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.

    401 Comments

    Claire

    Thank you for the article. I have been with my partner for 10 years, we have two children. We had a great life however my partner become addicted to cocaine. He left the home 8 weeks ago to address his addiction and stay with relatives. The reason I asked him to leave was that it was affecting our children and I’d tried to help for 12 months. Whilst away he carried on and has slept with multiple woman and sex workers. He did not tell me, his relatives told me.
    He has been clean from drugs for around 2 weeks, I’ve seen brief remorse at this point. I have no idea what to do.

    Reply
    Michelle M

    I have posted on here before. My husband cheated after 28 years together. I’m sure now that it wasn’t the first, but it was the only one I have proof of. That was back in 2017, confronted him 1/3/2018. We are still together, but I can’t make myself get over it. I don’t love him anymore, but can’t imagine starting another life at this point. I feel, as he does also, that I should have been able to get over it by now, but I still think about it daily. It wasn’t a one night stand. It was a relationship that lasted for at least 6 months. In September 2018 I found that he googled the place where she worked. He came up with some poor lie about not knowing why he would have googled that place, and didn’t recall where she worked or even her last name (yeah, ok). His lying and deceit isn’t helping. I hold in a lot of depression and anger. Don’t feel happy, but don’t know anything else. Ladies, if you are early in the relationship and you find he is cheating, don’t stay. Run for the hills so you can be free to enjoy the rest of your lives.

    Reply
    Rachel

    I have just discovered my husband has been having a 2 month affair, he denied it all at the beginning until i pushed him and he told me he had met her online and been with her a handful of times over those two months. He works away and had met her when he was there.
    I dont have a clue what to do, we have a toddler and a baby, im suffering from postnatal depression and he has had depression for about 2-3 years which he wont address.
    He blames issues at home for his reason and that he’s lonely working alone all day and staying in hotels away from home. We havent been great in our relationship for sometime and he said he often feels stressed and like it too much. he done it to forget about our issues for a few hours. That shes easy to talk to about things that dont really matter. He said he never seen a future with her and was using her to escape.

    I now dont have a clue what to do, i feel so so betrayed and dont know why he wouldn’t talk to me about his depression ect. He says he regrets it but im worried it only stopped because i found out.

    I dont know where to start.

    Reply
    Twin

    I’m so very grateful for your great insight on both sides and I want to thank you for sharing your knowledge. I don’t know if ever I could have put how I’m feeling into words let alone explanations for them. I’m the emotional cheater in this case. What I lacked before I cheated I’m very much lacking an even bigger time now. I hate this feeling and I hated it before. Sharing my needs and my needs never being met. I don’t know what else to do. Therapy seems to be moving very slowly although it’s only been twice we have gone. I hate the loneliness that I’ve felt before and hate it even more because I feel like because of what I did their actions are now justified. I want to get down to the bottom of this with my spouse but just don’t even know where to begin since they feel attacked by every concerns I have.

    Reply
    d l

    My wife and I had been married over three years when she was given the opportunity to work for four monrhs in Seattle in 1995. She was dating another man within six months. She told me off the affair after we had had three children under the age of six. I couldn’t divorce her for the sake of the children. I don’t truly love her. She betrayed my trust. But I am forced to live as a weak man due to the differences in the marriage

    Reply
    Kiara

    Hi I’m kiara I’m 17 years old and I have found the love of my life or what I thought was being in love we were together for a year and I found out that 3 months into dating me he started just sexting and sending nudes to girls then around the 5 or 6th month of being with me he slept with another girl. After a year of being together I found out. Then I found out 3 months later that I was pregnant.He says he’s sorry and he won’t do it again and that he feels awful. He told me that he was stupid for doing it and that it was his bipolar. I never really found out why he did it’s I’ve stayed with him for a year after this happened. I don’t feel like anything has changed. I don’t feel like I can honestly forgive him for what he’s done. I want to because I love him but I don’t know if I can. It’s been a year since I found out. Now we have a 2 month old and I honestly wanna stay for her sake of her growing up with parents that are in love and I wanna stay for the sake of being in love but I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it. Do you have an advice?

    Reply
    Gloria

    You don’t. You learn to live with it. Someone who is bipolar is risky. I feel he could use that as a cop out everytime you catch him. You must ground yourself first with self care and self confidence. Be the type of woman you would want your daughter to be if she was in your situation. Best wishes.

    Reply
    Nathalie

    Please prioritize yourself. Never lower your standards for a relationship. You have an infinite amount of opportunity to find what your soul deserves. Remember the relationship he has with his child is not dependent upon the relationship he has with you. Meaning you both can have amazing healthy fulfilled lives apart with genuine loving people and your child will thrive.

    It’s important that you be the example to your child of what a healthy relationship and environment looks like. Just ask yourself if you’d want to see your child in the relationship you are in. And let that be your motivation because children mimic what they see. Love yourself. You’re beautiful strong and intelligent.

    Reply
    Steph

    Relationships take work and effort besides love. Love can be the motivation to work towards a common goal, but ultimately relationships need work.

    He has to be willing to work with you on this. If you’ve tried to communicate with him and he does not respond well to your attempts, take note of how he handles crises in a relationship. Try to communicate reasonably but draw boundaries for yourself. Recognize when bottom lines are crossed. Recognize the meaning behind how you each handle this crisis. Is he a reliable partner with whom you can go through life together?

    Staying in an illusion of a loving relationship does not provide a child with the love and security she needs. A child can have two loving parents who are friends but not partners in life. She’ll likely have a better life if you’re both happy. ‘Staying for the sake of a child’ is a huge burden to place on a baby. Are you sure she wouldn’t rather have two happy individuals as her parents and role models, even if they are apart?

