Do you sometimes feel as though moving beyond betrayal and releasing the anger and hurt is just a dream?

moving beyond betrayalBy Linda & Doug

*Originally posted on March 27, 2015 and updated on February 16, 2021

We recently came across an article that a former betrayed spouse wrote. It demonstrates how the wayward and betrayed spouses can have differing perceptions of what the truth actually is, which in turn can create anger and resentment causing them to become stuck. The recovery process stalls.

The article also explains why understanding your reasons for being stuck is necessary.  Address those causes directly. This helps avoid focusing only on negatives.

Healing and happiness is an active process, it is a choice, and best of all, it’s in your power. Those who can manage to let go of the pain and anger of an affair are those who have managed to build a happy future where there really is no need to look back to the pains of the past.


It’s Been Years Since I Found Out My Husband Cheated On Me. Why Am I Still So Angry?

by Katie Lersch

I sometimes hear from wives who tell me that they had hoped that they would “be over” their husband’s affair by now. Often I hear things like: “it’s been years since his affair and I’m still angry and hurt. I still can’t let it go. What’s wrong with me? Will I ever be able to move past this?”

These frustrations are very common. Wives often get caught up in a cycle where they want and even expect to feel better or to “get over it” but, for whatever reason, they just can’t. However, being stuck right now doesn’t automatically give you a life sentence of more of the same. You certainly deserve better. There are some ways that wives are able to move on. Often, this means you must figure out exactly why you are stuck and then address those causes very directly. I will discuss this more in the article that follows.

See also  Why Do We Try to Save Our Marriage?

Worrying That Your Husband Isn’t Really Sorry About The Affair Is A Common Reason For Being Stuck:

As I said, I often see common themes or issues in wives who haven’t been able to move on. One very common one is feeling like your husband just isn’t remorseful or sorry enough for the affair. I often hear wives say things like: “Sure, he’s sorry that I caught him having the affair, but there’s no remorse for what he did. It’s almost as if he blames me and thinks that he was somewhat justified in his actions.”

Transitioning to a Survivor After Your Partner’s Infidelity

However, I have to tell you that many times, if you talk to the husband on the other side of this equation, you will get a completely different representation of the truth.

The husbands will often say things like: “Yes, of course I’m sorry about having an affair. I wish I could take it back, but I can’t. And, how many times can one person apologize or say they are sorry? How many other ways are there to show your remorse? Am I going to say I’m sorry for the rest of my life because it gets old having to repeat yourself over and over when she doesn’t believe a word that I say anymore anyway.”

Obviously, the husband and wife have to meet somewhere in the middle so that both people feel that they are being heard. Sometimes, the two people have been dancing around this issue for so long that it’s become almost off limits because there is so much anger and resentment surrounding it. However, sometimes you have to face it very directly for it to finally go away. Sometimes, you will have to directly spell things out for your husband to ensure that you get what you need. Sure, this isn’t always easy. But at least you are getting what you need so you can move on. The short lived awkwardness is much better than continuing to live this way.

See also  Getting Over an Affair With 'Focusing'

Many Wives Who Are Still Angry About The Affair Years Later Feel Resentment That There Was No Repercussions For The Husband’s Affair:

I often hear wives saying things like: “So, he basically gets to say he’s sorry for breaking his wedding vows and I’m just expected to move on as if nothing happened.” My choice is to get a divorce (which I don’t want) or to just pretend like everything is fine when it isn’t. He gets to cheat on me and his life doesn’t really change. But, I now have to live with this for a long time to come. How is this even remotely fair? If I were the one who had an affair, he most definitely would not forgive me. But when we reverse the roles, I must forgive him.”

But, if you asked the husband about this, he would likely say something like: “She thinks that I haven’t paid for what I’ve done, but believe me, I pay for it every day. I have to look into her eyes and see disappointment and pain. That’s a life sentence. Every day, I can see how much I’ve disappointed and hurt her. Every day, I wake up knowing that she’s going to look at me with loathing. And every day, I know that there is nothing that I can do about it because I deserve it.”

This is a difficult situation on so many levels because the wife is absolutely justified in being angry. If these feelings linger and block healing, both people suffer greatly. Eventually, they must find a resolution. This stops ongoing pain without end.

