Share Your Story: Multiple Affairs?

Is he a chronic cheater? A sex addict? Or have you been around this block before? Fill us in...

197 comments:

  1. When we were in our thirties, I found out the impossible - my husband had been having an affair with a woman at work for over a year. She broke it off because, as she put it, my H was "not going anywhere" meaning he had no intention of leaving me (she was newly divorced and looking for another husband). After going through the pits of hell, we finally healed together, and twenty some years later, I hardly thought about it - my mindset was "Boy was that a crazy time in our lives - learned our lessons, never have to go through that again, whew!" Then, in February, 2010, I found out he had been having another affair with a woman at work. Over the next year, as the truth trickled slowly, painfully out like Chinese water torture, I learned the affair had lasted ten years, and that he had had another year long affair years ago besides the other one, and that he had had sex with fourteen other women through one to two night stands over our entire relationship - 5 before we were married, and the rest after. So - in short - yes, I've been there! Am there - 3 years later, still digging out yet again. But in the meantime, our marriage has become more authentic than ever. The reason I'm still giving him a chance is that this time he agreed to counseling, felt horrible remorse (not just fake remorse like last time); has finally become reflective,more authentic and honest, and tries to be the man he always wanted to be; i.e. a man of honor and integrity. I believe he is now faithful and has every intention of remaining so for the rest of our days. So I'll take it and the many great times we are experiencing now together. But I will never again be so naive as to think it can't happen again. I, like so many others, have had to temper my fairy-tale fantasies with a hefty dose of realism! I wish you much luck in your healing journey.

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    1. I am so happy to see that it's working for you. I hope the same works for me, and I agree I may never be naive again. Kinda miss that naivete, I must add....

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    2. Leave him. He has a personality disorder.

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    3. I think we need to be careful of "diagnosing" people based on a very tiny snapshot of their behaviour. It isn't helpful…and can, in fact, be harmful to someone trying to keep their head above water. It's certainly possible that he does have a personality disorder…but just as likely that he doesn't. Not everyone who cheats, despite what some propose, has narcissistic personality disorder. I think we have too strong a tendency to pathologize things. Given that between half and three-quarters of marriages experience infidelity, I have a hard time believing there are that many people with personality disorders.

      Elle

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  2. My husband has been sexing dudes for over six years and I never suspected! Sex Addict, yeah, maybe. But, seems to me he's a Selfish Asshole. I've known him since we were 16 years old and we reconnected at 37, and married at 41. Now 52. He's been boinking dudes for more than half of our married life.

    And we've done lots of reading and therapy and I DO believe he's a Sex Addict of sorts, but DANG! I'd been willing to have a dude in the bedroom and have it a part of our sex life, and STILL he chose to lie and be degraded (his words) for 6 years.

    I love the ding dong.

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    1. Anonymous,

      Whatever works for you is no business to the rest of us. And it's often not the sex that upsets us the most (though it's certainly part of it) but the lies and deceit.
      Is he interested in seeking help for his behaviour? Or does he not think it's a problem? Is he bisexual and wants to live as such?
      You, of course, need to get clear on what you will/won't tolerate. It's possible to love someone while refusing to allow yourself to be disrespected by his behaviour.

      Elle

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  3. I still can't understand these men who look for transvestites and cross dressing men and prostitutes and getting a blow job from men( my cheating husband included) when asked they say there not bi not gay.... They love women?! What?! I don't get it. I found stuff on our computer that would make you so sick. What a weirdo. Shock yes!! I don't know this person. It has been going on since before I even met him. Have known him for 12 years..... He won't get counseling for sex addiction. My question is will this inner urge ever go away for him? He says it will. I'm more concerned about this than him ever having a one night stand or being with a women.

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    1. I don't think I'll ever understand it either but I'm not wired that way. I had a hard time with my husband's sex addiction and various things he did. He explained it as like a drug addict, needing more and harder drugs as time goes on. The thrill fades so they need greater risk. My husband also said that men ensured that he wouldn't get emotionally involved in any way. It's strictly sex.
      Unless he gets treatment for sex addiction though the future doesn't hold much promise for you. Like any addiction, unless he's willing to work through what drives him and develop methods to control it, he's likely to slip. If it was a true addiction, then simply white knuckling it might work in the short term but doesn't ultimately get to the root of the behaviour. It's possible he'll replace one addiction for another -- like gambling, for example.
      In short, he needs help, especially with someone experienced in dealing with sex addiction. With therapy, it's possible for the urge to diminish though it may never "go away". Like an alcoholic who has simply made up their mind they'll never drink again...but still can't take a drink or they know where it could lead.
      It's not a bad idea for you to also seek treatment in order to better understand what you're up again. Patrick Carnes is the acknowledged expert in the field. His daughter Stefanie wrote a book called Mending a Shattered Heart, which is for partners of sex addicts and is really wonderful. I hope you'll check it out.

      Elle

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  4. Thank you Elle, I will check out the book! As always your response and great advice is so appreciated. You are an inspiration and I am grateful. Thank you

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  5. Hi, I am glad that I found this website its good to know that there are alot of women out there that are on thesame boat. heres my story. Its been 5 months since I found out about my husbands affair, the OW was someone that I knew and very young herself with 2 children. I have been marri3d for 7 years and when I found out it broke my heart I confronted the OW and unfortunately beat the crap out of her a month later she moved out of state. I forgave my husband and both agreed on working things out and didnt want to throw away the family that we built. H said that it was a mistake and he dowsnt want to leave me and the kids and he is done with her. 2 weeks ago I found out that she is calling him, they still are in contact through video chat. I confronted her and she wrote me a nasty message telling me that she told my husband not leave me and my marriage is pratically done and they have much bigger things going on. I confronted the H about it bcuz he read the messages and he said it was all BS and he doesnt w as t to be wth her what should I do im tired and fed up with the bs and lying im getting to the point that I want to throw the towel and say the hell with it

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    1. Faatau,

      I'm glad you found us too.

      For starters, I'm glad you view it as "unfortunate" that you beat up the OW. As much as I think many of them deserve it, violence generally creates more problems. However, it's done.

      Your husband needs to have absolutely no contact with this woman and, frankly, so do you. Nothing! If she won't stop, see what you can do about getting a restraining order to keep her away from both of you. Your husband needs to start by sending her a No Contact message -- insisting that she stay away from both of you and letting her know you'll take legal steps if she continues to contact either of you. Do NOT engage with her at all. She feeds off the drama of this.

      Only then can you two begin the process of healing from this. If your husband continues to stay in touch with her behind your back, then he's not committed to your marriage. It's really that simple.

      I hope you can get this woman out of both of your lives. She sound toxic.

      Elle

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  6. This is awful to say but that's a dream of mine to beat up the other woman. It actually makes me happier when I daydream about it. Hang in there. Fight for how you deserve to be treated. Good luck

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    1. I've written before about how one of my favorite fantasies involved imagining the OW naked and caught in my headlights, running in panic as I drove toward her in my car. The thought of her fear and panic, as she ran always made me giggle.
      Fantasies are fine. They can help us manage the incredible anger and impotence we feel. But let's keep them fantasies. I don't want any of us slapped with assault or attempted murder charges.

      Elle

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    2. I dreaming about beat up OW too. She really have a nerve.... I wish if I could drive her up to wall if I knew how.... I would giggle then...

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    3. guys, i did punch the OW :)

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    4. My husband says he doesn't want to be responsible for anyone else's death so he's not going to cheat again lol...

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  7. Dear Elle,

    I found out about my husband using porn a couple of years ago, he swore its because he was depressed and out of work. At the time I asked him to reveal anything else, he promised me it had only been happening a couple of months and that he was disgusted with himself and he was glad I found out. A week after that as I was hyper alert I decided to check the computer. At the same time he had started looking up prostitutes, when I confronted him AGAIN, he said that he made a phone call but couldn't go through with it, he just put the phone down.

    3 months after that all seemed well but I found out he started an affair. He was working by this stage and all seemed well. The type of woman he went with was cheap.

    He has cried and said he didn't know what he was doing at that time, swears he doesn't have a problem. I do know the affair is over. However, I am left with a huge problem. I know he must have issues to be this way. He swears he's " over it all" but you cannot act in that way and just come out of the woods. I want him to see this blog so he can understand I'm not a paranoid wife, just someone that wants him to get well. Please help.

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    1. H'mmm...he's been caught THREE TIMES doing things that he admits aren't appropriate and that disgust him, promises THREE TIMES that it's nothing, it won't happen again, etc. And he thinks you're being paranoid?? Would he let someone try and rob him THREE TIMES. First time was just a few cents, no big deal, second time was a few bucks, nothing to worry about...
      You are responding rationally to someone who's asking you to trust him even though he's revealed THREE TIMES (have I made my point yet?) that he's not to be trusted.
      I'm sure he is disgusted with himself. He might even mean it when he says he'll never do it again. But history has revealed that his promises don't hold. History has shown him that either he's lying or he's powerless or, likely, both.
      It's terrifying for men engaging in this to acknowledge that they have a problem. Like any addict, it's far more comfortable to pretend that it's all under control. It clearly isn't.
      I think you're completely within your rights at this point to insist that he seek help, either through a 12-step group focussed on porn/sex, or with the help of a therapist, preferably one who specializes in porn/sex issues. Men who seek out porn compulsively generally have issues with intimacy. And porn literally rewires the brain, negatively impacting a man's ability to connect with a real-life woman in a healthy way. I'm not anti-porn, or anti-sex at all. But I've read a ton of stuff about how harmful it is, particularly in large amounts. My husband is a sex addict who watched a ton of porn and he's very clear on how it messed with his head.
      So...I would make it a condition of reconciliation for him to seek help. This is a matter of your own emotional and physical health. Create clear consequences if he doesn't get help by a certain deadline. He sleeps on the couch, he moves out, or whatever seems appropriate to you AND THAT YOU WILL STICK TO. This isn't about you being a prude or paranoid. It's about you doing what's necessary to ensure the survival of your marriage.

      Elle

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    2. Hi Elle, Update.. Husband wants to get to the bottom of all this for himself and for his family. He has booked his first session with a counsellor. THANK YOU.
      Shall keep you informed. x

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  8. hi. my husband had his first affair almost 20 year ago. it was a quick encounter, he confessed and we went to counseling together. it took years for us to feel like a couple again. we had 2 small kids and that was why i stayed. fast forward 20 years, my kids are now 21 and 20, and i have just found out last week that my husband has again cheated on me. again, with a woman from his work. this time it was more calculated and lasted longer. my husband is 60 years old. i have kicked him out until i can make heads or tails of the situation. he is sad, crying and wanting to come home. i can't do it again. i want to call the other girls husband (i know him and where he works). has anyone ever done that? they have kids together and i feel he should know. i have not told my kids. i am waiting until i can think clearly and make good choices. even at 20/21 my kids feel our home is their 'safety' net and i am sure once i deliver any sort of news like this their world will be shattered. i don't want to do it before exams. and i don't want to cause undue stress on them. so i am alone. i can't talk to anyone for fear it will be leaked out and my kids will know. i haven't eaten in days. i just want a friend who knows how incredibly painful this is.

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    1. You have a community of friends here who know exactly how painful it is. I'm so sorry for what you're going through.
      We also know how exhausting it is taking care of everyone around you, worrying about the impact on their lives...all while trying to make sense of it yourself.
      You're wise to give yourself time and space to sort through your own feelings around this. It must be excruciating to go through this a second time.
      My personal opinion is that the other spouse should be told. I think it's simply compassionate to give them the same knowledge you have to allow them to make their own choice about whether to stay or go. When asked, pretty much all of us say we would want someone to tell us. It's also a way to ensure that the affair is brought out right into the open -- makes it much less likely to survive. But if you tell, you must not invite their problems into your choice. You don't want anything more to do with this woman. Tell him...and then back off and let him determine how to proceed.
      Again, I'm sorry for what you're going through. But you will get through this. Please don't hesitate to share here and gain support from those who've been there.
      There's also a phone line listed in my latest blog post (When you can't just "get over it") which offers free counselling with women who've been through this.
      Hang in there.

      Elle

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    2. The truth always sets everyone free, she/ He didnt just cheat himself out of a loving wife, but he also cheated himself/herself out of a relationship with his children. Did it ever occur to you that he/she is not fully present in their lives either, emotionally. The future has been taken away all because he/she needs to go see a doctor and be honest about his/her weakness? Kids are the ones who think its their fault when the parents get a divorce after the second time .. The mother thinks she is doing the right thing the first time by staying and holding the family together. The first time should have been when the truth was told so that the person could really deal with his shame and guilt and sickness...What about the children who are attracted to people like their parents and encounter bad relationships over and over because of what they think is loving and normal..Most kids grow up feeling angry because they had no idea that the parent not valuing the family caused the break up and no one told the child because they didnt want to bring shame or be the bearer of bad news, So the child is usually angry at the spouse that initates the divorce.What the child can learn is so valuble, in the future That child will make a choice to value his/her family above their feelings of if they want to have immediate gratification and if the child sees the train wreck for what it is they will learn how to prevent these type of relationship or they will be sheltered from the truth and think that its normal to expose the whole family to diseases and danger...think about it, its not just about you!! it's part of the moral decline in our society. He/she can always earn trust back by living on his/her own getting help and valuing the people in his life you can't change them, he can manage his own checking account and be single and then you can always get remarried..Its no longer right to leave your home open to violators ie your mate.Your mate is sick letting them go may give them a chance to get help, the plea to stay is just prolonging their healing and your families, The separation and rebuilding "sting" will either save them or they will continue, its up to them...

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  9. his first affair was emotional; at work with a visiting colleague... they had chemistry... all about his low self esteem and enjoyed her attention. he downplayed when I
    found out by finding evidence though evedence that she was really hooked.. it finished and we let the subject drop... this was 3 years ago. whizz forward to summer 2012 - he picked up somebody in a bar and began a sexual relationship but I found a breast lump and had surgery to remove the cancer at end of summer when he stopped seeing her. she contacted him mid way through my treatment and they restarted the sexual relationshio.... as I finished my treatment, i found the condoms... i drove him over for us to confront her together and he ended it. i have since written to the first ow and 'returned' the filthy photos of herself at she had mailed to H so i have had the opportunity of some revenge. i wanted more but, now i just can't bear the hurt that he could cheat whilst I was in such a vunerable popsition. We are trying to work it out, he answes all questions but, I found out that he gave me edited versions. i think I now have the full stories with a lot of detail but, it's the isolation and lonliness of this position that I have been put in that really builds up the pressure of the situation - I have nobody to talk to other than him; at last I think I recognise true remorse in him; he can even comment about how he has destroyed me...

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    1. It's a familiar refrain… "how could he cheat while I was pregnant/facing cancer/dealing with elderly parents/coping with my father's death/helping our disabled child". It happens often enough that I'm convinced the affair is often BECAUSE of the vulnerability/inavailability of the spouse. That's not the same as saying it's the spouse's fault. It's that a lot of these guys can't cope when we're not totally okay. Suddenly an affair seems like an escape from these horrible feelings they have that they can't solve our problems or get our attention. An affair is often like a little child acting out to get someone's attention.
      But yes, it's the isolation/loneliness that crippled me too. And it's why I created this. We need to talk to each other. We need constant reminders that we're going to be okay, with or without him. That what we're going through -- the rage, the tears, the numbness, the fear -- is completely normal and won't last forever.
      Please…talk to us.

      Elle

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    2. Interesting comment, Elle. My husband started his emotional affair in earnest while I was attending to my dying father (cancer) and helping my mom. Right after Dad's funeral, I had to have neck surgery and only recently found out he was buying presents for her while I was recovering and all drugged up. I've found this particular time very offensive and disrespectful and have told him so. But he was not one to talk to me about his feelings, so your comment about the vulnerability and inavailability of myself (and I was very unavailable while helping out for about a year) makes some sense to me. I've told him he got to escape and have fun while I had to stand and face my problems- that I couldn't run away. I don't think he ever thought that he was running away or escaping until now. And for sure, he couldn't solve my problems and he is one of those guys who is a problem-solver for others. I really appreciate your viewpoint- it gives me a different perspective on why he may have chosen that time to become involved with another woman. Thanks.

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  10. I have no body to talk to, I said that to a Jewish friend of mine who lost her family to the holocaust and she replied all I have is God I have no family or friends...I figured if she can make it and not be angry at the people who destroyed her family, and shes not mad at GOD then..Talk with him he may respond.

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    1. See Anonymous' note below. We're here. And we'll listen. And we'll remind you that you will get through this.

      Elle

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  11. You do have people to share with though. I'm hear reading your words and sending all good wishes and thoughts to you.

