Did you think prior to the affair that infidelity is a deal breaker or did you feel you’d try and work it out?

infidelity is a deal breakerBy Doug

This post is just going to be a short rant.

I watched a video the other day on a very popular website that spotlighted a couple who had successfully healed and recovered from the wife’s affair and now they consider their marriage to be stronger than ever. In general, the video focused on the husband’s forgiveness of the affair and then what they did to rebuild their marriage.

By the time I was done with the video and read the comments, I was sort of pissed off.

It wasn’t the video that made me mad, it was the comments.

I venture to guess that 99% of them were made by people that never experienced infidelity and really don’t have a clue. They specifically don’t have a clue as to why any rational person would choose to stay in a marriage when there has been infidelity.

Here is a very small sampling of some of the comments that were made:

Any marriage that survives infidelity has at least one member with a weak heart. Betrayal doesn’t deserve forgiveness.


 A marriage can survive an affair, but why should it?


He is just a sucker who got taken… most people are not that desperate.


Sorry, infidelity is a game changer for me. No going back from that. If you are unhappy, or don’t love the person anymore either work it out or get a divorce. Respect yourself, respect the person you married, and respect your vows.


Most people don’t admit that their relationships survived an infidelity because they’re afraid of being judged as being weak.


See also  There is No Quick Fix to Healing and Recovering from an Affair

Infidelity is a Deal Breaker, Right?

A couple of years ago we had a discussion post where the question was asked:

What was your position on cheating within your marriage prior to the affair versus the reality of what you actually did once you discovered the affair?

In other words, prior to the affair did you think infidelity was a deal breaker or did you feel you’d try and work it out?

Virtually everyone who answered the question said that before the affair, they had always believed that if their spouse had an affair, they’d be out the door. The marriage would end. No doubt.

Well…each one of them decided to stay for various reasons to work through things.  Many at first discovery were ready to immediately file for divorce, but after “sleeping on it” decided to give it a go. 

I guess what pissed me off so much about those comments  was how quickly some people are to think that a marriage cannot be saved after an affair – nor deserves to be – and that the betrayed spouse is weak for even trying.

If anything, it shows how strong a betrayed spouse really is, because recovering from an affair and rebuilding a marriage are two of the toughest challenges there are.

Out of curiosity, in your situation, did you think prior to the affair that infidelity is a deal breaker or did you feel you’d try and work it out? What actually happened and why? Let us know in the comment section below.



    60 replies to "‘Without Question, Infidelity is a Deal Breaker’"

    • Rob

      Hi Doug,

      Do you happen to have a link to this video, I’m very interested in the way he forgave his wife.


      • Chip

        Well… As of yesterday, been married a year. It has not been fun or easy! Split up twice, my wife cheated on me during the second desperation. Yet here i am, 4 month’s after she revealed her betrayal to me, still trying to figure out if this is what i truly want. I love her, but all i see when i look at her is a cheater, a betrayer. I’ve been cheated on in past relationships and walked away, i never thought i would/could ever stay with a cheater. Yet here i am.

    • MelMel

      I’ll admit that prior to my husband’s EA I was one of those who thought the marriage would be over in the event of an affair. Having grown up with a father who was a serial philanderer I didn’t think I had the desire to try to overcome the devastation I knew infidelity brought to a marriage. I did see my mother as weak for not leaving my father. It was the biggest surprise of my life to hear myself saying that I wanted to try to rebuild our marriage and work through the turmoil.

      A couple of months before our D Day fifteen months ago my brother and his wife separated and eventually divorced after her affair; her choice, not his. We talked often and he often told me that he thought I showed great strength and had chosen a much harder road by staying. I think most people have no idea until they are faced with it what they will do when an affair blows up their lives.

    • betrayedchump

      Yes I was one of those people that before my wife’s EA, ANY AFFAIR WAS A DEAL BREAKER! However when it actually happens to you, it makes you question the absolute core of your soul! When one LOVES their partner, it is not so easy to just end it right now! One has to decide if their love for their partner can carry them past the affair or not. It is the hardest decision for someone to make in their lifetime (in my case anyway)! One will go back & forth on whether or not to stay with their partner even if they still love their partner.

      • Bunnie

        This is exactly how I feel. I thought it would have been a deal breaker.. but here I am 6 months later. A horrible bout of marriage counseling (a terrible counselor that he loved) and some days questioning my decision to stay. It’s very hard.