Many times, the wife feels it’s only fair for the husband to pay for what he did. And, I can certainly see this side of the argument. But usually, what the wife doesn’t see is that continuing to dwell on the negative hurts her as well and keeps her from moving on to a more healthy place where she could finally be at peace.

Whether you Decide to Stay or Leave, Why Healing Your Body and Your Mind after Infidelity is so Important for Your Future

Sometimes, When People Are Still Angry About An Affair, It’s Because No Positive Change Has Been Made:

Many times, when I ask the wives in this situation how much or what sort of progress has been made, they will tell me that nothing has really changed. It’s as if they must wake up one day and simply stop being angry, despite no improvements or changes occurring. This can be too much to ask and many wives find this to be an impossible situation.

See also  3 Tips to Help You Heal From an Affair

It’s often necessary to make husbands understand that if they can work with their wives to create a new and better marriage, then everyone is going to benefit from that. Yes, it’s going to take a lot of work. It’s going to require for both people to change the way that they have been doing things. Yes, it might be uncomfortable in the beginning. But, it’s usually the only way to ensure that both parties aren’t continuously looking back or living with the pain of the past.

Because honestly, the best way to let go of the pain and anger of an affair is to craft a happy future where there really is no need to look back. If both people can get to this place, the anger usually will naturally just start to abate.

There was a time when I thought I would never get over my husband’s affair.  However, this is in the past. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage eventually recovered and became stronger. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again.


    30 replies to "Why Some Betrayed Spouses Have a Hard Time Getting Over an Affair"

    • Shifting Impressions

      I can relate and am in agreement with so much of this article. But I am sorry, the last statement “I no longer worry my husband will cheat again” set my teeth on edge.

      In my case, progress is being made…..healing is starting to happen. Defenses are slowly coming down. We are in the middle of long painful journey and I too want to create a new and better marriage. But, I don’t believe I will ever come to the place that I will believe that an affair is an impossibility. The lines have been crossed twice in my case and blindly trusting is not the position I ever want to be in again.

    • Beckyb2

      I’m 3.7 years from dd #1 .honestly I lost count at #5 at 7 months out . The entire tt gaslighting defense was during my Mamas kidney failure and her hospitals and her hospice and her death. Also while taking 7 of my children to see her staying near her to help three weeks before she died was the major one besides the first I love you but not like that. My hurt and anger my triggers my grief are so tied together with my mothers death when at 87 had to learn my husband was a serial cheater while she battled pneumonia and collapsed lungs my children were so confused by his head games and angry at me . I’m still trying to learn the facts and the truth. The hardest is my husband has been a liar his whole life and he has not felt bad for the people he has lied to . I’m not sure he feels bad about anything he has done he has been a conman most of his life in one way or another. I’m not able to trust him when the things he says are not what he really said or did . I’m not seeing him do any of the work on himself I’ve learned enough to have serious doubts he will do the work only he can do. My grief at my life wasted by his self absorption his immature I love you and how cheap he sold his I love yous . I’m losing my feelings I seem to be numb . I’m also tired my youngest child is almost 16 my oldest child is 33 raising my 8 blessings has been awesome and excruciating I’ve loved it and been terrified it’s exhausting . I’m the single parent who just happened to be married to an absent partner and I am tired. I’m Ready for a vacation or maybe just run away from life as I know it .

    • Beckyb2

      Also my husband seems to believe that by doing the little things I should be satisfied sad to say but the little things don’t mean diddle squat when every BIG thing is gone I know he would never except what little he has offered me. My needs have not been met for me to see our future is his concern. I feel as if my needs are not his priority and his refusal to offer me proof that I asked for has made me have serious doubts whether we have a future beyond kids and grandkids. He is so distant and not really here as if he would like to escape too but he did that’s why we are in his mess that he is blind to getting help


      We MUST GET ANGRY. Without this part of the healing process there will be NO REAL RECOVERY.
      Anyone who DOES NOT ALLOW ANGER can’t recover. It only leaves denial.
      Truth is that it is NOT a straight path to healing. It MAY SEEM EASIER to forgive your mate because they ARE DOING THE RIGHT THINGS, but even that goes only so far to promote healing.
      It’s a daily, moment to moment struggle because it seems that our mates are GETTING AWAY WITH THEIR GREVIOUS ACTS.
      It seems we have no choice but to FEEL HURT AND VICTIMIZED forever.
      Like Kelly Clarkson sang “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger!”
      Make that the BETRAYED SPOUSES ANTHEM!!!


