended.  There were a few tears (hers) but no raised voices or angry words.  I said some harsh things, described the agony I felt on discovery and the thoughts, questions, physical symptoms, loss of sleep I’ve dealt with every day since. 

For me, it was important for her to understand the trauma of a betrayed spouse.  I’ve known and supported people who were betrayed or betrayers and had no idea of the agony they endured. She listened and answered, I believe, honestly.  I realize there is no benefit to her to being honest.  There is no benefit to her to lie either and if she truly is remorseful (which I believe she is), honestly is the only way to demonstrate that feeling.

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For me, the conversation confirmed my husband was telling the truth, it clarified her real intentions, it provided comfort and took away the power her involvement had over me.

Let me explain each aspect:

It confirmed the truth.  Some of the things my husband told me made no sense to me given what I know of him.  For example, he was the organizer of about 80% of their get togethers; he has never been the planner in our family. 

Another, he’d be at her house for three to four hours.  They’d sit on the couch; the TV on but they didn’t watch it.  They mostly talked.  He can’t remember what kind of programs were on or what they talked about.  Neither can she.  But even bigger is he talked for three to four hours.  Never seen that in my lifetime. 

One more example, he knew some things about her marriage issues because they were front and center and he said they didn’t discuss our family, me or our marriage.  She said he didn’t. 

Stirring Things Up – Finding Meaning in the Affair

Clarified intentions.  She wasn’t trying to steal my husband. She separated from her husband and moved out of their home during the affair.  Some of the comments he told me she made indicated, to me, that she was looking for a long-term, permanent relationship with him.  He said, she said ‘you check all my boxes’, ‘I could see spending the rest of my life with you,’ ‘I see a future together.’ 

He said he answered with negatives and she’d counter:

He: ’I’m much older than you.’  She: ‘I don’t care about age.’

He: ‘I don’t make enough money to support you as you’re used to.’  She: ‘I don’t care about money.’

He: ‘I don’t want to hurt my kids.’ She: ‘Your kids are older, they’ll be fine.  My kids are still in school and doing fine with the separation from my husband.’

She didn’t deny saying any of those things, and told me she understood how they could be interpreted as trying to talk him into something but that was not her intent.  She said she was just being honest and stating what she believed.

See also  There is No Quick Fix to Healing and Recovering from an Affair

Add to this the things I’ve learned about affairs, that married women who have affairs are already done with their marriage and, I heard Doug say in an interview (paraphrasing) ‘I’ve never talked with a woman who had an affair who wasn’t looking to replace the wife.’  Your interviewee agreed.  Her response when I brought that up was “they weren’t talking to me because that was not my intention at all.”

What You’ve Learned While Recovering from an Affair

Provided comfort.  She said throughout the entire affair that I was always in the back of her mind and that when he called to break it off, she immediately said ‘I understand’ and felt very bad because she knew I was in deep pain.  She apologized to me several times. This is a little thing that means a lot to me.

She also provided a little more insight into something that’s very difficult for me to understand: how my husband continued to do things that he knew were wrong, and how he made them ok in his head. 

She told me of the evolution of their affair.  She said it was all very gradual, and that it just kept going and the next thing you know you’ve crossed another line and then another.  That makes sense to me.  We still have a long way to go as a couple to figure this out but her statements helped.

It took away her power in my mind.  I no longer saw her as a woman who, I described at one time, as ‘trying to get her claws into my husband’ or as a home wrecker or other choice words.  She’s a person, just as my husband is, who did a bad thing. 

She told me that she knew she needed to work on her issues with her husband and her marriage the whole time.  I see them both (husband and affair partner) as people who found each other at the opportune time for an affair.  Both had voids in their lives that they possibly didn’t even know about.

They comforted each other, providing relief they didn’t know how to ask for from their spouses or family or friends.  It also created a painful situation that allows all of us to become better.  And that’s my wish for her, just as it is for me and for him.

How to End an Affair – The Right Way

I knew when I asked for the meeting that contacting the other woman was not recommended by anyone in the affair recovery world.  We both acknowledged that at the beginning of the conversation.  I also knew that I needed to do it and that I could handle whatever she said.  I felt basic knowledge of her side of the story would help to eliminate questions in my mind.  I am also a person who appreciates that no story is one dimensional.

See also  Forgiving Infidelity and Making a Commitment

I’m not naïve, I understand that the cold-turkey ending helped to make this conversation possible and helpful. As anyone who’s been betrayed by a spouse, I’ve gotten a crash course in affairs.  I now know it wasn’t about me or about the partner.  And I know about fence-sitting and the other woman/man who doesn’t want to give up the affair partner and can be relentless and cruel.

However, I’ve never seen a circumstance quite like that of my husband and his affair partner.  I just can’t believe it’s totally unique.  No way.  Everything I’ve learned of my husband’s affair and in our recovery is textbook.  It’s uncanny how often something we’ve experienced or just talked about is the subject of one of Linda and Doug’s emails.