    • AnnaB

      I always said that if my H had an affair I would definitely end the marriage. I couldn’t begin to imagine staying with someone who had ‘been’ with someone else – the thought disgusted me. But when it happened I had my children to consider. My parents split up when I was very young, and it had always been my intention that any children of mine would not have to contend with a broken home and being pushed and pulled from one parent to the other. So when I discovered the EA I wanted him out of the house temporarily so that I could get my head around things, but he refused to leave because I think he didn’t want his family to find out. And eventually – after two and a half years – things are settling down and we are getting on ok. He is very attentive and treats me better than he ever has, presumably because of his guilty feelings. So I totally understand how people are amazed when couples stay together after infidelity. It’s like anything – you can’t possibly understand until you’ve experienced it. When Victoria Beckham stayed with David I thought it was strange, but that was before it happened to me!

      • Lynsey

        Before the EA, I always thought I’d kick my H to the curb if it ever happened. Even through my nightmare of emotions, I did see that at the time, my H was an alien. His attitude, temperament, ideas, thoughts & interests were so different than the man whom I married. I swear there was even a subtle change in the way his face looked. The parasitic whore had such a spell over him that he was a very different man. I refused to believe that the good soul I once knew had changed forever, so I decided to give things some time, do the work to heal myself, and eventually to heal our relationship. Once my H left the AP/parasite, along with some good therapy, my H slowly came back to the man I always loved. Funny….they say love brings out the best in you. Well my H’s “love” of his AP turned him into a demon which says boatloads about the parasitic whore’s character!

        • exercisegrace


          That is such an interesting observation! I find that very profound and true. My husband had a completely different look as well. Everything about him was dark and ugly. I attributed that to his depression at the time, but now I can see it was the ugliness of what he was doing.

          • Strengthrequired

            Lynsey, eg, I saw the same thing too. Yet he also became sick looking. I knew my h was not this person, this person he had become just through association with his ow. He could nolonger smile, he was selfish, mean and his face was more hard. Although he made sure he always kept his appearance up for her, there was a coldness about him. He one day not long after the ea came out, he was saying good bye to me at the door, and I leaned in to kiss him goodbye, and he pulled back and gave me a look of death. It was the first time in our time together that he had ever given me such a look that was so cold, like the man I knew and loved was not there. A complete stranger.
            I knew from that moment, that he needed help to find himself again, he needed my help to bring the good in him back. He lost himself with his tramp, she brought such badness out in him, if that is what true love does to you, that’s not for me. Thankfully I knew better what true love was and it isn’t bringing the worse out in a person, it’s bringing the best out in them.
            Slowly but surely, I brought that man I know and loved back, from the darkness.

            • Lynsey

              Strengthrequired, I had the same thing happen with a goodbye kiss. My H also pulled back and gave a look like I had never seen him do before. It was very unnerving, and certainly not the man I loved. I’m glad that the H you love came back to you from the darkness with your help. We BS’s sure are strong!

            • Strengthrequired

              Thankyou Lynsey. That look he gave me, still haunts me, it is spine chilling. It was like a look of such hatred, and it definitely through me back. You just can’t fathom a look like that, especially when the person has always looked at you with love in his eyes, and not hate.
              The ow, brought such darkness out in my h, which to this day, I won’t ever understand. She dragged him down to an all time low, yet she loved him, and he loved her. Pfft I say, love isn’t like that where you drag someone down to a level where they don’t even know themselves, and no one else recognises them either.
              When you know what someone is like, and they change so much in a short space of time, you know that it isn’t them, and they need help, just like you would help your children if they found themselves in a bad situation, you wouldn’t turn your back in them. You do what you can to help.

            • Strengthrequired

              I’m glad for you too, that you were able to bring that darkness out of your h too. Loads of hugs to you.

            • exercisegrace

              SR, it is creepy how similar our husbands were during this time. I can remember a short period of time I was even afraid of my husband. I looked into his eyes and I just couldn’t see “him” anymore. Your description of darkness is a good way to put it.

              One of her “hooks” in their work friendship was to describe herself as a strong Christian. Funny how someone can call themselves a christian and pursue a married man. Funny how as soon as the affair started, he began making excuses NOT to go to church with the kids and I. After he ended the affair, they continued to work together and she kept trying to lure him back. He finally shook off enough of his shame and started going to church with us again. The very first time he went, he told her at work. He said her reaction was very strange and she quit her job within days. I believe there was true evil involved. Sometimes I really think it is more than just crazy.

            • Strengthrequired

              Eg, that’s exactly how I think, sometimes more evil involved, not just crazy. If it was just crazy, I just don’t imagine these good men, all of a sudden turning so dark, and have such a hard time finding there way back. My h used to say how hard she looked, and he turned the same way, in just a short space of time.
              It takes a good person to bring out the good in another, and it takes a bad person to bring out the worst.