      Either way, there will be ultimate trust in GOD ALONE, and a different trust in MY SPOUSE.
      No one is WORTHY of 100% trust.
      While on this journey we MUST LEARN that TRUSTING OURSELVES is MORE IMPORTANT than restoring marital trust.
      Let’s get content with Ourselves regardless.
      This way NO MATTER WHAT our spouses do, WE WILL SURVIVE AND THRIVE.

    • antiskank

      The first thing that raised my curiosity in a negative way was the title of the blog entry “Why SOME Betrayed Spouses have a Hard Time Getting Over an Affair”. Only some? Does that mean that for most it isn’t an issue? I know that wasn’t the intent but on a bad day, it gets the hackles up a bit 🙂

      It has been almost 3 years for me since the first D Day and I am definitely not over it. I don’t know if I will ever be over it but I hope to get past it and be happy. I really work hard on that. I feel that I am not only trying to get over the affair but all of the behaviours exhibited during and since the affair. The belittling of me, the blaming me, the comparisons, the attempts to destroy me, the constant lying, the lack of remorse and understanding. The list could go on. I thought I was well on my way to getting over the affair until I discovered that I was still being manipluated and lied to after more that 2 years. He was still not ready to commit to our marriage or to me regardless of what he was saying. He was still stuck on his fantasy and did not want to let it go. That was more devastating than the original affair.

      We were recently at a stage where I wanted results or we were to part and go our separate ways. This was a very unpleasant and stressful time. Nothing has been resolved but a crisis involving one of our kids came up and took precedence over my problems. I could not deal with both things at once and continue to carry on life as normal. We were united in our concern for our child and need to be on the same side for that purpose.

      We are being more than civil and supportive to one another, doing things together, even making declarations of love and appreciation but I know that we need to deal with the issues still. I am still hopeful that things can work out but know that there are no guarantees.

      Is it possible that many of the issues in most of the relationshiops affected by affairs are not completely dealt with? Is it that after a period of time, we come to “accept” what has happened, realizing that we have survived it and as the shock wears off, the anger subsides somewhat too? Do we just become accustomed to the new normal? I guess I am still at a point where I know I don’t want my whole life to have been a waste, don’t want my marriage to end but I know that I have lost something so valuable that I can never get back. I can’t seem to quite put it into words but mourn the loss of what was…

    • TheFirstWife

      Antiskank. I understand your position and you are right to feel the way you do.

      You have been in a horrendous relationship for years. Chronic lying is a disease in my opinion. But that is no excuse. To continue an affair is selfish and mean and wrong.

      I told my CH after finding out they were still together and his continued lying I was done. He was never like that (as far as I knew) and being blindsided to know that he is just like all the other cheating losers out there is just a hard thing to accept.

      However he is trying but on his own terms. Refused counseling. I see the backslide to some old behaviors already.

      I don’t know how you cope. My saving grace has been ME! I am happy and in a great place with or without him. Once our children are grown I may change my mind and decide it is better to be single. Who knows?

      A great therapist helped me keep my sanity when my world fell apart and my CH told me 2x in one week he was leaving. I was so burnt out at the time from his mid life crisis drama I just said OK.

      I guess that was not what he expected but I was done fighting for us and him.

      He did this when a family member was in the hospital dying. Even told the OW about MY family member saying “you would have liked her”. Not sure my relative would have liked the OW in return.

      So we have similar experiences. I found out from the OW that my CH admitted to cheating on me in the late 1990s. I always suspected but had no proof. Now I do have proof. So this was not the first time he cheated.

      They are his issues and have nothing to do with me anymore. I have suffered enough PTSD from him to last a lifetime. I refuse to waste my life any longer.

      How sad they come running back thinking “it’s ok. She’ll take me back”.

      If we did this to them they would be out the door, no questions asked.

      I wonder if you are doing the right thing for you, by staying.

