Will Your Partner Have an Affair Again? – The Million Dollar Question

Will Your Partner Have an Affair Again

A wayward spouse is solely in control of his or her actions and choices. He (or she) has to make the ultimate decision to cheat again or not to cheat again.

By Sarah P.

Stephen Covey, in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, remarks that a person’s past habits and behavior often predict their future habits and behaviors. If this were true in all cases and true all the time, there would be no such thing as affair recovery. About 20 years ago, before I started researching affair recovery, I assumed Stephen Covey was right and that anyone who cheats will always be a cheater.

I truly believed once a cheater, always a cheater. My viewpoint was further solidified by my (ex) fiancé’s behavior. After I found out my fiancé had been cheating on me after we broke up, I was curious to know if she had been the only other woman. After doing some digging, I discovered he had cheated on me with several other women during our relationship. He had cheated on me with two of his own ex-girlfriends as well as with one of his so-called female friends. This further solidified my viewpoint that once a cheater, always a cheater.

And boy did I feel like the chump of the century. Since I had and have integrity, doing what he did was not in my frame of reference. Because of this, I probably had blind-spots. In my world, decent people simply did not do what he did. I was the biggest chump for wasting four years on a relationship and almost marrying someone who was a serial cheater.

But truly, there were no signs. Everyone who knew us in our large circle of friends believed us to be the perfect couple. My ex was excellent at presenting a social face that simply was not him. I was the stupid chump in the room. Who believed his pleasing social face.  Everyone else seemed to know what he was about, or rather some saw what he might have been capable of and no one told me the whole story until afterwards.

Looking back, I realized that no one told me the whole story because it was primarily men who knew the whole story. Since we all worked together and since many of these guys were on his team, it makes sense that they did not want to rock the boat. But, that terrible experience and my subsequent chump-dom was needless and life-shattering for me. If people knew who he was, why couldn’t they just tell me?

 

Two Sides of a Story

I imagine one of the reasons they did not tell me was because he probably had a different side of the story. While we were living together and I was in a state of blissful ignorance, I imagine my ex was dropping comments here and there displaying his discontent. I can guess he was doing this because such behavior is common when someone is having an affair. They have to find ways to tear down their partner in order to justify their actions.

Even though their affair is still hidden, they know that one day it will probably be discovered and so they lay a framework that makes them seem blameless. They tear down their partner to others so that when they are discovered, people say, “Well, he deserved to be cheated on because he was always a terrible partner. Who can blame her for finding someone better?” And cheaters know this so they pepper conversations about their partner with negative comments.

There are always different sides to the story and many cheaters present themselves as upstanding citizens and their betrayed spouses as monsters.

There was a situation with my husband’s boss that brings home this point. When my husband was hired at his first job, we would often socialize with the clinic director (a MD) and his new wife (a LPN). According to both the clinic head, whom I will call David, and his new wife, Lisa, David’s  ex-wife was a fire-breathing dragon. They painted David’s ex-wife as a heartless academic who was a terrible wife and mother and who did not show David an ounce of love. Even though David and Lisa had worked together for years before David’s divorce, they insisted that their relationship did not start as an affair. At the time, I thought it was an odd coincidence, but I believed them because they seemed so “nice.” At that point I had not discovered that “nice is a choice” and not a character trait.

Then, low and behold we got the ex-wife’s side of the story in the most interesting ways. When I gave birth to my first child, I went to a hospital that was an hour away from where we lived and worked. My husband and I both got along well with the labor and delivery nurse and she and my husband started talking shop.

We soon discovered that the labor and delivery nurse was the best friend of David’s ex-wife. (Small world). When David’s name was mentioned, the labor and delivery nurse bristled and said with a chill in her voice, “that woman, Lisa, came between them. They had the perfect marriage, you know.”

I was surprised and asked, “what do you mean?”

She continued, “my husband and I and David and his wife used to go on vacations together. They were so in love, or so we believed. And then one day he came home and told her he did not love her anymore.”

I asked the labor and delivery nurse if David had cheated on his wife. She was absolutely convinced that David had been cheating with Lisa for a long time before he left his wife of 25 years with no warning.

I asked the labor and delivery nurse about David’s ex-wife and she said that David’s ex-wife was a wonderful wife, excellent mom, and a successful academic whom many people loved. The labor and delivery nurse said that she did not believe David’s ex-wife would ever recover because David’s ex-wife was so utterly stunned. She had never seen it coming and lost the love of her life.

My husband and I tried to make sense of the story on the way home. At the time, we both wrote the nurse off as non-objective. After all, Lisa was my husband’s nurse in the clinic and David was his boss. We had many nice dinners with them and just could not see it.

Then, something of David’s character came out.

One time we went to a formal ball with them sponsored by the hospital. My husband and I do not drink, but David and Lisa drink. Both David and Lisa got drunk during that evening. At one point, David pulled me onto the dance floor and Lisa soon followed and pulled my husband onto the dance floor. I was not comfortable with this, but my husband shot me a look that said, “don’t be a wet blanket and go with it.”

And before I could even get my bearings, David pulled me into him and I felt his hot, boozy breath was on my neck. His hands fumbled and he tried to slip them through the back of my floor-length gown while he clung to me.

I was shocked and immediately I broke away from him and returned to the table. I acted as if everything was okay; I let David save face. Soon, Lisa and my husband returned to the table. I announced that we did not want to leave our baby with the sitter all night long and needed to go.

In the car, I tried to tell my husband what had happened, but he did not listen.

I tested the waters and said: “David was being really goofy. He pulled me into him a little too tightly.”

And my husband immediately shot back: “Oh you are probably imagining things. David is not that kind of guy.”

I questioned, “are you sure? I felt very awkward and I just needed to leave.”

And my husband repeated, “Nonsense. David is my boss. And besides, he is crazy about Lisa and he would never cross a line with another woman.”

My husband assured me that everyone was just trying to have a good time and that I clearly misunderstood the situation. I dropped it with my husband and never brought it up again. Also, we have never been to a work ball again. Even though the hospital throws beautiful formal dinners and dances each year, that one bad experience ruined it for me. Some may think that I am being too sensitive and maybe I am. But, I just cannot bring myself to go back to witness a bunch of drunk doctors acting like college students.

This experience certainly made me re-evaluate David’s character and whether or not he and Lisa had started something while David was married.

After that, I did not want to hang out with Lisa and David anymore. Fortunately, my husband took a different job soon after that and we did not have to see them. My husband still idealizes them and remembers David as the best boss he has ever had and Lisa as the best nurse he had ever worked with.

I do not believe either David or Lisa remembered that night. But, I did since I was sober. David’s behavior is still shocking to me because this is not the way married people act.

But again, there are two sides to every story and I wonder how David remembers it—if at all.

Since then, I have developed very strict boundaries in my marriage. We have both decided that neither of us will touch the opposite sex, not even casually. Of course, my husband has to examine people for work, so I am speaking within a social context. With these boundaries, we can ensure there will be no more misunderstandings and no more dances with others on the dance floor.

You may think it overly cautious. But, I don’t want these things to happen again. I do not want to be touched even casually by a man other than my husband and big and gracious hugs are reserved solely for my female friends.

