Monday, October 26, 2009

Surviving Infidelity: The best advice you never heard

Mention cheating and you'll inspire some strong reactions, often along the lines of "castrate him!" and "homewrecking whore". While self-righteous fury is occasionally cathartic, it rarely serves the cheatee very well, who may well still love the potentially castrated man (though she's likely less fond of the homewrecker).
The result is that few of us are offered particularly healthy advice from our friends and family, even -- sometimes especially -- if they've gone through it themselves. My friend Annie, with whom I confided because she'd had a similar situation and, I thought, could support me, responded to my comment that I didn't want to lose my marriage with a dismissive, "well, I wouldn't stay". End of conversation.
Sadly, this leaves so many of us feeling doubly injured. We've suffered this grievous injustice, we think, and yet talking about it leaves us open to poorly thought out opinions, self-serving advice or gossip. I learned very quickly to confide in very few people and only those whom I felt sure would simply support me.
Fortunately, I did come across a wonderful Web site – Surviving Infidelity – that allowed me to discuss my situation anonymously and candidly, without fear or judgement. If I did receive unwarranted advice, I simply dismissed what didn't work for me and took what did. Because it was from strangers, it was so much easier to do.
It also inspired me to create this site -- to create a sense of community around the issue of infidelity and to invite other women to join the conversation. Betrayal changes who you are. Never again will you look at the world through the same eyes. It helps to share this new you with others as you figure out where you go from here.
What are some of the Web sites that have helped you? Please post them here for others to try.


  1. The best chat-open to all sides of the triangle, but you better be to the point of accepting responsibility for your own actions. We don't pull our punches or coddle people in the midst of affairs.

  2. I am 4 weeks into learning of my husbands infidelity. We have 4 children and have been married for 21 years. He cheated with a woman from his high school past. It started with finding each other on facebook, hate facebook now. I found texts and emails that spelled out the affair and the fact that they spent 2 nights together out of town. I confronted him and than kicked him out of the house for 10 days. We finally talked, he apologized and said, :it had nothing to do with me" it was his problem and he wanted to work on our marriage. So here we are, going to counseling and trying to work through this web of deceit and lies.

  3. izzie4,
    I'm so sorry you're going through this...but glad that you found us. I cringe every time someone mentions Facebook -- though I know that it doesn't make someone cheat, but simply makes it easier.
    Brace yourself. I don't know what he's told you, but often the spouse who cheats minimizes what happened to keep you from leaving. Are you sure he's broken off all contact?
    I don't want to upset you...but want you to understand and be prepared.
    Hang in there. We're here to offer up advice, support and compassion. You CAN get through this. And you WILL come out the other side. Our best advice? Take care of yourself...treat yourself well.

  4. A month ago I found out my husband hooked up with a woman from his childhood through Facebook.....yes, I hate Facebook, too!! I just found out 2 days ago that he hooked up with another lady through a dating site. Then I found his profile on some other sites, including sex dating sites! I'm really hating the internet right now........

  5. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this.
    Like you, my situation just seemed to get worse the more I learned. More sites, more chat rooms, more hookups...
    Quick word of advice? Get yourself checked out for STDs even if he says there was no sex. Is he admitting everything? Is he denying? You can install a keylogger on his computer to monitor his activity.
    And please keep on posting. I, and certainly others who visit this site, can be a wealth of support. is another awesome site -- with a huge user base.
    Re. your comment: Like most things, the Internet can work both ways. I hate the ease the Internet has introduced into affairs. If you're gonna cheat, I figure you should have to work harder to get away with it!! (Kidding...sorta.)
    But I appreciate that the Internet worked for me in that it opened up a world of other betrayed wives that understood my feelings and could commiserate without judgement (though not always without judgement!).

  6. it doesn't really matter. my husband cheated with his secretary. he claims to think facebook is silly. whatever. he's silly.

  7. Secretary! How cliche. He loses even more points for lack of originality. :) (My husband took up with his "associate" -- fancy name for secretary!)

  8. I took my unfaithful husband back, and heard as much unhelpful and unwanted advice as you got. I read on the main infidelity sites: SI, MB, and DB. More recently I have been looking at There are so many excellent resources on the WWW for betrayed spouses, I am 'almost' glad it hapened when we had access to them, rather than in the pre WWW days.

  9. Not sure what MB and DB are. I assume SI is Surviving Infidelity?? Can you provide URLs for the other two?

    Thanks! And thanks for posting.


  10. A good beginning is half way to success. Unfortunately my reaction to finding out my husband of then ten years had a six week old child was not good. I didn't kick him out, I folded. I believed it was all me. I should have put less into my career, more into the marriage . . . Some of you know what I'm talking about. It's been almost 2 years since my D day (October 30, 2009). I'm still here, physically, however mentally is another story. My step son, I guess that's the proper term for your husband's illegitimate son, spends every other weekend at our home. I have become attached to this very adorable energetic little boy. After all it is not his fault that his parents have no moral compass.

