work life after an affair
Maintaining a normal, productive work life after an affair is difficult at best.  Infidelity can certainly affect worker productivity as well.

Maintaining a normal, productive life after an affair is difficult at best.  We’ve discussed many facets of this throughout our blog, but I don’t believe we’ve ever touched specifically on how an affair can affect worker productivity.

I can’t take responsibility for coming up with this topic as one of the Higher Healing members posed the question in the forum, asking whether or not our job has been affected by the affair.   I think it is a great topic to explore.

Here are just a few of the responses from the forum.  Perhaps you can relate as I did:

Since D-day 1, my job performance has been so-so at best. I have been so hurt and depressed that it has affected my job. I have fallen behind and then catch up only to fall behind on my work again and again. This only adds more stress to this stressful time in my life.” 

I don’t work outside the home, but my ‘job’ here at home has suffered….I haven’t kept my house clean like it normally would be, laundry still gets backed up, cooking, which I normally love to do, has been reduced to sandwiches and wraps, soups, etc.”

I think every part of my life has suffered including my job, house, and relationships. I walk around in a daze a lot of the time and feel like I have no focus.”

In our book, “Journey to Trust,” I wrote:

“I went to my job every day, but I don’t remember being there or doing it. I just would go through the motions, go to bed hoping in the morning when I’d wake up, everything would be a dream. Then I would face it again. My life was consumed with it.”

Work Life After an Affair

Work performance can be affected whether you are a cheater or the betrayed.  I’m sure that many people who are involved in workplace affairs don’t exactly put forth as much effort in their job as they probably should.  To say they are preoccupied is probably a huge understatement.  The end result may be lower worker output, lower income, loss of employment, etc.

See also  Emotional Affair Signs

As a betrayed, your life is turned so upside down and the emotions are overwhelming that trying to do your job can seem impossible at times.  At the very least it can be a struggle.

According to a study conducted by the television show CHEATERS®, the national economic impact of infidelity is leading to a $61.6 billion decrease in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per year.  Society, as a whole, suffers due to lost productivity associated with the behavior and depression due to infidelity.

The study further says that “Over the next 20 years, that number is expected to be in the upwards of $1.23 trillion dollars. Cheating spouses are costing each and every living American $200 every year, year after year.”

I think the implications of the betrayal and the affair caused me to lose balance in my life and everything that I had believed that I was – including being a good teacher.  In fact, my colleagues look up to me for my expertise and support.  I certainly wasn’t very good while Doug’s emotional affair and all the fallout was going on.

As I said earlier, I would just go through the motions.  Now, as a teacher, this is kind of a hard thing to do.  Every day is different and is pretty much dependent on the moods and actions of the kids.  You have to think on your feet and react accordingly.  Both are tough to do when your mind is preoccupied with your personal life.  I know that the other teachers suspected something was wrong with me and I bet the kids did too.

See also  Moms Say the Darndest Things

As time went on though, my job actually became one of the integral factors for me in regaining my sense of self-worth and self-confidence.  I knew I was a good teacher.  I was a confident teacher.  So it was as a teacher that I decided to re-focus myself in order to regain some of that lost self-confidence that I was feeling.  It worked.

Trust me when I tell you that I understand how hard it is to focus on a job, a chore or even getting dinner on the table when you are suffering from infidelity.  Life after an affair sucks.  But I found that if these activities are activities that you are good at or if you enjoy doing them, then it can be beneficial for YOU to focus on them more.  They can help to occupy your mind, build your confidence, rebuild your self-concept and can act as a familiar haven when the rest of your world has been turned upside down.

In the comment section below, I’d like to hear how your work life after an affair has been affected.  I’d also like to hear how you have handled it, and hopefully, how you’ve been able to overcome any work or housework related troubles you were having.


    32 replies to "Your Work Life After an Affair"

    • Jim

      Thanks for posting this Linda. I am struggling on how to get past this. My job has definitely suffered. Last night I was thinking and asking “How can I get back in the game?” Like I said in the forum this only adds stress.

    • chiffchaff

      My boss (female) was incredibly supportive when I just couldn’t cope anymore after discovery of the affair. It turned out her first husband had done the same to her with a co-worker and left her for the OW.
      I initially found it impossible to concentrate on my work (I’m a lawyer), didn’t really function, couldn’t care less, my mind was totally absorbed with what the hell my H had being doing for the previous 9 months and what he was doing now (as in following discovery). It took 6 months to get back to feeling ontop of my work, even though my boss praised me for keeping professional and minimising disruption. The after affects of the affair affected my physical health such that I could no longer drive to work so I worked from home instead.