            • Strengthrequired

              Lynsey, eg, I had a chat with my h, and I mentioned to him, that I wanted him to understand that love is pure, love does not turn you into a person no one recognises, love does not turn you into a dark, mean person. I told him, that I wanted him to understand how I hope he would never let his ow in his life again, because she brought out a darkness in him. I told him it was like he was possessed, and I was the one having to be the exorcist, the one removing the darkness from that she put in him. I let him know how he changed so much during that time, that love would not have done that to him, what he thought he felt for her at the time, was not a place of love, it was completely opposite.
              He said he knows what she brought out in him was not from a place of love, and said that there was no way he will ever treat me or his children the way he treated me during that time. He knows she was no good. He said he has no problem whatsoever in keeping his distance from her.
              One thing I can assure you lovely ladies, our husbands know what real love is, and what these ow brought into their lives was not love, it did not come from a place of love, it dragged them down to a place that we had never dragged them into, so trust me when I say this to you, they know, and the longer they are away from these ow, they see it more and more, and they are thankful that we their wives, helped them find their way back, before the ow destroyed them, and our familes along with them.

            • Gizfield

              I totally agree, Strength. That mess is not love.

    • exercisegrace

      I spent my entire life saying that if my husband ever cheated, I would be gone. Every time we heard of an affair situation in our circle of friends, I would run the cheater into the ground. Ashamedly, I will admit I also bought into the idea that “she must have done/not done SOMETHING…..). Ugh. How stupid we are in our youth, LOL. I never, ever truly believed we would be touched by this evil.

      But we were. I chose to fight for marriage and I chose to stay. There is no one reason, and no simple answer. We have a love and a relationship that spans decades. We have four beautiful children. He has true remorse. We have a life and a history that trumps a short time spent sneaking around with a whore. Our relationship has a truth and a center and a reality that theirs NEVER had nor ever could have. As odd as it sounds, there was and is an honesty to our relationship because it was built on light and time and trust, that theirs could never have as theirs was born out of lies and deceit.

      Friends, I have had an epiphany lately (listen up Doug and Linda, this is a good post idea LOL). We put SO much emphasis on “staying” or “going” in the wake of an affair. This makes everything too “outcome based”. I am here in my marriage because I want to be here. I want to rebuild, and I want it to work. But more than that, I want to be true to ME. I can’t rebuild a relationship if I am still healing myself. When you build a house, laying a strong foundation isn’t the fun part or the pretty part. But it is necessary. I think I will have a thing of beauty when I am done, but right now I need to get back to some basics. I need to quit focusing on saving the marriage, and work on saving ME.

    • Strengthrequired

      That’s it eg, I focused a lot on saving my h, my marriage, my family, from the clutches of the ow, you forget you need to save yourself too.

      I used to think I would leave my marriage if he ever cheated. Then it happens, years, decades even, and a family,. It’s not as easy to just walk away. You always get told, to get the job done, you do it right the first time, or you learn by your mistakes. Even if you keep making mistakes, you get told to never give up, because the answer will eventually come to you. How is it any different to a marriage.
      If you want your marriage, your family, you fight for it. To leave a marriage, without even trying, is far easier to do, than to realise that fighting for your family, working on making a marriage stronger, is one of the hardest things you will do, but you put the work into it, just like anything else. Trying to save a marriage after an infidelity, is not one for the weak, the weal will be chewed up and spat out, before they even had a chance. The strength to keep ploughing through all the rubble, clearing the mess, getting rid of the rubbish, the insects, and rodents, so you can get to the other side, so the rebuilding can commence.
      It can be a long hard road, and is definitely not easy, but if the love is there it can be salvaged. You just need to find that strength to be able to do it.

    • MelMel

      For some reason I can’t see the comments here on the blog, just by email so please forgive me if I say something stupid. Excercisegrace put into words so many things that I have been feeling, but couldn’t really name. One doesn’t easily walk away from a marriage of 38 years with 4 beautiful children (coincidentally) and 6 amazing grandchildren and all of the experiences, good and bad, that we have shared over those decades together. I really like the idea that “I am here in my marriage because I want to be here. I want to rebuild, and I want it to work. But more than that, I want to be true to ME. I can’t rebuild a relationship if I am still healing myself.” Now that I understand myself a bit better I think I’ll be able to get my husband to understand. Thank-you, eg, and everyone else.

      • exercisegrace

        You are welcome MelMel. The image that popped into my head lately was of a bomb dropping into the middle of my home. Of course I want to rebuild my home. But first I have to recover from my injuries. Let the bones knit back together, the wounds close, the scars heal a bit. Only then can I pick up the tools and focus on the bigger picture of rebuilding the house. If I do other than that, I am just limping around impeding my own healing and not getting where I need to be in the rebuild process.

    • Patsy50

      I was always a black or white type of person. So when my husband of then 39 years, told me of his EA with a young coworker he was told the marriage would be ending. I left for a couple of days to get my head straight. Asked him if he loved me and did he want to rebuild our marriage. So our journey began and it’s been three years later and we survived. It hasn’t been easy, but I am so glad I changed the way I used to look at things.

