The stats are overwhelmingly high that married men and women who have affairs typically don’t leave their spouse for the affair partner. So why don’t cheaters leave their spouses?

Why Don’t Cheaters Leave Their Spouses

By Linda & Doug

Most betrayed spouses want to believe that their unfaithful partner stayed because they realized that they had made a terrible mistake and remained in the marriage out of love.  Sadly, this isn’t usually the case it seems.

Over the course of the last seven years we’ve heard (and read) a variety of reasons for this from readers, mentoring clients, articles and other blogs.  This post will include a summary of many of these reasons – in no particular order.  (We’ll use ‘WS’ throughout the post to refer to the Wayward Spouse)

Why Don’t Cheaters Leave Their Spouses?

The WS Emerges from the Fog. At some point – especially if the affair has lasted a while – the WS often gets to a point where the ‘feel-good’ chemicals start to wear off and the luster and excitement of the affair starts to fade.  They realize they were not thinking rationally and based their poor behavior and actions on a fantasy.  They eventually realize that the affair partner isn’t their ‘soul mate’ or that he/she was this magical being that took care of all of their needs.  In fact, the affair partner often starts to show their true self at some point – which often ain’t too pretty – and it’s a wake-up call for the WS.

The WS is Feeling the Pressure.  This is normally a situation with male WS.  The affair partner eventually starts to put pressure on the WS to commit to her – even if there was an understanding that the WS was never going to leave his wife and family.  However, the affair partner soon gets emotionally attached and wants him to spend more time with her and/or even asks him to leave his wife.  The resulting stress can get to too much to handle for some WS, so they end the affair (or not).

See also  Can the Cheater Do What's Necessary to Heal From the Affair?

The WS’s Affair Partner Decides to Stay in Their Marriage. Yes, this is basically the result of the reason stated above, and from our experiences is usually a motivating factor for the female cheater.  Here the male affair partner decides to stay with his wife and the female WS decides to go back to the marriage – though usually quite reluctantly.

Fear of the Unknown. Here we will lump together things such as familial, social, financial, life-style, and even professional complications, that could arise when a WS abandons their spouse and family.

Linda’s brother comes to mind here.  He ignored the fact that his family was devastated and could suffer long-lasting scars from a divorce.  Yet for many WS this is the main reason they don’t leave their marriage for the affair partner.

We’ve also mentored folks who if their affair with a co-worker was ever discovered, they would lose their jobs.  So rather than risk it, they end it.

Divorce is very costly in a variety of ways.  In fact, it is one of the major causes of bankruptcies in the United States.  Many WS (again, mostly men it seems) don’t want to lose their ass financially. With possible child support, alimony, the splitting of assets and pensions, etc., it can be a major reason for some.

Dave Carder on Why Men Stay After an Affair

Cake Eating. Often a WS has no motivation to leave their marriage since they can carry on an affair at the same time and get all that ego stroking, frequent sex, admiration, validation, etc., from both the affair partner and their spouse.  This is especially true if they haven’t been caught yet, but is still a major problem even if they were busted.  A WS can get what they want from their affair partner and still come home at night to the comfort of their loving spouse and family.  There probably was never any intention of leaving the marriage and the affair serves as the ‘frosting’ to the marital ‘cake.’  They compartmentalize their relationships and happily go on.

See also  The Four M’s: Why Cheaters Cannot Leave Their Affair Partners

The Jig is Up.  Here it is in a nutshell:  WS in affair.  WS gets caught.  WS ends affair (It was fun while it lasted).  WS wants to move on. Get over it.

Guilt, Shame and Pain.  For some, the mental torment of seeing their betrayed spouse in immense pain and anguish is enough for them to decide to stay.  Usually a WS doesn’t enter an affair with the intent of hurting his/her spouse.  But when that D-day occurs and the WS witnesses the agony and suffering of his/her spouse, it can shock them back to reality and an understanding of the gravity of their actions.

For the Kids.  We can’t tell you how many times a WS has said that they and their spouse agreed not to get a divorce for the sake of their children and their emotional wellbeing.  Instead, they decide to live together (often continuing the affair) with the intentions of sparing their kids the pain of them splitting up, while maintaining a charade of being a traditional family.

The WS Was Caught Off-Guard.  Many times, the WS gets involved in an affair and is unpredictably steamrolled by the emotions and the infatuation-related chemicals.  They are in over their head and don’t have a clue what to do.  So they do nothing.  They stay in the marriage and they stay in the affair.  Biding their time until they feel they have to make up their mind.  The WS may even have been caught (though they didn’t think they would) and they don’t know what to do, where to go, or how to do it.  They have no plan or strategy.  So they wait.

See also  Reader Struggles With Why Husband Chose to End the Affair

They Still Love Their Spouse.  The WS comes to a point where they realize that the one person for them was right in front of them all along.  They understand that they were chasing a fantasy and that the problems they were running from, or rationalizations that they created in their mind, were derived from their own issues – not their spouse. Often the WS claims that they never stopped loving their husband or wife.  (Though many betrayed spouses find this impossible to comprehend.)  And that this was always the case. They hate themselves for what they did and now they want to fix things.

We thought this was a great comment that a reader left a few years back:

I could not and would not stay with my wife if she couldn’t love me on my terms–the terms under which we entered our marriage. Her EA made me seriously question what I mean to her and “how” she loved/loves me.

I told her that I don’t want to be the secure and comfortable choice. I don’t want to be the easy option. I don’t even want to be the guy she has a “mature” love for. I want it all. I want the romantic love, the friendship, the companionship, and the feeling that no one could be as special to her as I am and vice versa. Is that unrealistic? Maybe. Is it unfair to her? I don’t think so. I deserve to have someone in my life for the RIGHT reasons; that is, the reasons that are right for ME. Life is too short to just settle into what you know if it isn’t what you really want.”

Finally, in the comment section below, we’d love to hear the reasons why your partner said he/she stayed in the marriage.  Likewise, if you’re the unfaithful person, please chime in here as to why you decided to stay.



    154 replies to "Why Don’t Cheaters Leave Their Spouses for the Affair Partner?"

    • Exercisegrace

      Most people don’t cheat because their marriages are terrible and they want out. They cheat because of issues inside themselves. They cheat because they are selfish, weak, and have crappy coping skills.

      In the 2-3 years leading up to his affair, we went through a storm. My mother died and then his father died. We built a house, moved, added two babies (for a total of four kids) to our family, the economy tanked and our business nearly did which brought near financial disaster to us. We were perpetually exhausted and worn thin. My husband checked out and left all the work of raising the kids and running the home to me, because he was “too stressed”. His ho-worker would admit later that she saw an opportunity and pursued it “aggressively”. He was weak, and enjoyed the ego boost it gave him. It was also a distraction from our problems.

      Many of the faults that cheaters find in their spouse comes AFTER the affair starts. My husband said he had to find a way to blame ME for the affair because he couldn’t believe he had sunk that low. If you asked him why he stayed, he would tell you it was because he loves me and he loves the relationship and family we have built over our 30 years of marriage. She was nothing more than an unhealthy choice to self-medicate his all too real depression. The affair was a temporary escape from dealing with his issues. He has told me many times over the years how horrified he is that he almost threw away everything that matters to him over someone who really meant nothing.

      • JD

        Simply…thank you. What you wrote helps.

      • True_Love_91

        Exercising Grace,
        I would love to know how you’re doing 3 years later. My H also was going through MLC and his AP also saw the opportunity and aggressively pursued him. He always told her he would live and die with me. He couldn’t understand it himself, why he couldn’t stop. Now he’s learned about the dopamine and the addiction to feeling young again. We are doing okay 8 months past Dday but I still have moments of grief and sadness. We are together 33 years and are best friends. I’m glad we are still together. I don’t know how to live without him.

      • [email protected]

        Very well written. It is very similar to my situation. I don’t understand why depression is not brought up more when relating to an affair. Looking back now, I can see my husband was depressed when I met him. Seventeen years later he starts an affair that lasts 6 years. He eventually was put in a hospital for 2 weeks. The doctor made him come clean in the hospital and make a choice plus tell me what was going on. He chose to marry his mistress and told me he wanted a divorced. That changed as soon as his got out of the hospital and the recovery for us began. He was in a fog and somehow he was able to finally break it off with this woman and start to be back with the family. It has been almost 30 years now. Very grateful we stayed together. Has it been easy, no not all the time. He thanks me daily for keeping him and praises me all the time. Let me also say that what got us to this point was that in 1989, the mistress pushed him to the point that he was to get rid of me. He went into a comatose state that weekend, I had a nurse call the police to get him to the hospital. He wouldn’t go, and left the house and I didn’t know where he was for several days. During that time I called a hot line and to this day I bless that man on the other line. He told me as horrible as this is, it could be the beginning of things getting right. He was so right and I wish I knew who he was. It was a year and a half until things seemed better and a very hard time but it got things better. I started the legal procedure right away for a divorce, as soon as my husband said he wanted a divorce. Again the lawyer was so kind, and told me a long lists of beautiful things about me, which I sure had not heard from my husband, and gave me great legal advise.

        To this day, he says just a little bit of the fog lifted and he was able to make the right decision. Sure doesn’t seem very loving that just a little bit of him wanted to come home. In his family affairs are common. He said he ended up doing exactly what he thought was so awful. We continue to work on our marriage of 51 years.

      • Liz

        Well written and so true. Depression does not come up often. In my case my husband’s affair was a symptom of his depression. He eventually ended up in a hospital for depression for 2 weeks. It took about 2 years to recover from depression and to get the 6 year affair behind him. 30 years later, we are glad we weathered the storm. By no means an easy task, but grateful we recovered .

      • Bib

        Something in your experience heats my blood every time I hear it. The “escape” “distraction” they needed from “everything”! When my wife told me “he was a distraction” it took me a minute to comprehend. I initially thought it was a distraction from “me”. What I came to realize is that 2 year + affair yes it was a distraction from being my wife, partner and lover, but also a mother and caretaker of our family! I can and have forgiven her for what she did to me. I will never forgive what she did to the family and our children especially our 14 year old daughter who was the one who approached me about the affair! And the fact her own family and friends knew about what was happening and even encouraged it at times because “she’s only human and unhappy” well they can all go to hell! 17 year marriage and only now she’s realized what she had? Nah first time in “our” I se my wife’s selfishness, her weakness and it will be the last time I forgive.

        • Don

          My wife had no intention of cheating. It was a total accident. A Fri after work, a coupole drinks & a black friend from the office & it happened.
          He had her in his sights & she did not realkize it. I understood it & there was nothing to forgive. The problem was he really gave her a great time & his technique was too good for her to not want it again. Thats how things happen. I decided to live with it because there was no way I would leave her over this. She was sorry but also hooked on him

          • Cantalina

            Why would you single out “black friend”? Does that make a difference if they were white, blue, or purple?

      • Liz

        Beautifully written. My husband, too, had clinical depression and he eventually ended up in a hospital for 2 weeks. The affair was a symptom of the real problem which was depression. We ended up separated twice over a year period. 30 years ago. The Psychiatrist made him make a decision and he chose to divorce me and marry the affair partner; however, when reality hit he couldn’t do it. Not saying it has been easy, but now my husband and I talk about what we would have given up. We will be celebrating 53 years together in a few months. Liz

      • Callie

        My husband never understood that I had hopes in the society for him in trying to find a way to keep the peace and until he was willing to keep that peace. I had to withhold a sex life. He was just to stubborn to accept the terms that were laid on him by his father, the society and those with higher social status in the community By 2000 he took down two deputies just sent to hold him in Jail over the millennials when he turned the canvas down in his union shop with the highest seniority of 25 years and force the youngest in his department to work instead of him When his father and a local judge and the sheriff all using their good old boy friendship to make my husband work, We knew he had not had a day off in 19 years. We continually every year pointed out he could take his personal time and vacation time from the first weekend in January till the end of the time he had coming in 1987 it was nearly a month and a half. In 1999 it was two weeks plus two more months with everyone running trying to keep him from suing everyone’s tail off because he was jailed without benefit of Miranda rights. He killed the judges career, Even had him put in prison. The sheriff was called into a county council meeting on the 3rd of January and walked out no longer the sheriff. His local unions president. Had been taken to the mat by the national union and tried arranging the tw weeks from my husbands 45th birthday to the 24th fully paid off without touching the two months he was due for his own personal and vacation time. He was turning his resignation in, Just trying to stop an impeachment from happening because my husband had not been allowed his choices as the contract said. Each of the five that my husband worked in place of including the man that I had a fast fling with in Munich lost six months pay and benefits including the two week holiday pays because they knew my husband and others had the right to the time off no matter what the community wanted. Our return was just so many hurt over my husband and others in the plant not getting their seniority rights.

        I arrived with his brothers, sister. Mother and father after a talk with the local union president over the conference call we made on the 3rd with his union president I had a plan to just drive 4 hours north to a B and B on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and plan a nice vacation for him with the two months he would still have left, since he refused to talk to us when we tried calling him from Germany to try and set something up he would be willing to try instead of rip the communities heart out over his time off rights. We got home to his ripping our hearts out next. My Christmas gift was waiting in the back of the suburban. He had taken a shovel and gone yard to yard filling a box with dog leavings for my gift. because I did not stand for is rights with him As for his family he set up a wagon wheel and offered a bull whip to us to whip the uppity slave with, His only request was once we started we did not stop until he was dead the next nine years things just was not considered forb him until he bowed to our demands which ended up with me leaving with my shoulder dislocated and his father nearly dead after being nearly strangled to death after we canceled his three month vacation through the summer and the start of his vacation on the Orient express. We did it so a man with 32 years less seniority could have his honey moon and when we told my husband why his vacation was canceled in the airport he tried to murder us for canceling it even though I told him on January 2nd 2010 he was getting five weeks on St Croix to replace that time and pointed out we had done our best to get him to take that option for 28 years, We returned and plead guilty in a arraignment to acting as false agency and served hurt for three months in the county jail, both his father and me. that summer his immune system failed because of Depression and a auto immune illness called Iggy4 allowing MRSA to set up a abscess in his mid spine that on October 24th 2009 left him Crippled.

        I tried to maintain a peace through the next three years of complications and rehab. In 2012 I was told I was not to return since his father and I abused him in trying to find a way to everyone getting what we wanted from him in agreement I was in a affair the last seven moths he was in rehab. I don’t think since 2000 I went one day without my rear chewed by my husband or being hurt over his right to decide over the community his own rights.

        I was out with the other man on January 28th 2013 when his case manager in the rehab bought him home and left him with no one at home I arrived back at 930 AM with the other man and we found ourselves facing down a very angry man that wanted me out of his house. He had everything packed and ready to take and my AP decided to sweep his cane putting him on his face. That did not go at all well with the other man laying with his skull fractured in the living room with my husband sitting beside him breaking bones with hammer fist blows The entire side of my face bruised for trying to stop him from getting even for the sweeping of his cane through killing my affair partner over a stupide attempt at putting my husband in a different frame of mind. My husband was fighting the two officers i had sent to stop my husband from killing the other man.

