After the Affair – How to Forgive, and Heal a Relationship From Infidelity

After the Affair - How to Forgive and Heal From Infidelity

Infidelity happens for plenty of reasons. None of them good ones. It happens because of ego or stupidity or breakage. Or because of smugness or ignorance or a widening ache or an emptiness or the need to know ‘what else is there’. It happens because of arrogance or a lack of self-control or because of that thing in all of us that wants to feel adored or heroic or important or powerful or as though we matter. It happens because there’s a moment when the opportunity for this to happen is wide open and full of aliveness and temptation and it’s exciting and it’s there and it acts like it can keep a secret and as though it won’t’ do any damage at all.

It happens because of lies, the big ones, the ones we tell ourselves – ‘it won’t mean anything’, ‘nobody will know’, ‘it won’t do any harm’. It happens because there is a moment that starts it all. One small, stupid, opportunistic moment that changes everything, but acts as though it will change nothing. A moment where there’s an almighty collision between the real world with its real love and real people and real problems that all of us go through, and the world that is forbidden and exciting and hypnotic with promises. And all the while these worlds, they feel so separate, but they become tangled and woven, one into the other, and then that real world with its real love and its real people are never the same again.

Whatever the reason for an affair, the emotional toll on the people and the relationship is brutal. Infidelity steals the foundations on which at least one person in the relationship found their solid, safe place to be. It call everything into question – who we believe we are, what we believe we had, or were working towards, our capacity to love, to trust, and our faith in our judgement. It beats down self-esteem and a sense of place and belonging in the relationship for both people, but it doesn’t have to mean an end to the relationship.

Does infidelity mean a falling out of love?

Anything we humans are involved in is never black and white. The versions of grey can make good humans look like bad ones it can make love that is real feel dead for a while. Most people who have affairs are in love with their original partners. And most people who cheat aren’t cheaters. They aren’t liars and they aren’t betrayers and they aren’t bad. What they are is human, and even the good ones will make catastrophic mistakes sometimes. We all will.

Affairs often aren’t about people wanting to be in a different relationship, but about wanting the relationship they are in to be different. Relationships change shape over time and with that, sometimes the very human needs that we all have will get left behind. These needs include validation, love, connection, affection, intimacy and nurturing – but there are plenty more. This is no excuse for an affair, but understanding what drove the affair is key to being able to move forward. It’s a critical part of healing the relationship and any repairing any breaks in the armour around you both that made it possible for someone else to walk through.

Does an affair mean the end of the relationship?

Affairs will mean the end of some relationships. Others will tolerate the betrayal and although they might never thrive, they’ll stay intact. For some people this will be enough. For others, an affair can be a turning point, an opportunity to grow separately and together, and reconnect in a way that is richer, stronger, closer and more sustainable. For this to happen, it will take time, reflection, brutal honesty and an almighty push from both people. 

There are plenty of ways to hurt a relationship. Infidelity is just one of them.

Affairs cause devastating breakage in relationships, but they aren’t the only thing that can hurt a relationship. Sometimes an affair is a symptom of breakage, as much as a cause. There are plenty of other ways to hurt a relationship – withholding love, affection or approval, a lack of physical or emotional intimacy, and negativity, judgement, or criticism. All of us, even the most loving, committed devoted of us will do these things from time to time.

How does an affair happen?

There is no doubt that infidelity is a devastating act of betrayal, but it can also be an expression of loss or loneliness, or the need for novelty, autonomy, power, intimacy, affection, or the need to feel loved, wanted and desired. These are all valid, important needs and in no way represent a neediness or lack of self-reliance. They are the reasons we come together, fall in love and fight to stay in love. They are also the reason relationships fall apart.

We humans exist at our very best when we are connected with other humans, especially ones that we love and adore and feel connected to. The needs for human connection, intimacy, love, and validation are primal. They can be ignored, pushed down, or denied, but they will never disappear. These needs are so important, that if they remain unmet for too long, they will create a tear in the relationship wide enough for someone else to walk through and claim the opportunity to meet those needs that, when met, can fuel intimacy, desire, alchemy, and attraction.

When an important need remains unmet, there are two options – and only two. We can either let go of the need, or change the environment in which we’re attempting to meet the need. It will be this way for all of us. When the need is an important one, letting go won’t be an option. This will create a splintering in the relationship, and the very real temptation to change the environment, as in, find someone else to meet the need/s that we actually want met by our partners.

Affairs often aren’t about wanting the person who is the target of the affair, but about wanting the way that person meets a need. If the person having the affair could have anything, it would most likely be to have the person they love – the one they are hurting – to be the one to meet the need. But things don’t always happen the way we want. And needs get hungry and people get tempted.

When affairs happen, it’s likely that at least one of three things has happened for the person having the affair:

  1. an awareness that ‘something’ is missing, without awareness of what that something is; 
  2. an awareness of exactly what is missing – an important need that has been hungry for too long – but a catastrophic lack of honesty and openness within the relationship about this; 
  3. repeated unsuccessful attempts to be honest and open about the existence of the unmet need, and repeated unsuccessful attempts to have it met within the relationship.

How to heal from an affair, together or apart.

For a relationship to heal from betrayal, there is a need for brutal honesty from both people. If a relationship has been devastated by an affair, healing will take a lot of reflection on what went wrong, and what is needed to make it better, but if both people believe the relationship is worth fighting for, it can find its way back. 

First of all, where do things stand.

Is the affair over? Or has it been scared into submission, just for now.

If the affair is still going, and you’re pretending to work on your relationship, just take your partner’s heart in your hand and squeeze it hard. It will hurt a lot less and it will do less damage to your relationship. If the affair is genuinely finished, the one who has been hurt will need ongoing confirmation of this for a while. Probably for a long while. This is why, for the person who had the affair, the privacy that was there before the affair (texts, phone calls, messages, emails, info about where you are, what you’re doing, and who you’re doing it with), will be gone for a while. Some questions to explore together:

  • When did it end?
  • How did it end?
  • How do you know you won’t go back?
  • How do I believe that it’s over?
  • What if he or she gets in touch? What will you do?
  • What moves have you made to stop them contacting you?
  • You risked a lot for the affair to continue. What stopped the affair being worth the risk? What might make it worth the risk again? 
  • I’m suspicious. I’m paranoid. I’m insecure. I’m scared. I don’t trust you. I never used to feel like this, but now I do. I want to trust you again and I want to stop feeling like this. I want to stop checking and wondering and panicking when I can’t reach you, but I’m scared that if I stop, I’ll miss something. What can you do to help me feel safe again.

Is there genuine regret and remorse? 

Healing can only begin when the person who has had the affair owns what has happened, and shows regret and remorse, not just for the damage and pain the affair has caused, but for starting the affair in the first place. What’s important is that there is a commitment to protecting the relationship above all else, and letting go of the affair.

  • Would you still regret having the affair it if it wasn’t discovered? 
  • What do you regret about the affair?
  • How do you feel about it ending?
  • How do you feel about what it’s done to us and to me?
  • What was the story you told yourself to let the affair keep going?
  • Where does that story sit with you now?

Do you both genuinely want the relationship? And be honest.

Is there anything in this relationship that’s worth fighting for? Is there a chance of love and connection? Or will it only ever be one of convenience and a way to meet mutually shared goals, such as raising children. There are no right or wrong answers, but if one person is satisfied with a relationship of convenience and the other wants love and connection, the healing isn’t going to happen. What’s more likely to happen is that the relationship will be fertile ground for loneliness, resentment and bitterness, and it will stay vulnerable. For a relationship to work, the needs of each person have to be compatible. They don’t have to be the same, but they have to be compatible. 

Do you genuinely want each other?

The truth is that sometimes, people outgrow relationships. We can’t meet everyone’s needs and sometimes, the relationship might no longer be able to meet the important needs of one or both of you. Sometimes letting go with love and strength is better than letting the relationship dies a slow, bitter death.

  • How to you feel about [the person you had the affair with]?
  • What do you miss?
  • How do you feel about me?
  • What did you miss?
  • What do you miss about me now?
  • What made the risk of losing me worth it?
  • What’s changed?
  • What is it about me that’s keeping you here?
  • What is it about us that’s worth fighting for?
  • How do you each about the relationship? 
  • How do you feel about each other? Can either of you see that changing?
  • What is it about the relationship that’s worth fighting for?
  • What is it about each other that’s worth fighting for?
If the decision is to stay, how to forgive and move forward.