    I've tried very hard not to become the martyr. After all we are all human and although I believe I would never have an affair, there are other forms of betrayal,

  11. To continue...
    We don't talk about our marriage. We don't talk about his affair, which I believe is still continuing. My misguided philosophy is that if I don't want to be lied to, don't ask a question when I know the answer will be a lie.

    I think I've made the decision to leave my marriage. I just haven't found the courage to take the first step. Where do you find the strength to venture out on your own?

  12. I think accepting a child shows incredible compassion on your part. While it's not the child's fault, the constant reminder can still be tough. And to be able to look at the child and see his value is a testament to your strength, I think, and your humanity.
    I hope you can get past this, especially now that you're attached to the child. Sounds like he could use someone with integrity in his life. :)
    Two years out is still pretty raw, I think. If your husband has learned and grown from this, I would think things will continue to get better. I hope so, for your sake.

  13. it's been 10 days since d-day but the affair happened 2 years ago. he says he didn't know how to tell me. i found out via facebook. he wants to be with me, with our family, to work things out. i don't know what i want. no, wait, i know what i want. i want him to hold me, i want to pretend this never happened, i want my family. but i don't know if that's what is best for me. i like the advice of waiting 6 months, but do i let him live with me during that time? does that confuse things? he has somewhere else he can stay, but its more difficult with the day-to-day stuff. or maybe it's practice? i don't know.

  14. I'm so sorry for what you're going through...but glad you found us. And give yourself a break: Of course you don't know what you want. You've just been handled a huge shock and it will take time for your rational brain to catch up with your emotions. Give yourself time to process the information, which is life-changing. In the meantime, tell him that he can begin the process of healing by giving you whatever it is you need: space if that feels right, closeness if that feels right, each at various times if that feels right... Your moods will alter from minute to minute and, if he truly wants to save his marriage and you're willing to let him try, he needs to ride this roller coaster with you.
    Regarding living arrangements, try and give yourself time to figure out what works for both of you. I didn't want my husband out of my sight until I figured out whether I wanted him gone for good, or here for good. But each woman has to walk the path that suits them.
    In other words, there is no right or wrong. There is only what you need right now. And only you can figure that out.
    Hang in there. It really, truly does get better...and easier. Time.


  15. Today is day 86 since I discovered his affair. Today is also the first that that I have tried to think through the pain rather then being lost in it. It still takes my breath away to think about it and the questions and mental images still haunt me, but I think I am finally ready to start sorting through the mess. I decided that time away from him was the only way I would be able to do this so I drove 350 miles to come stay with my mother for a week. Mental Health Vacation. I am finally seeing how horrile I have "dealt" with his betrayl. I managed to stay calm when I confronted him, but all the anger and words that I didnt say have been killing me slowly. At times I don't think I could have even explained how I felt or what I was thinking; let alone how to say it. Apparently I thought I was "dealing"; when in reality I have been on a vicious downward spiral. I now see that I never gave myself permission to be mad, sad, angry and even to mourn; so I have bottled it up. Time to get a shovel and dig in! I know this is just the start and that there will be many more days when it sneaks up on me, but next time I will be prepared. These last few months have been a living hell and by far the hardest thing I have ever been faced with, but if it wasnt for finding this site and some eye opening articles on Oprahs website it may have very well taken me another 86 days to even get out of bed. Thank you for sharing your stories and your pain. Although we can't possibly believe else anyone knows or could survive our pain; it is helpful to know that I am not alone and that there is somewhere I can turn for support. God knows all my "friends" disappeared about two weeks into my spiral. Thank You again.

    ~Working on Me, in Colorado

  16. Dear "Me" in Colorado,
    I'm really glad you found this site and that you're finding other areas on the Web that are helpful. Sadly, this is one those things that friends often can't help us through...even if they've gone through it themselves. Some friends can be wonderful through this...but in others, it can trigger feelings that they don't want to or can't yet look too closely at.
    Which is sort of what likely happened to you in the days following D-Day. It's common to numb ourselves to such extreme emotional pain because we simply can't handle it all at once. Letting it trickle out in more manageable amounts is a survival tactic that can spare us in the early days. Of course, it's crucial that we do deal with the feelings at some point. We can't keep them buried forever or they'll come out in really unhealthy ways. But we can deal with them bit by bit.
    Like you, I thought I was handling the whole situation quite well. It wasn't until a few months later that I really fell apart. I even considered suicide, though I can now see that I just wanted some way out of the pain and couldn't imagine a day that I would feel okay.
    It's the one thing I wish I could really give to anyone reading this site -- the absolute belief that they will be okay. That the devastation will clear and life will make sense again.
    It will...but you're right. You're going to have to dig through all the feelings that this has created: sadness, anger, confusion, hurt, resentment, fear... Feel them and then, as best you can, let them go. They exist to prompt you to take action to keep yourself safe. And to remind you that, within yourself, is a haven. Might not feel like it right now, but it's the biggest lesson for me in all of this: I alone am responsible to taking care of myself and ensuring that my needs and wants are considered.
    Hang in there. If you want, share your experience and read others' comments about how they're healing from this.
    We've walked in your shoes.