        Two weeks later I ha made a promise to his father about a community awards dinner when I stepped right into my angry husbands chest when the regional mental health sent him home and I was trying to get out of the house before they did. I tried to get him to just wait four hours so we could all get together the next Saturday or at least wait four hours to start the conversation about rights in the family and community so nobody ended up in another hospital to make his point. I just wanted a peace talk with him about why we had interfered with him for 31 years, I even offered him over 100 to go get his own meal and we would meet him in 4 and a half hours any where he chose. I told him I was no longer asking decades years months, weeks or even days. Just four hours to find a suitable solution to his rights that was acceptable to all including his marital rights i had used as a control. I was crying nobody had to hurt over everything he had been interfered with any longer since he was retired with full benefits. there were things we could try and work out without caving a skull in over. He said he cared less what i Had promised his father and his best friend.

        I was his wife and I had not contributed anything to the marriage except denying him what was due for 31 years, I was going to do what he wanted that evening starting with what I owed him in the marriage since 1982. Since we were keeping him on the string with guardianships due to my by polar and he had paid my way for 31 years while getting nothing but told if he tried any thing he would get charged with sexual misconduct. Now he just did not care, He took me to the floor after leaving me holding a foot square piece of my dress trying to cover myself and he ripped even that from me and had his way as I pleaded things did not have to be in anger. All he had lost was time off and sex as well as his own kids. I was sorry for not keeping my word but he was going to hurt other families in having his way, If he just would have listened to our solutions it did not have to come too that evening In forcing me to have sex I was crying and screaming he was hurting me He finished with me as his fathers best friend was outside the door screaming we had to go. My husband slipped his sweats on and answered the door as I crawled Into the bedroom and put a robe on.
        I could not grasp how much he had hated the sex denial to try and gain cooperation for the community, How his hate had come to his not caring about how I felt after the hell he had bought on all our heads when we had pointed out the Mid winter options we had spent decades begging him to try instead of Cause his lesser seniority Coworkers to miss the times they needed He would have had a equal amount of time off minus about three weeks Just not when everyone else wanted and with Cooperation maybe other things could have happened like a family of our own instead of the hate he threw in our teeth over the stupidity that just because he hired in first gave him the rights that the Society wanted for their relatives.
        In 2013 as he ripped my dress off me I was crying that he should not be upset he did not have the life he wanted especially after 1999, WE had tried to figure out other suitable options that could have been tried in January and he left people going into the ER and trauma care because he refused those options I was pleading why was he so angry since he was the one to refuse negotiation except tell us it was his right to decide by union contract.
        When I was caught between his father’s society wants and his wants, I just could never find a way to find a negotiated peace In 1999 he turned violent over gaining his rights when we were offering solutions through trying other mid winter options After 1999 andthe 2 Deputies hitting the Ground and Two others tassed him to his Knees his Christmas New years wish was we all die on the flight to Germany THat was the start of his violent attitude about his right of choice.

        • Donna

          What? This makes no sense

          • Charity

            I agree

    • TheFirstWife

      After reading this post it doesn’t make you feel good that your spouse chose to stay married.

      Fear of the unknown, AP has ended the A, financial stress etc.

      I thought my H stayed b/c he loved me. Maybe I was mistaken after reading this.

      • Doug

        Did you not read the last entry, TFW? 😉

      • Fragments of Hope

        I have posted more below TheFirstWife but I do believe that what Exercisegrace said is true, they have affairs because of something severely broken in themselves and that they can love you deeply but still hate themselves so much or want to escape their lives that they can only focus on their selfish feelings and self-preservation. This is definitely the experience I have had with my husband (see more below). Despite wanting to be here with me (I do believe that), despite trying to repair, despite hating himself for what he has done, he still recently slipped back into lies and inappropriate friendships. I have given an example below of my brother in law who became so dissociated from his actions that he abandoned my sister in law the weekend her mother had a devastating stroke, (and he was fond of my sister in laws mother), he moved across the world to Australia leaving his two boys and continues to be cruel and defensive. I think it all depends on how far they are able to escape their own dark psychology to turn outward to others and have integrity and value again. They shoot themselves in the foot, otherwise, because they want real love and connection but are standing in their own way. Sometimes they get out of their own way but sometimes they are too far gone.

      • Callie

        Mine did not choose to stay married, A guardianship was assigned in 1985 and forever more he held everything against me even to the point he tried to Murder me by throwing me across a Conference room and tried to strangle his father to death in 2009 because we had interfered in his time off for 28 years Trying to arrange a better time for him to consider in January instead of the entire summer off and the Orient Express. I was Offering a replacement time for three months starting IN JANUARY 2010.
        HE had the man that went on his trip Terminated since He had only 2 years to my husbands 34 He had just Married his 4 month Pregnant Girlfriend and all we were trying was to let the young couple get a good start to their life since my husband and I had not had one to ours on our wedding night ordered to Fly to kings bay GA and start on his first Patrol on Submarines. He didn’t come home for three and a Half years or get a leave or off crew, always the replacement until his discharge on June 1st 1985 and returning to his UAW plant he was on a military leave from with his full 9 and a half years seniority.

    • Trying Hard


      This is the best post. Full of good information. I kinda had a feeling this is the case.

      We can pretend to live in some fantasy world much like the fog the cheaters live in or we can face the realities and the truths. I’ll take the real world any day. It doesn’t make me feel bad at all. Look that butterfly feeling we had at the beginning of our dating relationship is longggg gone. Not that I don’t look forward to seeing him or being with him but that whole initial romantic stuff. Um no, hardly after 40 years!!!

      I know as far as my h is concerned this post fits him to a tee! I almost feel like printing it off and showing it to him. I’ve never done that the whole time I’ve been part of this forum 🙁 But he has even expressed his confusion over not getting rid of her sooner, hiring her, and even starting the affair because he was not and has never been unhappy in our relationship. This article summarizes a lot of questions no matter if it’s the cheater or the BS.

      Thanks Doug

      • Doug

        Glad you found it helpful TH. Thanks for the comment.

    • Sarah P.

      I would love to chime in…

      A few months ago, I was mentioning a doctor and nurse at my H’s work. Many people witnessed the backstory. Doctor was happily married to all appearances, an elder in his church, and a devoted family man. Nurse was looking to upgrade and noticed that doctor was a great target– wealthy and naive. Doctor has married his wife young and she was all he knew. Nurse apparently had been through several marriages and was onto her next target.

      Nurse went after this guy the way a shark goes after an unsuspecting halibut and successfully broke up doctor’s marriage. They got married in August and a wedding that was supposed to be ‘small’ turned into an ornate 300 plate affair. Also, prior to marriage nurse said she wanted to work. The second they got married she quit her job. And that was that. Here we are in October and the doctor is starting to drop little crumbs of dissatisfaction (about the nurse) into his conversations with the other male doctors. Recently, he told my h: “Yeah, since my first wife and I got married so early, I never got a chance to play the field. I never really got ‘experience’ and here I am married again…and I wonder what it’s like to get experience.”

      If you read between the lines, he is saying something more to the effect of: “How could I be so stupid to get duped into marriage with this woman when there are so many other and possibly better options out there. Why didn’t I play the field before I got remarried…” And once he starts thinking that way, there is a pretty good chance that another ‘nurse’ who is younger than the nurse that he married comes along. The nurse he married is actually pretty close to his age (late 40’s.)
      They have recently hired some residents fresh from medical school and he is responsible for training them and there is one in particular female resident who is single who he is training and I personally think she is attractive. (Plus, she is a Christian whereas the nurse he married is an atheist and made him give up Christianity.)

      I believe what happened in this case was he married the nurse before the fog wore off. He rushed his divorce and started living with nurse when he was separated. He also bought a house with the nurse well before his divorce went through. Now I think the affair fog is wearing off and ‘sleeping beauty’ (the naive doctor) is waking up.

      Doug, I would like to hear updates about how it goes with your BIL from time to time. That is, when the cracks in the happy veneer start to show.

    • Sarah P.

      This post is not all bad news. Also, let’s put this into another context. Of the married men who actually leave their wives and marry the other woman, almost none of those marriages actually survive over the longterm.

      I do believe that love can re-grow even in the most barren marriage where both partners have given up hope. And I believe a new, sincere, and deeply connected marriage can grow in what used to be parched ground.

      The thing I have learned most is that us betrayed spouses cannot take our wayward spouse’s affair personally. It truly is about the wayward spouse and their issues and the other person could be anyone.

      If I ever posted pictures of my ex (and the other woman who he married) everyone would have a laugh at his expense. We still have mutual friends and he has a horrible marriage where she wears the pants and where 1/2 of their income goes to support her family members while his elderly parents get ignored. People who know her have said they honestly believe she is a psychopath. Just goes to show what my ex did had nothing to do with me. It was about him and his issues and the person he got stuck with is apparently pretty horrible.

      • Heather

        I beg to differ with you on this speaking from personal experience. My best friend was married when she acted as my maid of honour at my wedding 27 years ago, while she was helping me prepare for my wedding, she was secretly seeing my brother and they were in the midst of an affair ( which I knew nothing of). She lived in NZ while I lived in UK so when I returned from my honey moon to find her still in the UK, she then told me she had gone home, while I was away, told her husband she was leaving him, packed her bags and moved back to the UK where she then moved in with my brother, got married and had 3 children and have been very happy and totally devoted to each other being married for 23 years! I did not approve of the ruthless way my best friend went about managing her affair, decieving many people including me and I got the blame especially from her husband who had never spoken to me since. It really damaged my friendship with her for a long time and made me look at my brother in a very different light too, but when my own husband cheated on me 2 years ago, my best friend and my brother were disgusted by my husband’s betrayal and yet they did exactly that. I found it very hard to cope with and although I wanted their support and got it, I felt is was somewhat hypocritical of them both since they have the most connected, loving and devoted marriage, born out of selfishness, deceit and betrayal . It makes me resentful at times that two people I love do much who are so close to me could be so selfish, yet they truly are completely happy and perfect for each other. Their relationship may have been a fantasy but it has lasted and strengthened to become one more solid and committed than my marriage which brought them together. What a twisted turn of events that has turned out to be! So you see, despite all that I read about how affairs are based on fantasy and have no real depth, my own personal experience proves this not to be true and makes me often wonder about my own WH and his AP and his feelings towards her . My H and I are now 2 years in recovery, although really it’s little more than a year since he has put in any real recovery work. When they say give it 2 years, you think, bloody hell, 2 years that’s ages, but seriously, they are in such a fog, you are too, that you spend at least a year with both your heads in total chaos being pulled this way and that by emotional triggers, fear of uncertainty and pure emotional trauma !. 2 years on I’m hoping that there is a reasonable chance of us not only recovering, but actually building a better and more open and closer marriage where we can be more emotionally and physically connected and fulfilled ! This site has been a great source of help in our recovery and I thank you all for that 🙏

    • TheFirstWife

      I know logically I am not to blame for my H’s Affairs.

      And I know I have posted how he has tried to make amends. Every day.

      But I find it hard every so often not to take it personally. After all the mean things he said and tried to blame me. The things he wrote in the emails to the OW.

      I just cannot undo that aspect.

      • Rachel

        The first wife,
        I understand your pain. But I do take it personally. My ex said some absolutely horrible things about me and the reason he cheated. Why they can’t just keep their mouths shut is a mystery to me. I unfortunately can hear his comments daily running through my head. I shake my head and wonder if I was so bad and you claim you were so miserable why didn’t you leave years ago???
        He even blamed my parents and my brother for his affair. My parents were getting old (just like his) and they didn’t have a lot of friends. So you’re leaving me because of that??? Their friends we dying!!! Always a lame excuse. And my parents were so good to him. Just still makes me angry.
        Hope you all are well.

        • Tired

          Hi Rachel. You are dating now aren’t you? I think you should go for it. Of all the ridiculous excuses for cheating this one takes the cake: “your parents are old and don’t have friends.” How is that even relevant? Is he actually sane? That makes absolutely no sense at all. Your husband sounds like a dick. I’m glad you’re divorcing him.

          • Rachel

            Hi tired.
            Yes, I am dating and have been divorced for 4 years. My ex was a piece of work and wasted many many years of my time..
            He really hated me and I’m the one who should have hated him for his inhumane treatment. God bless the next one who gets stuck with him!

            • TheFirstWife

              I think it should be God help the next one who gets stuck with your XH.

              The best was the things he said about OW in front of your kids and then denied it. Says who and what he is right there.

              Hope you are happy ????

            • Rachel

              The first wife,
              lol yes very true!!! i shake my head when I think of the things that he has said. I am happy, thank you! Life is peaceful, with no more drama!????

      • Fragments of Hope

        Yes, I still find that aspect horrific. Even though I know that those cruel words were his way of doing everything possible in his own mind to justify what he knew, underneath, was a despicable action. It was the only way he could try to live with himself. But he ended up with many physical symptoms, sick to the stomach, not able to speak properly (stuttering), ED. His body was telling him what he was doing was terribly wrong even as he tried to justify it to himself. I think we might just have to think of the cruel words as symptoms of a horrifying dis-ease of the mind.

      • Dwilli

        I feel the same way! Just read emails to one of the Other Women and I am disgusted. It’s very hard not to take it personal. Called her the same pet names he called me. Obsessed with her butt, body, etc. she’s 7 years older than him and I am 2 years older than him. I’m very attractive and she’s not attractive to most people but he still told her how beautiful she is.

        Baffled! Can’t get over it. Can’t move on with him!

        • Tony

          hurts like hell. if you stay together, it will always be in the back of your head. you get thru affairs, not over them…

    • Untold

      Hello EG. Good to see a familiar name still checking in, especially with your insight and wisdom. I go back over 5 years also, about the same as you, when I suspected my wife was cheating. Three years ago the last trickle was discovered – it was a full PA . Even though it had ended a year before, recovery has been painful and agonizing, and slow.

      Of you and TFW I am envious, that your spouses seem to be able to show deep remorse. When it counts, I still don’t get that. Often when a disagreement escalates, she will bring up the past and say I’m punishing her for life. It’s her cop out to NOT own her own shit. Still rewriting history, blameshifting, when it’s long over. in the last six months I’ve heard “I’ve never really wronged you”, “I would never cheat again because I couldn’t stand to put myself through your torture again”, “that note was never meant for you to see”, and “you just need to start trusting me, or leave”. So outrageous at times it’s funny. I don’t know it has been worth the bullshit I’ve endured to keep my family together.

      On the topic, I think the article is right on. I especially know now that every other reason for staying came before her love for me. The jig was definitely up. Wife had a huge fear of unknown. She talked big but inside is hugely insecure. I have been the rock. And she would try to have her cake and eat it too! She had no plan. There was no logic employed, no control, only impulse and entitlement. Though the boys were grown, the last one was still finishing college and she knew she would lose all respect from them if she bailed. There was not much love for me. How could there be with such betrayal and deceit.

      But we recognize whatever reason they stay, it gives a chance for love and connection to be restored. It needs to be rebuilt, in both directions, as well as trust. That rebuilding is what gives it strength to endure, and to prevent relapse.

      In my case though I am terribly discouraged that, even now 3-5 years later, there is still such denial by my wife. I don’t know she’ll ever really accept what she did, and how hostile and contemptuous she was while doing it. I do not see or feel much empathy from her at all, nor the respect and gratitude I feel I deserve for keeping it together. I plod forward on a thread of faith and glimmer of hope.