How did the affair become possible?

For the relationship to heal, and for there to be any chance of forgiveness, there has to be an understanding of how both people may have contributed to the problem. What was missing in the relationship and how can that change? This is not to excuse the person who had the affair. Not at all. What it’s doing is finding the space in which the relationship can grow. If both people are claiming to have done everything they could and the affair happened, then there’s no room for growth and the relationship will stay vulnerable. 

Let your energy turn to an honest and open exploration of the motive behind the affair. This will probably hurt to hear, but it’s not about blame. It is about responsibility, as in response-ability – the ability to respond. There can’t be an empowered, effective response if there is no awareness around what drove the affair and what needs to change in the relationship.

The person who had the affair delivered the final blow, but it’s likely that there were things that lead up to the relationship becoming vulnerable. Healing will happen if both people can own their part in this. This doesn’t excuse the affair, but it will help it to make some sort of sense. Many hard conversations will need to happen.

If you were the one who was betrayed, you’ll be hurt and angry and scared, and you’ll have every right to feel that way. As much as you are able to, try to be open to hearing the information and make it safe to explore. This is the information that will grow your relationship and repair the holes that have made it vulnerable. 

Somewhere along the way, the person who had the affair and the person he or she had the affair with, had information about your relationship that you didn’t have. This was vital information that fuelled the affair, sustained it, and drained your relationship. They knew what the affair had that the relationship didn’t. This is the information you need to know for the relationship to get its power back.

If you were the one who had the affair, it’s critical to look with honesty, courage and an open heart, at what you were getting from the affair that you weren’t getting from your relationship. It’s not enough to fall back on insecurities or deficiencies or your own personal flaws as excuses. This doesn’t answer anything and it lacks the courage and commitment needed to start putting your relationship and the one you love, back together. 

Explore together:

  • What did the affair give you that our relationship didn’t?
  • How did the affair make you feel that was different to the way you felt with me? More powerful? More noticed? Wanted? Loved? Desired? Nurtured? What was it?
  • Have you ever felt that way with me?
  • When did you stop feeling that way?
  • What changed?
  • What was the biggest difference between [the other person] and me?
  • What would you like me to do more of? Less of?
  • I know you want this relationship to work, but at the moment it’s not. What’s the biggest thing you need to be different. And then I’ll tell you mine.

Be honest. Can you meet the need? And do you want to?

    When you can understand what drove the affair, you can look at whether that need/s can be met within your relationship. Sometimes it becomes a case of either not being able to meet the need, or resentment and hurt wiping out the desire to even try. Both people need to honestly look at what they want from the relationship and what they are able to give to the relationship moving forward.

    Sometimes the distance between two people becomes so vast that it can’t be put back together. If that’s the case, acknowledge it and decide openly and with love and strength, whether or not the relationship is worth saving. Nothing is more painful than fighting to hold on to something that isn’t fighting to hold back. If this is the case, be honest. Relationships in which somebody has important needs that can’t be relinquished and that aren’t being met, will be unsustainable. 

    Moving forward, staying forgiven and getting close. 

    To the one who has had the affair: Now is your time to stand guard over the boundaries of your relationship.

    As with any trauma, finding out about an affair will create massive potential for the trauma to be re-experienced over and over. Let me explain. Every time there is a gap in knowledge in your relationship – an unanswered text, a phone that is off or that goes through to voicemail, something that doesn’t make sense, not knowing where you are, being late home, not being where you said you would be – anything that can be associated with the affair or with the possibility that the affair is still continuing, can recreate the feelings associated with the betrayal. These feelings might include panic, sadness, fear, anger, suspicion, loneliness, loss. This will keep happening until the trust has been restored. This will take time and it won’t be hurried.

    If you’re the one who has had the affair, your job now is to help your partner to feel safe again. To do this, make sure there is 100% accountability for as long as it takes for your partner to know that there is nothing else more to find out. The privacy that was there before the affair is gone, and it will be gone for a while.

    Know that for your partner, he or she he or she doesn’t want to be that person who doesn’t trust, and who is suspicious and paranoid – but that’s what affairs do. They turn trusting, loving, open hearts into suspicious, resentful, broken ones. It would be that way for anyone. How long it stays that way will depend a lot on how you handle things moving forward. Be accountable every minute of every day. Be an open book. Let there be no secrets. Knowing that there is nothing going on is critical to healing the anxiety and trauma that has come with discovering the affair. Looking for information isn’t about wanting to catch you out, but about wanting to know that there is nothing to catch out. 

    For healing to happen, it will be your turn to take responsibility for standing guard over the boundaries of your relationship for a while. Be the one who makes sure there are no gaps, no absences, no missing pieces in the day. And no secrets. If the person you had the affair with contacts you, let your partner know. Be the one who makes things safe again. For the one who has been hurt, there will be a period, sometimes for a year or more, where there will be a constant need to find evidence that the affair isn’t happening. It may become an obsession for a while. Finding out about an affair is traumatic, and the way to find relief from this is by searching for proof that the relationship is safe, that the affair is finished, and that it’s okay to trust again. 

    To the one who has been betrayed …

    Forgive yourself for feeling angry or sad or hateful or for not knowing what you want. Forgive yourself for everything you’re doing to feel okay. Forgive yourself for not knowing and for not asking the questions that were pressing against you when something didn’t feel right. And let go of any shame – for leaving, for staying, for any of the feelings you felt before the affair or during it or afterwards. None of the shame is yours to hold on to.

    Every relationship has a make it or break it point. Some relationships will have many. Forgive yourself if you missed something. This relationship involved two people. If you weren’t giving your partner something he or she needed, it was up to them to tell you so you could put it right. There will have been times that your needs went hungry too. It happens in all relationships from time to time. It’s the intensity and the duration of the unmet need that does the damage. You deserved the chance to know that something wasn’t right. And you deserved the chance to put back whatever was missing. You have that now. If you aren’t able to give your partner what he or she needs moving forward, forgive yourself for that too. Sometimes two great people don’t mean a great relationship. Sometimes it’s not the people who are broken, but the combination of you.

    You will always be someone’s very idea of beautifully and imperfectly perfect. Most likely you have always been that to your partner, but somewhere along the way, life got in the way and things fell apart for a while.

    Right now though, you are going through a trauma. Give yourself plenty of time to forgive, and to start to feel okay again, whether that it is in the relationship or out of it. Be kind to yourself and be patient. You deserve that. You always have.

    And finally …

    Every affair will redefine a relationship. It can’t be any other way. There will be hurt and anger and both of you will feel lonely and lost for a while, but if your relationship is worth fighting for, there will be room for growth and discovery. The heartbreak won’t always feel bigger than you. Some days you’ll hold steady and some days you’ll be okay and some days you’ll wonder how you’ll ever get back up. This is so normal and it’s all okay. You’re grieving for what you thought you had and what you thought you were working towards. You’re grieving for the person you thought you were with and or the relationship you thought you had. Those things are still there, but they’re different to what you thought. That doesn’t mean better or worse, just different. 

    Good people make bad decisions. We do it all the time. We hurt the ones we love the most. We become, for a while, people we never imagined we could be. But the mistakes we make – and we all make them – impress in our core new wisdoms and truths that weren’t there before. An affair is a traumatic time in a relationship, but it doesn’t have to define the relationship. Rather than collecting the broken pieces and scraping them from dustpan to bin, they can be used put the relationship back together in a way that is stronger, more informed, wiser, and with an honesty and a love that is more sustainable.

    284 Comments

    Lerato

    I cheated on my boyfriend and he found out,I ddnt want to tell the truth at first because I was protecting him from getting hurt,but I guess his instinct kept on telling him that I did something, so I finally told him the truth it was not easy at all I felt like dying but I owed it to him n our relationship he also made mistakes but thts not the reason why I cheated, he told me that he forgives me but I feel like his still hurting once his fine he will want to revenge me,I couldn’t sleep so is he ,I need help I really dont know what to do ,I want this relationship to work

    Reply
    Sizwesethu N

    It was a very brave and bold step you took to admit once found. I applaud you. unlike a partner that denies till you need to provide concrete proof then be expected to just forgive

    Reply
    Becky

    Thank you for this article. My husband had an 2 year affair with a woman who worked for him. I still don’t know why, he says because he was stupid and self serving. I find myself emerged in it again, because we ran into to someone who worked with them and all the memories bubbled to the top like it was yesterday.
    Needless to say I am struggling again and thought I had it under control.
    Thank you again…. I am happy to know I am over reacting and that what I am feeling, although absolutely horrible and unnecessary, is not uncommon.