    • Tryinghard

      Of course infidelity is a huge deal breaker! Of course I never thought I’d stick around especially for a second cup of it. No I thought for sure if it ever happened again no way I’d be here and yet…

      When it happened the first time it was just part of a whole lot of stuff a that was going wrong in our marriage. I wanted out. I was miserable and his infidelity was only part of it. I really didn’t care except he lied way back when as to who it was. I never knew until fast forward this last go round and he finally told me. Talk about keeping a secret!!!

      He begged me to try to work things out and I gave in for many of the reasons most of you have. We had two young children and I thought they deserved that from me. I also reasoned that I would get my degree to prepare myself should the marriage go bad again only it didn’t. I was finally happy I chose to reconcile and work on our marriage. Never really dealt with the infidelity and actually blamed myself for it. I was very young and stupid

      This time around I was very taken by surprise. I was happy in the marriage and I thought he was too. Was it perfect, no, but I thought it was satisfying for myself and him as well.

      So if anyone should have thrown the bum out it was me. I may be stupid or any other pathetic term that those who want to judge me may use. I might even agree with them. So yes I do believe in the term now that once a cheater, always a cheater and he is living proof of it.

      So if you think that you would not be as stupid and needy as I, I have a few suggestions for you.

      1. Do not have children
      2. Do not own your own business especially with family members
      3. Do not invest assets together
      4. Have your own income and keep it separate
      5. Do not let your children become involved In the “family” business
      6. Do not give your heart and soul to your mate. Keep them at a distance
      7. Keep your friends separate. Do not have common friends
      8. Live in a large city so when it does happen you can move to a different part of town never to see or hear from them again. Better yet move to another country.
      9. Always keep your antennae up because given the statistics one of you is going to cheat and you will know right away and you can swiftly move to enact your own moral code of dumping the whore or bastard.
      10.. And last but not least for christ’s sake don’t get old!

      People are quick to judge other people’s choice in these matters. I say walk a mile in my shoes and then tell me what you will do. Truth is it’s nothing but dumb talk. No one knows what they will do in any situation until they are in it. I say let them live in their blissful ignorance.

    • Tryinghard

      By the way, do I think I’m better for staying and choosing to make this marriage work, no I do not. Am I stronger and smarter because of it, yes I am. Will I leave if it happens AGAIN? WHO KNOWS!

      • Strengthrequired

        Th, exactly. We made a decision to work on our marriages, for many reasons. Some are the same and some are different, but for reasons that meant something to us. Those that judge us for staying in a marriage after infidelity, whether it be the first time, or second, time, maybe more, does not know understand why we do. It is so true how, no one knows what they will do, until they are faced with this. Children can be a huge factor, as well as the love you have for your cs, when it comes to working on your marriage and staying. Children deserve to have a parent that is willing to fight for their family, for them. They did not ask for the mess of infidelity to land on their doorstep, they are the most innocent of all.
        For those that think we are weak, have no idea….
        I would fight for my family, until there was no more fight left in me.

      • Sarah

        I totally agree with you. I wonder what would have happened if I had of left but I needed to stay as I was not prepared. Now I am prepared. I am smarter and stronger but if it happens again who knows? I saw this with my parents and I could not understand why they both stayed together. My Mom said she stayed for the Children then once we all grew up she said she stayed for the House. I totally did not understand. Now I do! I thought back then I never wanted to be like my parents but now I am. I love my husband but I will never love him like I used to.

    • Strengthrequired

      I was thinking about the last comment about he most people don’t admit their relationship survived infidelity in fear of being judged as being weak.

      I couldn’t see it as further from the truth. I think a lot of people won’t mention surviving an infidelity, because quite honestly it’s no one else’s business, and those that survive, won’t advertise it, because they want to move on with their lives. The time they will talk about it, will be to help those that are going through an infidelity, and to offer support.

    • Tryinghard

      Fact is it’s no ones business. I got sick of all the “how are you doing”. Questions. They really didn’t want to know. They were either morbidly curious or patronizing.

      I do commend Doug for taking umbrage at the judgement as I think he saw it as more of an attack on Linda than him. It’s not an attack on Linda, at least I don’t see it that way. Lots of folks judge us for much lesser questions of judgement. Linda made her decisions for whatever reasons she needed to and I’m respectful of that.

      Maybe the cheaters here find me harsh in my assessment of their probability of potential repeat offenses. Only they know what’s in their hearts and minds. But a track record is a track record, good or bad. No one gave it to you and no one can change it, no matter how hard we try to put all the onus on the AP. Whether one chooses to go down that path again is totally up to them. BS on the other hand know what’s in our hearts and minds as well and there is no one out there who can decide what works for us other than ourselves.