Knowing my side of the story, do you believe that David and Lisa’s relationship actually began after he divorced his wife? Or do you believe David and Lisa are just one more instance of a doctor falling in love with his ever-present nurse? Of course, Lisa had a lot to gain my interrupting someone else’s marriage. But, she probably gained a cheater. I highly doubt that David’s behavior towards me was his first transgression.

Predicting Affairs

Recently, I have done extensive research on how to predict new affairs and how to predict repeat affairs. I have come to the conclusion that there are ways to find out if a spouse is likely to cheat again. Therefore, you do not have to exist in a state of chump-dom like I did and see the writing on the wall before it happens.

Various methods of predicting infidelity have been evaluated.

“Although marital relationships can be the source of some of life’s most enjoyable experiences, they are also the source of one of life’s most painful experiences—infidelity. Estimates suggest that over 25% of married men and 20% of married women engage in extra-marital sex over the course of their relationships (Atkins, Baucom, & Jacobson, 2001; Greeley, 1994; Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, & Michaels, 1994; Wiederman, 1997). Such infidelities can have serious negative consequences for those involved. Not only may infidelity lead to relationship distress and thus decreased relationship satisfaction in both partners (Sănchez Sosa, Hernández Guzmán, & Romero, 1997; Spanier & Margolis, 1983), it is also a strong predictor of divorce (Amato & Rogers, 1997; Betzig, 1989). Further, the victims and perpetrators of infidelity also frequently experience negative intrapersonal outcomes, such as decreased self-esteem (Shackelford, 2001), increased risk of mental health problems (e.g., Allen et al., 2005; Cano & O’Leary, 2000), guilt (Spanier & Margolis, 1983), and depression (Beach, Jouriles, & O’Leary, 1985). Identifying psychological characteristics that may be associated with a risk of perpetrating infidelity may help interventions to better target such individuals.

Attachment theory (e.g., Mikulincer & Shaver, 2003) provides one useful framework for addressing this goal. According to that theory, intimates develop mental representations of the availability of close others that lead to strong cognitive and behavioral patterns of responding to those others. Whereas those who develop a secure attachment style tend to believe close others are available to them and behave accordingly, those who develop an insecure attachment style, i.e., attachment anxiety or attachment avoidance, tend to believe close others are less available to them and behave accordingly. Intimates who develop high levels of attachment anxiety are uncertain of the availability of close others and cope by seeking reassurance from and clinging to the partner (Brennan & Shaver, 1995; Feeney & Noller, 1990). Intimates who develop high levels of attachment avoidance, in contrast, doubt the availability of close others and cope by avoiding behaviors that promote intimacy (Brennan & Shaver, 1995; Campbell, Simpson, Kashy, & Rholes, 2001; Pistole, 1993; Simpson, Rholes, & Nelligan, 1992; Gentzler & Kerns, 2004).

Both types of insecurity may be associated with marital infidelity. Individuals high in attachment anxiety tend to feel that their needs for intimacy are not being met in their current relationships (for review, see Shaver & Mikulincer, in press) and use sex to meet their unmet needs (Birnbaum, Reis, Mikulincer, Gillath, & Orpaz, 2006). Accordingly, they may be more likely than individuals low in attachment anxiety to seek intimacy with another partner through infidelity. Individuals high in attachment avoidance tend to be chronically less committed to their relationships (DeWall et al., 2011) and have more permissive sexual attitudes (Brennan & Shaver, 1995; Gentzler & Kerns, 2004; Hazan, Zeifman, & Middleton, 1994). Given that both tendencies are associated with infidelity (Drigotas, Safstrom, & Gentilia, 1999; Smith, 1994), avoidantly-attached individuals may be more likely to engage in infidelity as well.

We are aware of three published reports describing a total of 10 studies that have addressed the role of attachment in predicting infidelity. DeWall and colleagues (2011) described eight studies indicating that attachment avoidance, but not attachment anxiety, was associated with (a) a greater interest in alternatives and/or (b) infidelity; Bogaert and Sadava (2002) demonstrated that attachment anxiety was positively associated with infidelity, particularly in women; and Allen and Baucom (2004) reported that (a) attachment avoidance was positively associated with the number of extra-dyadic partners reported by male undergraduates, (b) attachment anxiety was positively associated with the number of extra-dyadic partners reported by female undergraduates, and (c) attachment avoidance trended toward being associated with the number of extra-dyadic partners reported by married individuals.” (1)

 

Different Models of Prediction

Since affairs are as old as time itself, we can imagine that many broken-hearted people have spent nights awake asking that eternal question: Will he (or she) do it again?

After all, why would we invest further in a spouse who is going to do it again and put us through the pain of another D-Day. We require surety so that we can rebuild our marriage or relationships without apprehension.

Researchers have looked at infidelity through different lenses and have found other factors (including attachment theory) make infidelity in the future more probable:

“Buss and Shackelford (1997) found that individuals who are unhappy in their marriages expect to engage in infidelity in the future, and they expect their spouses to do the same. Relationship dissatisfaction also correlates with the number of extra-dyadic partners (Wiggins & Lederer, 1984) and the degree of emotional and sexual involvement with one’s extra-marital partner (e.g., Allen & Baucom, 2001; Glass & Wright, 1985). Marital dissatisfaction, however, unfolds in different ways for men and women (Allen et al., 2008). Unfaithful husbands indicate less satisfaction with their primary relationship before getting married; whereas unfaithful wives do not report lower levels of premarital relationship satisfaction. The degree of investment in a primary partnership and perceived quality of alternatives also play a role in infidelity. Rusbult’s investment model (Drigotas& Barta, 2001; Rusbult, 1980; Rusbult, Drigotas, & Verette, 1994) predicts that in addition to satisfaction with the relationship, other factors influence commitment to the relationship, including self-perceived ability to do without the relationship, and the benefits that might be lost if the relationship ends, including possessions, friends and connections. Among college students, the degree of investment in the relationship negatively predicted the degree of physical and emotional infidelity (Drigotas, Safstrom, & Gentilia, 1999).

Researchers have also studied infidelity from the perspective of the attachment model (Bogaert & Sadava, 2002). According to this perspective, children develop a specific style of attachment based on the way they are treated by caregivers (Bowlby, 1973). If a caregiver is not responsive to a child’s distress, the child may develop negative models of the self and others, known as fearful avoidant attachment. Other children develop a style of attachment in which they have a positive concept of the self but a negative concept of others, known as the dismissive avoidant attachment style. Still others develop a preoccupied attachment style, in which they have a negative concept of the self and a positive concept of others. Those who receive the appropriate attention and care in childhood often develop a secure attachment style with a positive concept of both themselves and others.

Researchers now believe that attachment style remains active throughout the life course and serves as a foundation for attachment with a spouse (Fraley & Shaver, 2000; Hazan & Diamond, 2000; Hazan & Shaver, 1987). Research indicates that secure attachment is positively associated with more stable relationships and less infidelity (Miller & Fishkin, 1997), whereas insecure attachment is positively associated with more extra-dyadic relationships (Bogaert & Sadava, 2002). Men with a dismissive attachment style and women with a preoccupied attachment style had the largest number of extra-dyadic partners (Allen & Baucom 2004); and individuals expressive of anxious attachment, particularly women, were also more likely to engage in sexual infidelity (Bogaert & Sadava, 2002).