    Reply
    ecca

    feel a little silly posting to this because my relationship was not a marriage of 15+ years and I’m pretty young, but my boyfriend who I’ve adored for 6 yrs and have been dating for 2.5 yrs cheated on me a couple days ago. His coworker gave him a ride home from a long night of drinking with other workers and she gave him a blow job. Her relationship was going south with her boyfriend which is literally the opposite of ours. He told me after he sat on the curb in front of his house crying for the rest of the night. He ended up telling me two days after it happened, which is better than waiting after this semester which he was thinking would be better because he didn’t want me to lose focus on school. Why don’t I hate him? I’m so mad because we’ve been so happy but I don’t know what happened to him these past weeks leading up to the incident. It sucks because now he tells me he’s been insecure about himself and surrounded with negativity lately but why wouldn’t he tell me sooner I have always been so supportive.. He also told me a member of his family is having serious health problems too. He feels so shitty because we have always talked about how shitty his friends were who cheated on their girlfriends. Now he hates himself and is sick to his stomach every day and can’t keep food down because he knows he’s no better than those guys. But I know for a fact he is. He’s disappointed everyone in his family and lost me. I told him time will heal all but why don’t I have a lot of animosity towards him? I honestly just feel like he’s broken and lost right now; still no reason to cheat. A line that really stood out to me in this article is “And most people who cheat aren’t cheaters” because that’s exactly how I feel about him. It was not really an affair but it happened and both of them have regret. I told him I need time and he needs to focus on growing and being more vulnerable with his feelings. I also told him he needs to find self love again because I think that’s what drove him to do this. He told me he feels invincible with me but when he’s alone he feels shitty. We are only 21 so we both have some learning and growth to do and if its meant to be it’ll be right?
    Am I being a naïve little girl?? Some of my friends say dump his ass which I did kinda and some are saying hear him out. I’m so lost. any advice or insight would help!

    Reply
    Becca

    Also would like to add we do long distance during school which never affected us, this happened now when we were both headed off to school!

    Reply
    Theresa

    Becca. You’re not naive. Don’t ever let anyone tell you HOW you should be feeling!
    You sounds like a string young woman with a great head on your shoulders. Keep it!
    Go with and trust your gut.
    You got this 🙂
    Good luck!

    Reply
    Jen

    I just found out my husband cheated on me. He called me fro his work to tell me to go get tested for a std. I was shocked!! He works as a taxi driver and is gone all hours of the night. He does have serious anger issues and will bring up things from over 15 yrs ago. I know our marriage is not the best, but he was working on not being so angry. After he told me and we talked he started to blame me! I just don’t know if it worth it to stay married. I am so confused and just don’t know how to proceed. He always refused to go to counseling for his angry I know he won’t go for this.

    Reply
    Richard

    Becca, I am suffering from the shit, my girlfriend had sex with some guy he met just after a few days… What’s funny is that my own instincts troubled me about such…. When she called me, I kept pesurding her to tell me… I know I made mistakes,, I hurt her too but it doesn’t mean she also had to do the same. Nowadays I try to forgive myself and her and forget about it but these things always happen to me. No matter how had to try to give my love. It’s changed me so much that I can only focus and appericiate myself. Even though shit happens, where is the respect.

    Reply
    Lauren

    I don’t know what to do. My husband cheated on me with a coworker who fell in love with him. He says it wasn’t premeditated, and he broke off the affair physically before I even found out. The emotional affair was broken off a few weeks later.
    Here’s the thing though. He still works with her and now I work at the same company and I see this girl every damn day. It is extremely triggering for me. I want to forgive him, but the anger and hurt won’t go away. He still feels really bad for what he did to me and apologizes every time I tell him I feel hurt. I’m going to ask him these questions but my heart is very stuck right now because she’s still around.

    Reply
    Kgirl

    Hi. My husband cheated with a co-worker in 2017. They had an emotional affair for about a year and a physical one for about 3 months. I found out and he admitted it. We have been married for 30 years so it was devastating and at times I felt suicidal. He had been an excellent husband for many years but had become unhappy and distant in recent years. I said he should go to have counselling – which he did and we continued to talk. I dated other people but eventually we started ‘dating’ again. This went on for about 18 months during which time I asked him lots of difficult questions about the affair. All of which he answered. We held back from living together for ages in case it all went bad again. However, we decided to do lockdown together and now live together again. It will never be the same as before and o wouldn’t want it to be. He continued to work with the person on question but she has now left the firm and this makes things easier for.me. she was very pushy and tried to get him to go back to her but he showed me her messages and told me all about her comments. On the end he blocked all Comms from her outside of work. It’s a long process to get a relationship back and shouldn’t be rushed. Also you can’t hold onto the anger and bitterness if you want to try again. Easier said than done but very important to recognise that it may not be possible to do. If we hadn’t had such an excellent marriage for so long I probably would have moved on.

    Reply
    Esther

    My husband (8 years marriage, 10 together) had several affairs during business travels. I founded out through a letter in his work journal, and pictures in a SD card. I was chocked and didn’t confront him, shortly after that he wanted to separate. Claimed he was feeling awful and was not worth loving, bla bla. I asked him right out but he denied any affairs. After a few months working through things that had been missing in our relationship we moved back together. I know he was unfaithful but he has denied this a couple of times and I feel there is no point in asking again. He tries his best for the relationship, sometimes he fails but so do I.
    I’m still hurting but I don’t know if I should call him out. Some men seem to deny and deny no matter what.

    Reply
    JB

    All of you on here who are trying to forgive, you are all better people than I am. I might have been able to try & forgive if she showed any true regret & made any attempt to change her behavior & fix our marriage. Guess I should have known when she lied to my face about the affairs when I had the proof in my hands.

    Anyway, good luck, I sincerely hope all of you get what you’re looking for & a ton of happiness, because you all deserve it. Reading these posts have helped me & I’m grateful to know that I’m not alone in my struggles.

    Reply
    Sherrie

    I recently caught my husband talking to multiple women on hangout. We been married 20 years. He says he was ending things that he made a stupid mistake. The thing is I believe him. I can see now looking back where he was lonely. He tried a couple of times to explain but I just blowed him off. It doesn’t make what he did right but i can understand stand how this happened. Even thou I believe him and since that day Aug. 15 we are closer than we’ve been in a long time. I cant help but feel what if I’m wrong. It hurts so much. I want are relationship to be as wonderful as it is now, without all of this pain. I’m constantly checking his activity and I hate doing that but I need to know that we are okay. That no one is trying to contact him. Even thou it was emotional cheating this article really helps a lot.

    Reply
    Greg

    My wife cheated on me fifteen years ago. At that time I moved out. After a year she asked me to come home. My daughter was messing up in school so I moved home. I was different and was just going thru the motions. Two years ago she got sick. During that time I fell in love again. Then I found out she was spending money using my name and credit to keep borrowing money. She kept a separate account that I didn’t know about. Again she denied that just like the affair. Two months went by and finally admitted the money and the affair. So I had a nervous breakdown learning all of the lies for so long. So she is still hiding stuff and has not made things transparent. When I ask about something she yells and threatens to leave. Also now she says I’m on drugs because I ask a check on things. My emotional being is gone. I’m a mess. She just denies even when I show her proof. All the time we were back together we were barely intimat. Even on vacations and so on. I’m over feeling like a sad sack. That’s not me and I can’t get it out of my head. HELP I’m dead inside.

    Reply
    hazel

    hello Greg i know this is sooo difficult for you and i cant even find the right words to express how i feel about this situation. Just seek for Gods divine intervention and he will lead you to the right path. God bless..