    Reply
    Matt

    I stayed with my wife of 12 years because I thought thats what you did when you had kids. I didn’t love her. I never cheated but I also didn’t show her the affection that she needed and my kids were learning that this is how a couple loves. My ex-wife finally found another man and cheated during our marriage. It was difficult but ultimately the best thing that could have happened.

    I found the love of my life at 42 and my kids are learning what a happy healthy relationship looks like.

    Reply
    Hurt mum

    Thank you for the article. I have been married just over 4 years now and found out a month after the wedding that my husband had been unfaithful. I was also 8 months pregnant at the time. When confronted he denied everything for a while until I showed him the evidence. At that point he became remorseful and started blaming it on his past. A few months later he cheated again… I’ve never wanted to get divorced and I’ve always wanted all my kids to have the same father so for those reasons I have stayed. We now have a 2nd child and I found out that whilst pregnant he was emotionally involved with a coworker (something that happened before and he swore he wold never do again. He even left the job to prove it). At this point I don’t love him but he claims to want to make it work. I just feel trapped and just hope one day I will find the courage to leave.

    Reply
    Sarah

    Great article.
    Iv been married for 3 years – (together for 8years total) and in August 2020 I caught my husband in an emotional affair with another women which started in July 2019.

    One day in September 2019 he came home balling his eyes out in guilt of not spending time with me and wanted to go away somewhere just the two of us and refused to take his phone (something I immediately saw red flags at) but he convinced me so much that we went away for a couple of days. I knew something was up but he made it so convincing that I believed he just felt guilty for not spending time. I feel so stupid!

    It was at this moment he stopped the affair he was having for 2 months but apparently they started talking and seeing each other again in January 2020.

    The only reason I found out was because I kept getting dreams of him with another woman (premonitions I now know) and always had it in the back of my mind but no proof. One day he left his WhatsApp chat logged in and I saw all these messages and he finally came clean.

    He claims they only held hands but I know deep down it was more than that… it’s been 5 months now since I found out and he has done really well at making me feel important and loved again but recently I started to get more dreams again so I remembered his email password and saw emails between them and of her furious at him when he broke it off between them after I found out and the way she was writing in the email – it was definitely more than a hand hold. I saw emails of gifts he ordered her to be delivered to her house, dinner he ordered online for her… this has just brought up all my hurt and insecurity and he just doesn’t understand that I’m not ready to trust again and I still need reassurance. I confronted him again and asked him if he ever got her gifts and he lied even though I knew he did…

    I ended up messaging her to find out the truth but she won’t respond which leads me to more questions than answers. If you are the mistress – have some bloody decency and own up – what do you have to lose! Nothing! All I want is closure so I can move forward and I won’t get that until I know the full truth which he says he’s told me everything but my heart keeps saying he hasn’t..

    The hurt and rejection I feel is worse than any other pain. But I don’t want to leave. I love this man and I know he loves me – why can’t I just be all he wants and no one else.

    Reply
    JL

    My wife had an affair six years ago. It completely changed my idea of her as a person, as until then I was her only lover. We’ve had two kids since then, and life has definitely moved on, but I’m still hurt and angry. Is this normal? I do love her and want to ultimately forgive her, but maybe I just don’t know how…

    Reply
    tracey

    reading peoples story’s i feel lucky in a away that my story isn’t as terrible but i still feel like the heart break and pain is so strong, i have been married for 5 years meet hubby 9 years ago we have to little girls, found out recently my hubby cheated 2 years ago and lasted 4 weeks doesn’t sound like any romance or emotional connection just sex, no secret txting or long talks about the wife at home x has been a lot of remorse and a lot of apologies and he is trying so hard. i just want some positive feedback that this pain and heartbreak will go and i will feel like my self again someday cause right now i feel like i’m on auto pilot 🙁

    Reply
    Monica

    Thank you for the article. Been married two years. 8 months ago found out he cheated two months before wedding and 2 days after getting married before going on honeymoon. Went to therapy, but quit. Said it was temptation, cried, is very transparent now, but I don’t love him.

    Reply
    Anon

    I cheated on my wife 3 years ago, when the affair ended I had such resentment and remorse because I truly love my wife and only went with this girl because she made me feel special, recently it came to the surface and my wife is devastated beyond words and it’s hurting my heart to see her in so much pain, truth is, she has always been the most amazing wife and I don’t know why I did what I did but 3 years ago I promised myself with my hand on the bible I would never do it again, she says I don’t love her but I truly do, I adore her soo much and I’m soo afraid to lose her and my daughter, I can’t eat, sleep, I just want her to believe I will do whatever it takes to makes things right because I will do anything, please help me! 😢

    Reply
    L

    Monica, I don’t know you, but I wanted to send hugs to you. I was also cheated on shortly after getting married. I am so sorry this happened to you and I am glad you are on your journey to healing. – xoxo A

    Reply
    Baby

    I’m struggling to forgive my husband we married 13years and this is or was his third affair pls help I don’t know what to do…he wants to go on but show no remorse… please help the other two times he showed remorse and showered me with love but this time it’s just different like he dont love me anymore…they were seeing each other for a month and a few weeks could it possibly be that he is in love with the other woman? We have 4 beautiful daughters that loves their father so much part of my confusion. He talks positive things like buying a new house and say that we will find each other again
    but when will he truly apologize

    Reply
    Neo

    I’m struggling to forgive myself, my 5years wife cheated with the other guy reason being the guy is able to give him attention and listen and reply to her nicely. They never slept together but they talked a lot. I forgave her and tried everything to be a better man. All this happened in February. A week later i found out they’re still together. I forgave her and she promised it won’t happen again. Yesterday I found out again they took a month break and started again. I no longer if will she stop for real or she’s just fooling me. She says they’re just friends and she feels more comfortable when she’s talking to him. I love her so much and i put her before myself. I am so heartbroken . Please i need help

    Reply
    LQ

    For me, I would look for the actions instead of the words. If you need the words, tell him what you need. Tell him you need to hear that he is sorry.