      • Fragments of Hope

        Hello Untold, I can really sympathise here. I am nearly four years out from original D-day. Although my husband wants to stay, says how sorry he is and so on, he has been incredibly defensive at many times in this ‘healing process’. He has told me I’m holding onto things, has been cruel and turned things against me when I was experiencing triggers (this is not all the time, he has also listened, answered questions and so on). However even up to this day, his automatic defensiveness kicks in and I discovered that he was having more inappropriate friendships and lunch dates THIS SUMMER. To summarize the deep seating self-esteem and self-hatred problems he had have not been addresssed or solved. In periods of stress he runs back to acting out and thoughtless, self-medicating actions and lies. It is only now, 4 years on, once I discovered the new friendships that we went to counselling and he is so shocked by himself that he is eager (but also frightened) to see what the counselling can uncover and suggest. I may be wrong but I see their defensiveness (including your wife’s as a way of preserving their ego and esteem and until that is addressed I don’t think things can fundementally change or their is always a risk of more bad behaviour. Have a look at Steven Stosny’s compassionpower site. There is a book called Love Hurts – about turning resentment around. He works on developing people’s core values so that they can turn to that when they feel threated, they can get their value from what they appreciate, love, protect and connect to rather than having to take other people down or act out. I’ve also found it a good way of renewing my own self-esteem (Living and Loving After Betrayal) after the pain of the affair. In both books (they have similar material) there are also sections on self-forgiveness which can be good for both people. I’m not sure whether my husband can face into and change these patters, it’s taken this new shake up for him to finally look closely at himself. I had to draw a strong line (he’s on couch and I’d made it clear that a separation might happen if the issues weren’t addressed post these new revelations). I don’t know if it’s possible for you to bring these issues to the fore but I feel that while some progress was made these last few years, the fundamentals had not really changed. I just couldn’t live in this half-life of lies and defensiveness any more. It is difficult though so I wish you good thoughts.

      • Exercisegrace

        Untold, the old timers have to stick together! I think it’s helpful for the newer members to see the journey (good, bad and ugly!). I’m sorry you are not getting the remorse you need and deserve. I’m not sure how I would feel about that. If they continue to minimize what they have done, where is any sense of security that they have learned anything?

        • unsure

          THANKS – I find so much good here.

      • Kaylee

        Your comment is so touching and heartfelt. How are things today? I pray better for you.

      • unsure

        untold – this hits home with me. My H had multiple affairs where he actually told them he loved them after a couple of weeks of sleeping with them. We were separated at the time, but trying to work on our relationship – he treated me with contempt and hostility. There are so many things I wish I had done differently during that time, I just didn’t know he was doing it until after we reconciled and I found the email, text, and letters. UGH!!

    • Shifting Impressions

      Well…this post has me thinking. Why do any of us stay? Similar to the reader’s comment…I told my husband he should only stay because that is what he really wants. That I am the one he wants to be with.

      I’m not sure that most WS’s are all that honest with their BS’s as to why they stay. Like most BS’s when I ask that question I am hoping that he will profess his undying love and how he can’t live without me. Somehow the conversation never seems to go quite that way Lol!!! This whole recovery process is just that….a long difficult process.

      Mixed in with why did he stay is the question…why did I stay??

      For one thing many years ago, two naive twenty year olds….promised that they would stay. Promised they would stay through thick and thin. Forty-four years later….we are still here. Some years were Diamonds and some were stone….as the song goes.

      Over those years we built a life and had a family….a strong beautiful family. One does not so easily walk away. I believe my husband came to himself when he saw the pain he caused me and how close he came to throwing away the life we built together. For that same reason I knew I couldn’t walk away, without giving it my all.

      The recent email Doug and Linda sent out said experts say it takes about two years to fully recover from infidelity. I would say it takes at least four if not longer. I am not even sure I know what “full recovery” looks like. All I know is we stayed and are slowly moving forward.

      • Hopeful

        I agree I think it is important to ask why do any of us stay. I decided early on i can only stay for my reasons. And honestly at first it was my kids. Second was a quality of life/financial. In the beginning i did not see my husband having much to offer after what he had done.

        He has told me he thought about leaving me so i would never find out. He also thought what he did would end us and our family. So that is why he hid it for so long. He still struggles with the pain and guilt today. In a way i think some recognition of that is good. He stayed initially since he wanted to try and I think he felt obligated. Rather quickly he saw how much better he felt about himself and how happy he could be. He was really unsure if he could be the man I expected. He has told me he gave himself 6 months of putting in full time effort. He said it was easy and never a drag from the start since he felt the benefits right away. I think getting questions from his friends is still the hardest. They notice he has changed and they have not.

        Over time things have changed and I continue to see more value in staying and working on our marriage. And at this point his affairs etc will always be part of it. But not the focus. I think through all of this our communication has grown and is the most critical reason for our success. And as far as a time frame to work through an affair I think it varies for everyone. We are approaching 3 years. And it is not our focal but neither of us will ever get over it. I am not sure if I want us to be. A good level of vigilance I think is healthy. Nothing like a burden but just that little bit in the background.

        • Shifting Impressions

          I don’t think either of us will ever get over it completely either. It is part of our history now….nothing can change that. The fact that we are still making headway four years later tells me we were stronger than we thought.

          Every now and then a wave of sorrow does still hit me…..but much less often and the sorrow is not near as ferocious as it once was.

          I noticed a huge change in our recovery after three years….during the fourth year there was more peace, acceptance and hope.

    • Trying Hard

      SI– Boy do I love your comment. Totally agree. I can answer why he stayed and mine DOES profess his undying love for me and gratitude. He tries very hard at romance, lol it’s pretty funny after all these years, he’s kind and loving and generous and totally spoils me but don’ i wonder what he’s “really” thinking.

      Yep, instead of parsing and reliving what he said or didn’t say I question my own motivations for staying. I guess partly because of all of the above and all the efforts I see him making. I cannot be bothered with whether or not he loves me more or less than he “loved” her. because I’m not sure what his own personal meaning is of love. So all the blah, blah, blah I love you’s is pretty moot!

      I also can’t even pretend to be silly enough to want to have that initial tummy tingling of first love that we had way way back in the day. Chasing that is just another version of betrayed spouse fog. Yes I believe BS also experience a certain fog. Long term relationships are different and carry lots of baggage that was mentioned in the article that Doug wrote, that by the way I think is probably one of the best articles posted lately. He is spot on in his assessment. And there are certainly ways of rekindling part of that spark. If old dogs like me can learn new tricks, so can you 🙂

      So yes maybe he stayed because of the problems divorcing me would have cost him financially, emotionally etc but it’s all one. I also know he’s with me because he needs me and loves me. It’s a package deal and I am part of that package. Pretty sure if I was really so awful he wouldn’t have cared what it cost him to get rid of me and vice versa!

    • Shifting Impressions

      Aren’t you special….I mean getting professions of undying love etc. Lol….just kidding!!!

      My husband treats me really lovingly as well but those conversations are just painful. I think the lifting of the affair fog, is such a process. When they wake up they are almost as shocked as we were on d-day (almost but not quite) During the affair and after d-day he had his head completely “up his ass” to quote Doug. As that fog slowly slowly lifts the recovery process starts.

      And yes our pain and grief over everything is intertwined in that process.

      Early on I told him not to do me any favors by staying if he didn’t want to be with me. I told him it would kill me but I would survive. I will never forget the look of pain on his face when he answered that he wasn’t sure if he would survive leaving.

      It took me a long time to decide whether I would stay or not. At the beginning the thing that kept me going was that I didn’t have to have the answer to whether I would stay or not ….that in time I would know.

      Today, four years later I’m glad I stayed.

      • Hopeful

        That sounds so familiar. I found it hard to understand how he could make all these decisions and have all these behaviors for so long and not be happy. It took a while but really what made me the most sad was that he did this to himself. My husband has told me many times I would be fine and actually do well. He said he is the one that drags me down. I was always really independent but in a way looking back he was right especially since he was not as invested for so long. Now it is his number one priority to be the best husband and father every day. He says he thinks about that before every decisions or action. What is most revealing is he says he can look himself in the mirror and also lay his head on the pillow and he is starting to feel good about himself. I hate what he did but I am so glad to witness these changes. It has taken a while to get here but again seeing that and observing his transformation is great. And in the end I know i cannot stop him from anything. And SI as you said now i realize I am stronger than i ever knew.

        • True_Love_91

          Her and on other posts, your comments always give me hope. Your name truly fits you. I hope today you still are happy you stayed.

    • TryingHard

      LOL SI ???? I’m special alright!!

    • Stuckinlimbo

      Hello, I’ve been following this website for the past 4 months and reading almost every comment about emotional affairs written here and throughout the web. I thank all of you for just your insights based on your personal experience and I feel like I am understanding myself and my husband’s current affair more and more. We have been together for almost 10 years, married for 5. We were always the envy of all our friends and had a wonderful marriage (I thought).
      This past 2 years has been so rough as I saw him withdraw emotionally and eventually physically. He still takes care of our “financial well being” (I work part time now to take care of our toddler)… But I am still in the uncertain future part because he still hasn’t woken up from the fog after 2 years and we are separated now for 4 months. In the beginning he begged me not to kick him out, but through all my anger and disbelief that he went back to his EAP (2 years of this mess!) I made sure he knew I was angry, hurt, and wasn’t going to stand here while he disrespected me and our marriage. He started his unhappiness stage when I became pregnant and life pretty much became stressful and routine. He hadn’t prepared himself emotionally to mature to fatherhood and to mature love of husband and wife where I was too tired from taking care of a colicky baby to be his muse. His ho-worker started hitting on him and he said he felt a connection that as married man he should have for me. Wow, way to abandon your responsibility as a new father and husband! I don’t know how far he has taken the EA to a PA, but he swore that he hasn’t slept with her yet out of respect for me (he would wait until we are fully divorce). Who knows what physical things they’ve done and I’m terrified to picture it. I’m in terrible depression and have almost collapsed from the pain and limbo everyday, waiting to see if he files for divorce. I have spoken with a lawyer and am prepared to file if need be. I want him to be the one to file so he feels the full weight of his actions. So far he has dealt with our finances respectfully (since I built much of our wealth through careful savings & investments — I’m a financial advisor) but I can feel he’s got one foot out the door because he keeps saying “I want to protect you and our baby even we aren’t together.” Well, then why hadn’t he filed for divorce?! I keep trying no contact but he keeps calling me about our finances, and then asking about how our baby is doing, and sometimes adding in his daily activity. I’m hoping that he will wake up and realize how stupid and selfish he is acting right now and profess his love…but as you have highlighted in this article, I don’t think he will ever profess his love like in our first 7 years before he met his AP…if he ever comes back, it will be because all the other reasons are exhausted and he’s stuck with me. Jee, lucky me, then? I won the leftover plate of love?

      • Fragments of Hope

        Stuck in Limbo, I think you did the right thing by drawing a line and separating. I also understand that you want to make your husband file – if he wants to file – thus taking responsibility. My husband had/has an awful habit of talking passively as if things happen to him rather than take responsibility for his actions. When D-day and the awful fog afterwards happened I specifically did not throw him out because – just like you I wanted him to take the decision to leave if that is what he wanted rather than blame me for ‘throwing him out.’

        I think one way of looking at it is to shift the focus onto what you need for yourself. I don’t want my husband to leave but if you read the rest of my story elsewhere on the post I could no longer put up with more lies and inappropriate friendships and deceptions happening again four years later. I was so severely depressed and had first to take an online course on depression and do other work to get myself off the floor. Then I finally realised that he was harming my mental health and that we would have to separate (despite four children) if he kept acting this way. I don’t know if our husband’s are similar but my husband would pride himself on ‘doing the right thing’ even though he felt that our marriage was flawed (and it was but not to the extreme extent he thought in the fog. So my husband in the fog would feel that I’d be happier without him but that he would still provide for us and act more or less the same towards us financially, DIY around the house etc if he left us. He had already lent the OW 500 euro without letting me know and she was treating him like a husband, asking him to source phones and other items for her. He did not seem to understand that he was not her husband, not responsible to her. Even though he felt he would do right by us, I knew that the OW would soon whisper in his ear and that his financially and emotional loyalty would transfer to her. It’s infuriating how childish and stupid they are in the fog and treat the wife and OW as interchangeable. Your husband has not faced what he is doing, he is enjoying feeling better by having the attention of the OW and salving his conscience by deciding he will treat you right. I think you need to make him aware that you want things to work out between you but that you can’t live in this limbo situation anymore. I know how difficult that is, even with a half remorseful husband. You will have to tell him that you don’t want to divorce but that you have to move on with your life. It’s good you have a part-time job and that you are a financial advisor. Now you need help with your mental health (counselling, your doctor or I can recommend as a start Living and Loving after Betrayal by Steven Stosny) and put aside some money. Do everything for yourself that you would advise a friend to do, put all efforts into minding yourself. Your husband may or may not respond to the boundaries and respect you set out for yourself. Keep in touch, I hope things get better.

        • Stuckinlimbo

          Thank you FOH. I’ve been reading many of your messages throughout the site and am glad you cared enough to respond to my post. Your husband is at least remorseful and willing to go to counseling. I honestly wish you the best…it’s hard to see our husband’s relapse and making us wonder “once a cheater always a cheater?”

          Your insight into how my husband is still in the fog and unable to wake himself up is correct. I wrote him a long letter reminding him of our story … everything we had was worth telling, worth being proud of. How we met, how we had so many mutual friends & family, how our lives intertwined easily & we built a strong family & business…everything was serendipitous until he started his affair. I asked him if he would be proud to tell the story of him and the OW to the world, would it be serendipitous and innocent? He obviously doesn’t have a problem with it because he never answered my question. I guess I knew the answer all along.

      • Angela

        Wait a sec. You don’t believe him when he says there’s no PA but you DO believe him when he says he’ll look out for your financials? Not. You better go shark mode and get that money into your own hands. The man is cheating. Cheating reaches every level, including the the financial. If he was concerned of your future he wouldn’t have hurt you. He won’t file for divorce and my guess is that he’s already realized what it’s going to cost. With you being a financial advisor that’s a fight he’ll be afraid to take to you. Cut the money off and do what you know to do. How many of your clients are divorcing? Look at their situation and you’ll see.

        • Stuckinlimbo

          You’re right. My advice to my clients was way more protective than I’d ever done for myself. I thought I had married my best friend, who wouldn’t ever hurt me…so I settled for crumbs in my marriage. Everything that was great went to him first. I took care of him and his family’s financial well being and this is the thanks I get. I did move all my money out and made him sign over the life insurance to our daughter as irrevocable beneficiary. He’s lucky I didn’t make him a fuss about anything else! He demanded the same of me and I reminded him I didn’t have a OM to worry about…he is the cheater, not me!

    • Trying Hard

      Stuckinlimbo–I don’t know if you can feel the heat or not as my hair has caught fire just reading your story.

      Since you’ve read a lot of posts I’m pretty sure you know what I am going to say. GET THE DAMN FINANCES OUT OF HIS HANDS, IMMEDIATELY. Get a lawyer and forensic accountant. Have you not seen the movie Gone Girl or heard of Scott Petersen? Please, your h sounds terribly immature and I have to be honest I am worried about your safety. No people of good character do NOT leave when they have children or their pregnant wife. I don’t care if the baby is colicky!!! Sociopaths do that stuff. I will also go out on a limb and say it is NOT an EA but a full blown PA.