    Reply
    Vicky

    I’m 30 years old guy. I married before 9 years ago. We really love to each other beginning days up to 2 years. I’m a soldier so I say away from home. But she still love me. To be honest I had found attraction in other girls. I thought she is mine and will be mine no problem that’s why I attract towards other girls and my interest and phone talk time towards her day by day reducing. And she always complaint me regarding this. But I always ignored this. After this she find her interest in other guy and he has talking her elder sister husband and slowly slowly she closed with him and they did with each everything like sex and other since last 6 years the doing. And no-one knew about their relationship. But one day I read her chat that was intimate and I totally shocked. I talk to her regarding this and she told me everything about her and promise me do not repeat again and I know she was love me but I can’t digest her 7 years extra material affair. I want to forget anything and I want to forgive her but in deeply I not unable to forgive her but I want to forgive her..want should I do please help me

    Reply
    Jen

    Hi Greg
    I can relate, my husband of 33 years just betrayed me. Never would I expect this. We had accomplished so much and were ready for early retirement next year. He had devastated me and our girls too. Never mentioned anything to me what he was feeling for us to work it out. We had been inseparable, never argued or fought. We were unique. But it’s now six months and I too am devastated and lost. Feel so hurt and lonely.im a sociable person but now sad sad They keep saying it will get better so let’s hope time will heal. But I truly feel your pain. Wish you the best

    Reply
    Angie S

    Hi Jen,
    My story is much like yours…married 30 years. My husband was my beat friend. He always made me laugh, now I can only cry. I found out 2 1/2 weeks ago that he had an affair. He originally said it was only sexual and only last 3-4 months. Now I find out it was a year of sex and probably a year or two more of intense flirting. I was originally trying to reconcile. Now, I am just trying to forgive him, but move on with my life. There goes early retirement. I just want to move past this deep grief.

    Reply
    Kate

    I’m not sure if your daughter is incredibly sick, but if the situation isn’t to aggravating, the appropriate course of action is to leave. She is gaslighting you in the most stereotypical fashion, by diverting the topic from you searching for evidence into a slipping of your sanity. Leave as soon as possible. Make sure your daughter is safe and understands the situation. I don’t know if your wife would become the Brandi Worley type, but please leave.

    If it helps, there is a difference in cheaters. In one group, those who are predetermined to cheat based on a certain trait such as narcissism, psychopathy, etc. These people often feel little to no remorse for their actions and will continue to manipulate and deplete you like a leech. In the second scenario are those who were unfaithful for certain reasons that remain dynamic, by not having a need fulfilled by the other partner. These people will not always be repeat offenders. I distinguish the “not always” just as one would distinguish between not all possessors of traits that might make cheating more likely such as narcissism: it isn’t black and white. Some people will fall in these guidelines, other will be a mix.

    From what you’re saying, it sounds like she’s manipulating not only to prevent a confrontation that will undermine her power over you, but also because she feels little to no remorse. She’s stealing your money. She’s a pathological liar. Please get you and your daughter out of there before it’s too late. Before she steals too much and cause your daughter to act similarly because she is her female role model at the moment.

    If it helps, consider making an adumbrated list of all the characteristics your wife is exhibiting that are worrisome:
    1. She cheated on me (may have just been a one-time thing from having a need go unsatisfied)
    2. She was spending money in your name
    3. She was using your credit to borrow money
    4. She lied about that and the affair
    5. She responds defensively by yelling and threatening to leave whenever you question her actions
    6. She making you question your own sanity now more than hers, better described as gaslighting
    7. She denies everything in the face of evidence

    I understand that being subjectively submerged into a situation may alter your view of right and wrong. However, it helps taking a step back. No matter how many times you’ve heard that phrase, do it right now. Before she takes anything else from you.

    Reply
    Vmom

    Is it possible to get over and move on from an emotional affair? Dating for few months, both of us were all in so I thought. Only to find out he had been texting his ex GF a few times and she even stopped by when I was out of town. (swears no sex) not sure if I believe that honestly. BUT – I don’t know if I can get past this, I am really struggling and I love him so much.

    Reply
    Teemah

    This is really what I need right now. Thank you so much. I’m hurt, Deeply, and he won’t answer some questions. Its exactly a week today I caught him. I’m really sad. It’s one of my worse moments in life. I would never have imagined it.

    Reply
    Ella

    Thank you for this article. I recently found out my husband slept with another woman while he was on a 4 weeks business trip. I can’t help but to blame myself at what I did wrong and what I didn’t do.

    I am currently 34 weeks pregnant with our second. And intimacy has been lacking for this pregnancy. Before the trip, I wanted to spend more time with my husband, but he prefers to game with his buddies and which I let him because his job is stressful and long hours.

    I feel miserable and defeated. I failed as a woman and as a wife. Now, I feel like I am failing as a mother because I cannot give my 100% to our child.

    My husband is asking for forgiveness and asking to start over. He said he doesn’t want to loose what we have and what we’ve built. I am having such a hard time moving on because I am starting to develop paranoia and the once easy going me has become sneaking behind to check on my husband’s phone trying to uncover more lies.

    I cannot tell this to anyone because I still want to protect my husband and his reputation. My emotions are ups and downs. Sometimes I feel like I can get through this. Sometimes I feel like I want revenge. Sometimes I feel depressed, thinking how can any man do this to his wife especially I’m giving birth next month to our second son.

    Reply
    Theresa

    Hi Ella. I wish I had seen your post earlier. Wondering how you’re doing? I’m so sorry this has happened to you….
    Sometimes I wonder if the writer of this article knows how much of a blessing this article and these comments are. Just to be able to reach out!
    First, please know your are NOT alone. A lot of us have been through this, with different results, and each are on our own journey forward. I, for one, am more than happy to share and talk about my situation and be a sounding board for you. I’m no therapist though:) First suggestion: get one. Get a good one. Keep searching until you find one. You deserve it.
    Second, be kind to yourself. Seriously. I reminded myself of this daily for awhile. At first there was a lot of asking myself how I could be so stupid? Why was I a failure? What did I do wrong? What should I have done differently? So, my second suggestion: breath. These questions are excellent questions to ask, but not now. Not when you hurt. They can be answered later on when you have a more clear mind and are ready.
    Third, time takes away this horrible sting you’re feeling right now. Know this and lean on this fact. It hurts. It hurts so bad!!!! …. please KNOW this initial overwhelming feeling is temporary.
    Fourth: are you a religious person at all? If you do have leanings, this is where they grow and can tremendously help. I couldn’t be where I am today without fully trusting the ONLY one who could be trusted-EVER. God and I talked….A LOT. and still do daily 🙂
    Fifth and final: I have no doubt you are a fantastic mom and soon to be again!!!! Yay!!!! My suggestion is to let this outshine everything! Feeling depressed? Grab your kid and go for a walk.
    Feeling overwhelmed? Go to the dollar store and buy a toy or craft. And do it!!! Doing things – getting out of negative, repetitive feelings and thoughts will help too.
    Know that you are now on my personal prayer list.
    Take care.

    Reply
    Small Island

    My husband and i recently got married mid of last year. We didn’t make it a year of marriage and i caught him cheating. The person he cheated with is a close co worker of mine. He told me it was nothing and that he just needed someone to talk to cause i was being controlling. He said it was all just talk and times where they would make out but no sex. It took us 2 months to work things out but for some reason I can’t move on even if i tried my best too. I can see my husband has changed and he puts so much love and attention to me now but, i can’t seem to get over the fact that he cheated and it really hurts me cause what if he was falling for her! Sometimes i feel that we only work our marriage because of our children. I have so much hatred in me.

    Reply
    Tammi

    It’s ALL devastating. Betrayal is a beast that often wins the battle and destroys the relationship. Sometimes, it does not. Regardless, do not let it destroy you!!! Forgive yourself for all negative thoughts & feelings you put upon yourself asap. You deserve peace in your heart.

    Any cheater who won’t come clean once caught imo must go. Children together or not. If one cannot tell the truth at the point of being caught & seeing the devastation caused, I don’t believe they’re not capable of telling the truth. There’s an emotional chip missing inside of them. Love yourselves!!! You will survive this (I promise) and will learn a great deal about yourself =)

    Reply
    A LOST SHEEP

    Hello Tammi,

    I like what you say, in my case Im the cheater. Of course Im not proud of it, I feel so guilty of how I damaged him, how I broke all the trust he had on me, how I ruined the best man I ever met. He always was so secure abut me, so confident, never doubt anything I would say to him…

    Why I did it?
    I think there isn’t just one reason, for him I have no actual reason and I just did it because I wanted to.
    For me, I have a lack of self steem, insecure and a need to be accepted for everyone. I never realized before that just with him I had everything I was looking for. I’m sure I have a deeper problem that is not that easy to explain and it’s also really embarrasing.