    Reply
    Hurt

    Thank you for this article. I recently found out by a chance discovery of thousands of intimate IG messages that my husband of 19 years has been engaging in a 6+ month emotional affair with an attractive younger woman, who happens to be a PT at the gym he attends regularly. The depth of intimacy in the messages is earth shattering. They would meet up and have deep conversations in person as well. My husband only as smitten to going to the coffee shop next to the gym a few times with her. Initially, he informed me that it was a lot of what he described as “random” conversation comprised of made-up fantasy closeness. Their communications reflected a mutual love and admiration for one another. They also spoke about how they’re marriages were not satisfactory to them in various forms. He only admits to kissing her a couple of times, and said it made him very anxious each time. Nothing further. I found out pretty quickly by viewing her social media that her son (she is married to), was the playmate our 6 yo twins referred to from the skatepark my husband takes them to fairly frequently over the past few months. She just happens to live in the neighborhood adjacent to the park. They told me over the summer they had seen their little friend at the beach, which is 30+ minutes from our home. I knew it seemed odd, but never put two and two together until I realized her son’s name. Now he admits to these, but discloses no further encounters. Knowing him for so long, I confronted him at least 10 times in those months that I felt he was withdrawn, that his attention was elsewhere and he admitted nothing.

    The night he was “busted”, He seemed remorseful. He endorsed that they tried to break it off a few times, but would reach out again. He told me they broke it off the next morning for good. He became cold and withdrawn again immediately after, sleeping in another room. Until one night I was so crushed, that I cried and asked him to hold me for reassurance. He ended up sleeping in our bed that night, which gave me some reassurance. After all, I thought he was sorry. The next day when I came home from work, his pillow was back in the other room. He drove around for hours that evening and I went to bed, having to be up early for work the next morning. I went to him in the middle of the night to hug him. I saw his phone next to him and couldn’t resist the urge to look at what might be on it. Again, extremely intimate and loving messages between one another. He took a screenshot of a romantic song, and told her she was his sunshine, amongst other things. I went absolutely crazy!! I told him to get the f out of the house. Even threw half of his clothes out of the window. After all, I told him on that first night if he spoke to her again, we were done. That obviously didn’t stop him. He said she was heartbroken and he was too young to slowly let her down easy. Ultimately, thinking of our children I said he could stay but things needed to be different. That he needed to break it off the next day. Well, it actually took him 3 days to claim he broke it off. This was just yesterday.

    I run a hospital program full time and handle the majority of child care and other responsibilities. The perceived burden of my responsibilities have made me a less than happy wife over the past few years. I understand that he has needs, but he never shared them with me. He says he thinks it would have just turned into a fight. I’ve always thought he was a good man and father who would never betray me. I am so crushed a disillusioned by this. I don’t even know who he his, despite us literally spending our entire adult lives together. He says he wants to work things out, but I fear his heart is with this other woman. I am trying to give him space, but I keep envisioning that he is still planning on keeping his affair going. How do I overcome my grief for our children when I can no longer trust the person I thought was my soulmate?

    Reply
    One of the Moms

    Hello hurt,
    It breaks my heart to hear your story… You must be so heart broken and confused. You are obviously successful, strong, and able woman. I am sorry this is happening to you. Affair is never your fault. Your husband is is the weak one. In my case, there were about two prolonged weeks when my partner was showing both the remorse and refusing to cut the-other-woman completely off, before I kicked her out of the house (I am in a same-sex relationship). What you are going through is extremely confusing. How can one believe the person again…? Long story short, me and my partner are back together, but the scar from those two relatively short weeks is still in my heart. It doesn’t help that this is not the first time. It has been more than a year since the affair ended but total heartbrokenness is still there, still very raw. I am less angry, but more sad. I lost all my will to work. In explanation, my partner tells me that she needed time to cut off the other woman and she was very confused herself. She says there was something missing in our relationship but it was easier for her to choose affair rather than bring up an issue to fight about. We are working on communication but honestly I am not sure if I can ever get over the grief.

    If you cannot walk away from the relationship, I hope you can find strength within you to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to grief, cry, find help, talk to people, yell at your husband, etc. Just allow yourself to do anything that makes you feel better and don’t feel guilty for not being able to get over the grief fast enough. I wish you the best, truly, for finding love and happiness again soon.

    Reply
    Wendy

    *You* are not *your children*. They will have their own grief. Projecting your own feelings about the situation will only serve to hurt them. I hope you can find a way to avoid throwing their dad under the bus because you’re so hurt and want to hurt him too. It’ll hurt him, but also those kids. Perhaps you two have been unhappy for a long, long time, but unhappiness tends to be insidious. We learn to cope in many ways, talking ourselves into “this is just temporary, a phase, tough times”, we drink more, maybe even start therapy, Prozac. Anything to avoid facing the reality of the situation that maybe a life apart would be best for all involved. We have appearances to keep up to family, friends, neighbors, colleagues. We can’t possibly “fail” at our marriages, when in reality we already may have done so. It’s incredibly painful, reading about your experience. It hits home in so many ways. I highly recommend reading Glennon Doyle’s Untamed. And have a really, truly honest conversation with your husband. If you can, without hurling insults and accusations (and belongings). Maybe you’d be best as partners, parents, and eventually friends. It’s hard to see clearly now, because you are betrayed, and what he did was undoubtedly wrong. I imagine there are a lot of hurting folks right now, including him and the other woman. Vengeance is a bitter pill, and contrary to popular belief, hurting him and her will not make you feel better in the end. I wish you clarity and peace.

