save our marriage

After yesterday’s discussion topic I started to think more about why I stayed to save our marriage and just didn’t give up and leave after the affair. 

Initially I stayed because of fear. I didn’t know what I was going to do, where I was to go and what would happen to our children.

This situation was something that I never thought about or prepared for and I was afraid to make a decision based on how I was feeling at the time. I knew I wanted to save our marriage but was unsure of what to do.

After the fear somewhat subsided and I realized that I am a very strong woman, I discovered that I would have been able to survive the affair with or without Doug.

I stayed because I knew that our marriage and love could be stronger and better than ever. I was sure of this because I thought deeply about what really happened. I thought about what had become of the woman that I used to be.

I learned that over the years I stopped loving and caring about myself. Therefore, how could I possibly show love and admiration to Doug?

I had to explore what brought me to this terrible place and why I was so unhappy. I learned very much about myself and then set out to make the changes that would make me happy. This would allow me to better explore the problems in our relationship and allow us to have a better chance to save our marriage.

I also thought long and hard about our relationship and the contribution I made to its deterioration. I stopped putting all the blame on Doug and took total responsibility for the ways I contributed to its downfall. This realization allowed me to stop the anger and resentment and see things from Doug’s perspective.

Emotional Affair-What Was He Thinking?

I realized that Doug was hurting just as much as I was.

See also  The Emotional Affair Made Me Feel Worthless - Part 2

I stayed to save our marriage in hopes that Doug would learn just as much as I had from this experience. I hoped that he would look deep inside of himself and figure out why he too was unhappy with our relationship and with his life. I prayed that he would look objectively at our relationship and take ownership for the ways he contributed to the problems. I knew that this would be a monumental process, and would take a huge amount of patience and support on my part.

For me, the self-exploration was easy, as I didn’t have a choice because it was a matter of survival. Doug on the other hand, had experienced all the illusions of an affair. He was coming from a place where he felt understood, admired, and almost perfect. For him self-exploration would appear unnecessary as he was content with who he was and the decisions he had made in his life.

I stayed because I hoped that eventually we would both come to the same place and have the same goals for our lives, and that goal was to stay together, become friends and lovers again and appreciate each other for who we really are.

Finally, I stayed because I am in love with Doug. I have a connection with him that no one will ever compare to.  He is a part of my heart, my soul and my being and I stayed to save our marriage because I was unwilling to give that part of me up.

    20 replies to "Why Did I Stay to Save Our Marriage?"

    • Jennifer

      Thanks so much for posting this. I ask myself this question constantly (as do my friends who think I’m nuts). Originally, I think I stayed because I was scared. I was afraid for myself financially and afraid to be alone. I felt ugly and old (I’m 27) and worthless. I still feel that way, now knowing his OW was 17 years old.
      Now, I stay because I love him. And because I’m scared for him. I’m scared that he will go on a drinking binge and have a wreck. I’m scared he will totally screw up his life and never be happy. I know we used to be happy. He was the first to say it. I stay because *I* want to be married. To him. It’s about him specifically. I know what a great man he is/can be. He has forgotten that. Yes, I am angry and hurt and I don’t trust him. He says he doesn’t want to be married. He wants to date, ‘sow some oats’. I wonder why he hasn’t left on his own. I wonder if he hasn’t left because deep down he doesn’t want to. I’m afraid to ask him. Afraid I might be wrong. It hurts the most knowing he’s not the same person he used to be. He told me he feels like he has lost his faith. It worries me horribly.

      I stay for him. I listen to him talk about doing things and going places without me for him. I stay because some day he will realize that he has it great in our family. I let myself be miserable because I love him. No matter what he does. I just do. And that’s why.

      • admin

        Hi Jennifer, And thanks for commenting. Gee, feeling old at 27!!?? 😉 I wish I were that old (again)! I have a feeling that you are right when you say that deep down he doesn’t want to leave. I can’t imagine him having a worth while relationship with a 17 year old. Is he still seeing the OW? I’m sure that you know that being miserable is not the way to live. Are you trying to get out and do things for yourself, have some fun, get strong?