      In terms of my H, I am astonished that he wasn’t sacked in the period around Christmas last year. He was in a new job and he was spending most days huddled in a cupboard dealing with calls from me, from his friends and from his parents. Some days he didn’t go to work at all. He barely did anything. Added to not doing much except watch porn at work in his previous job for a whole three years I’m just amazed that he still works. It frightens me that just his porn use at work alone would have ended his career if it had been discovered, nevermind the hours of his day he was spending skyping, emailing and phoning the OW.

      I’m amazed that the GDP cost of selfish infidelities is as low as you state. An agony aunt in the UK recently described the infidelity tidal wave as a symptom of our societies obsession with self and your own needs. Compromise is a dirty word these days as everyone should be ‘getting what they want’ instead. We’ve become a nation of children.

      • Recovering

        Society is totally “Me” obsessed… I hate it. I am not this way, and it makes me so sick that he was… Cheaters are a bunch of selfish, childish, needy brats that need to grow up and get over themselves… nicely said!!!

        • Rachel

          Recovering, 100% well said!

        • chiffchaff

          I’ve recently told my H that he now seems much more grown up, more like a man than a boy. He’s just finished his course of counselling, I’m hoping he won’t start going backwards now.

    • Recovering

      My work life has been so adversely affected by his affair that I am surprised that I even still HAVE a job!! I insisted on going into work the day following the night that I got confirmation of my suspicions. I hadn’t slept at ALL, but knew that I couldn’t sit home alone while he went to work to dump the whore… knew I would probably do myself in. It was AWFUL!! I barely functioned… And as it happened, I was looking for a new job at the time anyway, so that only added to the stress. Barely 2 months after discovery, when I was still in hysteria mode, I got a call from a company that I had interviewed with 7 months before. I had REALLY wanted that job, and had been so excited about the opportunity, but then when they called me that 7 months later, I didn’t know if I should even bother, because at that point I wasn’t even at a place to decide if I was going to leave him or stay, and if I took the job, my dream job, I would have a reason to stay in this state other than him. If I had left him I would’ve moved out of state. So I got mad and took the job… wasn’t going to let him being a whore ruin what I had worked so hard for and DESERVED. I was a complete basket case for the first 5 months on the job. Spent half of my day on the internet researching affairs, and how he could do this to me, and what kind of whore does this to someone else, and if it is true that “once a cheater always a cheater..”. I couldn’t focus on learning my job. In a way it was good that I was new because it gave me more time to get things done that I should’ve been working on but wasn’t. Even now that I have been at this job 10 months, I still have days that I am completely unproductive because of the affair. Days that I find myself obsessing… searching her name AGAIN on google… typing the revealing letter to it’s husband about what a whore it is… and any time there is a revelation it seems to happen while I am at work, so I am a mess the whole day and get NOTHING done.. My boss and co-workers have NO IDEA about what I am going through. My boss has noticed some emotional upheavil on some days, but chalks it up to getting used to the new job and traveling more… Little does she know that the traveling helps me escape (kinda, until I get back to the hotel room, and then there is the whole panic from being in a whoretel room because THEY went to one…. whores…) I could be so much better at my job for having been here for 10 months had this not happened to me. I could’ve focused on learning and living my dream… instead I feel like I am that much behind the curve. Maybe my new bosses think that I am just a bit slower to learn and are cutting me slack with time to finish my projects because I have been so slow from the start… but this person, at this job, at this time, is NOT who I was before. I was a go-getter who moved up quickly, learned quickly, and had drive. Some of that is starting to finally come back, but I just couldn’t focus for so long…. His selfishness has cost me so much… I wasn’t going to give him my career too, yet I did in a way…. am struggling now to take it back (as I sit here at work typing this…. LOL!!). I hope his work has suffered too, though it was always his first priority, so I doubt it…. at least the whore was still never first in his life… the job has always been for him… Am not willing to accept that anymore. We work to live, not live to work……

      • Jim

        “We work to live, not live to work”.

        Unfortunately, our society does not value this. It values work above all. When you meet someone at a party what is the first thing they ask? What do you do? And we respond with our job title out of habit.

        How do we change society to value the person and not the job? Or has that ship sailed a long time ago when company loyalty (both the company and the workers) ended.

