will you ever be able to trust againThe following is an excerpt from our book “Journey to Trust”, which was taken in part from one of our Affair Recovery Group sessions on rebuilding trust after an affair with Marriage and Family Therapist Jeff Murrah.

By Linda

So You Feel That You Will Never Be Able to Trust Again…

I’ve communicated with a ton of people over the years via email, mentoring and blog comments, and it is not unusual for some of these people to have gone three, four, five years after an affair and they still have not come to a point where they feel they can trust their spouse.  And many feel that they don’t think that they can ever trust their spouse again.

What can they possibly do to get over that hurdle after so much time has passed?

When those situations happen, a lot of times it seems the couple has made the decision to continue the relationship and just maintain the peace rather than get honest.

For a lot of couples out there, maintaining peace in the home is a higher priority than honesty. I can understand that a lot of people don’t like conflict in the home, but if you’re going to have real intimacy that you can count on, you’re going to have to have the honesty.  It’s got to be a priority.

Many times when you compromise and you go ahead and you have this unspoken agreement, “Let’s not bring anything up, let’s just put it behind us,” it just sits there and smolders. Nothing is ever really settled.

See also  Trusting Yourself - Are Your Gut Instincts Extinct?

You have to face it…

Eventually you’re going to have to come back and face it, whether it’s the issues that triggered the affair or your fears that an affair could happen again or the uncertainty of just having some loose ends that were never tied up.

But it goes even further. In many of the cases where people have told us that they will never trust again, we hear such things as, “My spouse is doing all the right things.” “We’ve reconnected.” “We get along better than we have ever gotten along before.” “She/he’s trying as hard as she/he can.” And yet they still say, “But I just don’t think I can ever trust him/her again.”

Many times, part of what is happening is that the couple is just going through the motions and part of it is that they still have a barrier up and they’re still programming themselves to hide behind it. They have not let their wall down.

Often they are too afraid to tear down the wall. It’s more of a defense mechanism. “If I start trusting completely, then I won’t see the signs, I won’t let him take advantage of me again.” If they tell themselves, “I will never trust her again.” They feel that they are always watching, just in case.

This is understandable, but if you fall into this category then you’re literally faced with a choice.  You can either keep your spouse at arm’s length and play it safe, or you let them in and run the risk of being hurt.

See also  Recovery and Trust After an Affair – Trusting the Rope

You can do one or the other; you can’t do both

When you try to do both, all you do is put up a barrier that you never feel close with your spouse again – just because you want to play it safe.  That is a dangerous thing.

It’s one thing if there is a reason to be afraid (unsafe) – guns, choking, abuse, etc. – that’s a whole different ball game. But assuming it’s just a matter of emotional safety, then you have got to decide, “What’s more important, for me to feel safe or for us to have love?”

Yes, when you love someone you are taking a risk and letting them come back into your heart.  Much like inviting somebody into your home. Yeah, they may put their feet on the furniture, but that’s one of the risks that you take. The thing is, when they are there in the house, you have somebody to share things with.

The betrayed spouse should make a choice.  That’s as simple as it gets.

It’s not a pleasant thing for a lot of people, but those kinds of choices do have to be made.

For me this was a difficult concept to overcome

I felt that I was very naive before and I think that’s just my personality. It was my nature to trust most people. I wondered if that was a good trait to have.

After the affair, I thought that maybe I shouldn’t be so trusting or believe that everyone has good intentions. I basically put a wall up so I wouldn’t get hurt again, not just by Doug, but anyone else who tried to take advantage of my good nature and naivety.

See also  Coping With Infidelity: 9 Questions You May Struggle With

To trust someone again is a huge step and the fear of being hurt again is a big obstacle. But sometimes you just need to go through it and decide to do it. You can’t hold back. You’re either going to jump in with both feet, or you’re going to live your life always afraid.

I think it was very hard for me because of the trauma that I endured.  However, I came to the point where I said, “I’m going to do this. I’m going to trust myself again and I’m going to trust Doug.”

It’s understandable to want the promise that an affair is not going to happen again. I don’t think anyone can give you a 100% for sure promise it won’t happen.  But you can put everything in place to prevent it from happening again.

Affairs happen to some of the best families. Regardless of your religious beliefs, your amount of money, the position you have in society, coming from a good family – it can happen. Nothing is a sure thing.



    129 replies to "Will You Ever Be Able To Trust Again?"

    • exercisegrace

      How do we define “trust” versus setting new boundaries in a post-affair landscape? If we define trust as not stalking his office to make sure he is there, not sneaking into his phone or email, calling to check up on him throughout the day, etc. then yes, I trust my husband. I really do believe he has examined HIS issues that led him to make the choices he made. WE work hard not to let life completely obliterate us as a couple and we make more time for each other. He has fully and completely owned the fact he is responsible for his affair. It had nothing to do with me. So all those things play into elevating my level of trust. With that said, I am NOT nor will I ever be, comfortable with him going out to eat with a woman alone. I will never be ok with him traveling for business alone with a woman. These are boundaries he agreed to and has no issue with. Does that mean I don’t trust him?

      I find that I am more aware of how men speak to me, and how I speak to men. I am much quicker to notice flirtatious behavior in those around me. Particularly my married friends. What I once saw as harmless, I now see as a gateway behavior. Does that mean I don’t trust people? I don’t think so. I think I have a far better understanding of how fast one can start down that slippery slope. I try hard not to let this make me jaded towards people, but there is no denying it has impacted me and will continue to impact me for the rest of my life. If your house gets robbed, you will likely spend the rest of your life double checking the locks and windows. You will always make sure the alarm is on. It doesn’t make you paranoid perhaps, but it does make you more cautious. Not entirely a bad thing.

      • TryingHard

        Very well said EG!!!! I agree. I although I do from time to time randomly check the email and phone.

        • Falling Ash

          Me too, TH. But not often and obsessively like I used to. Trust is slowly (very slowly) being rebuilt, but I doubt it will ever be 100% as that is what allowed his affair to go on undetected for so long.

      • TheFirstWife

        You hit the nail on the head. This is all true for me too.

        I agree I used to see things as harmless fun and now I view things that guys say as crossing the line. And I immediately back off.

        It has taken 2 years but I am finally past the whole affair. FINALLY!

        I have a different attitude about my life after all this. As I have said previously I am good with him or without him. Sad to say but true. I love him but no longer put 100% of my energy into him. I put 100% of my energy and focus into me and my happiness.

        If they only realized how much of a toll the affair takes out of us or puts on us.

        And I do trust him but as previously stated, we are not stupid and will not be taken advantage of again.

        Rock on!

        • Liz

          I really wish I could get past my husband’s affair. Two years…. Good for you! 🙂
          It’s been 9 years, and I can’t seem to fully get past it. The strange part is, I do trust him, and he has done everything possible to make up for his terrible choices. I think the hardest part for me is that our relationship has really changed. I have a huge chip on my shoulder from everything that he did during the affair – how he treated me and our son, the verbal and emotional abuse from both him and OW, his insults, the “back and forth” game he played for months, etc….

          He made my life a living hell. I was a stay at home mom (that’s what he wanted) with a 6 yr. old…. helped him with his business (he was self-employed), cooked, cleaned, laundry, ALL yard work, errands, planning family events, all while living in a home that was under constant construction. Helped to remodel and decorate, redid the entire landscaping, you name it. He never ever had a problem with me doing this….. until he started screwing her. Next thing I knew, I was a terrible housekeeper (I am the one who’s actually tidy – he’s the total slob!), didn’t do anything right, needed to get a job, on and on.

          He used the fact that I didn’t have any income to control me. I knew I was in for big problems if I left as he had the ability to hide lots of his money. OW was helping him because she was the person paying him for jobs that he was doing at the time. Getting a decent amount of child support would have been a nightmare – and he knew it. He came home after work one day (he had been with her 1/2 the day) and got mad at me – telling me that if I divorced him, he would “starve me out”. This is the kind of evil that happens when people get into affairs. It’s the hateful, abusive things that were said and done that I just can’t get over. 🙁

          • TheFirstWife

            Hi Liz. Sorry for you what you had to endure.

            I had the same situation though my H did ask for divorce and was leaving me and children.

            I had post traumatic stress from it for a long time. Until I got my safety net. My own $ in my own name. Enough to last me in case it happens again. I changed all of his life insurance policies to me as owner and he is insured. He cannot make any changes to beneficiaries. Only I can.

            Have you seen a therapist or counselor? The therapist would say if there are unresolved issues then there is no closure. And that can lead to anger and resentment.

            Take a step back. Who is your H with? YOU!

            He realized his mistake and is making up for it. That says a lot.

            Counseling definitely helped me. I finally got rid of the last of my anger 2 months ago when I unleashed some things. It felt good and freeing.

            I wish I had some magic words. Remember your H’s affair was to medicate himself because of something in his life. They turn to women or drugs or alcohol when they have problems instead of talking or getting help. Not an excuse but an observation.

            So you as the betrayed have to decide if the affair is something you can live with. Maybe it is not. Not everyone can accept as cheating spouse.

            But I hope you can separate his behavior from you. He took his anger & frustration out on you. He was mean and evil. Same with my H. We are viewed as being somewhat in their “mother” role.

            I resent that. I refuse to do it.

            They act like spoiled brats during the affair. They are cheating yet blame us!!!

            Realizing they are temporarily insane and not themselves makes it easier to deal with.

            It was never about you. Unfortunately it happened in spite of you. And you saw a side of your H you hope to never see again.

            I hope you can let go of the anger and resentment the affair caused. He sounds like a decent person who chose to be a liar and Cheater. How sad.

            But if you get your power back in the relationship you will feel differently. For me I have it so if he does it again he will financially suffer, not me. It’s my subtle revenge LOL

      • Never Saw It Coming

        Even though this was written 4 years ago I feel the same. I’ve told my husband I can NEVER trust him 100% – NEVER. He has “assured” me he will never cheat again, that he learned his lesson, that he almost lost everything but I just can’t. Recently in a discussion he said that he kept telling himself when the affair was over everything was going to go to shit but yet he continued – when asked why he didn’t stop when he knew what was going to happen, when he knew what he was doing was wrong and why did he betray his family when he knew it was wrong — his answer “I didn’t have the will power to stop and I enjoyed it”! This is why I can never trust 100% again. I’ve also told him I have not forgiven him nor will I ever forgive him – he said that hurt him – DUH!!! Let’s talk about hurt – another subject for another time.

        • Anon


          Why do you think you cannot forgive him?

          I know it is very hard to do.

          Sometimes I think I have forgiven him completely and other times I wonder if I have.

          It is hard to forgive a betrayal like that because it is planned and intentional.

        • Shifting Impressions

          NSIC and Anon
          I definitely struggle with the forgiveness part as well and it has been five and half years. Sometimes I think I come close but I just can’t quite get there yet. My husband has shown remorse and done many things right but he has never truly asked me to forgive him….I wonder if perhaps that is part of the problem.

          I have stressed that I need his honesty rather than a blanket statement saying that he will never cheat again. Honesty if he is unhappy!! Honesty if he is tempted etc.

          • Never Saw It Coming

            Anon& Shifting,
            Just a little info:
            Emotional Affair: started Sept. 2014
            Physical Affair: started Feb. 2016 (one sided – she gave him blowjobs in the backseat of his car with no clean-up. She begged him to give her pleasure)
            I met her: October 15, 2015
            D-Day #1: October 1, 2016
            D-Day #2: December 21, 2016
            D-Day #3: February 16, 2017
            Started Counseling: September 2017

            I’ve told my husband I will never trust him 100% – never. He made a choice now he has to live with the consequences – no trust.
            Here are just a few reasons why I cannot forgive him:
            – he wouldn’t quit his job for 3-months because he thought they could be friends, then he sought advice from a different female friend as to whether or not he should quit.
            – he wanted to be with her the Valentines Day after D-day and not me.
            – I had major cervical surgery and after he brought me home from the hospital he left me alone for 30-45mins to go be with her, when I wasn’t even stable to even stand and walk to the bathroom. Everyday he had some reason to leave so he could go see her.
            – the week after my surgery he left me in the evening in the care of our daughters because “the walls were closing in on him because he was with me everyday the week before” so he could go out with the “group” every night – when it was just him & her.
            AND the biggest reason I can never forgive him …. since she was a co-worker (school bus drivers) and his BFF she went EVERYWHERE with us starting right after school was out in May – yes EVERYWHERE – and yes she was with us 7-days a week. On her husband’s nights off the 4 of us would go out. So now he works with her (saw her every morning & then they would go “talk” in the Sam’s parking lot between when her hubby was at work at 3pm, they clocked out at 4:30 and when I got home at 5:30); she joined his gym (she was with him M-F for 2 hours) and then she went wherever we did every evening- so that was another 3-4 hours. She even came over and had dinner with my daughters while attended meeting.s. He had the balls to parade her in front of me & our daughters EVERYDAY! After he dumped me after my surgery I started watching carefully. As time went on and the more time she spent with us it was become no more obvious to me he paid a lot of attention to her. In September 2016 at a car show she kept telling my hubby that I knew – hubby told her she was imagining it – you see I clammed up, didn’t talk at all and just observed. I knew but decided I had to wait and let them hang themselves- which the did Saturday, October 1, 2016 – a day I will never forget.
            These are just a couple of reasons. He just asked me a couple of weeks ago if I had forgiven him, I said no. He said “that hurts” – I looked at him and said “duh! welcome to my club”.