One of the experts said ‘it takes two broken people to have an affair,’ if that’s true why don’t we hear of more similar situations?  An affair happening because two people use each other to deal with issues they can’t or won’t address. And when it’s uncovered both are relieved because they can finally stop doing what they knew they shouldn’t have been doing the whole time. 

Have I missed something? Have I misunderstood?  Or is this possibly a new scenario that hasn’t been explored? 

Many thanks to “Anonymous’ for sharing her experience.  Now it’s your turn.  If you have experience with – or are considering – contacting the other woman – or man,  please share below in the comment section. 



    18 replies to "When Contacting the Other Woman Turns Into a Positive Experience"

    • Shifting Impressions

      After reading this post I am somewhat puzzled. I don’t see anything particularly unique in her husband’s affair. Am I missing something?

    • Phoenix

      I would STRONGLY suggest not confronting the affair partner. AP’s have already demonstrated that they don’t care about how they have wronged you (or else they wound not be affair partners) and you have no idea how vengeful an AP can be.
      I confronted my husband’s AP by sending her a letter, several months after it ended. I was kind, I told her I forgave them, and that I could understand how it could happen. She repaid my forgiveness by contacting his boss directly, telling him sordid details about my husband and the affair, and threatening to sue us and my husbands employer (they met a few times at work.) Not only did he lose his job, he lost his reputation and the respect of colleagues, and had to change careers. We lost a lot of money trying to stay financially afloat, and we uprooted our family to get away. More than 2 years later and we are all still living with various levels of PTSD as a result of the disaster. It was a huge mistake- not only because if the repercussions, but it also gave her smug centrality which she didn’t deserve. After she set our life on fire, she posted several revenge/karma themed posts on various social media.
      Don’t do it. Stay away and don’t give the AP the satisfaction of knowing what she did, or the fuel to do more damage. Walk away.

    • Exercise grace

      So….they had a long term affair but it never really got physical. She didn’t want to replace you but yet left her husband. Despite most therapists saying affairs are never truly over until the affair partners go zero contact, they still work together. In fact, they will work fairly closely together on projects etc, having the perfect cover should they choose to resume the affair. They both have managed to have conversations with you, where they deployed some very fine gaslighting techniques in order to maintain contact with each other, and resulting in zero consequences for their affair. I very much hope I’m wrong, but I think this poster has a tough road ahead.

      • Shifting Impressions

        But it actually did get physical even though that is sort of glossed over. I have to admit the gaslighting thought came to mind as I read this as well.

      • Sarah P.

        Exercise Grace and Shifting Impressions,

        I am grateful that “Anonymous” was willing to share her deeply personal experience on this site.

        However, I do agree with both of your assessments, Exercise Grace and Shifting Impressions.

        But, I also hope and pray that “Anonymous” is in a rare situation, where truly all is well.

        Shifting and EG, would you be willing to briefly share your own experiences on this thread?

        In the past, you have both have shared the immeasurable heartbreak and turmoil that resulted in betrayal. I think it would be wonderfully helpful for any new readers, to know fully what both of you went through. I know what both of you went through and yours are some of the accounts, which keep me up at night since you two are part of the “EAJ blog family.” (Yes, that’s a term I just invented). All of us have been here together for years exchanging ideas and thoughts.

        I think each of your accounts of betrayal would be valuable for new readers.

        Most of all, so happy you both commented and it’s wonderful to see both of you. ❤️

        Anonymous, thanks again for graciously sharing your experience. I sure hope that everything is well. And I would ask one thing: has your husband received individual counseling to do a deep dive into his own issues and truly shed these issues? If he hasn’t, it’s my experience that whatever is broken within him, will resurface again. It may not be in the form of an affair, but it certainly won’t be helpful. Thanks again for sharing. 🙏


        • Shifting Impressions

          Hi Sarah
          I’m always willing to share my story but I’m not sure how helpful it would be on this particular thread of conversation.

          I just keep seeing some really red flags every time I read this post. For example when watching a mystery or crime show and all the clues fall into place far too easily……it just can’t be that simple. All the facts seemingly point to one alleged guilty party. Far to slick to be believable. And yes the conclusion is that it is never that easy.

          My own story is fairly straightforward. In no way do I feel there is anything special or unique about it. The minute I let my CS and his AP try to convince me otherwise I would stop seeing clearly. In other words THEY WOULD BE REFRAMING THE AFFAIR TO SUIT THEIR PURPOSE (whatever that might be). I love the way EG put it….some very fine gaslighting was deployed!!

          The affair partner’s agenda or motivation in many ways, in my opinion is irrelevant. So sad….two people seeking comfort, instead facing their problems head on….just sort of fall into each other’s arms. And of course they didn’t mean to hurt anyone. But you know their case is SPECIAL!!!.

          This particular OW had an answer for every question… an excellent tennis player she knew exactly how to keep the game going. After all she is just saying what she believes.


          My question to Anonymous, and I would love to have an answer is what makes you think there is anything unique or special about the circumstances?? There is nothing special or unique in seeking comfort in the arms of another.

          There you have it Sarah…..I’m not trying to be difficult but my own experience has made me far more aware of gaslighting.

