Wife Confessed to Affairs – Husband Needs Help – You Decide!

wife confessed to affairs

This is the latest installment of our ‘You Decide’ series where you will provide your opinion on a fictional affair scenario. 

This installment is actually not a fictional scenario.  A reader sends an email describing his thoughts and feelings after his wife confessed to affairs she had several years ago. 

Please read on and share your thoughts in the comment section on how to help this person .

A year and 5 months since D-day…

What do you do when your wife (of 24 years) has confessed to two emotional/sexual affairs from 11 years ago?

What do you do when she says our marriage was good (not perfect) but good. She even says you were a great friend, husband and father in most areas except emotionally, but that her emotional needs outweighed these “great qualities”?

What do you do when so much time has passed, that she can’t answer or recall many of the details or timeline of her affairs?

What do you do when she shows remorse, repentance, is deeply sorrowful, is willing to give you whatever answers she can, and wants to do whatever it takes for the marriage to work… but you still don’t find peace, hope or solace in the future of your marriage?

What do you do when the heartfelt advice of therapist and marriage counselors doesn’t quite seem to fit your predicament and just leaves you feeling more thirsty for a magic “forgive and forget potion”?

What do you do when although you have forgiven her for her past; the thought of her deceit, her betrayal and images of her sexual indiscretions are like a dark filter that prevents you from seeing her as the same woman you married. No matter how much reconciliation, understanding and forgiveness happens; the fact will always remain that she willfully gave herself to another. (In this case two.)

What do you do when you CAN acknowledge her (many) great personality traits, abilities and beauty but still can’t get past the realization of her purposeful infidelities?

What do you do when respect is lost for her?

What do you do EVEN if you believe that she would never do this again but that doesn’t even matter to you? When there is a dark part of you that almost wishes she would  so that you could end the marriage. 

….What do you do?

You Decide!


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114 Responses to Wife Confessed to Affairs – Husband Needs Help – You Decide!

  1. Exercisegraced February 20, 2018 at 8:51 am #

    My first question would be….why now? Why after all these years is she choosing to underburden herself? There is a payoff of some sort and I absolutely do NOT believe it’s because she has a sudden attack of guilt. So I would start there. I strongly suspect the cheater wants something. I think they are doing a….see what a great person I am? I stayed with you despite your numerous faults that drove me to an affair. Now I have OTHER and MORE changes for you to make!

    Second, I would say give yourself time. It doesn’t matter when the cheating occurred. My own dim witted cheater thought because the affair had been over for 15 months or so (he ended it) before the whore outed it, that it made some type of mitigating factor! I thought we dodged a bullet, and he had “only” had an emotional affair (side note: when they say it was an EA and no PA, they are either lying or they got caught quickly before they could advance it). He had reconnect with me and the kids and things were really good. Idiot.
    Even if the affairs are old, finding out you’ve been living a lie, finding out your partner isn’t who you thought they were and seeing your world going up in flames is traumatic. Process that. Assess their motives and assess their commitment to the relationship.

    Unless I suspected current cheating or my spouse didn’t show remorse? I would take it one day at a time. I would make s list of my needs and expectations going forward until I made up my mind to stay or go.

  2. TheFirstWife February 21, 2018 at 10:12 am #

    This is a very difficult situation for the H.

    He now feels his marriage and life have been lies.

    Not sure why the wife confessed now but I do think that the H needs time to process this new “information”.

    It would help to focus on present day – has the M been good or better since the A period? That could possibly help him in the healing process.

    How sad you just don’t know what your own spouse is capable of. Whether 11 years ago or 11 months or 11 seconds. The fact that you trusted someone so completely and they betrayed you – well that just stinks!

  3. Hopeful February 21, 2018 at 1:51 pm #

    If this is a marriage he still wants to try and save I would say give it more time and work. Try a new therapist who specializes in infidelity. My husband had ended his affairs 15 months before dday. I know it is not 10 years but still a lot of time had passed. He had planned on never telling me and seeing how long we would last or leaving me and saying some generic reason so he could still be the good guy and never admit to it to anyone.

    In general I would say if this husband still has these feelings there is still more work to be done. I have gone through these phases and have had to do some major soul searching as to why I still feel that way. I had to figure out what else I needed to move forward. Then I explained what I needed from my husband. He did a lot on his own but I needed more and he had to decide if he was stepping up or not. That was on him. Some issues I chose to let go of after working with my therapist. And finally I focused on if his actions were matching his words and was that enough for me.

  4. Sarah P. February 21, 2018 at 8:03 pm #

    Well, I must chime in.

    I agree with what everyone says.

    But, I will give one word of caution and unfortunately it is not good news. Statistics have showed men have a harder time getting over being betrayed. I believe it has to do with vasopressin and its affect on the brain, which causes men to guard their mate and bond. (The part about vasopressin is my opinion.)

    Men CAN get over infidelity.

    But there is no system of forgetting for any of us. That doesn’t mean we can’t stay married. It doesn’t mean we can’t recover either.

    There is just moving on.

    Even if you get divorced and remarried, you will always know that someone who was the CLOSEST to you of everyone, is still capable of hurting you in the most profound way.

    There is no forgetting that lesson in life and it’s a hard one to swallow. It forces us to reset our expectations of people and relationships.

    As for the man’s wife, I would like to know why she is so highly insecure. Whether he says it or not or realizes it, I believe this is a highly insecure woman who needs emotional parenting of sorts. Maybe he was a parental figure as in caretaker, but she also needed an emotional parent and tried to get one through an affair.

    As always, it’s not personal and this man/husband did nothing wrong. It was not his job to emotionally parent a wife.

    We are adults and need to pair bond as two adults (peers) and work together as peers. A lot of people did not get what they needed in childhood.

    They have two choices– they realize they didn’t get it and they get therapy and/or read self help.

    Or they try to work out the past in marriage. They don’t necessarily know they are doing this and neither does their spouse. This wife was trying to work out some feeling of emotional abandonment through affairs.

    But the husband did not cause the feeling of abandonment. It was from an early wounding the wife experienced.

    That’s my read on this situation from the little information given.

    Doug, I would like to know if the husband here sees what I see. If this is the case, this might be the basis/foundation for reframing and moving forward.


    • What do you do when... February 21, 2018 at 10:23 pm #

      I agree Sarah!

    • Doug February 22, 2018 at 8:16 am #

      Hey Sarah, I’ve not had much communication with him, so I’m not sure of the answer to your question. However one statement he made might give you a clue: “I can mentally identify with my predicament…but I still find myself surprisingly vulnerable.”

    • What do you do when... February 22, 2018 at 9:21 am #

      Hey Sarah it’s me (The husband) You bring up some great points here. She swears that there were only two instances. But (as you are eluding to) I have no way of truly knowing. She has very little recall on what happened back then. (Almost as if she has situational amnesia and I’m not saying that with sarcasm) she can recall the big ticket items (yes. I had two affairs and yes Sex was involved) but the only time-line marker we have is she remembers that her 1st affair lasted for a year and our son and the AP’s son were the same ages during the time of that affair. (BTW thats another baffling discovery…a married man?…really? That goes against all our so called values.) That in general is all I have to go by. If Someone asked me when my wife’s 1st affair started; all I would be able to tell them is “sometime from 2006 to 2007. And the second… I really have no clue other than that. Sometime in 2008 (I guess).

      Secondly; you are spot on about to emotional parenting. We are finding out through counseling that I have been the primary manager of my household emotions (which I now know to be a big mistake) which is why , now that I need healing, empathy and emotional support; she has no clue how to provide it. She wants to but doesn’t seem to have that gene. I have to initiate 90-95% of all the conversation about how “I’m doing”. She says sorry and has shed many tears but unfortunately my heart feels like a block of stone.

      • TheFirstWife February 22, 2018 at 9:56 am #

        I have had a similar discussion with my H in the past. He never brings any of it up. Not the A or the betrayal or the lies etc.

        I know he feels very badly and he worked very hard to make amends. But (isn’t there always a but lol) he does not initiate any conversation about it.

        His reasoning is that if it seems like I am having a good day (and usually I am) then he doesn’t want to bring up the past and “ruin the day “.

        But it appears like sometimes that is avoiding the elephant in the room. To me.

        I know he has done so much during our reconciliation process but sometimes I wish he would not just avoid the topic.

        Maybe this is your wife too.

        • Tired February 22, 2018 at 11:18 am #

          I feel for you Whatdoyoudothen. We have all been there facing the worst betrayal from our loved one.

          True TFW. But we caught our husbands out in the affair. WDYDW’s wife has just come out and admitted it of her own free will. I’m wondering about what Exercise Grace says. I don’t know if it’s that the wife wants him to do something now. Perhaps she could have just been feeling guilty and needed to unburden herself. Selfish I think to admit this to relieve your own conscience after this long. But perhaps that is what she has done.

          But why tell and then refuse to tell the detail? It could well be that after the time has past that she really can’t remember the detail. That may be why she only remembers the “big ticket” markers, Whatdoyoudowhen.

          My husband also never brings it up. It is like pulling hen’s teeth. I have come to think that the actual detail doesn’t matter that much in the scheme of things. We already know the worst. Our loved ones have betrayed us. I think that is probably worse than any detail you are going to get. I’ve also found raking over it that I really think he has forgotten some of the detail…and this is only 2 years ago.

          I do agree with Sarah in that a lot of this comes from childhood. I think a lot of affairs are borne out of insecurity. And we shouldn’t have to emotionally parent a spouse. Unfortunately, it still seems that a lot of us are doing it.

          I do feel like I am making excuses for these adulterers, but I am not. I just think trying to understand helps.

      • Stephanie February 23, 2018 at 10:18 am #

        I am sorry uou are going through this. Crying and saying your sorry is somewhat of a start but she needs to know you need WAY more than that to recover. She needs to help you recover . The cheater must realize this . She cant just say this is up to you to “get over it” or “move on”. My husband knows that if he didnt help and support me and be as patient and honest as he has been i will leave this marriage. I feel i am doing all this work and he needs to do it with me otherwise we don’t have a chance. She needs to say i will do what ever it takes to help you. I will fight for you and this marriage. I feel if a cheater isnt willing to go the distance why should we? I wish you peace and recovery from this terrible pain.

  5. TryingHard February 21, 2018 at 10:31 pm #

    I would step back and reassess the marriage as a whole. Yes the infidelity news is def a sting and do you know everything? Was there really only that one or were there others. After all she got away with it once. It’s hard for cheaters to stop but maybe she did. Only you will know for sure by her veracity to tell the truth.

    It seems she does want or has some need to finally be honest. Maybe it has been eating at her all these years. But only you can decide if you can, not want, to continue the relationship

    My biggest regret is not looking at the whole forest as i was focused too much on the trees during DDays and recovery. If you know what i mean. Had i done that i may or may not have chosen to fight for my marriage. But ahh how wonderful hindsight is??

    This road is not for the faint of heart and your ambivalence should be taken seriously. Your ambivalence is your gut saying proceed with caution.