      All I know is Karmas a bitch and what you put out there comes back to you. So judges be careful!

    • Strengthrequired

      Exactly th, when I saw that comment I thought wtf. How is it we don’t talk about it to people around us, because we think they are going to judge us for being weak. Lol.
      Honestly we don’t have to tell anyone, we can pick and choose who we tell, and I for one know when it all started with my h ea, there were enough people who knew. I really didn’t care if they thought I was weak or strong for staying. Truth is I did what I thought I needed to do.
      I carry no shame, for standing up for my family, but I don’t feel the need to run around and advertise my h infidelity to every body I know. It really is no one else’s business but ours unless we make it someone else’s business.

    • forcryin'outloud

      I was one of those people who believed in the kicking them to the curb no questions asked, do not pass go, don’t collect $100 yada yada yada. Sometimes I’m still surprised I chose to work on the marriage. However, I love my H but I love my son more. And considering what divorce would have done to his innocent life I chose to work on recovery. My H has finally put boundaries in place with other women including his psycho mother. BUT I understand my H developed some serious destructive behaviors while growing up and I do believe given the right circumstances he could become an idiot again. The big difference is I don’t trust him like I use and even bigger I don’t find my value in his eyes.

      To those who judge me – judge away because someone’s judging your chess moves.

    • Strengthrequired

      Fool, it’s funny you say that about you not finding the value he has for you. Me too. I love my h and I value my relationship with him, but he was so easily swayed to the dark side, that he lost value in me. So I find it hard to believe that he values me like I value him. I don’t see it because h could he, he cheated for goodness sake on me, where is the value for me in that?

      • Chip

        Are the women in this thread still married to their spouses? I’m just curious, it’s been 3 years

    • Jennifer

      In about 35 minutes, it will be my 11th wedding anniversary. And you know what, it means nothing to me. Ugh, there is nothing I want from this guy. Except to be left alone. There is the real karma for you. if he wants sympathy, I suggest he flag down the nearest road whore. I’ve been wanting to tell him the last few weeks that I have no interest in him sexually. Maybe it’s time for the old “I love you but I’m not IN LOVE with you” speech. But that would be a lie cause I dont love a cheating liar. Or a lying cheater. Take your pick.

    • InnerStrength

      Trying to give someone a second chance does not make you weak. It takes a lot of courage and some people are rewarded by it being a ‘one-off’ where the cheating spouse realises what was at stake. But, if second chances turn into third chances, fourth chances etc, then you’re in troubled waters. I got out after third chance as infidelity on a regular basis slowly destroys your soul. Everybody has to walk their own path without being judged by others. But it is important to realise you can survive and there is life beyond without staying with a cheating spouse too.

    • Strengthrequired

      Jennifer, is your h still seeing his whore? How long has it been since dday for you?
      I’m sorry for everything your h put you through. I would like to say happy anniversary, but I know it isn’t anywhere close at being a happy one. Hugs to you.

    • Kay

      The day I found out I told my husband he had a week to find a place, told the kids a couple days later, family and friends. In my mind we were done and I hadn’t even scratched the surface of his affair. But the fact that he had an affair automatically meant it was over. And for him too. Even though he ended with the OW he moved out without a fight because he too thought there was no coming back from what he had done.

      We had started counseling before finding out cuz I just knew something was off and the fighting between us was getting bad, I really didn’t know what was going on just that that wasn’t my husband, so I can really relate with the earlier comments about him being in a dark place.

      Thankfully life handed us multiple opportunities to see that we were still meant to be together and we could work through this. (We found out our eldest was pregnant 9 days later, I was offered a promotion a month later, my stepfather was diagnosed with a brain tumor 2 months later, and so much more )

      It’s been 15 hard months but I know we are in the best place we’ve been in our 21 years. I’ve learned a lot and an important one is to not judge! And to NEVER say never!!

      • Bunnie

        It’s been 6 months for me. The usual story… distance between us, life decisions that didn’t include me, arguing and anger from him. Still I tended to his every need, and I DO accept whatever part I played in the lack of communication between us and the arguing. However, through social media he connected with someone he knew in his youth. Well everyone knows how the story goes! She’s a free spirit, no responsibility all the things he felt the gravitation to. I still think this was some form of depression or midlife crisis.Marriage counseling (with a horrible counselor) that luckily we ended.
        Here I am not feeling he is trying enough or caring enough. And how do you get him to try? He stated “he wasn’t in his right mind” and now I feel like I’m out of mine!
        So I push harder and try to keep moving forward just improving myself. That’s all I can do. If it all goes to hell? I know I’ve tried.
        Trying my best to remain positive.

    • tony

      If you’ve been thru it, you know it’s the most painful thing you can endure. Some say it can be mended, but won’t there always be a bit of doubt/mistrust in the back of your mind?