            • Shifting Impressions

              Your story is heartbreaking!!

              So where are you at now?? Are you getting support for you? Has he completely ended the affair? Does he show any true remorse? Does her husband know? Lots of questions, I know. But sometimes we have to ask ourselves the hard the questions. Questions such as “What do you want?”.

          • Never Saw It Coming

            D-day was Oct. 1st, 2016. I told her husband Oct. 5, 2016. I got a text from her asking if we “could talk”. I told her “you’ve already done your talking”. She was livid I told her husband – remember we were all “friends”. That whole 2016 summer she enlisted her sidekick fried Ed to try and help discreetly ruin our marriage. Everyone at the bus company knew they were involved but do you think anyone would drop me a note. After the affair became public Ed out it in high gear to destroy us, but I held strong. He quit his job Dec. 27th but was still thinking about her. On Valentines Day 2017 he gave me a card & flowers but spoke to me like crap all day because he wanted to be with her – by his own admission.
            In Sept. 2017 he brought home that his new job offered 16 weeks of free counseling, so we called and started going and still are. I have so much anger that I can’t get over.
            Oh, his whore Mary and her husband divorced Nov. 2018. Come to find out my hubby was one of 4 men she had and one of 3 that summer BUT my hubby was the one she loved and wanted to marry – probably for his pension. She probably spent 6 hours Monday-Friday with him/us, more on Sat/Sun. I have since learned from her ex that she’s actually has had 11 different men.
            Our counselor with 30 years experience said my hubby is the first unfaithful spouse who paraded his affair partner in front of his wife.
            Even writing this makes me anxious.

            • Anon

              I’m sorry you had to suffer through this nightmare.

              And no your H is not the only one to publicly display his Affair. Many people do it. Cold cruel heartless people who are supposed to love you etc.

              My H flaunted the OW in my face (not physically) but I knew he wanted her more than me. Especially since he kept saying “I want a Divorce” and I often heard “ILYBNILWY”.

              DDay2 I became the greatest thing since sliced bread to him. Counseling helped tremendously for me.

              Sometimes I wish I had just smacked him lol

        • Patricia

          It’s left over damage. How can anyone let it all go? We are left holding it because someone we loved was selfish. The whole thing sucks. Taking care of yourself and loving yourself is the key. Our life goes on with or without them. Put yourself first and you will know what you have to give to the marriage.

    • antiskank

      I guess I haven’t got to the real trusting stage yet. It has been almost 3 and 1/2 years, and he’s still not talking to me about our relationship or anything else except the weather!! I moved too quickly to trusting after the initial D Day, only to find that he was still lying to me and that he was still longing for his skank and fantasizing about her regularly. I had been stupid enough to believe that what he was telling me was true and I was in 100%. It hurts as much and more to be betrayed all over again! And it certainly destroys the trust and puts you on the alert for any signs of more danger.

      EG has expressed it so well. I think that after the devastation of the betrayal, even if we trust again, it will never again be the “blind” trust that we once felt. There may be different levels of trust around different activities. I don’t check up on him or his email, texts, etc because it wouldn’t do any good. He works in the same building as his love so could see her or call her any time he wants if she was interested. Do I trust that he isn’t seeing his skank any more – yes.. Do I trust that he loves me as he says – no. Do I trust that he wouldn’t go back to flirting and seeking attention from other women – no.

      One thing that is interesting to me is that I am not the one with the walls up. He is the one that seems afraid to speak his mind, express his feelings, risk failure. He seems to have lost much of his confidence as a result of being caught being bad. He avoids discussion and conflict as if his very life depends on it. What’s up with that? I know he is horrified and embarassed by some of the nasty things he said to me during his affair but we both know it happened. Why can’t he move on?

      I am preparing myself for whatever comes. The article mentions that some couples just try to keep the peace and avoid conflict so don’t deal with the issues. I think in our house I definitely want honesty and full disclosure so we can move ahead with full knowledge and feel closer due to what we have overcome. For him, it’s all about avoiding at all costs and hoping that I will forget about it and not stir the pot. It’s hard to develop trust under these circumstances! Why must life be so complicated?

      • TheFirstWife

        Anti. Sounds like your H has reverted back to a child with his hand in the cookie jar.

        Boy does that behavior tick me off. We are not your Mothers. We are your Wives, Mates, Spouses, Loved Ones.

        Sometimes you want to tell them to grow the hell up already.

        Have you tried therapy? It may not help both of you but maybe it would help you.

        If my H was putting up walls and hiding behind them, I would be in your position.

        I would be raving mad. But then I would stop and wonder – if only one person is fighting for this relationship, is it worth it? Does he want this relationship or not? His lack of effort indicates one thing while his words may be saying something completely different.

        He needs to see you as his wife. Not his Parent.

        I wish I had a magic potion to be able to change it for you. You deserve more from him. Too bad he doesn’t know it.

    • Shifting Impressions

      I’m close to two years since D-day and I’m not near over it yet either. I really think that regaining trust is a journey. However long it takes I’m committed to that journey. But I have decided that “avoiding” or not “talking about it” is simply not an option.

      In that vein we have an agreement to spend one hour a week talking about it. For the rest of the week we try to just concentrate on treating each other kindly and not do further damage. I had to fight for that hour but the fight was worth it.

      We need to dig deep and if he is not willing to do that I know deep down I might have to walk away. The EA devastated me and I have told him that I can not go through this again. D-day came just a few weeks before our 40th anniversary….so yes I was destroyed.

      Am I going to have to open myself up and risk being hurt again….absolutely….and I hate hate hate that. But I see no other way through.

      It would break my already broken heart in pieces if we don’t make it but for him to not do the work……I can’t stay if he is not prepared to do that.

      Perhaps the fact that my children are raised and we can financially afford to divorce make it easier to demand that he do the work.

      • TheFirstWife

        Shifting. I am sorry after 2 years you have not been able to fully close this chapter of your life.

        I just wonder why the CS does not get the fact that they need to participate in our recovery. It is so black and white.

        Thankfully my H finally did get it and did what was required to help in the healing process. Finally after 2 years I have fully recovered. 100%. No need to discuss anything else. It has all been addressed.

        I wish he could have had more trust in me and us so we could have been done with this last year. In 2014 I was so frustrated I almost left him. Not making progress on a few issues was not helping me in any way.

        Burying his head in the sand is a problem. Yes he may feel bad and ashamed but it needs to be dealt with and addressed.

        I wish I had some magic words for the CS to get them to see the continued damage that occurs when they choose to avoid the issues.

    • Tabs

      For me, it’s been 4+ years since Dday. my CH has also buried his head and doesn’t like talking about anything regarding his cheating. I’d like to think he hides his head in shame, but I’m not so sure. I told no one about his affairs. The only person I told was my mother, and she passed away from
      cancer six months after Dday. I way I see it, he has no repercussions to deal with.

      Unfortunately, I feel like I’m moving closer to apathy. If my CH decides to cheat again, I know I’ll just give up on the marriage without a second thought. To prevent myself from getting hurt, I’ve put tup he “I don’t care” wall. And, I seem to be waiting for it to happen. I believe this wall is interfering with my recovery process. Now what?!

      • Tryinghard

        Oh Tabs I hear you. I think sometimes we vacillate between that energy to make our marriages work and really try and I Don’t Care out of self preservation. You’re right though it could happen again, we are certain now they are capable of it. And yes should that occur, yes there’s no question, we leave, period, end of story.

        I know some folks believe only one person in the relationship can heal the relationship. I’m not one of those. It takes two to make it and two to break it. But maybe your husband truly doesn’t have any more to say. Maybe he truly has forgotten about it and put it in the past as a very bad chapter in his life?

        Sometimes I feel I want to revisit that talking about the affair place but you can imagine my h doesn’t either. I know he’s ashamed and embarrassed so I don’t. Sometimes we just need to accept that it is what it is. It’s hard I know. I have found focusing on improving my self and being mindful helps. We can’t and won’t have that perfect marriage but we CAN have a meaningful relationship with them.

        Keep your spirits up sister

      • TheFirstWife

        You are right. Your wall is interfering with recovery.

        I am not sure what I would do if my H would not discuss. I think those discussions are an integral part of your recovery and healing.

        My H had a 2+yr EA 18 years ago. I had no proof (before email and cell phones/text messages). He would not admit it. I was crazy. Having no proof I had him cut all ties and communication and dropped it. Never mentioned again.

        Fast forward he did it again but this EA became a PA. No consequences the first time I believed allowed him to get away with it. Just an FYI to you.

        I am fully aware my H could cheat again. Though I think he learned his lesson this time.

    • Tabs

      Trying and First,

      Thanks for the words of support. It’s greatly appreciated. In all fairness, he is trying to make it up. He’s done everything… everything except talk about what happened.

      • TryingHard

        I hope I didn’t give a negative impression. I have no doubt he’s trying and probably even believes he’s said all he can or needs to say. I think we believe if WE are still thinking of the affair that they are as well. I got to say in my husband’s case, he isn’t. He’s way more past it than I am. And I know it’s cliche but men just don’t talk as much as we do. Personally, I think that’s an affliction 🙂

        I also think that we believe if we do let it go we will get hurt again so we need to be reassured. And sometimes reassurance is them talking about it. There’s got to be better ways to get reassurance than beating that dead horse is my reasoning but I was in that same camp for a lonnnnng time. My therapist pointed that out to me. It’s like holding on to a gold brick while trying to swim. Eventually you’ve got to let go of that gold brick or your will sink and drown.

        I have faith in you. You’ll get there.

      • Patricia

        It’s strange. My concern is that if and when I trust again something new will surface again. Not digging anymore but all things come to light. Asking myself if this is the way I want to live. Is it worth it? In the long run I think not. So why do I stay and keep trying? I see good in him and I do think he was lost, selfish, acting out like a child having a melt down. Will he grow up? Who knows. I however I will continue to grow and learn as much as I can about me and my happiness. I love life, my family, my friends and my work. He can join in and enjoy the ride with or without me.

    • antiskank

      I can understand that they don’t want to talk about “it” but what about how they feel – about life in general, about us, what they think, what they want out of life, what their dreams are, what their fears are, what they see as our future, what they want to do in retirement?

      We have never really discussed the affair and all related topics since the very beginning when everything out of his mouth was a deliberate lie or an attempt to hurt me as much as possible for making him give up the skank. Mostly I NEED to discuss things he said and did after D Day, otherwise all I have to go by are the cruel things said then. If I remind him of what he said and ask him to clarify his current feelings on the matter, he just shakes his head. Usually I get the standard responses, if anything – I was all mixed up, I don’t remember, I’m not sure, That couldn’t have been me. Now he has added a few new ones – I don’t remember saying that, I don’t know what to say, or I would never do anything to hurt you!

      I really don’t want to beat a dead horse but if we can only discuss superficial trivia and not our relationship (us), then in my mind we don’t have a relationship. I can’t believe how much it hurts to pour out your heart to someone and get absolutely no response in return. Throughout the past few years since D Day, I have sent him emails telling him how I feel so he has a little extra time to process it and form a response. Each one has gone ignored. Last week, I gave him 5 typed pages detailing my feelings, what i want out of life, what I want and need from him. He read it and went out to feed the dogs. After a couple of hours, I asked if he had a response. He said he was thinking. Five days later – still no response.

      I tried to talk to him last night. We sat for almost 4 hours and I got nothing from him but silence and many “I don’t know” comments. I have told him we need to separate because I have nothing to work with and he is doing nothing that I need him to do. He asked if he could have another week, another chance. When I asked him what he would do with that week, with that chance, what would he do differently – his response to all questions was “I don’t know”.