    Regardless if you stay or leave you still need to work through the tremendous pain called betrayal. If you don’t youll carry the same baggage to your next relationship.

  6. Rose February 22, 2018 at 11:13 am #

    We all have our own ways to deal with things, but a PA or 2 would be a deal breaker for me no matter how long ago. And what everyone else said.. Why now? What is triggering it?

    • Hopeful February 24, 2018 at 2:21 am #

      I actually might consider the opposite that emotional affairs could cause me to consider leaving my husband more than physical affairs. To have that emotional connection I struggle to see how someone can come back from that. I would never say never. For my husband these women could have been anyone he could care less about them. That says something else about him but he never wanted or wants to hear from them again. It is still bad he used them but I guess from the stand point they were like long sporadic one night stands. None of it is good and in the end in my eyes it is how they handle it after dday since no one can go back and change the past.

      • Tired February 26, 2018 at 8:05 am #

        Hopeful, I agree that the emotional connection is much more damaging than a physical affair. But what if it was both? I think that would be even worse than just the emotional affair. Whereas if it was just sex…Let’s just say I have had that experience before with another partner and I think I got over it a lot more quickly. But then, I was younger and more resilient then.

        I saw my husband on film kiss the other woman! However, that did not impact me as much as knowing he had dinner with her, had a throwaway phone and was telling her our private business. Part of it was because he didn’t look too enthusiastic I suppose, goodness knows how I would feel if he had been passionately kissing her, but it was just a few pecks and looked very awkward and it was quite clear who wanted it more. However if I found out that he was sleeping with her I am not sure how I would feel. I think it may be worse if it was both. I try not to think about that too much because I don’t really think it happened, but there is a little gremlin who pops up in my brain every now and then and makes me doubt.

        • Hopeful February 27, 2018 at 9:54 pm #

          Yes true. I think really any emotional connection can make it really hard. For me it was the lies, deception and that type of stuff. I mean I hate the physical stuff but my husband said it could have been anyone.

          I think in the end all of our cases have similarities but we have to make our own decisions what is right for us. I know for our case the fact he broke it off with both ow 15 months before dday helped a lot. And then him saying everytime he saw them he hated himself more. I thought based on society, movies etc that if he was choosing to have an affair it must have been amazing. But in the end he was miserable.

  7. Tired February 22, 2018 at 12:34 pm #

    Rose, why is a PA the deal breaker for you? I find that very interesting. Because, as I have said before it is the lies and deception that matter the most. To me, anyway. I’m not sure how you are putting up with your husband’s behaviour. I would have laid it on the line long before. I don’t know how you can you go on like this Rose. It must be absolute torture for you. Why are you allowing him to get away with this? If I were you I would not wait for him to start having a physical affair before acting.

    Your husband seems to have no clue about relationships. Yes, mine has done stupid things but at least he has stopped it. How can you keep allowing your husband to do this to you? I feel so angry on your behalf. Do not allow him to continue this juvenile behaviour. He is dragging you down. I feel that as long as you go along with this behaviour he will continue to have the best of both worlds…a wife and a mistress. You may kid yourself that it is not a ‘real affair’ because you think it is not physical. But really, what man does this with his wife’s knowledge and keeps on doing it? He is being allowed to have his cake and eat it too.

    You have been working to support this man and he throws that back in your face by having affairs? How do you let him get away with it? He deserves to be dumped, no matter who is waiting in the wings to sweep him up. He will be sorry in the long run. That should not be your problem.

    Go out, have more sushi and another massage. And really think how your life could be if you could just dump this turd. I think it would be way better.

    • TryingHard February 22, 2018 at 12:40 pm #

      Tired–LOL I thought the same thing. Funny what peoples deal breakers seem to be. Pretty doubtful if she found out there has been a PA it would be a deal breaker either. She’s certainly dealing with stuff that would be a “deal breaker” for me. One living with a man who is acting like a 15 year old!!

      Or then again maybe not. I don’t believe people really actually KNOW what their deal breakers are anymore. Talk is cheap.

      • Tired February 22, 2018 at 12:57 pm #

        Yes, talk is cheap. The reason people don’t know what their deal breaker is I think, is because the cheater keeps shifting the goal post. You put up with this, you accept that, you put up with the next indignity. They just keep doing it, and so on, and so on. Moving the goal post. So you put up with this, let’s see what else I can get away with. And they are only enabled to do it because their spouse puts up with it!

      • Rose February 22, 2018 at 10:41 pm #

        TH, no disrespect meant but when you talk about someone as if they weren’t in this group…”she probably wouldn’t…” etc., it’s not very nice. You don’t know me enough to assume what I would or would not do.

    • Rose February 22, 2018 at 1:30 pm #

      I’ll write more later but wanted to throw out there that he is INCAPABLE of a PA…after 4 back surgeries and still issues after handfuls of Viagra…IF it IS possible it takes hours IYKWIM. So maybe he continues the EAs because that contributes to his incredibly low self esteem. Who knows.

      • TheFirstWife February 22, 2018 at 7:17 pm #

        That may be the root of all his problems.

        He has shattered HIS own self esteem.

    • Rose February 22, 2018 at 2:11 pm #

      Btw my going out to eat BY MYSELF is a big deal for me. Getting a massage just for me is also a big deal. From someone who has been part of a couple for over 30 years, doing things by or for myself is very difficult. Baby steps maybe but it helps with detachment. There are multiple reasons why I cannot leave–physically–right now. I am learning to leave emotionally.

      • TheFirstWife February 22, 2018 at 7:14 pm #

        It is hard st first. You have to force yourself.

        But once it becomes more familiar it is then less intimidating.

  8. TheFirstWife February 22, 2018 at 12:48 pm #

    There are many reasons people stay in a M or relationship or even a business partnership after there has been a betrayal.

    I am open that my H has a 4 year EA in the 90s. I was never in danger if him leaving me b/c he did not love her. BUT she was a poacher and madly in love with him. From the moment I met her I pegged her as a poacher.

    That was the first A. Which was finally validated about 15 years after the EA ended.

    Then he had a second A. And this time he wanted a D.

    So there is valid “proof” he is a risky candidate. He has cheated at least twice. I suspect more flirtatious behavior in the past but I have no evidence. I’m willing to bet it occurred based on what I know now.

    My H spent weeks traveling got his job. I always knew he had opportunities to cheat but I never thought he would.

    But now he is a different person in that regard. He finally knows how wrong and disrespectful it was and no longer behaves in that way.

    All fingers point towards “I should leave him”. Hell I don’t know why I did not go thru with the D in 2013. Probably for my children more than me at that time.

    But I finally had the courage and emotional strength and confidence in myself that I would be fine without him. And we would go-parent successfully and life would go on.

    But luckily I saw an immediate change and luckily I decided to give him one last chance.

    Who knows why anyone remains in a M with infidelity. I swore I never would having worked for a D attorney for many years. But yet here I am.

    A mile in those shoes………

  9. Tired February 22, 2018 at 1:09 pm #

    TFW, you laid it on the line, that’s why! Your husband has done some work, and it is no longer going on. I think it is a different story when the unfaithful person has made a commitment to the marriage. But would you put up with this kind of blatant disrespect from a partner? To keep carrying on the affair in front of your face?

    TFW , you only saw the immediate change because you demanded he become accountable. You told him you were accepting a divorce. If you were still putting up with his follies, would you be where you are today?

  10. TheFirstWife February 22, 2018 at 2:02 pm #

    I may have taken a tough position but he only made changes BECAUSE HE WANTED TO DO SO.

    He could have chosen something else – I have no control over that.

    But here is the point – when I was confronting him on the 90s about the EA he laughed in my face. I finally exploded in a rage and he never spoke to the poacher again. BUT CONTINUED THE SAME FLIRTY BEHAVIOR b/c he never admitted he did anything wrong. He did not change a thing b/c he didn’t want to.

    I could have threatened to leave – our first child was born weeks after – but I never saw any evidence of anything else going on. My stupidity for trusting and believing in him then.

    I have given Rose my suggestion and it coincides with what her therapist has said. Disconnect from him and remove yourself from his EAs.

    Anyone can live with a cheater – for a million reasons. An A does not mean you must D. It is possible there are reasons people accept the M or relationship they do.

    I had a friend who was killed by her H (the case in MD where the father killed his family in a hotel and then himself). No one ever suspected she was in an abusive M. Never saw any signs. But after the fact her really good friends pieced things together and suspected she was an abused spouse. She stayed with him for reasons most of us would never accept or understand. And if you saw them you would have believed they were the perfect happy family.

    A mile in the shoes……….

  11. Rose February 22, 2018 at 2:16 pm #

    TFW…the sister of the cousin who is a sociopath is a sweetheart. We are both very close with her (as family should be). When the EA happened with her sister and H, I had to tell her. Just to ensure it stopped. She despises her sister but still was shocked at the whole thing. She thinks H and I are some fantasy perfect couple and totally blames her sister. She has no idea he’s done this before.

  12. TheFirstWife February 22, 2018 at 2:32 pm #

    So here are some ideas to ponder:

    Would you stay with your Wife if she had an A whole she had severe post partum depression?

    Would you stay with your H if he had an A after having a serious illness but survived?

    Would you stay with your spouse if they had severe anxiety and/or depression?

    Would you stay with your spouse if they had been abused as a child and cheated out of lack of coping skills?

    Would you stay with your spouse if they cheated because they were an alcoholic and had As during their drinking binges?

    Same as above but substitute substance/drug abuse.

    Would you stay with your spouse if they cheated b/c you were a hoarder?

    Would you stay with your spouse if they cheated for no darn good reason – they just did it b/c they wanted to?

    Would you stay if your spouse cheated and there was no sex?

    Would you stay if your spouse cheated but it was a one night stand and he/she blacked out and remembers nothing?

    Think carefully about your answers. It may provide an insight into someone else’s shoes.

  13. What Do you Do When... February 22, 2018 at 3:46 pm #

    (It’s me; the Husband) Thank you all for your encouraging posts. I’m seeing a lot of “why nows” so I will try to explain what I think. I believe this secret was slowly driving her mad. She started exhibiting mental disorders like stress, bi-polar, and anxiety. This has gotten worse over the years. It all came to a head on DDay a year and 1/2 ago. She was a nervous wreck along with all the aforementioned symptoms. She wrote a 2-page note (left on my nightstand) informing me of her indiscretions. Things went ABSOLUTELY haywire for five and a half months after that. She literally had a mental breakdown which required a 7-day hospital stay. She was so messed up there was no way to even deal with affair issues until nursing her back to health. She made everything out to be my fault; from her indiscretions to her health. She eventually came to her senses and began to realize the immense damage she caused. So technically we’ve just been able to healthily deal with the affair stuff for the last 7-8 months. There is soooooo much more that I’m leaving out but I believe that the guilt, shame, lies and all the other mental gymnastics she had to do were literally driving her nuts, and that’s the reason she finally decided to come clean. (THE WORST year of my life for sure)

    • Sarah P. February 23, 2018 at 5:37 pm #

      What Do you Do When,

      I realize there are details you are not telling us about your experience, but from what you have said I can intuit that this is much larger than her affair.