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  12. Oh my goodness, I just came across this site today and I'm terrified. I found out about 3 years ago that my H was having an emotional affair with a woman at work. I think more happened between them, but he denies it. We went through intensive counseling that year. Then exactly one year later I find out he had been having several other emotional affairs at work and there were others from years before (I found old emails). To say that I have been an emotional wreck these 3 years is a gross understatement. All I have done is.... "hyper-vigilance as the partner or spouse searches for yet some other betrayal" (Elle's quote of Julie Gottman). He works in a profession that is mainly women so all I think about is..is he still being unfaithful, is he talking to another woman, and if he is I will find out. It is HORRIBLE, I don't have a life, I am consumed by this. And now I read how these men have had yet another affair 10 and 15 years later!! My H really does nothing without me, he says he wants his marriage, he really does try. We have been thru literal hell these 3 years; all I have done is accuse him of cheating on me and he is still there...we have no small children, no huge property or financial issues to hold him back, yet he is still there...but I just can't shake the feeling that he needs and craves all this attention from other women. I'm only 41, do I really want to sit around and wait for another one to happen?!?!?

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    1. You say you've been dealing with this for three years? That's far too long to be hanging on my your fingernails. You need to wrestle this monster to the ground.
      What has each of you done to deal with what happened? Each of you needs a grasp of what he was seeking with these affairs. Him…so that he can understand that he's looking outside his marriage (or outside himself) for something that he should be looking for inward. And you, so that you can trust that he's made fundamental changes in himself to ensure he doesn't seek outside the marriage something he should be seeking from you or from himself.
      Until then, each of you is likely white-knuckling it, which simply can't hold forever. Not without making each of you miserable.
      What does he say? Does he acknowledge the pain he's caused you?
      Is he someone who craves exterior validation of himself? Do these women feed some hole in him around his worth?
      If you haven't sought counselling, why not? It sounds as if both of you have unaddressed issues and your marriage is bringing those issues out.
      You don't want to sit around and wait for "another one to happen." So take charge, figure out what each of you wants from the marriage and find someone who can help you create that.

      Elle

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  13. Hi Elle, I posted on this page before and you suggested my husband saw a counsellor or 12 step programme regarding sex addiction. Said I would post an update.

    My husband has been completely understanding and eager to further explore the situation which he has now done. The Counsellor does not see it as sex addiction but as being emotionally needy and this stems from his upbringing and wanting to feel needed.

    I am at a complete loss, I feel now that the counsellor has backed him up and that I seem to keep bringing up problems which aren't there. She has said what an amazingly strong woman I am and that he needs to always put his family in the forefront of his mind on any decisions and that he did make bad choices but he was depressed and the behaviour was only consistent for that 18 months, albeit 3 lies but she feels it is part of one and the same thing!

    This is an accredited counsellor specialising in this behaviour and relationships. For some reason I thought she might have thought that this behaviour was indeed addictive. Ideas please.

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    1. I'm certainly no expert…and I would hope that she's not minimizing what he's done. Just because she doesn't feel it's an addiction (that's good news! It means it's easier for him to control) doesn't mean that it hasn't caused enormous harm within your marriage -- harm that he needs to be accountable for. If he's feeding some sort of deep emotional need by seeking sex outside the marriage, what does she suggest he do about that, beyond NOT going outside the marriage? In other words, how does he address the emotional wound in a healthy way? Does he have any thoughts on that?
      I understand your desire to be able to blame his behaviour on an addiction. It can seem like a "solution" to the problem of a spouse's infidelity. Get treated and problem solved. It's rarely that simple.
      And regardless of the reason why a spouse steps out of the marriage, the damage is extreme. Try and view the counsellor's prognosis as good news but that nonetheless means that he's got work to do. Kinda like finding out you don't have cancer…but you do have heart disease.
      And yes, you are an amazingly strong woman. You'll get through this, moreso if your husband continues to want to seek answers to ensure he doesn't make such a painful choice again.

      Elle

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  14. Hello. I just recently found this page. I found out 11 months ago that my husband had a 8 month affair with a secretary at work. He ended it and we began counseling. Things were starting to heal and we found out that we were pregnant with out second child. I was so excited. 2 weeks before my due date my husband confessed to me that he had had another affair and she was now pregnant. Not only that but 6 out of the 8 years we were married he had multiple one night stands with about 12 different women. I am completely shattered. I have no idea what to do. I want my family but I can only take so much. He has started counseling and has accountability partners. I see change in him but I wonder if its too late.

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    1. I'm so sorry for everything you're dealing with. Your situation is something like mine -- my husband had one-night stands pretty much throughout our marriage (and even before it). Like you, I was shattered. I couldn't believe this was my life.
      That was six years ago and I'm now able to look back and see that time as something like a wild storm that blew through…and then we rebuilt from the wreckage, selecting what we wanted to keep and what we wanted to put behind us.
      Regarding whether it's too late, that's a question only you can answer. Sometimes the damage is simply too much and you're unable or unwilling to move past it and rebuild the marriage. That's absolutely an okay choice. There is no right or wrong with this. I just urge every woman to ensure that whether she stays or goes, it's because she's completely clear on her options and is able to decide what's best for her.
      Consider what you want your future to look like. Is he in it? Or not? Your call.

      Elle

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  15. ruuuun and don't look back...Its just for right now..stop settling for this in america its effecting the future generations. its etched in the memory pattern of his brain he will have to overcome the feeling at some point again..

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  16. Read yr posts. I found out in 2011 that my husband had had 2 maybe 3 mistress and girlfriends over 33 years of marriage. Mistress with children and he adopted them in the will/trust, which I finally read the whole thing. I know that makes me sound pretty dumb. I found bank statements to banks I knew I wasn't involved in and old credit card statements that someone always charged to home building things. We were never redecorating our house but someone was. Life insurance policies and annuitities with our name on them but I was never there to sign these papers. Still he claims theres nothing going on and makes fun of me. We're separated and still I look for evidence of him cheating and find it. Stuff charged in PA. and then stuff coming to our house from around that area, seems too true to not be. I asked my daughter once, she still lives there when her Father comes home, I knew I shouldn't have but I did b/c that night I stayed there and he still wasn't home at 7:30 p.m. and she said Dad comes home when he wants. I just want real evidence but he is so clever at this and has been for years. I just want my suspicions or my reality or fears to be resolved and him face that what he's done has been his fault if he never came to me to try and work out our differences but took the easy route even though it wasn't of having affairs. I just feel he's put all this in my lap and skirted off to have another affair and left me with the baggage of why and what was wrong with our marriage and me and he says he just wants to live. I guess he said this b/c I have depression/anxiety and he said I can't fix you. I heard some guys even one of my counselors say he's been good to you how long have you been sick? She said guys won't stay with sick women. I thought she was kidding. I guess not-he wants to live. Didn't he live for 30 years in our marriage? How much living is he entitled to? He worked 3 jobs and only now I realized it was all for them, to give them what he wanted to give them. I was never a shrewd or kept sex from him or argued with him, but he controlled everything and now he is still in control b/c I don't work b/c of my sickness. My heart has been broke and I'm still trying to make sense of what seemed our happy years even though there was anger and lonliness there, no emotional connection. He's betrayed me and our children and he thinks I'm being unreasonable b/c I didn't want a separate checking account. Yea and what if you don't put money in it, then I'm really stupid for believing you. How can a man who someone lived with for 30 years be so cruel in the end after I gave him 30 years of the best of my life, he even said so, and still turn on me and say it's b/c i;ll never change and b/c I won't let go of my anger and bitterness. Well yea, especially when you say it's all my fault and I'm making all this up and he won't talk about any of the evidence I found or say or get angry and say he wrote all those checks with different handwriting on it. Come on I'm not that stupid. He had all through the years had things sent to other postal places and I trust him so much I never asked where his paystub was or the checks we wrote b/c all the bills were paid. Now I'm in this little crappy apartment and he has the house, the kids, his reputation still. I've never learned how to fight for anything or stand up for myself and now that I have to my heart just breaks to think of the stink it might cause but sometimes I'm so mad that I want to hurt him so bad for his sexual addiction or his cruelty, it seems so unfair what he's done but I keep obsessing over him but I don't want him to know. I'm 57, how am I going to go on. I don't get it, he dresses sloppy and he's not that good looking but it seems he's had no trouble finding women to keep him company

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    1. My guess is that the women he finds to "keep him company" are no prizes.
      I'm so sorry for what you've gone through. But this guy is not, and has not, been your friend or your partner. What he's done to you is emotional abuse. And you need to shift focus from him to yourself. What are you going to do to save yourself. You've got plenty of years ahead…and they deserve to be happy ones. You deserve to feel good. But you need to insist upon it…from everyone in your life. You need to demand to be treated with respect and kindness.
      And you need to find a therapist who can help you understand why you've put up with such lack of respect for so many years…and how you can turn things around. You're worth the effort. I hope you'll make it.

      Elle

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  17. I need help.
    My husband had an emotional affair 2 years ago, he finally confessed a week after they kissed for the first time. We got back together, and I had an affair a couple of weeks after that, but realised that I loved my husband and went back to him and I fell pregnant , after years of trying seemed like a miracle. In may this year went back home to visit my parents. While I was there I told him how I have been sending emails to the guy I had the affair with when I say affair we only kissed and he touched me a couple of times no sex or anything. When I told my husband he said that he still had feelings for this other woman and never stopped talking to her. They ended up having oral sex we separated for 4 months and during this time the husband of this woman commited suicide.
    I told my husband I wanted him back and he obliged, 2 weeks ago I found out im pregnant again and I do not want to have this baby , mostly because I don't think my husband is being honest and I think he still talks to her even though he moved jobs. I'm so sick and angry still I just want to make this feelings dissapear and move on :(

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    1. I think both of you have issues with commitment. If you're going to have this baby, please do everyone a favour and seek help to work through what a healthy relationship looks like. It doesn't include revenge affairs and lying. I'm sorry but I honestly don't know what else to say. Please…get help.

      Elle

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    2. The noble thing to do is to make sure that your children don't pay for yours and your husbands' mistakes to the best of your ability. You can't control your husband but you can control yourself. Today you can choose to live a life that your children and you will be proud of. Maybe you can inspire change in you husband. It's time for both of you to create a stable life for the children you two have created.

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  18. I have a question, what happens if you have someone who thinks that they where cheated on by their husband but their husband never really cheated on them. How do you prove your innocence? My family could fall apart because of this, so I really need it fixed. The wife is a wreck doing a little drinking but mostly just being sad and thinking that it's over and the husband is sad but not as sad and messed up as the wife, he just wants to be happy and have the wife be happy.? What should they do? ?

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    1. They should get themselves to a marriage counsellor. No matter that he cheated/didn't cheat -- they clearly have issues in their marriage that need addressing, such as trust and communication. Run, don't walk.

      Elle

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  19. Hi Elle. I just spent a few hours reading alot of the stories and your replies. I would really like to talk to women who might in the same place as me or just help out with the horrible suspicions I have. But I'm not sure if I qualify for these blogs. The short version of my story is that I was in a relationship for only 4 years (not married). He just recently passed away quite suddenly and not only am I dealing with that, but unfortunately, have found out that he most likely was not faithfull to me. It is a much longer story, but is there anyone that has lost a husband and then found out he was having an affair(s)?

    I did just start councelling, but the times between each sessioon are two to three weeks and I just can't seem to function at all at the moment.

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    1. I'm so sorry for what you're going through. A complicated grief, for certain. I'm not sure if anyone on this site has shared a similar experience. Reminds me of The Pilot's Wife, a book about a man dying and the wife learning he had another wife/child.
      Feel free to share your story here. We can certainly learn from each other, even when our circumstances might be different. The feelings are often the same.

      Elle

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  20. I filed for divorce because my husband has been having a affair over 3 years with the same person and he says it is over !!!! but i'm not sure if i want to believe him ,he wants to reconcile ... I'm not sure what to do ...

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    1. Nobody can tell you what's right for you…only what was right for us. Whether or not you reconcile is up to you. Some women simply can't move past the deception. Others can, though it's tough. A three-year affair is a lot to move through. Feel free to share your story here. Even writing it out might help clarify your feelings.
      And certainly feel free to give yourself time. Finding out about an affair turns our world upside down. It's not the ideal time to be making life-altering decisions.
      Hang in there. No matter what you choose, please trust that with time (and work), you'll get past the pain.

      Elle

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    2. Iam being pulled in all directions i want to believe him but it is so hard and he does not want to talk about it and all he says is you did this (Divorce) ,but yet he wants to reconcile !, iam worried that he has her in the back ground thinking that if i drop the divorce he will do what he has been doing . Iam affraid he just wants me to drop the divorce because he knows he will have to pay alimony and i have started therapy for myself.

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  21. It's complicated...in 2011 I found out that my H was having an "emotional" affair. He told me about it because he had been seen with the OW by a friend of mine and he knew I would find out. We worked for two years to reconcile. This past August I finally felt I was ready to commit to him and renew our vows. I also felt ready to write a letter of forgiveness to the OW, up to that point I had no contact with her. I got a letter back from her and she told me that my H had told her about another sexual affair that he had in 2010. I confronted him and he admitted it. I have of course been on the emotional roller coaster that we all ride and I immediately contacted this OW and asked her if he had mentioned any others to her. She replied he had mentioned a secretary at one time. He is denying that there are any others but I am looking back through the years and seeing some behavior that is making me wonder if he has been having relationships outside our marriage all along. He is telling me there were no others but I'm not buying it. I want my marriage to continue, we will be married 30 years in June, but I do not trust that he is being honest. Am I crazy?

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    1. The craziest thing about dealing with betrayal is the we end up wondering if we're crazy simply because we're dealing with craziness. No you are NOT crazy. You are applying logic and honesty to a situation in which deception and dishonesty were the norm.
      There might be no way to ever truly know if your husband is telling the truth. But what he needs to absolutely understand is that without total transparency and honesty, it will be almost impossible for you to truly re-commit to your marriage. Once trust has been destroyed, it takes a long time for it to be rebuilt. And that requires a steady commitment to total honesty. As long as you have those niggling suspicions, you'll have a tough time.
      Perhaps the best thing to do is to find a marriage counsellor and create a "disclosure" meeting, where he can tell you everything within the context of a supportive environment. Some others have written disclosure letters, though I generally think it's good to have a third-party there to keep things from getting ugly. Finding out about years of deception can be crippling.
      Trust your instincts. Try and get your husband to understand that those suspicions exist and they need to be put to rest or your marriage won't get back on track. Even with his disclosure, you might find yourself needing time to determine whether you want to continue in your marriage.
      Please keep reading here. Many of us have dealt with what you're dealing with (including me).

      Elle

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  22. My husband just came home from a year-long overseas tour. In June, I found out he had a sexual affair and an emotional one (two different women). We started working through it. In Sept-Oct, when I was very angry (and he was still overseas), he met another woman and began yet another affair. He is now home and says he wants his family. He has cut off ties with everyone (as far as I know) and understands he has to be completely transparent. But, I just keep realizing more and more things he lied about and all the great lengths he went to just to cover his tracks. I'm wondering if I can ever believe or trust him again. And while I truly love him and want our family, I just don't know if I can live like this. And I know I should just take it slow and see what happens...but, the problem is...we're moving in a few weeks. Or, at least, we're suppose to. He's being transferred and I have to decide (like, now) if the kids and I are moving with him. I'm tempted to just take a leap of faith and move, so we can at least give our marriage a chance. But, I also don't want him to think he "got away with it." I'm just completely heartbroken...and confused. Has anyone else had to make a big life decision in the middle of this mess? Any advice?

    And thank you ALL for everything being shared here.

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    1. PS,
      I hope your husband can understand that you need the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The little lies and omissions just trigger that initial shock and pain over and over again. As a military guy, perhaps he can understand a military analogy. It's like surviving a bomb…and then responding with as much terror to much smaller bombs afterward. If there had just been one big bomb…and then nothing but reconstruction, you wouldn't feel such setbacks.
      In any case, this whole site is based on the premise that it's possible to rebuild a marriage after an affair. But whether you want to take such a leap of faith so early in recovery is a tough one. Can you delay? Let him go ahead and then follow him as you continue to see improvement and insight on his side?
      As for the "get away with it" stuff, that's something most of us feel. Like our spouse doesn't get "punished" enough when we reconcile. You need to let go of it. This isn't about punishment but reconciliation should require a whole lot of hard work on his part. He gives up a right to his privacy (those with nothing to hide, hide nothing), he spends a lot of time in counselling getting clear on his own issues and he has to live with the fact that he betrayed a loyal friend. I wouldn't want to live with that.