      He tells me he loves me but can’t describe what love is. He is comfortable with me, he has mature love, he has fun with me, he appreciates me. That’s all I get. Sounds like an old pair of shoes!

      I don’t know how to even begin to rebuild trust or anything else right now. If he can’t talk to me, what is it he’s not saying? I an just so frustrated and unhappy. I think I can see the end in sight and it’s not the end I wanted. As stupid as it sounds, I think I still love him!

      • TheFirstWife

        I was in your shoes a few months after DDay1. I asked him to think about counseling. Two weeks later and there was no response. So I asked again about counseling. Response? Not interested.

        So it seems like you are doing all the work and he is along for the ride.

        I think the “tell” is he asked you for an additional week. But had no idea what he would do differently. He cannot be that clueless! Um maybe bring you flowers. Or how about a nice romantic card? Or a simple note that expresses his feelings. Gee that is so hard to dream up on your own.

        Do you think it is possible he is still in the fog and still wants to be with her? If so you are never going to beat the “ghost”. The “ghost” is my term for the memories they have built up or how they idealized the relationship with the OW. It is sort of like the deceased wife can do no wrong when compared to the second wife. The first wife is wonderful and perfect. More later

      • TheFirstWife

        I saw my H was in the fog for months but had no idea the OW was back in the picture. Was not prepared for DDay2. But you describe the same behaviors I saw when he was in the fog.

        Or maybe he is just depressed.
        Mid life crisis = affair = getting caught = shame and disgrace

        Maybe he needs to be evaluated for depression which takes on many different forms. At one point when my H wanted to divorce me I told him if that is what it took to make him happy then I will live with that decision. I understood.

        My suggestion is to back away from him. Slowly start to find happiness from all other areas of your life such as family, work, church, volunteering. Whatever it is. Fill your days. Make a life for you separate and apart from him. Do not be dragged down by his unwillingness to participate in your marriage. Marriage is a Team Sport. It cannot be one person doing the work.

        You may be surprised in a few months when he sees the new you. By refocusing your energy on YOU and not on him, your attitude will change. Your life will change. Your happy meter will shift. You will no longer be carrying a 100lb sack along with you.

        If he notices a change he MAY change and start interacting differently. If not, if you decide to split up you have a different lifestyle that you developed and you will know you are happy and moving forward.

        My therapist told me that a “successful” divorce is possible if you end the marriage knowing you did everything possible to try and make it work. He told me divorce does not have to be ugly. It can be dealt with quickly and with minimal angst if there is a plan.

        So you have told your H your needs and desires. The ball is in his court. He needs to make an effort. You have talked about your next steps.

        Start your “new” life. Something that works for you with or without him. Find your happiness from things other than him. Put yourself first. And don’t look back. Keep moving forward. Hopefully he will be on your path.

        If not, you need to decide if you want to live with him status quo or not. I am not surprised you love him. Women are like that. We are more forgiving than men. More nurturing and invested in relationships. Men do not get together and talk about deep things. It is sports, work, hobbies, blah blah blah. More superficial stuff. They do not communicate on a deep level.

        If I did not tell a few close male friends about my H and his affair, they never would have known. Two or three guys talked to him and said for the first time in his life he faced the issue and did not blow it off, make a joke and change the subject (as he normally would). Guys do not communicate! My thetapist made sure I understood that.

        I hope it turns around. You deserve better. We all do. But you cannot make someone change. They will only change if they want to. I think after all this time you should adjust your expectations. The handwriting is on the wall.

        If your an is not happy he needs to do something about it.

        • TheFirstWife

          If your H is not happy then he should do something about it

      • Nancy

        Reading your experience it seemed as if I were writing in your hand , feeling in your heart, and hearing the identical lack of response from your husband as I did mine. One difference is my husbands quick defense and anger turning it back on me blaming me for not getting over it after five years. He doesn’t say anything except “ we were friends, enjoyed her company, We never had sex , we never kissed , is when his yelling begins. Then he says I’m not living this way all in intense anger.
        .We had a year of marriage therapy after D day with a retired therapist . Very little if no therapy about the affair. Mostly about reconnecting with five languages of love. It’s the only help for himself or us , He persists it wasn’t as bad as you think. This is still after I discovered he shared 10,000 texts with her over an 18 month period , Presented to him and he said the records must be wrong . She was his employee who he shared lunches, walks on campus, and no telling what else. in secret , I found many inappropriate things over the four year affair . He lied repeatedly , telling me I was wrong, she’s a happily married woman, we’re just friends . . All in anger. I was very naïve believing him and being too suspicious . He became more withdrawn, criticizing me , I was recovering from a serious head injury from a fall and it was difficult to get through most days. Confused and believing maybe I am wrong dismissed the intuition of being correct, until he accidentally left his phone out , it was signaling a message over and over and I read it . From her saying all she needed was his love and Jesus love and was so great full for their “ friendship”.
        So five years later. Waiting for response to a 4 page letter , countless discussion attempts , messages , more letters to my husband seeking answers . Each a. no response or minimal to him saying: you are so frustrating me , you ask and say the same things over and over and over again. I don’t know what your even talking about.
        I ask myself everyday let it go as is or clinging to hope one day get he’ll get it . Yet I do love him and questioning myself . We go about peacefully day to day doing our home, family & friend duties. There is very little touch, conversation or togetherness. He talks a lot about the weather, etc. he’s yet even once asked me how I’m doing , never asked for forgiveness , how we can make things better , or how he’s feeling . He’s still in denial , he doesn’t need help . He refused any affair recovery for himself or for us together. He dad no objection to my course in affair recovery or continuing weekly session with my counselor. I’ve lately thought about separating from this lonely relationship. Worn out with the emotional abuse and his anger. We are retired , his affair was with a much younger woman. I’m honestly seeking to make best decision now bc I haven’t seen what I thought and hear from experts the process it takes to heal our broken marriage.
        Thank you for listening . There is healing in expressing to someone who’s been there and receive the healing balm of empathy .

    • TryingHard

      That’s not stupid. Hugs 🙂

    • Heartbroken

      7 months past D day #3 and I still catch him looking at other woman. The utter disrespect will be the end of us. Feeling so done at this point!

      • TheFirstWife

        I am sorry you are still suffering and feeling disrespected. I wonder why men show such utter lack of regard.

        My H did the same thing while he was in his EA/PA. He would openly stare at other woman right in front of me. How rude.

        I wonder what the men would do if we acted the way they do. Openly flirt, stare at other guys, act selfish, cheat, lie, etc. they sure as hell would not like it and would probably leave us.

        You deserve better. I hope you find it. Hugs to you.

        BTW is DDay#3 with the same other woman?

    • Antiskank

      First wife, you seem to have such a great perspective on all this. It seems whenever I think I’m coping well and feeling powerful, it doesn’t last.

      Thank you and everyone else for sharing. It was just our 41st anniversary, major trigger time. It’s been a tough couple of weeks and I find myself coming to the blog to see how everyone is doing most days. I feel understood and supported from afar:) It does my heart good to see that some are feeling happier and more secure. It gives me hope!!

      • TheFirstWife

        Therapy therapy therapy. First and foremost.

        It took 24 months to get where I am. That is long but compared to some, not so long.

        I had the same triggers b/c we celebrated our 25th anniversary yet he was still seeing her. He planned our little celebration but then one month later was divorcing me. We had a wonderful overnight celebration at a local 4 star hotel including the Honeymoon suite which we could not afford when we married.

        To find out the OW was still in the picture was devastating. Like you it has sort of ruined the day.

        But I decided I would not let the Affair destroy me. It could potentially destroy us (his fault) but I would not let it get to me.

        My H was not helpful the first 6 months after the affair ended. He tried hard but kept making classic mistakes. A few times I wondered what I was doing. Was I msking the right choice to stay. Why did my H not get how the continued lying about things I saw in black & white was detrimental.

        In any event we got past it. Thanks to hard work, therapy and tears. And continuing to believe I deserve to be happy with him or without him. I like me. I am a good person. I did nothing wrong. I have my power back.

        I also had my H sign a post nup agreement. So financially I will never be completely dependent upon him. That took away major stress and anxiety for me.

        Once I got my mojo back I feel like things took off and it all fell into place. I consider myself lucky and prayed everyday for a chance to reconcile. Even after he dumped me and asked for a divorce twice in one week. He was leaving me to be with the OW.

        But God has a plan for all of us. I firmly believe that.

        I too had 2-3 weeks where it was good only to backslide. My complete recovery only occurred last month when I finally stood up for myself and said a few things that were lingering. that was the final piece for me.

        There is nothing to discuss further. I unleashed the last bit of anger in a calm rational way. And I got my point across. I have freed myself from the whole mess. Amen!

        • Tabs


          Just like you, before Dday, We celebrated our anniversary with a wonderful dinner out. There was no honeymoon suite because the day after my CH left on a business trip, or so I thought. Turns out he met the OW in China. He spent two weeks with her in Shanghai and spent a fortune for the hotel and meals. So when it comes to anniversary’s, I decided to restarted the clock. I’m now on my 3rd anniversary. The affair year doesn’t count. My H says I sound bitter. I feel like it’s more of a start over.

          So how did you get your H to agree to a post nup? My H and I work together in his family business. I don’t get paid, but my H does.

          • TheFirstWife

            About the post nup. When DDay2 came about it was b/c I called the OW and she told me what was going on and for how long. So I calmly went downstairs and asked was it true. He said yes but it is over(by a matter of hours).

            He swore up and down that he made a mistake but wants to stay with me. Despite asking me for a divorce twine in the prior 7 days.

            Anyway I calmly asked him to leave. He refused. I called a friend and asked if he could stay there.

            The holidays came and he was at home with me & kids. It was good.

            Back in July (DDay1) I was positive he was leaving me and I had almost no $ to my name. I was up a creek. I was hanging on by a thread just trying to pool together any $ I could. On 6 months I had almost 6 figures between my meager earnings and what I could get my hands on (my boss owed me years of back pay but that is a whole other story).

            So when he decided to stay I had the upper hand and I said I will stay sns try to work things out but I want a post nup so any $ in my name is not included as marital assets and he has no access to them if we divorce.

            So my IRA, joint account mutual funds and my savings account he cannot touch.

            Plus I changed every life insurance policy on him. I am the owner and he is the insured. In NY if we divorce I can have the divorce decree have me still listed as beneficiary even though we are divorced. He legally cannot change the beneficiary without my consent. That is worth a lot if $ to me and I would be able to take care of my sons without worry.

            So I got him to agree to this b/c he was desperate to keep me as his wife b/c I was about to leave.

            We are not divorcing and managed to get past all of this. We are blessed and fortunate God is on pur side together with my therapist who kept giving me hope and guidance we could get past this. And I did. My H did not go to therapy more than 5 times.

    • Ann

      Not sure where to ask this question, but have not received your blog in my mailbox for two weeks now. I have been following your blog since 2013 when I discovered my husband having an affair. So not sure if it is my internet provider but can’t find your blog anywhere on my computer. I look forward to it every Friday as both of you Doug and Linda have helped me come along way in this now changed life of mine. Look forward to hearing from you.
      Have a great day.

      • Doug

        Hi Ann, Thanks for the kind words! Not sure why you’re not receiving the Friday email as I checked your email address and it did indeed go out to you today. Perhaps it’s going to your spam folder now for some reason.

        • Ann

          Hi Doug or Linda
          Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I have contacted my e mail provider and they have changed things around for me in my e mail account. If it’s not a problem for you,they have asked that you try to re send todays blog to me again.
          Thank you

    • Rachel

      I thought I would share this little bit of info.
      I was talking to my attorney last night with a routine question. He said I wasn’t going to say anything but I am.
      My daughter worked at a golf course this summer at cape cod and guess who she met?
      I said my ex husband of course!
      He said yes.
      Your ex was chatting up a storm with her and once she found out that he lives in the same town as her dad works she said ” my dad works in that town”!! The ex said what’s his name?? My attorney’s daughter told him and he said ohhhhh…… That’s my ex wife’s attorney he annihilated me! Hahahahahahahaha!
      Mind you she’s 20 years old! He likes them young!

      • TheFirstWife

        You just cannot shake that shadow. That is funny!

        These guys with much younger women don’t realize how ridiculous they look.

        My H OW was 20 years younger. And my idiot H thought when he left me for her that all his friends would accept a 29yo tattooed psycho drama queen.

        I literally saw that in writing. I laugh about it to this day.