    • Gizfield

      Haha, recovering, I have a new term in my culture, Whore Tel. I love it, you have to have fun where you can. I came up with a really good anacronym. I think thats what it’s called. Anyway, WHORE stands for Women Having Other Relationship Ethics. Ie, dating someone married. Wish I could think of one for male whores. someone help me here, lol.

      • Jim

        He Enjoys Women Having Other Relationship Ethics = He-Whore aka male sl&t.

        • Jim

          Other acronyms: You can figure it out.
          Single Lady Under Tension
          Can’t Understand Normal Thinking
          Babe In Total Control of Herself

          • chiffchaff

            Barbie In Total Chaos of Hormones

            • Greg


    • Gizfield

      Ugh, this other persons first name just came up in my work. Productivity killer for sure.

      • Recovering

        Yah, the OW’s name is the same as my cousin’s… used to like the name.. now get sick when I hear it – hate the bitch… Love my husband.. hate him too, but is easier to focus the rage and hate on the whore because I have a LIFE with the hubs… never met the whore… hope never to either… am actually a tad bit afraid of what I would do to it if I did….

      • WriterWife

        The OW has the same name as my sister. So now I never call my sister by name in conversation and always just say “My sister.”

    • Rachel

      I start my new job next week and I don’t know how I will get past the first day without getting fired.I feel like I’m in outer space and my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is in full swing. I can’t stop hearing him say to me “I want a divorce”.
      Seven months ago it was “I’m seeing my ex girlfriend”. Why does this go on. I’m sick of suffering for his problems.
      He’s enjoying life. Happy and smiling and I’m walking around with my stomach in a knot and my brain not working the way it should. I think it’s time to stop taking the anti-depressant.

    • WriterWife

      My job definitely suffered because of my husband’s EA. Even before I knew about it, I was going through a very rough time at work. He was one of my biggest supporters and I desperately needed that support but all of his emotional energy and attention was focused on the OW. He told me about the EA only a few days before I had a major project due and when I was in the middle of a career-altering personnel change. I’d sit with the project open on my computer and then ignore it while I spent all my time online trying to learn more (how I found this site, how I even found out what an EA was).

      A few weeks later I came to a few important conclusions: 1) I’m self employed which means if I got divorced I had to rely on my job. If I allowed my job to suffer because of my husband’s EA, I’d not only be losing my marriage but also my livelihood. 2) This is my dream job, I felt like my husband had already taken so much away from me, to allow him to jeopardize my dream job was too much. 3) I’d started to rely on my husband’s support too much in my job and needed to learn to find that support inside myself. 4) If we got divorced, I wanted to land on my feet quickly. I refused to allow him to essentially ruin my life. This is what caused me to stop focusing on him as much and to really focus on myself — finding a strong sense of self, re-committing to myself and my job.

      It made me sad because it made me feel like that at the end of the day, I had to realize the only person I could ever depend on, trust, and rely on was myself first and foremost. I’d allowed someone else to step into that roll and I couldn’t do that again.

      I feel like the EA already took so much from me and I had to stop allowing it to take more. It was hard – sometimes impossible – but I forced myself to do it.

    • Gizfield

      I’m having a “moment” here and yes I am at work, so it does affect it. through all this I have had a lot of emotions, but the one I just can’t get rid of is DISGUST. Cheaters may not realize this, cause they think you are jealous, but the way you think of them as a person is vastly changed. The person you probably thought was so Good has shown themself to be a liar and a sneak. One day I told my husband “Most days it is all I can do to even look at you”.. I wasn’t saying it to be hurtful either, I just wanted him to know. I think he is a good man who got caught up in doing wrong but it still just disgusts me !!! That he would let a lowlife tramp into our lives is just beyond my comprehension. Ughhhh.

    • Gizfield

      When all this came up, I started having severe panic attacks, especially at work. I could not think or even sit at my desk very long. I had to go outside a lot but nothing really helped. Went to the psychotherapist about 6 months. tried a couple of anti depressants but medicines weird me out and I couldn’t take them. I managed to squeak by somehow. I’ve had a lot of issues in my life and to done extent therapy helped. verified that I’m ADD, with a very short attention span, lol. Not helpful with marriage though. Very critical that I stayed with husband, just like every single other person I knew, including minister. Marriage is definitely under attack in this society. Only support I found was online. everyone thinks you are INSANE for staying with a cheater, no exceptions. Not too glamorous now, it’s it?