      Elle

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  23. Am I Over reacting??.
    I found a text on my Husbands phone on Oct 20,2012 from a woman.
    I immediately confronted him and he confessed all the nasty details. He had put an ad on craigslist in Mar of 2012 and she answered. Turns out they knew of each other as my husband had coached her son in hockey several years before. They began a sexual affair within 3 weeks of discovering who each other was. I, like the majority here was in shock. We began to reconcile because he was also distraught about what he had done.
    Then on Dec 19, 2012 I found a couple emails from an old friend from high school dating back to July 2010. Someone he has not seen in 26 years. They were sweet notes from him, flattering her etc... I went crazy!!!! I smashed his Iphone with a hammer and almost thru it at him as well. I then sent the married whores husband an email with all the nasty details of the times and places his wife had sex with my husband, including their daughters house when she was away for the weekend.

    I told my husband he had to do a polygraph because I didn't believe a word coming out of his mouth anymore. So he agreed to go as a requirement of staying together. (we have been married 25 years). As the date got closer to going he has a breakdown one night and tells me there is more...
    I think to myself, this is not going to end well. I am either going to kill him, or me, or both because at this point I am so furious and don't even recognize this person.

    The rest of the story comes out. Its worse. He has had 6 BJ, and HJ from anonymous men he found on a disgusting web site. He also had a HJ from a rub and tug.("massage parlour"). He tells me now I know it all and it basically began with a ton of porn watching in 2009,2010, then the EA with the old friend from July-Dec 2010. Then the men all through 2011 and finally the married whore from Mar-Oct 2012.
    He is open about all the details I have asked and is in complete remorse.

    My problem is this.. He swears the married whore( that he was having sex with in our van in public places,) has NEVER been in our house. If she had, we would be moving, I would sell the house immediately.

    In May 2013, I outed the whore on Cheaterville and she finds out in Sept 2013. She then outs my husband on the same site and states that he brings women to his house when his wife is out of town or working. Now I know she wants to hurt both him and I very badly because he dumped her as soon as I found out. So she likely was just lying to cause a problem but I can't stop wondering if it might be true.

    When I told him I wanted him to go for another polygraph he got very defensive and saying he has be totally transparent, and honest with me.
    After a few weeks I mention it again and he says he will go if its what I need to move forward.
    Am I over reacting? Or should I follow through and make him go?

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    1. No, I don't think you are over-reacting. And I wonder if he's hoping you're bluffing re. the polygraph.
      However, if you believe it's truly over and he's seeking treatment for sex addiction (which is certainly sounds like he is a sex addict), why do you need more details. Where the acts took place aren't really the issue, are they? Are you perhaps looking for a reason to keep distance between you out of fear? I know how frightening it is to learn what you've learned. My husband also went from anonymous women to men. He learned through treatment from sex addiction that this is fairly common. But it shocked the hell out of me.
      But will selling your home really change anything? I understand your fear of triggers. But triggers will fade with time.
      I'm suggesting, given what you've written, that you're a pretty impulsive person, especially when you feel threatened. And I'm not against the polygraph in order to determine that he's still "clean". But if it's to figure out whether or not to sell your home, it seems like you're kinda missing the point.
      My advice? Insist that he seek counselling/12-step program for sex addiction. Get counselling yourself to come to terms with all this. And give yourself a bit of time to let the dust settle. And then figure out about the big decisions, re. your marriage and your home.

      Elle

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    2. Thank you Elle for the common sense response. You are right. I doesn't matter where the acts took place, I guess I just want to know he has not lied to me about Anything since the last polygraph.
      When this was first discovered my H went to a counsellor in another city an hour away that specialised in sex addiction. I really had no idea what I was dealing with at the time. That counsellor after 3 visits told my H that he was "sexually acting out" for the past 3 years but because he had no history of this and was wanting to stay married and get help to figure out why he did this, then he wasn't truly a sex addict. So my H switched therapists to someone local who is not a SA specialist and goes once a month. We also go to a marriage counsellor together once a month, and I have my own therapist.
      For me I am still confused as to how he could do what he did and still be the man I married. For most of the 3 years he was having affairs he was also still a kind and loving husband and father. He hid it all so well that I had no idea. Hence the lack of trust on my part. I just keep thinking, if he could hide it so well once then he could do it again.

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    3. H'mmm…your husband's former therapist sounds a bit odd to me. A sex addict is someone for whom sex becomes a way of avoiding uncomfortable feelings. Whether or not someone does it long term or wants to stay married has nothing to do with it. It's a way of self-medicating and avoiding intimacy. Like any addiction, there are different levels -- some people have done virtually everything, others engage only in porn or chatrooms. But if sex is being used to avoid feelings, then it certainly is on the path to addiction. Sexual anorexia (avoiding sex) is sort of the flip side of the same coin. Again, I urge both of you to read more about it and see if it fits.
      My husband had sought treatment for sex addiction before I even knew he was acting out. So wanting to stay married and seek treatment doesn't mean he wasn't one. It meant he was an addict who wanted help before he lost everything.
      And yes, it is confusing. These guys become masters at compartmentalizing, which makes it almost easy to lie. They convince themselves that nobody is getting hurt, that they "deserve" this, that the rules don't apply to them. But behind the delusions and sense of entitlement lies a deep and profound shame and fear. Once they seek help, it becomes easier to trust them because they're (and those around them such as in a 12-step group) are so invested in their recovery. They develop a plan to help them should they feel tempted again. They have "rules" about what they can/can't engage in, including how long they can look at a woman before it crosses the line. But it works. It gave my husband his life back…and me my husband back.

      Elle

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  24. I have been married for 32 years. 7 years into the marriage I found hicky marks on my husbands neck that I knew I had not put there. I confronted him and he admitted that he had been having an affair with a daycare worker at my daughters daycare. My world came crashing down around me as I was about to tell him I was pregnant for the third time. Of course he blamed me for everything and while in couples counseling he admitted that he believed that our marriage had been a mistake shortly after we got married. We worked on issues he said the affair was over but later she informed him she was pregnant with his child. Since he was in school at the time I paid for the abortion and we went back to counseling. We have had our ups and downs since but somehow I felt pretty good until about 5 years ago when he became very stressed, not wanting to talk with me only to me. Not wanting to get involved in anything around the house. Snapping at me, ignoring me (walking around the house on weekend with his radio plugged into his ears. It got so bad that he would sleep with his radio plugged into his head. There was no touching, kissing hugging I felt total neglect yet he wanted his sex every Sunday morning. He said his work and job were awful, he would come home very late saying he had to work late to get project done, eat dinner and go directly to bed with his radio. If I tried to talk with him he would be short with me,snap at me or pick on me about something I did not do right (his way). I had become totally numb and alone. The Friday after Christmas I was in the local mall shopping when I saw him walking and talking with a woman. I came up behind them and said hi what are you doing...needles to say she sped off into Victoria Secret and he said he was just looking at the lights. We parted, I turned around to see him go into Victoria Secret and start texting. I followed him in came up behind him again and said make sure you buy her something nice, OK? After he got home he tried to act like nothing was wrong, I miss read what I saw and just leave it alone. Having been through this before I did not leave it alone. Not only is he having an affair but it is with the same woman as he had the affair many years ago. He said it has been going on for about 2-3 years. Could not tell me exactly when... He said though he had been good for 20 years..I said wow let me give you a gold star for that one please. Once a cheat always a cheat? always a lier? My kids are grown my youngest is 25...He stands to loose a lot I still want to protect my kids even though they are grown adults...I don't know if there is anything left to go to counseling for. I know I don't want to make any big decisions right away, and we have not really sat down to talk about our options. But I am thinking legal separation...I talk with an attorney to find out what my options may be... What I can't wrap around my head yet is that it is the same person as before..and how can two selfish, arrogant people cause so much damage to a family who do not deserve such pain and disrespect.

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    1. Anonymous,
      His behaviour of you has been emotionally abusive. And he's continuing to ask you to reward his "20 years" rather than acknowledging the incredible pain he's caused?? That's crazy-making.
      Don't let him twist this around. He cheated. That's the end of it. Unless he's incredibly remorseful and willing to whatever it takes to help you heal (and to heal himself and learn why he would do such a thing) then he's a really bad gamble as a husband. I think legal separation is a wise move.
      In the meantime, don't try and understand how people can be so self-centred and cruel. There is no sane reason and you're trying to apply decency and kindness to an inherently selfish situation. Better to focus your energy on how you can heal yourself and remove yourself from two toxic people.

      Elle

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  25. My husband and I have been married for 7yrs, have three kids, the youngest is 2. My HB first had an affair 3yrs ago, I found out about it and he apologised and agreed to stop the affair and reconcile. I was pregnant with my second child at the time. 4 months later I found out that he was continuing with the affair. He apologies, I just had my baby and dId not have energy to fight. A year later I found out that he had sex with some girl. I apologised and confessed that it was a one night stands. He promised that he will never do it again. A few months ago, he asked for a divorce, he told me that he wants a fresh start. He is unhappy in our marriage and wants a new life. After a lot of discussions, we agreed to work on our marriage ourselves as he does not believe in counselling. This were still not perfect but we were taking it one day at a time. Imagine my shock when I found out a few days ago that he is having an affair. It got so serious that he considered divorcing me for his mistress. Now he says he does not love her anymore, she was a mistake. He wants to stay with us specially for the sake of the kids. I am not sure what I want anymore.

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    1. I can imagine you wouldn't know what you want. He has lied repeatedly and revealed himself to be a pretty horrible husband and father.
      I'll be honest: These guys who don't "believe" in counselling are generally the same guys who just keep cheating. They don't "believe" in counselling because they're terrified that they'll have to answer some pretty hard questions…and have to take a good look at themselves and they know they aren't going to like what they see.
      I don't know of anyone who has survived betrayal without the help of a really good therapist.
      Whether or not you stay with him (and unless he was doing everything -- and I mean EVERYTHING possible to ensure that he will never ever do this again to you and his kids -- I wouldn't give him a second thought), I think counselling would also help you heal more quickly and get clearer on what you do want. Betrayal is traumatizing. It threatens our sense of safety in the world. It's important that you understand that his cheating had nothing to do with you. Something in him is broken and he's seeking it in other people -- distracting himself from his own issues.
      You're not doing your kids any favours by staying with someone who doesn't have enough respect for their mother to be honest…again and again.

      Elle

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  26. Hi Elle,

    I only found out my husband has cheated on me for the second time a few days ago. I was shattered. It has been two years since the first affair and it is still the same woman.

    It was in December 2011 when I first discovered my husband cheated on me. I saw the text message he sent to her expressing his love. He told me that they only ever exchange messages and that there was nothing more to it. I naively believed him then but later found out that their relationship was far more than just that when her husband (yes, she is married) caught them and bashed the crap out of him. I thought he would have learnt from that experience and stopped the affair but they continued seeing each other secretly for another 6 months. I gave him the ultimatum then because I could not continue living my life that way anymore and threatened to expose them to her husband. It was then that the affair stopped, not immediately though.

    We agreed to rebuild our marriage after that. I chose to stay because we had young children. And now two years after I find myself in the same situation again and it is the same woman. I confronted my husband and he confessed that he initiated it April last year because he was curious to find out how she was doing (apparently she is trying to reconcile with her husband too) and one conversation led to another.

    I am completed shattered, Elle. I look back and realised that for the past 2 years of trying to rebuild our marriage that I was the only one doing the hard yards whilst he just continued living his life the way he wanted to.

    I do not know what to do. It hurts so much. I desperately want to be happy and do not want to go through this again but I do not want my children to grow up without a father and I do still love my husband very much.

    Elle, do you think my husband deserves another chance (God knows how many I have given him already). Is it possible to fix this marriage? Can this man really be trusted again? HELP!

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    1. I'm so sorry for what you're going through.
      The only time I advocate for second chances is when a spouse has hit bottom and recognized that he stands to lose everything that matters and is willing to do whatever it takes to rebuild his marriage. Then and only then. Otherwise it's a recipe for heartbreak.
      What do you think? Is he willing to be totally transparent and give you access to all his devices/passwords? Is he willing to undergo marital counselling to learn how to rebuild a relationship decimated by deceit?
      If not, spare yourself the prolonged agony. Your kids won't grow up "without" a father, they'll grow up (as roughly half of children do) with parents who don't live together. It doesn't mean you can't each be a wonderful parent.
      I'm not suggesting you divorce. I'm just suggesting that you make sure he deserves that second chance if you choose to give him one.

      Elle

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    2. Thanks so much Elle for responding.

      I have yet to have a discussion with him as to what I want out of him to help me feel secure about our relationship if I do give him the chance. At this stage I cannot even think of anything that would make me feel secure again.

      I do not think he wants to undergo counselling as I did suggest he consider seeing a counsellor on his own to help him resolve the issue he may have. His reaction was "how good are they besides scamming off your money".

      I will sit down and talk to him and give you an update :)

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    3. How do I share my story?

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    4. H'mmm…I thought there was a box to write in and then hit "publish" but maybe, because I'm the moderator, the site looks different to me. Can anyone tell me what they did to post their story? Sorry to sound like such a dolt. :)

      Elle

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    5. To the other Anon,
      I don't have much patience for the "they're just scamming me" school of thought. These people have years of training in how to help people deal with serious traumas and addictions and deeply rooted issues. To dismiss every single one of them is like saying all lawyers are crooks and all doctors are quacks and all mechanics are cheaters. I suspect it's his way of protecting himself…but I certainly don't think it's helpful. There are a lot of people who believe that seeking help for personal issues is a sign of weakness. But most of us who know better understand it's a sign of strength to seek help with problems that are bigger than we can reasonably cope with. From the sounds of it, he's kinda screwing up his own life, not to mention yours.
      I personally would not have stayed with my husband if he refused help. As it turns out, my "tough" husband who, like your husband, thought psychologists were for other people, ended up recognizing how deeply abusive his childhood was and how it was continuing to affect his actions decades later. It helped him develop a relationship with his mother who, prior to his seeking therapy, he could barely be in the same room with her. It helped him with his job because he no longer simply resented things, he learned to ask for what he wanted…and often received it. So overall, it improved his whole life, including being better able to relate to our kids and be a better father. He's now a total fan of psychologists.

      Elle

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  27. I am 66 years old. My husband (also 66) and I have been married almost 45 years. 6 months ago today was “D-Day”. I discovered from emails on my husbands phone that he was having an affair. I thought my heart would explode! He was leaving the next day for a short trip so I decided not to confront him until I could consult with an attorney and with a marriage counselor. When he returned, I told him I had learned about his affair. First he denied it, then when I asked for the password to his secret email account, he realized I must know something and then admitted to cheating. I told him he needed to decide if he wanted to stay in the marriage or leave. He said he wanted to stay. I gave him a list of ‘rules of reconciliation’ that included our seeing a marriage counselor and ending his affair at once. He agreed to both. We began counseling almost immediately. But wait, it got the worse! During counseling I learned my husband not only had this affair, but had been cheating with 7 different women over the past 7 years. Never one at a time, always multiple women. He maintained a 5 year affair with one woman, a 3 year affair with a second woman, a 2 year affair with a two of them, and shorter affairs with 3 others, all during the same 7 years!!! He was having sex with one woman or another on average twice a month. And I (stupidly, foolishly) never suspected a thing!! I trusted him so completely that any hint of infidelity that might have drifted through my mind was immediately discarded as impossible. The pain and hurt and anger have been with me now almost every single minute of every day and night. I have cried so much I can’t believe I still have tears, but here they are again. BETRAYAL is all I can think about. Despite it all, I can’t help that I still love him so I made a decision to do everything I could to try to save our marriage. The first three months after D-Day were horrible. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I couldn’t concentrate or focus enough to even read a magazine. How could he!!!??. I think I am attractive and in great shape for my age - I never let myself go even after 45 years of marriage. I am smart, and funny, and interesting. We had a good sex life. Why did he need all those women? What did I do to deserve this? What was wrong with our marriage? What was wrong with me? And to make it worse, during counseling he was so defensive, and he continued to lie about things. Those new lies just about drove me to the edge. He said he was “depressed” and that his depression was the reason he cheated. How can I believe that?? He still made the choice to cross the line. Even after his depression was gone he continued to cheat. In fact it seemed to escalate. He continues to say he “doesn’t know why he cheated”.

    Still, I am beginning now to see a little hope, a little light. During the second 3 months my husband seems to have decided to fully commit to our marriage. He has vowed out loud to demonstrate how much he loves and adores me, and how important it is for him to regain my trust and respect. And to give him credit, he is now the most amazing husband I could have ever asked for - attentive, loving, communicative, supportive. He declares he has no desire to cheat ever again. I don’t know what to believe! How can I trust this person? Is this for real? I have not made up my mind yet whether to stay or go. How long does it take to make this decision? How long does it take for the hurt and anger to dissipate? How will I know when I am safe? Will I EVER feel safe?

    If there are other older women going through this, I would love to hear from you and your experience. Did you stay or go? What helped you decide?