    Reply
    Jeffrey

    Hi I’ve been married for 3 years and I just learned that my wife has been seeing the man she gave her virginity to when she was 14 he was 27 then and she is 30 now. We have 2 beautiful little girls ages 1 and 2. I want to divorce her but there’s a part of me that still loves her. I’ve learned that she has created secret fb accounts to keep in touch with him. When I ask her about the affair she uses anger, denial and not communicating as ways to not deal with it. She says that its over but this is the 4th time that I’ve discovered that she is communicating with him. I want to give our marriage another chance but I do not trust her at all. I don’t believe anyting she says. I have serious doubts that our relationship will last. My focus is on our daughters and keeping them safe. In my opinion her ex is a child molester he had sex with my wife when she was just 14 and he was 27. I fear if we split up she may bring her ex around our daughters and I will never allow that. I don’t want my children exposed to the same monster that exploited their mother.
    Any advice will be helpful

    Reply
    Trudy

    I strongly recommend affairrecovery.com and their programs to help you heal from the affair. emotionalaffair.org also has really good articles. There are some good books by Andrew G Marshall to helping you and your spouse understand what is going on “Why Did I Cheat?” and “How Can I Ever Trust You Again?” and one by David A Clarke “I Don’t Love You Anymore” that has a plan to end the affair. Marriagebuilders.com also has a plan. Good luck. I’m 19 months past dday from a 1 year physical affair that my husband had with a friend. It has been painful and gutwrenching, but we are almost on the other side of this nightmare.

    Reply
    Ja

    We were 12y toheher, of which 8.5y were (legally, still is) marriage. We have three children (from 4y to 8y).
    In January of this year, it was suddenly “we are fundamentally different” and “no, there is no other woman”, in February he moved out of the apartment where we lived together for 10.5y. In June, he told me via message “it’s a matter of years of disagreement and that wasn’t life, it was torture” and he mentioned the official divorce for the first time. In late August, I found that he had begun an emotional relationship with a co-worker only 30 days later. She has been present in his life since the first day we met, she knows me, I know her…hey she was at our wedding! During these 12y, on several occasions, she was presented to me as a fat fool who does nothing and has that position at work only thanks to the love relationships she had with co-workers from the same company only from other region.

    And now I should to beleive that his relationship with her didn’t exist before, while he was still living with me and the children?! By the way, this relationship seems very serious because after only 2m (from the alleged beginning of the relationship) he introduced her to our children (ofcourse not as his girlfrend) and only 4m (again from the alleged beginning of the relationship) he introduced her to his mother.

    2 weekends ago he celebrated to our youngest daughter a birthday with her, her and his family … even if they are really together since April this year (but I really can’t believe it, I don’t know if I’m right or after so many years I know nothing about male-female relationships) it is already a relationship of a full 8m, and he has not yet presented it to the children properly …. they still do not know who she really is to their dad.

    I know the two of us were distanc ourselves and that I put the kids in the first place (it may have been my fault), but with so much of his business commitments (long office stays and frequent business trips), my job, 3 kids and housekeeping, makes me that distancing is inevitable. But I looked at it this way: children are growing, becoming more independent and there will be more and more time for the two of us. I was obviously wrong… and he never said anything.
    And in all of that, he always had my maximum trust, I believed and I still believe that our marriage was almost perfect and that “almost” was that we both lacked more time for each other.
    It is 10m since he moved. Hey 10m! A new life is born in 9m, and I am still desperate and broken, my whole world has collapsed!

    How can I accept and move on when (somewhere) I don’t want to ?! He was everything to me, my whole world!

    Reply
    DS

    I’ve read many articles on affairs. Most look for gaps in the marriage, only a few recognise another reason which is gaps in the adulterer as an individual. Most who have affairs and are discovered will look to find flaws and fault in their relationship. Not because they’re the real reason for the affair but because they want to relieve themselves of total responsibility. All marriages have gaps if you look for them. However not all marriages suffer infidelity. It’s hard to be the bad guy! Affairs can happen because of marital gaps but they can also happen because people are greedy, selfish, bored and sometimes simply for some, because they just can. There’s not always a deeper reason.

    Reply
    Trudy

    I agree. It is not always problems in the marriage. Your spouse cannot fulfill every need. My husband had childhood insecurities that began resurfacing as he began aging and a best friend died unexpectedly, and a woman zeroed in on them. She knew we were happily married and targeted him and our marriage. She befriended us and gained his trust. She threw herself at him and at first he told her it could never happen again, but she persisted and the attention made him feel young again. It was so out of character for him and once he came out of the affair fog, he was devastated, ashamed and embarrassed by his actions. Affairs are very addictive and turn on chemicals in the brain like drugs. He could not understand why he couldn’t stop communicating with the AP when he had a “perfect wife” (his words) at home. Even after dday, he needed a few sessions with a counselor to break his addiction. He wasn’t addicted to the person, but to the way the affair made him feel. It has been a painful road of recovery for BOTH of us.