      • chiffchaff

        Gizfield – I have had quite a few people think that they need to tell me that I’m mad to stay with my CS. My own sister has pretty much disowned me for letting him come home after I kicked him out. It’s not glamorous, it’s just what feels right to do for me. Oddly, the friends who have been through this themselves understand better why I stay.

    • Peggy

      I’m an artist. I have to keep repeating that and telling myself that I am in hopes that I will be able to be the artist I was prior to his affair. This is because being an artist is the first part of me that my H used to excuse his affair. The fact that the economy crashed and I didn’t make as much money as I had previously, he said he lost respect for me.

      I couldn’t paint for over a year. I’m desperately trying to find myself again so that I can even make myself sit in front of my easel. He has since realized that his excuses were just that, excuses to not take responsibility for his very horrible conscious decision to have an affair. But the scars from his betrayal and attack on me are deep and difficult to overcome.

      It’s hard enough to be compared to a whore (I really like that:)) 10 years younger than myself, thinner than I am ( not now since I lost 25lbs by the 2nd month of discovery and I wasn’t over weight to begin with), and I could go on, but to attack my sacred being was so below the belt I still can’t bring myself to verbally or emotionally forgive him. Now he says, paint. Paint all day, please. And I can’t do it. It’s such a struggle. It’s who I am and when you are shattered every part of you goes away. I so respect how all of you have struggled to get up every morning, get dressed and face the day with people who have expectations that you know in your heart you can’t fulfill.

      As far as his work. He had an affair with a woman in his office. It’s a chain of real estate offices so he had to move to another one across town. It has devistated our income by more then 50%. Not to mention what my lack of income has done, too.

      As far as blaming her, pointless. She did exactly what he asked her to do. Lowlife, sure. All she had to do was say no. But when he starts telling me how much he hates her that’s my response to him, too. Stop looking for excuses for your own irresponsible and conscious choises. There will always be women who will say yes. He was the one who needed to say no to himself.


      Yes, my job performance suffered a great deal. If my boss knew that I was not productive, I am sure I would have been fired. I completely shut down, and went through the motions of day to day tasks with my mind on my H’s affair. I would like to hear from a cheater, and how the affair may have had effected their job performance.

    • Gizfield

      Oh no, Chiff Chaff, I ment the Cheaters are not too glamorous.I just know people look at me like I’m pathetic our can’t do any better or whatever for staying on my marriage.

    • Gizfield

      If your spouse cheats and you leave everyone lines up to tell you how strong you are, they practically throw you a party. You”can do better, find yourself, be happy, have a life, etc. etc. if you stay they just avert their eyes, like what is wrong with you? I think people who make a stand for their marriage are stronger than other people will ever know. Leaving is easy, staying is what is hard, and I respect anyone who stands by their marriage vows.

    • DJ

      My husband and I have both lost our focus and drive when it comes to work. We both have busy jobs and active lives and no one notices that there is anything wrong with either of us anymore, but there is. We’ve lost our edge, that intangible thing that both of us enjoyed that made us very successful.

    • SHAPE

      Just a comment here from one who was retired when D-Day surfaced 18 months ago and had been retired about 3 1/2 years when it happened. Husband was and is still working. His EA/PA was with someone he met through an email she sent him at work, although she did not personally work there. Since I was retired, my now empty days hung heavy over me. They didn’t before this; I had plenty to keep me busy and occupied. Traveled independently, volunteered, exercised every day, etc. When D-Day hit I didn’t feel like doing any of it. I sometimes wished then that I hadn’t retired from my job, So instead I focused on the volunteering “job” which forced me to interact with people at a very busy airport. Doing this probably saved me, really. But no one I volunteer with suspected the turmoil I was going through – they still don’t. I also decided that I must keep up my exercise program, and that, too, has been a help. Truly, many days it was s-o-o-o difficult to get out of bed and face the day.
      Now 18 mos out, more of the days are less difficult, but every week, without fail, I still have them. I am trying to see some of the people I used to work with (didn’t want to see anyone for quite a long time), and now find it easier to do that as well.
      I think this probably affected my husband’s work as well, but he is in a job which has always required him to put on an act (well, really, a voice) that must sound upbeat – so he does it with a lot more ease. BTW, his AP fell “in love” with his voice; hence her email to him bolstering his ego–he knows that now and admits it! GAAAAACK. We still have issues and things to work out – will it ever end?