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    1. While I'm not an older woman (though I sure as hell feel like it some days!), I think the feelings you're experiencing are pretty universal. The whole "doesn't know why he cheated" thing always drives me a bit nuts. How can people be so un-self-aware? Don't they WANT to know? I couldn't imagine doing something so contrary to my own value system...and not doing everything in my power to figure out why I did it. I think the answers lie in the stories he was telling himself when he was cheating on you. What was he telling himself (that you couldn't be hurt if you didn't know? that he deserved a little pick-me-up? that life is short??) that made it okay for him to do something he'd promised he wouldn't do? Does he have any insight at all?
      The reason I ask is that it's hard for you to feel safe when you don't really understand what made you unsafe. It's like surviving a fire. If you can understand what caused the fire (smoking in bed, for example; faulty furnace) and can take steps to remove those hazards, you'll undoubtedly feel that another fire is less likely and therefore allow yourself to trust that you're safe. If, on the other hand, you don't know why the fire started and have no idea what to do to prevent it from happening again, you'll likely feel frightened and nervous and hyper vigilant about anything that looks/smells/sounds like fire again.
      I would insist that he seek counselling in order to get to the bottom of why he cheated. His promise to not cheat again isn't enough. It wasn't enough the first time (marriage vows and all that) so why should you trust him again. You need evidence that he's taking steps to ensure he doesn't go down that path again...and that he has a plan should he begin to feel tempted for whatever reason.
      As for your own feelings of hurt and anger...they do dissipate with time. But they dissipate a whole lot faster if you're able to see that he recognizes just how hurtful his actions were and takes steps to protect you from ever having to go through that again.

      Elle

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    2. Dear anon 66 yr old.
      I am an older woman as well. I am currently 59 and my husband is almost 67. It's been nearly 2 years since the first discovery for me and a year since the last D day discovery. You are not alone in your feelings. The experts say not to make any crucial decisions for the 1st year. I think that's wise advise now that I'm past that 1st year after final disclosure. Most of the time our husbands don't want to further hurt us with any other admissions after they have been found out. They think it will just cause more pain. Which is true, but not what is needed. We need full disclosure and you need to be the one to make the decision about how much detail you want. Keep in mind the more you know, the more you have to work through. However you need to know as much as you need to help you not wonder for the rest of your life if you've got the whole story. I'm a year out and I still think BETRAYAL everyday as well. But it's not as strong as it was and you will get through this. Please get the counseling and if possible get into a group specifically for betrayed wives. And if your husband is willing - he should be in a group for sex addiction. This is what my husband and I are doing and we are finally getting to where we can talk about things without (me) going nuclear. My husband and I have been married 38 years and he also had - a lot - of other women over a long period of time. There are a lot of reasons why they do what they have done - - and none of them make very much sense to most of us wives. You are in very good company here and Elle has such words of wisdom and counsel. Be kind to yourself and give yourself the gift of time to know what it is you really want. There is hope and there is help.

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  28. Elle and Barb,

    Thank you for your kind words - they mean so much. Elle, I love the fire metaphor. Barb it is nice to know you are there with a similar situation and took the time to write. I think I love you :-)

    My husband and I have been in couples counseling since D-Day. He insists he does "not know why" he cheated. He is not willing to explain except to say that he was depressed and his depression caused him to do this. There was no diagnosis of depression, and he seemed OK to me, and in any event from my perspective this does not seem to be the real reason, just an excuse to avoid responsibility and introspection. Or is it possible perhaps he knows exactly why and refuses to discuss it (or as he says, "go there")?? Why would he withhold this?

    My husband refuses to admit that he might have a sex addition. He insists that he does not so will not get counseling for it. Our counselor has been quiet on the subject.

    Do you recommend that I get individual counseling? This seems somewhat counter-productive to our current couples counseling. I don't know what to think!

    Again, thank you. It is wonderful to have a place to share.

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    1. It's hard for me to speculate why your husband may not want to disclose what was going on (assuming he understands) or why he doesn't want to pursue therapy. I know, for many people, therapy is frightening. They convince themselves it's for crazy people. That they don't need their head shrunk.
      My husband was one of those. It wasn't until he'd hit rock bottom and was given the choice to continue to make bad choices...or figure out how to make healthier ones. Given that your husband is in couples counselling, he's at least willing to accept that perhaps he doesn't know how to rebuild his marriage on his own.
      I don't see individual therapy as counter-productive at all. In fact, I would recommend it. For you to have a safe place to examine all the feelings that betrayal has triggered in you will only make your couples counselling move more quickly and be more productive. It certainly can't hurt (unless you get a counsellor who doesn't understand affairs and urges you to get past it, in which case, find another counsellor).

      Elle

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    2. Anon 66
      I agree 110% with Elle. I would just add that shame and denial are a big part of why some men don't think they've got a problem. I'm also not sure why your counselor hasn't brought up the sex addiction, but then I don't know how far along in counseling you guys are either. You might speak privately to the counselor and ask what their vision is for the future in moving you forward. I would just encourage you to trust the process. Sometimes we get in a hurry because we want our lives and marriages back and to feel normal as soon as possible. This is unfortunately not a quick process. My husband fed me trickle truth for months and it was like prying it out of him with a crow bar. I exploded regularly, which I don't recommend.... However, he finally did figure out when he hit rock bottom that the full and painful owning of all that he had done over the course of the last 27 years of our 38 yr marriage was absolutely necessary for HIS healing. He could not be free of the bondage until he owned it. And he is free of the guilt and shame that covered his 'other' life and infected both our lives and our family. Keep the faith. We are all here for you.

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  29. Thank you both for your comments. I spoke to our couples counselor yesterday about my having individual sessions and he was not willing to do so himself since he is committed to working on the marriage with us as a couple, so I will pursue an external counselor for myself. I am delicately attempting to move my husband in that direction as well, but he is resistant. He had about 2 years of individual counseling 3-ish years ago for what he said was work-related depression, but he NEVER mentioned his infidelities during counseling in those two years so it is obviously quite difficult for him to be introspective about this.

    Barb, you are a year or so further along than I am in this painful process and I so appreciate your input. I have a couple of questions - and Elle, any of your experience is invited as well:

    I find that I am exploding regularly as you did, Barb (things build up and the volcano erupts). It seems impossible to hold in the anger - what did you find detrimental about this, and what did you do to prevent the explosions?
    My husband admits to only the last 7 years (out of 44 years of marriage) of infidelities, but I suspect this has been going on longer than that. Did your husband admit to the length of time right away, or did you need the crowbar? Same question for the number of women?
    Right now, the woman he had the longest affair with continues to contact him after we told her not to do so. In our last request 3 months ago for her to cease, we said we would contact 'authorities' (ie restraining order) if she continued contacting him. This week after 3 months of no communication, she sent my husband at least two emails (that I know of). I would like to proceed with filing a restraining order, but my husband prefers to either ignore her completely, or send one more 'cease and desist' email. What do you think would be the best solution?
    Thank you and everyone here for your sincere empathy and support. I am trying to find a live support group in my area, but so far there seems to be nothing. Perhaps I will start one!!

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    1. Dear anon66,
      First let me say that I'm so sorry you are still having to deal with an OW. My first reaction to your question of whether or not to file a restraining order is YES - absolutely! But giving it more thought however, you might be wise to ask yourself some questions first, such as what you think or perceive the outcome of a restraining order would be. Is this woman married and if so does her husband know? If she is and he does not know, I would consider telling him.
      Secondly, I can only speak to my own situation and what happened to me. I by no means have any grounds to give anyone else advise. Betrayal hurt goes very deep and I still have times of falling into a pot hole occasionally. Triggers are something we all have to learn how to handle. But by all means give yourself a little grace where exploding is concerned. This is trauma and you go in and out of shock. In my case I heard it over and over again that I had every right to be angry. But then when I would explode the counselor would be very concerned and he kept telling me that my anger outbursts were a sign of something deeper. As I'm coming to the 'other side' of those first days, weeks and months, I can say that I have learned what he said was true. Having said that though, sometimes you just have to blow a gasket otherwise there can be many more leaks everywhere else and then everything will come apart. We need to let off the steam that has built up in our pressure cooker. Your husband needs to see and hear your pain. Don't be too hard on yourself. I posted my story on this wonderful site that Elle has provided as a result of her own betrayal. I would encourage you to go to the page heading "Finding Out". I posted Dec. 17. There's 4 sections!! It might answer some of your questions. The only other 'advise' I can give is to JOURNAL. As crazy as it sounds journaling has helped me to release some of that steam that used to explode. We need some regulators. Something to slow us down. This is the role of journaling. It slows us down, allows us to think and gives us a chance to become more self aware. Journal notes chart our progress over time and allow us a wonderful map of our journey. And then, read, read, read. I have a whole list of books and a couple of web sites that are awesome. If you want, I'm more than willing to post them.

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  30. As an 'older' woman of 63, I have been married for 33 years and found out just over a year ago that my husband was having an affair with an ex girlfriend. We were working things out between us and the last year has contained many wonderful moments as well as the no infrequent 'explosions' you describe. However a couple of months ago found out that he had another affair with the same woman over 18 years ago and that they have remained in touch since then until last year. I feel my emotions have gone backwards and I have to start the repairing process all over again. The need for transparency and disclosure does not appear to belong in most cheating husband's vocabulary as they scramble to hide the extent of their cheating, not realising that this makes an ability to trust again even harder. I am assured there has been no one else but do not know whether I am being told the truth even now. This week as I go for tests to see if I have cancer I really need his support and he is there for me but I cannot feel secure.

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    1. Dear older 63,
      I have totally been where you are, except for the cancer part. I hope your tests are negative and I know you really need support. My husband and I were 9 months into our 'recovery' when things started not adding up and then I actually caught my husband in the back of whore's van. My re-set button had been pushed many, many times before that awful day with trickle truth. But that particular day the re-set button was set back a long way. The rug of your world has just been jerked out from under you yet again. In my husbands case of actually being caught with his pants literally down (and my adult son saw this as well) that was his 'come to Jesus moment'. He knew at that moment that he had just sacrificed his whole family for a moment of pleasure. It wasn't worth it....and my husband was finally broken. When it was all said and done and I finally had the entire story it encompassed the past 27 years and 12 sexual encounters - either emotional/and or sexual. Many many sex chats with women online. I can tell you that it's very hard to know if you have been told the truth......even when you really do think you know the truth. You keep expecting another shoe to drop. I'm in a program specifically for betrayed wives and what I am learning is invaluable. One thing I can share is to not believe your husbands words.....believe his actions. If you and your husband have not been to counseling, please, please seek someone to counsel with. It's very important to your physical health to be able to release some of your emotion and have a place to put it, so to speak. Counseling can give you tools to help you through the explosions. Above all take good care of yourself. God never said life would be fair or we would be free of challenges....but He did say He would be there to walk beside us and carry us when we feel as though we can't go on. Please let us know about your tests, and rest assured that prayers are being sent your way.

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  31. Dear Anon 'older' woman 63. OMG I am so very sorry to hear you have to deal with possible cancer on top of the infidelity issues. I will be thinking of you and hope your husband is present for you every minute. Please let us know how it goes.
    - Anon 66 year old

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  32. Thank you for your replies and the concern you show. I should have test results in a couple of days and my husband is being there for me and is showing all the concern I would expect. However the comment about 'waiting for the other shoe to drop' is very apt. Truth is what I want but I can never be sure that I have it. Rebuilding our marriage has reversed back a significant amount with the latest revelations. Counselling is something that I now feel needs to happen once my health issues are clearer.

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    1. Anon 63. The good news is that I don't have cancer. However I did have a rather large growth removed which cold have turned malignant but which was caught in time. I have to return for 3 monthly check ups but all should be well. I found out about my husband's affair shortly after he had emergency heart surgery so I can partly understand those who only found out after their partner died. I did point this out to him and he was stunned to think what this discovery would have done to me. I really think that the 'distancing' of emotions during an affair is a strong factor and that the male psyche is totally focussed on what they want ie. sex with another partner at any cost- without any thought about the effect on others. We shall continue trying to rebuild. This site does help me realise that there are so many common factors and behaviour patterns after the discovery of an affair and that it is normal to 'see-saw' through mistrust and suspicion. I hope I now have the full story but I will have to wait and see. Thank you for your messages of concern and well wishes.

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    2. I'm so glad that the cancer was just a scare. As if you don't have enough to deal with!
      And I'm always thrilled when I see women on this site supporting each other. We need each others' shoulders and compassion and warmth. Yay for all of you!

      Elle

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  33. I have been with my S/O for 12 years & I just now discovered yet again that he is being unfaithful. Looking back I can see a long pattern and realize most of the time of our relationship and then marriage he has been cheating. I am coming to grips that this is not a relationship this is me repeatedly allowing someone to walk all over me. I am done and am now just pulling the strings to unravel everything.

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    1. Anonymous,
      I think you're wise to move forward without him. Some people will simply not change...or at least not soon enough to make it worth staying with them. Let him have his craziness and move on. I do urge you to heal yourself from this so that you can recognize unhealthy relationships. Being in one for a long time can make us less aware of what they really look like. You deserve happy.

      Elle

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  34. The first time I discovered my husband was cheating was in 2008. My second child was 4 months old and my husband was acting really weird when I called him on his way home from the airport from a business trip. After her got home he ran out to run an errand. While he was gone his phone rang. I noticed a local number and something made me google the number. I had known there were issues in our marriage and he had been acting VERY strange the past year. I googled the number and it turned out to be an ESCORT. I could see her ad, her photo....... and it was the most sickening, devastating moment of my marriage. When he walked in the door I was sitting at the computer desk in the kitchen with the ad open. I looked at him and said "HOW COUD YOU?" and I have no idea what happened after that. I'm pretty sure he denied it at first. Then he was on his knees saying "I did NOT cheat on you, I did NOT cheat on you" and crying. I was paralyzed. I remember being crumbled to the floor while he told me that he had lost his way and that he had called to "find out how it works" and then chickened out and hung up. He was beyond remorseful. All I fet was SICK. SADLY we had a house full of people flying in the very next day for our sons Baptism and I was trapped in my own private HELL. I had to pretend we were this happy family while all the time feeling this sick warped sense of reality. Who had I married? And then I began to blame myself. I had focused too much on the kids. I had known we had issues but not done anything to fix it. He wanted his ego boosted by a blow job from another woman......to make him feel like a KING is what he said. The thing I should mention here is he was turned OFF by me while pregnant and nursing. The first 15 months of our marriage he never once initiated sex............ and when we did have it I felt like he was uncomfortable. Eventually I stopped initiating. That was only one of many issues in our marriage but the fact he had called this woman and denied ever having done anything I clung to and believed. We went to therapy and I thought things were a bit better but I felt traumatized every week when he left on business or was on his Ipad at night.....I felt sickened having sex with him because I would imagine him with various women in my mind. I felt turned off by who he was. I lost all respect. At the same time I blamed myself.......... fast forward to 4 years later. He literally had stopped looking at me. No eye contact, spent all his time on the IPAD....... and was acting different during sex. Referring to me as "baby" and talking in a weird voice if he was drunk during sex. One day I went through his phone and saw a number he had called. Wrote it down and forgot about it. Just before Thanksgiving I found it in a pile of papers and googled it. AGAIN it went to an escort........... one located where he traveled for business. IRONICALLY once again we had family in town and I could not confront him/make a scene. I was trapped in a living hell of hiding my hurt. I confronted him and turns out he had a voice mail in his wiped clean phone that he missed from a DIFFERENT girl. He was in pure denial saying he got a RUSH from calling them and demeaning them by asking what they would do for money. A year later we've moved to a different state and he is sticking by his story but I am tortured by nightmares finding out the truth. I'm in therapy and it is almost pointing out I married someone I don't know. He is a better husband and I feel the 100% change in him but I can't trust that this won't happen again. Some of the driving factors seem to be beyond any need I can meet. I don't feel hopeful that we can make it long term. And I'm here still for my children mostly....... :(

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    1. Anonymous,
      Whether or not your husband is actually having sex with these excerpts, his behaviour is risky and indicative that there's something going on in his mind. My guess is he's watching a lot of porn, which quite literally changes our brain's wiring, making real-life sex difficult and often disappointing.
      In order to rebuild the trust in your marriage, there needs to be full disclosure of everything he's been doing. There's simply no other way. Given that he doesn't think he's done anything really wrong, that's going to be tough. But I think you, at least, need to get to see therapist to talk through this with someone experienced in recognizing what's going on. And I would also insist that he see someone. Nobody crank calls escorts unless they're 14-years-old.