          • Sarah P.

            Shifting Impressions,
            Your affair story and your thoughts are very helpful on this thread (and any thread) ❤️

            As most know, infidelity is a topic that so many people keep to themselves, in their off-line lives.
            Any deep discussion around the topic of infidelity and thoughts about infidelity are always so helpful. 🙏

            This is the club no one wants to join and yet here we are.

            Shifting, your analogy about tennis players is perfect. Like tennis, the other woman seemed prepared for every question…. As if she had been studying this opponent and this match, for quite some time, before getting on the court.

            So…. Why do any of us care about this post and Anonymous?

            From my point of view it’s because we have all been there and we are hoping anyone reading this, realizes not to drop their guard so easily.

            In the past, I used to believe in confronting the other woman. I really did.

            But, over the past year, my view has changed. If a woman is extremely invested in a man she knows to be married, she is playing for keeps. She will use an opportunity – if confronted by the wife – as a “who me?… I would never do that…. I am so sorry I hurt you….” moment, as a way to give the wife a false sense of security and she might also be studying the wife, to have some fodder.

            How do I know? I know the one who broke up my marriage was ruthless and continues to be ruthless in all areas of her life.

            These one-on-one meetings with the other woman also give the other woman the perfect opportunity to twist truth.

            The other woman can make up a million lies about the conversation that NEVER happened.

            At this point I am just rambling.

            Shifting Impressions, the tennis analogy was just perfect. It really feels that way.

            Anonymous, if you are reading, please know workplace affairs don’t end easily if the two people still work together. It doesn’t even matter if they have to email each other spreadsheets. It’s still a form of contact. Contact of any kind can stir feelings. And when feelings are stirred, the other woman might try to come around for another try. It could be as simple as sending a “I hope you are well” email… and “bam” they are off to the races again. I hope and pray this isn’t the case.


          • ExerciseGrace

            Sarah and SI… I second the feeling that I’m always willing to share my story but this thread probably isn’t the forum. Perhaps a separate post of wisdom from people who are many years out? Lessons learned and viewpoints from a distant rear view mirror?

            I hope I’m wrong and Anonymous has the first situation I’ve ever read where the cheater and the AP are honest and up front right out of the gate. But all I’ve ever seen on any blog, is gas lighting, blame shifting, and a big song and dance from the cheaters. They want to protect themselves and position themselves for zero consequences. Usually when an AP appears reasonable, it’s because she’s lying and playing the long game. She doesn’t want the betrayed wife to demand accountability. It took many many months for us to get to the actual truth of my husbands affair. At first he claimed it lasted two months, when it was closer to two years. He claimed they never had sec in our home when in truth it was mostly in our home. He hid many hurtful details that she later revealed once she realized the affair was truly not going to be resumed. It got truly ugly.

            Sarah you are very correct about them working together. Marriage is hard. What happens when there is a rough spot? A conflict? Is he going to go to work and think…..AP would never treat me this way, expect this of me, etc? Affairs are fantasy and it’s dangerous to keep living with that illusion so easily accessible.

    • D

      I do not trust this experience. Why? Because ALL OPs (other person) are either narcissists or have strong narcissistic tendencies. This is a fact. Unless someone is a narcissist themselves, or a sex addict, they did not seek this affair out. Your spouse did not wake up planning for this to happen … they met the wrong “friend,” Narcissists feel entitled to grab happiness no matter the cost and aren’t capable of truly reflecting: “How would I feel, if this was done to me?” They can’t be trusted. Narcs lie. They always lie to take the heat off of themselves.

      My husband’s OP was a grandiose narcissist. Very friendly and outgoing. She really does have a certain public persona which she crafted carefully. Many people think she’s very warm. But if you dig deeper, you see how toxic and filled with drama all her closest relationships are. She was divorced only 6 months and was already onto sexual partner 4 when my husband met her. This isn’t normal. Most people will stay in a tough marriage for a few years, getting therapy even, really trying before someone pulls the plug. Then they have to inform loved ones of the decision. They have to file, get lawyers. split assets and custody. By the time each is settled in a separate home, they absolutely don’t want to date again for a long while. Lifetime movies are all about this! Someone will say: “Dave, you divorced 3 years ago, you gotta get back out there.” But Dave doesn’t want to. This is normal. But narcissists need supply … they need people. They can’t handle being single. They move from relationship to relationship quickly.

      The way they met, he had gone out to have drinks with a male friend. She knew that male friend and invited herself over, just sat down with her plate of food and started to chat. As soon as she heard who my husband is (we have a son with a terminal illness and our pain is very public in these parts), it was game on. She lost a child years ago.