    I have cheated on him 5 times with different men in one year and a half. I have lied to him about “just friends” when actually I was texting friends that before my bf we had a past (had sex once or maybe always dating… smthing like that), one time I went to see an exboyfriend and cried with him because I was feeling insecure about my bf, another time being mad with my bf I went for a cofee with another ex boyfriend, once I even gave my phone number to a guy in the street that told me that I looked like a really interesting person and that maybe we could one day get a coffee or something, once I went back home kissing in the street and holding hands with one guy of a nightclub (I was feeling special bc he also had a gf and he was prefering me than her),but the worst thing I did was going with a coworker to his appartement (completely drunk) have sex with him and in the morning expecting that he tell me something beautiful about me….

    I think one of my biggest problems as I told you is that I dont really consider myself pretty (really loooowww self steem), I usually compare myself to other girls, so that makes me even more insecure.. then my bf has a previous history of cheating on ALL his exgirlfriends (he told me that)… I think that “ate” my head and I was just trying to convince myself that what I was doing wasn´t THAT bad… because maybe he will do it one day or he was already doing it…. (on the other hand, I knew deep in my heart he will never do that to me bc he was ALWAYS showing me how much he loved me… but I was blind and didn’t want to see that because of what I was already doing)..

    Now, we keep living together, I really have a lot of reasons why I want to have a new opportunity with him and make the right things, being the person I want to be, and make this relationship the way we both want it to be.

    BUT he doesnt want it anymore, he already told me so. I really think we are only going to be together until next month (which is when our contract of the house finishes)… although I still have a little of hope though..

    Anyways, I just wanted to express myself… I did so many mistakes to a man I never valued. I know I’m such an idiot, that I don’t deserve any other second oportunitty with him. As Karen Young (the one who wrote this wonderful article) said, I think our relationnship is worth fighting for… but I would never NEVER blame him if he doesn’t think that.

    Thank you! if anyone is reading me, and I´m really sorry for my grammar and english (it’s my second language and I´m not really good at languages 😀 )

    Learning of all of this:
    Always be HONEST.. biggining with YOURSELF. If you feel unsecure, if you feel ugly, not worthy… never try to hide that.. LOOK FOR HELP and solve your issues, otherwise you’ll make mistakes later you’ll pay and you can hurt innocents.

    Reply
    Jess

    The same thing happened to me as well. My husband left for a business trip for 3 weeks and had cheated on me with a prostitute! I just gave birth at that time also to our 3rd son. He left me and our 3 boys for 3 weeks to do this. A month after he came back, I left and went to LA for a week to gather myself. Someone had asked me out ( a really nice bartender at one of the bars in DTLA ) and of course I declined because I’m not about to gain karma in my life!

    Reply
    Cort

    Hi there,
    I found messages that my fiance was sending to a female in a sexual way. He was very drunk, but I can’t stand that as an excuse. I had asked who this person was a few days prior and he had shown me it was someone he went to school with and he ran into her at a gas station and their messages were very platonic truly. I got over it and trusted him. Last night, I had fallen asleep on the couch and went into the bathroom and he had left his phone in there after passing out on the bed. I opened it and it was on their message exchange where he had gotten very sexually flirty with her for the first time. He is devastatingly sorry and is blaming it on alcohol and saying its all a blur to him. How do I let go and forgive this? I know it wasn’t physical cheating, but my heart hurts all the same.

    Reply
    Aaaa

    I caught my husband doing cyber sex with 10 different girls few days back..this was going on since 8 months Nd I was devastated..I hit him hard..slapped him multiple times.He is feeling sorry for his behaviour Nd web asked the reason for this inspite of always being there for him…he said there wasn’t any reason…it just happened…he started messaging these girls on FB messenger and things just went ahead Nd he got carried away…sharing explicit videos and posing naked pics was done..he even mentioned that I m not interested in sex and a religious person….when confronted he said these are just messages and that it is done this way to talk to ppl…the day it was discovered since that day he has stopped everything…deleted messenger, uninstalled FB…and promised to correct his mistakes…I feel like trusting him again and don’t know why but I m getting attracted to him..wanting that intimacy..but I m fearful that may be he is still lying, should I get close to him?? I don’t want to get hurt again….should I trust him?? How long should he be checked Nd could he be still lying??

    Reply
    Man in pain

    BACKGROUND:

    My wife and I dated for 1 year, were engaged for 1 year before we were married. She was a virgin when we met and I was a wildling in the Marines. After I got out we were already engaged, but when we moved in together our relationship became toxic. We fought all the time, broke up and made up.

    WHEN I CHEATED:

    After a fight one time she became a litte violent, I left ended up at a party and I cheated on her. I was 22, tired of fighting and somebody filled the role of “comfort and respect”. I was wrong, I felt bad afterwards and confessed the next day. She had an emotional breakdown and went into a depressive state. She did not get out of the bed for 5 days, wouldn’t eat, a total mess. I took care of her, we patched things up and ended up getting married a few months later. I gave her clamidia (sorry for spelling) and we had to get treated during this time.

    We married, and we became a Christians. I stopped drinking and smoking and became a better person. We tried for 5 years to have a child but no success. We bought a house and were building a life together. I began to neglect her emotionally (I just wasn’t a romantic), she was very needy because of the lack of a child and we were kind of just there. I worked 3rd shift and she worked 9-5, we really only saw each other on the weekends. She met someone at work and they had an affair for about 3 months. I saw signs but ignored them, eventually I knew. I called her mother and expressed my concern and she said she would talk to her. About two weeks later she came to me crying, saying she has something to tell me. I told her not to say it, that I already knew and forgave her (I prayed alot during those days).

    A year later we did fertility treatment, and conceived our first child. Two years later, another one came along. We eventually ended up with 3 boys and a girl. A couple of months ago, all of these thoughts flooded me about her having an affair 15 years ago (I had suppressed the memory and never thought about it before). So I asked her about it. At first she played dumb, then she brought up when I cheated and wanted details that I never gave. Then when I continued to ask her, she told me about the affair.

    The AFFAIR:

    She said at the time, I did not spend alot of time with her. And a guy was being really nice to her at work. She said that she only let him do oral on her in the back of his car. I did not believe the story, so I asked again the next day. She told me that she had sex three times with him in the back of his car, I didn’t believe that one either. So I took what details I had and told her the story didn’t add up. So she told me they had sex in the our house while I was at work at night. They did it without protection, and she could have gotten pregnant – after 5 years of us trying. She said the sex wasn’t great, but that she was going to leave me for him. The only reason she didn’t is he was just in it for the sex. So she broke it off with him. I asked where in the house, and she said in the spare bedroom. He would be there when I called her some nights, touching her as we were talking. I asked for more details, but the more I got the more my heart was breaking. I asked her why she didn’t tell me the truth when I first asked and she said she didn’t want to hurt me. She said he couldn’t get it up half of the time (I don’t believe that), and that she never had an orgasm. I still feel as if she didn’t tell me everything, but am trying to move on. We have talked, cried, and made passionate love for 8 weeks (almost everyday, sometimes two times). But multiple times a day I think about her affair. Sometimes I can shake it, and sometimes I find myself looking through forums to relate to people, as I don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone about it. I am battling depression now.

    Does this pain go away?

    Do these thoughts of my wife and another man in my house ease up?

    I want to know the whole truth, but how do I know when I have it?

    Thanks for listening, I think I feel better.

    Reply
    Love

    Theres a gut feeling I get when things aren’t right… a few months ago I had that feeling and went with my gut.. me and my boyfriend live together.. I remember everything so vividly that hunts me at points… it was our anniversary month around the same date… I had this awful gut feeling that wouldnt go away… I Had NEVER checked his phone within the time we were together, not the yr we had leaving together.. but that morning I did…
    Come to find out he was messaging some woman with very sexual wordings, she sent him pictures or her and her kids… ( I don’t have any ) and more… everything shattered…. for a few seconds I couldn’t breath. Everything stopped. (((*dont get me wrong I’ve gotten cheated on before… but since the first time I met this man, he was honest with me, I could be myself around him. Something I could never be with other people, everything felt perfect. The love was there. The honesty. A future. EVERYTHING.*))) but the moment I read the messages saw the pictures I stopped loving him… just for a few seconds…
    The person whom always had been honest with me had been lying to me. The person whom I loved unconditionally betrayed me…. at first he got mad.. defensive.. but then he told me after ofcourse seeing how broken I was.. that the reason why he did it was bc I left my clothes somewhere and he didnt like it…. and he had mentioned it before… of course I didnt and still dont believe that was the reason.. why? Bc just as I have told him things I dont like and he still does them.. I dont turn around and start messaging other guys… but we tried to work through It. And I believe that was my mistake. Bc finding out later on that he lied when questioned about it was worse. I asked him if it got physically he said no that she lives in another state… I believed him… come to find out SHE LIVES CLOSE TO HIS MOM, NEVER HAS LEFT THIS CITY and still had communication with relatives of her just overflowed the glass…

    But since that day… nothing has been the same. He buys me things and stuff but I just dont trust him. He promised to never lie to me. We promised to always keep it real. And he failed. I dont know how long he was taking to this lady. It could have been the whole time we where together I dont know and I dont trust that it’s over… it’s been 5 months since the incident and we are still together but I’m not genuinely happy, I’m happy but not as before knowing.. EVEYTHING JUST DIED. or maybe I let it die… he says he doesnt message no one and stuff but I just dont belive him.