Researchers have also explored the relationship between infidelity and the “Big Five” personality traits—openness to new experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism – and related traits. Individuals who engage in infidelity are more open to new experiences and extroverted than their partners (Orzeck & Lung, 2005; Wiederman & Hurd, 1999; Yeniceri & Kokdemir, 2006), and more susceptible to boredom (Hendrick & Hendrick, 1987). Sexual infidelity is also associated with low agreeableness (Costa & McCrae, 1992; Graziano & Eisenberg, 1997), with low conscientiousness, and with higher neuroticism, or lacking positive psychological adjustment (Whisman et al., 2007). These correlations are found worldwide. In a study of 10 world regions, including North America, South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Oceania, South Asia and East Asia, individuals with a low degree of agreeableness or conscientiousness are also more likely to be unfaithful (Schmitt, 2004).

In fact, individuals whose spouses have a low degree of agreeableness or conscientiousness are also more likely to engage in infidelity (Shackelford, Besser, & Goetz, 2008). And in relationships where both partners have a similar degree of agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to new experiences, individuals are more likely to be faithful (Drigotas et al., 1999; Orzeck & Lung 2005). Based on the available data, low conscientiousness and low agreeableness seem to be most strongly related to infidelity (compared to the other “Big Five” traits) and these associations seem to be found in a diverse array of cultures.

With regard to psychological disorders, individuals with relatively higher levels of psychopathy (Neubeck & Schletzer, 1969), and men (Hurlbert et al., 1994) and women (Buss & Shackelford, 1997) high in narcissism reported greater involvement in various forms of infidelity. In men, excessive alcohol consumption was related to a greater prevalence of extramarital involvement, and individuals with higher rates of depression were more likely to engage in extramarital sex (Beach, Jouriles, & O’Leary, 1985).” (2)

 

If your spouse was a narcissistic beast before the wedding, there is a good chance he or she will be a beast after the wedding. Changing beasts into princes or princesses happens only in Disney movies OR with consecrated effort on the part of the beast. In the end, the beast must want to change of his or her own volition.

Recently, I was reading the pre-nuptial story of a well-known sport’s figure and his wife. He realized that if he was to be a good husband, he must become more sexually conservative before marriage. He realized that the mentality that drove him to bring a different girl to bed each day would not magically change once a wedding ring was on his finger.

He realized that marriage is just a piece of paper unless people can live on the straight and narrow prior to marriage. Thus, he and his fiance decided to be celibate until their wedding night. The beast changed of his own volition.

I realize that in today’s world such a thing would be impossible for most couples. But, I greatly commend them for doing what they felt was right. I also agree that having an extended trial without an intimate relationship probably sets a couple up for a good marriage. In some cultures saving oneself for the wedding night is a norm. Honestly, I think it is a good thing because it forces a couple to figure out real compatibility without lust getting in the way.

 

Mate Poachers

I have talked about mate poachers before and I thought it would be wise to examine their role again. After all, affairs would not exist if there were no willing and able third parties. What does evolutionary psychology say about mate poaching?

“Schmitt and Buss (2001) confirmed that mate poaching is relatively common among undergraduate students, with approximately 50% of both males and females reporting experience with either short term or long term poaching. Poaching appears to cut across cultures, as well. Schmitt (2004), in tandem with members of the International Sexuality Description Project, investigated poaching behaviors in 53 countries.

Results of the survey, involving more than 16,000 participants, indicates that approximately 50% of men and 40% of women engage in either short term or long term poaching. Moreover, mate poachers appear to be successful 50-60% of the time—males more often than females.

Evolutionary principles are currently the only explanatory mechanism used to understand poaching behaviors. According to Davies, Shackelford, and Goetz (2006), at any one time during the evolution of human psychology, there likely will have been individuals who had mates and individuals who did not have mates. It follows that individuals who had only psychological mechanisms that motivated desire for and successful mating with unmated individuals may have been at a relative reproductive disadvantage. This is because they would have been outcompeted in the arena reproduction by any men and women who, in addition, possessed psychological mechanisms that motivated the desire to mate with 46 already-mated individuals (under certain conditions) and the behavioral output that enabled successful mating with them. (p. 299)

Furthermore, many hypotheses grounded in an evolutionary perspective are supported by Schmitt and Buss’s (2001) investigation. When men demonstrated that they were able and willing to provide resources, they were more successful at poaching women away from their current partners. In contrast, women were more successful at poaching when they enhanced both their appearance and the male’s ego, as well as providing easy sexual access (i.e., in the case of short-term poaching).

These findings reflect evolutionary psychology quite nicely; attracting an individual who is already attached requires demarcating oneself as superior in desirable qualities. However, the evolutionary perspective does have limitations. For instance, Davies et al. (2006) found that both sexes perceive the costs associated with poaching as outweighing potential poaching benefits.

Both men and women would choose to mate with an unattached individual over an attached one. Therefore, according to Davies et al. (2006), the only way for poaching to occur is under circumstances devoid of available individuals, or the attached individuals must out-compete the unattached individuals. Davies et al.’s (2006) results are contested in Parker and Burkley’s (2009) findings in that single females were more interested in poaching an attached male than pursuing an unattached male. Parker and Burkley argued that an attached male has demonstrated the ability to commit and has undergone a “pre-screening” by another female.” (3)

The thing that many couples contend with is an affair partner who will not go away, even if the previously poached spouse has cut off the relationship. Quite often, the spurned lover will go to very drastic and toxic measures to accomplish perceived revenge on the attached spouse (and his or her innocent family) who broke off the affair.

It always amazes me that the other woman or other man believes that he or she has the power to break up a marriage. Even more troubling is the mentality that would seek to break up a family. So, it is no surprise that such a person would seek toxic revenge. My opinion is that a person who is willing to break up a family has a personality disorder such as narcissism. Anyone with strong empathy would be able to see the harm caused to innocents and have second thoughts.

In cases where people are successfully poached, such as in the case of my ex, they get what they deserve. 

The poached spouse gets an individual, the other person, who is willing to do extreme harm to others. The other person gets a cheater who was willing to be poached. Thus, the other person will never have peace of mind.

I think of them as two people who robbed a bank together and got away with it. Sure, they have their money, but each also knows to watch his (or her) back because they know the other robber could run off with the fortune in the night.

After all, who can trust a bank robber? Well, the same thing goes for spouse poachers and those who were poached. A relationship founded on lies and the betrayal of others can never be a happy relationship.

Will Your Partner Have an Affair Again? Other Things to Consider:

  • Has a wayward spouse demonstrated behavior that indicates remorse?
  • Has a wayward spouse admitted he or she was wrong and offered an apology without excuses?
  • Has a wayward spouse changed the behaviors that caused him or her to stray in the first place?
  • Has a wayward spouse given all passwords to technology and established a transparent relationship?
  • Has a wayward spouse removed triggering events that could cause him to see his affair partner again?

In Summary

When we think about whether or not our spouse will be unfaithful again, we are dealing with probabilities as well as the characteristics that lend someone to be unfaithful. Even then, there are no guarantees. Many cheaters break the mold and reform while the men and women who would “never cheat” leave their family for someone else.

A wayward spouse is solely in control of his or her actions and choices. He (or she) has to make the ultimate decision to cheat again or not to cheat again.