      Elle

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  35. Help. Nearly a year ago, I discovered that my husband had been having an affair. Over the course of several weeks, I uncovered the truth, which was that he had been hiring prostitutes (earlier in our relationship), watching porn and trying to meet up with random women on sex sites (often engaging in cyber sex). This had been going on (on and off) for nearly all of our relationship, which was 15 years. Needless to say, it was the most devastating time of my life, made more difficult by the fact that we had a 7-month-old baby. (I actually wrote some of my story here back then.) After a brief separation, we reconciled once he got himself into therapy, started attending sex addict group meetings, and I felt that there was a future in the relationship. We have worked really hard over the past year, and are still seeing a joint therapist.
    Today, I was at his work and while he was out of the room, for some reason I checked his internet history. I found that he had been looking up the woman I caught him in an affair with nearly a year ago. When he came back into the room, I asked what was going on. He confessed that he had created a new Facebook account and had messaged her, asking if she still thought about him. He hadn't received a reply, and had shut down the account, told his therapist and his fellow group members (but not me).
    I don't actually care what he was doing; the point is that I feel he has destroyed all the trust we have built up over the past year. What is the point of a relationship without trust? He swears there is nothing else, but I have heard all that before, and although I want to believe him, I am struggling to believe that this was the only time he acted out over the past year. I should also say that we had a brief setback a couple of months into the reconciliation, when I discovered he had been looking at pictures of attractive female friends on Facebook. It seems like a small thing, but I found it unacceptable in light of what had happened. He agreed and was really apologetic, and seemed to understand that it was trust, not what actually happened, that was at the heart of the issue (it would have been so different if he'd confessed it, for instance).
    To make matters worse, I am currently pregnant with our second child (which was unplanned). Our first is still only 19 months old. The thought of raising two children as a single parent terrifies me, but how can I continue a relationship with someone who can't be trusted? What would you do in this situation?
    In all other respects, he is a wonderful partner. He is a fantastic, hands-on father, and our son absolutely adores him. He is really helpful around the house and is always offering to do stuff and suggesting I take it easy. We were working hard at connecting through our therapy sessions, and I felt cautiously optimistic about the future.
    I just can't believe I have found myself back here again :(

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    1. I'm so sorry for all that you've had to go through. And I know how devasting it is to dare to think the worst it over, only to discover it's still happening. With addiction, as you no doubt know, relapse is common. And though it sounds as if your husband came clean with his group, there needs to also be some mechanism to ensure that you don't feel cut out of his recovery. You need to be careful to ensure though that you're not managing his recovery. But if there was some mechanism whereby he could tell you if he'd slipped, it would reduce the shock and fear when you stumbled onto it. As you note, it's less WHAT he was doing than that he had hidden it.
      You ask "how can I stay in a relationship with someone who can't be trusted?" The truth is, he can't be. He knows that. You even know that. He's an addict. They're the world's least trustworthy people unless they're in a program where they're learning to control their impulses. His program is his lifeline. As long as he's working his program, he's far far less likely to relapse.
      It's all still quite new for both of you so there are definitely going to be hurdles to clear. It would certainly help you if you understood the nature of addiction and was kept better informed about how he's feeling about his own recovery (ie. a confession). It's important that you begin to feel safe in the relationship, even with the acknowledged challenges of being with an addict.
      Could your couples therapy be a place where you discuss his challenges and your challenges and determine how to meet them together?
      I don't ever want to encourage anyone to stay in a relationship they don't want to be in. But I sense you do want this relationship -- you just want it without the early difficulties of wrestling an addiction to the ground.
      I know addiction from the sidelines. It's so hard. It's so easy to feel disempowered and out of control. Because you CAN'T control his behaviour. But you can control yours. The more you can get really clear on your own ability to navigate your life -- to trust your own instincts and your ability to survive -- the safer you'll feel. The better you'll be able to detach from his struggles.
      You can get through this. It sounds as if your husband is a decent guy mightily struggling. That doesn't mean you have to stay with him. It does mean he might be worth staying with.

      Elle

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    2. Thank you so much for your response, Elle. It helps to hear from people who "get it", because sexual addiction is such an unknown for most people. The thing is, I didn't feel cut out of his recovery before. He would come home from therapy and group meetings and tell me all about it - or so I thought. In the beginning when I asked him what would happen if he felt like acting out again, he would say "I just can't ever imagine doing that again". Of course, that made me feel uncomfortable, but I think it was actually the truth at that point. Later on, he said that he would contact someone in his group and tell me. Of course, that is much easier said than done. I keep thinking back on the past few months and wondering if I should have pushed him more about this and whether that would have made a difference. But *I* didn't cause this. These weren't *my* choices.
      His recovery was held up in the beginning I believe by seeing a therapist who didn't think he was an addict. I thought that was good news at the time, but he's had a lifetime of this behaviour and is seemingly unable to control it, so I don't think she was right. He started seeing another therapist a couple of months ago who treated him as an addict and supported his work in group meetings. He also hadn't started on the steps AT ALL, despite buying a book about them, and that bothered me - but I resisted saying anything for a long time because I thought his recovery really had to come from within him. I still believe that.
      You're right that I did want this relationship. I tried really, really hard to make it work. But, at this point I am completely over it. I cannot see a way back from this. I am terrified about the prospect of raising two young children on my own (especially when the new baby arrives), but the alternative just seems so much worse - being in a relationship with someone who I cannot trust, ever. I told him last time that I never wanted to be in this position again, and he swore he would never do it to me again. And yet here I am. I'm not going to keep going back for more. It's abuse, and I deserve far, far better.
      This time, I'm not wasting time on trying to find out everything I don't know. I simply don't care. He betrayed my trust again - that is all I need to know. My focus now is looking after myself and my child. I know there are going to be some really hard times ahead. But one day, I'll look back on this (like I did the last time), and it will all be a bad dream, and I'll be amazed I got through it (yet again).
      Anna

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    3. Anna,
      Yes, you will get through this. I hope you'll keep us posted. And I hope, for the sake of your kids, that their dad will wrestle his demons to the ground.

      Elle

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  36. My husband cheated on me the second time, I just found out this valentines day, and I still feel that I love him and can't be away from him, I feel like a crazy person even after he did it to me again and I still want him, but yes I don't trust him. Isn't it gonna make him feel that he can keep cheating on me and I will still show love for him no matter what he does?? Will this not give me encouragement?

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    1. Anonymous,
      An affair can sometimes trigger that feeling of "can't be away from him" but I think it's important for you to ask just why you feel so terrified of losing this guy. He's cheated on you. Twice. Why aren't you absolutely furious with him? You gave me a second chance and he blew it. Why? What is it about HIM (and this is on him, not you) that allows him to function with no moral code? Does he have a moral code?
      I'd urge you to look into co-dependence and see if it sounds like you. You deserve someone who values you and, if he messes up, does everything he can to ensure that he makes up for it and never does it again. Who doesn't want to hurt you.
      Yes, if you let this go without any real commitment on his part to change (and I don't mean promises, I mean actual actions, such as seeking therapy), you can expect more of the same. You don't deserve this. But you need to believe that you don't deserve this. And then demand better.

      Elle

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  37. Thank goodness I found this website. I was starting to feel like I was going to lose it and all the posts and stories are keeping me sane.

    Here's my story: My husband cheated on my 6 years ago with a co-worker. We weren't married, but in a long term committed relationship at the time. It sucked. We got through it, stronger than ever, yadda, yadda. We got married almost 2 years ago when I actually finally was feeling totally free of pain of the infidelity.

    I found out in September he cheated on me again. The first time I found out from the other woman more than year after the fact. Honestly, for the first one I knew it was going on deep down, but didn't want to admit it. This time I was completely blindsided. We were (I thought) very happy. The only thing is that his job takes him out of town a lot, especially in the summer. The other woman is an ex-girlfriend of his and someone I know he had a pretty deep connection to but she (get this!) cheated on him all those years ago and got pregnant with another guy. She hurt him pretty bad. He tells me he never really felt closure. (I have been with him for more than 12 years!) I knew about all of this all before the affair happened -- well, I can't say I knew he didn't feel closure. (I thought we had a very close and open relationship...)

    Anyway, I figured it out this time pretty quickly, confronted him and he immediately confessed to it. He was actually with her when I called him and came home immediately. Her partner of 9 years had suddenly died and she reached out to my husband in desperate need for a friend I guess and then things got out of hand.

    Of course my husband didn't tell me he was talking to her as a friend. He claims that he tried to get her to have dinner with us or something because she and I would actually really get along, but she's really shy or whatever. That's the story.

    The thing is, I truly do feel bad for her loss. My heart breaks for her. Then I hate her. I want to bash her face in. It's all so confusing. I think, well at least the man I love is still alive. We can fix it. We can work it out. Her partner is gone. If I was in her shoes would I care if my ex was married? I know she's not to blame.

    That was 6 months ago. I was starting to feel better. My husband and I went away and have had so many conversations and are so open with each other now. But all of the sudden it's all hitting me again. I mean, I thought we had this awesome marriage before and I was wrong. I'm obsessively monitoring his calls, his facebook, etc. I even find myself checking HER facebook, google+, tumblr account, etc. and getting upset all again. I don't know what I'm doing. I try to tell myself that it's because she said she was moving out of state and I'm trying to get some proof of that, but I don't know if that is it. Am I crazy?

    Then tonight I thought, I could just send her a message. I haven't had any contact with her whatsoever thus far. For some reason it didn't even occur to me that I could contact her. What would I say anyway? She didn't hurt me, he did. She is most likely in a lot of pain herself. She's almost not even real to me honestly. And I don't know what kind of reaction she will have. I really don't need more drama. I drafted this whole very sweet letter and just would ask if she did move and if she has stopped contact with my husband....but it seems pathetic. I just want some sort of contact with her and I just want to know she's out of our lives for good.

    Honestly, though, even if she would respond would that make me feel better? I just don't know. I haven't send the message to her yet.

    Should I contact her? Any advice? (And thanks for reading this novel)

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    1. I'm so sorry for all you're going through. I've no doubt that many of the feelings triggered by your husband's first affair will resurface. Six months is really not such a long time.
      I don't advise reaching out to this woman for a couple of reasons. The first is that, pain re. death of partner aside, this is a person who cheats. She cheated on your husband and she cheated WITH your husband. Her boundaries are somewhat fuzzy and she clearly doesn't worry too much about who gets hurt, except herself. You know this about her.
      Second, I think you're looking to her for something you likely will never have -- a guarantee that your husband will never do this again. By keeping tabs on her, you're giving yourself a false sense that you can control his actions. You can't. You never could. You never will. It's something all of us need to realize, especially those of who've learned the hard way via a spouse's affair.
      What you're experiencing right now -- the hyper vigilance, the anxiety -- is pretty standard post-betrayal trauma. Have you sought any counselling for yourself? You've suffered a deep loss -- the loss of the marriage you thought you had, especially after giving him a second chance already. You're likely grieving and without the support that this ex-girlfriend has.
      While I can actually understand your husband's feelings of non-"closure" re. his ex-girlfriend, I'm not sure that's enough to justify what he did. There's more to it than that, I think. Some story he's told himself that allowing him to cheat (twice! despite knowing how painful it is for you). I think to both ameliorate your trauma and improve the likelihood of your marriage surviving long-term it's important for both of you to really understand what allows him to make these choices. I fear you're being a bit too understanding, at the expense of your own feelings. I wonder too is some of your feelings of rage toward the other woman (which we've all felt, believe me!) are really feelings of rage toward your husband that you're redirecting.
      In any case, this is all stuff I think you'd do well to examine with a therapist. You've been wounded deeply and that takes time and compassion and support to heal from, none of which you'll likely get from the serial cheating ex-girlfriend.

      Elle

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  38. My story is a little different. I really did make poor choices early in our relationship and the stuff my marriage was built on was not your ideal situation. Although I feel I do deserve some of what I got, I did make it clear that I wanted better and to be better for our kids. We had some good years and we have great children, but unfortunately my idea of never to late to make things right, hasn't stuck and we are still flailing about in the sea of love.

    The thing I am seeing in this blog alot, is the manipulation and truth-shifting that the cheater does to make you feel "crazy" or like you are somewhat responsible and should just "be positive" and "let things happen". What a crock of s&*t! The bottom line is that I don't know the whole truth and he is not going to fill in the blanks, yet wants to just move forward because he says so. My story is so beyond belief, I think people may be shocked, yet very understanding because although my story might be an extreme, when it was happening, everything seemed so minor because it happened in small increments, however, when you put it all together it is like a wave of malignancy that just kept gathering in size and inertia that nothing could stop it! I think a lot people who have been through more than one "scandal" can relate to that.
    So here we go. My current husband of 14 years was my second husband, and although my first husband was a drunk, I didn't think he was a cheater, alcohol was the other woman. I met my first husband through a friend of mine. It was bizarre. It was my first big night out after my separation and she explained we were going to meet a guy, who she said was her "boy toy" - he was 7 years younger than us. Well the three of us ended up having a little too much fun. I had never done anything like that before. I figured that was the first and last time. However, the boy toy was interested in me! He started pursuing me and my two children, and before I knew it we were moving in together after my divorce! Needless to say, my friend was not happy with us. I had insisted that we tell her and we did pretty quickly. I asked if she understood and was it okay, since she really wasn't interested in him for anything but a fling, but she was still very upset. Of course, she got her revenge by sleeping with him after we started dating. At any rate, we decided to marry after a couple of years and just before that happened, my friend decided to sabotage the wedding by threatening my husband that she was going to tell me about their affair, since at that point, I had no idea. So he acted in what I have come to know as typical guilty behavior such as making things worse by staying out all night and informing me that he doesn't really want to get married. I told him to just tell me what happened and we could work it out. It happened a long time ago and I wasn't just going to throw our future away over something that happened while we first were dating and obviously was her way of getting revenge - basically letting him off the hook! This would come to be a pattern that happened year after year! Every friend I ever made, he either tried to engage in flirting, wife-swapping, or girl on girl action! Finally, after I did some research, I suggested he was a sex addict. I had lost all my friends through alienation because of his behavior and stopped throwing parties, or doing anything fun with anyone. I became depressed because I thought that I was not in love with my husband and he was not in love with me, otherwise, all these horrible things wouldn't keep happening.
    see next post:

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  39. We tried counseling, separately and together, but never followed through. BEWARE! Don't go to counseling and then blow it off prematurely! He will say, "we tried counseling and it didn't work". make sure you research your choice of therapist thoroughly. You may feel in a huge rush to get to someone to have your feelings heard and validated, but you want HIM to hear and validate your feelings, and it takes a special person to listen to your story and not "choose sides" and make sure no one feels ganged up on, yet carve a path to the truth.

    I know my story includes me participating in some deviant behavior and since I made such a poor choice by pursuing a relationship with my friend's part-time boyfriend, why should I be surprised by his unfaithfulness? What did I expect? That is really what makes it so tragic.Of course, I felt awful and I was very surprised that he was wanting to see me again. In fact, my friend is the one that helped him get us together! He REALLY wanted me. I was flattered, and we actually made a good team. He was fun yet responsible and much different than my lazy ex-husband. We quickly hit it off and bonded. We put together a pretty damned good life. However, that little issue of the circumstances under which we met continued to come back to haunt us. we would discuss how much I detested the alternative life-style or any other sexual antics with people outside our marriage, yet it continued to be a theme throughout the marriage. He would promise me again and again that it would never happen again, and he was sorry, he thought that's what I wanted. If he got caught in a lie or flirting behind my back, he would say "I was telling her that you wanted to fool around with her". He was adamant that it wasn't for HIM it was for ME!!! Even though I told him over and over, that's not what I wanted, he would conveniently forget and just fall back to that old argument again and again. When that game finally ran out, guess what? Things got better right? WRONG! Next step, just go ahead and step right out of the marriage. If he couldn't keep doing it in front of me, then he just went ahead and made arrangements behind my back. Think 23 year old girl who works for him. He took her to lunch with our 12 year old daughter and talked about her being her step-mom. And when I found out. Remorse? I'm so sorry? NOPE! He ran to her apartment and was caught there. It was Christmas Eve. Talk about Christmas being ruined forever! Anyway, he didn't fire her until end of February exactly a year ago.

    So where does everything stand? I don't have the whole story. Just last week he admitted a few more things. He said he wanted to be 100% honest so we could move on and told me more details, but nothing earth-shattering. He wants me to believe that months of texting and flirting at work and several nights where he was gone out all night, but the only thing that happened was an embrace. They were so strong! I should be proud of them actually.

    So can anyone tell me where to go from here? I can't stand the thought of the "truth" about his relationship with this girl continuing to trickle out! I saw that term in this blog and that's when I had the light-bulb moment! For all I know, he is still carrying on with her!!! I don't believe anything he says anymore and not just about cheating. I don't trust him with our business, money, he's disrespected me to the point I don't even know him.