      I would like to know what kind of childhood trauma your wife experienced, especially and even if it was emotional trauma. Was there alcoholism, mental abuse, emotional neglect, meanness, emotional shut down or other things of that nature?

      It is apparent that your wife is not ‘securely attached’ and so that would mean something went on in childhood to cause that. Attachment disorders happen when things don’t go right in childhood and they influence a person’s behavior until they are dealt with in therapy.

      Otherwise, people will act out in various ways. Some people get depressed and anxious, some people turns to affairs, some to alcohol, some to drugs, some to tumultuous relationships and serial monogamy.

      There is more than an affair here and there is a root cause under the affair. If you want to restore your marriage, your wife needs to get right with herself (by addressing the past through therapy) and then the affair needs to be addressed.

      So if you don’t mind sharing, what am I intuiting here?


  14. What Do you Do When... February 22, 2018 at 3:53 pm #

    My shoes are killing me. 😉

    • TheFirstWife February 22, 2018 at 7:22 pm #

      I know!!! Me too BTW.

      But I think sometimes when we do the opposite of what we thought we would do – it’s adds another level of stress to an unbearable situation.

      I always swore cheating was the end of our M. Five years later and we are still together and we survived.

      Sorry about your wife and her breakdown. Maybe now she can recover and start the healing process.

  15. TryingHard February 22, 2018 at 5:33 pm #

    Husband (because, lol, your moniker is just a bit too long, but a good one none the less 🙂 )

    You are dealing with way more than infidelity and betrayal and so is she. I really admire you for hanging in there and giving someone, who obviously once meant a lot to you, the support you have given her by staying. Lots of men would have bailed by now.

    Now my comment is even more important. You have a lot to consider and sort out. A LOT. I am imploring you to get professional help if you haven’t already. Your wife does not have or commit “indiscretions”. It sounds like she is having severe emotional/mental issues of which I am certain you do not want to exacerbate. I am also assuming you two have children?

    Please don’t accept the blame or “cause” for her to cheat. There’s all kinds of ways to cope and she choose a really crummy one, but I’m just thinking she didn’t know better. The cheating is all on her no matter her mental state. I think I guessed right in my first comment that her cheating was really eating at her all these years. I feel so sorry for her. But I feel worse for you. You are stuck between a rock and hard place.

    Hopefully if you go to a therapist, and I suggest a male, you can better decide what is right for you and your future.

  16. TryingHard February 23, 2018 at 8:27 am #

    Rose/ you should take your own advice about being nice.

    How dare you say that a PA is a deal breaker for YOU there by casting judgement on we who are trying to reconcile with a person who did just that??? How dare you speak as if we have no moral code or boundaries or that we didn’t in fact say and feel the same thing BEFORE we found out that that is exactly what was going on? How dare you make us feel we are less than?

    How dare you be insulted by my semantics and cast dispersions by saying you wouldn’t do what we are doing? Parse your own words before parsing mine. Or as Voltaire said “tend your own garden..,”

    My comment wasn’t directed to you and i have no idea whether you are reading it or not. No indeed i do not know you nor you me. I couldn’t give a fig whether or not you or anyone else thinks I’m “nice”. My perception is what YOU said wasn’t very nice and insensitive at best. But hey no disrespect 😊

  17. What Do You Do When February 23, 2018 at 9:05 am #

    Thanks TH, (it’s me the husband) I appreciate your response. She says her affairs stemmed her having an unhealthy need to be desired and for attention and my lack emotion. The kicker is she says that are marriage was good (Normal issues). We have great kids (healthy, respectful teens). At the time, a new home in a nice neighborhood (no white picket fence…maybe that was it lol). Great sex (her words, not mine). But she says that she needed more emotional interaction from me. I truly don’t mine owning that, if that’s how she felt (I admit I had a lot going on at work) but she agrees I was generally always loving and supportive (her words not mine).

    Yes I am seeing a good therapist. Actually I have one for how I’m dealing with the A(s) and we also see a marriage/ infidelity counselor. There is only so much we can piece together. This bothers me because I have know Idea how she pulled this off. I have no point of reference. She can’t even recall many of the major details. She was a Master of deception!!!!! She still could be for all I know… that’s how good she was. The fact that I was clueless and she could lay next to me at night is baffling knowing her affections and body were given to another(s). I, unfortunately, still feel numb and heartless. Counseling has given me great insight as to the dynamics and mechanics of her affairs, but. I just always seem to land in the same place… How could she sacrifice so much for so little (her words not mine). It’s truly devastating to know that someone you love, you best friend could purposely betray you like this.

    • TheFirstWife February 23, 2018 at 11:07 am #

      I think many people who were so blindsided by the cheating and lies wonder the same thing.

      How did they do it? My H was never late. No missing $. No outward signs prior to DDAY1. If he had not told me I would not have known.

      And yet he too would see her and then come home like nothing happened.

      Still SMH

    • TryingHard February 23, 2018 at 1:21 pm #

      Husband- I am happy I could help in some way. For me when I first came to this blog because prior to DDay I had NO idea there were even blogs that addressed this issue, LOL silly me was busy reading travel and cooking blogs :), was finding a sense of community.

      Suddenly I didn’t feel so alone and that is because of many of the great contributors here. Exercising Grace is the first that comes to mind. Her words were always so wise. They also knew how to call a spade a spade if you know what I mean.

      Sarah P has stated many times in her articles that infidelity and it’s issues are different between males and females. I believe many females here can give you good insight into female issues but there are many really good and smart male readers here that can really help you with what issues I consider to be male oriented in nature, if that makes any sense. I hope so.

      I know you are struggling and I hope it helps you when we say, yep been there, done that, heard that, wondered that because it’s true. You are not alone in trying to solve the puzzle you are facing.

      One little bit of information I can give you is Google Ethical Amnesia. It’s a real thing. I believe your wife doesn’t remember just like I’ve come to learn my h doesn’t really remember either. It’s because they don’t want to. They know the did something awful, something that goes completely against their grain. Or something they thought was going to be THE answer for them and turned out to be anything but. Ethical Amnesia is also associated with the cheaters cognitive dissonance which is why you hear so many people talk about indiscretions, mistakes, being wayward it’s simply too hard to say or admit “I have poor coping skills and I have sex outside my marriage thinking it will help”.

      Indeed no, it’s easier to throw out a red herring and blame the fact that the BS did not address “emotional issues” so there was no other choice than to have sex with someone else. HUH? What does that even mean? Because I’m telling you if I really believed my h was capable of addressing every “emotional need” I had, sheesh I’d be married to Superman!!! And he can’t so by that reasoning I need to get busy and find some other men with home to strip naked and have sex with!!!

      LOL seriously, we cannot meet every need, emotional or otherwise that our spouse has because it’s a moving target every.single.day.

      As far as how she pulled it off, I had the same question. My h is a workaholic, or was, well kinda still is, but I digress. All I can say, where there’s a will there’s a way. I was so fooled that when I had red flags I dismissed them because his actions didn’t fit the criteria of a cheater i.e. dressing better, losing weight (bwahaha), gone alot (well I thought he was working LIKE HE SAID HE WAS. I was coming from a place of trust and honesty. I had no reason to believe otherwise and neither do you.

      I know trying to figure out all the why’s and how’s are crazy making and you are doing the right thing by going to a therapist to help you suss all this out. I hope I’ve been a little helpful to you in this regard and certainly making you feel you are not crazy and not alone in this fun house called Betrayal.

  18. TheFirstWife February 23, 2018 at 11:02 am #

    I just re-read Rose’s post.

    She said it (a PA) was a deal breaker for her.

    I do not see why that statement is upsetting people. She did not appear to be judging anyone. It is her own viewpoint on her own marriage.

    If I said I didn’t like peanut butter would that imply I look down on people that do? No it does not and just b/c Rose voiced her opinion – there is no need to attack her or assume she directed anything at a particular person.

    We are here to support each other. Differences of opinions are encouraged.

    I posted one of my posts “would you stay…” as a way to give a perspective on WHY people look to reconcile. For some people there are deal breakers – if my H ever hit me – we are finished. But that in no way implies I judge people in an abusive marriage.

    That would be a very false conclusion and assumption that I judge people in that situation.

    But like I posted about my friend who was murdered by her H – no one knew she was in an abusive M. No signs. Never seemed possible.

    And just b/c I say that doesn’t mean I look down or judge anyone. My sister worked for a domestic violence agency. Often times the abused person goes back to the M or relationship. I don’t understand why BUT I do not judge anyone.

    Just remember a mile in their shoes……

  19. TryingHard February 23, 2018 at 12:00 pm #

    TFW–Good for you for rereading and feeling the need to explain her comment. I stand by my post. And yes I agree we all have a right to our opinion EVEN ME! How nice that you feel the need to come to her defense. Yes I am speaking in the third person again. So mean of me. .

    She did not address my comment and it’s content. She choose to parse the semantics of my comment and that I wasn’t “nice” because I commented to someone else, in the third person. If that’s all she took away from my comment to someone else, well too bad for her. It seems to me she has way bigger fish to fry than the semantics and insignificant person like me uses. This is a BLOG, we do not “know” each other, we do not “know” anyone’s intentions or history here. We are pretend “friends”. Someone makes a comment and it helps you with your situation, good for you. Someone makes a comment and it doesn’t help you, move on!! Sheesh

    I did not start this pissing contest, but I will damn well stand up for myself and what I say whether you or she or anyone else, except Doug and Linda the owners of this blog, approves of it or not. As I’ve told you before, you don’t like what I say? Don’t read my comments. You’re even welcome to talk about me in the third person!!!

    I feel for you TFW, you always seem so fixated on what I have to say. Why do you waste your breath on me?? We are all virtual strangers here. Very odd.

    Nope I am not here to support everyone that comments. Some people are dead wrong.

    Her comment about a PA being a deal breaker for her does not have a place here. We have all had our “deal breakers” and said the same exact thing pre DDay. Fact is we only think it’s a “deal breaker” until it isn’t. Just ask the rest of us how we know??

    Well good for her that she is so damn certain that a PA is a definite “deal breaker” for her. What does she think the rest of us are struggling with? Doesn’t she think it was a deal breaker for us at one time too and now here we are reconsidering our “deal breakers” and dealing with our broken hearts.

    And how is she even certain her h hasn’t had a PA?? He may not be able to perform for her, but maybe he’s very good at performing for someone else? And what does SHE consider a PA?? Seems it’s different for all of us. She’s not sure of anything let alone any “deal breakers”.

    So how about this TFW, you be you and I’ll be me??? Unless of course you want me to start chiming in on every comment you make and parse it to death.