  17. Lost my marital innocence about 4 months ago when, I asked my rarely seen anymore husband if we still had a marriage and he said I don't know. Sitting there looking down at the ground I just knew this was not just a I don't know if I love you anymore look.... I demanded is there someone else! Of course silence that screams yes while he musters the courage to say no to your face with every ounce of deceit he has left in him. It fills the space between my chest cavity where my heart has stopped beating and my lungs have refused to do their job anymore. I turned and grabbed my keys and drove down the street to scream at the top of my lungs in a secluded park parking lot. I drove back home after about 20 min. and asked the question again. this time the confession and the nightmare began.

    1. So sorry for what you're going through. I hope you'll find strength and comfort in the words and women here. We've been there. We're moving through it.


    2. 2 days ago my suspicions of my husband seeing somebody else were confirmed when I overheard a whispered argument between the two. I had asked him outright before if he was seeing someone (as far back as march), but he never admitted it. We have 3year old boy and 1 and a half year old girl who mean the world to us, but he has decided to leave us for her. I just cannot believe that he would give us up to follow this infatuation. He still wants to be part of the children's life and support us, but I just feel heart-broken and humiliated, especially that after the months of lying and stringing me along he has made this decision. I'm just so sad that we're not a family anymore.

    3. I'm so sorry for what you're going through. This must be excruciating for you, especially with two young kids.
      On the up side, your kids are so young that you'll likely be spared the agony of watching their little hearts break because they won't really get what's happening beyond daddy not being around quite so much.
      As awful as it is, the best thing for your kids is to have a relationship with your husband. And of course, he should support all of you. Forget the humiliation. That's how HE should be feeling. And the woman who would get involved with a married man and father. THEY are the ones who should feel like total douchebags.
      A friend of mine cried every time her son would go to his father's house (because he ended up with the OW) but, to her credit, she never said or did anything to change her son's image of his "great" dad. The result is a really well-adjusted kid who's been allowed to love both his parents. And my friend, after licking her wounds for a couple of years, found a really great guy who she married and who is an incredible step-dad to her son. So life can still deliver happily-ever-afters.
      For now, just put one foot in front of the other and focus on getting through the next five minutes, half-hour, day, etc. It gets easier.
      Get yourself a lawyer and make sure you get every single thing you're entitled to.
      And then count yourself lucky that SHE got stuck with the guy who lies and cheats and leaves his family. Of course, as a liar and cheater herself, maybe she hasn't noticed his lack of moral fibre.


  18. I have been with my husband since I was 15. It was 3 years ago since I discovered my husband was cheating. After almost a year of counseling by a highly recommended therapist, I found my husband was still carrying on the affair even though he professed to love me and "he was only helping the girl as a father figure!". I believed my husband was ill and had a sexual addiction, as was diagnosed and continued to try to save a 40-year marriage. Unfortunately due to my trauma and fear, I did not listen to my new counselor who told me to stop seeing him for 6 months and work on myself. Then I needed to see true humbleness, transparency and sincerity. Not just in words, but in change of behavior and actions, with no time limit for my healing. I am now filing for divorce after finding an article on the Internet which proved that, once again my husband was still in contact with his mistress. I am baffled as he professes to want to be married to our kids. Why does a man do this. It is like half of my heart was ripped off when I found out and there is a permanent scar. I'll never be the same and my kids dont understand after a couple of years, why I still hurt. Can you explain this to me and to them? Will my husband ever be honest or the man I married again?

    1. I'm so sorry for the continued pain you're going through.
      Why does a man do this? Because he's broken. Hurt people hurt people, as the saying goes. He probably does love you the best he's able to love anyone at this point in time. Sadly, it isn't enough.
      You're right that you'll never be the same...but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. You'll be wiser. Stronger. You can grow from this and come to a place where you can offer your love to someone better able to offer you his.
      Your kids simply don't have the life experience to understand just how deeply betrayal cuts. I'm guessing that, on some level, they're hurt by their father's actions which might also feel like a rejection of them. But on the surface, they just want everything to be "okay" and to trust that their mom is going to get everyone through this.
      Whether or not your husband can ever be honest is up to him. If he's willing to seek help for his broken-ness, it's possible. But he'll never be the man you married. He perhaps never was the man you thought you married.
      In the meantime, you can't control him or his actions. Your counsellor is wise to encourage you to focus on your own healing. Become the most whole person you can, be a great mom to your kids and trust that, with time and healing, your life can be wonderful, with or without him.




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