      Here’s the thing, they say that time heals. That doesn’t mean you no longer feel pain. You do. You never get over the loss of a child. But time helps you reach acceptance. You have no choice but to come to terms with what happened and move on. But for us, we’re not there yet. For 3 years we watched a child who was formerly healthy, vibrant, intelligent, loving and hilarious … succumb to dementia and become full care. How many of you have a child of 8 years old who succumbs to dementia, doesn’t walk, talk or do anything anymore? Is this normal? No, This is TRAUMA. He’s had seizures and respiratory distress. We have been awoken to the alarm of the pulse ox, showing his oxygen dropping. When things seem stable, something new happens and we are re-traumatized, and back in the hospital. In 3 years time, we were in the hospital 28 times. So her trying to “relate” to our pain, was absolutely predatory. In the beginning, he read all her messages to me out loud, which he did so SOBBING. She really beat a dead horse talking about our mutual tragedies. She really went right for the gut. This got her foot in the door and my husband’s guard down. Mine too.

      When they met, all he was focused on was her son who died. That’s all he talked about. He actually insulted her looks (she’s really not a pretty girl), he called her obnoxious (because of how loud and overly friendly she was, talking to everyone around her at the bar, even strangers) … but at a time when our son’s illness was crushing us, this woman could relate by the loss of a child. Our son is still physically here but we lost who he used to be. He’s our only child. Our dreams died at diagnosis.

      Anyway, she first used life transition to get her foot in the door (son’s illness, strained marriage, my husband’s Dad was also diagnosed with an illness around that time – so truly, my husband was cracking emotionally). She offered to be a shoulder, an arm chair therapist. Narcissists, just like pedophiles, use vulnerability to get in.

      Then she mirrored and groomed him … “I understand, I relate, you poor baby, life isn’t fair, my ex was just like your wife, I remember being crushed too, I have those same hobbies, same interests. etc” She was on him like white on rice. BTW, grooming is also a tool of a pedophile, right?

      Also, pedophiles and OPs both know that what they are doing isn’t accepted by moral society … neither cares, they want what they want … the object of their lust.

      Then she enticed with offers of escape. Our son’s illness stops us from getting out together. We literally have no one to leave him with, no help whatsoever. His care is extensive. So she started to entice with offers of fun outings. Then came talk of sex-capades … sort of innocent but not. Just like a pedophile offers a sad child gifts, she was offering him gifts.

      Pedophiles demean the parents /guardian: “They don’t see how responsible you are, they don’t respect you, Life isn’t fair.” OPs demeans the betrayed spouse “She no longer gets you. You grew apart. It’s no one’s fault. Life isn’t fair.”

      She put him on a pedestal! She licked his feet and worshipped him. And this is why looks don’t matter in an affair. Attraction has nothing to do with it.

      Just like a pedophile is able to contact the child without gaining the attention of his parents or guardians, she knew the right times to call and how to avoid me. Then she guilted and manipulated him at every turn… this IS a narcissist. They love bomb you … then they manipulate.

      She’d tell him to work on the marriage, sure. But she wouldn’t back off. She wouldn’t stop calling, texting, & messaging. She says work on your marriage but conveniently adds: “Therapy won’t work. This is what’s going to happen next (based on how her own marriage ended). She says “Work on your marriage” but demeans me, like I’m not going to change and this marriage can’t possible work.”

      Some children are groomed so well, they become willing participants of their own molestation. They even go as far as to protect the pedophile when the abuse is discovered. This is so similar to what happens to an unfaithful spouse. They are groomed so well, they fall into “affair fog” which results in “affair related narcissism” believing the lies the OP told him … he’s sexy and perfect and deserves so much more than being stuck in a loveless marriage! But as his conscience torments him … she then turns to guilt … that he’s breaking HER heart, yet she had no problem when he was breaking his wife’s heart. This is why affair recovery and sites like that tell you … you need to detox and get away from the manipulator. This IS a manipulator. They are focused on self. And yes, the unfaithful WILL defend the OP initially, because after all, she told him to work on the marriage. He doesn’t realize he was groomed yet.

      I did write her a letter. It fell on deaf ears. And when I told my therapy leader I did this, I was told: “Oh honey, no. You never contact the OP. For one, it’s not safe. She wants what you have. But two, you are appealing to the morals of someone who already showed you, she doesn’t have any. As long as your husband, in his breakdown and affair fog is willing to even just talk to her … your pain doesn’t matter. If your dying son didn’t stop her before, he won’t stop her now. Even the man she claims to love in all this, your husband … he’s clearly tormented by is conscience and stands to lose so much in a divorce. She does not care. As all 3 of you suffer on some level, she is in the best time of her life. She’s excited for the next text, next call, next encounter. She’s bragging to people as immoral as herself, or who are simply naive, that this handsome man wants her over his pretty wife, even though nothing is further from the truth. Affairs are fake.”

      As we suffered … she was thrilled. This was an epiphany like no other. I was not up against a normal person. I was up against a narcissist. You cannot fight them. They are extremely manipulative.

      I would never believe one lie out of an OPs mouth.

      There is a reason they say cheaters affair down. It doesn’t matter if she’s in a pretty package … in cheating, you threw away your integrity, you cannot possibly end up with a wonderful person.