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  40. Part one: I discovered your site four years ago when i received an email at work from a woman telling me that until the day before she been having an affair with my husband. For the past two-and-a-half years. She lived in a different city and my husband travelled often for work and was able to see her as often as he wanted. I did not suspect, although i knew something was very wrong with our marriage. I had teenage children entering the important years of their high school studies and, having read this and similar sites, decided that i would see if we could work our way through things. We did have counselling, but my husband refused to be open with me about technology use etc. which was difficult as distance meant the emails and text were their key ways of communicating and his mistress sent me many, many emails he had sent her which were extremely hurtful. That was May - around October/Nov my husband was in the shower when his phone started vibrating beside his bed. I didn't realise it was his phone, but when i reached over to check what the noise was i found texts that were intimate. We were then both made redundant as a result of the recession that followed the GFC. I found other work quite quickly and my career has been fine since then; he could not and after six months accepted a two year contract in a country on the other side of the globe. He had managed all of our money - i had always earned much more than him and thought this was a way of evening up things. Over the next 12 months he pretty much emptied out joint account - including a large sum of redundancy money i had received - and in the end i had to go to the bank and block the accounts and open new accounts in my name with the little money left. He refused to ever explain what had happened with the money. I had to threaten to go to social services before he agreed to start contributing to the costs of the two teenagers still at home.

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  41. Part two: Over the past 12 months i have scrimped and saved and got my bank balance back to something that doesn't keep me awake at night, but its been really tough. About six months into this new regime he came home for a break. The day before he arrived i was tidying up the house and found an old visa bill which showed he had spent more than $1000 in one day on lottery tickets and flowers. I suspected these had been for his mistress, as he was in her new home town, but he denied it and said that he had bought the lottery tickets because 'he was the lowest he'd ever been' and the flowers were for a friends mother. He stayed in the spare room, but he was so charming and the kids were so happy to have dad home that i relented.....a few days later he had friends over as it was the last night of his break. I happened to walk across our family room and found a phone - which i realised was his - and it was flashing with new messages. From another woman. I was beyond furious - he said it was because of the upset over the money and i had been cold towards him. My teenage daughter overheard the argument that ensued and my anguish. It was horrible. He then left and flew away. How convenient. He swore he had ended the relationship when he got back but i have no way of knowing if that happened, and tried a little harder to stay in contact. In the meantime i had a new, really senior role, and was relishing the professional opportunities it provided. He made one more short visit before the end of last year and was due to come back permanently next month. As i started thinking about having him back in our house and my life and started feeling anxious and scared. He'd had two affairs that i knew of, cleaned out our savings and had no job to come home to. I tried to find roles he could apply for and event got him an interview through a contact but it didn't progress. In the meantime, i started not being able to sleep and it was affecting my relationship with my kids so i started counselling again (I had gone to see the same woman when the money issue blew up). After two sessions i had a nightmare which involved my husband sitting in a towel at what looked like a night club while somebody read out all of the things he had spent our money on. On the other side a young woman who was like a Shakespearean actor speaking off-stage but telling me of all the other affairs my husband had had that i didn't know about and how he had boasted to others of taking advantage of me on numerous occasions. I woke up at 3am with a sense of dread and realised that i couldn't go on in the marriage. I had a counselling session that day and the next day sent my husband a text in the other country to say that the marriage was over. I only feel a sense of huge relief and sadness at the time i have wasted giving him so many second chances. I wonder if your advice re keeping on trying is always the right one - i don't say this as a criticism and in the first few months after finding out about the first affair they were a life line, but i do wonder now if i would have been better to cut my losses then and their not waste so much precious time, and lose so much money, for somebody who does not deserve to have a relationship with me...

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    1. Anonymous,
      That huge sense of relief is clearly evidence that you've made the right choice. Be prepared that you might not feel it all the time. You might still have moments of doubt. But come back to it...and remember how good it feels to not have his crazy in your world.
      I'm sorry for all you've been through. I do, however, want to clarify that I never recommend one course of action over another. I honestly don't think I could ever know what's right for one person. I know what worked for me and I don't regret my choices. But I'm constantly aware that I'm only getting one side of every story...and that I don't have all the details. Even if I did, I simply can't know what's right for anyone but myself. So I'm certainly sorry if you interpreted anything I said as a recommendation to stay and work it out.
      I'm glad, however, that you feel clear on what your next steps are. It doesn't sound like he deserves a relationship with you. You're wise to recognize that his attempts to blame you for his cheating are total bullshit.
      And I wish you all the best going forward. I hope you'll keep us posted.

      Elle

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  42. Thanks Elle - I have read some your blogs and advice again and you are remarkably even-handed with your advice. I just wanted my family to stay together so much I pretended to myself that his failure to try and change was ok. Even now he has not given me the respect of responding to my message about wanting to end the marriage. He wants the kids to blame me for ending things which is the ultimate crazy making trick his his very large arsenal....

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    1. Your desire to keep your family intact is completely understandable. And betrayal is shocking -- it takes us time to really wrap our minds around what it means for us. But when one of the partners continues to be dishonest and disrespectful, it forces your hand to, at the very least, create strong boundaries. Nobody should tolerate that. Your job is to treat yourself with respect and demand that others in your life also treat you with respect. It sounds as if he's going to challenge your strength in this. Stay firm. Do not let him use the kids as pawns, though you may have to do some de-programming with them. Don't bash him, though it will be hard. I hope you have a therapist who can help you work through all the nonsense he's putting in front of you and your kids.

      Elle

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  43. So me and my husband have been married for 3 years and he has had 2 affairs that have resulted in 2 children the first we were separated and the second happened as soon as we started working things out the baby's are 14 months and 1 week. As you can tell one of them has just been born and that is killing me. I know my marriage is still so new so I almost feel like it would be easy to just end it and start my life back over... But I don't know what to do exactly. I'm so alone on this my friends don't have advice or what to say because most of them aren't married. I'm only 21. I feel so alone and there are children from the affairs walking talking symbols if our marriage... He hasn't brought them around because he knows it will distroy me but I have told him later after I heal they can come around. I just don't know what to do I have googled everything and looked everywhere and I can't find anyone with my story that can relate... I just don't want to feel alone anymore and I want a happy marriage back... Not the hurt that these women have given you these children... One of them is a girl which hurts the most because another women has given my husband his "daddy's little girl" it kills me I just sit and cry on days!

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    1. Catelin,
      I'm so so sorry for all the pain you're in. You are so young and your marriage is so young.
      I'm curious why you're willing to give this guy a third chance when he's already betrayed you. These children are entitled to his financial support until they're 18. What's more, you'll continue to be tied, in some way, to their mothers.
      What does this guy bring to the table besides pain? How is it that he was unable to remain faithful to you? Does he have any track record of being faithful? Does he truly recognize the depth of his betrayal to you? Has he never heard of condoms??
      My gut feeling is that this guy isn't safe bet for long-term marriage in which there will no doubt be tough times. Marriage is about sticking WITH each other through all of the tough times, not jumping into bed with another woman at the first sign of difficulty.
      I wish I could offer you more support in regards to staying with him but, if you were my daughter, I would want you to get out, figure out why you'd even consider putting up with this at 21, and hope that you had enough self-respect to walk away. Even marriages that have incredibly strong foundations have a tough time surviving cheating. Your marriage doesn't have a foundation yet so you're building it on nothing but sand right now.
      At the very least, please find yourself a counsellor who understands infidelity and can help you through this. There's so much pain involved and you need to heal in a way that makes you stronger.
      I do wish you all the best as you navigate this. But please know that I, and everyone else on this site, just want to ensure that you get yourself to the best place possible -- whether with him or without him.

      Elle

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  44. About 4 months ago I found my husband of 12 years was having an affair with a friend. She was living right down the street (10 houses or so) with my sister in law and I was completely blindsided. We had just got home from a family outing with our kids and he fell asleep on the couch, I looked over at him and giggled because his phone was half in his hand and half out about to fall on the floor. I went to out it on the table and there it was. The text between them open. Not only was he cheating but had the balls to do it with me 5 feet from him. I was pissed. He woke up real fast and tried to lie right away saying she was asking about a song. BS! I am not dumb. So he changes the story to harmless flirting. Then they have been doing it for about a month. I made him go with me to my sister in laws and confront her. Same story with her. Never been physical. Well I got no sleep and started looking for evidence. I find I love you's, pictures and then finally after 20 more lies I bust him on he says yes he slept with her. I was destroyed right then. We stayed in the same house and eventually I decided I wasn't ready to give up on my marriage. I asked questions, he answered, we started counseling and he seemed really remorseful but I was stuck. I felt that there was more than what he was telling me. A month after I find out I get a letter in the mail with no return address and no signature saying my husband had an affair with another woman. I broke again. He swore it was a lie. I called said other woman as we were close friends ( my husband just got out of the army and she was a fellow soldiers wife) and she swore she would never do that. My husband and hers were bf! Well I still couldn't shake this feeling so I kept digging. Took me another month but I found the hidden email account that told me they were both cheating liars!! I snapped. I told my husband where he could go and texted hers the evidence I found as I thought he had the right to know. This is where I am still lost. I have lumped all of this into one big 2 year time span that my husband cheated on me. I have sworn I will leave if it happens again but in the meantime I can't move on. I think about all that his has told me. He has given details I didn't even ask for but hasn't lied since I found out the whole truth. He said he was trying to limit the hurt after I found out about the one in dec so he didn't tell me about the others. I call BS again. It's a constant struggle for me to move forward. I feel like the hurt is too much at times and when I'm not hurt I'm mad as hell. My kids know, they are struggling at times and I am just lost. (He told the kids so they didn't find out other ways) I know I want my marriage and my family but how do you get past the hurt and frankly the humiliation of it all. These were friends of mine that we hung out with all the time while he was cheating on me with them. His family knew and said nothing, he let me believe these women were my friends and trust worthy to leave my kids with. I just feel so stupid for not seeing it and then again for staying with someone who treated me with such little respect and love. Has anyone else felt this way?

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    1. Yes, yes, we have ALL felt that way. Humiliated and angry and defeated and so deeply hurt.
      Please recognize that much of what you're feeling right now is still shock. Betrayal is trauma -- it threatens our sense of safety in the world. It shakes our belief in who we can trust and, worse, it shakes our ability to trust ourselves. If we can't trust our own instincts, we think, we can't trust our ability to keep ourselves safe.
      You need time to absorb all this and really figure out where you go from here. You've been betrayed on so many levels. Your husband's belief (and I do think he believes it, even though it's a lie) that he didn't tell you everything to "protect" you from further hurt, doesn't help things. It's the lying that undoes us. It's the level of deception that really wounds us.
      It might be wise to take some time to sort through this. If you're even considering reconciliation, I think your husband needs to understand just what will be asked of him. Total transparency, total disclosure of what's happened, and a total commitment to do whatever you need of him to rebuild your trust.
      I'm sure you can imagine just how frightening this is also for your children. I hope, again, that he'll support them however he can, with the understanding that they have every right to be angry and disappointed in him. I hope, too, that you'll reassure them that you'll be okay. Because you will. I know it feels like hell on earth right now, but you will get through this. You can trust yourself. Your instincts were right on in many ways.
      Please also know that the only person these people have humiliated is themselves. There's no shame in being an honest, loyal wife and friend. The shame belongs entirely to them. Whether they're big enough to make amends remains to be seen.

      Elle

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  45. I've been reading these letters and crying. I am so ashamed of my stupidity. I have suspected my H of cheating almost our entire marriage. But when I confronted him he always reacted so hurt, crying, saying I was the only thing he lived for, couldn't believe I doubted him, would do anything to prove how much he loved me, he must be a real screw up to make me think he had cheated on me, etc.............I would cry too and beg him to tell me the truth. But, I always gave in and tried to believe him. But, things kept happening to make me suspicious. He treated me fairly well, That sounds terrible. He was never mean, but just seldom made me feel loved, often seemed bored with me. He always worked and would say that working to take care of his family was all he cared about. It all seems so crazy now. About two months ago something else happened to make me suspicious, and I decided I had had enough. I stopped talking to him. I was trying to decide what to do. I had never done that before. I had always confronted him with my suspician. He knew something was terribly wrong and after two weeks he confessed that way back in the past he and a friend had picked up two women at a bar and had sex with them. He said he was so ashamed, and that he hadn't told me because he didn't want to hurt me. I told him to tell me the rest, and he said that was the only time. I said I didn't believe him and he put on the same old show. After a few days he suggested we see a counselor. He continued to lie to the counselor and after two visits he asked to see a different counselor (the first was a woman, he wanted to switch to a man). After a session with the second counselor, I told him I didn't want to continue because he was continuing to lie. That night he told me about several other incidents, which he said was all. When again I told him I knew there was more, a few hours later he told me about one more. He says the last time was 20 years ago. I know there is more. But it has been over a month and he still says he has told me all there is. We have been seeing the counselor but he just encourages us to talk. I can't work on this unless I know what I am dealing with. I now trust my instincts and there is no doubt there is more. He has been crying a lot during the past two months. I couldn't take his pain and deal with my pain too, so I asked him to leave about three weeks ago. He has rented a house about three miles from here. He went to his PC who prescribed Xanax, which has made him alittle less emotional. I didn't go to the last couselor meeting. I told him he needed to work on his problem before we could even start working on our relationship. We were together 45 years. We have children and grandchildren. I still love him and care about him. It hurts so bad to think our marraige is over, and we may never have the retirement we planned together, and it was so hard to tell our children we were seperated. I am beginning to feel better. I am actually much better when he is not around. I just go back and forth trying to decide what to do. I still cry often. I don't think he will ever tell me the whole truth.

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    1. Please, please stop telling yourself you were "stupid". You weren't stupid. None of us were stupid. We were doing the best we could. Your instincts were right, though, and that's important to notice. Begin to pay more attention to them.
      And you're also right in that, until he can come clean and be honest, there's little point in trying to rebuild a marriage. Some guys can do it; others can't.
      But while he figures out which guy he is, you need to start moving forward in a way that ensures you will be okay no matter how this turns out.
      Give some thought to whether you're grieving the loss of the dream of the rest of your life, or whether you're actually missing the man himself. The separation is a good thing, I think. Gives you the chance to focus on yourself and makes it clear to him that you're no longer putting up with his idiocy and lies.
      And don't feel like you have to make any decisions right now. Most experts recommend waiting for your emotions to settle down first (six months to a year, most say). At that point, you just might find that it's obvious what you should do next. At the very least, you've had time to figure out what this means for you financially and practically (housing, etc.).
      Hang in there. Whether or not there's more to come (and I'm sure you're right that he hasn't disclosed everything), you're going to be just fine.

      Elle

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    2. My husband still insists that he has told me everything. I still don't believe him. He has been crying every time I see or talk to him. He has been crying for three months. I asked to talk to the therapist alone, and I asked him if this was normal. He said "no". I asked him if he might be so upset because he is still hiding something. He said he didn't know. Then he said I should move on. My husband has been doing everything I have asked him to do to make things right, but I still thinks he is lying. I thought I could handle leaving him, but what the therapist said ripped my heart out. Things have not always been good, and he did cheat on me multiple times, but he has also been my best friend and always there when I needed comforting. and now I am falling apart and I want so much for him to hold me. What he did hurts unbearibly but leaving him hurts just as bad. I thought I was getting strong, but now I am in such deep dispare I don't know if I can bear it.

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  46. I have three D-days. The first was Halloween night 2013. I went to bed after handing out the last of the candy and was just about asleep when I heard a “Bing” from my husband’s computer. It was the sound of a Facebook message. I got up and opened the screen to his laptop. The first thing I saw was an open IE window of a porn site. I was shocked. I never thought my husband would look at porn. But given the lack of intimacy between us I was not surprised that he was looking at it. Then I looked at the other open tabs. They were escort sites for escorts in cities he had been to, or was going to go to, on business. In my shock I was thinking rather clearly. I grabbed my cell phone and took pictures of the sites. I looked at his computer for almost an hour and then put it to sleep and left it exactly where I had found it. I waited until the next night to look at his computer again and found even more sites and dating profiles. I kept what I had found to myself for almost a month. When my husband asked what was wrong I got up from the couch went to the bedroom and opened the laptop. I said “this is what’s wrong” and threw it at him. I don’t remember what I said in the yelling crying fit that ensued. I told him not to touch me. I said he was a lying bastard. I was convinced from what I had seen that he had been cheating on me with escorts. He told me it was all just fantasy and there was nothing more to it. I only partially believed him. I began searching for proof he had met with escorts. In my searching I found some backed up email files and on a whim began to look at them.

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  47. part 2 -January 22nd 2014 D-day two. While looking through the email files I found one from the OW. I know her as an acquaintance but not much more. This email contained content that made it clear there was a “more than friends” relationship between her and my husband. I called him immediately and confronted him with what I had found. He admitted to an emotional affair with her that was physical via kissing and make out sessions. That she had performed oral sex on him once early in the relationship but that he refused to have sex with her. I didn’t buy it. I knew that there was more he was not telling me. His affair with the OW started in 2007 just shy of our second wedding anniversary and ended by mutual consent in July 2009.