        • TheFirstWife

          Oh I did question him on that a few months back. I named a few friends and asked him if he really believed those friends would accept his OW. He admitted they would not.

          I wonder what happens to their brains. Haha. ?

    • TryingHard

      Rachel. You could write a book on this guy!!

      Ok not saying you’re old but seriously these guys think they have something a 20 year old wants that isn’t cash!?? I guess it works for some guys but that makes them about as deep as a thimble. Sounds like he was trying to groom her as his next conquest. Do you know how lucky you are to be rid of him? He is like a nasty piece of gum on the bottom of your shoe though right? He just keeps showing up. I’ll bet that young woman got a real laugh at that old farts expense. Hey Mr Rachel, drive in your own lane!!!

      • Rachel

        I can’t make this stuff up!!!!
        He is not aging gracefully at all. Makes me laugh how blessed great he thinks he looks.

      • TheFirstWife

        I think that they like them young and naive b/c it boosts their ego. They are like the “hero”.

        They are not equals b/c Miss 20 Year Old doesn’t know anything and believes every word. They don’t challenge. They are inexperienced. And 9 out of 10 times once the inexperience wears off and they mature the marriage does not last. The wife heads for the hills. Have seen this happen. So sad the guy does not get it and is being taken for a ride.

        Not saying all women do this but it occurs more often than you think.

    • TryingHard

      I work with my husband too in our family business. I get paid. You need to pay yourself just to build up your social security. Matter of fact he and I are going to switch pay checks so I can build mine up. If you can’t afford it, split his paycheck. That’s not good to work free. I did years ago and trust me I’ve paid the price.

      Depending on your state that business is half yours even if it’s a c corp. ours is a corporation so when I I filament to my lawyer after dday he assured me I get half. Period. You don’t really need a post nup the law is on your side.

      Lol. I love that name calling bitterness card they pull. What a joke to say that to you. Unfair. He’s the cause of it. My h and I renewed our vows in October 2012. I celebrate that one. Not the April one 40 years ago.

    • Tabs

      Payback! It’s a bitch.

    • Tabs


      The “Payback” message was for you.


      My H wants to renew our vows, too. But, being “bitter”, I’ve declined. Why renew when the first set of vows ment so little to him. Guess this is tied into the “trust” issue, too.

    • TryingHard

      You know what sometes you have to take a leap of faith. If he is sincere do it. JMHO. We went to Paris and renewed our bows. Don’t do it any ace tacky like Vegas. Do it somewhere you both love. Just the two of you. Make him write his vows and you do the same. New life. Ours was beautiful and sincere on both our parts. It was in the same church my parents were married during WWII.

      Yes I get the whole he didn’t honor the first ones, but different day different times. What do you have to lose? Nothing and everything to gain. Think about it at least. I hear you though my friend.

    • TryingHard

      Indeed. Not at all I’d say. And that’s called karma and you get to sit back and watch the poor scmuck make a fool of himself. Pathetic exemplified!!!

    • Tabs


      You’re probably right. I should think about renewing my vows. Different day, different times, and different person. Guess I’m still pissed about him his silence. If he can’t talked to me about the affairs, I don’t want him saying any promises he can’t keep. Thank you for your insight.

    • Rachel

      Maybe in time you will decide to renew your vows.
      Have your husband do the planning. Perhaps this will show you that he is really committed.
      I don’t remember have you done couples counseling?

    • Heartbroken

      Yes first wife, caught 3 times with the same woman over a course of 14 months. He swears he didn’t love her but I don’t believe him. And then the inivitable happened last night, when you live in a town of 25000. I ran into her while having dinner with my friend! I screamed at the top of my lungs in a busy parking lot “hey you f ing cunt!” I can’t believe I did that.

      • TheFirstWife

        Heartbroken. I have been in your exact position. Same woman 2x AND swears he did not love her. I saw in writing in emails where he said he loved her. He asked for a divorce twice to be with her(2nd time he won’t admit to leaving me for her but I don’t believe he was ending it with me b/c of the reasons he has stated). This continued lie for almost 6 months since DDay2 almost caused our divorce.

        Background on us. My H came home July 2013 and admitted to this EA and that he kissed her that night. Felt ashamed and did not want to be a cheater so he told me everything.

        That was the beginning of the lies. The OW told me they did not have sex initially when I spoke with her. I called the OW to see if she maybe knew what was going on and she told me they had been together the past 4 -5 months. I had no idea. But she did apologize and said it was not sexual except they kissed.

        However my H lied lied lied about everything. It took me 2 years to get the truth from him.

        He still says he did not love her. However I will tell you during the affair he did. I could do nothing right. I was being compared to a much younger single woman with no responsibilities except to herself. No kids or house or family etc.

        So Heartbroken I never had the opportunity to scream at the OW b/c for a month I needed information she was only too willing to provide. She said she was sorry and knew it was wrong. The kicker is that she tried to start up a third time with him. Email sent. My H showed it to me. I politely asked her to stop and boy did she become vindictive and nasty. She sent me almost 150 emails (of the 330+ between them). I guess she thought I would get mad and throw him out and then he would go running to her. Her scheme failed.

        Heartbroken, sounds like your H is in mourning over this relationship or affair. If he is still in the “miss her” stage then you are in the fight if your life to keep this marriage together. I was there. 2 weeks after DDay1 I realized my H was going to leave me.

        No $, mortgage, two teenagers and he was heading out the door. So obvious. Even my therapist agreed he was leaving. All the signs were there. I was heartbroken for our children b/c I did not know if he would remain a good dad, disappear with the OW or what. So I came home a hysterical mess (one of the few times he saw me crack) and told him I was not waiting around for him to make a decision on what he wanted. I wanted a decision now. He was so shocked and scared he said he would not leave me and he loved me and he was wrong in having the affair.

        Well he lied. His actions the next few months were clearly indicating he wanted the OW. I spoke to him about separating (which he did not want). I suggested counseling and he said no. He did not need it.

        The best thing I ever did was confront him. Not crazy or irrational. But calm and detached and level headed. I even told him one night right after DDay1 if you want to talk to her, talk to her. If you want to be with her, go ahead. But be a man and own it and stop hiding it and being a sneak. Because I know every time you talk with her, text her and email her. You are fooling no one.

        Heartbroken I am telling you this so you can see from an objective view the struggles you face. You are fighting for your marriage? Is he?

        You are being compared to someone else. Unfair. You are being compared to “Miss Perfect”. No one can win against that.

        Your H’s actions speak volumes. I am lucky b/c my H’s EA was only 12 months. They only saw each oher a few times. However she took over his life and spirit and soul.

        But we did get past it 2 years later. But my H did one thing right. When he said for the second time it was over, it was. And when she emailed him after New Years asking to be his friend again and how she missed their connection, he immediately showed me the email. He continued to lie about things which is very typical and clearly a pattern of cheating behavior. But that has stopped too.

        Mid life crisis is real. It is not an excuse for cheating but when men get hit with emotional issues they do not deal with it. At all! They won’t talk to a counselor. They will cheat, or buy a sports car or start exercising or take up extreme sports. That is how they deal with depression, unhappiness and middle age. Lose your job? Cheat on your wife to make yourself feel better. In debt? Have an affair to deal with it. Daughter is dating a loser? Start drinking too much. Your wife forgot to pick up your dry cleaning b/c she is home with sick kids? Have an affair.

        That is what men do. Deal with a mid life crisis in all the wrong ways.

        Heartbroken I hope your H comes to his senses. Soon. But you need to be prepared on how much you will tolerate and what is a deal breaker.

        Get your mojo back. Once i got my power back things changed. I love my H but he knows if I see anything inappropriate or something I don’t like – we are done. No more chances.

        Maybe this approach could work for you. When I told my H to leave right before Christmas he was shocked. He never thought I would do it.

        • Strengthrequired

          Tabs, renew your vows honey, a new start over, a new day to celebrate. New wonderful memories that help override the bad affair memories. If my ch would do that for me, which he won’t, I would be thrilled. Take that leap of faith.

    • Ann

      Hello to all you women on this site. Your stories and responses to one another have helped me move forward when times I felt could not. I found this site Nov. 2013 when my CH was already in the midst of an affair. Our background is we own a business together and we are a mechanical contracting business where we enter condos and apartment buildings and help strata council (which all seem to be women) with their leaks in their buildings or mechanical work on their heating systems. My H has been doing this for 25 years and not once did I ever think he was fooling around. Forward to July 2011 we picked up a contract in a building and 3 women were on this council, where I believe he started 3 emotional affairs on different levels with all 3 women but “fell in love” with 1 of them as letters to her state. They gave him so much attention that when he would come home we would not talk, but he would be texting. Over time I asked to talk and he would not want to. Forward to January 2013 and he was making plans to move into their condo building and was trying to purchase a condo there. He then left me July 2013 To pay his rent there he became their handyman and more attention was given to him. Fast forward to January 2014 the woman he was “in love with” I guess ended things 6 months after he had moved out of our house and he cut ties with them, and was calling them crazy. Still living in the condo he went online and started lusting after another woman and it became physical. Who does that? You don’t even let 1 “relationship” die completely then you start another while still being married? After 4 months with the new woman he came to me and confessed, but to this day has never apologized for his actions, and does not put 100% back into this marriage. He is back with me since July 2014 and had kept up the affair with the online woman until she told him he was a F—ing coward for not leaving me on August 1 2015. I believe it has been a mid life crisis just turning 50, and he got us into a lot of debt, and was just running. He never blamed me for anything but still will not apologize. My aging father lives with us and it killed him the first time my H left, I won’t kick him out right now cause do not want my father to go through it again. I believe my H is a lost soul and broken inside and looking for anyone to give him attention. I took him back so I could say that I gave my marriage a chance and did all I could. thanks for listening

    • Ann

      I do let him know when I want to talk about the affairs and he will tell me a bit but not a lot. So I don’t sit quietly, as I have told him it’s me or her.

    • Strengthrequired

      My ch knows a man whose wife left him, for a man 10 years younger than her. Her girl friend encouraged her to leave her husband and told her to take everything. One day he comes home from work, told him to leave what he could take which were his clothes and an old car. Two years in court, legal fees, he ended up having to pay left him with nothing. She ended up with everything else, he was well off. She even told the court that she didn’t trust him with their children. She didn’t think he was stable. So this poor man doesn’t even get to see his children. He can’t fight it in court because no money.
      My husband asked him ” what did you do, for your wife to do this to you?”
      When my husband told me what he said, I could have slapped him. I said to him what makes you think he did anything wrong? His wife cheated, because no doubt she complained to her friend about how long her husband works, how she never gets to see him, she tells her friend about a this younger man that is interested in her, and her friend encourages her to have it all. This poor husband never stood a chance. I made sure he understood when you have others bringing your spouse down, drumming it into your head what a loser they are and how you deserve so much better, it’s only a matter of time that you start believing it, especially when your already upset, lonely etc.
      my husband told me how tears were welling up in this mans eyes, the sheer pain he is in. He feels terrible for him. I hope for what he learns from this man, and the pain he sees him in, shows him what he could have done to us if he chose the ow, and how hurting someone like what this wife did to her husband is a terrible thing. I hope he sees now just how influential people can be when they aren’t a friend of your marriage, how destructive they can be to your marriage and to your life.
      This is not the first man or woman that my husband knows that has suffered from the cost of infidelity from their spouse, in some way, I think this is gods way of bringing these people into his life, so he hears their story, about being the betrayed spouse, so he hears the pain of what they have been through, what these people have lost, I hope he sees now what could have happened to us, and how stupid he was to ever put us through the kaos and drama an affair causes. I hope he sees now, that affairs are just not worth it. People suffer, how is an affair worth that?

      • TheFirstWife

        That is a powerful story. I feel for the guy.

        No one deserves to be treated like that.

        We have a male friend who had the same thing happen. Wife cheated. Rich OLDER guy in this case. Left H. Tried to move to the west coast with children (we’re living in NY). Ex-H (our friend) spent every penny he had in court to prevent the move. He was very involved with his children. He actually won.

        So the Older new H moved to west coast for his job. Wife and step daughters left on East coast. End result? The ex-wife has been making her exH (our friend) pay for it. She is nasty and vindictive. She even called the police in him over a cell phone issue. He was almost arrested over a kid’s cell phone.

        The common theme? Justification. All the Cheating Spouses justify their behavior and choices by believing the mantra “I deserve to be happy”. What a load of crap.

        The cheaters don’t care who they destroy in the process to gain happiness. Kids, spouse, families are all disposable as long as the cheater is happy.