      Please find the help you need and please take care of yourself and your child. Do you have family that will help you? Quit worrying about “winning” him back and find out what’s really going on in your relationship. Next thing you know he will start gaslighting you. Please be careful

      • Stuckinlimbo

        Trying Hard. — you’re scaring me. I never thought my husband could ever get to the point of hurting me or my baby in the way that would be criminal. Most people on here knows their partner is acting insane and have a difficult time adjusting to this new person, but I don’t think they feel unsafe in the way you’re describing. I certainly don’t feel unsafe that way, though I am mad as hell that he would end our marriage for some ho-worker who doesn’t understand his life & responsibilitis at all.

    • Trying Hard


      Sorry to scare you. But I doubt you believed he would cheat until he did right? Plus do you know what she’s encouraging him to do? Do you know her? Most of us don’t. Plus we’ve all talked about when people are in affairs they are normally not in their right minds anyway.

      You’ve been putting up with this affair for his for 2 years now right? That doesn’t sound repentant to me. Thing is it is imperative you find out what’s going on in your marriage. Inviting other people into your life when you are already in a committed relationship brings out a whole lot of crazy.

      I knew my h for 40 years when I found out he was having an affair with a real creep. Plus she was married and to a motorcycle guy who called and threatened his life!! My dear I went immediately to a lawyer, I changed the locks on the door, I changed the garage code, I covered the garage windows with paper so he couldn’t see when I was and wasn’t home, I boarded the doors and windows in the basement, I used my alarm system religiously, I opened my own checking account. This is all within two weeks of him leaving! Yeah, no I did NOT know him. He was NOT the same guy I knew 3 weeks prior to that. And no I don’t think you know your h either. I’m asking you to protect yourself. NOrmally when there is infidelity there is financial infidelity as well. Ask me how I know?? Yeah to the tune of 50k at the very least!!!!

      I hope I did scare you enough to warn you.

      • Sarah P.

        Struck in Limbo and Trying Hard,

        Even though it’s scary, Trying Hard has excellent advice and if I were you I would pursue that forensic accountant. If someone is cheating on you, they will also lie about everything to keep you off balance.

        This is not good news, but it is necessary to protect yourself and use everything possible such as forensic accountants and PI’s to know the truth. You must know the objective truth and not the lies your spouse will tell. You must know your adversary so you can protect yourself.


      • Stuckinlimbo

        Ttying Hard — Holy smokes you’ve been through the wringer! I believe I have turned a blind eye, or maybe just stuck my head in the sand.

        • TryingHard

          Stuck in Limbo— it’s easy to put ones head in the sand so to speak or believe what the cheater lies about or gaslights. It’s hard to get to the bottom of things unless A. They confess or B you catch them in the act. Life is busy. Children, work, families, responsibilities plus we dint want to cause problems or be all dramatic or seem jealous. That was me when i had some red flags during the affair. Mine confessed and then left for over 3 months. Insisting he wanted a divorce, refused MC, continued the affair, refused to fire her. Until i blew and did the 180. I quit doing the pick me dance and being nice and understanding. his lawyer i believe made it very clear what this was going to cost him and it was everything he’d worked his ass off for. Plus his sins were shunning him. And his friends. He was humiliated and he started to see the OW in the stark light of day and it wasn’t pretty.

          Yes I was put through the wringer. It’s taken a long time and i still have the lasting affects of the trauma. Not as bad as early on and i must say there are times i wonder if he or our marriage was worth the fight. But here we are and he has been very remorseful.

          I think the BS has to be very smart and to take care of themselves. Firstly financially. I’ve seen many people, make and female alike, be very foolish in this regard. I dint think you will make that mistake but sometimes we old warriors know what we are talking about.

          It sounds like you are making good progress. This is a really crappy place to be. I don’t care what stage of life you are at, this all stinks.

    • Joey

      Good post. But part of me wants to scream out – why are we, as the betrayed, so concerned about why the unfaithful stayed?! Constantly worrying about that only feeds into the unfaithful’s “image” of us that we were such horrible partners and didn’t meet their needs and that’s why they had every right to cheat.

      Hey – wayward spouses – here’s an idea? How about you ask your betrayed spouse why your he or she stayed? Afterall, wayward spouses cheat because the betrayed spouse prioritized the kids, or fell asleep on the couch, or worked too much and rationalized that they deserved the affair. Well if that’s your reasoning, then we as the betrayed have every right to leave the minute DDAY hits. But the most of us stay and fight because we believe in our commitments, believe in loyalty, understand that we didn’t do everything right but there is something worth saving here because of history and love. It’s pretty common sense that leaving because your partner cheated, lied, and betrayed you with another person is a lot better reason than the cheater gives for the affair.

      So instead of worrying about your cheating spouse is staying… celebrate in the joy and reassurance that you as the betrayed partner is strong enough and courageous enough to fight and survive one of the hardest things in life. Whether it be for your family or children, you are powering through and doing the selfless thing.

      My ex never once asked me why I am staying and trying to make it work, because it’s all about the cheater. During the affair, they think they are so perfect and special because the AP tells them they are. A person who betrays their family and spouse is NOT a prize, and when we give them the gift of reconciliation, that is the prize – not THEM. Lucky for the waywards, we don’t kick them out right away and give them the chance to learn and grow and love them, a courtesy they didn’t give us when embarking on the affair.

      Sorry – I got riled up. Long week 🙂

      • Untold

        Thanks Joey. I hear you, feel the same way as you, and appreciate you coming out and saying it too.

        I’d really like to hear my WW express gratitude for me staying and working through it. Sadly, I don’t think I ever will.

        • chely

          i agree totally. Don’t think there will be any love coming – the way I need it to be. It is a sad realization, but a necessary one none-the-less.

      • TryingHard

        Joey— HERE HERE!!! Yay Joey. Very well said.

        And yes this is the exact resin i believe my h is so good to me. He’s got to be thinking “man this chick really loves me. WTF was I thinking??” Or “man this chick is crazy to stay with me”. So yes instead of lamenting why THEY stay we need to turn it around.

        If the reasons people cheat are as demonstrated we BS have more than enough reasons to cheat and leave!!

      • Shifting Impressions

        Joey…don’t apologize, I agree with every word. WELL SAID!!!!

      • TheFirstWife

        Excellent points Joey. All true.

        But I think the cheater (in some cases) stayed for selfish reasons like $ or security.

        And if I thought that is why my H stayed I would be crushed. Because I R w/him for love and no other reason.

        He told me in DDay2 that he ended the A and loved me and our family etc. made a mistake and wrong choices. I believe him and hope that is the reason he stayed.

      • Angela

        Hear now! Damn if you didn’t just nail it!

        And thank you. You just reminded me of something I have to be grateful for.

        My WS has said to me that he doesn’t know how I stayed through it.

        This validation from him is worth more than gold to me.

        It means he appreciates me, sees the dilemma he put me in and respects my choice, and yes, is even amazed at my choice to stay, and now knows he needs to show he’s worthy of that choice.

        Thank you.

      • David

        Joey – perfectly stated!

    • Rebecca

      I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s stories. My husband has been involved with another woman for about a year now. They met at the gym. It’s such a long story. I suspected something (behavior with his phone changing passwords etc)last Feb but thought there is NO way he’s doing anything. My fears weren’t confirmed until April. After i confronted him he swore he wouldn’t speak to her and it was done. He switched gyms, We started couples counseling. We only went a couple times because Honestly he seemed so remorseful and seemed like he truly wanted to make things work with he and i. Fast forward to Sept – while things seemed fine i had a gut feeling he was still communicating with her. I checked his phone and don’t you know there was a text from her. It was blank which was weird but her number was right in front of me. He said that she appeared at the gym he moved to and she said do you want me to leave and he said no. Thinking he could handle it. essentially them seeing each other daily at the gym didn’t stop from the first time. Oh boy was he remorseful. He said he wants to be with me and home with our kids. There’s just something about her he said that just draws him to her. While my husband is in amazing shape and doesnt look his age he turns 60 on Monday. She’s 39. I’m 46. So In therapy we’ve talked about how he has issues with his ego and how she fed that blah blah. He promised transparency and it was me and our family that was his priority. He changed his phone number and changed gyms again! Since mid Sept things have been awesome. We’ve had great times we are working to make us better etc. I would still check his phone email seeing that’s the only way she’d be able to get him unless she called him at the office. Mind you she’s also married and has 2 kids. This past Tuesday night I checked his phone just to reassure myself and low and behold I found emails. Apparently she emailed him from her work email – has the company name as the header so it wouldn’t be obvious to at least me. He actually deleted the first 2 emails and she finally called him at the office. This happened at the beginning on November. They’ve been talking/emailing meeting in the mornings for 10 min to see each other. I kicked him out of the house. He claims again he’s not going to see her etc. wants to be here with us – we are his home his safe place all of the above. I also found out that their relationship wasn’t just emotional. They did kiss – and that started near the beginning. He swears they didn’t have sex. I have access to his map on his phone on where he is day to day (real time and history) so if they were having Sex it was in the car. which obviously could have happened. We went to therapy the day after i found out again (appt had already been sched) and he went with me. I have never in my life seen him cry the way he did. I just sat there watching like wtf. Why now? Our therapist said he’s nearing rock bottom but as history has told…. the initial reaction after being caught is I’m done, I’m done. I want to be with you and the kids and I’m done and I’m and idiot and I need help. So obviously I’m treading lightly. He’s out of the house. The kids don’t know what’s up. Think he’s on abusiness trip. Oh and I contacted the AP’s husband the morning after I found everything out – and he seemed to be in shock but I’m not sure it’s changed anything. My husband supposedly hasn’t heard from her since I had texted her that night saying i Knew they were communicating. She never responded. I’m sure she told
      Her husband how I’m overreacting, he’s 60 and all that so in theory it does sound like a stretch!!! i am so sad, hurt, tired and just really in disbelief that he has done this to me. I want nothing more then to make our marriage work. I do believe my husband when he tells me this is where he wants to be even though my friends tell me I’m crazy. He knows he’s not going to end up with her so that’s where my question to him is why continue. He compared it to being addicted to drugs. He knows he shouldn’t be but can’t help it. I’m just so tired and I don’t know if this is worth fighting for anymore. i honestly wish I didn’t love him. Would make all of this a lot easier. And he wants to stay with me but why. I mean if he was being completely transparent from here on out maybe we can start to heal. sorry if i wrote this in the wrong forum. If it needs to be moved could you tell me where? Thanks for listening.

      • Fragments of Hope

        Hi Rebecca, some of my story is below but I just wanted to say that my experience was that my husband went down a road of emotional affairs and inappropriate friendships in 2013 and one went so far that he was thinking of leaving us for her and her six kids (even though when I questioned him, he didn’t know what he loved about her – it was really a fantasy,) Even though he’s been horrified at himself and wants to stay and loves me he still went back 9 months later for more contact and this summer (3.5 years after D-day) he had some inappropriate friendships – with vulnerable women who he invited for lunch and coffee – one fancied him. He kept it all from me and lied. Like your husband said, mine didn’t seem to be able to help himself. All the repair didn’t really matter if he was to go and do similar things again. So I drew a firm line and said I can’t live with this anymore and he is on the couch and we are in counselling and he is finally looking at why he acts this way. I do truly believe that my husband wants to change (it sounds like your husband does too). Until the counselling is more progressed and my husband does active work on himself I don’t know if he will change his habits. I think its worth giving your husband a chance to do some counselling or other program and do lots of work to uncover and deal with this.

    • Fragments of Hope

      My experience is very much similar to Exercisegrace above and sadly has continued in some further problems right up to this day – four years after the initial D-day. My husband had massive stresses – his mother had had a devastating stroke that rendered her disabled and no longer the person we knew and there was a major work disappointment as well as terrible behavioural difficulties with our son with Aspergers. On top of that we had some very poor patterns of interaction between us. My husband self-medicated with his affairs to feel better, feel someone cared, to bolster his ego. He used his already existing supercilliousness and defensiveness (and our poor interaction history) to blame me – villifying me to the OW and just wanting to escape. He never dealt with this way of reacting to stress. Even though he decided to stay and said he wanted this life, he slipped back into a friendship with the OW months later and had a series of inappropriate friendships some of which have occured just this year. He also used porn as a crutch. I’ve only just found out that he also kissed his ex girlfriend during the period where he had his emotional affair with another woman.

      It was due to problems within him that, despite his plea (which I believe) that he wants me and our life here, he still acts out. He wanted to escape the stresses in life but not really to leave all the good here. Only now (with still many life stresses still) is he in counselling and facing into the thing within him that stands in the way of a true loving relationship with us and with himself.

      His sister’s husband however did leave. He left his two boys and moved to the other side of the world. Many years after the divorce he still blames his wife, thinks only of himself, refuses his sons money (one just started college) on the basis that he has to pay for his mortgage or his fancy wedding. In one way he got a free and easy lifestyle in Australia with his OW whom he married. He blames and avoids all guilt and responsibility. He got his escape but he is a deeply damaged man. His parents are very strange and unloving. He left when his mother in law (who cared for him deeply) had just had the stroke. He never faced into what he had done

    • Rachel

      I don’t understand why these cheaters don’t turn to their spouse for support when a family crisis happens. Stresses, we all have them. Why turn to someone else. Why not the familiar, someone that you’ve been with for years? I guess I will never understand these cheater, their reasoning for affairs. And blaming the betrayed spouse for their justification.

    • tony

      I wasn’t going to be second fiddle. That always has to be in the back of your mind after an affair…whether you stay or not.

    • chely

      In my case, I got the feeling that all along he may be playing both of us. I witnessed his attempt to stop on discovery, the withdrawal, depression and vertigo that he went through. I believe that she thinks she is the only other woman. I do not know how long this has been going on (they worked together 10 years ago) but I don’t think he can give her up. I also have this strange feeling there are more. She is just his main side dish, feeling special and all. Since I believe they continue in this affair, I’m not sure if he’s just stringing us both along or he has finally decided that he really would rather be with her. I say “be a man” and make a choice or I will be forced (despite the fact that I really don’t want to leave this marriage, I haven’t remained in this 20 year roller coaster of a marriage for no reason) to do it because there CANNOT be three of us in this marriage. And because he is a covert, nice guy narcissist I don’t think he’s interested in changing his ways. Why would he since he’s been able to have cake for a long time in addition to me. God I wish I could find a good lawyer so he doesn’t manipulate in this divorce as well. I love the man I thought he was, not the one who lives behind the mask. What a waste of 20 years of my life. I tried to leave 5 years into marriage but got sucked back in thinking the problems we had (no known infidelity at that time) could be addressed. I was niave and believed in love perservering despite all odds. Boy was I buffaloed big time. I wish I could wake up from this nightmare but unfortunately it’s reality.

    • Hopeful

      I think in many cases there are more details. Rarely does anyone get caught drunk driving the first time they have driven drunk. For my husband what he told me and what I found initially was just the beginning. He forgot a lot and I think on many levels he did forget and at least compartimentalize.

      I know for me I took time to think about what I wanted and expected from our marriage.the farther we got away from dday the more I expect. And i have made that known to my husband. He understands and we have worked through boundaries and expectations. I have made it clear that if he does not want to make an effort, respect what I need and want then i would rather be on my own no matter what.

      And i think the first step for anyone is to find an individual therapist. They can help so much with working through this and giving guidance and support. I also think consulting with an attorney and even an accountant is smart.