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  48. part 3- March 20th, 2014 D-day three. While trying to find some proof that he had sex with the OW I found a TracPhone. On this phone were txt messages between my husband and escorts. He had met at least two according to the messages on the phone. Tired of having to have proof of his lies I asked him again if he had ever met with an escort face to face. He said “no”. I told him I knew it was a lie and that I had proof but was not going to show my cards. That if he really wanted to repair our relationship he would have to come clean of it all without knowing what I knew. I needed him to be honest with me. So after ruminating on it for a bit he confessed that, not quite a year after ending the affair with the OW, he contacted his first escort and she gave him a BJ. There were a few others and then on a trip out of town he contacted another one. This one started giving him a BJ and then decided to climb on top of him. He had sex with her and four others over the course of about a year and half the last one being in May 2011.
    My anger knows no bounds. My husband is the only man I have been with and to think he threw away the only gift I had to give him on a bunch of whores makes me want to scream! He couldn’t screw the OW that he was emotionally attached to but had no trouble screwing four random women! He said after screwing the first escort and the line had been crossed it made it easier to do it again. Every time I think about it I could vomit. So here I am not quite a week from getting STD tested; still waiting on the results. Yeah, there was lots of hysterical bonding after finding out about the first affair; when there had been no bonding in three years. I took off my wedding ring last week. I have not put it back on. It occurred to me that we had not been married in six years. Part of me wants to leave so bad but fear of the unknown sets in and I stay. I love him or I love the man I thought he was. We are seeing a therapist and reading books on affair recovery. I am on the fence as to if I will stay or go. A lot of that choice depends on him. I am so glad I found this site. Your thoughts and words have helped me so much these last few months. It is nice, in a morbid way, to know that I am not alone. That someone else knows my pain. I just don’t know where to go from here.

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    1. I am so sorry for what you have been going thru and I understand how you feel….My husband which is also my high school sweetheart (25yrs together) has been having an affair for the past year and a half that I just found confirmation of a month ago. This isn't his only affair there, have been 3 others that I know of but I love him and we have a bond that I can't explain that keeps us together. We are separated currently because after my recent finding I opened pandora's box to the family of his infidelities and I didn't know what else to do. I was angry and all I wanted to do was run and not look back, but after he and I talked he opened up about everything to me and we are working on our and we want to make our marriage work but he is not coming back until he feels that the two of us can get past all the hurt and not look back to the past, just look to the future. I don't know how I am going to get thru this I went to a councelor but that didn't work out to well I feel one way but no one else understands why I feel the way I feel or why I even want to make our marriage work. All I can say is that I am following my heart and yes I do have anger and hurt but my love for this man outweighs the bad. I am hoping to find support from others that have been in my shoes and have made it thru to the other side with their spouse. I'm glad I found this site where I now know that I am not alone in this situation as well. Just follow your heart as far as you can…that's what I am trying to do (I don't know if its the right or wrong thing to do but it's all I have to go on right now)

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    2. Thanks for your kind words. The STD test results were negative for both of us. That was a bullet dodged and a weight off of my shoulders. I am still in shock at what he did. I still struggle with how he could do it and be so "normal" every day. I really feel that my husband is broken in this and wants to fix what he has done. He is trying to be a better person and I can see that. I just wish he had felt this desire to fix us six years ago when he started the first affair with the OW. Then maybe we could have fixed it then. We don't have kids. He baulked at the idea when I brought it up after our 3year aniversery. I think we could have had kids by now if he had been willing to fight for us back then. Six years of my life wasted in a lie of a marriage. I am trying to follow my heart but some days it is very hard to want to give him ths chance when he never bothered to give me a chance six years ago.

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  49. Hi,

    I am about to marry a man who has cheathed on me. Once, twice maybe 3 times. I always find out by checking his phone when he gives it to me to pick up a call or reading his facebook messages when the iPad we share has him logged in. I do not spy on him but since the first time I realized he was cheating, I do not trust him.

    2 days ago, I caught some sms on his phone to the one he had cheated on me with last year. He was telling her about his plans this summer (we may need to separate and live in different cities due to work reasons) and making plans to meet up with her. When I confronted him, he just said they were only sms but he was not planning anything seriously. She is a married woman stuck in her unhappy marriage but does not even think about divorce. My partner says he is not looking for any relationship, and accepts that he likes playing but does not want to hurt me. He says he is sorry but would never accept opening his email or phone to me. His privacy is very important to him. He tells me the stories half way. I can feel when he is lying and when he is being honest. I know we love each other very much and we have gone through a lot together so when he asked me a couple of months ago I did not think it twice and I said yes, let's get married. I do not want to lose him because he is a wonderful person but like all, has his weacknesses.

    He keeps on saying he is sorry and he is even more sorry that I am being hurt but I am not sure how is this going to stop. Yesterday he accepted to seek for professional help but he acts as if nothing has happened and tells me that I am the one who needs to build the trust again. He makes it sound as if I was the one who needs to do the work and not him. I am very angry and feeling a big sorrow inside at the same time. I can forgive him but I can not forget and I am not sure if taking a bit of time apart from him will help at all. I guess, end of the day, I am even more scared this happens again the day we have kids as we are already planning to form a family. Will I be able to move on? Are we, women, too dump that we accept the partners we are with even knowing they cheat on us? Is this a weakness or do they take advantage of our condition of woman? Thanks for your help.

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    1. This man has shown you very clearly who he is, someone who cheats on those he professes to love. This won't change. He's not remorseful, doesn't think there's a problem (except in you) and will lie to avoid dealing with things he doesn't want to deal with.
      To marry this man thinking life is going to be any different than it is now (except worse, especially when you have children) is a huge mistake.
      This isn't about "women" and "men". This is about someone who is dishonest and a cheater. And about someone (you) who is essentially saying, by marrying him, that this is okay with you.
      We teach people how to treat us. You're showing him very clearly that he can continue to lie and cheat and there will be no real consequences. Would you allow your child to lie to you without consequence?
      This is about you needing to have enough self-respect to tell him that you will not marry him unless he seeks help for his issues (and they are HIS issues, not yours). To be honest, I'd get as far away from him as possible. Will it hurt? Absolutely. But it will hurt for now. Marry him and you can count on hurting for a whole lot longer.

      Elle

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    2. Hello and thanks for your tough reply.
      I agree that going ahead with the wedding is not a good idea and I am pretty decided to call it off but I also think I need some time and space to think this through.

      I have been living in my partners country for the last year and he has always been extremely caring of me (I do not speak the local language). As I mentioned in my previous message, he has also agreed to seek for help (he does not deny he has a problem but he wants me to forget and move on, hard to explain). He has also agreed to call the OW in front of me to tell her this is totally over (let's see if he does it but these are my 2 conditions to start with).

      He talks of us in the future as if he did not want to believe that we may not be together anymore. I am not sure how to read this. I am just sure that everyday that passes by I need more from him to make this work and I can not act as if nothing had happened like he does. I think he is ashamed. He finds it hard telling me what he has done and has not because he is embarrased. I am not trying to defend him, I am just trying to say that he is vulnerable and probably a coward but he has made me very happy (and very unhappy at the same time) and I do value the effort he has put in the relationship.

      But we need to work hard on this (and I write while my tears are rolling down like mad) and for now I have decided to go away for a few days.

      First time we are going to be apart in the last year as we currently work (from home) and live together. This is hard as one feel lonely when has noone to share these things with. Thanks all for allowing me the space to share my sorrow. Thanks Elle for your thoughts. If I decide to stay in this relationship I will blame myself, and only myself in the future if he does it again so whatever it's the final decision it will be my stupidity I guess.

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    3. I think you're wise to give yourself some time. You're clearly not stupid. And what your boyfriend is doing is extremely common -- wishing you wouldn't talk about it, the shame, the confusion. He's looking for something outside of himself to fill a void inside himself. It's probably issues from long ago that have nothing to do with you. But by cheating it DOES have something to do with her -- it causes you pain. He needs to address those issues to figure out why he's risking something that he wants (you). Until he can get clear on that, he'll likely continue to behave in ways that are so painful for you...and ultimately self-destructive to him.
      So don't let him sweep this under the rug. It's too important. It's the rest of your life. Insist that he deal with this. He's lucky you love him enough to give him the chance to be his better self. I hope he sees that...and does what he needs to do to deserve you.
      It seems confusing but the best thing you can do for yourself AND for him is not back down on your insistence that he deal with this head-on.

      Elle

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  50. Part 1: First of all, I want to say that I am really happy that I found your blog. It's very helpful. My husband first cheated on me before we were married. At the time, he had 2 one-night stands with different women that he'd picked up in bars. He swore up and down that he had cheated because he was actually not serious about marrying me - and wanted to see if he could find the same chemistry with other women. He was ashamed, he cried, he begged me to take him back (it had happened months before I found out) and once it was over he realized that he actually did want to marry me. It was a lame-ass excuse but I believed him. I believed that once we were married, he would stay committed - even if not for me, then at least for his faith in God (which he is actually a religious guy - sometimes). Fast forward 14 years, and 10 days ago, I now found out that he has been addicted to porn and dating websites for about 4 years. In December 2012 he finally cheated for the first time (since marriage), and again twice with a prostitute, and another time with another woman he met online - this one was in August of 2013. I find out by accident because I came across a recent email where he was trying to set up an appt with the same prostitute again, and several replies to craigslist ads. I am beyond devastated. Actually, I'm experiencing just about every emotion that you describe in your blog. Like so many women I thought I would kick him to the curb, but it's just not that easy. I can't imagine a future without him. He swears he's so ashamed and has vowed never to visit another dating/porn style website again. He's started praying again religiously (which he'd stopped for a couple of years), although it's hard to say if that will continue. I hope it does. What hurts the most is that after finding this out, I've been digging in to every website that he had become a member of, and finding old transcripts of chats with these other women.

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  51. Part 2: I can say that based on the chat histories that I have read, he has pretty much come clean about every encounter that he's had. He chatted a lot with both online women about the possibility of meeting again, but they both cancelled a few "dates" on each other, so he never met either women more than once (only the prostitute that he saw twice). I know I probably shouldn't be obsessing about the chats, but I can't help it. Every day I keep reading the sexting history between them. One of them is more painful than the other. One of them, they sexted like crazy before their first date, and after that they were barely cordial in their texts to each other. But the other... they kept reminiscing about their "hot" day together, and he frequently made snide remarks about me - how boring I am, how he has to beg for sex and whatnot. Yet, I have reminded him, that as much effort as he put into chatting and flirting with those women, he didn't put ANY effort into chatting with ME, flirting with me, buying me gifts, complimenting me, NOTHING. How am I supposed to be all excited for sex with a guy who doesn't have a nice word to say to me most of the time?!!! Ironically, as pissed as I am at him, I'm also experiencing "hysterical bonding" - after four days of crying and being completely pissed at him, we've been having amazing sex. But I'm still hurt and still suffering and even though d-day was only 10 days ago, he's already asking me to please stop obsessing about it. So I shared your "letter to husbands" blog with him and I'm hoping that it helps him to understand why I can't just "let it go" while I'm still reeling from the pain. Unfortunately, because I've made the decision to work it out with him, there's not a single one of my friends that I can talk to about it. I don't want any other person to judge him or me or our continued relationship in spite of his betrayal. So that's why I'm sharing my story here.... because I appreciate the moderate and insightful tone of your blogs, and I just needed to tell SOMEBODY (other than my husband) about how much I'm hurting right now. Thanks so much for being here.

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    1. I'm glad you found us too. It's crucial to have a safe place to share what you're going through, find support and compassion and get clear on your feelings around what want to do.
      Your husband sounds like a sex addict. The high of sexting/meeting, the need for "chemistry". It's less about the sex than the seeking of sex. It would certainly be worth looking into by both of you to see if he fits the mould. But it sure sounds familiar.
      You're in for quite a ride. For starters, he doesn't get to decide how long it will take you to stop "obsessing". This is trauma for you. It will take years for you to fully process. That doesn't mean you'll be thinking of it constantly for years...but it does mean that the healing timeline is really, really long.
      He needs to seek help (and praying doesn't count) from a professional. And I would urge you to, as well. Once he's clearer on why he did what he did, over such a long period of time and risked his marriage, then marital counselling comes in. But first, I think he needs to be willing to examine what the hell he was thinking. He jeopardized your health (I certainly hope you've both been tested...and are using protection until tests come back negative), your emotional safety, your physical safety, your relationship. To rebuild that takes a long time, and a huge commitment on both your parts to do what it takes.
      It's quite possible to rebuild...but his lack of compassion for your pain doesn't help.

      Elle

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  52. It has been three or four weeks since I found out--I'm not sure. Is there something wrong with me that I don't remember the exact date of "D-Day"? All I know is that I feel like I can't breathe and it's getting worse. I cannot cry. I cry a little bit here and there and it's gone. I feel like a ticking time bomb. I have tried multiple times to get in to see my counselor, but she's busy. Today I actually began to feel a heavy weight on my chest. I am falling apart and I don't know what to do.

    I have this entire story welling up inside of me that I need to get out and I just can't--It's too overwhelming. I have started to write and stopped a dozen times. I know I need to talk, but the words don't come. I've been reading what I believe to be "healthy" insights online at various websites, but right now I just want to fall apart. I'm trying to fill my mind with "positive" things, but nothing is helping. I just want to curl up into a ball in the corner of the room and never get up again. I am aching inside and it feels like I'm going to die. Maybe I never want to wake up again, I don't know. Don't worry--I'm not suicidal, although this is one of those times when I almost wish I were. I am a very strong woman and always have been, but somehow my strength has been completely stripped from me, along with dignity, respect, love...all of it. There is nothing left. I am empty. I said I couldn't cry, but the tears are rolling down my face as I type. Somebody help me. I don't know what to do next.

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    1. What you're feeling is completely "normal"...under the circumstances. You've experienced an extreme shock, not unlike a car accident or even rape, in terms of your body's post-trauma reaction to it. "Trust violation", which is what psychologists call a betrayal like this, is incredibly damaging to us. It threatens our sense of safety in the world, it threatens our sense of who we are, it threatens our belief in what's "real". Trust that you will get through this. Breathe in, breathe out. Focus on something that can allow you to escape this feeling of downward spiral. Sometimes you can focus on breathe, sometimes it's about looking at a candle flame. Anything that you lift you out of that horrible feeling that you're going down. You're not. You're fine. You're here. You're in pain, that's all. And it's not a pain that will last forever. Remind yourself of this. You will get through this. You will emerge stronger. You will emerge wiser. When you catch yourself telling those stories, stop it. Bring yourself back to your breath. Bring yourself back to only what you absolutely know to be fact, which is that you are still here. That you can handle this. You are strong enough, even if you don't yet know it. Your strength is still there, along with your dignity, your respect, even your love. But it's time to give it to yourself. To allow yourself to feel this pain, trusting that it won't wash you away. It will wash over you, but it won't take you away.
      It wouldn't hurt to put in an SOS to your therapist, telling her (him?) that you really need even a phone call. You can also visit the Web site on the latest guest post on this site. You can contact someone there who can help you through this.
      You are so NOT alone. There are a lot of us. And we're strong and compassionate and support you through this. We've been where you are. But we're not there anymore. And the day will come when you're not either.

      Elle

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    2. Part I

      Thank you, Elle. I will follow your advice. I'm hanging in there, just getting by right now. I have been able to cry a little bit which I thought would be a relief, but turns out it's just more pain. It's that awful pain that rocks you through to your soul. The kind of pain that just makes you want to curl up in a ball. It's awful.

      I've been married 26 years this past April 30th. There was no celebration on our anniversary--just emptiness. I'm sure you've surmised by the category I chose just what happened. I have read many stories on your blog. They all sound familiar. In fact, I couldn't choose which category to write under--they all rang true for me.

      The funny thing is that I knew. I knew what was going on and I asked him many times, but he lied. He didn't just lie about what he'd done, he went the extra mile to make me think there was something wrong with me for thinking such a thing. The lies and deceit and manipulation...I cannot imagine living that way and doing those things to another human being. It wasn't just one affair, it was two (that he told me about and it was like pulling teeth to get that information) and the second affair lasted five years!!! What's worse is this woman was his best friend's wife. She pretended to be my friend just to get close to him. In fact, she told me that my house was the house she was supposed to get and she wanted my daughter and my grandchildren. My husband wasn't enough for her--she wanted my life!

      It sickens me when I think back about how my husband invited them into our home and had me cook for his mistress! They invited us over for a barbecue and I'll never forget how she rubbed herself up against him and the look on their faces. He denied it, of course, and pretended like I was a jealous wife. I knew I wasn't a jealous wife--I have never been jealous. But my intuition was working overtime. I KNEW! It certainly wasn't rocket science. It was written all over them.