  20. Rose February 23, 2018 at 12:51 pm #

    Well you quote Voltaire and use big words so you should be smart enough to figure this all out. There are numerous deal breakers. Because a PA is mine doesn’t make it yours, and I never slammed anyone for that. There are many reasons why we stay or don’t and many reasons why we explain ourselves or don’t. Sarah was brave enough to explain her horrifying experience though she sure didn’t have to. Thank you all for your support. I would stay except I already deal with getting slammed for what I say in “real” life. I sure didn’t think I would here. I’m out.
    TH…take a chill pill.

    • TheFirstWife February 23, 2018 at 1:48 pm #

      Rose. Please don’t leave. There are really good people who post and provide a lot of support and wisdom.

      It has definitely helped me so many times. And I hope I am able to return the favor b/c i know we all understand how it feels to be facing the infidelity issue.

      Hope you reconsider. 😀

  21. Doug February 23, 2018 at 1:15 pm #

    Let’s everybody take a deep breath, relax and get back to the topic and helping “What Do You Do When” and all the others who struggle with the same thing. Thank you!

  22. What Do you Do When... February 23, 2018 at 3:18 pm #

    Isn’t funny how infidelity can spark discord and division even amongst people like us who are just trying to survive the pain of betrayal? Just goes to show you how far-reaching this selfish act can be.

    I hope that TH and Rose can hug it out. It’s all good. Can’t we all just get along? 😉

  23. TryingHard February 23, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    Husband-One other thought I had for you is in my original comment to you to look at your marriage as a whole. We can all say we did or not not do things that maybe contributed to the break down of our original commitment when we married our spouses. However, it’s important not to conflate marital issues with the affair issues. But boy is it tempting. If we can only assume some of the “blame” we can maybe fix it. If your wife has more good attributes that she brings to the marriage then maybe your marriage to her can be saved. That’s what I’m saying about looking at the marriage as a whole.

    There is NO excuse to having an affair. The blame for the affair is 100% on the cheater. Needs aren’t met in a relationship? There’s plenty of ways to deal with that. There’s counseling, there’s communication with each other, and there is plain old divorce too. Nothing compels any husband or wife to have an affair. But upon discovery it’s very important to deal with that issue first. The fact your wife cheated may or may not be something you can move on from. Only you know that.

    I also get your feeling of hard heartedness. It hurts and so we protect ourselves. Plus we are shocked it even happened. I went through many months trying to get the answers I thought I needed to heal and move on. Some answers just weren’t there and I’ve learned to live that. I know, not exactly what you want to hear.

    Just my opinion here. I understand from your few comments that your wife sounds pretty remorseful and is doing the best SHE knows how to help you heal. Whether or not that’s good enough for you only you can decide. It also sounds to me she’s a very confused person and I’m happy to hear she’s going to counseling and you both are going to MC together. That will help. Healing doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a long long time, but what I hear is you are on the right track. You both are putting in the required effort. I believe you got this. I believe in 6 months you will have your answers and know what you want to do. I hope you stick around and let us know. There’s many success stories here to go on and there’s no reason you can’t have one as well. Whether you choose to stay in the marriage or end it, you will be fine.

    Hang in there Husband. If I can do it, you can too 🙂

    • What Do You Do When February 24, 2018 at 12:00 am #

      TH..Thank you. Means a lot. 1 year and half. No end in sight. 😞

  24. TryingHard February 23, 2018 at 4:05 pm #

    LOL !!! NO, I’m not a hugger 🙂

    • Strengthrequired February 26, 2018 at 3:18 pm #

      Wouldn’t you hug me TH?

  25. Bor February 23, 2018 at 5:23 pm #

    husband if you need the answers to the questions, write them out and have her answer the best she can. after that if still uncertain you have the truth then a polygraph asking the simple question “did you answer all the questions truthfully by the polygraph will either show that she is telling the truth or not. Does your email go back that far that you can check it?

    • What Do You Do When February 24, 2018 at 12:03 am #

      No emails. No Facebook. No texts. I did write down all my question but she still says she can’t remember.

      • Hopeful February 24, 2018 at 2:45 am #

        Husband, I am so sorry you find yourself here like all of us. My story has some similarities. My husband had two affairs over the course of 10 years or so. They were both sporadic. He ended both affairs in his own about 15 months before dday on his own. He has told me he could not go on doing it anymore and made himself stop.

        I found some questionable texts nothing with these women but I confronted him and that was actually nothing but that was dday and he confessed. On dday 1 he told me a scaled down version. Partially to protect himself and he says me too but also he can remember so few details. I am in the same situation where he has no idea what year an affair began. He knows it was in the fall and between three years. I think this is crazy granted he struggles to remember other things and always has. I grilled him on this. The reason there was dday 2 was I knew things did not add up from what he told me on dday 1. Well I wrote him a letter and laid it on the line. I basically told him to come clean and used the line “I would rather be slapped with the truth than kissed by a lie”. He told me a lot more but there will never be compete details. I spent a lot of time with my therapist on this topic. My therapist finally said I need to decide is this a deal breaker, what would I do with these extra facts will it make anything better. That was for me to decide. My therapist suggested i consider focusing on what my husband was saying and his actions.

        For us it took me a full year to not be in constant pain. And my husband is still dealing with everything he did and we are almost 3 years past dday. He is a mental health professional himself which i think has helped this move along quicker. He has told me he was planning to just leave with some general excuse since he did not want to admit to anyone. And he has opened up about how painful it is for him to realize how horrible his actions were and he knew before he cheated it would be destructive. It is very hard on him to this day. It is taking constant work.

        A lot of what you are saying sounds familiar. I commend you for being so strong. With everything you have dealt with it does not sound like that long. For us this is something that still comes up almost daily and my husband says he thinks about it every day. And he is most upset since he said to me that the worst part is he had it all and I gave him zero reason to cheat if anything I was incentive to not cheat. But it was not about me.

        Hang in there and assess what you want and need.

        • What Do you Do When... February 24, 2018 at 6:31 pm #

          Thanks, Hopeful,
          I pray you your marriage will be stronger than ever one day. I pray you find a deep, emotional connection that was better than before.

      • bor February 24, 2018 at 4:53 pm #

        WDYDW- I think If i were in the same position and its this many years down the line, knowing the who it was with I would have to try to contact them and ask just for those facts that you want. Time it went on?and length of time? was there sex?etc…. It is her choice to tell the truth or not but it is up to you to set the boundaries of what you need to reconcile. Polygraph, postnuptual, seminars like EMS weekend or healing from affairs, IC for her and CC to sort out all of this. You get to pick and choose what you can compromise on and what you can’t. I can’t think of a bigger deterrent then the WS getting and thinking through all the decisions they made and why they made them. Professionals that deal with affairs are good at asking the questions to get the WS to recognize their flawed or selfish ways. And point out to the WS what they are doing wrong. Most MC just don’t get it and just ask the betrayed to forgive and keep digging into the problems in the marriage. Everyone has problems but only those that have bad decision making skills and don’t seem to want to do the work to improve the marriage or any other part of their life seem to get into the affairs through just their own stupidity and lack of personal awareness. It is the personal awareness that scares the crap out of me that i am still trying to get my WW to work on. With over a solid year of cc much of that twice a week. She still cannot take responsibility or apologize when I am having a bad day. It all about it was this long ago you need to get over it. She always references the 1stD Day and not the last one a year after three relapses. Its like why should I apologies for the shit i put you through for that entire year. I would encourage you to be the one to be plain on what you need from her and not waffle on anything you need. Trust me things skipped over just rear up later as huge resentments and triggers. Like when my wife says things like I wont take a polygraph on principle. I brought this up at counseling as ironic since it was her poor principles she crossed off and did away with to have her affair. This has been my shit sandwich to eat and I wish I would have just been more able to have the courage to say what i needed and not worry about her running back to her AP. Now I don’t care. I am still her for my 4 kids and that is all. I address her with respect and help her when i can but i am no longer attracted to her. This is the danger if you find a resistant WS. I think to separate and let them know this is what a single future looks like is the best approach to keeping your love for them and not having them constantly deplease us with their lack of effort, remorse, empathy, etc.. AR also has some really great material that I think is very insightful. I hoped for the best and all that has not come true. Hopefully your story will be the one you can see as the best outcome.

        • What Do you Do When... February 24, 2018 at 6:53 pm #

          Man! Bor,
          I pray that your wife (and mine) feel and express empathy and remorse in a way that resonates with us. As stated previously my wife does and is showing remorse (empathy..not so much); however it feels like it’s for the mess she’s created for her marriage; not from an understanding of the years of mental baggage and filtered or guarded intimacy I’m left with (not sure if that makes any sense).. Sure I will survive and adapt but what a hopeless feeling it places on your “trust in marriage” belief system.

          • Hopeful February 27, 2018 at 10:01 pm #

            I think a lack of empathy is a major issue. You see that a lot with kids now. My husband talks about it all the time from his mental health perspective. And people go through life and no one addresses why repeatedly they show little to no empathy. Probably a good thing to focus on with the therapists. I think this all takes so much work and time from everyone. One thing my husband said to me early on that love is not a feeling but it is a verb. It is work. And he promised me early on adt r dday to put the work in. It has not been perfect but he has done a lot of work to go above and beyond. I think I am lucky with his mental health background. He had the training and education plus on a daily basis he witnessed how others do the same things and gets reminded every day of his biggest regret in life. Have you and your wife read any books? Also I swear having our weekly meeting made a huge difference. And my husband brought it up recently that for a long time the anxiety and fear related to what he did even after dday was almost crippling.

  26. J. De la Flor February 23, 2018 at 6:34 pm #

    I suggest reading, “Finding Forgiveness; A 7 Step program for Letting Go of Anger and Bitterness “. By Eileen R. Norris-Dunchunstang, Ed. P. And The Dali Lama .

    • TryingToGetOver February 26, 2018 at 12:33 pm #

      Oooo thank you for the book recc. I am a little obsessed with the idea of forgiveness at the moment! I think because my therapist hints that it will make ME feel better. But I am not so sure about that! I’ll check out the book while I let my emotions process.

      • Hopeful February 27, 2018 at 10:07 pm #

        It is a hard and odd feeling to grant forgiveness for something like betrayal. I thought about it for a long time. And you are right I think it made me feel better. I do think the idea of forgiveness is not forgetting or that it will never be discussed. I think it comes more from a feeling or compassion, grace and empathy. For me I got to a point where I realized that what my husband had zero to do with me. And that in the end the real person he hurt and the real victim was himself. He let himself down way more they me. Yes he broke our marriage vows which is horrible. But after lots of work it hit me that I was most sad what he did to himself. I totally forgive him. We still have strong boundaries and it comes up many times a week. But what I will say is when i forgave him our work shifted to what do we each want from this marriage and how can we make it happen and do this together.

    • What Do you Do When... March 4, 2018 at 7:43 pm #

      Yes, thanks for the book recommendation.