But, this does not mean all is lost. I believe that if a wayward spouse has empathy and if he or she has true remorse, there is a good chance he or she will not cheat again. I have observed many people who cheated, but who were truly horrified by their behavior after they woke up the to the pain they caused.

In all things in life, keep your eyes open, keep your wits about you, and pull in objective sources if you are feeling to close to a situation. As always, I wish you much success on your journey to recovery. Remember that you are never alone.

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Inside the Mind of the Unfaithful
Understanding Why Cheaters Do What They Do

Doug and Tim share their experiences as ex-wayward spouses and answer the top 11 burning questions betrayed spouses typically have for the cheater.

 

 

Sources

Russell, Michele, Baker, Levi, McNulty, James. Attachment Insecurity and Infidelity in Marriage: Do Studies of Dating Relationships Really Inform Us about Marriage? From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3648986/

Tsapelas, Irene, Fisher, Helen, and Aron, Arthur.  Infidelity: When, Where, Why From http://www.helenfisher.com/downloads/articles/INFIDELITY.pdf

Dowd, Meghan. The Secrets of Infidelity. From https://etd.ohiolink.edu/rws_etd/document/get/ohiou1338902906/inline

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41 Responses to Will Your Partner Have an Affair Again? – The Million Dollar Question

  1. Shifting Impressions September 19, 2017 at 6:21 pm #

    I definitely don’t believe the saying “once a cheater always a cheater”…….believing that would leave one with a very negative and depressing outlook on life and mankind, in general. Having faith that people can change, that one can learn from their mistakes is often what keeps us going.

    That being said…..once you have been betrayed by your spouse….something I certainly didn’t think was possible…..it’s as if the sound barrier has been broken. Something I would have bet my life on…..simply wasn’t so. So where does that leave me now??

    Well, I am now wiser and more vigilant. I simply don’t take things at face value. I am more convinced than ever that one must listen to their gut. My husband does show remorse and has made changes for the better.

    Will he do it again??? As you say Sarah, that is the million dollar question. He has done it twice. The first time many years ago and he wasn’t caught. So move forward 15 years later and he does it again…this time he get’s caught and by pure chance the first affair comes to light as well.

    The difference now is he has seen first hand the pain and devastation his actions caused. But he is not the only one who has changed. I have changed…….I will never be quite the same. I no longer see infidelity as an impossibility. It is always possible in any relationship. I don’t believe my husband will do it again……but I will never again trust blindly.

    • Sarah P. September 20, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

      HI Shifting,
      It sounds like after your H’s first affair, it was not open knowledge– he was not caught. But, he was caught after the second affair. Boy oh boy did he experience the fall-out. Any sane person would not do that again!

      So, has he regained his sanity? From all that you have described, I certainly think so. Now he knows that affairs cannot be had without life-changing repercussions. If he is sane, there is no way on earth he will want to do that again.

      The same goes for TFW’s husband. Both your husband and hers have too much to lose. I just don’t see it happening again, unless a husband goes off the deep end. And if he does, there will surely be signs. Still, I don’t see it happening. The price these men have paid is so high that it simply is not worth it.

      Sarah

      • Shifting Impressions September 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm #

        I agree Sarah. The last years after d-day were extremely hard but here we are….still together. Still making headway.

        I have also told him that I don’t think I could go through this again.

        • Sarah P. September 22, 2017 at 12:34 am #

          Shifting,
          I am pretty sure he would not put you through this again. I am sure he realizes how wonderful you are and that he almost lost the woman who he considers to be the most wonderful woman world.

          Blessings to you,

          Sarah

  2. TheFirstWife September 19, 2017 at 8:40 pm #

    Will my H cheat again?

    Not if he wants to keep living lol

    • Sarah P. September 20, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

      Hi TFW,

      You gave me the laugh of the day, thank you 🙂

  3. Nearly Normal September 20, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

    I don’t want to be paranoid, but a person may wonder . . .

    The WS may have given what seemed a sincere apology, but what if it was just acting? After all, the WS had put on an act with brazen lies for months or years. What if this is just one more act?

    The same behavior patterns are not repeating that accompanied the affair. But what if the WS has adapted and learned from previous mistakes? I think of wartime, when one side figures out the enemy’s code, then the enemy makes up a harder code. Maybe the WS gets sneakier.

    I also wonder about trusting the gut/instincts. If a BS was blindsided by a secret affair and their gut told them nothing, how do they learn to trust their gut now? I guess now that they put the pieces together in hindsight, maybe they are smarter and wiser. Maybe.

    These are not so much my problems now. I knew something was wrong when it was happening. I am pretty confident now because she is not repeating the old behavior patterns.

    Maybe I’m just saying that it’s hard to be confident there will not be more cheating when the wool was repeatedly pulled over our eyes before. Maybe it’s less about confidence and more about knowing what you’ll do if it does happen, like you said, TFW.

    • Sarah P. September 20, 2017 at 4:30 pm #

      Hello Nearly Normal,

      I know exactly what you are saying here and yes it is possible that some cheaters know how to alter their behavior. This is specifically the case when you hear about couples having multiple D-Days. A cheater is caught, the couple goes to therapy and acts like he or she is remorseful, but simply goes underground with his or her cheating and learns how to cover it better. But, then the person gets caught again and it’s D-Day #2. Sometimes it takes people a while to really leave their affair partners.

      But, your story happened several years ago. I highly doubt that your wife would be able to carry on an act for so long. And for what purpose? What could she possibly have to gain by working so darned hard to be so duplicitous for such a long period of time? It seems to me that she woke up a long time ago. After people are truly awake, they rarely repeat a behavior. If they are truly awake, they often become disgusted by the person they once were.

      I think all of us can look back at decisions we made 5, 10, or 20 years ago and cannot believe we ever made such a decision. These decisions can involve anything from financial decisions, work decisions, inter-personal choices, lifestyle choices etc. As we progressed, we became more mature and handled things more wisely. We grew and as a result our behavior and our choices changed.

      From what I know of your story, I do not see your wife’s behavior as an act. Does she do things that make you suspicious these days? From what I understand, she isn’t doing suspicious things.

      Regardless, it is still hard to forget because these experiences change us as people. They change our entire outlook and our entire sense of what is possible. These experiences tear the rose-colored glasses from our face and usher in a cold reality and a new normal. We will no longer see life the way we once did. This is problematic because some of us will always be left wondering.

      I am one of those people who will always be left wondering because I know that many relationships can suffer from infidelity if the perfect storm of events happens. What’s worse is that life loves to bring along storms, both figuratively and literally.

      • Nearly Normal September 22, 2017 at 11:55 am #

        You’re right about my wife, Sarah, except that “several” is over 16 years ago. I do not think that she is likely to cheat again. Perhaps a perfect storm, as you say, but I doubt even that.

        I was talking more about past years, and about where many people are now.

        But thanks for the reassurances. They are good to hear.

  4. TheFirstWife September 20, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

    Nearly Normal.

    Those are very good points. It may be the CS is smarter and better at covering up an A.

    I just think if you really must cheat on your spouse, just END the M already. Seriously move on and stop hurting everyone w/ your poor choices.

    in my case nothing was amiss. No missing $, no late Nights (except Dday1) which I immediately confronted him about and he told me about OW. No obvious signs.

    When the A ended and it was NC I could see he was miserable. But I thought it was over.