    Reply
    MM

    How long did it take for your husband to come out of the “Affair fog”? I am 3.5 months past d-day and although I am pretty sure my husband has cut off the affair (last contact was a month ago) he is withdrawn, cold, unaffectionate and distant, but says he doesn’t want a divorce. What we have right now is so toxic and unloving, how could he want this? I cry every night and he sleeps on the couch. I just want half the love, affection, and time he showered is AP over the last 6 months but he can’t seem to stand to even look at me. The first two months after i found out I he blamed me – I never appreciated him, I was too critical, i was verbally abusive, on and on and on, yet he never said a word about this to me. We’ve been married 13 years and he even wrote me a letter on my birthday last year telling me what a wonderful wife I am, what a great mom i am to our two daughters, and how thankful he is for how understanding I’ve been about him working all the time (come to find out his affair started a couple weeks before my birthday). I just don’t understand how he can turn from that to “I’ve been miserable for ten years” in a few months. We were so in love and I thought we were happy, but suddenly now he is “confused” and doesn’t want to “mislead” me. Seriously?? WTF?? I am so hurt and in so much pain, yet he can’t so much as give me a hug. My pain has turned to rage, I punched a wall a few days ago and ended up in the emergency room with five stitches, a sprained wrist, and nearly a broken hand. He’s lucky the wall wasn’t his face. He agreed to go to marriage counseling with me but he went in with a shitty attitude, sure the counselor and i were just going to shame him and gang up on him so, of course, afterwards that’s what he thought. The counselor invited him back for a solo session and at first he said he wasn’t going but then changed his mind and decided to go so he could tell her “his side of the story.” After that I went alone to the counselor for a couple of weeks and then I talked him into going for another joint session. He showed up 45 minutes late and was again defensive. The counselor asked him who he saw his future with, me or his AP, and he said, “Well there is no future with her (the AP).” The counselor asked him why and he said, “Because she hurt my dignity.” I actually called the AP and talked to her on the phone for an hour as I had a feeling he was lying to her – sure enough, he was telling her that he and I are “split up” we haven’t been happily married in ten years, we haven’t had sex in years, blah blah blah…. When I told her as far as I knew we were happily married and had been having sex the entire time their affair was going on she called him and tore him a new one. So basically she dumped him. So that’s what “hurt his dignity.” So the fact that he said he sees no future with her simply because she hurt his ego and not because he loves me and wants our marriage to work shattered me all over again. I tried to explain this to him but he doesn’t get it. I just want my husband back, I have no idea who the asshole is that I’m living with right now. Once upon a time he would have died to protect me, now I feel like a car could back over me right in front of him and he wouldn’t bat an eye.

    Reply
    Emily

    Your story hits home for me, as it’s very similar to mine. How are you doing a few months on?

    My partner also says that I am perfect and he doesn’t know why he’s done this. It’s heartbreaking, because our relationship was SO good. He even said that when the truth came out. It’s still pretty raw but he’s working on figuring out why this has happened, and hopefully counselling will help.

    Reply
    Tara

    My husband had a very brief affair a little over two years ago. It didn’t go to the place of no return but in some ways it was worse due to the emotional connection he had with her. She herself was more than willing to be his “second” which makes it more difficult.

    When I look back I know we were having some issues, he had recently been diagnosed with diabetes and had developed ED which did cause frustrations in our marriage . I was angry due to his not wanting to help with the kids and the household day to days. I take partial blame due to my not wanting to be intimate because it wound up getting us both frustrated when it didn’t “work”. He wouldn’t talk to a doctor about it saying there was nothing wrong. At the time I was thought it was me and again was angry..

    She worked with him, was new to the area and was all bright eyed and just newly divorced. She was obsessed with him. sharing information to his social media page -things that I would say to him he couldn’t do because of his diabetes. He would get angry with me or worse ignored me.

    Long story short I caught him in the midst of texting her. I saw the messages, the secret account he created I was devastated. 10 years together and he does this to me.

    We hashed out a lot of things , but there is still this niggling in the back of my mind that creeps back every now and then -that I wonder.. does he only stay because of the kids, the lifestyle he has with me?

    He has apologized to me over and over.

    Two years have passed and we have made it work. We communicate better, the intimacy is there again.

    There were some blow ups especially when she tried to contact him a year ago, which he did tell me.

    I just don’t know how I can ever trust him again.

    Reply
    Julie

    We have been together for almost 3 years and a few months ago I saw messages on his phone with another lady he denied it and I told him to call the lady and prove me wrong but he called the lady with a different number and up until now I still feel that the issue has not been resolved I feel like ending the relationship (we have a child 9 months old)

    Reply
    Unknown

    I don’t how you are coping…. my situation is almost the same except I am a man… she said sorry many times but I don’t know how I will get over the trauma.

    Reply
    Breanna

    Hello i have a similar story and need opinions…

    Im in a 2 1/2 mature relationship. We just lost our first in july, i delivered stillbirth.

    Last fall i saw messages with a coworker light flirting, complaints about me, and they stepped away when they started talking about the built up sexual tension between them. She left and found work elsewhere.
    In september she came back to work at his place of employment. The first weekend in october i went to my hometown for a visit (2 1/2 hours away)
    They went for burgers and a drive and they kissed after stating they were both happy in their relationships now they both stated it was a goodbye they didnt realize was as wrong as it was ..idk

    Opinions on if i should stay with him and advice on what to do if i do stay

    Reply
    Dustin

    I don’t suppose there’s any answer to be found/had but feel like I owe it to myself to ask.
    My wife just admitted 2 weeks ago to affairs she had for 3 consecutive years, between 7 and 10 years ago. It was at a point in my life where I was terrible to her (dare I say – regrettably – verbally abusive). I know that is the reason that she was able to justify it to herself (and she admitted as such). 7 years ago, she claims to have made the decision to never do it again and, by all counts, it seems as if she’s held true to that promise. Our love grew so strong, through a deep dark depression on me and a near suicide attempt that would have likely been successful had the thought of not having her not “pulled me back from the ledge”. She’s literally saved my life twice (I nearly lost it again with the fallout of the affairs). She seems true and sincere and loyal and has answered every question I’ve asked. She’s been understanding and patient; remorseful and compassionate. I have no doubt that she loves me and she’s proven to me that I can trust her, even though the infractions just came to light. My biggest and almost only struggle that I can’t seem to shake is that whenever I touch her, whenever I look at her, all I see/envision is her with them. The guy who worked at the pizzeria where the hooked up in the back on lunch. The “old friend” from the country club where she used to work and just happened to bump into once. My former best friend and “brother from another mother”. And my ex-brother-in-law. I can’t seem to find a way out of the hole of despair at not being able to see my beautiful, loving, faithful wife past “them”. Does anybody have any advice?