  27. John February 24, 2018 at 1:12 am #

    Husband-I just want to let you know that you’re not alone. The details are eerily similar to my situation. We married in 2003 and have two children who were almost 3 & 5 when it happened. She had an affair over several months with a coworker and then met her ex one time shortly after ending the first affair. They both occurred in 2008 and I just found the smoking gun last May that eventually led to her admitting her actions (she didn’t volunteer the information). She tells me that our marriage and sex life we’re both good at the time of the affair(s). There are so many details that she “doesn’t remember” that it makes it so much more difficult. Pretty simple things like when it started and ended, how often they met, and the like can’t be remembered. At first she said it was the spring of 2009 then the fall of 2008 and most recently the spring of 2008. Basically, I’m left with knowing who and what (she says no sex but the evidence and my gut say otherwise). She’s very remorseful and we’re still working on things 8 months after D-Day. Another difference is that she’s willing to attend therapy but only if/when I push the issue.

    I’m concerned that she doesn’t want to know what really caused it. Maybe she’s afraid to admit that she has/had issues? My biggest fear is that she will do it again if she doesn’t find and deal with the issue that caused her to step out on our marriage previously.

    Anyway, I wanted to make sure you know that you aren’t alone and wish you the best of luck in sorting things out.

    • TheFirstWife February 24, 2018 at 7:12 am #

      Hi John. Sorry you are here.

      I agree that if your W won’t attend counseling that is a cause for concern.

      My H didn’t attend counseling after his first EA (which he denied but I knew about it). And as there were no consequences he had another EA which almost led to a D. He wanted the D during his last A.

      He has changed now and did see a counselor after his second A. He changed b/c he wanted to and realized his mistakes.

      But I agree the chance to cheat again is a concern if there is no serious attempt to understand the issues or behavior or choices of the cheater.

      BTW many many cheaters refuse counseling. I wonder if it’s not too painful for them and they just would rather to continue to bury their head in the sand.

      • Stephanie February 24, 2018 at 8:08 am #

        My husnand did the same thing had an EA refused couseling and 8 years later gad a full blown love affair. He went immediately for counseling on his own . I was already in counseling with my own therapist. I attened a few of his sessions with him. But we both maintained our own therapist. We never did joint marriage counseling. My husband has done everything he can to prove to me he wants our marriage to work. I unfortunately doubt my decision on a regular basis , to stay with him. I am a year and a half from DDAY. Dont rush any decision. Please take your time. Think about what you want not what she wants. Think about ,What is at risk ?

        • TheFirstWife February 24, 2018 at 9:24 am #

          Sorry you had to suffer thru 2 As (like me).

          What is causing you doubt now? I know recovery and reconciliation but what do you think is the obstacle?

          I can tell you that at 18 months I had doubts b/c he was trying 100% but still saying the wrong things – like WE were disconnected. No – he was disconnected and I was perfectly happy.

          When I finally stood up and stated my position a few times (sometimes too many times but I felt he had to understand my feelings) he finally realized how he was hurting us.

          I didn’t get on a continuous happy path until about 2.5 years out. Before that it was good for a month but then an issue (usually when I asked a question about the A).

          Hope this helps. I had to constantly focus on the present b/c my H was one second away from Dg me during his last A.

          • What Do you Do When... February 24, 2018 at 7:23 pm #

            To those that found out about the A(s) years later… what was your biggest struggle? I feel like I will never know who she is. Some may call it a blessing not to have seen our spouse go through the typical affair cycle but for me; I feel like a total pushover. I didn’t have a choice to confront, to even see how she would have handled an ultimatum. She knows I would not have stood for a “have your cake and eat it too” scenario. She even went through the withdrawals of a breakup (she said it took a year to emotional disconect!!!) and then ended getting involved in a flirtatious workplace relationship that also turned adulterous. She orchestrated all this under my very nose. She waited 10 years to drop it on me. People and family would always comment on our seemingly strong relationship and marriage while all the time she knew she was living a lie. BAFFLING

            • TheFirstWife February 24, 2018 at 10:24 pm #

              Your wife went thru the typical cheater Phases – long time to disconnect and missing OM etc.

              I have no answers on how you can be M and come home and effectively disconnect from the A and be a loving spouse. That defies logic to me – guess I could never be a CS.

              It’s hard to know all of the cheater’s issues and understand it.

              And then when you are not getting any emotional support from your CS it only adds to the misery.

              I know the frustration you feel in trying to keep the M afloat without the support from your W. I think many BS have the same issues or experiences.

              Feeling as though your wife has no feeling in her own must be maddening.

              I wish it would get better for you.

            • John February 25, 2018 at 12:22 am #

              My biggest struggle is trust. She did it 10 years ago without me knowing it was happening so I know that 1)she’s capable of betrayal and 2) I might not have a clue that she’s doing it again. Do I think she’s having an affair currently? No. Would I wager my life savings that she won’t have another? No.

              I also wonder who she really is because I obviously thought she was loving and trustworthy while she was having an affair.

              • Hopeful February 27, 2018 at 10:13 pm #

                John, I felt the same way. Over the years I asked very specific questions about other women and he lied to my face. I have told my husband I refuse to be a private detective. If he wants to work at our marriage then he needs to be in this 100% and if he is not committed he better let me know. This was his second chance. And I have been really firm with him letting him know how serious I am. He has told me he wants to and since dday and lived a totally authentic and transparent life. He had hidden nothing. I pushed him and said how would I know. He has assured me that based on how he is acting that if he was cheating on me now he would not be able to be the way he is now. I think he would be a sociopath if he did cheat now. I think it is important to decide what you want from your marriage then put it out there. See how she reacts or what her actions are.

            • Shifting Impressions February 27, 2018 at 11:28 am #

              In my situation I found out about my husband’s emotional affair as it was going on and he ended it right after d-day.

              But about one year after d-day I inadvertently discovered another EA that had happened about 15 years earlier.

              I was stunned but suddenly a light when on and everything made sense. We went through a very rough patch way back then but obviously I was missing a crucial piece of information.

              It has been just over four years since d-day number one and we have dealt with much of it and are doing quite well. But here is the interesting thing we have barely scratched the surface of the one all those years ago. I think he just doesn’t want to remember,

              It might be helpful for you to look back yourself and see if you can pinpoint times when your partner just wasn’t herself. When I found out about the long ago affair I suddenly knew why that had been such a painful time,

              During his EA fifteen years later I had some of those same feelings that something was very wrong, but I just did not know what it was. I didn’t recognize what was going on. I just didn’t think he was capable.

              You might find some answers by looking back at how things were between you in the past. I don’t know if that helps at all

          • What Do you Do When... February 24, 2018 at 8:02 pm #

            OBSTACLE 1
            I guess I’m still in shock that my best friend in the whole world could do this. Don’t get me wrong, the affairs are suck but the deceit, the planning, the cover-up, the blame game, the betrayal all hurts horribly. (as I’m sure you know).

            OBSTACLE 2
            While she is very sorrowful, she is unempathetic. I would even say she is sympathetic but has a very hard time understanding things from my perspective. I have to spoon feed her my POV which she then has an epiphany and will say something like “that’s what I feel but didn’t know how to say it.” So as time goes by she will pretty much repeat what I said but I’m not sure she is feeling what I said.

            OBSTACLE 3
            I am emotionally void right now. I don’t feel anything. (I’ve lost respect)

            OBSTACLE 4
            When I go through a cycle where I start asking questions that she can’t remember she shuts down (not mean or defiant). She starts crying and making me feel like I’m going to cause her another mental breakdown. She gets very depressed when she sees where we are and I often end up doing the consoling. Inevitably I go into caveman status because I can’t carry her and my emotional weight at the same time. Then (get this) she starts to feel lonely and rejected. Our MC has given us some tools for this cycle but at this rate, we are talking years to get to full disclosure and healing. (Unless I can accept the big picture and move on without the details.)

            • Sarah P. February 24, 2018 at 11:47 pm #

              Hi What Do You Do When,
              Did you see my earlier comment about her family of origin. Just from your description you are describing someone with an attachment disorder.

              The affair here is a symptom of a more profound problem and it has to do with how she feels and the stories she tells herself. I can also see that an A is a way to self medicate when feeling down. While most people would understand that taking cocaine while they are depressed is self medicating, very few people understand that an affair is also a form of self medicating.

              What happened to her as a kid? What diagnosis did she get when hospitalized? We need to understand the root of this because the affair is a symptom of an emotional disease such as depression or anxiety. But even those are symptoms that point to something deeper. That’s how I feel.

              I cannot stress enough that this A has and had nothing to do with you. Still, that doesn’t make it feel less personal or take the hurt away.


              • What Do you Do When... March 4, 2018 at 7:59 pm #

                Hey Sarah,
                I totally missed this amongst the sea of responses. She has dealt with some childhood abuse. (mental sexual. non-physical). She made some very poor moral decisions in her late teens early twenties. (which she kept secret till now) She was diagnosed with BP while admitted to the hospital. She dropped all this and MORE on me in the midst of her breakdown.

                • Sarah P. March 4, 2018 at 11:55 pm #

                  Hi What Do You Do When,

                  Well, I don’t want you to lose hope here, but your wife is really going to need to have good professional help and good medication.

                  When you say BP do you mean borderline personality disorder or bipolar disorder?

                  If it’s bipolar disorder that can explain the affairs. People are prone to affairs during manic phases. People with bipolar disorder need to find the right medication for them and take it for the rest of their lives.

                  If it’s borderline personality disorder, that will be tricky.

                  But, most of all, emotional and sexual abuse will explain a lot of your wife’s behavior and I am so sorry she had to go through it. Sexual abuse is akin to “soul murder.” That is what one of my mentor’s told me and this mentor had been treating people for over 30 years. This mentor said that sexual abuse as a child is really the most difficult thing to get over from a psychological perspective. It shapes a person’s life and outlook.

                  Many people have been sexually abused as children, both men and women, and it is a tragedy. If I could wave a wand and make something terrible in this world go away forever, it would be the sexual abuse of children.

                  I have not been a victim, but know many who have. It really is soul murder, there is no way around it. It shapes every aspect of a person, how they live their life, and their view of themselves. It is the most evil thing (besides murder) that can be done to a child. It is under-reported too. Here are some statistics I got from the internet and they are sobering:

                  -1 out of every 4 girls is sexually abused
                  -1 out of every 6 boys is sexually abused
                  -1 in 5 children are solicited sexually while on the internet.
                  -Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under.
                  -The median age for reported child abuse is 9 years old.
                  -85% of child abuse victims never report their abuse.
                  -Nearly 50% of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are children under 12.
                  -More than 90% of abusers are people children know, love and trust.
                  -30-40% of victims are abused by a family member.
                  -50% are abused by someone outside of the family whom they know and trust.
                  -Evidence that a child has been sexually abused is not always obvious, and many children do not report that they have been abused.
                  -Young victims may not recognize their victimization as sexual abuse.
                  -Nearly 70% of child sex offenders have between 1 and 9 victims…at least 20% have 10 to 40 victims.
                  -An average serial child molester may have as many as 400 victims in his lifetime.
                  -Nearly 50% of women in prison state that they were abused as children.