      Our marriage survived. My husband confessed, sobbing … then it took a bit for the fog to be gone, for him to stop trying to justify the unjustifiable. Yes, he relapsed a bit because if life at home was hell before, he compounded it all by the affair. And of course, who will keep telling him how amazing he is, despite cheating? The OP. So yes, he craved her validation. I was ready to leave. But then he woke up … and fought hard for the marriage. He completely cut her off (which she didn’t like). I still wanted out. I was hurting too much. But therapy really helped pull us back together. I saw the man I married again. Our son’s illness destroyed him and I hadn’t seen the real man in years. Then I realized, I was also not the same. My husband worked hard to make amends and I do realize the power of a narcissist. They are abusers. They fancy themselves Rico Suave or Femme Fatale, because in actuality … they are insecure inside. They seek value in intimate partners. They not only cheat on their own spouses, they go after yours. And like in the case of my husband’s OP … I made the mistake of thinking I should be threatened only by the beautiful model … well, the plain female skipped right past me. I actually accepted their friendship. I, too, put my guard down because she had a child who died. I so regret that …

      OPs also do the typical narcissistic smear campaign … they tell everyone about the affair but in their version, the unfaithful is the bad guy (or even the betrayed is the bad guy) but they are the victim. At the same time, every 3 to 4 months, there’s a “bait text” … simply checking in as if it’s okay to stay friends. You never, ever, respond … they try again anyway. Why? Because the narcissist got in when you were vulnerable. They are unforgiving and can’t imagine a marriage surviving this … they hope to catch you vulnerable again. This is happening not only to us, but to others from our group therapy. Just a random text here or there. No one ever responds … There’s not much point in blocking them, they’ll just use another number. They always find a way.

    • Kittypone

      I am 4 1/2 years out from Dday…..I contacted HER husband first to let him know what was going on….poor soul, he had no idea his sweet wife was playing dirty on him until I enlightened him…..he goes berserk, lets her whole family know what a harlot she really is, then she has the gall to say to MY husband to thank me for ruining her life!! After I sent her husband a video she sent mine for his birthday telling him how much she loved him, how she only thought of him and how she couldn’t wait for the day they could finally be together face to face (it was an online affair, she lives 2,500 miles away in another country) she gave in and called me to have “The Talk”; she promised to stay away, to back off, how I was the best mate for my husband, bla bla bla….it took me kicking him out of the house a month later because of his continued lies and broken promises that she realized he was very capable of traveling to her country and try to collect on all her vapid, empty promises that she then decided to end it for good….I don’t believe him when he says that was the last time they ever spoke; I don’t believe him when he says he didn’t truly love her; I don’t believe him when he says he didn’t really plan to have a long term future with her….I just simply no longer believe a word that comes out of his mouth, period. I fought so long and so hard for this marriage that I am empty, and indifferent to him….I also have to point out, that even tho we took every form of counseling and therapy, my H never truly showed me deep remorse for his actions, which is what ultimately led me to gradually cool down towards him where I don’t think I love him anymore…..tough cookies, but that’s what happens when you play with fire and it burns you…..

    • Bumblebee

      Wow. These stories are heartbreaking. When I discovered my husband’s emotional affair (D-Day 1) via a text meant for the OP I immediately went in to “fix it” drive. I sent my husband the “cease and desist” notice and ask him to send me all communication that might continue via other means, work email, etc. He said he did that. He didn’t. The emotional affair went on for another 71/2 months through Google Sheets in which the two chatted each other up almost daily, during COVID while we were working from home. D-Day 2 stopped everything after I accidentally discovered the Google Sheet correspondence. After D-Day 2, he “broke up” with her via a video call while I watched. After D-Day 1, I asked my husband to ask the OP to send me the three days of texts leading up to my finding his text and any email correspondence because of course, he had deleted everything after I busted him. This is what she said to his request:

      I received your email and I’m going to respond here and keep this brief. Last night, I spoke to a mental health professional (they took my identification but have no information on anyone else if that’s any relief). I specifically asked the question about me responding in any way, and I was strongly advised against it. They said it never helps, and it usually makes the situation much worse. For everyone. So I won’t be responding to the other conversation. I’m sorry. What I will do is change my behavior going forward. Safe travels today.

      This is what I sent to the OP (a co-worker) in response to her above email:

      OP, so the “the situation” caused you to seek professional help. Well, the jig is up. I’m taking your email as validation that you are guilty of something. If there was nothing going on, a mental health professional would “strongly” recommend that you share information that would enlighten me to your innocence, unless of course, that information would do the opposite.