        In the words of Jason the therapist, you will survive a divorce if you know you did everything you could to keep the marriage and family intact. In my world I would end my marriage for many reasons, but never b/c I wanted to be with someone else.

        How do those people sleep at night? Karma – maybe they are not familiar with that term. Haha

        • Strengthrequired

          TFW, it’s sad, I feel for the children, how sad is it for them, and the fathers of these children. Thankfully the man in your story was able to win in court. The wife of the man I’m talking about, told him she wants to destroy him. She already took everything from him, even his children, and she still isn’t happy, his suffering still isn’t enough to her. How cruel is that?

          • TheFirstWife

            It’s too bad the person you marry is not the orson you divorce.

            The ex-wife sounds like a bitter and resentful person. I wonder what her “issue” is with her exH. Her revenge to destroy someone is pure evil.

            She got a divorce. She should move on. Even if he cheated and was the worst H ever she should stop her tactics. No one should destroy a parent-child relationship except for certain reasons (serial killer, pedophiles etc.). Even alcoholics can have supervised visitation with children.

            I had to face my H leaving me and the OW who is 30 and covered in tattoos becoming the stepmom. That would have KILLED me and pushed me over the edge. I even gave my H a very stern discussion that our kids are not to be introduced to any new relationship from either one of us until we both agree would be the right time. And it was a serious relationship. Little fix I know that my H told the OW all about my kids and intimate details of their lives.

            I swear my H has no filter or brains sometimes. He gives a compete stranger details about our children’s lives. Moron.

            Anyway no one should stand in the way of parental relationships. It is wrong. Divorce is not about kids though they suffer the most.

    • Tabs

      My CH refuses, to this day, to go to any counseling. I ended up in therapy for 18 months. I have asked him why he feels above counseling, but have never received any response except a shoulder shrug. That’s part of the reason for my reluctance to renew my vows.

      At first, renewing my vows sounded great. But then I started wondering if it was some kind of placating move on my husband’s part. If he lied to my face as easily as he did, what meaning do vows truly have? And that’s where I’m stuck. Do I ever trust him again?

      • TheFirstWife

        Most men will refuse counseling as they view as a sign of weakness. They don’t believe they “need” it.

        It will force them to face deeper issues. They would rather not deal so they don’t.

        This was all told to me by my therapist.

        My H only wanted to go to counseling very recently for us. Because I unleashed some residual anger 2 years later. He even made the appointment! We had to cancel b/c he was traveling due to work but I believe he only made the appt b/c he was scared of me leaving or something.

        Men do not communicate their feelings or frustrations. I told my therapist that was crap b/c when we were dating we talked. And I saw the emails he wrote OW and they shared intimate feelings. He said yes men will act like that to “win you over” but once they have won you, they revert to their true self.

        A few months ago I went back and re-read some emails between my H and OW. Many of them were deep and heartfelt to her. He called her honey. He asked if she was ok. How was she feeling. Flirty. All filled with feeling and deep emotion.

        So I took a step back and thought about it. It tore me up inside that she got the feeling emotional part of my H. And it bothered me for a long time. Until I realized the feelings were simply infatuation. A crush. Temporary. Never going to be long term or sustained because the relationship is a fantasy.

        I know he was planning to leave me. I have it in writing asking her to hang on and wait for him b/c he is making a decision. However he would have left his nice life with not seeing his kids. His choice may have been to live the single life but he would have been tired of her drama very quickly. He was all concerned about her one weekend when she ran off b/c of the pressure of the affair with him. She was tired of being a secret. Oooh drama. He would have tired of it very quickly.

        And been left with a destroyed life.

        So yes my H did not go to counseling. I did for 2 years. It made me see myself differently. It made me see him differently. Yes I love him. Yes I want our marriage to work. Yes I love my family.

        But when push comes to shove I know I carry him along. We are together b/c I made sacrifices and accepted him for who he was/is. He has worked hard to repair us. However I have carried him along from Day 1. I accepted his lying to the point where I was ready to quit. He finally got it and stopped lying about the affair (details). I have overlooked his lapses in communication with me (not with any other woman but things he should tell me and did not). I have stopped trying to effect some changes in communication. Yes things are definitely better but far from perfect. I am just happy there is improvement.

        I always accepted my H for who he was. His whole family does not communicate. He is the best of the bunch. How sad. My sister in law complains all the time about my H’s brother. He doesn’t even answer a simple question like what do you want for dinner. No response. No acknowledgement someone just spoke to you.

        Is my marriage perfect? No. Is it better than it was? yes. Am I hopeful for continued improvement? Yes otherwise I would not be here.

        I could spend the next 2 years in marriage counseling waiting for my H to get the communication light bulb. However guys are different. They don’t see things the way women do. That is why I get what I need from female friends as well as guy friends and my H.

        Face it ladies if we were guys we would think sex is the answer to every problem. Haha

        I think they believe they are trying in the marriage and doing a great job. We see it as minimal effort and/or going through the motions. Your H probably thinks the vow renewal is a good idea. Which it is. However it is not going to work if you don’t get other things with it like heartfelt apologies, communication and dialog about things. It’s like going to a restaurant and paying for a 4 course meal and only getting the salad.

        It’s a rip off and you would not accept it. Nor should you accept anything less than the ability to talk about anything you want to your H. He owes you the honesty.

        Sad part is if they would just address issues they would go away. Never to be discussed again. The affair would fade into the background. By avoiding discussions it only prolongs the affair’s death and demise. Too bad they just don’t get it.

      • Strengthrequired

        Tabs, I’m stuck too, it all boils down to trust? Taking that leap of faith to just trust. I’m not sure I am ready to give complete trust just yet. So maybe you have to think of it this way. It is just still too soon to completely give yourself to your husband, to be able to renew your vows. It is a recommitment that needs to be made with a knowing that trust is restored, that you can give yourself back to him, without doubt that it just isn’t going to be made a mockery of again. It is a step to be taken on both sides that is to be made stronger, indestructible, without any weakness, otherwise, what is the point?
        Think of it as maybe needing time for that completeness to return. You know I think as well getting into making yourself happier is the best place to start. I know that is where I need to start. Doing what makes me happy, getting my own life back in order, so I can truly smile again. It’s sad you know, just how quickly it takes for you to lose yourself after such hurt, and yet just how long it can take to find happiness within yourself again, having that light shine back from inside of you again.
        Once that light starts shining again inside of you, me, I think the rest will follow. I do believe as well, the affairs have taken so much from us, practically destroyed our very being, yet why should we allow it to follow us and keep dragging us down any further? It wasn’t our doing, we need to rise above it where we belong, and watch all the good come to us.
        So tabs, you and I need to get our act together, we have come through so much, we managed to keep our families together. We focused so much on keeping our families together, that we now need to focus on what we need to do for ourselves, to get our self esteem back, our inner peace, our inner light back. We need to look forward to our future. It’s not easy, but look at what we accomplished already.

    • TryingHard

      I take back my recommendation for the vows. If your h refuses to do the work, there’s no sense in a vow renewal. Has he shown remorse, talk to you about the affair, try to make up for transgressions to you? If not hell no and you are right not to go forward with any vows. We did over a year of weekly MC, we talked but there’s really never enough talk. I don’t blame you for your ambivalence. You’re def in a tough spot.

      Shoulder shrugs, really? So NOT acceptable. There were no shoulder shrugs when he chose to cheat right? Way too passive in thinking about it. Sorry to lead you in that direction. My bad:(

    • Rachel

      I understand. I’m sure your days are strained. Take care of yourself. Do things that make you happy. I hope you have good friends and family that you can lean on. You know we are always here to listen if you need to vent. Lord knows I’ve asked a million times for opinions on this site.
      Try to have a good day!

    • Heartbroken

      Wow first wife…….I have really been struggling lately with the fact that he was able to express his emotions to the OW and build her up every chance he could, but I never receive that from him. He would tell her what an awesome mother she was to her children but never says that to me about the 4 children we share. She was going to school at the time and he would give her pep talks daily about how she could do it. He never builds me up like that and that hurts. But then again, like you said, he knows he has me! I’ve stayed with him through 3 d days and 14 months of lies. We’ve been together for 30 years. When I asked him why he was able to be so supportive to her and build her up he said……”I was trying to have sex with her”. It never happened, thank God, because I don’t think I could handle that.

    • Heartbroken

      Oh and his excuse for not sharing his feelings with me is because it’s a sign of weakness and he doesn’t want to appear weak to me. When I asked why he could appear weak to her he said he didn’t care what she thought of him. What a load of crap!

      • TheFirstWife

        I got the same load of crap. My H built up other woman. Oh honey are you ok? Hey why don’t you ask me as I sit up all night with a kid who is sick. Hey what about me as I am a single mom while you travel all over Europe for a month on business.

        I have been with my H more than 32 years and married 27. He relies on me for everything. I pay all bills, manage $, work, run my own business (which I started recently to keep myself busy), cook, clean etc.

        So we are in the same boat but I am not heartbroken any more. I am good. This has nothing to do with me. I have stopped feeling sorry for myself (finally). His issues, his choice to be a 3x cheater, his choice not to go to counselng. All him. He has to deal with it.

        I just want to be past it and happy. Tired of dealing with the crap. I have better things to do.

        How can we help you get past this and find joy?

      • TheFirstWife

        Oh and what almost caused me to leave him was the fact that I believed he admitted to the most recent OW that he had a 2+year EA with a girl in grad school 19 years ago. He would never admit it to me. It drove me crazy.

        Why does some random OW get to know the truth and not me? We straightened that out last month after 2 years from DDay 1 with most recent OW.

        I had a very hard time with that one issue but I am past it. He would never admit the grad school EA in the 90s and made me seem like a crazy insecure jealous person. So when your “friend” calls your wife to ask if your H can go to a wedding with her as a friend – there is nothing going on? It was purely EA. I know that. But he enjoyed the attention and she was looking to get rid of me and take my place.

        Moved on from it until most recent EA/PA.

        I trust very few people. Gee I wonder why!

    • Tabs

      I’ve declined renewing my vows. I believe my H was genuinely hurt. And, maybe I shouldn’t have said I’d only renew if I thought he intends to take the seriously. He may be taking his marriage vows more seriously, but he’s failed to let me know. I suggested counseling again. I got the “I’ll think about it”. Back to square 1.

      Anybody know of an interesting hobby to take up?

      • Strengthrequired

        Tabs, I understand what you are saying, in so many ways I agree with you about wanting him to prove himself towards you, before even considering taking that step again. I sort of think of it differently too, with wishing my husband would actually take that step of wanting to renew our vows, why? Because then I see him wanting to give me a renewed commitment after recklously destroying the first lot of vows. I see it with him, that it would show me that I am worth that. Funny I know, but I think it would mean a lot to me, if he would want to make that step of making it a fresh start, a new beginning, after all the bad times. Yet instead with him not wanting to I just feel like I am not worth it in his eyes.
        Our youngest said to him last night, daddy, will you and mummy get married? Just out of the blue. He said to her baby, we are already married. He looked at me, and I just said, yeah.. I didn’t mean to sound not so thrilled, but it must have came out in my tone, as he turned to me and said, gee don’t sound too happy about being married to me. Then said, too bad your stuck with me, lol.

        TFW, you know, I agree with your therapist, men really don’t know how to communicate. Except when trying to win the heart of new love. Then most definitely will they revert back to themselves, and not be so communicative. Yet it is so funny, how they always know how to talk up a storm and be the centre of attention when in amongst a group of friends, male and female, or even their own relatives. It is just a shame they can’t be like that with their wives.

        • TheFirstWife

          Amen sista! They are the life of the party and then with their spouse you get 25% if you are lucky.

    • TheFirstWife

      Does anyone else gind it ironic that these spouses practically destroy our lives, cause us to become depressed, take away our self esteem and then expect us to get over it, past it and move on?

      They would not do that for us. I don’t believe they would accept even half of what we do.

      I think we need to stop putting so much emphasis on them as spouses and “we” as a couple and more focus on “US” as women. We need to make ourselves happy. Forget about making them our first priority. We, ourselves, should be our first priority.

      I think if we are happy with ourself, we can become happier in life and our marriage (to a point). If we can stop our negative thoughts about us we can overcome.

      I know I have. My marriage is not perfect but improved and better in many respects. The rest I have to let go. And who even knows if any of his responses the last 2 years are even true. They could all be lies. And if I find out they are I would not be mad at myself. I would be disappointed in him that he thought so little of me and did not value me as a person. And I would love on but not in a mean way but in a “he is so pathetic” way.