                  So, that is really what you are up against, in my opinion. Yes, she had affairs, but it was not about you or an affair. I can guess that whomever she had the affair with used some kind of grooming method that felt familiar. People go with what is familiar, even if something as extreme and as hurtful as walking on hot coals is familiar.

                  Your wife was acting out. And I am sure the picture is becoming more clear by the day and you learn more.

                  I would like for your wife to read some of the information on the RAINN website:


                  They also have people to talk to about sexual assault, past or present.

                  I believe sexual assault is the root of it all and what has caused the affair and the breakdowns.

                  You have a chance to be her knight in shining armor by rescuing her from her past– by helping her heal. Then, after she is healed there is no man who will ever hold a candle to you again.

                  It was never about you. That does nothing to erase your pain and the sense of deep betrayal. But, perhaps it can help you reframe the situation and also cause you to take concrete action where you are involved in helping your wife get the professional help she needs and addressing the sexual abuse and getting through it.

                  Many blessings to you and your wife,

            • Hopeful February 27, 2018 at 10:25 pm #

              I think all of those feelings are normal for what we are going through. It is so hard. I can relate to all of those. I think more work individually and as a coupe is needed if you are both committed. And after the first year I was very specific with my husband what I needed or wanted. I mean super direct. And I do think the weekly meeting was a big help
              With not getting overly emotional. My husband was always defensive and good with his words. I would break down and cry. We both worked on this but the weekly meeting made a huge difference. When i was in therapy my therapist and i would talk through so much and that would help creat framework for whet I wanted to address for each week.

    • What Do you Do When... February 25, 2018 at 2:52 pm #

      WOW! That eerily similar. (right down to the not being able to give timelines) Unfortunately, the CS doesn’t get how something as simple as a date can give you insight as to where and what was going on during that period. They are like markers that help guide the healing process. I read somewhere that when it comes to an A; everyone else (including the AP) has more information than the BS. That’s kind of painful as well; that somewhere out there is some guy(s) that know more about the affair(s) than even me.

      • Strengthrequired February 26, 2018 at 4:41 pm #

        Wdydw – im sorry for all you are going throug. My ch affair started as far as I know back at the end of 2011. My husband hash an affair and even became engaged to his cousin while he was overseas on a holiday. All the while I was at home taking care of our children, and me not having a clue what was going on.
        I thought we were OK, I had no clue. Yet I have trouble with the fact that his family knew, I was painted out to be such a terrible wife and mother to anyone that would listen, that is after 20 years of marriage and six kids later mind you.
        His love interest, I call “cousin it” or “cousin scraggly” was going through a divorce with her husband and decided that my husband was her ticket to a lifestyle she wanted to maintain. Someone that would help her with her children and bills etc.
        My husband fell for her damsel in distress talk, and felt he needed to help her, he felt he had to look after her, how nice of him.
        Yet I loved him, and knowing he was going through a midlife crisis, I stayed. It hasn’t been easy, and it took a long time for him to stop seeing her, even now I wonder if that’s true.
        I hate knowing that others know more about his affair than what he tells me, I hate the lies that were told, I hate that he put us through this.
        I don’t even think if he was seeing her still, or even someone else for that matter, that his family would even mention it. It makes you feel pretty stupid and insignificant.
        I have seen positive changes in my ch, but at times I think the damage is already done, due to his lies and betrayal.
        He was my best friend, the Love of my life, and due to everything, all the trauma, I eventually emotionally detached myself from him. I was protecting myself from anymore hurt, after all he had already caused so much pain and heart ache. Yet it’s strange, me detaching just seemed to happen, seems as though lack of trust has helped along the way.
        I want to love him like I used to, but I have detached emotionally, that deep love part of me I had for him, that I struggle trying to give that love back like I used to.
        I know I love him, but because I loved him so much, he was able to hurt me more than anyone ever could.
        I do take each day as it comes, and honestly there are days where I still struggle with my decision to stay, I think these days are the hardest, because I know I don’t want to leave him, because I really do love him, I just beat myself up about not being able to be like I used to be with him. I am hoping that one day, I will feel safe enough and loved enough to give completely again.
        The gift of affairs that just keep on giving.
        I do hope all works out the best for you.

        • Falling Ash March 5, 2018 at 3:22 am #

          I feel exactly the same SR. Emotionally detaching is the only way I have saved my sanity. I really miss that deep love that I felt for my OH. I hope one day it just might return, but 4 years from DDay it hasn’t yet. I truly believe he killed it by his actions, though I hope otherwise. He is doing everything right and does everything in his power to show me every day that he loves me, but I still feel numb inside. I am still grieving for my lost love, the one his lies and deceit destroyed.

          I struggle every day with my decision to stay. I feel it is a decision I remake every day of my life. One day it may be a different decision. Who knows?

          • TheFirstWife March 5, 2018 at 8:38 am #

            I understand how you feel.

            I think what changed my outlook was knowing that at any time I can leave. My children are older so that is no longer an issue or “reason” I need to consider.

            I no longer feel trapped or stuck. Knowing I have freedom of choice is very freeing.

            But it only happened in the last year or so that I felt this way.

      • John February 26, 2018 at 6:05 pm #

        The changing timeline has slowed recovery for sure. Right when it feels like I’ve got a sense of what was happening in our lives/marriage during the affair, it changes by 6 months and I get to start over trying to remember details from 10 years ago. I mean, how could you not remember when you had your affair??? I mean, it’s should be a significant life event, right? Shouldn’t you at least be able to remember the year and season? I just don’t get how it can’t be burned into her memory. If it wasn’t a big deal to her then that gives insight as to how much (or little) respect she has/had for our marriage. I totally get why they want to forget what they did but I don’t see how you could actually not remember. I think that there’s a difference between not being able to remember and not wanting to.

        I’ve started a list of questions that I want her to answer and told her that we need to sit down next week. I showed her the list over the weekend but told her it will undoubtedly grow in the next week and in no way implies that there won’t be more questions in the future. I’ve found that writing the questions on paper instead of me asking them allows her to answer more freely since my emotions can’t be heard in the questions when she reads them. Just a thought that you may want to try.

        • TheFirstWife February 26, 2018 at 6:49 pm #

          I also think IDK and I forgot are answers that don’t help either.

        • TryingHard February 26, 2018 at 7:30 pm #

          John— writing the questions down is excellent excellent advice. I’ve given that advice many times myself

        • Hopeful February 27, 2018 at 10:20 pm #

          John, I totally agree with writing questions down. I think removing as much emotions as possible can help this process. We set a meeting time once a week to talk. The rest of the week we focused on us and the kids.

          I will say I felt like it was crazy how can you not know what year you started an affair. Well my husband described it as a nightmare and something he would not want to remember or celebrate. He said it was horrific. Crazy he kept the affairs going. He said that he felt like there was no hope and he destroyed everything so nothing mattered. It is all hard for me
          To comrehend.

          In the end you need to decide what you need to know. I worked with my therapist and at a certain point we talked through if it would really help knowing any more
          Details. The focus became what did these affairs mean, why, etc instead of the details. Also I was advised you cannot unhear the details. I did want to know how did you communicate, std check was mandatory. But what really was a focus was my expectations as far as contact etc but then also what I wanted from my husband and could be be that person.

        • QueSeraMate February 28, 2018 at 9:49 am #

          Hello, I’m new on here. Going through EA (she denies PA), and is barely past the point of admitting what she did was really wrong… claims “… we were “just friends””…

          However, would any of you be willing to share the types of questions you wrote down? I’m definitely doing this because discussion goes nowhere… amnesia and it was only last summer, around late June when I confronted about 200+ phone calls, some late night and wee morning hours, some up to 4 hours in length… and the guy lived only 25 minute drive away. I can only imagine what happened when I was out of town twice for 5 to 7 days each. There is always more to the story and I’m fairly confident it went further than EA… just my gut instinct from her facial expressions, etc… and how she treated me during this time; tho she lied and deceived me to cover the tracks. I moved out one day unannounced, drove off before she returned home from work which was a real shock for her and started the process of her moving from blaming me for the break down, to accepting she was wrong for having a “secret friendship”. I believe she is still not telling the truth, and I’m having difficulty imagining how long I give before finally throwing in the towel. We’ve been married only a few years and my income is pretty good and I’m looking at the future and saying… “my liability grows exponentially each passing year” if you get my drift… please don’t crucify me if that sounds wrong; it’s just reality of the situation and now I’m worried about $$$ motivations and getting taken advantage of. I have worked my entire life to get over being “a people pleaser” due to my own upbringing, etc…

          There’s a lot more to our story (like a period of intense financial hardship when my employer was acquired and my org divested… but that’s over recently and she is “loving again”)… and when I’m more free in the next day or so will place more detail on here. Would cherish inputs from different EA/PA bloggers.

          This blog is very helpful. Long story short I’ve moved from being emotionally devastated to “cold as a stone” and honestly can take it or leave it on most days. I do still love her (down deep I think) and care for her and 2 step daughters (grade school age) from previous marriage. They call me daddy and are happy when I return to visit; I moved out a couple months ago to separate due to what I consider unhealthy communication patterns developing; i.e.
          would devolve into blame, criticism, etc… (staying with family member only few hours away). I have returned for a week or two at a time and it’s been very civil and discussions were better, but questions I have go largely unanswered… apologies are made,,, but not with the kind of sorrow or regret I’d expect. My W is also a person who never cries (even when her father passed away). She shows very little empathy; one time, 4 or 5 months ago, I heard her say how she was sorry for the pain she’s caused, but she went on after that to say I just needed to get over it and that it wasn’t fair to expect her to be sorry day in day out over a “ill advised secret friend”…

          Like I said, there’s more to share; next time will have more detail and chronology. But the lies and deceit are horrible… along with the EA and likely PA… .it all sucks. However, I’m not feeling emotional pain, in fact, when apart I’m just fine. When I visit, initially there is the “miss you emotional and physical attraction” but then a couple days later I feel emotionally dragged down. Then sense of freedom and relief when I leave again, coupled with nagging questions.

          For the record I have chosen to forgive her and don’t feel abject hatred or spiteful or any of that stuff, even toward the guy, whom I met on 2 occasions. That being said, I’ve made it clear I am gone if I learn about him, or another… this is it and I’m not even sure. She is preparing for us to move back in together after I move to locale of new position.

          • Hopeful February 28, 2018 at 1:22 pm #

            So sorry you are here with all of us. I started out wanting to know every single detail. How many times did you see each other, how many times did you had sex, did you buy her gifts, I could go on and on. My husband had two sporadic affairs over 10 years and he just could not recall
            Details. He still canny tell me what year one affair began. He has an idea between three years and knows it was fall. What i worked through with my therapist was at a certain point if he met her 10 times of 15 times had sex 3 or 10 times what was the difference. My therapist challenged me if there were deal breaker questions. I personally did a lot of thinking. And we tackled the std, i wanted to know if these women met my kids, had been to our house, did he buy them gifts, did they make plans for the future, did they go on vacation together, did he love either of them… then my questions shifted to why, how did this happen, did you always cheat or what changed.