    • deb

      I learned about the affair. We went through a 6 month reconciliation. But, because they worked together nothing stopped. I caught my cheater in a lie after many triggers from her as she wouldn’t let it go. He told me in tears that she didn’t leave him alone. I said if you are too weak to make her let it go then you go now. We are divorced 2 years. She pays my alimony and tried to tell the lawyers how to handle things. Fortunately, I had the best legal representation one could have. I am broke and so is he. But, they had to get married and now have a baby! He doesn’t even relate to his 2 sons we had together. He told me that they are his by default. Who uses that nomenclature! He is 13 years younger, and at 55 he retired to take care of the baby. These were to be our golden years!

      My point is, the cheater becomes a completely different person, using words never heard in 23 years! I tried. I went through hell! But, I am getting better. I advocate leaving if there is any doubt! Life is too short!

    • Rachel

      You are better because you are away from that liar/cheater.
      Hold your head high and enjoy your new and fabulous life, you deserve it!!

    • DE

      The last post was in 2015 so not sure if Linda/Doug will see this.
      “I had to play the game to win” .
      What do you think the author meant by this?

      • Doug

        DE, I think she just means she had to put in the work through the recovery process and often had to meet her husband half way.

    • Shifting Impressions

      I really don’t like the title of this post. I think All betrayed spouses have a hard time getting over their partner’s betrayal….not just some.

      • GG

        I agree SI, I think every BS has a hard time “getting over it” I know that my situation is not the same as most, my CH has had on and off cyber affairs and one EA with one of the women he met online. He never knew their names, they never knew his or saw his face and nothing physical took place but regardless he cheated. This is a pain I don’t wish for anyone to feel and being 4 months post DDay my feelings and emotions change sometimes by the minute

        • Shifting Impressions

          I don’t think your situation is as unique as you think….many of the stories on this site are about betrayal involving cyber affairs and EA with someone they met online. The thing is…..betrayal is betrayal and deception is just that, whether in real life or online.

          I’m so sorry you are going through this heart wrenching experience. I can totally relate to how you are feeling. I was a puddle on the floor for many months and cried almost everyday for three years, After that came a very heavy sadness. But slowly and I mean very slowly we made it through, It was often one step forward and two steps back. Baby steps and taking things one day at a time.

          • GG

            Thank you for the reply! I’m surprised there are more like me, I’ve researched and researched mostly to find many started this way but ended in some sort of PA. I am beyond grateful that my CH never went that far but honestly at this point pain is pain. Day by day it is getting better but if I could wish for anything it would to not be in this spot. I hate not having my solid safe trusting place at home and at times I feel like I’m on an island. But like I said it is getting better and I’m taking it one day, really one minute at a time

      • Nearly Normal

        Hi, SI.

        I think what is intended is that some betrayed spouses take much longer than others and have relatively worse time. You know all this, I’m sure.

        I just passed my 20 year anniversary of DDay. I am definitely better than I used to be. But it will never quite go away, will it? I am able to thank God for my wife, even though she put my heart and soul through the shredder once upon a time.

        But I had a tremendously difficult time. I am particularly isolated because of my circumstances (which I don’t wish to go into, maybe you remember from when I used to post more often here). There are particular personalities that hold onto the pain more. I think CPTSD is my current diagnosis, even though I never had childhood trauma, the repeated traumas of my pain not being able to heal and being reminded repeatedly by the situation of living with the spouse that betrayed me put me in an unhealable situation. Decades later, I am pretty good. Others can have pretty good healing after a few years, and I frankly envy them. But some are on a much faster track than others.

        I hope you are well, SI. God bless your healing process.

        • Shifting Impressions

          Nearly Normal
          I do remember many of your posts. I know that is what the title intends to say it’s just that it’s somewhat off putting. It would be better worded that some take longer getting over their partners betrayal…..we ALL have a hard time.

          I’m past the seven year mark and doing well but I don’t know if it will ever go away completely either. Something deep inside changed….and it has been a long difficult battle.

          I’m trying to remember but was it you that your wife never revealed who the other man was??

          • Nearly Normal

            Hi SI.

            She revealed one of the men but not the (at least one) other.

            She was compelled to tell me about the one man (EA turned PA) because they had a mutual promise that if one betrayed spouse found out, the other would be informed. So she kept her promise to her affair partner when his wife found out.

            I just got up this morning after a horrendous nightmare about my wife. Not sure those will ever go away.