    • Rachel

      Ladies and Gentlemen please don’t believe the cheating spouse that they haven’t slept with their affair person because most likely they did. And chances are if they are discussing or mentioning the word divorce it’s pretty certain that’s what they want. I remember when my ex mentioned divorce but was still in “limbo” I was in fighting mode for saving my marriage. I guess only for the reason that I was scared stiff to be on my own. As he was “trying” we went to dinner and he made a comment about our waitress and what he was sure she did for her husband and I thought to myself, there is no way that I can continue this lifestyle. He Also, he kept telling me that I wouldn’t get any of his 401k retirement and investments. He was wrong on all.
      Before filing I changed my beneficiaries of my life insurance to my boys and started hiding money. Be prepared they get half of what you have.
      I thought he would change and wanted him to be someone else. They don’t change.
      Be prepared and find a good attorney.

      • Stuckinlimbo

        I appreciate everyone’s responses. It’s sad that I have chosen to believe his words that he still hadn’t slept with her. Perhaps the denial makes it easier to say that the marriage is over. It doesn’t matter. He didn’t fight for me, our marriage, our family. I’m meeting with lawyer to file divorce tmrw. Just focusing on building a new life.

        • Untold

          Good luck to you SIL.

        • TryingHard

          Stuck in Limbo– I’ve found there’s just some things we are never going to know the whole truth. It’s sad people make poor choices and then poorer of choices of not being honest and at least own up.

          I’m sorry your h didn’t fight for you and your relationship and only you can be the judge of how you choose to move forward in life. I wish you the very best and I wish you peace

    • Dolly Allen

      In my case, we were having serious marital problems, both of us felt as though the marriage was pretty much over. Had he said we should divorce or separate, I would have agreed. Instead he cheated with a moman who over the years had been a friend but she always wanted more. Ultimately the emotional affair became physical and I found out. Before I even told him I knew, I hired a divorce attorney the Monday I learned of the affair and by that Friday, the papers were filed. I told him to get out and move in with her. He didn’t want to. We decided to give the marriage a try – it’s been ups and downs. 14 months past D-day. He has really been trying. It seems as though it ended up being a wake up call for both of us, although I wish there had been another way.

      • TheFirstWife

        Dolly. I sorry you had to endure a rocky marriage plus infidelity

        But having an A with a friend? Why do spouses or SO do that? Don’t they realize it adds another layer of problems?

        I hope you are getting some guidance and support during this difficult time.

        • Dolly Allen

          It was his friend not mine – they’d known each other even before I met him. He was never interested romantically but she always wanted him, even offered to call off her engagement 25 years ago, but he had met me. She always hated me because in her twisted mind, I took him away from her. They had been out of contact the majority of our marriage, but a few years ago, she started coming around – after she was served with divorce papers they began talking, our marriage was going south and things went from an emotional affair to physical.

          • TheFirstWife

            She’s a poacher.

            Having been in the same situation with my H and his first 4 year EA 20 years ago I have learned a thing or two. Wolf in sheeps clothing so to speak.

            This woman was interested in my H from the moment she laid eyes on him. But he was married and she knew it. Met me and pretended to be my friend too.

            So I have been down that road. When she made her big move (trying to get me to say yes to my H being her wedding date) I knew she crossed the line. My H however refused to even admit it was an EA!!!

            I just hope the poacher is truly out of the picture or your M doesn’t Stand a chance.

            • Dolly Allen

              She wanted him for 30 years and never gave up. because of what they did, i know she still believes she’s going to get him. She was very upset when he said they couldn’t be friends and still reaches out usually via text every couple of months or so. I doubt she will let it go even though he told her 3 times not to call him anymore. She drunk texted him last month around her birthday and I found it on the cell phone bill. He said he never read it and just deleted. Didn’t tell me cuz he didn’t want me to flip out as we are having some mental health issues with our son. I ended up flipping out on him anyway, not because she texted but because he didn’t tell me. He understands why he must disclose any attempt at contact, so hopefully he keeps his word. I do however believe she will be a problem for the long haul. The only good thing is she is crazy and I am able to show him the crap she does. She has created multiple FB and Instagram profiles to stalk me. I’ve shown him then blocked. I believe she set up a FB profile in my name as well which I also showed him and blocked. The crazier she acts, the more my husband cringes and wants no part of her.

    • Terry

      My husband of 30 yrs married me with an EA already going on the side with a mutual friend and coworker. I figured out what was going on (before emails/texts) over the first year and drew the line, giving him the engagement ring and wedding rings back. The ball was in his court. He was having EA with someone I’ve come to see as his first real love. She started dating the man she married before my H was able to get a chance with her, but that didn’t stop him from trying to be a very close friend of hers. She was never an option for him to marry – they are still married – so his reason to stay in our marriage was a combination of – he would be embarrassed (family/friends/coworkers) if we divorced, he couldn’t marry her anyway, her H started deliberately keeping my H away from her socially (they still worked together, closely), he would loose access to my paycheck to put into “our” investments (he’s addicted to long term investing and living like a miser), we had bought a house and he’d loose money selling to divide it up & just plain not wanting to change the path he was on. I have always felt like she was the special one for him that he couldn’t have and that I was a substitute. His parent’s marriage was a model for how he felt about “the wife” figure in his life. He changed how he treated me right after coming back from the honeymoon and had been away from contact with her for too long. He treated her like a queen and treated me like he resented what I represented in his life – I wasn’t “her”. He was settling for a safe option. I truly loved him, but that emotion for him was erased over that first year. Some “honeymoon year”. We were encouraged to work it out. There is a lot of resentment. He doesn’t believe he did anything wrong and still won’t admit it was an EA. Counselor didn’t believe in that back then. Lots of damage done to my view that he ever really loved me. Is there a blog asking how often AP was a real love interest / infatuation for WS before BS was ever in the picture and how those relationships heal? I never realized what she meant to him until after we married and lived together. Classic “I’m going to marry Mary & Jane’s going to be my gf-bff”.

      • Stick Figure

        My situation is very similar to yours. My husband believed that he would always marry his high school sweetheart. But, they had a bad breakup when he went to college and, although he tried to get back together with her, she had moved on. A couple years later, he married me. He is the only man I have ever been with and I thought I was marrying somebody who could love me the same way I loved him. But, he always seemed a little aloof and unwilling to be truly intimate with me. He wasn’t mean. He just seemed perpetually unsatisfied. After 20 years of marriage, he suddenly moved out one day, saying that he wasn’t happy and probably never was. During the next three months, we talked a lot and dated. It felt like we were connecting for the first time the way I had prayed for for so long. So, he moved back in and it was good for a while. Then, he started to get mean. Everything I did was wrong. Everything I said seemed to annoy him. I still do not know why I stayed during that. Probably a combination of fear, depression and hope that things would get better. I didn’t want my children to be from a broken home and he was always nice to me in front of them. Six years later, I got a message from his high school girlfriend’s husband telling me that his wife (my husband’s high school sweetheart) and my husband had been involved in a long term affair. After a lot of investigation, it turns out that their affair had been going on for 8 years. When he had left before, they were 18 months into their relationship and trying to decide whether they were going to leave their spouses and be together. Because they lived in different states, they decided to stay in their marriages and see each other when they could probably indefinitely. If her husband hadn’t of caught them, it might have gone on forever. By the time I found out about it, they had been no contact for 6 months, my husband had stopped drinking (he was clearly an alcoholic) and he was treating me really well. If anybody would have told me 18 months ago that I would end up staying with my husband and being happier than I have ever been, I would have laughed in their face. But, with a lot of therapy (for him) and a pretty profound transformation in his character and personality, I believe he loves me more than he has ever loved anybody before. Sometimes that “first love” ends badly and a person gets stuck. Add an unstable personality, abusive childhood and pornography addiction and you have the makings of a miserable, selfish, destructive human being. He has done the hard work. he has turned his life over to Jesus. he has figured out that his affair with her had more to do with a teenage boy whose heart got broken than it did with being in love with the 43 year old version of that girl. I didn’t deserve any of that and I will be recovering from the effects of a pain that nobody should ever have to feel. But, we are really good together now. My family is not only intact; but it is thriving. Maybe your husband can learn something from my own husband’s experience. The fantasy of this “first love” is powerful and intoxicating. But, it would fade and become routine over time because true intimacy is a choice and not a feeling. My husband and his affair partner both wish they could erase that decade of their lives. My husband has no fond memories of his affair and calls those years vile, disgusting, lost years that cause him nothing but shame and sadness. Your husband will never be “free” to love you the way he should, until he lets go of the fantasy of what could be with her. She clearly doesn’t want him or she would have left her husband long ago. He will regret wasting his precious time on her. As for you, 30 years is a long time to be in second place. But 31 years is even longer. If my husband had not transformed his life and become unrecognizable to me, I would NOT be here. I feel your pain and I will pray for you to have the wisdom of what to do next.

        • Rachel

          Stick figure,
          Very similar story as mine except my ex left me for his “soul mate”. I recently found out that he was seeing her during our 25 years of marriage. I always felt that something was off but he assured me it was my problem. ????

          • TheFirstWife


            Didn’t the soul mates crash and burn after you were D?

            • Rachel

              First Wife,
              I would bet they still see each other, but she didn’t leave her husband because he is joint on her Lingerie stores.

    • TheFirstWife

      Terry. I am so sorry for you. What are you going to do?

    • tony

      mine isn’t seeing the other man anymore. she broke up our family for a guy that never really loved her like she thought. she stayed infatuated with this home wrecker who had a wife and 3 kids. I stayed thru 2 years of Hell for my 6 yr old son. if I stayed, I don’t think I could ever trust her again. I would always have doubt in the back of my head and be unhappy. forgiving is tough for me after the pain I went thru. I think she knew that…

    • Rachel

      Tony, I feel the same way with my ex. I was married to a narcissist. I wouldn’t wish my past married life on my worse enemy. Whenever I would question my ex he would say, all guys talk like that, all guys do that. When he was going to dinners with work women, I would ask him if he could take me. His answer was I don’t want to go with you. We never had the money for dinners was always the excuse he gave me. If he did take me, he would have been flirting with the waitress making comments telling me what she probably does to her husband. So you see I am blessed that my ex wanted to divorce me because I don’t need to go through that abuse anymore.
      I am happy for people on this site that are able to mend their relationships and I love hearing that the CS is putting in effort to patch things up. For me it wasn’t an option.

    • tony

      Rachel, I have a hard time believing that a marriage can be mended (or better) after an after like some say. if you went thru the pain that they caused, you will always doubt their love for you…

      • Survivor

        You are so correct and nailed the emotion. My marriage can’t be better because he has betrayed everything that I thought our marriage was. No forgiveness just pain

    • tony

      it’s the ultimate betrayal. you can’t imagine how painful it is unless you’ve experienced it…she said that she didn’t know how to help me heal, don’t think she tried very hard. trying to heal myself…

      • Rachel

        Very true Tony. The cheating spouse has no idea how much it hurts or do they care. My ex’s concern was all about himself. He told me and my boys that. Time for him.
        Honest he was, caring not so much. I’m glad he’s not wasting my time as I was wasting his.

        • tony

          Rachel, how old are your boys and when did this start? I stayed in pain for two years for my now 8 yr. old son…

    • Rachel

      My boys are 26 and 21. I’ve beeen divorced for 4 years.

    • tony

      good luck Rachel. I hope nobody ever hurts you like that again. don’t be afraid to love again…

    • Rachel

      Tony, thank you for your kind words. I hope nobody hurts you again either. It’s very hard to overcome. A lot of therapy. I always knew that there was something wrong in my marriage but my ex reassured me that all guys act like he does. My dad never did.
      Three months after my divorce,I have been blessed with a very kind man who never treats me like I am important.
      He’s not a flirt, game player or womanizer. He looks at me when I talk and never yells or puts me down. He likes my hair which ever style that I decide on. The complete opposite of my ex.
      He too went through a divorce after 27 years of marriage. His ex had an affair with a coworker and is still with him.
      It’s all a learning experience and some days we just have bad days and have to reassure each other, it is what it is.

    • Ds

      WS doesn’t leave because even though he got busted he works with affair partner and they just get more careful. Because sometimes getting busted doesn’t matter, they can still have their cake and eat it. Wife thinks it’s over because her wonderful husband made a very bad choice and now feels remorse and sorrow , when in fact it just makes them more determined and a bigger liars. It sucks. When the whole truth finally comes out more than a year later, you realize that from DDay one to DDay whatever, your life will never be the same EVER. They don’t leave their Marriage for a plethora of reasons and maybe it’s done love and devotion to wife. You will never know because they lied and betrayed so much that you start to wonder if theirs lips are moving they are probably lying

    • Jo

      Before my affair and during my affair, it was never even an option in my mind to leave my husband. Before my affair I knew we needed to work on some things and I felt like my husband couldn’t care less if I stayed or left. However, I love him deeply and couldn’t imagine life without him. When he found out about my affair, I was devastated and seeing the pain I caused him was (and still is) torture to me. If only I hadn’t run from the hard work that needed to be done in our marriage, my husband and I would have been saved a ton of grief and pain.

    • Lulu

      I sometimes feel like I’m the only person where their partner cheated and just point blank refused to work on it and wanted to separate so easily. It’s hard being in that minority where they don’t have any inclination to stay, even after 28 years!

      • Rachel

        Lulu, you aren’t alone. My ex cheated and wanted out. We were 24 years married. Biggest narcissist on this earth. Lied, cheated and verbally abused me for years. I chose to ignore it just hoping he’d change. And he’s still is the same I’ve been told.
        As difficult as the divorce was, it was a blessing.

    • Ds

      I am so sorry Lulu. You are not in the minority. Some husbands just lie about wanting to work on marriage just because it’s easier. My husband asked me once, would it have been better if I came home and said I still love her and am leaving you. I said yes yes and yes. At least I would have known what I had to do. All this other bullshit just puts you in no mans land. You are left in a constant state of shock and feel like you have no control over your own life. I wish he’d have said I am leaving you. I wish I could tell you take back your power and own life but I couldn’t even do that. The last 17 months have been pure hell. I have come to find out that my husband is a sex addicted narcissist. Wtf do you do with that. I married a fucking psycho and found out 20 years later. Life is fun these days, not

      • Lulu

        I see your point DS because if they are staying for the wrong reasons that sucks too. So sorry about your situation as well. Do you have some good friends or family that can help you through this with lots of wine and love?

    • TryingHard

      Lulu— you aren’t in the minority. My h confessed to his affair and left that night. He was gone for over 3 months. Yep heard the whole i love you just not in love with you blah blah blah.

      I got a great lawyer and started preparing for a nasty divorce. Lol well he thought he was goi g to control that too. Until he found out what was going to go down. Anyway i turned around and told him fine go I’ll be fine without you. Suddenly she didn’t look so grand and i wasn’t so bad. We’ve worked our asses off. Sometimes i regret not following through and divorcing him anyway. But i suspect had i divorces him i May have regretted that too!

      Get yourself a great lawyer. Take care of you. Make sure he knows you’ll be fine without him but also make sure you get what’s rightfully yours from this marriage

      There’s a good book out there called He’s History, You’re Not. Very helpful in your situation. Good luck to you

      • Lulu

        Thanks for the advice TryingHard I will definitely check that book out!