      • Kay

        There are times if distrust but my husband is working really hard to rebuild it. Complete access to his accounts, he’ll FaceTime me or send me pics whenever I want or he wants to reassure me.
        But because of how changed he was thru it I felt something was off before I actually found it. I’m happy to say I don’t feel that anymore

    • tony

      I tried for two years because of our 6 year old son, but you can’t stay and be happy with someone that you can’t trust…

    • tony

      tough way to live when you have to be reassured. hope you come to a time when you don’t need that anymore…

      • Kay

        Most of the time I don’t need it. He offered it more than I asked. But triggers don’t happen as much anymore mostly because of our open communication but it is assuring to know there if needed.

    • Seenthe light

      I always said lying from my spouse/significant other would be the end of my relationship. My husband knew this before we married. He promised he would never lie to me again after he was caught lying and I broke our engagement. He was so sincere and remorseful sounding that I broke the one rule I always had lived by – if they lie leave them. I have always believed they are who/what they are, their upbringing makes them that way and there is no way to modify the behavior, it is too deeply engrained by the time they are adults. After one of his business trips things didn’t feel right and I asked him directly if he had cheated, obviously he said “NO” and acted indignant that I would even ask. I reminded him that he had promised to never lie to me again and he swore up and down he hadn’t. A co-worker of mine who was on the same trip told me he had been cheating on the trip, so I confronted him again. He again swore he hadn’t and went so far as to ask, “Who are you going to believe someone you work with or your husband?” This of course did the trick to convince me he was telling the truth and I was wrong to question him. His ruse went on for years, continually denying ANY wrong-doing on his part and going so far as to make up things to make himself look like a good man and caring husband. I finally got fed up with the “little white lies”. Then he decided that it was time to be “honest”. Still the facts came out a piece at a time. We went to counceling and more bits and pieces came out. It was and has been like pulling teeth and still wondering ‘what else is there he’s still not talking about?’ After a year and a half of trying to get my head around everything and work with him I knew for sure I didn’t want this person in my life any longer. I went to a second counselor to help me find me again, this one helped me a lot more than the first. She made me realize I was spot on in finally accepting the fact that I had married a narcissist and the best thing to do is get as far away as I could. She also said that it may be hard to do this safely, so I have been working with her and will soon make the final break safely. I never saw myself starting a new life at my age, but I have to admit the possibilities I see make me hopeful, even a bit giddy at times.

    • Shifting Impressions

      Seenthe Light
      Thanks so much for sharing your story. The lying is something I have struggled with more than I can say.

    • tony

      good for you. you’ve wasted enough of your life on a selfish man. once that trust is broken, you will always be on edge. certainly not easy love

    • Penny

      Everyone says that they would never stay until the situation actually hits them and they realise that ending a marriage and breaking a family just isn’t something that you can do without careful consideration. I am separated. My husband just couldn’t give up access to his mistress. However, before he left I fought with everything I had for our marriage, and I would have continued fighting if he was prepared to fight with me. Even after he left I still made it clear that our marriage was important to me and worth fighting for. I don’t think I’ve spoken to a single person since my husband left who hasn’t said to me something along the lines of “the difference with me is that I’d never tolerate cheating. I’ve always said I’d leave if my husband /wife ever cheated”. Ahhh, I’m so sick of hearing it. So patronising, so holier-than-thou. The next time I hear this, which I’m sure will be sometime in the next few weeks I might just scream. I just want to scream “no, that doesn’t make you different, that makes you the same as every other person in the world who hasn’t been cheated on. It makes you exactly the same as me 3 years ago when my husband was still the last guy in the world who would ever cheat. When my family was safe and I didn’t have to consider the reality of single parenting 2 babies and a future without the man I vowed to spend the rest of my life with.” Unfortunately for me and my children the mistresses claws are too deep and he is unreachable.

      • Shifting Impressions

        You are so right….I said the same thing…until it happened to me.