    Reply
    Cathryn

    We have been together for 15 yrs now. I discovered his affairs 3 years ago. He had been cheating for 5 years. After my discovery he lied about everything. It took me the entire 3 years to discover the whole truth of what had happened, where, how many partners and how much money was spent. I only got the truth by meeting 4 of the 8 affair partners. Now that everything is out, I am having a very hard time wanting to continue this marriage. He is doing everything right….now. But for me it’s like to little to late. How do I explain to him that just because he is back to his old self after his mid life crisis, I have now changed. My feelings for him have changed. I really understand that phrase of loving someone but not in love with them. He thinks that time will help heal and we can get back on track. Yet I am always thinking of a future without him. I refuse to talk about retirement together. We get along great, buttttttt……. I don’t see him as husband material any longer.

    Reply
    aj

    I feel the same way. my husband and I have been together for 16 years this june. I just gave birth to our only daughter last december of 2019. Never thought that he would ever cheat on me.it happened october last year and I found out 2 weeks before our 16th year anniversary. I was devastated, angered.. felt like being drowned in a pool of emotion.. I love my husband, i want us to be ok,.. but i can’t seem to move on.. I love him, but not the way it use to be. i can live without him this time..

    Reply
    Aleda

    I think you need to be honest with him. Think about why you’re here saying this and not saying it to him. Are you avoiding conflict? Are you afraid of being alone? You’re already conflicted and living in pain. You’re already feeling disassociated and lonely and he’s still there. He may not have respected you enough to be honest and that makes it difficult, If not impossible to respect him in return, but you need to respect yourself enough to be honest with him. Good luck!

    Reply
    Michelle M

    Cathryn,
    I am so sorry for what you are going through. My husband of 31 years cheated during our 28th year of marriage. I am sure there were others, but I always trusted him and didn’t think he would do that. Until I caught him. He still hasn’t told me the entire truth. I am sure he never will. I am having the same feelings as you. I can’t see myself without him, yet I wish I could. I know I don’t feel the same way about him. He went from my night in shining armor to just another man. If pushed, I would even say I don’t like him anymore. We are getting along, and he is trying. But like you said, it’s just too little too late. I can’t forgive him for a six month affair. He chose her over me several times and the hurt is just to deep. Wish I was strong enough to leave him, but at this point I don’t even know if that would make me happy. For now I just live life, but don’t really enjoy it. If you can find your way back to happiness, whether with or without him, you need to do it. I wish I could.

    Reply
    Diane

    My husband of 24 yrs cheated. I just found out on Jan 9th. We share an adult child who is away at college. As much as it hurts I can’t get over the fact that he was emotionally vested with someone else. We are 46 years old and the person he cheated with was 30. I’ve made a commitment to MoveOn, to find someone that really appreciates me. Even 46-year-old me. I think what’s scary is the financial aspect of it but when do we say enough is enough. These women that they cheat with only no the good sides of them. In my case she was a coworker of his and I’m sure she saw his personality, his charisma on the phone, his ability to Communicate since he is a salesman. Little do they know that they can’t pick up after themselves, they don’t wash dishes, and they spend hours on end watching ridiculous videos. It’s those things that keep me pushing forward. You can do it.

    Reply
    Joy

    Hi I just found out my partner of 2 years cheated on me. I don’t know how to confront him about the situation.

    Reply
    Rob

    I am married 16 years. I had an affair and had a love child. The child was 1 when l told her about it. During that time l was flirtatious with my best friends wife (my brothers wife) in texts which my wife later found. We worked on our mariage and fell in love again. Trust a huge issue which is until now still fractured. A couple of years later l found condoms in her drawer which we don’t use. Raised big suspicions. l read her diary and read that she was in love with my brother.
    He is in our lives daily, and our kids adore him. Her behaviour changes around him which always triggers arguments and resentments. They never got physical but the attention and praise she gives him makes me feel like the third wheel.
    We have four children . I was expecting behaviours and uneasy feelings to have changed by now. But the triggers remain

    Reply
    Gabriel

    I made a terrible, tragic, really regretful mistake by cheating on my wife of 10yrs with her younger sister and I regret it everyday and wish I could take it all back. Since then nothing else has happened besides talking to other females but nothing physical just talking. She asked if I would want to seek counseling the night before she went through my phone and decided to leave me but at the time she asked i didn’t put much thought into it I told her I’m willing to give counseling a try and anything possible to try and fix our marriage since she said she wants a divorce. I told her what hurts me the most is that after 10yrs she’s not willing to try and fix us and just give up. I need some advice on what I could possibly do to try and fix my marriage with her and bring back that ultimate happiness that we used to have and that I know we can have again. While at the same time make her earn my trust back i dont want to let her go that easily

    Reply
    anushree

    hey my boyfriend and I have been dating for over a year. he recently told me himself he cheated. he was about to have sex with someone and he stopped himself and immediately called me. I already have mental issues and he’s going to therapy. this came down very hard on me and I don’t know how to fix this. I’m hurt all the time. He wants to help fix this but he too doesn’t know how. any advice?

    Reply
    Viv

    I have spent several hours now reading these comments. Most of you are still hurting after months, even years of pain. I feel so sad for you as I can relate to the dreadful pain you are going through. 5 months ago I caught my husband cheating with a neighbour. They were on her sofa, not having sex but what I saw was bad enough. He well and truly had crossed the line and the images still haunt me.

    I was completely devastated and like many of you have said, this was the last thing I expected from my loving, faithful husband of only 3 years marriage although we have been together for 13 years. Over the next few days I questioned him about all that had gone on that night, I needed to know everything. He answered me but I knew he was holding back and only giving me half the truth. He told me he had no intention of having sex with her, he just wanted to fool around and have a bit of fun but I did not believe this.

    I turned from being a really happy, loving, caring human being & wife into a psychopath. I verbally abused him but to get at the truth, I physically abused him and the truth came, he did go to her house to have sex with her. Now I was dealing with a cheat and a liar and it all hurt like hell on earth, as many of you have mentioned.