      Meanwhile, they had started a back channel of communication and she tried in every way to make sure this communication continued, suggesting APPS that can’t be traced, burner phones, etc., etc. It is difficult to respect anyone like this. It is hard for me to fathom that this so-called “friendship” was something neither one of them could imagine would result in a train wreck of epic proportions. It has been 11 months since D-Day 2 and not a day goes by that I don’t cry. I still struggle with why she couldn’t and wouldn’t apologize to me after the “shock” of finding out that I had discovered 2800 text messages in one month, hour long calls, emails, I asked her to send me the three days leading up to D-Day 1 and she refused. Hmmmmm…..just friends, eh? She had an opportunity to apologize, say she was embarrassed, say that they really were just friends…she didn’t. Wonder why? Me too. My husband and I have been to a few couples counseling, both are reading books, both have long talks…we started a different individual therapy this week. When I asked my husband how his went, he said “Let me put it this way within the first five minutes I had tears streaming down my face.” He doesn’t cry so maybe this is a breakthrough. I am using and the first meeting was pretty good although her advice was interesting: stop talking about the situation and the affair and love bomb yourself. She gave me a book with the worst title in the world, “Staying Married and Loving It” so old I had to get it from a used bookstore online…LOL. But sure, I’ll try it. My husband and I have been talking about his affair for SEVENTEEN MONTHS. And 71/2 months he was cheating behind my back after D-Day 1 with me working on the affair crap as a diligent wife, reading articles, sending him articles. Maybe my new therapist is on to something. I’ll keep yall posted. Thank you for listening, this has been a hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone (except maybe an OP). Have a great day,

    • TryingtoUnderstand

      I am the guest poster. I’ve taken some time to process the reactions to my very first interaction with this group. It was not what I expected. Initially, I felt unsupported and I found some of the replies to my article to be hurtful and disheartening. It seemed my heartache didn’t matter; that I hadn’t suffered enough to be included. None of you know my story. I don’t know your stories. I DO know that we’re all part of a club none of us asked to join and that anyone who shares with this community deserves grace.
      I feel I need to respond to some of your concerns.

      1. Uniqueness of the affair. I need to make clear that my assessment of uniqueness is based only on what I’ve read. I can’t remember a story about two people who can’t or won’t address their issues. They find each other and comfort each other with the fantasy that pushes the issues into the background. They know it’s wrong and are relieved when discovered. Below is how Doug answered my questions:

      from Doug: frequently people think that serial cheaters, cruel, narcissistic people (or those demonstrating narcissistic qualities) have affairs. In my conversations with people, it’s quite apparent to me the personality characteristic most prevalent with unfaithful people is conflict avoidance. As you indicated, these people can’t or won’t address their unhappiness or discontent in their marriages with their spouses, and instead do so with someone at work, to a friend or with whomever. Then things snowball out of control and before you know it, they’re in too deep. Getting caught is then often a relief. So, even though we maybe haven’t addressed this in the past, it’s a lot more prevalent than most would think.

      2. Work Contact. I assure you this is something we have worked through and I’m comfortable with what we’re doing. I also want you to understand they do not work closely together. It’s a large organization. Their offices are in separate buildings. They do not have regular daily contact. They do have to interact by email, text, phone, meetings both in-person and on zoom periodically because of shared committee assignments or issues dealing with their areas. I am told of all of these contacts. His rules not mine. Also I want to address ‘it’s not over until there’s zero contact.’ I feel zero DESIRE for contact is more important. If he can’t interact with his affair partner in a professional way and behave himself, what’s the point in saving this marriage? I am not making rules for a grown man, if he wants to be with her or anyone else that’s on him. I don’t want him to choose me because it’s easier or he feels obligated. I want a marriage that is real, authentic and true.

      3. Gaslighting. I know my husband isn’t gaslighting me. I am certain he is done with the affair. He is committed to my recovery, to dealing with the issues that led to the affair and to revitalizing and improving our marriage. He is more confident in a better future than I am. I admit that your concerns about gaslighting did have me looking at the Affair Partner’s answers through a new lens. Maybe the conversation didn’t clarify her real intentions with my husband. She said she didn’t want to replace me in our family; perhaps the goal was to replace her husband. She didn’t deny saying things that could indicate that was the plan. Looking back, she also made some claims that he disputes. It’s possible I was a victim of my desire to see the best in people. I choose to live my life with integrity and honesty and expect the same of others. In this circumstance that’s a bit naïve. It doesn’t matter to me. I may not have gotten what I set out for but I did get some things of value. I appreciate that you opened my eyes by sharing your trepidations. I do wish they had been presented with a little more compassion, though I realize your own experiences color your interpretation of my words.
      I don’t regret the conversation. I no longer regret allowing it to be published. I am a bit concerned of a bad result for someone who follows my lead. I hope and pray that doesn’t happen.

      • Shifting Impressions

        I am so sorry that you felt unsupported… if your pain doesn’t matter. That was certainly never the intention behind my comments.

        This being your first interaction with this group helps me understand your reaction. We often have very lively discussions and since we are discussing a very painful subject things can get hot.

        When I asked my first question about the uniqueness of your situation I was hoping to have a dialogue with you. I was trying to understand? I do not think my husband is a narcissist and he was also doing the avoidant thing. I thought that was pretty common.

        Also any gaslighting that went on in my situation was really really subtle. Having been through it…..I am highly sensitive to it.

        It is not unusual for us to ask each other to “dig deeper” and make sure we are really getting the truth. I was actually wondering why you were silent in the middle of the comments.

        I am sorry my comments left you feeling this way….I hope we can converse more.