    • Liz

      Whether you stay or go, is a personal decision. There are some betrayed that would be happier leaving the situation, and are at peace with that decision. That’s fine, do it that way. Either way you have to work through what happened. Our decision was to work through the affair and make our marriage work. It has been 28 years, and I am not saying that it has been easy, but one thing for sure I have no regrets about staying nor does my husband. In our situation, my husband suffered from depression and was hospitalized for 2 weeks. The affair was a symptom of the problem. Through years of therapy and becoming very informed, that all helped; however, there were some things that continued to brew. It is hard to cross every “T” and dot every “I”. I have always trusted my husband since the affair was discovered, that was never a problem. The one main problem was that I never asked questions about the affair, so my mind was always spinning. I was told by my first therapist, to ask questions, beginning in her office. The first question I asked was about the sex and my therapist stopped it there. That was not what my therapist thought was a good question. Wish she would have directed me on how to ask questions. In later years, another therapist told me to never ask questions about the affair because anything my husband said would not make me happy. She was right; however, it all needed to be addressed to have lasting peace for me. Only in the last year, with the reading that I have done, I have read over and over, that until you can ask questions and get it all out you will never completely heal. Again, this is supposedly true for most people and it is a personal decision as to how much you want to know. My husband was very reluctant to share information, and the conversations certainly got heated. It would take me days to calm down, and eventually the conversations were civil. Every time we had a discussion it took time to heal from what was said, but like magic it does get better eventually. My head has stopped spinning. The affair my husband had was for 6 1/2 years, with lots of money, sex, travel and gifts for the mistress. Yes, it is a lot to get over, but whether you stay or go, you still have to get over it. For me, I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to save my marriage. We are getting ready to celebrate our 50 th wedding anniversary this year with a lovely trip. I count my blessings every day that we have worked through all of it. We have shown our children how to turn around a very difficult situation and make things better. Believe me, our adult children know who to come to if they are in a difficult situation. They have seen first hand a success story. Very grateful for all the good things I have experienced with my husband and children over the last 28 years. My husband never misses a chance to thank me for keeping him, and from saving him and me from himself. If this message helps one person, it would make me happy. Again, read, read, read, and don’t let one article upset you and make you think it is wrong to stay. Read many articles and with what your gut tells you make a decision you can live with for the rest of your life.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Thank you for your sharing your story and your good advice. I agree about reading and reading some more. And yes we do need to go with our gut.

    • tony

      penny said it best. my wife wouldn’t give up the other man. I gave it every chance. even if we stayed together, I wouldn’t want to wonder who she was thinking about while having sex with me…

    • Pearl

      Before it happened to me, I assumed it was an absolute deal breaker. I always thought people had affairs because they fell in love with someone or because the sex was fantastic. In fact the night I was told of the affair, I just assumed the marriage was over. But my husband and I were always so open with each other – I said do you love her? and he said “No”. I thought he was just being kind. So I said “well then the sex must have been f*cking fantastic” and he took a deep breath and said “no, actually it was a disaster” which just opened the door for a million more questions … the main question being “Then why?”. I often wonder if it would’ve been easier if we hadn’t gotten along and I just told him to hit the road – but the biggest “why” was because for the first time in our 25 year marriage we were able to go away together – able to have sex in the morning because the kids were away at college, etc. We had just lost our youngest daughter (age 14) the year before and I thought we were so close. His actions after the affair told me he wanted to stay in our marriage – I insisted he go for therapy, which he did (I understood exactly why he was susceptible to having an affair – but if he didn’t understand, it would only happen again). I realized all the reasons I thought my husband would never cheat ended up being all the reasons why he DID cheat (low-self-esteem, vain). During the affair he actually went to see the other woman’s therapist!! This therapist told him “You know your marriage is over when your wife finds out” !!! I’d like to give that “therapist” a piece of my mind. Ha. But it takes two to repair a marriage – if he hadn’t answered any questions – that would’ve told me he was done. And I’d have helped him out the door … Instead he became an open book, for the first time in his life he stopped saying what he thought people wanted to hear (my husband was a chameleon – always changing personalities to fit in with whomever he was around – I’d watch him go from democrat to republican at the same barbecue !! ) He realizes now he wasn’t a man – a real man stands up for what he believes in, a real man isn’t a coward sneaking off when his wife goes to work at night. A real man wouldn’t have fallen for some old broads flattery (yes she was older than me). And for me – the only blame I’ll take in this is that I was an enabler – always making excuses for his behavior. When he was in therapy – the therapist asked him how do you feel right now (this was about one month after the affair ended) He said I feel like the weight of the world has come off my shoulders. We read somewhere an affair is like a window – the affair partner can see into the marriage through that window – when an affair is exposed – the cheating spouse must let the betrayed spouse see the affair – all of it – until it becomes “our affair”. It’s been almost four years since Dday. I wouldn’t say our marriage is stronger – I’d give anything to have that innocent trust between us again. But we’re attached at the hip, emotionally, physically, life has given us so many ups and downs we can’t imagine going through it without each other.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so very sorry about the loss of your daughter. To have your husband betray you in the wake of such a loss must have been excruciating!

        Yes I would give anything to have that innocent trust back as well. But it’s encouraging to hear how you have handled it.