            What i talked about on another comment was we set one time a week to talk. On a daily basis I would write. Some days it would be words, questions, paragraphs. Etc. before we would talk I would look back and it was able to see patterns that helped me understand where I was having difficulty still or needed more. That would direct our talk. My husband worked and has gotten to a point where he is not defensive and I worked hard to not become overly emotional.

            A few months after dday 1 I did write him a letter. I knew I was not getting The full story. I told him how i felt both hurt yet hopeful and committed to trying to make it work. I also used a line that stuck with him and told him to slap me with the truth instead of kissing me with a lie. He opened up about some critical pieces of his affair. Nothing earth shattering but it validated that I knew there was more than he was telling me.

            I would say for us it took the entire first year or constant work to get me to the point of not being paralyzed by fear and raw emotions. Then what happened next was interesting he started to open up and I saw how much damage he did to himself. I never expected that. We are almost at three years past dday and where we are is really shocking. He had a major transformation but honestly he has become even more aware and appreciative of me/us and what we have together. Many days I feel like it is too good to me true and I tell him that.

            Each of us had to find our path. It takes so much work. I have found my husband’s work to make me want to stay with him more. He is not perfect at all but he has vowed to life is like with total transparency and authenticity. And it shows in all he does. He has told me he has never been happier. He used to live his life only for himself in a selfish way. Now he thinks of me and his kids and h said it is so rewarding.

          • Sarah P. March 1, 2018 at 12:52 am #

            Hi QueSeraMate,


            I am so sorry about what you are going through. But there is one important thing I would like for you to do. I am picking up strong narcissistic behavior and thinking coming from the description of your wife. Have you read my last article on narcissism? It was about 2 articles ago. I would like for you to read it and see if there are any narcissistic traits in your wife based on the article. If your wife has narcissistic traits, it affects healing.


            • What Do you Do When... March 4, 2018 at 8:02 pm #

              Sarah P.
              That Narcissist article was awesome! You are a great writer!

              • Sarah P. March 4, 2018 at 11:59 pm #

                Thank you, What Do You Do When. My blog posts are always written from the bottom of my heart and this is a Calling for me with a capital “C.” My agenda? To make a dent in the pain that others are going through so that they don’t have to walk through this alone the way I did way back when. The pain that I went through had one good benefit though– it made me realize that the highest honor in life is to serve others in ways that are helpful. This is the way I have chosen to serve.

                Many blessings,

  28. TheFirstWife February 25, 2018 at 6:56 am #

    I think that finding out your spouse cheated is a trauma whether you find out immediately or years later.

    If you are blindsided by the whole thing it is the same trauma in both cases – except you add another layer when you find out years later.

    You feel stupid for not knowing an A was going on. You feel all the same feelings.

    And in so many cases – you get the same IDK answers – whether the A was years ago or days ago.

    My H had a 4 year EA in the 90s. Before texts and all that. He denied it all. Gaslighting and stonewalling 100%. Refused to discuss. It finally ended and then swept under the rug. Never mentioned again.

    Then 15 years later he has another EA but now wants a D. Typical mid life crisis A. But I find out from current OW that he admitted to her about the first EA. He knew it was wrong and crossed the line.

    I then learned how arrogant and selfish my H really was. How he could see my pain from EA#1 and just not care.

    Finding out years later made me just want to D him b/c he knew all along what he did was wrong. That infuriated me!

    But in the end it was the fact that he admitted it to someone else and not me that hurt the most.

    And I lost all respect for him unfortunately. And I now believe there were more flirtations and EAs I have no idea occurred. Or maybe even As. Because he travelled extensively for his job he had millions of opportunities.

    He denies any other women or EAs. There were only two. The two I know.

    But for my own sanity I moved away from it all b/c he is not that person anymore. I live in the present the best I can. He makes amends every day.

    But it certainly rocks your foundation. And puts you in a place where you never trust 💯% again.

  29. TryingHard February 25, 2018 at 10:09 am #

    I understand the frustrations and that frustration was discussed with my therapist a lot.

    She explained it this way that helped me to finally get it. She explained it was as if my h was on a speeding train for many years. A lot happened on that train and just as he jumped off i was jumping on.

    Yes i blamed myself, wrongly, for being naive. How could i not know what was going on? Because i was coming from a place of implicit trust as i assumed he was since he promised to forsake all others. Why would i not trust him? That’s not naive that’s living your life not being paranoid. Who wants to be that guy/girl accusing their spouse of stuff they aren’t doing? I had no signs either. If i did i chalked it up to my imagination.

    I believe i also blamed my stupidity at not knowing as a frustration of not being in control. I had to come to realize I’m not in control of anything or anyone but myself. I can live my life in total paranoia wondering if he will do it again or i can place that responsibility right where it belongs, on him to police his own self and own his own responsibility for his moral compass not me.

    Yep i looked at him, still do at times, and wondered who the hell is this person I’m married to, that I’ve spent the last 40 years with? I’ve come to the conclusion that no one really really KNOWS anyone. People snap, they change their minds, they make very bad decisions/choices every single day. Some we find out about some We don’t. I’ve learned to assume nothing when it comes to human nature.

    You will never get all the answers you need. Sometimes i think they will answer a question just to shut us up. But i truly believe they have forgotten because they want to forget. They are off that speeding train and they don’t want to remember the nightmare they created for themselves.

    It’s hard to accept the fact that people we love and respect have feet of clay.

  30. Stephanie February 25, 2018 at 5:19 pm #

    Its all so humiliating!!

    • TheFirstWife February 25, 2018 at 9:08 pm #

      I used to think like that but the more I thought about it, the more I came to the point that the CS should be the one who is humiliated. Because they have to look in the mirror and live with the shame and regret (if they have it) that they caused.

      They have to live with the idea that they caused this pain to someone they love.

      They have to watch their spouse or SO cry and crumble to the floor and be emotionally devastated.

      So yes the CS is the one who is humiliated.

      I used to think people are going to know and say things about me. Let them. Half of my friends are D due to an A in the marriage. I never felt people were less than supportive but maybe that is just my circle of friends and family.

      In fact my family called me and begged me to give him a second chance. That is how much they loved him – he was a good person most of our years together.

      But please – no BS should be humiliated or shamed. It is the CS who should be.

      • Hopeful February 27, 2018 at 10:30 pm #

        Yes!!! I felt shame and humiliation but then at a certain point I was like no way. This is all his doing and he has said so too. He is the one that had to live with these actions. And honestly it is sad that he did this to himself and thought so little of himself. That is why for me forgiveness was easy this is about him and his issues. I have done nothing wrong and have not had one night of missed sleep based on my actions. I am proud of who I am and how I have handled all of this with grace and dignity for myself, him and our family.

    • TryingHard February 25, 2018 at 9:25 pm #

      Stephanie- yes it can be very humiliating. And if i ruminate too much i go back to feeling humiliated. But i won’t give anyone that kind of power. I know who i am and what i am. I know I’m not perfect never intended or wanted to be. But i will be damned if i let someone’s bad behavior define who i am.

      Let that humiliation go and hold your head up high. You’ve done nothing to be humiliated about. Humiliation belongs in the cheater not you. I actually feel embarrassed for my h. I know there are people who have a hard time understanding why he did what he did and seemingly to me. Well as far as I’m concerned he humiliated him self and people can wonder what they choose to.

    • What Do you Do When... March 4, 2018 at 8:03 pm #

      Yes, it is!!

      • TryingHard March 4, 2018 at 8:08 pm #

        Hi Husband—there’s a great YouTuber that talks about Covert Narcissism. His name is Steve Grannon Spartan Life Coach. His video on 20 signs you’re with a covert narcissist is very good. But he has many videos in there that may, or may not resound with you. maybe just give it a try and see what you learn?

        • What Do you Do When... March 5, 2018 at 6:43 pm #

          Thank you. Will check it out.

  31. TryingHard February 26, 2018 at 3:24 pm #

    Stength–Where have you been?!?!?!? I’ve missed you 🙁 Gosh I hope you are doing ok. I think about you all the time and wonder. Yes yes yes I would hug you my dearest girl 🙂 I was just trying to be funny, lighten things up so to speak.

    • Strengthrequired February 26, 2018 at 7:08 pm #

      Th, hi dear friend, I am ok, still taking day by day, hoping that one day I can feel towards my ch like I used to. I emotionally detached from him, but it wasn’t deliberate, I think the lack of trust I feel caused it. I love him, still so very much and I have no intention on leaving him, yet I hate how I feel like I can’t bring myself to give all of myself like I used to.
      He has the power to hurt me more than anyone, and he has hurt me more than anyone, so it sucks that self preservation has kicked in well and truly.
      hopefully one day I will feel safe enough to break down this wall I have built up, when it comes to him.
      At the end of last year, my ch mother passed away unexpectedly, two days later my mother passed away. I think we both are still in disbelief, that they are no longer around.
      I was hoping this year would be a better year, but my ch had to go back overseas to sort out his mothers belongings, and guess what, he stayed at his scraggittys parents place.
      I was hoping he wouldn’t go near them, and I asked him not too, yet he went further and stayed with them. That has sent me back a few steps, especially considering they played a part in hurting me, and having him get engaged to their daughter all those years ago.
      It’s like everything carries on like normal, that it doesn’t matter that they did what they did, they are still family, and the are good people.
      Well I’m sorry, I don’t feel like they are good people, I don’t even think they should be treated as if they did nothing. So I am still reeling from that. Can’t seem to get past it. Felt like another betrayal.
      Yet I keep taking day by day, and still have those days where I am of two minds, whether to stay or go.
      If I had known that I would still be feeling how I am now after all those years that have passed since dday, I’m not so sure I would have stayed. It is so draining, it is so hard to keep on trying and hoping that one day I will feel like I can put this brick wall down again and love Completely again, because I miss loving him completely, but I know all too well, where loving him completely and whole heartedly got me last time, up shit creep without a paddle, and completely and utterly broken inside.
      Sometimes I wonder if he can see the pain in my eyes, leading towards my soul when he looks at me.
      I know my oldest son does, he often tells me, that he sees sadness in me. I tell him it’s not true, I am fine, I am happy, but he doesn’t believe me.

      How is everything going with you and your ch ? Are you ok? I hope you are feeling better than I do?


      • Stephanie February 28, 2018 at 6:36 am #

        To strength required,
        Not sure how far you are from your d day.
        I am an year and half from d day and i can say i never thought it would get better but it has . Its been slow going . Many times i have wanted to throw the towel in. My husband has been extremely patient. I still ask questions and we talk alot . It will never be the same . We have a new normal. My security has been seriously compromised. My one big hurdle is feeling, he doesnt love me fir i am when it comes to my phyical body. I am in shape only 10 lbs from our wedding, marathon runner bla bla bla. but i am about to turn 51 and his AP was only 36 and extremely fit. So my self esteem has been at an all time low. I am working on myself to feel better about myself . Hoping that will help my self esteem.
        Be patient , stay in the present , think about whats at risk, and dont BE HARD ON YOURSELF! I wish yu well!