    I want to trust him, I want to be as happy as we were before but my mind is stuck on replay every time he flips his phone, ignores a call. Ignores MY CALLS & MESSAGES later to tell me ” he left his phone at his moms” and it’s a constant thing he does that it takes my mind to that morning when everything fell apart.

    I dont know what to do and I’m going crazy in my mind.

    Reply
    Linda P

    Exact same thing happened to me, poor us.
    It was very hard after trying to forgive yet it’s been 6 months since the incident and having a month apart
    We tried our best… He became much more open much more honest and reassuring but
    I changed as a person
    I haven’t forgiven him still and I’ve been disrespectful to him the way I treat him my expectations have gone up and I constantly get triggered maybe every fortnight or so and reassurance helps but the anger comes out of me and I attack him for no reason
    He had given up on me because it was mentally and physically draining
    He said it was the best for both of us
    Yet I still love him
    And now I can concentrate on myself on changing my mindset to positive and on the path to forgiveness

    Reply
    Courtney

    My husband and I are going on 9years of marriage and things are okay. About 6 years ago we went through a rough patch and I moved in with a friend. To be fair, my husband was under a lot of pressure since I wasn’t working but I was taking care of the kids. We argued all the time even about things that weren’t worth arguing about. We each had a child before we got married so that put a strain on pur relationship as well. He would constantly ask me about who I had been with before him in case he knew them, do I still talk to them, etc. I never felt that it was a good idea to bring up someone’s past relationships but one night he went through my phone and saw a comment a friend said about someone I had been with. He blew up, left, then came back and we talked about it. I joined the local fire department and it was during the time when we were always arguing. I began friendly chatting with a guy there and it was only friendly in the beginning. We began flirting with each other, he would tell me that I was worth more, pretty much everything I wanted to hear. It eventually came to the point where he wanted to sleep with me and I said no. He tried to convince me that it wouldn’t mean anything but I told him I loved my husband and I wasn’t going to sleep with him. My husband and I went through counseling and discussed the me talking to someone else and I thought we resolved it. Here we are and recently he has started berating me about how I must have slept with him and that doesn’t make sense that I could talk and not sleep with him even though I didn’t. I can’t eat, sleep, and he has been very distant. I really need help on how we can move forward because I love my husband more than anything

    Reply
    FAISAL

    Hi there,

    I know what your husband is going through. I would never let jealousy or suspicion enter our marriage but my wife had an affair which was exposed. I found some emails in which they both expressed their love for each other. I am still trying to get through it. We have separated and have two kids.

    My advice would be to love him as much as you can. Show him how much he means to you. Give him the love and attention so that he feels confident about your love again. Its very hard for him right now and negative thoughts will come to his mind and he will say things he doesnt mean. Its best to live apart for a while if you can until you both can heal from this and try once again.

    Reply
    John

    My wife and I have been married for 25 years. Early in our marriage we separated for 6 months while I explored unresolved feeling I had for my high school sweetheart. When I begged my wife to take me back. She did and things were great for several years after that.

    We were happy and we both gained a ton of weight. I got to the point were I was so out of shape that I couldn’t perform physically and all intimacy stopped for a bunch of years. Instead of fixing the problems we were having I just made excuses and put myself in a bubble. About a year ago. My wife put her foot down and gave me an ultimatum. I took a hard look at my life and turned it around. We reconnected, emotionally and physically. Things were great again.

    That’s when I found out that she cheated on me with multiple guys during the time that we weren’t connecting. She told that she felt really guilty and she never told me because she felt that she deserved to punish herself with that guilt. After a bunch of soul searching I realized that I had a big part in what happened. I do believe that she was at the end of her rope to do what she did. Of course she should have told me how she was feeling way before it got that far.

    To make things even worse. About a week after I found out about the affairs my wife had a psychotic break and needed to spend several weeks in a mental health facility. I would be home alone at nights worried sick about her and still trying to process my feelings about what happened. I would go from worry to anger to feeling extremely guilty. I felt like i needed to be angry at her to heal but I felt like a jerk for being angry at someone in her current situation. I love my wife very much and I want to continue all the progress we made in our marriage over the past year. Most days I feel good but once in a while I will see or think some that takes me right back to that horrible feeling of being betrayed by the one person that I never thought would do that to me. Im doing my best to forgive her. I needed forgiveness once and she gave it to me. So I feel guilty feeling mad at her. Will this feeling ever go away? I recently got a therapist and I hope she can help me answer that question. Thank you for listening to my story.

    Reply
    FAISAL

    Dear John,

    Im a husband who has been through something similar. After 14 years of marriage I found how my wife was having an affair and was even thinking about leaving me for him.

    I found out and confronted her parents about it. Because she had in the past said to her father she wanted to end the marriage.

    Similar to your situation once she was exposed she broke down and went into a depression. I have tried my best to to patch up but we are not back together yet. In my case the therapy did help. I would say carry on as it will help you with what improvements you need to make and get to know about the core of where your feelings or lack of them starts from.

    Give her time and if you can live separately for a while. In my case that has helped her get out of it.

    I wish you the best my friend. I know exactly what you are going through and it was a fresh of breath air to have seen someone else expressing what I have gone through myself

    Reply
    Roger C

    Accepting it is the first step. Admitting my wrong doings and the pain I had caused.
    We got brutally honest with each other. Everything came out in the open, how it started and why, what happened on every occasion and in every detail. This was important so my partner could process why it happened.
    We looked at our own relationship to see where we went wrong.
    I thought about the person on the other side. I was devastated to think how I had hurt them and how they were now left with nothing, having being used and the person who had been the one used to cheat on my partner.
    We took our time. Every time I was asked for details or to explain why I did it. I knew this was not my place to predict the timescale for this to be processed.
    I realize that being forgiven by my partner did not mean that we would stay together.