      And teach my sons this behavior is not acceptable.

    • TheFirstWife

      Should be move on not love on

    • Rachel

      The first wife,
      During the very beginning of d-day, my ex would say to be ” stop acting like the victim”!
      Another reason why he is my ex!!!!! : )

      • TheFirstWife

        Yeah I got that a few times. Once after he ripped me to shreds and then told me the only reason I married him was to spite my parents I then burst into tears. His comment? Oh don’t go and cry about it!


        At least it only happened once or twice. Another justification of the affair.

        Pick an argument so you can go running to the OW that your wife does not love you or understand you. Idiots!

    • Rachel

      The first wife,
      Yes I hear you loud and clear!
      The only reason why my ex married me was because the invitations were out.
      He should have stopped it anyways.
      He was miserable being married to me. Yet he’s still miserable, so I now know it wasn’t me.
      Idiots for sure!!
      Stay strong!

    • TheFirstWife

      I am strong. So are you. Yes they are idiots. Some more than others.

      Best revenge against an ex is to move on and live well. That kills them (even if they don’t or won’t admit it).

      I love the stuff about your ex. It is so classic and cliched. He will regret his actions some day. Hope he ends up alone and impotent. The ultimate revenge!!!

      The good news is my H always treated me well (save for his EAs) but this last go around has opened my eyes. It’s a good thing you cannot be arrested for your thoughts. Haha I would be on death row right now.

      You are an inspiration to all of us. You have shown class and strength the whole way. I hope your future is bright and filled with love.

    • Tabs

      One of my H’s excuses was that I went “wonky” (his actual word) after I learned my mother had ovarian cancer. Upon diagnoses, the doctor gave her 18 months. She hung in there for 5 years. My H started his affair when my mother started losing her fight. Sadly to say, my daughter found out about her father’s affair before me. Not knowing what to do, she went to my mom and told her everything. All this happened 6 months before she passed. The last thing you want to talk about, while at your dying mother’s side, is your H’s affairs.

      The other reason I was given for his affairs, “Because I thought you were having an affair”.

      • TryingHard

        Ok here’s my question for you and it’s a realllly good one. How did you keep yourself from beating the daylights out of him???? Or did you just beat the daylights out of him????? Because seriously I don’t think I could have held back.

      • TheFirstWife

        Tabs. I don’t get it. He sees you caring for your mom and he thinks YOU are having affair? What an idiot.

        It is funny you say that b/c my H asked me if I had an affair with some guy I worked with about 25 years ago. Of course the answer was no. So is that now their justification? Tit for tat?

        I just want to run these clowns over with my car.

        Your H is just looking to blame you. My H tried to blame me but that went nowhere. I admit from DDay1 for the first 3 months I was very much a doormat. It was about $. I had none. So I put up with crap I normally would not have b/c I was trying to get my Plan B together. I already had 3 recommendations for divorce mediators.

        From first DDay to DDay2 was about 6 months. He told me he was divorcing me twice but both times came back within a day asking for forgiveness and begging for reconciliation. At that point I had plan B in place and was upset he was ending it but at least I had some $$.

        What is your plan B? It does not sound like you want to stay or can make it work to stay.

        Some days I just laugh when I think about all of it. These guys are sooooo dumb. And classless. And lazy. And stupid. Some younger woman does it for you? My H’s OW was young but not in great shape. She had a bo-ho style of dressing. Wore these stupid ridiculous cowboy boots all the time. She was needy and clingy. And desperate. I recently heard she has a new boyfriend. Hope he cheats on her.

        • TryingHard

          Hey hey. I dress boho and own 4 pairs of Lucchesses!!! LOL in addition to my other 12 pairs of non cowgirl boots 🙂 Don’t even get me started on shoes. Sighhhhhhh….

          • TheFirstWife

            But I doubt you have the boobs & butt hanging out. I bet you are not covered in tattoos up and down your arms, across your chest and neck.

            I am sure you dress in bo-ho style with class.

            This one had it all hanging out. She was proud of her very large chest. That’s for sure.

    • TryingHard

      Lol first wife. Indeed no tats and while I have the rack to show off I don’t!!! Pounds like your husband did because she offered it up. So did mine. Bought the shit show hook line and sinker. And he’s sti paying for the repercussions. Just found out today how my son got an earful about the OW when she was working at our business. It.just.doesnt.go.away. EVER. So over it.

    • Tabs

      I actually hit him twice, closed fist, with all my weakling strength, and aimed at his head. But since he’s taller than me, I ended up hitting his shoulder. And another time, I got so mad that I hit the wall which broke my hand… Try explaining that to the doctor. But it was my mother who told me not to overreact. On her dying bed, she asked me to try and reconcile. How’s that for an “oh sh*t” moment? So, I made the commitment to work on the marriage. My H has made several changes. No more travel without me. (Now easier since I’m not watching my mother die.) And, no more flirting.

    • pat

      The Affair was only 39 year ago. We may have talk about the affair when it happen. I only remember D-Day and nothing after that day. Complete blackout. Been married for 43 year and was having a great life together. Few Months ago I was looking at old letters and other stuff, when my mind went back to D-day. Cannot stop thinking about it. Looking for detail now. When did it start. When did it end.

      • TheFirstWife

        I had the same thing with my H’s first EA. Grad school girl. I told him from the moment I met her that she was very interested in him. Watch yourself.

        This was in the late 1990s before term Emotional Affair was used.

        The went on 2+ years. I would question him and he would refuse to answer. Only thing he would say “nothing is going on”.

        After they stopped contact I dropped it and never thought about it again. That is until this last EA/PA b/c my H told his most recent OW about my feelings toward grad school girl. So when I called the most recent OW to find out what was going on (because he was acting totally out of character) she tells me SHE knows about grad school girl b/c they talked about her.

        So I was in the same boat. Having no proof of the affair 20 years ago I dropped it and never thought about it. Now that almost caused a divorce. Why does the OW get details and you won’t ever admit you did something wrong? Back then (in the late 90s) he claims he did not think he did anything wrong. Now he says he knows better and knows he disrespected me blah blah blah.

        I know how you feel by not knowing details. But is it worth dredging up 40 years later? It may only cause you more hurt and anger if you don’t get the information and answers you need. You are certainly entitled to details and information but I would hate to see you banging your head against the wall like I did for 2 years trying to get a straight answer.

        My H claims he did not admit to the most recent OW about grad school girl. Bye just mentioned that I suspected him of cheating but nothing was going on. Maybe no on his end but he continued to be friends with her despite my position. And she did call me one night to see if it was OK with me if he went to a wedding with her. When I handed him the phone and told him why she was calling, the look on his face is burned in my memory. He looked stricken.

        And hence 16 years later after his most recent affair I told him I should have divorced you in the 90s for having that affair and treating me so poorly. Boy did that get his attention.

        I would think long and hard on asking for details. If you get the standard I Don’t Know or I Don’t Remember it could cause more issues.

        And trust me most of us here on this blog have heard those answers far too often. It is maddening. At least to me.

    • Rachel

      I aimed at my ex’s head too. I’m short and ended up getting tangled in his religious necklass and broke the chain.
      He said ” and you’re going to pay to get it fixed.
      These discussions bring back things that I have forgotten all about.
      Have a good day all!

    • TheFirstWife

      My husband met OW in a bar in NYC. His single friend was talking to her.

      He joined conversation. One month later he hired her to work for his company. Remote locations not face to face very often.

      Starting in March he becomes interested and by April he asks her to meet. Work related. I saw the emails. He made it happen. And the rest is history.

      I never bought the “it happened innocently”. That is crap.

      He has told me a few times to slap him b/c it would make him feel better. I’ll pass on that (for now). Haha

    • FallingUp

      I need some guidance on this subject… After reading this, and all of the comments, it came to me that I don’t even know what “fully trusting” even looks like now? Or trust at all? How would I know if I trusted him again if I can’t figure out what trust is? Before this, I was so sure of his faithfulness.. Sure as the sun will rise. I would have been less surprised if I had found out my parents weren’t my parents or that “surprise, it’s really not 2015…” I was THAT confident in our relationship. So, I’m really struggling with this concept. A concept that I thought I understood 6 months ago… Am I in a haze? Shock? I can’t even trust my own gut after what I’ve been through, let alone ANYONE else, him included. I will fight for our marriage tooth and claw. And, no, I don’t think he’ll ever do this again. But, trust? What will that ever look like? And how would I know if I have it?

      • TheFirstWife

        Falling Up,

        I know where you come from. We all do.

        Here are a few thoughts from my experience:

        1. I trust he will always be a good father and put his kids first. That has not changed.

        2. I trust he will always be financially responsible. That has not changed.

        3. I trust if he says he is going to Home Depot as an example that he does.

        4. I trust he has not had contact with the OW. His actions to date have proven that.

        5. He allows me access to emails and his iPad and ms phone whenever I want.

        So my H had done everything he can to rebuild trust.

        However I will always know the depths of his lying and cheating. And it is always possible he can do it again and get away with it. My therapist through all of this has said you will always be on guard (even if it is 1% of the time). That does not mean you don’t trust. You just don’t trust 100% like you did.

        And if you can accept that then your marriage is ok. And you can rebuild and heal.

        I told my therapist I would feel so humiliated and stupid if he cheated again. And my therapist responded that it was his choice and had nothing to do with me. If my H is saying our marriage is great and he is happy AND he cheats – it is his issue.

        And that is exactly what happened 2 years ago. Between DDay1 and DDay 2 he went back to OW and was telling me how great our marriage was and how he was so happy with us.

        Yep he is a liar. And a cheater.

        I feel he learned a lesson and had a wake up call and would not cheat again. But I am not stupid enough to believe it would not happen. And if I found out we are over. No conversation or discussion. His clothes packed and left in the driveway and locks changed.

        And he knows it. His issue not mine

        So I think you can be in a position to trust again. Base it on his actions. But know you will never be blindsided like that again.

        The funny thing is in reality either spouse can walk out at any time for no reason. Just up and leave. But our security and trust has been built on a foundation where that idea never occurred to us. And when the foundation of your life and marriage is cracked it rocks your world. I had PTSD for about 18 months. Now I am past it.

        I hope this helps. FYI many people go to jail and serve their time and come out and never commit a crime again. Same goes for cheaters who make a mistake. They can realize their mistakes and never do it again. Sometimes it is a leap of faith you have to take. There are no guarantees.

        I hope this helps you.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Just reading your post touches me so deeply. Sure as the sun will rise…..that says it exactly.

        I’m searching for that trust as well but as you ask “what does that really look like?” I’m not sure.

        But when I look back I knew something was very wrong during the time of his EA I just never thought that could be it.

    • Patsy50

      I was going to post but I couldn’t have said it any better. Great response FirstWife!

    • TryingHard

      Well said First Wife. If the cheater is doing everything they need to do to make you feel safe it is a Leap of Faith to try and trust. It’s also freeing to YOU to let go. You have to remember and keep repeating you have no control over him no matter how much to worry, or fret or check up and investigate ultimately it is up to him to be committed to his commitment to you and his own integrity and morals.

    • monie

      Hi All, It has been a long while since I have commented, and have only recently been coming back to check in, My husbands PA with our neighbour and friend finalised in April 2011 we have been existing since then, separating and coming back and forward but nothing changes, added to this is my now addiction to bubbles to block out the pain of seeing 5 therapists, hospital stays and him only coming to 2 therapy sessions because of our younger daughter and saying things will be better but there has been no action. Total breakdown on my behalf, I kicked him out again in June but within a week he was back staying in the caravan but using the house amenities, if I talked to him he thought we were an item, if I did not it was divorce! Fast forward to late August and I left and have been lounge surfing at my older daughters and a clients since then. The other week, Linda and Doug you had a blog about the missing puzzle pieces which I copied/amended and sent to him, well after 4 1/2 years he finally told me the moment it started, still not sure of the year which is a huge problem. We spoke about that moment and another that he divulged and he says he has told me hundreds of times, NOOOOOOOOO I am not that stupid, these particulars are what drives me to seek the truth of when our life went from real to fantasy. If you were told she propositioned him at the Elton John concert would you forget, off course not! I sent him the copy of this blog and he is still sorry and maintains from day one he has been honest but does not remember dates like me (elephant). He destroyed my 2007 and 2008 diaries which pisses me off because I need information from them for a fraud case I am fighting for a client, and all the photo’s are gone from those years. Elton John played here in 2007 and 2008 I just need to know when it started……

    • pat

      I have been looking for all the facts of the affair. I have been reviewing our entire life now. all our friends and party since we been married. And now I found him, The Man that she had the affair with 40 years ago. He now 70 years old. She had the affair with him within the first 3 years we were married. We also had child that was just turning 2 years old. So I call him and talk to him. He provide me with some details of the affair, but did not complete the pictures. I plan on calling him again in few days and ask some follow-up questions. I have not told my wife that I talk to him. Not sure I should.