    • Jennifer

      He tells me she won’t speak to him anymore. We moved to a different city 3 hours away, so I know they don’t see each other. Or at least not often. They may text or call that I don’t know of. He tells me he’s been propositioned for sex by 3 women since we moved. Sometimes I think he’s trying to make me mad so I will leave. Whether I’m weak or strong for not leaving. I’m not leaving until he asks me to go.

      I am trying to focus back on me, but I’m finding it difficult. See, he tells me that the whole reason we moved was so I could be near my family because he thought we were getting a divorce. Yet we rented this apartment and set up this household together like everything was fine. I had hoped that once we got back to our hometown here that things would get better. You know, memories and all. Except I had to quit a wonderful job in the other city and leave close friends to come here. Now, I can’t find a job and have been unemployed and we’re living on 1 income for 4 months now. I have lots of free time to sit and mope, you see. I am trying to open the windows and shower and get dressed every morning and get outside some. With no money and nothing to keep me busy, its a challenge.

      It feels odd to say that at 27, married for only 7 years, that I have lost myself. But I think I never had a sure picture of myself before I married (at 19). Now, everytime I think of myself, he’s there. My best memories are with him. Its hard to separate the things I like from what he likes and what we did together.
      In any case, whether we survive or not, focusing on getting “me” back is a win-win anyway. 🙂

    • Jude

      Hi, I have been really moved by the many posts on this site, so much shared pain and breakthroughs/transformations. My husband of 21 years left for ‘time out’ just over 3 months ago and it was one month ago i found he was having a emotional affair with a former coworker who lives 10 hours away. (15 months ago it was another coworker…another story, very confused man!)

      My dilema at this stage after initial shock and feeling stupid for not seeing the signs, is the difficulty in rebuilding a relationship while we’re not living together. It’s not a clear “I’m really sorry, forgive me and i want to come back” story, it’s more one where he feels maybe this is the ‘type’ of person he is (character flaw), he says it’s a ‘work in progress’ and though he seems he wants me in his life, there’s this tug of war going on inside of him. Our two boys (18 and 20) are still at home and from having a father who was so present and vibrant in our lives, they hardly see him now. He refuses to be accountable for the stress his absence is be causing them. (Though i think he does think about it, just doesn’t own it) He seems totally distracted yet can be very caring when he’s here. We still have this incredible chemistry and i find it difficult not to show my affection as we’ve always been so physically close. It’s totally confusing. I’m working on backing off, not asking too many questions,(what could i ask at this point) just giving out statements (have read heaps including Dr Huizenga’s ebook, sometimes i think i over read and analyse too much).

      I’ve read in places to take your time, maybe six months after disclosure before making huge decisions, like packing all his things and leaving them at where he’s boarding. I’m also wondering if useful to write to the OW to particularly tell her of this EA with the other coworker over a year ago (as they all know each other)…but then i don’t want to focus on them, just me!! I haven’t come to a really strong powerful stand with my own feelings as yet. Depending on what wave or mood i’m in dictates the ‘I’m over this and don’t ever want to see you again” feeling or “I’m doing ok, feeling detached and coping with seeing you in a compassionate light” mood…it’s really hard to be consistent with how i approach him and the situation! I certainly don’t want to be taken for granted or be seen as a doormat . I do think we still have such an opportunity to take our relationship through this mess and come out so much stronger. Thanks for all the great info on your site.

    • fetterden

      My husband had an emotional affair and won’t admit it. He was speaking and texting a married woman who he knew desired him for 5 months that I know of, and another female he was working with. He is a flirtatious man, but also does not acknowledge that, others would calm him a charmer but that is part of his appeal. We have been married for 10 years and have 3 children. The OW is the wife of one of his currently ex friends. In essence the friendship ended due to her. I knew them. We lived beside one another and our children played together occassionally. I saw it coming from a mile a way and put roots down to stop it. We have had problems since the beginning of our marriage. He is a jealous man who is not mean but has always seemed afraid I would leave him for someone better. He gets disability because he has scoliosis and chronic back pain. I worked for fives years after our 1st child while he was a stay at home father. I was afraid he would injure himself beyond repair. In essence I have been pushing and pushing for him to better himself but instead he seems determined to tell me one thing and do another. He is good enough for me, but our life is not. We are very poor and always have been and live in a very small city with little income. All of this and the types of friendships he formed contributed to us being at odds. I felt that I was doing too much, and he too little. Eventually, I got sick. I am now 80 lbs heavier than when we met and prediabetic. I believe now that I developed PCOS after giving birth as my eating habits did not change, in fact I lost weight while pregnant but gained it back and then some rapidly after, while also shedding tons of hair.