    When DDay2 happened six months later – again I had no idea. He used a new secret email account I never knew about. He did not use his phone but only Skype so I had no ability to track his phone usage.

    So I really don’t care about a third A. Because I would hope if he was unhappy enough to cheat he would say something &/or I just would not be surprised and walk away from him. Even if he wasn’t honest. I just think I have moved beyond it.

    But then again I have the option of ending it with him for any reason or no reason. Because clearly I was not valued in the same way I value him. If it was the same you woukdnt kick your W to the curb after 25 years of M and only knowing the OW a few months.

    serious mid life crisis IMO

    • Nearly Normal September 22, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

      Exactly true, TFW. You know your options, and you absolutely have the freedom to leave.

      I hope that man appreciates what a great woman he has and fights to make you want to stay.

  5. Hopeful September 21, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    This fear is off my radar. I remain vigilant from the perspective of boundaries and expectations. However, if my husband wants to or is going to have an affair it will happen. He hid everything for 10 years. I asked him very direct questions over the years and he lied to my face every time. Without hiring a private investigator I do not see any way I would know. Maybe if I had gone through the phone records. But even then both his affairs were sporadic. So he would go months and even over a year without contact. He spent no money on either woman and deleted all communication with them immediately. He even broke it off with both of them 15 months before dday. And with technology he could easily still do it. I will never have access to his work phone, computer or emails. In the end I decided to focus on the boundaries and expectations I want and need.

    He claims I would know if anything was happening. I had a major fear he was “acting” for a long time. Honestly being in his profession he has always known the right thing to say and handles everything really well except for when I cry. My therapist and I talked about this at length. My therapist understood that concern based on his training, education and professional practice. In the end based on my husband’s behavior over the length of time and his transformation my therapist said he would have to be the best actor and should go to Hollywood. There is no way someone could keep that up 24/7 for 2+ years. He has not been perfect but he has continued to progress and made major changes he has admitted that he was not sure he could follow through on.

    In the end I focus on what I need and want from any marriage/relationship whether it would be with my husband or someone in the future. This really helped me get past focusing on the thoughts of will he ever do it again.

    • Sarah P. September 21, 2017 at 5:33 pm #

      Hi Hopeful,

      I had a question about you and your H’s relationship. You said he doesn’t handle it well when you cry. What does he do when you cry?

      This stood out to me because my husband has never handled it well when I cry either. I have never been someone who cries often, but when I do, my husband is at a loss for words and he wants me to stop asap. One time I asked him why it bothered him so much and he did not know why.

      I put it all together one day when I realized that this is what his mom does as a manipulation tactic. I figured out my MIL is not capable of sincere tears. But, she turns on the water works when she is not getting her way and she is capable of turning these same waterworks off in a micro-second if she realizes people see through her.

      She did this to me one time. I confronted her on something where I had concrete proof of something very vicious that she did toward me and she was backed into a corner and could not lie about it. She started hysterically bawling. Then I looked at her and said, “cut the act. I know you are faking the tears.” She turned the tears off immediately and then started yelling and swearing and telling me I shouldn’t confront her. She literally said that I needed to stop being so sensitive and that I was the problem because of that.

      The last the first and last time I have confronted her and we have only had one face-to-face visit with my MIL since then.

      If anyone is new to this blog, it probably sounds harsh the way that I treat my MIL. So, to give a re-cap. My MIL meets all the DSM-5 criteria for several overlapping personality disorders. She was successful in breaking up my husband’s first marriage. (Luckily they did not have children.) And she has tried to break up both my marriage and the marriage of her other son. To has made it her mission and despite years of me trying to have a relationship with her, I have never succeeded. A couple of years ago, I gave up all hope and no longer talk to her.

      Hopeful, do you think there is anything from your own husband’s family of origin that makes him uncomfortable with crying?

      • Hopeful September 22, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

        He says he wants to be able to fix it and in the past and most cases he can do something to help. I think with this it stings so bad since he is the root cause of this pain and emotional upset. He gets quiet and if he needs to leaves the room. He cannot stand it at all. He does not have anything like what you are saying in his past but I think it is the root cause of my emotional distress and crying for him. Typically I was not a big crier but this has brought it out more. I have also brought up the idea that he pushed the boundaries close to emotional abuse over the years. I am not sure what technically counts but based on his actions and how he over time made me feel when I was coming to him with direct questions and also made to feel like it was all me. He disagrees and says emotional abuse is an extreme. He will admit to being a horrible husband who was not present and he did not deserve everything I gave him. He also admits he was not as good of a father. I think he takes these things very clinically. He gets it now so I guess that is what matters. When he deals with other people it is so different but much harder to face what is going on in your own life especially when you are the one that caused it all. I try to be as direct as possible and I frame my comments as to how I am feeling whether he sees it that way or not.

  6. JTK September 21, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    I will first comment on when a wife cries. My W is the CS. It’s been 9 mos since dday. She still shows no remorse. So a month ago I tevealed things to my 18yr daughter who then told me she saw things between my W and the OM long before dday. Couple of weeks ago, I tell my W our daighter knows and has been hurting for a year. My W got teary-eyed, and it absolutely tore me apart to see her upset. I love her so much, I cannot stand to see her upset. I will say that later it made me angry that whenever I have been upset the past nine months, it does not seem to phase my W.

    So in addition to telling my W that our daughter has been hurt, my inlaws confronted her. She denied everything. When I followed ip with her after, she said She made 2 mistakes (2nd 2 mos ago meeting OM and lying to me about it) and I am not forgiving her; then she says she does not think she can be what I want. Really?! I just want basic love – normal for a wife and husband. The she says she is done. Since then she says very little to me, stays later at work (works with OM)

    I wrote some things that I want to sau to her: she has not shown remorse, stayed emotionally distant for 8 mos, typically when one makes a mistake that hurts a loved one, thete is remorse, that she is having an inappropriate and unfaithful relationship with OM, she is sending a poor message about marriage to our children.

    I want to say these things but I am thinking I am just wasting my breath. Thoughts?

    Also, I have been thinking about telling the OM’s wife what is going on. I do not know her. Thoughts?

    • TheFirstWife September 21, 2017 at 11:32 pm #

      Tell the OM’s wife. She deserves to know.

      Optimally your W should feel bad but she is in the A fog. Google it. It will explain a lot.

      Start emotionally detaching from your W. She is counting on the status quo.

      Be prepared for the fall out when the betrayed wife finds out and the OM did your W. She will be angry at you.

      When you restore your power in your M you may start to see changes in your M

    • Shifting Impressions September 21, 2017 at 11:51 pm #

      JTK
      For me the big question would be….Is the affair still going on?? Also anyone that cheats on their partner and expects forgiveness only nine months after d-day has no understanding of what they have done to their partner. Also, she lied to her parents. Plus she she shows no remorse…..sounds like she is still in the affair fog.

      Do you tell the OM’s wife…..that is a tough question. All I know is that I would want to know….especially since they work together.

    • Sarah P. September 22, 2017 at 12:32 am #

      Hello JTK,

      Thank you for sharing your story with us. I would like to say that I am very sorry you are going through this with your wife. Your instincts about the situation are correct. Your wife is setting a bad example and also harming your children. Women have such a strong influence on the family and when mom is cheating, everyone suffers.