    Reply
    Papabear

    To start things off I’ll try to be fair.
    My wife and I have been together almost 8 years (4dating/4marriage). When we were dating I knew I’d found the person I wanted to spend all my time with, and she felt the same. We waited a few months before having sex, but once we did during our dating we probably had sex 4-5 times a week. However during all this time, we were in Master’s college classes, both living at home with our parents (I moved back in after graduating college/she always lived wither parents up until we got married). After we graduated the Master’s programs we both went on to get first full-time adult jobs (Me a coach/her a middle school teacher). During that time I noticed she started getting more irritable/jumped to anger more quickly, but obviously this was because of having to deal with 11/12 year olds all day. And our sex dropped from maybe 4-5 to 2-3 times a week still totally awesome.
    We got engaged. She was obviously over the moon being engaged, planning the wedding, but as it got closer and we bought our house and things started getting more real, she would get more irritable, and we just tried to avoid a bridezilla situation. Her mom suggested she go on anti-depressants because of her change in character. She obliged, but had terrible side effects (restless leg/drastic mood swings/no appetite) she weighed 97 lbs the day we got married. We were so happy. Honeymooned went back to OUR home. The HONEYMOON phase was real.
    During the bachelor party my guys got us some cigars that we smoked and I hadn’t forgotten how I liked a cigar/cigarillo. So for the first 5 months or so of the marriage I was sneaking smoking cigars. And when she would question why I smelled like smoke, Id lie, “I don’t smell it. Youre imagining it. I was standing next to so and so and they were smoking, mustve gotten on my clothes.” Til one day she confronted me about her suspicions. I confessed and apologized.
    SHE BLEW UP! Tried to kick me out of the house I refused. Slept in the guest room for a couple nights.
    For a couple months we didn’t talk/touch/ we were roommates. When we finally did it was because she had finally had it and was banging on the walls and screaming up and down the hall @ 1030pm when im sleeping for work. I called her parents over because she was to me being outrageous. But she finally spoke out about how he said I made her feel. In her eyes the entire marriage was built on a lie. My lies. And she didn’t know how to trust me again. Couple more months went by and we had sex one night. She IMMEDIATELY started crying afterwards. I disgusted her, she could just imagine the smell of smoke and all the feelings of betrayal flooded back.
    I knew id messed up.
    A few months later, I got fired from my job coaching and was out of work for one month. During that time, one night she got a little tipsy, and starts crying about how im a terrible husband, and that she was waiting for me to get another job before divorcing me. I got a job (a better job 2x my coaching $$$). There was a followup conversation but she said she didn’t mean it she was drunk but everyone knows DRUNK WORDS come from SOBER THOUGHTS.
    Marriage continued and I tried to do anything I could to make her life easier and to show her I was thankful for the second chance (even though sex went from 2-3 a week to less than 20 times in the first year of marriage). Second year even less. And since July 2018 we have had sex 5 times, one of those times including the conception of our son. However we did go from October 2018 – October 2019 no sex, but she was pregnant and honestly it was not a big deal to me. I was so happy about the baby. I didn’t know that wasn’t the case for my wife.
    She has just recently (past few days) confessed that for the entirety of the pregnancy she was depressed. She said she hadn’t mentally decided if she even wanted to be a mother (even though every discussion wed had in the past we both wanted kids). I just didn’t know how deeply depressed she was and how she was dealing with the depression.
    So 3 days ago. 3!!! Im ironing my clothes at the house, wife is on the couch with our son trying to console him to go to bed. Our ironing board is set up RIGHT BEHIND our couch so I can watch TV too. I saw that my wife was texting someone. It was 11pm. But I figured she was just texting her mom, but then a saw a heart emoji from other person, then my wife sent a kissy face back. I leaned up to try and see who it was but couldn’t tell, just knew it WASN’T her mom.
    Later that same night 4am to be exact our son started crying and my wife got up to take care of him.
    This is my shame.
    I went through her phone and there was messages between her and some dude, they were talking about making out and how he was the best kisser since she was 16 and he should come park in the driveway and shed take the baby monitor out with her incase our son woke up. But the worst one I saw talked about hand stuff on each other.
    HE KNEW ME NAME! HE KNEW MY SON’S NAME! SHE SAID THEM!!!
    I was shaking. I took screenshots and sent them to myself. I couldn’t control my anger so I left to go to the gym to workout. My wife could tell something was up. So I told her “I KNOW” shes like “you know what?” I said “everything that’s going through your mind RIGHT NOW, I KNOW!” She said that they were a joke and that was her friend’s gay brother. She called me stupid and I began reciting the text messages and left for work.
    About hour and a half later I get a text from her trying to explain that it was innocent flirty texts that would never happen, and that the person didn’t even live here. That she didn’t cheat.
    I told her to look up emotional infidelity.
    I have so much anger and hatred right now that I don’t want. But I didn’t want to kick her out or put her on blast on social media. I could’ve and it crossed my mind (still does), but that’s not who I want us to be. I want my wife.
    The next morning she was getting ready for work watching Youtube videos and laughing at them all the while Im trying to not have a mental breakdown. The person I love and trust most who just stabbed my heart NOT EVEN 24 HOURS AGO is laughing? On my way out of the house I let her know how that looked to me. Later that night I asked if we could sit down and talk that I had written down some things I wanted to say.
    The whole time im reading what I wrote Im fighting through tears and trying not to sob, shes sitting on the couch  stone faced serious. I said how can you see me like this from something you did and not care? That’s when she finally opened up about aspects of her depression and how she was dealt with it.
    She compartmentalized everything in her life. Everything had a box. And some boxes to her were her priority.
    Our son (she cant be upset or pay attention to anything else when shes caring for our son.)
    Her job (she has to be fully prepared for any potential outcome she usually schedules classwork that lasts from bell to bell down to the minute. Shes stayed until 8:30 some nights in the past (before the baby). She stated that she thinks she started compartmentalizing when she first started teaching. And how she had to separate herself from her emotions. Ie. If she got super mad at school she can’t up and smack a kid or call him an idiot. Or if she was feeling too overwhelmed and on the verge of tears, and she couldn’t cry because she had to teach. So she just “removed emotions” and thinks it just happened with everything. That this was a fantasy (not sexual desire nut moreso make believe) and that’s how she kept what she was doing a secret and still climb into bed with me at night (we don’t touch in bed we each use too many pillows, which I also think contributed to our slow degression).
    I think my contributions of lies in the beginning and fear of reminding her of my failures caused me to act more like a beaten dog with my tail between my legs just hoping for something, rather than a strong confident man she knew in the beginning.
    I never questioned who she texted or where she went, but now when she has her phone out I have to force myself to look away or thing about something else because those texts messages rolled through my mind. I don’t know how Ill ever forget but I definitely want to forgive her. I love my wife. I know she didn’t do this to hurt me. But that doesn’t mean im not hurt. Why do I have to carry this weight?
    Im looking up exercises to hopefully help me process everything in a way that I can understand what I feel/ what she feels/and not dwell. I told her if we make this decision to work and move forward, neither of us can dwell in the past.
    I just needed to vent. I haven’t been able to talk to anyone about it because like I said I love her, shes a magnificent mom and I want to move forward together.

    Reply
    FAISAL

    I am going through something similar. I know what you are saying when you say you now see her texting and cant help but get suspicious. I am the same way and we are not back together but if we do get back I want to set some parameters until things get back to somewhere close to normal.

    secondly please see a therapist. I started seeing one and it really helped. But its a long story and my wife went to see the therapist by herself and according to her the therapist said to her what are you doing with being in this marriage? long story short I confronted the therapist and she denied it. but it led to me not going to her anymore.

    I dont know how you have got through this without talking to anyone? i confided with my younger sis and she helped me get through a lot of it.

    Also communicate with your wife what you are going through. If you can spend time apart that will help with your individual healing as well.

    Reply
    Zahra

    I read this and felt your anger, pain, and all of the above. Im dealing with my husband whose been unfaithful and had an affair. He’s in DEEP denial about it but we both know he had an affair. What hurts me the most is he works with this woman and continues to keep in contact with her outside of work. I wish I could personally message you so we could find ways to move forward because I just like yourself want my marriage to work but I want to be able to trust again and not be paranoid and always SUSPICIOUS and on edge when he grabs his phone.

    Reply
    Sarah P

    What your going through is pretty hard, you not being truthful to her may have contributed to her feeling a certain way, but now her lies are affecting you, however you can get past this, you guys need to get professional counselling. That way both of you can get help for the issues at hand. All the best I’ve walked the unfaithful road more times than I can count, it’s hard but I sought help and am trying to save my marriage also. My husband and i have been married for 28 years, his infidelity almost destroyed me, but we are still together trying to get past all of the hurt and pain.

    Reply
    Cayli

    I’m in an all girl band. We’ve been like family for 9 years. My best friend, the drummer, is the one who I hurt. A lil over a year ago, her boyfriend at the time was texting me and we were flirting. He grabbed my butt a couple times and I let him. He kind of took advantage of me over the phone and tried to get with me, but I didn’t tell her until recently. They had broken up a year ago and I should’ve told her then.

    Reply
    ayams

    I’ve had the best marriage, a very enviable one at that. and because we have a policy of honesty, i confessed an infidelity case to my husband. he was hurt but said he had forgiven me and still trusts me. that was quite unbelievable but hubby doesn’t lie, so i believe him. however, days after my confession, hubby would retreat and be quiet, then would later tell me what the problem was. we would talk it over and sleep. he promised not to talk about it again, but he has twice. his hurt is legitimate, though it makes mine fresher everytime too, so I’m trying to heal and helping him heal too.

    yesterday, i was fagged out and asked hubby to help out but he didn’t and all i said was “it’s not fair”, and he had gone silent since then. i feel like I’d lost every right to be unhappy about anything or to complain about a wrong. because of this feeling, I’d been very careful back home but just cos i felt it was OK, i expressed my pain, and the emotional torture hasn’t been funny.

    hubby never used to like seeing me sad, he hardly ignored me in the last 6+ years but now, he is. doesn’t even care about my tears and sleeplessness. i feel so hurt and insecure. i feel kinda vulnerable, i wish i never told him about the affair, i just wish and wish right now. i don’t even know how to start any conversations with him, i feel like a mere flatmate or househelp. my hubby could hardly have a day without sex but now doesn’t even care despite my “skimpies”.

    i need help, my head is aching and about to burst. my heart is beating too fast, I’m losing appetite, I’m just confused, donno what he wants.