      All in all, he was caught by me because someone else told me they thought he was having an affair. He would speak to her often in passing, and actually said she reminded him of me ( I felt insults as she was very well skanky in my opinion) and she had nothing but complements for him and insults for her husband. I asked him, and he lied, I asked him again before I looked into it hoping he would be honest. I ended up finding out more than my heart could take. This is the same man who has been telling me how beautiful, wonderful, and special I was. A gift from God and that he loved me from the moment he met me. Speaking for months to the very woman (the only woman) I EVER asked him not to speak to. I don’t even want to be with him anymore. I feel like I have given more than he can possibly return to me as he is a very lazy man in love. We do nothing, go no where (due to finances) yet he got a cell phone and spent 100s of dollars of our money to contact her.

      Her and her husband have filed charges on him for “terroristic threatening” which sadly he actually did not do. I now wonder what more there was. He insists they only talked about school and well “the weather”. I can’t imagine having an hour long conversation about school. (he was once in college).

      If not for the kids I honestly think I would have left and never looked back. Not that the kids are keeping me here but that our life is more than just me and my feelings. He said that he was calling these women because ” I was not there for him”. I was trying to build myself back up from a partial hysterectomy and Lord knows what else. I think I just worked myself too hard.

      I am attractive strong woman, but I feel so stupid and ugly and even with what is going on, can’t help feel that he would rather be talking to her. He only stopped because I told him to. He apologized of course, but acted like a complete A## when I found out and said things that like “why do you hate her so much, do you think she is competition?”. When I think of things, I actually hate him. It has been 3 months since they actually spoke but it is still ongoing because of the case. She recently followed us to take pictures of our car. Her husband antagonizes my husband trying to start a fight. It is a very very small city. I could walk outside and trip over her. I decided we are moving, but I still keep wondering if I should just leave him behind.

      • Doug

        fetterden, Thanks for sharing your story. I feel as though your husband suffers from self-esteem issues and is very selfish. If you want to save your marriage, you can, but he needs to be on board and has to understand what he has done to you and your emotions and be remorseful.

        • fetterden

          Thank you. We are trying, but I am still going through the hurt stage. There are so many worst things he could have done and he is programmed to think that is not that bad compared to others. We have spent many years of him comparing himself to someone worse, I have told him I only compare myself to someone better to keep improving myself not think that I am OK because I am doing better than the next person. Believe me his field of comparison candidates leaves much to be desired. I know I cannot change him, but I also know I can’t be with someone like he has been for another 10 years. Again thank you.

    • Mia

      I wonder what to do when my husband says he wants to stay here with me, but I know that he still sees her.
      It hurts so much and I can’t handle it anymore. It has been like this for two years and a couple of weeks ago I said that I leave if he don’t break up from her. I noticed that he really wanted to stay here with me and he sure did show me he wanted to be here. Yesterday I understood that he met her again and right now I just want to break up and leave everything. But I know that we have a strong and deep feeling for each other and I want him to realize that it will be very wrong for all of us if we separate. Please comment to me what to do.
      I’m so happy to have this site! Thank You! It helped me a lot.

      • Doug

        Mia, Thanks for the comment and kind words. Your husband must have a pretty serious relationship with this other woman for it to have lasted 2 years. Breaking up with her is probably very hard for him to do. However, since you gave him an ultimatum already and he said he wanted to stay with you, your next move might be to actually kick him out–even if only temporary. At least you are showing him you mean business and he had better end his relationship with the other woman. Dr. William Harley suggests this type of action when the cheating spouse does not end the relationship with the affair partner. In the meantime, get strong and show him that you are strong and can be independent and can make it without him if need be. Most affairs die on their own eventually, and when he comes back to you, you must work to restore the love and passion to your marriage–along with creating boundaries that he must adhere to. He needs to know what he is losing and what the consequences can be if he doesn’t break things off with her. Be prepared though, that this could also be the beginning of the end for your marriage should he not break things off. Best of luck to you.