    • Tryinghard

      I get so sad and disheartened when reading about BS stories 5, 10, 40 years later after the affair and they are still mired in the very basic questions of Who, What, When and Where. Not even addressing the Why!

      I don’t get why these folks continue the relationships. For what? Is there any satisfaction or do we just get so caught up in the drama that we can’t let it go? Is that some of our reasons for living to truly suss out what happened? It seems like we like ramming our heads against that brick wall.

      In the end I think it’s imperative to ask YOURSELF not the cheater, is this what my life has become? Is this marriage, person worth it? Look I’m all for reconciliation but if the cheater hasn’t done the work after a few months of discovery maybe it’s time to call it a day with them. They aren’t going to give you what you want or need EVER. Accept what happened, it was not your fault and move on. We all have excuses not to. We all have reasons to stay stuck by blaming the cheater but it is we who are making the choice to accept those excuses. The cheater is at fault for cheating. No doubt, unequivocally, but staying mired in a dysfunctional relationship with a dysfunctional person is the betrayeds choice and sometimes their own fault for their misery.

      It’s ok to leave the abuser. It’s ok to say I Give, I Can’t Do This Anymore. Being without them if you are constantly playing infidelity detective is no way to live. People say life is short. It’s not, life is long, too long to let the cheaters problems ruin your life.

      Quit playing detective and therapist with your cheater. That’s not your job and certainly not what you signed up for when you married this person. Ask yourself if this were your child or a friend in this relationship what would you tell them? Probably, Get Out!!!

      Take care of you. Dig into your own psyche as to why you accept this treatment. What are you getting out of the relationship?

      I think reconciliation ebbs and flows until it reaches a certain point of satisfaction and comfort with the relationship. Trust ebbs and flows. Forgiveness ebbs and flows. But the constant questions in search of the elusive puzzle pieces is not worth it. Nothing will change the fact that they cheated. Nothing. And if you have one iota of intelligence you will never find a valid excuse that will make it ok or even understandable. It’s not ok. It’s not understandable and it is certainly not rational. Quit trying to find reason in the unrational. To put it simply, it is what it is. Live with it or don’t. Your choice now.

      • TheFirstWife

        You make some good points. All true.

        It is too bad my H took 2 years to get all the Q’s answered. Not that he did not try in the last year but prior to that he kept lying about a few things. As in I did not love her. I don’t know what he was thinking.

        But finally 2 years later and I am over it. It is in the past. No need to duscuss it. No more therapy sessions required by me.

        If I had given up we would not be where we are today. A tough choice b/c I did give up and think seriously about what and why I was doing the hard work.

        • TheFirstWife

          Sorry I had to stop my thought. Kid interruption.

          I did waffle a few times about why I was doing staying and not moving forward etc. luckily it turned around with a successful outcome.

          When I wasnt getting answers and was frustrated I used to ask myself why I was so desperately in need of answers.

          Really does not make sense when you think about it. But from seeing everything in this blog you know how important it is to have the questions answered. I think b/c in some way we take it very personally. Hard not to. But it really had nithing to do with us the BS and everything to do with the choices of the CS.

          And we are asking the liar and cheater to help us heal by answering questions and providing details and information. How do we know if that information is even the truth?

          Sometimes I wonder. But you do have to make a choice sometimes and take that leap of faith. It is out of our hands. Except our happiness does belong solely to us.

    • TryingHard

      First Wife
      Two years out and you’re over it is fast tracking it compared to others. I think by 2 years one should be well on their way. And yes the BS can be rather tenacious in figuring the whole thing out.

      I get disheartened because I wonder if I will be in the same boat 10, 20, 40 years later??? I think I’d sooner slit my wrists now. It would be less painful

      • pat

        I have not provide the whole story. We have talk about the affair over the last 3-4 months. She has told me she is very sorry and it was all her fault and that person back 40 years ago died. I believer her and I am still very much in love with her. In fact until three months ago I was very happy. Must be some kind of PTSD. True or not she has told me many thing about the affair. Except when and how it started and how did it end. She work for him in a office. I found out and she continue working at the office. He had another job and departed about three weeks after I found out. I think the affair for a women is much deeper then for a man. I keep going back in time. Who was she then, We have talk and think we know why she did it, I was working and going to school. She just started working to help support us. I was very busy working and going to school. She was looking for someone to talk to and make her feel good. Again, she has told me, not my fault. She is the blame.

        But I cannot get the video out of my head. We are not the same people now.

        Keep going back and fourth on SEX activities and the feeling she had for him (being a women, she give her mind up and then her body).

      • TheFirstWife

        I agree that it could come back in 10 or 20 years to haunt me. But I hope it won’t.

        I think I can help that in part by not allowing it to dominate and take control. I lived like that for too long. I was unhappy. Miserable. Depressed.

        Last night I had a thought. People will treat others poorly. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. It hurts. It can be painful. Especially when it is your spouse. The pain will always be there, hopefully lessening over time. But you can choose to put your happiness first. And put your needs first. And your life first.

        Sometimes the leap of faith will work to trust another person again. Especially one that hurt you so badly. But I just think life is short and I need to remain positive and happy. It is better for me. And if the marriage doesn’t work out I will feel badly and sad and hurt. But I will know in the end I did my best. And that is all I can do.

        It changed for me when I realized my happiness is my own doing. So maybe it seems like 2 years is fast but I believe my H finally got it together and the last 12 months has helped the healing process. This definitely helped me and us. We are lucky to get a 2nd chance. Count me grateful for all I have and a good thetapist and for being strong like my mother. I am blessed.

        • Strengthrequired

          I hope that my husbands affair isn’t haunting me in 10,20,30 years time. How sad. I would think with so much time gone past that a new life had been created, new memories with your spouse, ones that have given new meaning to the marriage. Surely you would have to think that your spouse truly does love you, that the ap truly meant nothing, but a huge mistake, that you meant more to your spouse than what the ap ever did. I think just knowing that would be a reason not to let the affects of the affair to rise again.
          I would hate to be living the rest of my life in doubt, or even to have the thought of my husbands betrayal to resurface. I would hate to relive all that torment. When I look back to dday, to now I see time has made improvements, yes it definitely hurts that he could have ever placed us in that terrible position, put us through what he did, but we both chose to stay together. Sometimes I think knowing all details of his affair would be bitter sweet, yet I would in some ways prefer not to know, as the parts I do know have been hard enough to let go of, and not have me just get up and leave.
          What’s to say, even if we believed they gave us all the details we wanted, that it is the truth, or even all of it anyway. Do we really want to know how sick they really were? Maybe it we did, we would decide that our spouses just aren’t worth the effort. Who is to say, the next person we meet if we left our spouse, isn’t worse? Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t maybe?
          I think I would prefer to give my husband that leap of faith, than some stranger. It amazes me on how many years have gone past since dday, coming up four years, it hasn’t been easy, far beyond easy, but it is better. I may still feel sadness at times, but that has lessened, my husband is still here, and my children are happy, although my husband hasn’t done all I have asked of him, I can’t deny he hasn’t tried, and isn’t still trying to make amends.

    • pat

      I just need to stay focus on the thing that make me happy. Must stay busy and move forward. I do not have any problem with trusting her today. She not that person anymore. I am not that person anymore. We are not the same people anymore. My current problem is was he the only one. I am looking back in time and thinking about all our friend back then and who she was working for. BTW It was her boss that she had the affair with, so now I am asking myself. If she did once, could she have done it more then once..

      She has told me she only had the one affair. Problem. We never talk after the affair back 30 years ago. Why…where…any detail….until now…

    • TheFirstWife

      Pat. It appears your spouse made a mistake. If she has been a good wife and person to you you are lucky. She got it!

      She realized her mistake and never did it again. You have had a happy life and marriage.

      Maybe you need to really forgive her. I your heart. It sounds like you have had a good life and marriage. Build on that. Don’t focus on a decades old mistake.

      Tell your wife how precious she is. Tell her how much she means to you. Surprise her with a heartfelt card or small gesture.

      You will be amazed at how good you feel about your marriage and it may replace the negative thoughts with positive ones.

    • pat

      I will do that and move on with our life. You may be right.

    • TheFirstWife

      I am not sure I sm right I just know from my own experiences that positivity beats negativity. When I allow myself to curl into a ball and feel sorry for myself I am stuck in that ball.

      If I try to work on putting things behind me I can usually pull myself out of the hole and see things differently.

      People make mistakes. Some worse than others. I have been married 27 years (next week). All but 1.5 years were very good. Affair period not do good. But we are past it.

      I believe some deserve a second chance.

    • pat

      But it so hard to do at times. Last night I again went into the black hole. Some times it take few mins to get back and other times few days. Many thing can put me into this path to the black hole. TV show…Song on the radio…..

      So many thing I want to said to her. But, all bad…I do not want to hurt her. So I keep the words to myself and in the black hole. So many questions that I real do not want the answers or I already know the answers.

      Just so hard to stay positivity. You are right, just bad period for 6 months.

    • TheFirstWife

      What do you think triggers the black hole?

      At least your wife did not attempt 2x to divorce you. My H did that.

      At least your wife apologized for the affair. I waited a long time for that. My H justified his affair as my fault. I heard 25 reasons why he was so unhappy. Or dissatisfied.

      It sounds like your wife wished up and moved on to being the best wife she could be. Good for you! Lucky you! The crisp that so many of us are put through would make your head spin.

      My H’s OW was ready to be a step mom to my two sons. And move into my social circle. My H had her convinced all his friends would accept her. My H is 50s. She is 30. Covered in tattoos. Drama queen. Major issues.

      I actually laugh at this stuff. I can name 5 of our friends that never would accept this woman. And not all of them are wives of our friends. Some of them are the guys. They could not accept her.

      So look on the bright side. You did not deal with half the crap. We get to deal with the infidelity, the fog of the affair, being compared to the perfect OW and trying to show our H we can still get past this and have a good marriage.

      So Pat try and look on the bright side. Your wife acted the way we wish our H would have after the fact. But no we had to continue to do all the work and fight tooth and nail. Your apology came from her sincerely.

      My apology came with “I’m sorry but” too many times.

    • pat

      Many thing triggers me going into the black hole. People on TV joking about Affairs. New show on TV called affair. I was working in the AF at the time she had the affair and when I heard jet airplane in the air, I go back in time.

      She is trying very hard to help me. We are thinking about going away on a long week-end and talking about the affair and try to help me get past the problem. I want to know the details of the affair. Or maybe I do not need the details. I just want to share with her what is in my mind when I go into the black hole. Is this wrong to share with her.

      I have questions, but I real do not want answers. Like did you take your ring off ? All the normal positions ? She was on the pill at the time, so did you use protecting ? Did you make out first day only and then on another day you had having sex? How did it start ? Did you make the first move? Or how did you give him the go ahead sign. Did you talk about it at work before anything happen. Did he make the first move, how did you react.

      D-day happen. What did you and OM talk about during the 2-3 weeks before he move away.

      • Tryinghard

        Yes. Ask those questions, all those questions. And yes you need the answers because your imagination is worse than the reality of the actual affair.

        Good thing you are a man because she will answer the questions and you will take her answers at face value. Women don’t do that. One question begets another.

        Write those questions down. Make plans to go away for a weekend with the understanding that the affair will be discussed. You deserve the answers. Otherwise move on. Divorce. The questions will haunt you forever. I guarantee you she knows the answers. Women are like that. Dates and times and details are seared in our memory. She has the answers you need. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

        Once you get your answers you will know what to do because really it’s pretty easy. You have two choices. Stay and eat giant shit sandwiches and chose to accept that she cheated because she’s an entitled, selfish, person or divorce and cut your losses. The choice is really all yours. The balls are all in your court. Take advantage.

        She truly wants to reconcile make her do the hard work and it starts with owning up to what she did and answer the fucking questions!! It’s the least she can do. She had no problem doing the worst she could do to your relationship now it’s time to take the ownership.

        And don’t let her pull any of that bullshit blame shifting like “I didn’t think you cared or loved me or you were ignored me”. BULLSHIT!! She made her choices out of free will and self entitlement.