      I agree with Shifting that your wife is still probably in the affair fog. And I also agree that you need to find out if this is still going on. If your wife works with the OM, there may be little incentive to give up the affair since they see each other on a daily basis. That goes for all workplace affairs. Often when affair partners break up, they get back together again since no physical distance has been put between them. It is easy to fall back into the same hurtful habits.

      As far as telling the wife of the OM… I am all for it. If my husband were to have an affair, I would absolutely want to know and I would want to know as soon as possible. Since I have been cheated on before, I know that ignorance is NOT bliss. Ignorance is dangerous because affair partners can be putting money aside in secret bank accounts and making all kinds of plans behind your back. It is important to know what you are up against as a betrayed spouse. If I were you, I would hire a detective and get concrete evidence. Then, I would make a plan to give it to the wife in person. I would also figure out very carefully what to say to the wife in advance and plan for the potential fall-out and disaster scenarios.

      With affairs, betrayed spouses need to know EVERYTHING so that they can have all the knowledge to make their next move. Without having the full picture, it is hard for a betrayed spouse to make a clear decision.

      But truly, do not leave the wife of the other man in the dark. I don’t know of any woman who would prefer to stay ignorant of her husband’s affair. (And I don’t know any man who would prefer to stay ignorant of his wife’s affair either.)

      Again, I am really sorry to hear what you are going through. We have a great group of supportive people here so please reach out when you need to have a sounding board from others who have been through it. We are all here for you and for anyone else who would like to share their story.

      Many blessings to you, JTK,

      Sarah

    • Nearly Normal September 22, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

      Hi JTK,

      I’m another male BS here. I totally understand the crying you mention. My wife used to do something similar (not exactly the same). Sometimes, when I shared with her something that hurt me, she would start to cry. OF course, it tore my heart apart. About the only thing I could do is comfort her. But this hurts me, because I had come to her for comfort and sympathy, and I ended up doing the comfort.

      But she eventually learned how to listen and make it about me and my feelings, not about her.

      Your situation sounds bad. If the affair fog lifts, things can change rapidly. I hope and pray you get resolution, either for her to wake up, or for you to get out of a hurtful M.

      I will second the thoughts of others that the OM’s wife needs to know. IF I were her, I would be so grateful to know. The years of not knowing anything for certain were poison.

      Hope it gets better for you.

  7. TheFirstWife September 21, 2017 at 11:33 pm #

    Sorry should be OM DUMPS your Wife

  8. JTK September 22, 2017 at 3:28 am #

    SI and Sarah
    Thank you for your support. I know you know how devastating this is. After 26 years of M, and I was looking forward to our empty nest years doing more together. I keep hearing the words from the dday email, ‘Oh baby, so love you’. I cannot remember when she spoke to me like that. I am absolutely crushed. 9 mos of no remorse, no desire for counseling, no interest in genuinely loving me again, it seems like it is over.

    • TheFirstWife September 22, 2017 at 10:14 am #

      I was in your shoes at 25 years of M and 30 years together.

      My H’s last A was about 12 months ftom the time they met to DDay2. the OW was a co-worker he hired to work for him. She was single and much younger and complete opposite of me – and he was the Knight in Shining Armor who made the whole A happen.

      The A fog was brutal as you know. He was mean and nasty – never like that before. The A was completely underground and I had no clue it was still going on. He would literally flaunt it in front of me by texting and emailing her in front of me. Skyping w/ her to avoid my seeing texts and calls on the phone bill.

      In any event at DDay2 when I was so furious and enough I told him to leave. Get out!!

      He begged for another chance and it has been 4 years of R. Yes we made it. But our M has changed.

      I now realize I am the strong one in this relationship. I’m not afraid to face challenges head on. I am no longer a doormat. And he has made changes too.

      More respect of me – complete transparency and accountability.

      But it took me almost walking away from him to make it happen. He had true regret and remorse from DDay2. Not so much at DDay1.

      The A &/or A fog needs to end got you to be able to get your W to make any effort.

      Unfortunately the CS becomes a different person – almost unrecognizable. Not the person you married and lived with all these years. How sad the CS doesn’t care the damage they inflict on the BS and family.

  9. Hopeful September 22, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

    When someone cries I think it can mean different things. For me it just I am too overwhelmed with emotions. After dday it does happen more. I prefer to take time for myself but this has been a whole new level. I think many times it can be used to manipulate. Kids are good at this. And as you husband’s mentioned the woman starts crying and all of a sudden you are taking care of her. With kids I see it a lot and we go in phases. We are empathic with our kids but have told them they can have their moment to cry and feel what they feel. But at times it happens When they are in trouble etc. and at those times they have to undetstand the crying cannot deflect from their poor actions. It seems similar in cases in marriages. Over time we have held firm and let our kids feel how they feel but not allow them to deflect or hijack the family with their emotions.

    Jtk so sorry for what you are dealing with. It sounds like she is in affair fog. Have you set boundaries or talked about a different work situation? It seems from what I have read if someone is still in the affair or just coming off of it that it can be tricky.

    • JTK September 22, 2017 at 5:10 pm #

      Boundaries:
      In July, 7 mos after dday, after dropping our daughter at a camp on a Sunday, she met the OM in a park near his house without telling me. I asked her about being gone, and she told me stopped by the store. I figured out where she was later by pulling the gps data. So then I confronted her, and she confessed to meeting him.

      In that discussion her defense was that she knew it would hurt me if she told me she was going to meet him. Duh! She said she was only talking work with him. I told her that she needed to find time only during normal working hours to talk with him. Meeting on a Sunday evening was unacceptable. That’s the boundary discussion we had because she still claims nothing is going on.

  10. Rachel September 23, 2017 at 9:44 am #

    Boy have I had some major triggers lately. My new boss is clearly having an affair and she’s not hiding it. Her affair person came into her office on her first week of work and she hugged him as close as you could possibly hug a person and he kept holding her as she was trying to pry herself away as I was staring with my mouth opened!!!
    She makes excuses that she has to “go to her car” for a few minutes and the private eye that I am is right at the window. Yup, she’s meeting him!
    As I left my office for the day, he was tucking in his shirt and walking in to see her. My coworkers were all buzzing the next day that he was in her office.
    She calls him her “friend “. Yes, they all do. I have zero respect for this tramp as she is married with one teenage daughter. This all makes me sick!

  11. Puzzled September 23, 2017 at 10:56 am #

    This is a lot of great discussion!