        • Mia

          Thank you so much for your answer! It’s so appreciated!
          He says to me that he don’t sees her, but I know he does. So I know if I kick him out, he would just say to me -you don’t believe me and he gets so angry. He always turns everything to me, but now I can handle that and knows that I’m not the one to blame. I have been depressed and by that time he said to me, that he couldn’t be there for me as he always has been, because I always was sad… We have been living together 33 years and have four childen. One is still living here with us. We live in Sweden and I have been searching for some valuable sites for some advice and support and couldn’t find anything here in Sweden. So when I found the site “Break Free From the Affair by Dr Robert Huizenga” I got some support and felt that I wasn’t crazy… 🙂 and after that I found your site and felt, yes, this is what I need! We have always been very closed to each other. The struggle in our marriage started when our youngest daughter got problems and my husband and I didn’t get along so well to handle that. We drifted a little bit apart, but we were still very close to each other in other things. I think that was the time that anyone could “sneak” in to our marriage. I got a man that humiliated me and wasn’t there for me anymore. By that time I blamed myself for everything, but now I know that this has to do with other things and I can stand strong, but It’s so hard and sometimes I just want to run away from here. But I’m definitely sure that it will be the wrong way to go. As you say I must have him to see what he is losing and the consequences of it, but I find it hard to stay calm and strong all the time. As soon as I get week and sad he run to her immeditely and don’t see the real me that he told me he wants back. Then I get uncertain, sad and worry again and that is definitely not good for me, because my husband then starts to humiliate me again. Thank you so much again!!!

          • Doug

            Mia, I’m sure you know that blaming yourself is the wrong thing to do. Yes you might have contributed to the issues that were present in your marriage (so did he), but HE was the one that chose to have the affair. Your husband is being very selfish and self-centered when he chooses to humiliate you and then run to this other woman every time something goes wrong. Just curious…you say that he denies that he still sees her, but you know that he does. How do you know? How do you think that he would react if you presented him with your proof?

            • Mia

              He wont admit anything until I stand in front of him when he’s with her.

            • Doug

              So you’re saying he denies everything? Do you have any proof that you can shove in his face?

            • Mia

              He want even admit when I told him that someone has seen them together. He says that it wasn’t him and that he had never been there.

            • Doug

              Well that’s just plain ridiculous. Some experts say you should gather all the proof you can before you confront the cheating spouse or they will just continue to deny. If you haven’t read this post yet, check it out:

              It may give you some ideas. Until he admits it, recovery will be difficult.

            • Mia

              Thank you, Doug!!! Iknow… I feel like I have tried everything.

            • Mia

              It seems like I burned my “ships” the wrong way before I know how to handle everything in a different way.
              Thanks again for your help!

    • kelly

      i just found out my husband slept with someone he tells me it was only one time ….and he’ll never do it again sometimes i wanna forgive him but im still holding the anger and hurt like every woman i can’t find the courage to let go . we have been married for ten years and have twokids . i don’t know what to do everyday im confused i feel like a useless person

    • kikky

      I read your post about that you stopped loving and caring for yourself. I am agreeing with you, i have stopped showing alot of love and admiration to my family members (my husband and older son). I think as I go through the after effects from my husband’s affair, i look at what went wrong. I did hold grudges for along time and they lingered around way too long and it became noticeable and my husband had enough after telling me for years that i needed to change. I didn’t know how to change. He just gave up and stopped loving me as he said while in his “affair fog”. The affair/relationship lasted 9 months and he came back home but not to restart our marriage. But for the kids. He is still leaving the door open for her. I need to start loving me and worrying about myself and kids. Any suggestions?

    • KelBelly

      I have stayed for three main reasons. The first being that he had already ended his EA, the second is because since DDay, he has done nothing but try to prove everyday that this is where he wants to be and the third reason is because he is my heart and I love him dearly. We have 15 years of being together that are not easy to throw away.

      I think if he wasn’t trying like he is, he would be gone because the pain of the EA is bad enough without adding to it by not giving up the EA. We are new in this and i know we have a journey ahead of us but I am will to travel it by his side as long as he shows he is trying.

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