    Reply
    FAISAL

    I can help you as Ive experienced what your other half is going through. I can help with how i feel and what I need to to heal. Firstly tell him the truth, all of it. No matter how bad it is.

    He is fighting with his feelings as well give him some space when he is distant. Be affectionate, show him love. Tell him to you love him more than anything. He needs reassurance. If you had an affair due to something that was missing tell him about it.

    Try to start fresh and get through this but you need to make sure you dont do anything for the next couple of months that would make him jealous or paranoid. Dont speak with guy friends by yourself, dont text your male friends or coworkers as the next 6 months to a year will be really sensitive.

    I hope I have been able to help. If you need to get intouch you can email me for further suggestions.

    I wish you the best of luck and hope you guys get through this.

    Reply
    Grace

    You cheated on him so what do you expect from him at this time? He is trying to rationalize what you did, if that is even possible. I guess you are fortunate that he didn’t wish to divorce you. You recieved a gift. Your husband accepted you back even after you forsaked your vows by cheating. Now, he needs YOU at his worse. Trying to forgive and move on is terrible. The scense that play in your mind are awful when you are the one who was betrayed. This causes real phsical pain besides emotional, spiritual, etc. I know because I am going through ot now. Give your huband a big break by understanding that you and your actions shook his whole world to the bitter core. Your job is to realize this and to be patient, open, accpeting and honest.

    Reply
    Yetunde

    Hmm! Exactly what I am going through, I didn’t open up to him but he has facts , I couldn’t look up to him and tell him I cheated on him. He knows everything now and I owned up bit he has since been hostile towards me, he said he has forgiven me but no improvement. I am confused and don’t know what to do. I really love him and don’t want to loose him. I need help .

    Reply
    Crystal S

    My husband was recently working on the road and I knew something was off I know him n hes never been one to look the other way or did I ever in a trillion yrs think of his to cheat. Well truth reveals he did and only 2xs that I actually caught. We want to work things out I do love him. Prior to his leaving our relationship was suffering and I knew it. As soon as he left and was gone I realized how much I truly needed and wanted and loved this man. Well my lack of attention and affection pushed him to get sexual with other woman. A hurt I can never describe or want to feel again took over and I started to look for things to get him on. I will never do that again hoping that he is now honest. It was a choice to stay and for him to vow to never to do it again. Hoping our love only grows stronger from this point. Thanks for this advice

    Reply
    FAISAL

    My wife left and went to her parents. That night I found emails of her having an affair with someone. It went on for 1.5 years! We have two daughters and this has broken me. I wake up with pain in my heat like. Im always trying to hold back my tears when I think of my kids. I cannot leave them. I am left by myself for something I have not done! I feel like there is a flaw in the system as well. Why does she get to take the kids?
    We tried getting back together, I put up an act. But then things happened which were beyond my control (pic of her one say came on from google photos on the tv and the kids were there).
    Whats worse is she blames me for the affair, she says that its because I didnt give her the importance (after 14 years of marriage) that it led it (which hursts me even more).
    we are now apart and I want to find a way to make things work but i need to know the truth (i found an em which shows she slept with the guy. worse she might have got an abortion last year…..)
    My feelings are like a roller coaster. Sometimes I want to never see her face again. For my kids I want some way to make it happen. Shes gone half mad as well and doesnt speak to anyone. Its the hardest thing i have ever been through. Just a year ago we had everything and now its gone.

    Reply
    Vicky

    I’m 30 years old guy. I married before 9 years ago. We really love to each other beginning days up to 2 years. I’m a soldier so I say away from home. But she still love me. To be honest I had found attraction in other girls. I thought she is mine and will be mine no problem that’s why I attract towards other girls and my interest and phone talk time towards her day by day reducing. And she always complaint me regarding this. But I always ignored this. After this she find her interest in other guy and he has talking her elder sister husband and slowly slowly she closed with him and they did with each everything like sex and other since last 6 years the doing. And no-one knew about their relationship. But one day I read her chat that was intimate and I totally shocked. I talk to her regarding this and she told me everything about her and promise me do not repeat again and I know she was love me but I can’t digest her 7 years extra material affair. I want to forget anything and I want to forgive her but in deeply I not unable to forgive her but I want to forgive her..want should I do please help me

    Reply
    Rahul R

    you should forgive her, after all she has confessed and let you know that she is sorry, forgiving and forgetting are way of life, you be above everything

    Reply
    Angie

    My wound is fresh and I’m struggling body mind and soul. Learning the love of my life has gone outside the 9 year relationship with another women. So many questions and no answers…This article and many post has opened my eyes and has helped me see as much as I feel the guilt on myself, the shame and pure broken-hearted I am not to blame. I look to advise from anyone on either side of to help me forgive and move forward.
    Thank you

    Reply
    Alice F

    My husband and I have been together for five years. We married young, but never had a wedding. Earlier this year he went out of state for medical school. He was gone for about 2 months until he came back due to COVID shutting down all schools. I recently found out he had been flirting with an older woman at school for those two months. On the last night there, he tried to make a move. He asked her to hangout, but she said no. He said he thought she was “great”. I read through all of their messages to each other. Nothing ever was like that again. I found out and confronted him. He feels terrible. He said he was lonely and being selfish and stupid. He says he will never do this to our marriage again. But I can’t trust him. He swears he doesn’t have feeling for her, he just needed the attention. But somehow that’s worst. It hurts more than it took so little in such little time for him to put himself out there like that. He says nothing happened. And he didn’t want something to happen. He just wanted to feel desired. I can’t trust him. I don’t know what to do. I’m lost and heartbroken.

    Reply

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    "Be patient. We don’t know what we want to do or who we want to be. That feels really bad sometimes. Just keep reminding us that it’s okay that we don’t have it all figured out yet, and maybe remind yourself sometimes too."
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    Would you be more likely to take advice from someone who listened to you first, or someone who insisted they knew best and worked hard to convince you? Our teens are just like us. If we want them to consider our advice and be open to our influence, making sure they feel heard is so important. Being right doesn't count for much at all if we aren't being heard.
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Hear what they think, what they want, why they think they're right, and why it’s important to them. Sometimes we'll want to change our mind, and sometimes we'll want to stand firm. When they feel fully heard, it’s more likely that they’ll be able to trust that our decisions or advice are given fully informed and with all of their needs considered. And we all need that.
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    You know who I love? (Not counting every food delivery person who has delivered takeaway to my home. Or the person who puts the little slots in the sides of the soy sauce packets to make them easier to open. Not counting those people.) You know who? Adolescents. I just love them. 
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Today I spoke with two big groups of secondary school students about managing anxiety. In each talk, as there are in all of my talks with teens, there were questions. Big, open-hearted, thoughtful questions that go right to the heart of it all. 
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Some of the questions they asked were:
- What can I do to help my friend who is feeling big anxiety?
- What can I do to help an adult who has anxiety?
- How can I start the conversation about anxiety with my parents?

Our teens have big, beautiful, open hearts. They won’t always show us that, but they do. They want to be there for their friends and for the adults in their lives. They want to be able to come to us and talk about the things that matter, but sometimes they don’t know how to start. They want to step up and be there for their important people, including their parents, but sometimes they don’t know how. They want to be connected to us, but they don’t want to be controlled, or trapped in conversations that won’t end once they begin. 

Our teens need to know that the way to us is open. The more they can feel their important adults holding on to them - not controlling them - the better. Let them know you won’t cramp them, or intrude, or ask too many questions they don’t want you to ask. Let them know that when they want the conversation to stop, it will stop. But above all else, let them know you’re there. Tell them they don’t need to have all the words. They don’t need to have any words at all. Tell them that if they let you know they want to chat, you can handle anything that comes from there - even if it’s silence, or messy words, or big feelings - you can handle all of it. Our teens are extraordinary and they need us during adolescence more than ever, but this will have to be more on their terms for a while.  They love you and they need you. They won’t always show it, but I promise you, they do.♥️

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