    I think any of us who are still in our marriages can relate to the “Million Dollar Question”. Just like Shifting Impressions, an affair was something that I never, ever, in a million years, would have believed my wife was capable of doing. It just wasn’t in her make up (or so I believed). Trust is destroyed and, like many, the trickle down of truth slowly erodes away at us. D-day one was my wife telling me “ILYBNILWY” and she is unhappy and had been for years (typical crap). There wasn’t anyone else, it wasn’t me, she was confused, etc. I took it at face value. This was my wife of 20 years. We were a happy couple with great kids. Fast forward months later and I catch her texting someone at 2 a.m. I ask her the next morning “who were you texting” and she says our daughter who is at college. I then texted my daughter who responded “at 2 a.m.? No way!”. I then looked at my wife and asked her again. This started a long, hard road back to where we are today.
    Do I still worry about things? Somewhat. Do I wonder who she’s texting? Sadly, yes.
    My wife definitely has a preoccupied attachment style. She’s outgoing and flirtatious; which are two things that were attractive when we met. The sad thing for me is that she admitted that she’s flirtatious on D-day 2 but her behavior didn’t change for a long time. I finally demanded she end it. I’m not sure she actually ended it when I asked. We can never really know. She used an app called “Viber” to message the OM. These messages aren’t traceable.
    I really want to blindly trust again. SI said that she can’t and I know the pain of that reality. The naive love and trust we had has been destroyed. Sadly, years of love and trust can be destroyed with one painful choice by our CS.
    My wife and I are rebuilding every day. I’m hopeful that we will grow stronger. She has told me many times, “sorry will never be enough”. I don’t look at her the same way which saddens me. I love her and hope it doesn’t happen again. She knows that one misstep will end what has been a 26 year relationship (23 married/3 dating). My trust in her is growing again but I’m not sure it will ever be full. The hardest part, for me, is that she still has never answered my “Million Dollar Question”: who was the OM?

    • Shifting Impressions September 25, 2017 at 2:11 pm #

      Puzzled
      I agree with TFW…..you have mentioned the fact that your wife won’t disclose the identity of the OM several times….this seems to be eating away at you. Understandably so!!!!

      For some reason…your wife does not want to disclose this information. Perhaps this is the time to step back and ask yourself some difficult questions. Such as….is the OM perhaps someone close to you? Is that a fear you have?? Is your wife perhaps trying to protect you from the pain of more betrayal?? Or is it a power play by your wife?

      My suggestion to you is to open your eyes to those around you. Watch how your wife interacts with your male friends and male family members. Also, watch how the men in your life interact with you. Is there discomfort rather than the ease that was present in the past. Time to observe and listen to your gut. Is there someone that can’t look you in the eye??

      If you are basically a trusting person….this can be somewhat foreign to you. But I believe much can be learned by simply observing the interactions of those around us. Our gut can also tell us a lot. It’s like that “Blink” factor in the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

      Looking back I had a few of those “Blink” moments ,if you will, as I watched my husband interact with the OW (prior to d-day). My gut picked something up but I was too trusting to recognize what it was.

      The information you so badly need might just be there in plain sight……

  12. Nearly Normal September 23, 2017 at 12:02 pm #

    Puzzled,

    I think that you and I are a lot alike. Your wife and you are rebuilding every day, yet you have a lot of pain. It sounds to me that even if she works on the marriage with you, you still need healing for yourself. The “Million Dollar Question” isn’t the whole problem, although it’s a big chunk of it. If you come to trust, in time, that she won’t cheat again, that still won’t remove the pain completely.

    The problem is that she should be participating in your healing. If there is no full disclosure and she won’t abide by no contact, then your healing will be very slow at best.

    I’m not sure if this helps, but at least know that you’re not alone. Hope it gets better.

  13. TheFirstWife September 23, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

    Puzzled. I agonize for you. Not answering that question must be very painful for you.

    Maybe she hasn’t answered it b/c she hasn’t had to. There are no consequences for her for NOT being transparent and truthful.

    Now you may be ok with that. But I don’t think so 100% b/c you have mentioned it previously.

    You don’t have to let her call the shots. You can (and should) be able to put your cards on the table in terms of the M and things that are important to you.

    And if she refused to answer an important question like “who” and you cannot or do not want to accept that – you need to tell her your feelings on this issue.

    M is a 50/50 partnership. Not a One sided dictatorship or one person has all the control. No one is going to get 100% of what they want BUT she is not showing you the respect you deserve.

    I just don’t understand her commitment to the M if she cannot answer a major question. That woukd have me headed to my lawyer ASAP. But that’s just me.

  14. Puzzled September 26, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    SI & TFW: I always appreciate your thoughts and input on discussions. My gut tells me it’s someone who I know and perhaps in our circle. It could be her boyfriend from college who had been a college friend to me as well. I’ll keep my eyes open and my radar on high alert.
    I’ve asked in the past and never received an answer. I’m torn on whether the answer will help or hurt our recovery. We’ve made great progress. I’ll need to do some praying and thinking and decide how I proceed with this one.
    Will it be helpful in our recovery? Will it change my feelings about recovery? Will it make a difference in our recovery? These are questions that I keep going back to when I struggle. Maybe it’s just my ego that still stings from betrayal. It sucks that I even have to think about who the OM is. That’s the sad part. Oh well. Will keep y’all posted.

    • TheFirstWife September 26, 2017 at 12:37 pm #

      Those are all good questions. My therapist used to say that details are just that. Details. Not of any significance once you know there was cheating. Fm did it matter if they only kissed once or only had sex once or had sex 10 times?

      Does it matter if the A was 5 days long or 5 years long?

      Does it matter with prostitutes only or with someone the CS had feelings for? Would it matter if it were with your college roommate or childhood best friend?

      Only YOU can answer those questions. Only you know what you can accept and tolerate.

      I know that not knowing who it was for me would make me crazy. But others may not want to know.

      Does the BS ever get the whole truth and nothing but the truth? I doubt it. Some may come close and reveal all of it but I believe most don’t.

      It is a tough path to navigate. I guess you have thought that if it were person A or person B that your W had an A with – you have come to terms with it. I admire that.

      You are a strong person to be able to accept that lack of truthfulness from your W. I know it would not work for me. Because I would assume the worst and it would torture me.

    • Shifting Impressions September 26, 2017 at 5:57 pm #

      Puzzled
      You have a lot to work through, but I don’t believe it’s your ego that stings. The betrayal breaks one’s heart and trust. Sure our ego or self esteem gets a huge blow but underneath all the anger is pain and heartbreak.

      I think you are dealing with two separate issues:
      1. The lack of information regarding the OM’s Identity
      2. Your wife’s refusal to tell you.

      Not knowing the identity leaves you in a tough spot because:
      1.It could be anyone, and perhaps someone close….this leaves you in somewhat of a suspicious mind set.
      2. You might have been betrayed by someone close and yet you have been “kept in the dark”. You are now unable to deal with whatever the situation is.
      3. You have no idea if your wife is having contact….so the NC rule can’t be enforced.

      Your wife’s refusal to tell you also leaves you in a tough spot because:
      1.She is keeping a secret from you
      2. She is making the choice for you
      3. She has perhaps made a pact with the OM to keep this a secret….speculation on my part. If this is the case their wishes are superseding yours.
      4.She has taken away your choice….It really is your right to chose, whether or not you want this information. Sort of like someone who thinks they know what’s best for you….but that really isn’t their choice.

      Only you can decide if all of this is a “road block” to your recovery. I believe recovery is so very difficult, at the best of times. This would definitely be a roadblock for me.

  15. Hopeful September 27, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

    My husband refused to tell me who his affairs were with. He avoided that question over and over. The only way I found out was I took screen shots of the history of his fake fb account. I had no idea what any of it meant at the time but it answered who they were with. He has broken up with both women about 15 months before dday. However he looked at their fb pages multiple times a day almost every day for those 15 months. He claims he is a vouerustic person. It still bothers me. He says they meant nothing but I still do not believe that.