    The fact that my man wanted sex with another woman and turned his back on me was really hard to deal with. Secondly it was a deliberate cheat. He said he was not thinking of me or the marriage at the time but twice he checked that I was out of the way before settling down to the dirty deed with her. He was thinking of me but I was confined to the bin – that I find cruel. It was her he wanted, not me, OUCH!

    So where are we now 5 months on? Still together and both of us are determined to rebuild our marriage. Our love for each other is certainly there (actually it has intensified) because we both realised we were SO close to losing each other forever. I will not deny the hurt has been unbearable. Most days I did not know how I was going to get through them. One Lady mentioned it was like she had PTSD, reliving the whole situation over and over and over. Torturing yourself day and night. It’s like a form of mental cruelty that’s been inflicted on you by the one you love the most.

    My story, compared to all your heartbreaking stories is nowhere near as bad as what you have been through. My husband’s cheat was a one off. He had spent several hours drinking causing low inhibitions and disregard of consequences. She came along in an opportune moment, lured him in, slapped it on a plate, flattered his ego, gave him attention and sadly he took the bait willingly for the excitement and novelty. Fortunately for me, he did not have sex with her due to too much drink! I don’t think I could have handled that. Why do I think he was lured? We had had no intimacy for 2 1/2 years and we both played a part in that demise.

    I am determined to let go of this pain and live each day as happily as I can because I have a choice – to chose pain or happiness. I know this is going to be extremely hard but I have to keep going forward. Today I am upbeat about my future with my husband, tomorrow I may be on the floor again but I have no choice but to get up and keep moving forward. I cannot change the past, I can only learn from it. One thing I have found is the internet. There is so much good advice out there (including this article) on how to heal and move forward.

    So to everyone out there who is going through hurt and pain and trying to build new bridges – my total love and respect to you all. It takes courage and the strength of Hurcules to go through what we are going through, rather than walk away, which sometimes seems easier. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

    I believe one day I will emerge from this long dark tunnel a stronger person and the pain will subside. I wish this for all of you too.

    Reply
    Marisa T

    Angie,
    I feel your pain. My husband, at that point of 28 years, had a 4 month affair with a woman 10 years younger than me. It happened in 2017 but he wouldn’t admit it till I called her and confronted him in January of 2018. We are still together. I am not happy, but content. I know I need to move on because I no longer love him. I find it hard to believe that he loves me if he was able to hurt me the way he did. At first we went for counseling, he lied and made me seem like I was crazy. I begged him, and cried in front of him, and he denied. During the affair, he was so mean to me. We have 2 adult children, they know what he did. In fact, he did it in front of my son. We also have 3 grandkids. Our home will be paid off in 2 years. How do I leave him at this point in our lives. He tries hard to make up, but I can’t trust him. I question everything, check his phone, drive to places where he is supposed to be to make sure he is there. It’s not a way to live. I always told him that infidelity is something I could never forgive. He did it anyway. I was right. I can’t forgive or forget. So I am just living my life on pause. Getting through the days. The only positive is that I have lost 80 pounds. Started working out. Went from a size 18 to a size 4. I feel better about the way I look, but still don’t feel good about myself. If you don’t think you can forgive and move on, then get out now. I wish I would have handled it better, but here I am….

    Reply
    Desperate To Heal

    My husband had a platonic emotional affair with my (then) best friend. He was stressed and drinking too much, and she decided he was more interesting than I was and dropped her friendship with me for a friendship with him. They messaged all the time, made plans without me, and discussed not telling me about their plans because it would upset me more as I wasn’t “stable”. They gaslit me and lied to me. I eventually saw all the messages and lost it. I wanted to leave but the idea scared me so we went through, and are going through, therapy. It’s been almost one year and I am still grieving the loss of two of the most important relationships in my life. I’m still furious at this “friend” even though I cut contact a year ago, and I am still at times nearly despondent over the loss of what I thought my marriage was and who I thought my husband and my friend were. We have spent thousands on therapy; I am medicated with antidepressants and beta blockers during the day and can’t sleep at night anymore without pills.

    My husband has made many positive changes and has done “all the right things” thanks to our wonderful marriage counselor, but I still can’t shake the heartbreak, disbelief and grief. He actually said he wanted a divorce due to my constant anger and rehashing the past, but gave me a second chance when I promised to work harder at healing. I kept that promise and he is now very happy with me once more, but I am still broken and will never be the same. I want things to be the way they were before, I want to love him and what we had the same way I did before, but I don’t know how. I am afraid for the future but even more afraid of life without him. The idea of leaving him and ending my relationship with him is terrifying in every conceivable way and despite all the pain I have felt for the past year, I fear the pain of actually leaving would break me. I can’t do it – I’ll just have to work harder at healing.

    I don’t know why I’m writing this other than to get it out and tell someone. For anyone thinking of cheating in any sense of the word, for God’s sake don’t. Leave your partner in the cruelest way you can think of instead – it will still hurt far less.

    Reply
    Shocked and Numb

    I’m thankful you made this post Desperate to Heal. Not only for the fact that it helps you to type these words (your feelings are very valid, and you have every right to feel them), but like many here, I am struggling to understand and feel whole once again after just finding out my husband cheated. Your post validates how I feel too.

    I teeter between anger, resentment, sadness, fear, desperation to feel like I could trust again, love, and even forgiveness.

    It saddens me to hear that your husband has not been understanding, patient and caring enough to withstand the storm of emotions you are rightfully feeling, even if a year has passed. He doesn’t get to be the victim in any of this.

    I can’t give you the right answers as to how to move forward. I know we all would love a clear cut path to healing. If you feel you haven’t given it your all and still want to be married to him, be honest with yourself where there is room for improvement on your part. But if your heart can no longer be happy in the marriage, don’t be afraid to make the most difficult and brave decision to start a new life for yourself. Don’t kill your spirit if it could never be safe with him again. What is out there couldn’t possibly be worse than being dead on the inside from heartbreak.