      • Exercisegrace

        I will chime in too and say I am very very sorry that you felt unsupported. That was not my intention at all. There were people at the beginning of my journey (on this forum and a couple of others) that gave me some hard truths, and I’m grateful for that. It helped me be strong in our recovery, and not let my husband brush it under the rug or “move forward” before he had truly dealt with HIS issues that led him to cheat.

        Doug is right, cheaters are conflict avoidant and there is no bigger conflict than being caught out in their affair. They will twist the truth, withhold facts and many will outright lie. This helped prepare me for the fact that truth trickles out over time. I hope yours is the one story I’ve ever read where this isn’t the case. I hope you have the whole truth, and even the occasional contact doesn’t provide your husband with temptation down the road. While cheaters are not necessarily narcissists, they DO all have some deep character flaws. Blaming the marriage is their go to move. My husband wanted to spend a few counseling sessions on the affair, and then jump to “fixing” our marriage. Luckily both of our counselors were smart enough to see through that.

        As SI said above, those of us who have walked this road awhile can see things with much more clarity and are perhaps more tuned in to the gaslighting. It took me a long time to truly see that in my own situation. It’s so subtle, so manipulative. Which is exactly why it’s so effective. Again, I hope your situation is the exception. It’s a hard place to be.

    • D

      I, too, apologize if you felt unsupported. Like ExerciseGrace said … sometimes people give us hard truths. We need them. As my comment stated … I’m not doubting what your husband said or how he feels now with the affair behind him. I’m not doubting that he would believe this is the worst mistake of his life and he doesn’t ever want to repeat it. I’m actually extremely doubtful of the OP (other person). While we know that some cheaters seek out affairs (Sex addicts and/or narcissists) … not every cheater is a narcissist. Good men and good women make horrible mistakes! Why? Because they MET a narcissist. Anyone who would knowingly and willingly pursue a married person IS a narcissist. Anyone that has no problem holding the hand with a ring put there by someone else IS a narcissist. This person is unable to reflect: “How would I feel if this were done to me?” They are more interested in the lusty “love” story to brag about with immoral friends than caring about who is harmed to get it.

      All of us in life have friends of the opposite gender. If you ask an unfaithful, months after the affair is over, why was this friend different … they tell you, the attention they received was ungodly. They felt “seen” and “understood.” This person not only felt like a new friend, but a best friend. This person was on them like white on rice! Then you realize, the OP was a narcissist who groomed their prey. They related, mirrored, love bombed, enticed, manipulated, etc. Narcissists are overly sexualized people who don’t grasp the concept of boundaries or appropriateness. They start talking about sexcapades and what not, fancying themselves a Femme Fatale or Rico Suave. Our spouses, in brokenness, fell for it. And in affair fog, fell into affair related narcissism. They believed the lies that they are so sexy, so awesome, so incredible and they deserve to be happy. They deserve this new lusty romance!

      But our spouses snapped out of it as the fog died. They eventually stop blaming, deflecting, & gas lighting. They show remorse and put in the work to heal. They learn a lesson! The OP doesn’t learn. Trust me, they keep stalking … smearing … and even bait texting/calling. I don’t know any OP that simply went away quietly. They try to think of a reason to text … butt dial, mutual friend in trouble, drunk calling, or simply wanted to check in. I hope your case is different.

      No matter what, these OPs can’t take away our love stories with our spouses. Our spouses chose us when they were the best version of themselves as human beings. When they weren’t stressed, or in pain, or kicked by life or circumstance. When they were free to date anyone they wanted, they chose us, they pursued us, they showed us off and they wanted us for marriage. In the common affair, OPs are not chosen. There is no selection. It’s the only one that falls into your lap. It’s usually a coworker, a mutual friend/acquaintance, etc … it normally begins as “just friends” but of course, unlike you or me … this person has no concept of platonic.

    • TryingHard

      Hi All. I check in here once in a while and I’m happy to see some of my old friends still here. Hugs to all of you.

      Tryin to Understand—I have a question and i may have misread. But did the AP say “You tick all my boxes. I can see spending the rest of my life with you.” Then she says and you accepted, that she said she was not trying to replace you. Those two recounts don’t add up. Her first statement indicates that in fact she did want to replace you as your husbands life partner. Unless of course he’d keep you both in his life?

      Not judging and not trying to hurt you I’m just not getting this and how your conversation with her helped you. I see two diametrically opposite statements.

      I will tell you one of the most profound statements my husband made to me when we were leaving a MC session was “I could still be carrying on the affair and lying to you because you WANT to believe me.” He was so right. And this is how cheaters and liars succeed. We allow them to convince us because we WANT to believe them. Maybe you wanted to believe her too?

      I too am guilty of trying to live with integrity and trust. And i believe others have the same intentions. They don’t. People want their own needs met and many times they do not care who they hurt to get it.