    • Donna

      I am 3 years post my husbands death. Just months before his death I had learned for sure he was cheating. The OW told him I was calling and harassing her. I had no idea who she was than. I offered him the out no strings. I went through it with my first marriage swore I would never be put through the agony again. We were married 30 years he was 12 years my junior. For 2 years he was different but always a gentleman just didn’t want me around. He stonewalled me told me I was crazy, clingy and aanything that came to his mind. I told him in front of her when I came up on them by accident parked on the side of the road in my husbands truck, if that’s what you want go for it but don’t come home. I left he was home 30 min later. He was ashamed and told me he wanted to save our marriage blah blah blah. So while I was working on it he was still seeing her and living to me. . He died from a heart attack here at home in my arms. The OW continued texting his phone calling even though she knew he was gone . She finally got to me telling me he was leaving the first of the year and that he was afraid I’d destroy him financially that I was a liar and it goes on. I was the main bread winner , I worked multiple jobs as a self contracting Occupational Therapist. I paid for his daughters braces, his parenting classes with his ex because he had child support, I gave 100 per cent. Than he died, left me well off but digging through for truth. I’ve been through counseling, I trust no one , I no longer want revenge I just need to find truth in my life story. I feel that everything was a lie. How do you find truth There is. O answer for why it there has to be a medium for peace.

    • Ds

      Hi Donna,

      I am so sad you are going through this. It’s just awful. You think you know the story of your life and then one BAM, you find out you were living a lie. It hurts like no other hurt. The truth is your husband didn’t respect you enough to be a loyal, faithful, loving husband. Your husband had probably many psychological issues you were not aware of. Please, please don’t blame your self. The affair partner is probably not lying, but who is to say if he was telling her the truth. Contacting you after his death , makes her one sick bitch. The truth of your story is your husband is gone. Write your new , own story. You can be or do anything you want now. You, like most of us ( husbands living) don’t really ever know the truth. Maybe God took him because you deserve better. God has a plan for all of us. Sometimes we just have to get out of his way and let things unfold as they should be. I wish you happiness and peace. Maybe stick with therapy, it sounds like you have PTSD (I am not a psychologist). Talk to your therapist about that. There are new techniques such as EMDR that might help. Good luck to you. God bless you. Chin up, you should be proud of the wife you were to him. No one can take that away

      • Shifting Impressions

        Ds and Donna
        That is some really good advice. I just take exception to the thought that the affair partner is probably not lying…..there is a huge chance the AFFAIR PARTNER IS LYING!!! Anyone that harasses the widow is up to no good…in my humble opinion!!! Why listen to a single word she says!!!!

    • Donna

      Thank you for your kind thoughts and good advice. You may be right ptsd is a real thing. I think my husband did have some excess baggage, a half brother that his father gave up. A family that knew where he was but wouldn’t tell him. I held him many times when he cried about his abusive dysfunctional family. OW said they had been in love for Six years he said 3 either way he never left. She said That he told her if anything happened to him that she should tell someone because I was crazy. And yet he never left me! And he gave me a smith and Wesson 38 for my birthday. It’s just all so bizarre. I’m one of the most normal persons in the world and I’m not homicidal or crazy just very hurt and disappointed. Truth would help but I’ll never know the truth. I am writing my own story Idont speak badly of my husband to friends or family I just say I miss him and I do. Any way I’m returning to my counselor. Thank you all so much.

      • Shifting Impressions

        My heart aches for you. But seriously anything the OW says is here say!!!! I would block her immediately.

        It’s very wise of you to return to your counselor. Taking care of you is the best thing you can do.

    • Justkeepswimming

      Is it weird that my husband had several reasons?!? Let’s start with reason 1 – he LOVES attention. Craves it. And even if he’s getting it from all directions he WANTS MORE. ALL OF IT! ALL THE TIME! So that being said he would respond to every personal DM he’d received on social media. Never with the intention of cheating, but rather to boost his ego. Reason 2 – he had just had a HUGE falling out with his best friend. He lost his friend and was not coping well. I was stepping in happily to take on the role of bestie but he was having a hard time with it. Reason 3 – as luck would have it – right around the time he lost his best friend his AP popped into his life to help fill the role of best friend (which I found our later is how it started). Which leads me to reason 4 – it just so happens this girl was his high school crush and he couldn’t believe she was reaching out. So fast forward in time – affair is discovered. Turns out he wasn’t physically attracted to her at first. But she filled the void of best friend and she told him everything he wanted to hear. In the end, she filed for divorce from her husband (she’s married with 2 kids) and said she was waiting for him to do the same. He refused. He worried about the fallout and his kids. And there were so many unknowns. So he stays with me and we are working through things. Fast forward to a month later and her husband leaves her and she calls my husband with the ultimatum – my Husband left – what are you going to do? It’s your wife or it’s me. He chose me. However she is not handling this well. It’s turned into some obsessive behavior. I shouldn’t laugh but I kind of feel like you reap what you sow so when you have an affair and the AP feels like she was done dirty – don’t be surprised or mad if she lashes out or acts crazy is all I’m saying. 😂 hasn’t he ever seen ANY lifetime movie?!! That being said apparently she leaves flowers everywhere he drives hoping he knows they’re from her and he will call. I only know this from a long love letter she sent him after the ultimatum. She thinks they are soul mates and is waiting for him on the other side of this marriage she things won’t work out. 🙄

      That being said, at first he tried to blame me for the affair but as we’ve progressed in healing he knows he is 100% to blame and that he was weak and got caught up in the high and momentum of it all. So here’s to a better future for us!

    • Charles


      Appreciate all the supportive articles, phone counseling, and sharing on the blog. Now 30 days from DDAY and remain shocked that my wife had an affair. Probably would have continued had I not seen right in front of me a late night text from him. I am 58, she is 51, and her AP is 35!

      My wife is an alcoholic in denial so I am looking for help from anyone who has experience dealing with both issues. It seems to me that they are inextricably linked and need to be tackled simultaneously. She currently claims it was sexting only but I have clear evidence that it was both sexual and emotional so still waiting to get past the stonewalling and gaslighting stage so I can begin the process of rebuilding trust.

      Thanks so much

    • Riding the storm

      My husband had several reasons for having both emotional affairs and sexual affairs. He was (and still is to a degree) a mother-enmeshed man. He wanted to please and get praise from women, the first being his mother. He also had early childhood sexual abuse including introduction to pornography and masturbation. My husband said he didn’t think I would understand his hyper sexual drive because of his pornography addiction and he found women who he thought he could tell because they shared similar problems. They took advantage of what he shared and also pushed for a sexual relationship, which he said he tried to fight to a degree but gave in, thinking it didn’t matter anymore, because he was already going to Hell for all the other things he had done. He wasn’t thinking at the time how much he was hurting me. Afterwards, his immense shame and guilt made him hate himself even more. His lack of boundaries got him in to this mess.

      I asked him if he ever thought about leaving the kids and I for these other women and he said no, he never loved these other women. They were a part of his addiction. He would get a “high” while acting out, but then feel horrible afterwards.

      It is now about 7 months after D-day and we are both getting help. He says he loves me and always has since marriage and that none of his infidelity was my fault. He said he is a broken person and is fully committed to healing himself, our marriage, and our family. I wasn’t so sure in the beginning, I’m a little more sure now. He keeps surprising me with things that he is willing to do to repair our relationship. It is a hard journey with so many triggers and resentment, but I am hopeful things will continue to get better.

    • Greta

      The man I’ve been seeing (and never thought I’d date a married man) has been married over 45 years. 26 years ago, his wife told him she never wanted sex again. He asked her to go to counseling and she refused and wouldn’t give a reason for not wanting sex. She’d had a brief affair some years prior to this. . He started cheating on her. Then realized he was just looking for some THING but later in life decided he wanted to try one more time to fine someONE. We met…unbeknownst to me at the time that he was married. He told me at our first meeting the facts about his situation and said if he found the right person he was leaving his wife. He decided he wanted to try one more time, but had pretty much given up. They were living like siblings or best friends. Yes he still thinks of her as a friend even tho she “isn’t fun” …has no sense of humor and he feels like he’s been living a lie for over 20 years. For some surprising reason, I bit. So unlike me. But we fell in love quickly. We both feel like best friends and soul mates. We both have tried to figure out how we have clicked so well. It’s been 3 months .. I’ve been divorced for many years. Always wanted the right man but never felt desperate. I have lots of friends and enjoy life. When I met this man I had no expectations. We are both very open emotionally and verbally with each other. Now he says he’s hesitant to leave her as she makes the majority of the income. He was planning to divorce her 21 years ago but lost his great job with benefits and has had numerous good jobs since until retirement but never invest in a retirement fund!!! . They’ve lived well but basically spent it all as they went along and didn’t save/invest. ….it’s pretty much all invested in homes and “stuff” . He says he is hesitant as he feels he has a sugar mama in her which he doesn’t like that fact, but doesn’t want me to be another sugar mama… I don’t like a price tag on our relationship. We’d have about the same income as they have but would have no debt…no house payment. Then he’s concerned “what if it doesn’t work out” and he’d be left without much at all. I have told him I did not sign up to “fill in the blanks” …that’s not what he offered. I actually asked him that the 2nd time we were together…”are you looking for a life-long partner or someone to fill in the blanks?” He assured me it was NOT to fill in the blanks. He wanted a true loving partner for the remainder of his life. He is very tender hearted and has said from day 1 that he doesn’t want to hurt me and asked if I was sure that i wanted to try this. Our discussion a week ago I asked him if this was a “bait and switch”. altho I know that wasn’t his intent. For some reason after so many years, he hadn’t thought it all the way thru. I know within the next few weeks we will discuss this again and I will tell him I will not be “the perpetual other woman”. He’s had over 20 years to make this decision and seems he only now has thought about all of the logistics. He never had fallen in love with other women…only one who was a fairly long relationship but says he now realizes it wasn’t love. He is very open and honest with me. He says he loves my head/brain and loves me head to toe and the physical aspect is a bonus. It is certainly not all about the physical…that doesn’t happen every time we are together. I feel the same…I love his personality, his wisdom, his caring and soft heart and his humor. We have a lot of fun together and great, deep conversations.

      • Why is she crazy

        Hi Greta,

        This is a tough one. When my husband decided to engage in his affair he also told his OW that we weren’t having sex and hadn’t in a year. A lie. He told her he had doubts on our wedding day. A lie. He told her that I was a gold digger. Also lie. What he didn’t tell her is that I was a full time working mom of 3 kids (two are twins). I cared for our house as if I wasn’t working. I took care of him as well. He spent his time at home telling me that I’m inadequate and yet I still stick around thinking he was going through a phase. The only reason I mentioned this is the OW didn’t realize she was being lied too. He painted the picture that I was a gold digging, prude woman who hated our kids. I think that you should do your own research on whether he is truthful in the statements about his wife and also determine if you really want to proceed with a man that you met under not ideal circumstances. From the viewpoint of the wife – and this is just my two cents- whether you are divorced or not, if you engage in a relationship with a married man and he’s not leaving her, she will see you as a home wrecker. Any relationship you pursue outside of the marriage will make things harder if there kids and extended family involved as well.

        • Greta

          He actually is quite surprisingly respectful of her. He tells me he has love for her as a good friend. They do a lot together…shop groceries, watch movies, etc. But he says he’s living a lie….people who know them have no idea that he is unhappy and what goes on …or doesn’t go on….behind closed doors. He says she does belittle him and she has no idea that he has ED , which has been a problem for about 20 years. He felt maybe he wasn’t a good lover since she has not wanted sex for 26 years. (He’s a great lover) He quit trying after a while as he hated getting turned down. He said he has told me more about himself and his deep thoughts than he has told her. She caught him looking at porn many years ago, and she left him for a few days until he convinced her to meet for lunch and explained that was his alternative as he didn’t want to cheat on her. He eventually did start cheating on her. She had told him “Find sex elsewhere…just don’t tell me about it” . Their 2 sons are grown and married with children (he is 68…I am 71). I do intend to have a heart to heart with him very soon…what he presented very clearly was : If he found “The one” …..and he says I am . We get along wonderfully…laugh, have fun, deep conversations and treasure our time together. But if he’s afraid of leaving his marriage, it’s a no-go for me….I asked him specifically on our 2nd date together if he truly meant he was looking for a rest-of-his-life relationship vs someone to “fill in the blanks” as I wasn’t ever going to sign up to fill in the blanks. He expressed early on that he wanted to lay his intentions out on the table from the get-go as he didn’t ever want me to get hurt.

    • Rachel

      Only my 2 cents. If he hasn’t left her yet, I don’t he ever will. He may be telling you he’s not having sex, but who really knows what’s going on behind closed doors. It seems he’s living a life of his dreams. A wife and another woman. Betrayal anyway you look at it.

    • Greta

      It’s only been 3 months. But yes…I realize if he comes up with excuses why he can’t leave, I will call it quits as when he met me and told me if he found the right woman, he would leave her. He tells me I’m beyond expectations and unless he’s the best deceiver I’ve met (I’ve met my share, but there were many more warning signs…at least he threw it out there right away that he was married but looking for the right woman)…otherwise, he’s seemed to be totally transparent. He’s asked me numerous times if I’m sure I want to do this…that he doesn’t want me hurt. He has said when she told him she wasn’t interested in sex anymore, he asked if she’d go for counseling and she said no. He asked if they’d ever make love again and she said “I don’t know”…it’s been 26 years (He says August 5th 1995. ) When she found out he was watching porn, she left and when they got back together she told him he had to go to counseling, but she wouldn’t go to counseling with him He did go , but that counselor told him there was nothing wrong with watching porn. WRONG1!!

    • Bill

      For my wife the “cake and eat it too” scenario had to do with personal self image. She wanted her family and friends to think that everything was going well at home. So she lived the double life. For years. And because her unless idiot boyfriend did not have a penny to his name, getting caught, or the embarrassment of getting caught was not an option. If she ran off with her work mate buddy, she would be living on the street, or some dive hole in the wall rental.

      So it became a lie, and she really got good at the lie; and even years later, it is still very difficult for me to understand how she could compartmentalize her affair parter and me when she needed to, and when confronted (I knew about her “personal affair” that led to sex for 25 years in total), she would just lie, and make it all my fault. I felt like an idiot to continue to fall for it. I had no real proof, and “personal affair partner” affairs will never give in until there is proof, or until they get caught, and still they will continue to lie.

      Sadly 20 years in I also played into this. So I guess that I too was at fault. The husband (me) that knew what is going on, and I did not really care, nor did I try to do anything about it. In my mind if she wanted him, she could have him. It was time to move on.

      When she finally got caught by her affair partners wife, she wanted to come home (even though she was at home all along….NOT!). She regretted what she had done. But in my mind, the barn door was open, and the cows had gotten out.

      There as no way to put, Humpty Dumpty back together again.

      This was not some weekend affair. It was literally years of hate, distrust, without even an ounce of remorse, or guilt. Scary, and it still scares me that anyone could do this, or how they could live with themselves after they had done this.

      Worse I suppose I will never trust another woman ever again, and oddly I still blame myself. I will live a single life until it is time to move on.

      • R

        My guess is she most likely has a personality disorder. One of My husband’s AP’s (someone I thought was a good friend) had Borderline personality Disorder and didn’t seem to feel remorseful.