    • Puzzled September 27, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

      Hopeful-
      I feel for you. She used Viber to message the OM and in my amateur sleuthing found out that the messages aren’t traceable. My wife has said time and again that it meant nothing and it was a big mistake. Well…if it meant nothing, then why did our marriage almost crumble away because of it? That’s the cheater’s amnesia I suppose. They choose to forget or are able to subconsciously suppress everything. It boggled my mind when I’d ask my wife why she had said certain things to me and her response would be “I did?” or “I didn’t mean it”.

      SI & TFW: it does agonize me but, honestly, would her answer even be believable? She has long stated that it was someone at work (which I’ve always call bull-sh**). That’s the thing that stings. Whether or not it is someone close to me or a complete stranger, she has chosen to protect him. I love my wife but fully trusting her is still a long way away.

      • Hopeful September 28, 2017 at 1:18 am #

        My husband was less sophsticated. He would just delete their texts. Granted it was sporadic. The only way I could have figured it out would have been if I went through the phone bills. Even then I would have had to see patterns over the course of a year. I refuse to beat myself up about that. In the end he lied to my face over and over when directly asked for those 10 years.

        I am not sure what I would have done if I did not find out. I could see where it would bother me. But I have chosen to focus my energy on more broad questions and what we can do to help us moving forward. Some times I think I am giving in too much but the flip side is I am not sure it would help me to feel better.

  16. JTK September 27, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

    Today I came home from work, and found that my W is washing every bit of clothing she wore to work today. This is very unusual. It just throws up a red flag to me, and I get to thinking she has been with the OM.

    For a while she has been very cold to me – no ‘I love yous’, no kisses, no touching, which she is angry now that she knows her parents and our children know. So, in our current state where it seems she does not care about me at all, and if the EA was also a PA, then she may be increasing her frequency of sex with the OM.

    For those who have marriages surviving PAs, how do you get over thoughts if your spouse with the OP? Am I kidding myself thinking I could ever get past this? This is absolutely heartbreaking, but I do love her with all my heart just not who she is right now or her behaviors. I am concerned about her spiritually and want to see her break out of this sinful fog. I waver between God help me endure because she is worth it to ‘Hit the road, wife’

    • Hopeful September 28, 2017 at 1:20 am #

      For me these feelings only got better with seeing his change in behavior. His words were great but I needed to see it in action and over a period of time. I was still skeptical but my therapist said he had transformed himself in a major way and to start opening up. Some days it is still hard and easy to feel insecure. Also I do not hesitate to communicate exactly what I want.

  17. Puzzled September 28, 2017 at 9:11 am #

    Hopeful-I know the feeling of not knowing. I was so blind to any of the signs simply because I never, ever suspected my wife of betrayal. It was only after my then 15 year old asked “is mom having an affair?” that the seeds of doubt were planted. It was then that the rose colored glasses started to come off. Just like you, I try to focus my energy on rebuilding what was stolen from me.

    I think one thing that still hurts is something I asked my wife: “would you have stopped this if I hadn’t caught you?” Her answer was simply “I’m don’t know”. Looking back, every symptom of an EA was there if only I had known what they were. Hell, I didn’t even know what an EA was until this happened!

    JTK- I’m not sure you will ever “get over it”. It’s a matter of getting through it. The biggest impact in beginning to heal is your wife has to end things. Until then, I’m afraid there’s very little hope. I’m not saying to give up but temper your expectations until you know that the affair is over. When the CS is thick in the fog, there’s no finding them. They are lost in another world. The wife you knew is gone. I understand the fear or concern about your wife’s spiritual life. My wife started scheduling shifts for every Sunday, stopped reading the Bible, & stopped her daily devotionals. I think this is a direct reaction to the affair. I think the CS knows that they are cheating and that they can “hide” from God. My wife told me once that she didn’t feel comfortable in church and people looked at her (mind you, this was the church she grew up in). Paranoia and guilt can create feelings and thoughts that aren’t real. Until your wife can think clearly and rationally, you have to hold on tight for the craziest, scariest roller coaster ride of your life. Don’t give up hope. Be strong and know that you’re in a battle for your marriage.

  18. Shattered November 25, 2017 at 3:16 am #

    I too am in the middle of not knowing if my husband’s EA is truly over. The first DD was 10 April this year and the second 11 October when I was undergoing cancer treatment in another state – yes he continued seeing her behind my back when I was away having 28 rounds of radiation treatment. How low can they go! This is a man who has such high morals about everything else yet I barely recognise him as the man I married. Can the affair fog be that thick and how long can it last. The OW was an employee of his and left his work in April. Their paths crossed when he saw her out running one day. They met up for coffee and the sneaking around started again. Sure we had some pretty big problems in our Marr and I fully accept my part in that but to hear the crap that comes out of his mouth on how deeply he loves her and how she is the female version of him and how she makes him feel when she puts her head on his chest makes me feel sick. For God’s sake I’m fighting cancer here. I shouldn’t have the worry of an EA/PA on top of that. On 14 December J have to go interstate again for surgery which means I will probably be in hospital for Xmas and beyond. While he is being supportive and attentive at the moment, I just feel he is not truly with me. He may be physically but not fully emotionally. It is just so hard. I have to have this surgery my life depends on it. He says his number one priority is getting me through this cancer treatment. I love my husband and want my marriage to work but do I trust him – no way. He may or may not be seeing her at the moment (my gut says he isn’t) but who really knows. He is infatuated with her and had the gall to tell me he thought of her all the time at work. The people who know say for me to concentrate on me and my treatment and sort the other out afterwards. So hard to do when I don’t know if I will have a marriage to come back to afterwards. I can’t believe that a man who was cheated on by his ex fiancé and first wife would do the same thing to me but he says he ‘checked out’ of our marriage 3 years ago. The OW had been an employee of his for quite a few years and the so called friendship developed into an EA and finally a PA over that time.

    • TheFirstWife November 25, 2017 at 8:09 am #

      Shattered. I am so very sorry for you. Having to fight for your life and health leaves you very little left to fight for your M. And I have no words to describe a person who cheats on their spouse who is ill. Seriously ill no less.

      Google Affair fog – that is your H’s state right now.

      He is acting like a typical cheater by the following:

      👎🏼 He checked out of M years ago
      👎🏼 She makes him feel good and female version of him blah blah blah
      👎🏼 He has been cheated on and KNOWS the pain it causes but doesn’t care?? Wow is that harsh
      👎🏼 He will help you get thru the cancer – b/c he knows if he left you now people will know what a bigger jerk he is
      👎🏼 He is rewriting the M and it’s history (typical)
      👎🏼 He continues to see her

      He is living on a fantasy of a relationship he has created in his mind. I have seen in a number of cases where the cheater is in the middle of a desperate situation (ie your cancer treatments) and reacts by having an A. Not the first time I have read this. Also true of men about to become parents etc.

      I hope you can find some support and counseling for everything you are going through right now. But he is acting in a way that may make this M be a complete bust once you recover and heal. His actions and choices may force you to decide YOU no longer want him.

      I will say prayers for your healing and please keep posting here so we know how you are.

      I hope you have others you can rely on as well.

    • Shifting Impressions November 25, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

      Shattered
      I am so sorry for what you are going through. Ditto to everything the First Wife wrote.

      I hope you can get help for yourself in dealing with this…your first priority is you. Try to surround yourself with people who truly care for you and have your best interest at heart.

      You are in my thoughts and prayers.

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