        Good luck to you and remember the sound of an airplane taking off is nothing more than mathematics and physics.

        Good luck friend. Be strong, be smart. You deserve better. We all do

    • Wilma

      Married 30 years. My H was officially outed by his brother (who just broke up with the OW) they were both with her at the same time for a short period 3 years ago & I caught the text/pics messages through a phone bill. My BIL told me she confessed everything to him that she was with my H 6 years ago and then again 3 years ago. Her phone has been blocked since then & my H was so sorry and we have been working on our marriage and we even renewed our vows & now I know he lied to the therapist.. D-Day was 2 months ago. I learned that 6 years ago they actually were meeting up for sex and now I don’t know if I can ever trust him again. He had 6 years to confess but didn’t. I feel like such a fool. She tried to contact my H again last fall but since she is blocked, he never got the messages. My H is in therapy and working on many demons but this OW is our neighbor. He wrote a no contact letter to end it with her, he has been working on me feeling safe but every day when I’m at work my mind starts telling me they could still be meeting up. It’s hell.

    • Ds

      Sometimes i find it hard to relate to Linda because my husband had an emotional and physical affair. I have had three DDays, my husband continued to work with AP for 6 months. At month five i found out they had been having a sexual relationship. Then the story of the affair grossly changed. I do not know what to believe. He told her he loved and swears t me he didn’t. But I know in my heart he feel in love with her. So he is still lying. Does it matter if he is lying to me or himself. Not sure it matters anymore. I am a year out of DDay 1 and my CH doesnt understand why I cant trust him or move forward. LOL six weeks ago he told me he blamed me for his affair, was angry with me before, during and after affair. He like many husbands of you all treated me like shit during his affair and after. The defensiveness, anger, frustration he vents toward me is unbearable. I think he was always like this, but my unconditional love for my soulmate, best friend, true and faithful husband allowed me to deal with this aspect of his personality. I never saw it coming, even though i told him we were broken and needed help. I asked him who are fuc&^&ing because its not me. He lied, made up some bullshit and two weeks later was all in, figuratively and literally. I recently asked him about that and he said well you already thought I was having affair so why not. Well he was already having affair, emotional so my attempt and fixing our relationship made him decide to have a sexual relationship. Nice right? So one year later he cannot understand why I am still triggered, in the abyss, do not trust, forgive or believe a word out of his mouth. His anger and resentment toward me for not getting HIS way is palpable.. i dont think he is sorry, i think he is sorry he got caught. He told me i needed it and wanted it and now i am suppose to be okay with that. True remorse, i dont feel it, empathy, I dont feel it, sorrow for murdering me emotionally, and psychologically, i dont feel it. All I feel is anger and him not getting his way. Me over it and committed to working it out. The things i found out about my husband after the affair (sexual addictions , going to massage parlors, deep seeded feelings of resentments toward so many things) make me feel like i never knew the man i have been with for 20 years. Truth is who knows how many affairs he has had. I think its very possible is a narcissist. My meltdowns and PTSD, triggers etc only make him angry. Why am I staying, because at this point i really dont know what to do. I think i keep holding out for some sign of redemption, remorse, sorrow, true empathy, We go to counseling and we each have our own therapist. He lied to them for five months, what’s to say he is still not lying. So trust, jump all in, i cant do that. That is way too dangerous for me. I have become a vile, vengeful person a complete 180 from who I used to be. I dont like myself. BTW, his affair partner was having three affairs on her husband at this time, is a swinger and goes to sex clubs. This is who he choose over me. She sought him out to have an affair and this idiot took the bait. She is a disgusting human being. I thin she wants to destroy marriages. This is the woman he missed, he wined and dined, had sex in his office everyday with. I was discarded, betrayed, disrespected, made to feel like a fool, treated like crap now and than. I dont think he will ever get it or get me. He is so selfish. He wants his cake and to eat it too. Why do we stay? Can anyone answer this. Why do we accept being treated like a used snotty issue? There can be NO TRUST when this is your story. And please dont want to hear it was a mistake, it was a choice. A choice to destroy a marriage, a loving wife and family. I knew something was wrong. I tried to work on it. Does e see it that way. He say yes but guess what this lying piece of shit is still lying. Narcissist

    • PK

      Hi! I’ve been a reader since my d-day on 1/6/19. Finding this page was the lifeline I needed. It is so lonely going through an affair. My wife had an emotional and physical affair with a high school classmate. We have sought help and had many hard conversations as we pick up the pieces and repair our marriage.

      A wondering I have is, how does one “just get to a point” and fully trust again? I have done a lot of self reflection and reading over the past two years and have not reached this point of full trust and wonder if I truly can. Being honest with myself. So should I move on? The Triggers (or waves as I call them) still happen from time to time.

      Such a painful event to have happen to you, but thankful for this site and the help it has given me. Linda and Doug, and everyone else who has or is going through an affair- the impact you have had is immeasurable.
      Thank you!!


      • Shifting Impressions

        It’s a long difficult journey to be sure. I found it was often one step forward and two steps back in the trust department. It has been seven years since D-day for me. We are still together and have worked much of it through. Overall I’m glad I stayed. But in all honesty I will never be quite the same.

        Only you can decide whether to go or stay. Is there more good than bad? Is there true remorse from your wife?

        The waves as you call them washed over me for several years. But slowly and I mean slowly we moved forward.

    • Amie

      So my husband did some crazy emotional stiff with my neighbor next door. My husband and I were together for 20+ and he has never been a talker about his feelings. Come to find out he was with her then his mom then come to find out after he had sessions with Doug lots of other people. Not Doug’s fault. But every time I want to talk about the affair so I can have a price of mind my husband says “well, that’s what Doug said you would say”. Oh that’s great, just treat me like more of a piece of crap. Thanks Doug, I should have just left the jerk. Instead I thought he was getting some sort of help but I instead I got more emotional abuse with your name behind it! With a I think a $1400 price! Nice! I could have taken that money and left!

      • Amis

        I’m upset about the advice you gave him. It gave him all the reason Not to talk to me. I’m not an unreasonable person and never was. I took care of two kids pretty much by myself. No help had two businesses that I was running and he was no where. But he tells me all the time when I ask him what was going on with his affair for the past year that “Doug told me would be like that”. Thanks!! I needed that!

        • Doug


          I’m sorry that you’re upset and in pain. The main things that I preach to unfaithful persons is the need to understand why they did what they did – and communicate that with their spouse. Additionally, they must be patient, remorseful, supportive, and more proactive in the healing and recovery process. There are a lot of ingredients that go into these main things, and certainly gaslighting you and/or stonewalling you when you want to talk about the affair isn’t one of them.

    • Anon

      Your H is stonewalling and using Doug as his scapegoat. Unfortunately you don’t know what your H & Doug discuss but I seriously doubt Doug is telling him that he doesn’t have to answer your questions.

      That is not part of the healing or reconciliation process.

      What your H is doing is everything he can to rugsweep his affair AND blame you, gaslight you, stonewall you and just AVOID facing the truth and being honest with you.

      So sorry for you. But you cannot make him talk. And you don’t have to accept that.

    • Bryan

      If my wife would make an attempt to earn my trust it would be a step a positive direction. But she sees “trust” as a way to compliment (or insult) someone rather than soemething that is earned. If I tell her I don’t trust her she punches back with an insult. If I tell her I trust her she says thank you. Smdh!

    • Anon


      Has your wife done ANYTHING towards helping you heal?

      Is she consistent in her actions by being where she says she is going?

      Has she ended the affair and stopped talking to the affair partner?

      Is she in counseling?

      Is she normally a very cold or non-emotional person?

      Is she used to getting her own way all the time?

      Does she understand the pain she has caused?

      Does she show any remorse?

    • Jennet

      Trust is so very difficult after the initial DD but in the end you have to trust your partner otherwise what’s the point in being together. It takes time and effort . I’m 3 years from DD and a few relapses on his part during that time but things have changed a lot now because ‘iv e changed’
      I’m more independent,more confident in my ability to go it alone if it ever happens again, my whole attitude has altered I enjoy my life,my family and friends and being with my husband. I think that is the main thing to do after infidelity is to make yourself as strong as you possibly can. To be honest it has made my husband sit up and take notice. Inhindsight I should have done it years ago then maybe it wouldn’t have happened but who knows !! And I’m certainly not blaming myself for his choices. I do think you have to look inwards before you get to a good place and feel at peace.
      Good luck to everyone Jennet

    • jennet

      Hi Nancy you sound so lonely the only thing I can suggest is looking at this blog and perhaps reading Andrew g.marshall books he is very good also I used YouTubemarriagehelper. I used to write emails to Doug and Linda quite often and al ways had sound advice from them perhaps try that as it doesn’t sound as though your counsellor is doing much to help you comes to terms with what has happened.
      It is a very tough road we travel very much a roller coaster.
      I found what helped me the most was having a couple of very special friends to spend time with and walking miles 2 or 3 times a day,couldn’t be bothered with other exercise just walking outside in all weather really does clear the mind. Plus the bonus is you get fit,look better and lose weight makes you feel so much better.
      In all the BS your husband comes out with is what we’ve all heard same old,same old we were just friends!!! Who needs enemies when you have friends like that!!
      Look after yourself that has to be your priority and of course your children if you have any.
      I’ve been with my husband for 54 years this year and not in a million years did I think he would do this to me and some days I can’t believe it happened. Now I’m at the other side thank goodness wouldn’t wish infidelity and all the pain that comes with it on anyone.
      Good luck Jennet

      • Nancy

        Thank you Jennet I will look into these helps from you . I roll along doing good hardly ever thinking about it ; then a day of sorrow.
        I do walk our pasture every day and go swimming a few times a week. Care for small farm animals which I delight in . Seems like I have some letting go of what could be and accept what is and like you said self care.
        Thank you so much for responding .

    • Jennet

      Here we are again !! Another year gone! And even after 4 years since DD I still struggle with Trust most of the time I’m ok then something goes off in my head and there is the black cloud of doom again. I don’t know what causes it,maybe I feel I’ve got complacent and not on my guard! But really that is how I should be not putting walls up ‘just in case’ it happens again. Hopefully in time I can truly let go and just accept what’s happened. I’m getting back into my walking routine again that helped enormously it really does clear your head especially if the sun is shining.
      Good luck jennet

    • Hungry

      Feeling the similar. Progress is slow (!) a
      Although there is decreasing frequency, he still says or does things that a repeat of something we both agreed are out of bounds. He went to a rooftop bar with a single male friend while I was out of the country with my mother after we agreed that was breaking a boundary. He much too often comes up with a “special exception clause “. In this case he thought it was a rooftop restaurant and didn’t realize until they got there that it wasn’t/they ordered pizza from nearby and ate it there so, it “was a restaurant, technically “ (idiot) and (it wasn’t a club that had dancing or appeared to be a pick up joint) therefore…. In his special banana land that has special rules just for him, he did not feel like he did anything wrong. He topped off his defense with telling me I was making a big deal out of nothing.
      How many more times am I going to tolerate this ?
      He treads the boundary line or steps out a little with bs excuses. He doesn’t want to stay in the in the center, the safest place to avoid situations that might harm our marriage. He seems to be doing this less and less often but maybe I just don’t know every time it happens. I lose trust when he gets angry and defensive when I hold him accountable for breaking boundaries. After 4 years of various marriage retreats/ counseling/ online workbooks/endless discussions…. It’s disheartening to feel like I’m parenting a teenager.
      Why can’t he be a grown ass man and at least admit that he should have left the bar when he realized it wasn’t a restaurant….that he should have been certain he made me feel like I could trust him when I was out of the country. It took a counseling session to go step by step why this was a bad choice. I’m still not sure that he didn’t just agree because he was sick of talking about it. There was not a sincere apology. He ended up saying that he probably shouldn’t have done that and he will try not to do it again. That’s just breadcrumbs.
      I’m feeling malnourished, sometimes slowly poisoned into traumatic depression.

      He thinks I am being ridiculous for never wanting to go to Disney World again. We have anew grandson that he can’t wait until the child is old enough to go to Disney. The banana head took his 24 yo female friend to Disney when he was 63 yo….at the time we had 5&7 yo granddaughters, we were married ~ 35years when he was having. (at the minimum, probably more) an emotional affair. Even if he didn’t want to go with me, why didn’t he take his granddaughters instead of her?

    • Jennet

      Nothing makes any sense!!!!
      Make yourself the priority otherwise you will go insane
      Take care jennet

      • Hungry

        Thanks, you too

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