    I wish you peace and joy in your future wherever it may lead.

    Reply
    Mirna

    I would look at your environment perhaps? Are you sorrounded by people who are good and kind and prove to you people can make mistakes and fix them? Are you doing the things you want to do with your life? What are the tgoughts unrelated to this that usually get you down and why? And do those thoughts transfer to your relationship? The world today is a depressing place, and I sometimes find myself sorrounded by people who I can’t trust or rely on. And that usually quickly starts shaping my relationship with my SO. I start thinking everything is crap basically. You sound like you’re really trying to heal, I wish you suceed!

    Reply
    Terrah K

    Well I been dating this guy who’s like 13 yrs older than me, we been dating since 2017, we didn’t have any problems until I found out that he been cheating on me not with one but multiple girls and he got a girl pregnant 😑 when I found all that out I decided to leave him so we been separated for over a year and he came back in the beginning of this year saying ” he’s sorry, he Wants me back, he’s changed, he only wants me n all that bla bla ” I still love him too but I don’t know if I should try it again n that baby I don’t know how I’d feel around him. I need some advice here, what should I do??

    Reply
    Kari D

    Married for 25 years, 4 amazing kids. Nine years ago our relationship was hurting and I suspected he cheated with this coworker, he denied it. eventually we moved on and we worked things out. A couple months ago a woman that I barely know sent me a screenshot of a child, she said just so you know, this boy is your husband’s son with another woman. The other woman turned out to be the co worker from nine years ago, the boy is 8 years old. I am heartbroken beyond words and so disappointed. He swears this was not love and he regretted it when it happened but could not find the courage to tell me.
    After crying for 20 days in a row, losing 10 lbs and finally reaching out to my mother and sister I’m working on making the biggest decision of my life. I always believed that most women in this situation would not hesitate and leave. Well, I now realize that’s easier said than done. Obviously I kicked him out but then that same night I asked him to stay for the kids and just give me my space.I am so lost and confused. At 44 I am heartbroken like I’ve never been before.
    This article has provided so much insight and helpful information. I told him that I need nothing but honesty and reading it I realize it’s the exact same questions that I have for him so I’m not going crazy. Thank you

    Reply
    Miguel A

    As a husband for over 20 years with the love of my life from high school , I found out 2years ago she was unfaithful. Never in my life would I think she would do such things, but yet im not surprise….Im still trying for my kids and marriage, but I think that for a man is possibly twice as hard to forgive, if so … than for woman. My heart just can’t stay together no matter how hard I try.

    Reply

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    The key to moving kids trough anxiety is helping them know when to retreat into safety, and when to move forward into brave.♥️
    When their world feels wobbly, children will look to their closest adults for signs of safety. Our nonverbals will speak the loudest. We’ve been communicating in nonverbals long before words. With every expression, movement, with our posture, our voice, our tone, we’re communicating to them whether we believe they are brave enough and safe enough. 

Our capacity to self regulate is key. If you can breathe and lower your own anxiety, they will pick this up. Our nervous systems are talking to each other every minute of every day.  So often, the move towards brave doesn’t start with them. It starts with us. 

If you can hold a calm steady presence it will make it easier for their bodies and brains to pick up on that calm. If they’ve been feeling anxious retreating from something for a while, it will take a while them to trust that they can cope, and that’s okay. The move towards brave doesn’t have to happen quickly. It’s the direction that matters. 

Breathe, validate, and invite them into brave: ‘I know this feels big. What can you do that would feel brave right now?’ And you don’t need to do more than that.♥️

#parenting #anxietyinkids #mindfulparenting #parents #raisingkids #heywarrior
    Few things will stoke anxiety more in an anxious child than unpredictability. One of the ways they might relieve their anxiety is through control. (We can all fall into controlling behaviour when we’re anxious.) This isn’t done to be insensitive or ‘bossy’, even though it might come out that way. It’s done because of their great and very understandable need for predictability and safety.

Anxious kids don’t need to control everything in order to feel safe but they do need someone to take the lead and you’re perfect for the job. They need to understand that they can trust you to keep them safe. To show them, be predictable and clear with boundaries and have confidence in protecting those boundaries. Predictibility will increase their sense of safety and will help to minimise the likelihood of an anxious response.

Without limits kids have nothing to guide their behaviour. The options become vast and overwhelming. They need to feel like you’ve got them, that you’ve set a safety zone and that within that, they’re fine. Of course they’ll push up against the edges and sometimes they’ll move well outside them – that’s all part of growing up and stretching their wings but even then, the boundaries will offer some sort of necessary guidance. In time, children without limits wil become controlling and demanding – and that just doesn’t end well for anyone.

When they are pushing against your boundaries, let those boundaries be gentle, but firm. Invite their opinions and give space for them to disagree:
‘I want to understand [why this doesn’t feel right for you] [what you need] [how this can work for both of is].’

But let the final decision be yours with statements of validation:
‘I know this is annoying for you.’

Plus confidence:
‘This is what’s happening and I know [you can do this] [this is how it has to be].♥️
    Even the spiciest behaviour will have a valid need behind it. If we can respond to the need behind the behaviour, the behaviour will ease. When this happens, they will be more open to our guidance and influence: ‘What happened?’ ‘What can you do differently next time?’ ‘You’re a great kid, and I know you know that wasn’t okay. How can you put things right?’

Of course, it’s not always easy to know what the need it. They won’t always know what the need is. (Neither do we when we’re losing our (thinking) minds.)

If you aren’t sure what the need is, try to approach this with a curious mind. Watch, wonder, and don’t forget to breathe. Of you think they’re open to it, ask, ‘Can you help me understand what’s happening for you? I really want to understand.’ Soft eyes, a curious mind, and breathe.♥️

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