      I wish you the very best. I hope your marriage is successful. But i also learned some wise words from my counselor. She told me to keep my eyes wide open. I will give you that advice as well

    • Soul Mate

      Seasons Greetings to All here,

      I, like TryingHard have not been on this blog for quite some time but like to check in from time to time, especailly when I see blogs on confronting the AP. Most here know my story as well as my feelings on confronting the parasites that are adulterers. I do find it interesting TryingToUnderstands number 2. point in her response to peoples posts on her blog. “If he can’t interact with his affair partner in a professional way and behave himself, what’s the point in saving this marriage? I am not making rules for a grown man, if he wants to be with her or anyone else that’s on him. I don’t want him to choose me because it’s easier or he feels obligated. I want a marriage that is real, authentic and true.”

      This was my very first response to my husband 4 years ago on my dday. My words were, “you want out of this marriage, fine, I have value and I refuse to spend one more minute of my time on this earth with someone who does not respect me enough to see it so let’s just get it over with so I can move on and find someone with the integrity and self respect that I can be happy with for the rest of my life”. I totally agree with her number 2 point! But, as many of you know, I confronted the AP before I confronted my husband by phone. I could have cared less what her words were or how she felt, I just wanted to give her my rage and I can actually say that if we would have met face to face, I would have spent some time in jail. Yes, she was a coworker, yes my husband lost his job over it and good riddance. His fault and his penance for being an idiot! And if he had not lost his job, in order to have stayed with me, he would have had to quit as I would have demanded it and even now it is clearly understood that he will never travel or be anywhere near Washington DC and the slime that lurks there again. Career or marriage be damned. He chose us. The one advantage that I had was that I had absolutely no fear in outing him and her to their superiors, to publicize their behavior and make a specticle of both of them. People may think that is cruel and so be it. But I say there is absolutely nothing more cruel or traumatizing then engaging in an affair. And just let me say that if my husband would have chosen to leave our marriage, fine, but with dignity and mutual respect. Then what he does with his life is on him. But in no way was I going to let that piece of offal play on my sympathies or win her ugly game of spouse poaching. I splashed reality all over her the ugliness of her fantasized world of sexual deviance and predatory behavior.

      But that time is now over, she slithered back into her swamp and has not reared her ugly head since the day my husband called her and told her he never wanted to see or hear from her again. I’ve remained vigilant and have learned to let my inuition be my guide. I have also come to accept that people that you love are more flawed than you can ever imagine and that trust is earned and not given away easily. I’ve learned to listen more carefully of what I am being told as many a subliminal message lies between the lines and not to give so much of myself to anyone.

      We fought hard for each other, continue to heal, we are now very close, but our love will never be the same and I somehow believe that, that is a very good thing for both of us.

      Peace and Happy Holidays to you all!

    • Kerry

      This account really resonates with me. Six months after DDay, I contacted the AP and asked for a telephone conversation so that I could ask some questions and get closure. I was convinced that after six months of trickle truths, my husband was still not being honest, but he was gaslighting me (he couldn’t face the pain he was putting me through nor could he face up to the deceitful things he’d done). He kept telling me he’d told me the whole truth, and that he was worried about my mental health because I kept questioning him. My gut told me differently.

      I spoke to the AP and just let her talk (and cry). I told her how sorry I felt that she had been hurt too, and she was very forthcoming. She told me things that confirmed what he’d said, and she offered possible reasons they’d got involved that made sense to me, she also told me things he’d withheld or lied about. We talked for over an hour and three things came out of the conversation.

      a) I’d known he hadn’t been truthful and I now knew my gut instinct was to be trusted. This made me feel stronger, calmer and able to trust my own judgement once more.

      b) I discovered that he was still lying so I was able to recognise that he wasn’t completely committed to our recovery – as a result I Resolved to focus on my recovery as a person and accept that our marriage could well be over.

      c) My self destructive obsession with her and my hatred of her stopped – what a relief. I felt sorry for her, a much less destructive way for me to feel. Far from a siren luring my husband into loving her, I recognised that they were two vulnerable people who latched onto one another because of childhood coping strategies they had that should have been outgrown, using and manipulating each other, chasing a sense of significance they felt they lacked.

      The outcome? I forgave her and wished her well, and she thanked me ‘from the bottom of my heart’. I was able to tell my husband I finally had the truth I’d needed, and that I knew he’d been untruthful right up to the point of my contact with her. I told him that I had finally found peace, knowing my gut instinct was correct, and that knowing he was still lying meant that I knew he wasn’t committed to our recovery, and that commitment required complete honesty and disclosure. I told him that I needed to focus on my recovery and leave the recovery of the marriage on the back burner until he either committed, or one of us decided to walk away. Faced with the details I’d learned, he realised he had nothing to lose from being honest. He’d already lost face. He’d already been outed in the most sordid of details. I already knew he’d been in love with her and it wasn’t as insignificant as he’d made out. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain from being honest. And that’s when I finally felt he started to commit. He’d share details that he recalled, as he recalled them, and he’d support me to process them. We looked at anger management resources to help him cope with dealing with conversations that made him feel defensive and angry. Finally, it feels as though we are moving forward, and in part, I have the conversation with the AP to thank for that. It was difficult to hear much of what she said, but it gave me peace of mind n that I felt I had a fuller and more accurate pucture of what I was dealing with.

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