        • TheFirstWife February 28, 2018 at 2:05 pm #

          Stephanie. You Touch on another interesting aspect regarding affairs. The fact that the betrayed spouse so often compare his themselves physically to the affair partner is something that the cheating spouse never takes into consideration.

          I think that it is hard to let those images go and no matter what the cheating spouse says or does in the future, those thoughts linger for the betrayed spouse.

          The other woman that my husband had his last affair with was so covered in tattoos that I never once felt I needed to compare myself. If that’s what he wants he will have to find that somewhere else.

          What I find funny is the fact that he thought she would fit in with his corporate role – hahahaha. last I heard she even admitted they were unsightly and she had too many and they could not be covered up in many areas due to their location (and the fact her boobs hung out of her clothes lol).

          Sorry you feel that way. I wish it didn’t have to be like that. The OW in his A was 20 years Younger than him. Like that would last.

          • Shifting Impressions February 28, 2018 at 2:27 pm #

            Stephanie and TFW
            That is interesting. In my case the other woman was my age or even a few years older….I’m not sure. She looked perfect….slim, beautifully dressed and ever so wonderful…etc.

            You know what….I simply don’t care. She is a liar and cheater. She is married and pretended to care about me. Completely two faced. What’s to be jealous of. On the other hand I am loyal and honest. The Cheating Spouses need to win us back….not the other way around.

            When one is betrayed it is very easy feel unloved and not enough. But you know what….they are the ones that behaved in a “less than” behavior not us.

            Maybe you can tell that this hits a hot button for me.

            • Stephanie March 1, 2018 at 8:57 am #

              To shifting impressions
              Thank you for your kind words . I am not jealous of her it has made me feel insecure with him. I feel bad about myself. He has fought for me . He has stepped up . He says he loves my body etc. but i dont believe him. I dont feel good about myself . so for myself i am trying to be healthier to see if that helps my insecurity and self esteem .
              I do feel myself on the verge of turning another corner. We are definitely making progress but i remind myself everyday what i have been through and he can not to be trusted 100%.

              • Shifting Impressions March 1, 2018 at 6:54 pm #

                It’s so good to hear that you are making progress. But trust does take a long time to return. It’s been just over four years for me and the trust factor is much better but not what it used to be.

                Take care of you and remember….YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

                • Stephanie March 2, 2018 at 3:29 am #

                  To shifting impressions

                  Thank you

          • What Do you Do When... March 4, 2018 at 8:20 pm #

            This is the Husband again. One of my wife’s affairs was with a pro athlete. He wasn’t in better shape than me (probably 100lbs more), but obviously very wealthy. It’s hard to move forward when you can flip on the TV on any given Sunday and get triggered. I can’t help but feel anything but less even though I know it’s not my fault. You cant help but compare. She says that she was NOT physically attracted to him but that he wooed her and was enamored by his status and attention to her. That’s a punch in the gut for sure.

  32. TryingHard February 26, 2018 at 3:24 pm #

    You EG, SI, Tired, Hopeful, Doug, Linda…. and many many more. Hugs for everyone!!!

    • Strengthrequired February 26, 2018 at 7:16 pm #

      Yes I will hug them all too.
      Hugs back to you Th.
      I often think of you, and how you are.
      Do you still so sad inside yourself? I still have that ache within me, even though I go days and weeks, even months without much of a problem, I still have my down days and all the hurt comes rushing back.

    • Shifting Impressions February 27, 2018 at 11:31 am #

      Trying Hard
      I’ll take that hug…..

  33. What do you do when... February 27, 2018 at 7:07 pm #

    Strength Required,
    Wow. 😞 Your story resonates with me. I to am also in a season where life goes on but there is just no seasoning(flavor). I love my wife but it has changed. I want her to be happy. I would still donate a body organ if she needed it. I would still help and support her. However I just don’t have the trust to give my whole heart. I’ve lost that romantic, intimate kind of love … I PRAY it comes back one day. Is this something that eventually comes back magically or do you just find a new normal. I hear all these stories of how marriages can be better after an A. I just don’t see how that’s possible. Yes, we are communicating better, yes we are more honest, yes we listen better; but I still have that sinking, punch in the gut, hopeless feeling.

    The Husband

    • Hopeful February 28, 2018 at 9:45 am #

      For me/us the idea and concept of trust was something that was lost and would be the very end goal. I would say for the first 1-2 years I had little to no trust. It was very hard. On so many levels my husband broke that. He saw it as his goal to work every day for me to even consider trusting him again. The first step was setting very specific boundaries. We even had set when he would call me, text me on a daily basis. He would tell me his daily plans and if any deviation he had to contact me immediately. And of course related to the ow zero contact and if they contacted him then we had a plan in place that he followed. Access to all devices, accounts, banks, credit cards etc at any time. We made all decisions together. That was even if he wanted to play golf. And we spent almost all of our non work time together to really build a quality connection. I think it was in the Gottman books that really helped me see this. Many focus on relationships vs just the affair. I also love the article Masters of love in the Atlantic by Gottman. My husband found it at work and brought it home for me to read. He really connected to it and still talks about it. I think something like an article was more manageable than a book. He said reading a book would make him spiral and he could not get through a chapter. And this is someone who already knows all of this stuff.

      I will say I will never feel exactly the same trust as before dday. But in the end that was false and a fantasy with someone lying to me every day for over 10 years. My husband told me he probably was not ready to get married when we did. Even though he pushed for it. He had been really honest and told me as much as he can and we have gotten away from the details to focus on bigger topics. All I can say is he has had a second chance, appreciates it every day and works so hard to earn my trust. I also will say I do not think trust is something that is granted and then no worries. It is more like a living organism that needs to be taken care of. Like i said earlier love is a verb and it requires action. I have come to understand at least for us these affairs will be part of our story and they will define us. However I am at the point where I see the good. It has brought us closer together than I ever imagined. My husband is a changed person. He is not perfect and I do not claim to be. But I can see the changes he has made and most of all his actions. He impresses me every day with how I watch him live his lIfe. I am at the point now where I understand anything could happen but that is about him. As long as I see the work being put in and our boundaries being respected I cannot ask for more. It is all possible with lots of work and dedication.

      • What Do you Do When... February 28, 2018 at 4:33 pm #

        Hopeful, Thank you for being real, your wisdom and encouragement. its great to hear from someone who is further along in this process. 🙂

        • Hopeful March 1, 2018 at 4:16 pm #

          Keep in mind whatever happens in the end you have remained true to yourself. You cannot make anyone change. You can put in a lot of hard work, go about it with grace and positivity. I decided early on I would do what i could and also try to be as positive as I could. And if not i would take the time to think about it so I could address what was bothering me. You are speaking very thoughtfully here in here in your posts and it will pay off for you.

  34. TryingHard February 28, 2018 at 10:07 am #

    Hopeful you have written some very great comments. I always get a lot when you contribute. Thank you so much for being so eloquent and encouraging.

    • Hopeful February 28, 2018 at 1:24 pm #

      TH thanks so much that means a lot. I hate we are all going through this but helping each other is a wonderful benefit. For me the people on here who provided hope and positivity were so helpful. We all get it!! So nice to hear me too!

  35. Tired March 27, 2018 at 12:24 pm #

    Hi everyone. Well we have just come back from a trip together.

    One night when we were there I finally had enough of my husband sweeping things under the carpet. I demanded that he tell me the truth once and for all. I pressed and pressed until I got everything out of him. This took two days.

    And now that it is all out, all I am thinking is why the HELL didn’t he just tell me the whole truth two years ago!! What I have confabulated in my imagination was far worse than the truth.

    This is just one example. Imagine this…I knew he was still in contact with his affair partner although he denied it. I had a gut feeling that there was no longer any type of affair, but that she was still contacting him and he was responding. He has admitted that but only long after I knew she was completely out of our lives. And there were still unanswered questions that kept bugging me.

    One example of new information is this: He came home late one night and made an excuse that there was ‘road work.” One, I am not stupid, and two, even if there was it would not have taken two hours for a 45 minute drive, I drive the same road every day. And there is always road work. It never takes 2 hours. Problem two was that he had scratched his car that night. There was no visible damage and I probably would not have known if he had not said anything, but he must have been feeling guilty. His story just did not add up. He said he just rushed out of a car space and scratched it…but it was a brand new car and he was very precious with it. I knew he would not be so careless. And he was so anxious to tell me about the damage…feeling guilty that I might notice it and question him.

    Well, the truth that came out is that the OW had come to his new workplace, which he had stupidly told her about because she had convinced him she just wanted to be friends. When he came out after work she was waiting in the car park. He saw her in her car and tried to avoid her and leave but she rushed up to the window to try to stop him and he scraped his car on a post trying to leave. She was crying and begging. He got out of the car and told her that it was so inappropriate that he was even standing in the carpark with her because he was married and that he was not going to ever contact her again and that she should not contact him either. Before this revelation all I knew was that she kept leaving silly notes on his car. There were still gaps that did not make sense.

    While on this trip I also observed my husband around his family (I had never met them before) and seeing that opened my eyes a lot about who he is and why he behaved that way. They (and he) are all people who never want to offend anyone and tip toe around not saying what they really mean. There is also a lot of guilt. So if they don’t want to do something they will make up an excuse rather than just saying there are other plans. It is very hard to understand from a western perspective but now I understand why it was so hard to tell her bluntly to go away until he realised she was never going to give up. Especially as he had convinced himself that he had misled her after all her ‘help.’

    It might seem like I am rambling, but what I have learned from all this is that my gut feeling is absolutely ALWAYS right. I felt at the time of the car incident that there was not an affair but that they were still in contact and that there was something fishy about the car scratches. That was true. Later, when he did put his foot down I knew immediately that he had ended all contact, even though nothing was said in words.

    At the end of our conversation I was just like ‘why on earth didn’t you just tell the truth this two years ago.’ I was dumb founded. The truth was not as bad as what I had been thinking! But in his mind he had told me that there was no contact and he was not going to admit that this was not true. I feel we have lost so much time.

    So if there is anyone reading this who is a wayward spouse…just tell the truth! Otherwise your wife/husband will be concocting all sorts of things in their head that may be far worse!!

  36. TheFirstWife March 27, 2018 at 1:16 pm #

    Tired. Sorry you are still fighting for the truth. It is maddening to say the least!!!

    I remember asking my H about a year after DDay how many times they got together. In 12 months he saw her 8 times.

    Only 8 times. I would have expected it was 8x a week. Not once a month or so.

    Same thing – what I conjured up was far worse than the actual events.

    If BS just told the truth it would be finished already. But instead they have a CYA mentality. 🤦‍♀️ SMH

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