    • tony

      tough way to live without that innocent trust…

    • Kay

      Pearl, your comment, all the reasons I thought he would never cheat turned out to be the reasons he did ring so true for me.
      My H was very innocent and inexperienced to the predators of the world. He’s a nice guy with a low self esteem who always worries about how other feels and has publicly shown his love for me.
      The OW was a friend of a friend and we were st a BBQ when my H introduced me as the love of his life. Fast forward my H was in DR with his friends for a bachelor weekend. I completely trusted him and even said that to these female cousins and friends who coincidentally going to the same resort that weekend.
      My H didn’t even remember the OW so she said ,” I know you , you’re the guy who introduced his W as the love of his life, What kind of man does that? You’re a pu$$y!”
      Instead of telling her off he felt bad and questioned why she would say that. She went on to say that his friends say he’s whipped behind his back.
      Later that night when they were all in the same club she kept asking him to step up with him for a smoke and asked him to walk with her on the beach cuz she was hot. He was a compliant gentleman and did as she asked and once alone she kissed him, he pulled back and cried that he couldn’t do that. He had also been drinking a lot so fektvsick so she invited him to her room to wash up and he foolishly did. She gave him more drinks and he eventually felt there was no turning back and slept with her.
      He lost 9 lbs that weekend cuz he did it throwing up his guilt.
      The coincidences didn’t stop there as she is a truck driver who has access to the secure area of his job. When he asked her if she had any disease he should worry about she added more guilt and calmed him an sss for saying that. She then began showing up at his job with lunch and literally with a bed telling him they already did it once so what’s the big deal and that he needed to be a man, etc. He once again foolishly fell for it. She taught him how to cheat and it all happened in her truck on his lunch breaks.
      I know this was long but this story is part of why I’ve decided to try and work on this Marriage even though I never thought I would. The circumstances that caused it speak to deep rooted issues in my H and not just about lust and looking to replace me or get over. I’m struggling with understanding why it happened and processing what actually happened. I still can’t believe it some days!

    • Clara

      I thought the same about my H for so long. His story was very close to your H’s, he was just being a gentleman etc. If that was all, there wouldn’t have been sexual activity over and over again. He’s got you fooled as mine did me. Trust me, they are NOT as innocent as they try to convince you. There wouldn’t be return cheating if they didn’t want to. The Love of MY Life line is also a giveaway that he is ready to take on all challengers who are willing to try and sway him away from his wife and vows. Yes, your H does have deep rooted problems, but they are probably far deeper than you realize and I know mine didn’t even attempt to get counseling and work it out. He was sure he was fine and “it would never happen again”. It did. I’m going by my experience and the counseling I and my H did get, both together and separately, sometimes it’s better to cut your losses, the problem is his, he may say he’s trying, but you have to watch for real change and don’t be soft on him. Good luck.

    • Matt

      I don’t know. I love my wife, and I would never cheat on her, so I expect the same in return. If she were to cheat on me, it would mean that she no longer respects me. If that were the case, I would have to go…as painful as that is to say.

      I have self-respect. I will not let other people disrespect me. I am choosing to be monogamous, so if you can’t do the same, then I am wasting my energy.

      I realize that is harsh, but I’m not going to put 99% of the effort into the relationship. That just isn’t healthy.

    • tony

      I agree with matt. no respect, no marriage. you can’t stay together for the wrong reasons. you’ll always wonder who they’re thinking about while in bed with you…

    • Jeff

      I’m the opposite of most. Before my wife’s affair I would have said that so long as she was remorseful and wanted to stay in the marriage I would have taken her back with open arms. I had no idea the emotional toll an affair causes. We are 10 years post D-day and doing well, but the pain was beyond anything else I have experienced, and that includes the death of an infant daughter. The betrayal from someone you love and trust more than anyone else in the world is indescribable.

    • Kittypone

      Today is our 33rd anniversary and we’re 5 years after DDay. All I can say is, after 5 years of therapy (for myself, he only went 3-4 times to his own) mentoring, pastoral counseling, etc, etc, all I’m left with is a huge void where my heart used to be. I no longer love this man. I lost ALL respect and trust in him; I just go through the motions. As I was”graduating” from my therapy, my counselor told me to be very careful as loneliness would start creeping up and I could be vulnerable to fall into an affair myself, but, how do I fall into ANYTHING, when I no longer believe ANYTHING that comes out of a man’s lips? The only thing that lights up my life is my two toddler grandkids, I am only 52 years old, good looking, smart, intelligent, funny, never smoked, drank or did drugs, brought up in church so never slept around either; HOW DID I END UP WITH A CHEATER? We live under the same roof but more like roommates than anything else; I am tired of this life but feel financially trapped with nowhere else to turn, so here we are……he knows that even a whisper of another affair means he gets the boot no ifs, why’s or when’s, but the truth is that I no longer care what he does, where or with who….it’s like I just tolerate his existence as long as he doesn’t interfere in mine…..anyone else out there with words of wisdom?

    • tony

      My words of wisdom are to leave and move on. I did it. It’s tough at first, but it gets better and you give yourself a chance to be happy again. Can it be any worse than how you’re living now?
      I’m in NY if you ever want to chat…

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