      • Teresa

        Geez, Shape….the OW heard his voice over the phone and sent him an email, and THAT’S how the EA/ PA started????? Seriously?? Did he never watch Fatal Attraction??!?? There are some real psychos out there! That’s what I asked my H…”Didn’t you consider that the cow’s H might come and beat the crap out of you”? I’ve seen pics…he’s a big guy, in law enforcement!!! Another stupid move on my H’s part!!
        I’m out 18 mos also…and I really think that 18 months seems to be the time when you start getting your focus back…it’s like we BS are finally coming out of OUR fog!!
        I also am starting to go to lunch with friends again, reading, cooking, etc…all things I enjoyed before DDay….yet not a day goes by that I don’t think about the EA….I just try not to dwell on it….somedays I’m better at that then others :/

    • SHAPE

      Oops–I guess I wasn’t so clear about the “voice” part. He has a radio show, so she fell “in love” with his on-air image and emailed him giving him so many compliments and how he “made her day so much better when she heard him.” I guess it puffed him up, so to speak, and he fell for it. As for her husband’s part, she lied to him and pulled him in to believe they had this “friendship,” and duped him into believing he (her husband) should be friends as well with my husband. And to make it even handier for them to get together, her husband had a TDY assignment away from home for about 2 months! I still don’t think he knows. They have moved across the country – and while she could listen online, the time difference probably makes that somewhat difficult to do. I do honestly believe there has been no further contact. I spoke to her one time after I found out and told her I would let her husband know the gritty details if she EVER made contact with my husband in any way (or my husband with her).
      I do think my husband realizes to a large degree the extent of the pain he has caused and is truly remorseful for what he did; but, of course, I am left to deal with the aftermath. Like you say it is getting better – but like you, each day brings some memory. Not dwelling on it is key – I try to do some physical activity (even cleaning something!) to get my mind clear when my thoughts go ballistic. That’s hard to do when I am driving, and that seems to be one of my worst times for thoughts about the two of them. It helps if I have a VERY GOOD book on a CD to listen to.

    • knb

      There are entire days – much like today – where I do virtually nothing work related. My boss works in another city, and some days I literally slip into the building, shut my office door, and stay in there by myself just answer calls I can’t avoid or urgent emails that I can’t hide from, only leaving my office to get my lunch or go to restroom. I can go an entire day without speaking to another person face-to-face. This is 180 degree difference in who I was a little over a year ago. I do the minimal effort, I sneak out for therapy appointments, and spend those days reading the blog, doing CBT exercises, searching the internet for anything helpful, and responding to the emails my husband sends me in hurt or anger. We exchange IMs several times a day, and I text him any time I go to/from the office. I can sense the frustration of my co-workers at times at my lack of availablilty, but I have to put my marriage first. I don’t think it is going to cost me my job yet, but it definitely impacts my self-esteem related to my job.

    • Dol

      It completely disabled me. I’d just finished a PhD and started a new job – had two weeks in the new job before finding out, and I don’t think I did anything really productive for two months. The job required a lot of self-motivation and I had none. Every time anything affair-related happened again (which was often, since they work in the same building) it would knock me of my perch again.

      I’ll wait and see how much damage it’s done. Meant to be going for another job in the same dept soon. In theory I should have produced papers from the last 8 or 9 months, but nothing has got to completion yet.

      It is one of the things that’s made me consider leaving. It sometimes seemed like the affair forced me into having to choose between saving my career or my relationship. That’s a perhaps slightly amusing aspect of it: I had my own fantasy that if I left, I’d throw myself into my work in order to forget, and become super-productive! Almost certainly nonsense, I suspect.

      Like others have mentioned, I had a VERY understanding boss, though I didn’t actually tell them what had caused the car-crash.

    • Webbgurl

      I worked for his mom during the first Dday. I was a total zombie. People pleaser that I am I put on a good front. It helped to work. I didn’t need to be home.
      I needed the independence working brought. She couldn’t cheer me up by telling me things such
      As, ” it’s a great day isn’t it?” Aren’t you better by now, it’ll past, etc.
      Eventually, she showed her true colors, and started tell her son to divorce me!!!
      She never wanted us to marry in the first place even though I had known them since high school!!
      I was struggling to complete my Masters Of Arts in Education degree, and I took so many breaks I thought I was going to have to quit.

      I made it, but have 18 months left to be certified.
      He has cost ALMOST EVERYTHING except my Faith in God which grew. I couldn’t have been alive today without Him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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