        • Why is she crazy

          Thank you, R for that! My husband cut all ties with the OW over a year ago and she still thinks they will have a relationship in the future when timing is better. She started harassing him and he’s considered a restraining order. She refuses to accept it is over (her words) via a text to another family member. I asked my husband if he’s ever seen fatal attraction… 😁

        • Bill

          I had to look up, “personality disorder” to really understand what it meant. When I did, I doubt that this is what she had. Her issues stemmed from what started as a “emotional affair” with a really close office and business mate who she spent hours with. From what I have read, emotional affairs of this kind that lead to sex are of the worst kind. They can go on forever. In this twisted form of “affair fog” that borders on a drug addiction, she then twisted the truth in her head to justify what she did with absolutely no feelings of guilt or remorse. So yes, this is really sick….but I doubt that this was a personality disorder.

          When she finally got caught, all the issues of remorsefulness came into play and she wanted to get back together (she still living in the same home)…..but after 25 years…..I wasn’t falling for that. In “A boy and the Wolf” poem moral that learned in the 3rd grade said, “Liars are not believed for sooth, even when liars tell the truth.”

          Oddly she is no longer seeing this guy. They both lost their jobs with COVID, and went their separate ways. No loss. She is on her own and living with her mom. I wish her the best, but hope to never see her again in this world or the next.

    • Tony

      I don’t care what some of the so-called “experts” say about having a stronger marriage after an affair. Once the trust is betrayed, you have nothing. Only insecure fools stay for the wrong reasons. Life is too short to constantly wonder who they are thinking about when in bed with you…

      • Bill

        From what I have read from the “experts” is that everyone is different, and every situation is different. They write about the possibility of couples getting back together to give others hope; and sometimes there is. But like you…….there is no way in hell that I would ever get back together with my, Ex. Too many years. Too much damage done.

    • Tony

      Touché Bill, but don’t be afraid to love again…don’t let her win

      • Bill

        No crying the beer here. :-). I grew up and still live in Hawai’i, one of the most beautiful places in the world. A successful Architect, watercolors, and photographer. I am also a jazz guitar player for well over 50 years. I am in my late 60s, and I still love to surf. So I have no real time for women. There is so much on my plate. I come and go as I please, eat what I please. So why would I put a stopper in that?

        So in the end I have actually won.

    • Kitty

      My h decided he was choosing me. La Di Da after being married for 32 years. He was a sick man in the hospital for 4 months straight waiting for a heart transplant. While little miss nurse 28 years younger married 2 young kids one in a Audi home decided to give her own prescription to my husband. Fxxk him in the hospital bed . Fondle him at any time. Believe me he could hardly breathe. He was hooked to a wall with a LVAD and iv’s all over the place. Wish I could show u a picture. Pitiful!! Kicker was he didn’t resist he was all in. Mr porn man. Because she did take videos so she could blackmail him. And she did.
      It sure didn’t stop him in fact he fell in the fog with her. 2 months and she was asking for some heaving duty money. Well he was one cheap man. So that didn’t last. So he chose me. It Didn’t work out well , he came across a little thing called Karma.which I was happy to explain to him. (Arn’t I nice?) He suffered with the LVAD, ( coma for a month) he did receive a new heart. A heart from a gang banger. Came along with disease. Sepsis shingles and to many more diseases to talk about. This all within four years. Last diagnosis cancer. He was dead in 6 months. But all he could do is keep repenting. He was afraid of going to hell.. I was at his death bed for his last breath. I told him if God forgave him I would see him in heaven. If he didn’t forgive him he would see the nurse in hell. Hard to even make something up like this. He’s gone 5 years now. I have to say I do miss him . crazy I know. At least it’s over and easy to move on. So Lad di da.

      • j

        I am so sorry to read this horrific tale. How are you now?

    • JustSad

      My husband’s college friend is in his 3rd marriage. He left his first wife and two daughters for his affair partner. Married her and had 3 more daughters (plus she had her own daughter from another relationship). I remember having a conversation with his first wife (we are still friends) and said “You know he’s just going to do it to her too”, and she said “Yeah, I know”, and honestly as women, we kind of felt sorry for her. Low and behold he’s now on his 3rd wife. Apparently, he reconnected with this woman he had cheated on when he dated his then first wife (college summer work job fling). This woman is divorced with 3 grown kids of her own and all I can think of is…Seriously you think a 3rd time is a charm like you’re going to be the one that changes him? I think he will stay with this one but will continue to cheat. I think she will stay with him no matter what, and I think he knows that. Or maybe not, she was able to divorce her first husband, so who knows. He often takes jobs where he’s out of the country for a month at a time and she thinks nothing of it. He’s already not wearing his wedding ring and they’re only 6 yrs. into this marriage. Having a husband of my own who has been unfaithful and also has a friend that we both know cheats is stressful on our marriage too. These people should never marry. They shouldn’t get to have the wife, kids, house, and a little something extra on the side, that’s not how this works.

    • Amanda

      I find it so sad that these women make excuses for their husbands. He didn’t cheat because of depression, he cheated because he cares more about himself than you! Depression is just an excuse.

    • tony

      You are spot on Amanda. Men make excuses too. Selfish…selfish…selfish!
      The trust is gone…

    • j

      I have read a lot of these replies and I am so sad that our stories show the selfishness of the other person and how we stay and put up with so much. I am now 5 months post D Day and he won’t take responsibility in the way a recent article suggested: won’t allow questions and when I express pain and anguish he always says that his depression is worse because at least I know what mine’s about whereas HE has depression. He did say he would never have another affair because….he couldn’t cope with the complications. Hardly a ringing endorsement, hey? I think the reason was we had 8 children and we both lost sight of the marriage. He thought I was neglecting him when I had post natal depression 6 times and then an awful menopause. I just thought I was too exhausted! He doesn’t care about anyone other than himself at the moment and I am trying to think back to see whether he ever did. Problem with an affair is that it has made me dissect the marriage through all 29 years to assess and evaluate!

    • Jenni

      Why cheaters stay

      1 – Kids – this is the most common. They don’t want to upend the kids lives, have to share custody, have them seen as less in their kids eyes.

      2 – money – the saying “it’s cheaper to keep her” can be quite true. If a couple has been married for some time there are usually substantial and complicated investments to untangle and divide. Men in particular if they have worked hard to build that stability and are the main breadwinner have a hard time letting go knowing the divorce will wipe out half their lifetimes work.

      3 – obligation – when they get caught they feel guilty and typically the spouse is heaping this on in boatloads as well. They made a vow and feel they have to stick it out so lie up a storm to get the spouses forgiveness to ease their guilt by “sacrificing their happiness” to save the marriage.

      4 – fear – even if they love the affair partner they are afraid to blow up their home life for the unknown and end up in a similar situation, cheaters are liars and cowards

      5 – care – they may still have some genuine care for the spouse as the parent of their children, memories and family connection etc. unfortunately the true love is gone but the care can be enough to keep them if they feel guilty for hurting you. Sadly it’s not enough to keep them from doing it again no matter what they say. If there is a genuine care this also makes the lies all the more convincing when caught, they draw on that so you believe what they tell you. When they say they love you it’s true, they do, but it’s not the love of a marriage it’s as a friend or family but comes off real for the situation when they are in hot water. There may even be some tears too which really gives it credibility.

      Cheaters have mastered the art of lying. A spouse that still has feelings for them is going to hear what they want to hear and believe what they say because they need to for self preservation and a cheater knows this. They lie about how they love the spouse, say the affair meant nothing when they are really in love, how sorry they are when they are just sorry they got caught and need to end the affair, they lie about how long it lasted and make it seem less prolific than it was, they lie about what it was really about and try to make it seem only sexual and hide the emotional component, they downplay it as much as possible and also often deflect responsibility to the affair partner or back on the spouse, anything to get off the hot seat and calm things down. If the affair was a long one they may have years of practice at fooling you under their belt so spin their tales and you buy it because the truth is just too hard to face and let’s face it, you are traumatized and shell shocked and in no emotional position to weigh things out rationally and see them for what the are and they know this so use it.

      Why the betrayed stays

      1 – love – they may still have love or think they do for their partner. Facing and accepting that your spouse dosent love or respect you enough to remain faithful is too much to bear to you let yourself believe all they tell you after getting caught. You ignore the red flags as they get caught in some of the lies as new things come to light, you allow them to spin away so you don’t have to face it because you want it to work so badly between you.

      2 – security – it’s terrifying to think of being single again especially if you are older, starting again, having to work harder to support a single income household, dating again etc. even if you see the affair for what it was you stay to keep the security of your situation.

      3 – lifestyle – you like your family illusion, your pretty home, soccer mom persona, friends etc, you don’t want it to change so you cling to it even when all rationale tells you to run.

      4 – kids – the big one, even in bad marriages the family dynamic may be working very well. You love your kids you certainly don’t want to upset their lives so you stay and put up with whatever you need to. The problem with this is that by doing so you just said a terrible example for them. Unless they are very very young they will figure out what happened whether you tell them or not

      5 – which leads me to this one, previous exposure to infidelity. If you grew up in a household where one of your parents cheated and stayed this seems normal to you, you tell yourself that because they did it and made it through so can you. You need to remember that each situation is different, you don’t know the details. You need to look at your own situation and decide if you are dealing with something that is really fixable or not. If it was a one off that was confessed yes you can probably get through this if it was a full-blown affair it’s a whole different story.

      6 – self preservation – they are unwilling to face the reality of the depth of the affair and the damage to the the foundation of the marriage. It’s hands-down one of the most painful things you have to deal with in your lifetime and sometimes it’s just easier to embrace the lies and go with it and deal with a minimum of what you have to in order to get past it.

      7 – competition, renewed interest – an affair is a huge blow to self-esteem. Some women respond by having a sense of competition with the affair partner, they become hyper sexual, work overtime to become the perfect partner and cling to the spouse in an effort to prove to them and themselves it works. They are trying to prove to themselves that the spouse really wants them and not the affair partner. They love bomb the cheater and desperately try to fix things overnight. It’s also similar to a child that suddenly takes interest in a long forgotten toy because somebody else is playing with it. Unfortunately this behavior only delays processing the true ramifications and deep damage the affair has caused. The problem with this is that once the blinders come off and you face the real situation it actually adds to the humiliation because you’ve now debased yourself with a person that is completely unworthy of you knowingly.

      the fallout

      Regardless of the reasons why it happened, why they are staying or why you are allowing it there are some hard facts that need to be faced and you have to decide long-term if these are things that you can live with.

      1 – Love – if the affair was more than a fling and serious or long term there is most likely love for the affair partner involved. Those feelings won’t just go away because you caught them, they can linger for months, years, or always. The Relationship was just cut short not because they chose it but because they had to and it also may not be over. Affairs often bring great levels of happiness to the cheater and you have now just taken them away from that this, it is not something they can rebound from immediately so you need to keep this in mind if you choose to stay in the relationship with them. They will be lying to you about this if in fact there was love involved so you have to be OK with knowing that, rarely will they admit to it knowing that would end things. You have to ask yourself if you are willing to endure the pain of coming back from this for a person that no longer loves you. Is it worth it?

      2 – Respect – The cheater just showed you the ultimate disrespect no matter what spin they put on it there’s no getting around this one. In a committed relationship when there is genuine love and respect you do not put yourself in a position to where an affair can happen you remove yourself from it. If there are issues in the relationship you addressed them with a spouse and try and correct them you do not look elsewhere for fulfillment, you respect them far too much to do that. Can you still respect the person that did this to you?

      3 – trust- a spouse is the person that you should be able to trust above all others and an affair is testament to the fact that that trust has been misplaced. once the trust has been broken especially if it’s a long term situation it’s not coming back unless you are willing to make some very serious compromises to self to let yourself ignore what you know. The breaking of trust is extremely painful and leaves deep scars and open wounds that may never heal. It’s important to remember that you have been lied to again and again and again. Do you ever really believe you will be able to trust this person again or anything that they have told you after being caught? Are you willing to endure the insecurity every time they are late, take a call out of earshot, turn their phone upside down, go away for business? These feelings will go on for years and may never end.

      4 – renewed feelings – if a couple works extremely hard at it and you can come back together for a time and get a second honeymoon type of situation. If in working through your issues in the relationship and either of you made substantial changes and compromises in order to accommodate the other that are not true to yourself in time there will be a fall out from it because it won’t be real or sustainable. You can change behaviors but you can’t create chemistry and inherent inclination. If you enter into a forced compatibility instead of something that is natural it will not stand the test of time.

      5 – lies, lies, and more lies – trickle truth is devastating and brings you back to square one again and again in your healing. In time additional lies may come to light as you find things or the cheater trips up. This is incredibly painful and you end up having to relive it again and again.

      6 – triggers – for years to come you can be triggered by a movie, song, book etc anything that reminds you of their betrayal. These tend to blindside you just when you think that you are healed and moving forward.

      from what I’ve seen the only couples that ever really survive an affair successfully and rebuild something true and good are the ones that catch the marital issues early and if the affair was brief or just a one time sexual thing. Coming back from a serious or long-term infidelity is nearly impossible and the pain and lifetime of trust issues that the betrayed spouse has to endure is rarely worth it. This level of betrayal proves a cheater unworthy of a second chance In almost all cases, additionally the probability of them cheating again is off the charts, it’s a huge gamble at an astronomical cost to self.

      • Joe

        Jenni, well done. You hit on every aspect. Now that I understand what happened, I wish I had considered divorce. After decades of trickle truth, searching my mental records for answers, destroyed self esteem, and taking total blame, I realize that my wife cheated for selfish reasons. This thing was 99% my wife and the AP just wanting to be together and 1% me being a bad husband. It was less painful for me to take the blame than to realize the person I trusted the most fell for someone else.

    • tony

      Jenni covered everything very well. Anybody who says that their marriage is better after a lengthy affair is just fooling themselves and will live looking over their shoulder…

    • Liz

      My husband had an 8 year Limerence affair. No it hasn’t been easy but leaving wouldn’t have been easy either. Just recently I heard of the word Limerence affair. It has been 30 years since my husband’s 8 year affair. FINALLY I have understanding. Again whether I stayed or left I needed to understand what happened. Never was I blamed for the affair. My husband knew he had major issues with depression among other problems.

      We had extensive therapy, read lots of books, several years ago was finally able to learn the whole story, but now know about Limerence has really helped.

      Recovering from the trauma of a serious affair has taken a tremendous amount of time. I read somewhere when you find out about an affair think 10 weeks, 10 months, 10 years. Where do you want to be? In my particular case I have no regrets about staying. As for the affair and all the pain, sure I have a long list of what I would have loved to do to him. I have worked with my anger and am grateful I stayed. The good outweighs the bad.

      Not an easy decision and no one has a right to judge what you do with you life.

    • sandy

      my husband lets one of his affair persons come in my house and steal things from me. i have reported it to the police, she did get scared and returned it. he still lets her do it. he brings her in my house and has sex with her everywhere, everytime i see him i am angry an d my mouth goes off at him. I am and have been seriously sick in health because of this. help what o i do?

    • sandy

      my husband lets one of his affair persons come in my house and steal things from me. i have reported it to the police, she did get scared and returned it. he still lets her do it. he brings her in my house and has sex with her everywhere, everytime i see him i am angry and my mouth goes off at him. He has NO IDEA of the pain i have gone thru with everything he has done to me nor do he care and lol he is a man of God, not laughing at God but that is how God would have u treat your wife after u have turned her away from him!! I am and have been seriously sick in health because of this.