            Keep fighting the battle.

            • Shifting Impressions

              Nearly Normal
              Twenty years is a long time. I’m just speculating here and tell me if I am wrong….but your response shows me that the unanswered question of who makes it almost impossible for you to get any sort of lasting closure. Also you mention that it was because of a promise to an AP that she gave you the name of the AP that time NOT BECAUSE IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO AND THAT YOU HAD THE RIGHT TO KNOW.

              Those two things just jumped off the page at me. If I remember correctly your wife isn’t really open to giving you what you need to get that closure. I don’t think it’s ever too late to go back and sort through things.

              I don’t really think that the majority of cheating spouses understand the depth of pain the cause with their betrayal. And it is a long battle, that’s for sure.

            • Nearly Normal


              Right on the money all the way.

              Some of her resistance at the time was because I believe she was still in the affair fog. In these later years her behavior is much improved, but there are still defense mechanisms in her that prevent her from opening up. We are making progress, but it is very slow.

              Long battle, amen. Without complete closure, I will always carry something with me. But I am in a much better place than previous years. My timeline is just much longer than most.

              Take care.

            • Shifting Impressions

              Nearly Normal
              I’m sorry the process is so long and difficult. I thinks it’s good to be honest about our feelings. I honestly don’t know how I will feel about everything in another ten years. I doubt it will ever go away completely.

              You take care as well

      • E

        Hi SI,
        Thanks for sharing and being such a support on this blog. I admire your strength.
        I struggle everyday with trying to move past the lies and the affair. I don’t think you can just stop and get over it and I think that is also part of why My now Ex husband and I finally divorced. I just couldn’t move past it and we couldn’t connect to feel safe enough together to work through it. I was tired or just being pain and as long as I am with him I feel trapped, isolated and in pain. We went through multiple marriage counseling, worked on so much with communication and bonding. It just wasn’t enough to move past the pain and with the multiple suicide attempts of our son (he’s stable now and okay) and I just can not trust my ex for the life of me and I tried to force myself to. I tried to get over it it and right now the best thing that Covid did for me is taught me that I need to find my own path to recovery and I can do it with him because no matter how much I love him the lies are still there and hold so much power that I can’t move past them. We divorced in July, still lived together for the last 6ish months and still tried to recover from this even in divorce. I finally said I can’t this anymore and I am on my own now with my teenage son. I would hope one day I can move past the affair. I’m tired of it being a part of my life and who I am. I also realize that even with all the healing I had now It’s still a journey and process and I can’t do it with my ex…. I have to do it alone.

        • Shifting Impressions

          Thank you for your kind words….it means a lot.
          I am sorry to hear that your marriage did not survive. It’s a long hard journey whether the marriage survives or not. One day at a time and slowly one comes to a place of acceptance, I wish the very best for you and your son, I hope you both come to a place of healing and peace,

    • Joni

      Nearly Normal,
      How can you completely heal with a spouse who is still harboring secrets from you? Honesty and openness is a vital component to the healing of the injured spouse. You have to wonder how committed she is if she is unwilling to answer all your questions about the betrayal. By continuing to hide the details of her other life, she is still harboring secrets from you and that continues the pain and is a wall to your ability to feel safe and secure that she has nothing left to hide.

      • Broken

        I just want to thank you all. I happened to come to this site because of the title but reading all your comments and replies have helped me alot. I was having such a hard time trying to understand my feelings on why I felt so angry at my spouse. I’m currently going through this. It ‘s been a year this month , when I found out my husband was cheating on me. It completely broke me. He promised he was sorry and would change. So I continue to try. But within time I started to see old patterns and my gut feeling that something was not right. I tend to snap at him with so much anger when he does something that triggers those emotions. And I can’t handle this anymore. I feel like my heart breaks more and more each time. I feel like I have isolated myself from friends and family. I’m pushing myself to file for divorce because I feel this is such a toxic relationship at this point . I need to get out. But its such a scary step to take.

        • Sheryl

          I am Curious to know if filing for divorce helped the pain. I carry this heavy feeling of pain in my chest. My CH is actually really trying hard, he is doing the “work”. I can’t get over it. I am Worried even if I leave I will Still Be carrying this pain. Did filing help the pain?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.