    • Jennet

      I really don’t believe the WS would tell you the real reason they stayed with you,I believe they only tell you what they think you want to hear. I was happy when my husband decided to stay I still loved him but there were many ups and downs that we had to get through over the past 3.5 years.
      I gave him every opportunity to go because I wasn’t going to be 2nd best to her. So for me I didn’t ask the reason why he stayed I don’t think I would have believed him I wasn’t very trusting at that time. He knew this was the only chance he had to make our marriage work because he knows I would not go through this horrendous pain again.
      In all honesty I would like to think he stayed because he loved me which would be great. But In my heart I think he stayed because when the crunch came when I told her husband what was going on she dumped him. Anyway here we are 3.5 years since DD and we are enjoying life,contented and happy. We have been together 54 years so maybe he does love me.

    • tony

      I’ve been thru your horrendous pain, but it sounds like he stayed for the wrong reason. Do you have the same trust that you had before the affair? I know that I never could. It’s not a happy marriage without trust. That is why I made the tough decision to leave her…

      • Jennet

        Tony the answer is ‘no’ I don’t trust my husband 100% the way I used to I just don’t think you can. But having said that you have to learn to trust again and to forgive it takes time and effort it just doesn’t happen overnight. We are in a much better place now than we were a year ago so it is an ongoing project. Infidelity makes you so vulnerable,insecure also very,very angry.
        Angry at yourself because you didn’t see it coming,anger at your partner for putting you in this situation and anger at the other woman and in my case she was a friend.
        So you not only have to get over the utter shock and grief that it causes not only for yourself but for your family. You have to rebuild everything ,your confidence your independence your ability to think clearly it affects every aspect of your life and it is so hard sometimes but nothing in life is easy and if you want something bad enough you will work for it. Your partner has to put in the work too it’s not all one-sided it has to be a partnership otherwise it will never work.
        Maybe one day I will ask him the question ‘why’ will it be the truth who knows !
        I don’t think it’s important sometimes I think they don’t even know ‘why’
        I concentrate on looking forward as much as I can because what’s the point in looking back when you can’t change it. You can only change yourself and your circumstances.
        I’m sorry you couldn’t make your marriage work it doesn’t for everyone.
        I wish you well for the future take care if yourself

    • Nicole

      A true test of a person’s character is what they do when they think no one is watching them.

      My husband basically told me that he “guessed” he did it because he was bored and lonely. So basically he’s selfish and has poor coping skills. Oops, I just got these other women’s phone numbers, and “accidentally” started texting them for over a decade and decided to only mention them as “friends”. Nothing has been going on emotionally because married men like me will invest years of keeping a relationship going with another woman which means “nothing” to them. Yeah, okay. I’ll buy that Kool-Aid and drink it. Fun fact: Men don’t waste their time texting, talking, or hanging out with women they’re not interested in. This even includes their mom and sister.
      The Chumplady has a great online blog about cheaters but If you want to stay and fight for your marriage, the Empowered Wife Podcast is very supportive and will teach you some skills you can use. The best part is you get to decide now, you can take all the time you need to figure this out. The ball is now in your court.

    • Annabell

      Husband had affair cos I didn’t love him. He loves me obsessively especially sexually. I stayed due to children and finances. He said affair was for fun.
      He has a lot of health problems, we are now
      In our 70s, never forgiven him. He is an alcoholic and narcissistic impossible to love.
      Life has been tough and unbearable rightly or wrong ly stayed for my children who went to university and have incredible jobs. I am now his full time carer. He still says affair was his biggest mistake in life and would change it if he could. Nor sure I believe him

    • Southern Man

      It is all very simple – you just have to have the rod in your back to do it. The day after D-Day I told my wandering wife I would not be number 2 to anybody and I would not be in a triangle. I was pulling out of the triangle immediately, would have no connection to her but as part of the business arrangement of maintaining a home and meeting the bills. Further that I owed her nothing more than what I had promised her parents, namely to provide security and upkeep so she would never be on the street. Further that as soon as we could financially arrange to cover the cost I would be leaving. In the meantime I don’t want to be touched or touch her or engage in any kind of intimacy, emotionally or physically.

      And then I did everything I said I would do. It broke the affair, it broke her and she became desperate to save her marriage. I didn’t relent until she had felt the pain of abandonment as much as I had felt the pain of betrayal. This is a woman I had truly loved. After a few years as the pain had subsided we came back together. She has been the most loyal and affectionate partner as a man could want. All of this happened decades ago but the experience is still fresh in my mind but there is no pain. The pain just finally went away. Maybe all of this could have been done more quicker but I wonder if any other way would have paid off in the end as much as the way it was done.

    • Liz

      Kudos to the Southern Man. Ours went a little different but with good results. We were separated for 8 months; however, our marriage has made it to almost 55 years from an affair over 30 years ago. I agree the experience is still fresh; however, the pain has been muted. I wish I could have suffered less but it has taken years to let go of the terrible memories. It has also taken a long time to understand everything completely. Once I knew my husband had a limerence affair then everything fell into place.


    • Raquel

      My wife of 7 years told me about her affair two weeks ago. She’s now pushing me to sell our home and divorce immediately. She, too, told me that I was all to blame for this affair. Reading this blog has helped me realize that it is NOT my fault. She is now acting and doing so many things that are so not characteristic of her. My head is reeling and I feel so hurt, betrayed, and depressed. I don’t know whether to go along with the sell of our home, or take a “wait and see” approach. In our 7 years of marriage, we never had any major fights or arguments and family and friends have been devastated by this news. Everything is crumbling beneath my feet.

    • Jennet

      Raquel don’t do anything in haste because you are in a state of shock Infidelity is devastating it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together.
      I would suggest you get as much information as you can to help you come to terms with the utter betrayal of what has happened. But in all honesty you cannot make a decision that could affect you in years to come after only knowing about the affair for two weeks.
      It’s taken me nearly four years after discovery and half the time I still don’t know what happened!! It is exhausting,frustrating and horrific trying to understand any of it.
      This site will help you enormously. Take your time and don’t be bullied into something you don’t want to do.
      Take care Jennet

    • Elizabeth

      Maybe they cheat but do not leave as they see themselves in a superior way as a romantic hero and would know in reality this perception is incorrect due to their dishonest lack of integrity and lying statements and the partner is better off without them due to the stress they cause whether immediately apparent or not. A cheater may feel seeing the partner succeed in their absence would confirm that basic truth ultimately.

    • Nicole

      The “Let Them theory”. Some men are willing to keep women hanging around – but they’ll make sure you only exist in the background. He’s not proud of the relationship – for whatever reason.
      When you “Let Them” do whatever it is that they want to do, it creates more control and emotional peace for you and a better relationship with the people in your life. ~Mel Robbins.
      Characterize people by their actions, and you’ll never be fooled by their words. Let people do what they want to do, so you can see what they would rather do. That will answer all the questions you have. When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is.

    • Melissa

      I found out my husband was having an affair that lasted around 4 years, with a years break in 2020. He became very distant and Ill with depression in 2018. He blamed me for this. We both work full time and I am the main wage earner. We were in a secure financial position and had been together 20 years when the affair started The woman worked with him and was 11 years his junior and 18 years my junior. I was completely blindsided, devastated, I lost 3 stone in weight and my mental, physical and emotional health took a massive hit.
      He finished it when I found out, he said he did not think that I loved him, I did everything for him !!! everything. He made a story up in his head to try to justify his actions. This woman has since tried to lose me my job, and destroy me further by sending me explicit videos of them and SMS messages. We have been trying now fir just over 2 years, the pain will never go, my self esteem has taken a massive hit. I love him but I do not think I will ever trust him again.

    • Nicole

      I hear you.
      Affairs are like hothouse flowers. Beautiful things can grow in that climate-controlled environment. But once you take your delicate flower out into the real world, it dies. Affairs look better where the sunlight can’t touch them. The funny thing about an affair and its associated emotions is that after a while it starts to mirror a drug-use scenario. It begins with little flashes of self-esteem boosts courtesy of dopamine release coming from the affirming words the affair partner (AP) says to you. The danger and thought of getting caught heighten your adrenaline rush as well. So you are hooked on two hormones at once. People numb out on these things. Alcohol, drugs, and affairs. Depressed people “use” to feel better only causing more heartache and pain.

    • Jennet

      Nicole, all I can say is that the pain and the anger gets less as time goes by. I don’t think we will ever understand the reason they have done this to us. Trust is something hopefully will come back eventually but it will take time and I’m not sure if it will be 100% as we are all afraid if getting hurt again
      Take care Jennet


    • mJ

      I’ve been reading through many of these messages. It’s so sad that people have to cheat and have affairs. I wish they could just be honest and choose one for the other.

      My boyfriend (42m) of ten years told me (38f) two months ago that he had another affair that’s been going on and off for the past two years (the first one was two years into our relationship with his best friend. It lasted a year and after a lot of work we got through it). He promised he’d never do it again but here we are. We’d been having issues and in couples therapy for a while. At the beginning of 2022 our therapist suggested a trial separation which I didn’t want but felt I didn’t have a choice because he wanted it. I managed to get him to at least agree to not sleep with anyone else while we worked through it. A couple of months later in April I found out I was pregnant and of course was extremely happy. He was away for work so I ended up telling him over FaceTime. He was scared and shocked but excited. We obviously stayed living together and didn’t separate which made me happy. I knew we had issues and I knew being pregnant wouldn’t just magically take them away but I did believe we could make it work. He came to every drs appt with me except one as he was again away for work. Because of the pre-existing issues our relationship wasn’t perfect, he was some what distant but I kind of got used to it. He didn’t want to have sex with me because he said he just isn’t turned on by pregnant women (im not mad about that, i do understand it’s not everyone’s thing). So I gave birth in Jan of 2023 and he was there by my side. Three months postpartum he breaks down and tells me he can’t do it anymore, that he doesn’t want to be with me (Great time to tell someone this, fucking asshole). I was livid, felt completely lost and confused, neither of us are from this country so we don’t have any family here, no supper system. Because of the baby (I’m presuming) he tells me we don’t need to rush anything, nothing drastic needs to change but he just can’t be with me. That he needs his space. I’m post partum and completely beside myself but trying, I tried my best to hold space for him (while working a full time job from home as I never got maternity leave and looking after the baby). It goes on like this for months and then eventually mid 2023 he decides to start sleeping in another room. This was really hard for me, it hurt a lot but there wasn’t much I could do. So whenever the baby would cry at night time he would come into our room to change the baby and bring it to me (not ideal situation to be in).

      In August we go back to his city in another country and stay there for a month. He’s distant again but he’s always bloody distant so what’s new.
      Then in Oct he tells me that he’s having a really hard time coping and just needs some time away. A solo fishing trip. I agreed only because he said how much he needed it and I could see his mental health declining. He goes away for a week into the wilderness with barely any reception and because he’s having alone time I purposely try not to contact him. That week was incredibly hard for me, our baby didn’t sleep, I was burned out, while trying to juggling a ft job and not sleeping myself. It was really hard – with no help at all. He comes home, nothing out of the ordinary. Still sleeping in the other room.
      He travels a lot for work going back to his home city so flew back again in oct and Nov for work. It’s always hard when he leaves as I’m alone with the baby and dogs to walk.
      December comes and we fly back to my home country for Christmas, he leaves early and goes back to his home country to be with his family for NYE.

      And then once we’re all back home in the some country in Jan 24 he opened up and admits to having a two year long affair that started at the beginning of 22 (he says it’s because there were needs that just weren’t being met in our relationship for a long time and an opportunity presented itself and he gave in. He said the communication that he experienced with this person was like nothing he’d experienced with anyone before – an area we’ve always struggled with). This woman is from his home city so it was a long distance affair. Unfortunately he flew back often for work and they would see each other then and then he’d have an emotional affair with her when he wasn’t there). I’m sure he saw her the week I told him I was pregnant too. So I think they’d been having this affair for a few months when I found out I was pregnant. He said he ended it then. But then we’d have issues and for some reason he decided that through our anger and resentment for one another I wanted to have the child alone (never that case) so that made him go back. He said he ended it multiple times and after a while she’d always make contact and he’d eventually go back to her. The joys.

      He said there was a span of about 10 months they didn’t see each other which I’m guessing is just before the birth and into last august when we flew to his home city – yes he decided to lie to me while staying at his family home and say he’d to go into the city a few times for work and would need to stay there (his family live in the country) so he was sleeping with her and staying at her home while I was in the same fucking city – a very big low point.

      Then his week away in oct solo fishing turns out was that but also included her. They went away together for a week! He completely abandoned his responsibilities as a new father and to me. He told me he was sleeping in his rental car the whole time.

      When we flew back to my home country for Xmas I think this was a big turning point for him. He said it made him begin to wake up and realise the gravity of the situation he’d gotten himself into.

      Unfortunately when he left us early and flew back to his home city for nye this also included him looking after her dog for the week as she was out of town and apparently had no one else – wtf.

      He said he flew out before she got back and she was furious that he didn’t stay to see her.

      So apparently for him he never intended it to go on for so long. He said he never should have started it in the first place. That he became scared of her in that she was always threatening to tell me. So he would try to ease the situation. He got himself so deep he didn’t know how to get out of it and he didn’t want me to find out from her. And how would he tell me while I’m pregnant or post partum. It sounds like he told her we were broken up and that we were just living together (despite our issues we both agree now that we’ve very much still be together and that’s why he feels like he’s cheated). They told each other “I love you” – makes me sick to think that.

      He said because it was long distance and he went months without seeing her it was “out of sight, out of mind”.

      He said it was like a quick fix. A Band-Aid. For her it sounds like it meant a lot more. She messaged him mid January after he told me. He said she was threatening to tell me again and he said “I’ve just told her”.

      She also sounds a little mentally unstable tbh. She messaged me afterwards. I really don’t want to be caught up in this drama but I decided to reply to take back some of my power. I’m very proud of what I wrote. I took the high road and put her in her place in a respectful way. Made some things clear. I got a very nasty msg back from her (not surprising).

      She then went on to msg by boyfriend and say that she just had a miscarriage. That was a tough pill to swollen but the way it came up and the timing of it doesn’t make it believable unfortunately. My boyfriend also said she’d been away over Xmas and nye partying in Mexico. She said she’d found out Dec 20th that she was “pregnant” and he says he doesn’t believe because of how often she brought up wanting to be a mother so going on a bender doesn’t really align with wanting a baby – to even think about these things is hell.

      Sooo here we are. If I didn’t have a child with him I’d be out the door. But I do. And I think he’s in shock. I think he’s coming to and realising the gravity of his decisions over the past 2 years.

      This is so much to deal with. I believe his honesty now. He’s been completely open and honest about everything (I think anyway). I can see that he’s definitely been in a depressive / mid life crisis for the past two years. He’s been apologising for everything. He’s also upset at himself as having a baby is the biggest thing for both of us and he really fucked a lot of it up not only for me but also for himself.

      I just don t know what to do…

      • Nicole

        You are not alone. I think you would really benefit from listening to the podcast The Empowered Wife or the audiobook, even if you’re not married. Men are very different than women, and we have great skills to handle them.

        • MJ

          Thanks Nicole, I’ll have a listen. Yeah having been together for 10 years now with a child together it’s practically a marriage.

    • tony

      10 years and a child doesn’t mean you have to stay with no trust. I didn’t when my wife cheated. Don’t be afraid. It’s amazing what you can do when you have to…

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