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    3. Part II

      My husband is in sales (traveling sales--surprise, surprise!) and we've been transferred all over the country. Everywhere we went, I pulled up roots and went along with him, smiling all the way. It was very hard to move our children and get them settled in somewhere else, find a new job, restart our lives. Not to mention how horrible he was to get along with until he began to make friends. I put up with so much over the years and now that our kids are grown, this was supposed to be our time to be together.

      He says he will never do it again and he says he wants to stay together. But I asked him why I would make a choice like that?? What's in it for me?? He has been completely selfish our entire married lives and he deliberately threw me away every single time he slept with these women. He took advantage of my love and kindness and then humiliated me on top of it. And it makes me sick to even admit that I love him. I am so angry and so upset and so shaken by this--there are no words to describe the darkness. Right now I just want him to hurt as much as I am hurting. But he doesn't, of course. I am paying the price for his indiscretions.

      After taking inventory of our marriage, I have realized that I am the only one who has been invested all this time. I have been invested in our family and in him. I have always been by his side, helping him climb the corporate ladder, accomplish his goals, etc. He was never there for me. In fact, if anything, he made my life harder by telling me I couldn't do things. I never listened to that--I always did what I set out to do, worked hard and took my career as far as I could.

      But then I came down with lupus. Within a year of my diagnosis the doctors found ovarian cancer. I had a radical hysterectomy and just afterward we were shipped off to yet another state for his job. That's where he met this woman. And she was an RN of all things!! I'm sure she thought she was "saving" my "poor husband" who was feeling so sorry for himself that he was married to someone who was "sick".

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    4. Part III

      During that time my husband even said to me, "I'm sorry--I can't do this" referring to my being sick. Then he asked me for a divorce. For the first time in my life, I begged someone to help me--I begged my husband not to leave me when I was so vulnerable. He didn't leave, but he was reluctant. This was all during his five year affair, although he conveniently tells me he "doesn't remember" asking for a divorce, which is a major slap in my face. He conveniently "doesn't remember when I ask him anything about the affair. He has only told me exactly what he HAD to say and nothing more.

      My intuition was reeling and I knew what was going on. I fired my doctors and hired new ones. I weaned myself from most all of my medication and worked with a new doctor until the lupus was stabilized on the minimum medication possible. I no longer wanted to take anything that made my mind "foggy". I wanted to be aware and alert. I wanted to improve my quality of life. Then I asked to go to physical therapy and worked my rear end off until my body was strong again. I pulled myself together as fast as I could and I fought for my husband and my marriage.

      Then another transfer came up. I told myself that I would forgive my husband and move yet again to "save my marriage". Now I'm asking myself what for??? What the heck was I thinking? This man doesn't love me or respect me and he never has. I have been in this relationship and this family utterly alone. I have been carrying the full load this entire time. There has never been anyone to take care of me. When I needed his support, he was out screwing someone else!! What the heck was I thinking?? He's a complete jackass!

      There is far more to this story, but I'm exhausted and I just cannot think about it anymore. I'm feeling overwhelmed. I just keep thinking that I'm 54 years old and my youth and beauty and life are gone. I didn't want to have nothing to show for all the years I have spent loving a man who didn't love me. I never thought I'd be here at this point in my life. But as I write this to you tonight, I can't imagine how I could have expected to be anywhere else--it's all so clear to me now.

      Thank you for listening, Elle. Thank you for your blog. I appreciate what you are doing here and I have the utmost respect for you in this endeavor. Thank you for responding to me--thank you for being here.

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    5. "Just getting by" is huge right now. That's all you need. Minute by minute.
      Give yourself time to just sift through everything. Most counsellors recommend not making any big decisions for six months (even a year) because our emotions are so erratic.
      Kudos to you for all you've done to take control of your own health. That single-minded determination and preservation will serve you well. Though the thought might exhaust you right now, the time will come when you'll have the strength to figure out what's next...and take whatever steps necessary.
      My own husband's cheating was as old as our relationship. I had no idea because I'd never known him otherwise. Though his "affairs" were mostly one-night stands so there wasn't much for me to know. He was an incredibly messed up guy. Sadly, there are a lot of them.
      Keep "just getting by." We're here. There's lots of support and wisdom from others in these pages.

      Elle

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  53. Don't say you have nothing to show for all those years. You sound like a pretty great person to me & I bet you raised some pretty awesome kids. I can definitely relate to feeling that you wasted time with someone (I myself was thinking the same about my husband (we started dating 20 years ago, have been married for 12, & so far I have found evidence of 2 physical affairs, the first one 10 years ago but I'm pretty sure there were earlier ones).

    All of the emotions u r describing I felt too. Give it time & it will definitely start to lessen in biloth frequency & intensity.

    Sam

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  54. And I can honestly say that I knew too. And when I asked him he also lied & went the extra mile, trying to make me feel bad for snooping, invading his privacy. He would say things like she's married or she has children. That's called gas lighting, where they make u question urself. It's a very common defense mechanism.

    When I say I knew, I did know. That's why I kept snooping, which my husband doesn't really understand (I don't really either). And I told him I will keep snooping as long as I suspect something more than he says is going on.

    In August first I found out about sexting, which he minimized as he was just doing it to get naked pix of women sent to him. I suspect though that he was sleeping with 1 of those women, although he hasn't admitted that one yet. With this discovery I was devastated & wanted to kill myself (only once and for about 30 seconds). But I didn't want to leave my 2 kids.

    About a week later I read an email that he had written to a woman 3 years ago admitting to sex. He minimized that one too saying they slept together only a handful of times. Although I wasn't really over that one yet, I thought our marriage was much improved, he was being honest and disclosing whereabouts etc. he apologized said he would never cheat again, that she came on strong & he was being opportunistic because he knew she would be moving our of state but he never wanted to leave me; he just wanted sex with a different person.

    Then 4 days ago I heard a whole series of voicemails from 3 different women telling him they loved him, with 1 of them saying they were naked in the pool together & another message from the same woman talking abt the last time they had sex. When I confronted him, first he said the messages were for someone else. When I explained how I heard the messages he gave that one up. Then I said she talks about being naked together in the pool & his response was that doesn't mean they had sex. At which point I said a man & woman
    Aren't going to be naked without having sex. When I said she mentions the 2 of u making love in the message he gave up trying to deny that one. Years ago I found a card from this woman wishing him a happy anniversary & he said they were drunk 1 night & made out. And I dropped it. So u weren't the only one feeling stupid, that u knew but accepted his lies. What adult married woman gives someone an anniversary card for a kiss? What is this middle school?

    Sam

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  55. Part 2:
    And although there are 2 other women leaving messages not specifically referring to sex I now see that the 2 women I thought he cheated with he did, I'm sure these other 2 I suspected him cheating with he did as well. One woman was when we wer engaged. And when I think back, I hunk there was another one while we were dating.

    So I was "stupid" too, in that I knew but chose to "believe" his lies. After the discoveries in August, he actually tried blaming me for snooping, saying the 2011 affair was over and in the past & I dragged it out. He said I never would have gotten hurt if I hadn't found out. I told him all those years I suspected I was hurting.

    He started doing the same thing 4 nights ago but this time I knew it was coming, so I headed it off immediately where I started off by saying don't even tell me this is my fault for snooping. I said the messages shouldn't have been ther for me to find. We haven't really discussed anything yet & he hasn't admitted to me what I already know but want to hear aloud. He has said he was an idiot, won't so it again, loves me, & wants to make it right. I said I need closure on the last 20 years before I can look ahead. I said we need to talk tonight & why doesn't he want to talk about it is he afraid it will upset me? He said no it will upset him. At that point some compassion appeared. Call me soft but at least he is ashamed. It's something. At least it shows he feels bad about what he did & doesn't want to remind himself. So don't think ur stupid. Many of us have done what you did & feel just as stupid. That's why were in this club. And you should read after the affair, not just friends, and Peggy Vaughn's books. They have really helped me see that I am not alone. And neither r u. At 54 u have so much life ahead of u. U sound like a resilient goal oriented person. U should consider trying something new. I started piano lessons & I love it. It was a constructive distraction and calming force in m the turmoil in my life.

    Sam

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  56. Part I

    Thank you, Sam. Thank you for sharing good insights with me. I will definitely look for the books you suggested and I will also try something new. I'm not sure what just yet, but I will begin to think about myself when I feel able. And thank you for sharing a part of your very personal and painful journey. My heart is aching for you and everyone else here as I can so easily identify with your lives. We all share something very personal. Reading your story and the stories of others is like reading a page right out of my own diary. Some of the details may be different, but the damage done and resulting pain is all the same.

    Today I am mentally exhausted. My husband and I had another talk yesterday that lasted well into the afternoon. His stories continue to change. He is notorious for "not remembering" details, events, etc. I am trying to discover a timeline which keeps changing and I am also trying to decipher what kind of relationship, if any, transpired between these two people during the five year affair, as well as the affair he had with his coworker prior to this one. He has maintained that it was entirely sexual up until yesterday, when he admitted that he was in love with her. However, later on he changed it to merely “having feelings” for her. Who knows the real truth?? If he can’t identify his feelings, I sure can’t. That’s all a part of the denial he’s in. He doesn’t want to think about it so he doesn’t have to experience the pain.

    I guess I'm grasping at straws to try to assemble some kind of puzzle in an effort to gain some clarity. I think to myself that if I can establish the true reason for his behavior, perhaps I can figure out if this is "fixable". The truth is that I don't care much about what they did in terms of sex. Sex is sex, plain and simple. I'm interested in his mindset and whether or not there is some type of instability that can be addressed somehow. If I can establish a "problem" then perhaps I can find a solution, right? Except for one thing...it's not my problem to fix. These are HIS responsibilities—not mine. If he truly wants to go forward from here, whether we are together or apart, he needs to address these issues by himself. He needs to have the motivation, the drive and the wherewithal to go the distance.

    I have spent too many years carrying the load for everything—our family, our relationship, our marriage, our problems. I realize now that I have been in this marriage alone. Do you want to hear something really sad? I asked him what my favorite color is and he had no clue. He hasn't even invested himself in this relationship enough to know his own wife on a slightly intimate level. And there are many other personal questions about myself that I asked him—easy questions to which he should have known the answers—and he knew none of the answers—not one. I have been in this relationship utterly alone. What a wake-up call for me.


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  57. Part II

    My husband insists that this part of his life is over and he will never, ever be unfaithful again. But I see this as far more than just having sex with another woman. Whether or not he's seeing someone doesn't even begin to touch his inability to be intimate. I suspect his infidelity was in an effort to escape intimacy, especially since our lives had become difficult with my illness. Pain is not something he does well. He has always relied on me to handle anything remotely painful. However, with my being "out of commission" so to speak, suddenly he found himself in a position where the responsibility fell on his shoulders and he ran like the wind. He was never there for me. He was only ever concerned with himself. There is only one thing that nags me about this...what was his excuse when he slept with his coworker?? I wasn't sick then. I was young and vibrant and beautiful—what was the underlying issue then??

    I've been doing lots of research on these issues. I know there are many reasons behind infidelity. I used to think that infidelity was merely a symptom of an already existing problem within the marriage. Now I know that I was wrong. It is a symptom of an already existing PERSONAL issue and our marriage suffers as a result. My husband has low self-esteem. I have always known this and have tried to help him with it, but I cannot give him self-esteem. That is between him and God. Self-esteem comes from living a good, healthy life—a life of integrity. The more you do to live well, the better self-esteem you will have. However, on the other hand, as you do things for which you are ashamed, your self-esteem goes down the toilet, right along with your life. I know that I am accountable for my contribution. I am accountable for assuming the responsibility for his part AND my part. I know this. It is my fault for not expecting him to carry his weight. It is my fault for not requiring him to be invested in me, in the marriage and in his family. I get it and I am no longer participating in this unhealthy dynamic. I wish I would have done something a long time ago to break the cycle.

    I know my husband didn't "DO this TO me". But it sure feels personal. I know he has personal issues that need to be brought to the forefront and addressed. But with that said, because we were married, I am suffering the consequences of his actions. My life is falling apart due to his actions. I know I have done nothing for which I should be ashamed, but I am still ashamed—it is a shameful thing.

    We have several friends with whom we had fun—many of which live right here in our neighborhood. I have been avoiding them all and I'm sure they are wondering why I am not returning their calls. I don't want to talk to them because I know they are calling to invite us to do something as a couple. I do not want to walk across the street with my husband, much less socialize with our friends. I cannot pretend to be a happy couple for one more minute. At the same time, I live far away from my family and I really, really need some friends to confide in or even just enjoy a day out. But I haven't told anyone here because I'm so ashamed. I don't know how they will respond. My guess is that they will feel uncomfortable around me and I just don't think I can deal with that right now. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but I have enough on my plate right now and I don't have the energy to deal with everyone else. I am barely keeping my own head above water. I don't know how to handle this situation. I feel isolated.

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  58. Part III

    Elle, I did finally get in touch with my counselor and she will see me this coming Tuesday morning. She will see my husband, as well, but we will be seen separately. I think he needs some privacy in which he can hopefully speak the truth, although I'm not sure his denial is going to allow for the truth. But that’s his business. I need to be able to bear my soul in a safe environment. I do not feel able to do that with him present. My trust for him is gone and I do not feel secure enough to break down in front of him. He has already caused me enough pain and I need to protect myself. It sounds terrible, doesn't it? But it's the truth.

    Well, this is all I can say for today. I'm empty and tired and I think I need to lie down. I'd like to hop on the first plane to a destination as far away as I can get, but that's not realistic. I know I need to face this head on. Running isn't going to help me. That would be my husband's MO.

    The bottom line is that I would never have done this to him--not when he was sick or otherwise. I couldn't be so cruel to another human being. I don't know who this person is that I'm married to—he's certainly not who I thought him to be. People will tell us who they are if we'll just listen. I guess I wasn't listening.

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    1. Anon,
      I hear such exhaustion in your posts. And this is exhausting. It sucks us dry.
      But I also hear you being very hard on yourself. We all contribute to a marriage, whether in a good way or not. But it sounds as if you were doing the best you could under the circumstances. When we know better, we do better. But please don't blame yourself for not doing better when you DIDN'T know better.
      Whether or not your husband can face what he's done and is willing to work hard (really hard!!) at being a better man, you can nonetheless stand proud for who you are.
      And I know how isolating this is. Can you let your friends know that your marriage is going through a tough time (no need to disclose details unless it feels safe) and that you're just not up to socializing right now. People might figure it out...but is that a bad thing? I suspect most of them have weathered some sort of marital crisis, or they will. It can help to not have to wear the "happy face" all the time.

      Elle

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    2. Part I

      Hi, Elle. It's me again writing to update on my situation and to ask some advice. It has been about two and a half months now since I found out. This thing has shaken me so hard, it feels like it has stripped me of everything. For the first time in my life I don't have a plan; no direction whatsoever. I don't know where I'm going at all. I feel like a blind woman walking through the woods with snakes and bear and wolves all around me. I'm afraid and I'm lost and I don't know which way to turn. I keep praying, but I don't even know what to pray for anymore. I'm just asking God to point me in the right direction. If I need to experience pain in order to heal, then help me bear the pain and stay by my side so I'm not alone. I'm asking Him to provide me with whatever I need to get through this because I really don't know what I need. It is so hard...it feels like I'm alone--so alone. I'm afraid--I am. Where do I turn? What do I do next? How do I protect myself? The hard fact is that I can't protect myself from this--it's here and it's tearing me apart. Even though I suspected what was going on, it still blindsided me. I didn't see it coming. I thought it was about to happen or had maybe happened once. I was really taken aback when I found out it went on for years and there was more than one woman. That's what blindsided me. It really shocked me. What I thought I knew was nowhere near the reality of the situation. It didn't even begin to scratch the surface. How can you protect yourself from something like this? How can you pick up the pieces? How can I ever feel anything ever again? I feel crushed...really crushed.

      I'm having a really bad day. The pain is so severe, even my chest feels heavy. I have this terrible emptiness inside. Elle, you and other women talk about how you've managed to have an even better marriage as a result of your husband's infidelity, but I can't imagine how that could be possible for me. What about trust? What about self-esteem? How can I continue to love this man while staying true to myself? That just feels wrong to me on so many levels. I just don't see that happening here. It's not about forgiveness--that's the easy part. I can forgive him, but that doesn't mean I want to share my life with him ever again. I don't hate him. I wish him well, I really do. But that doesn't mean I'll ever trust him again. How can I? Growing old together means that you really and truly care for one another. It doesn't require perfection in either human being, but it does mean that you trust each other to make decisions on your behalf when you aren't able to do it for yourself. It does mean putting each other first--above yourself and all others. It encompasses so much responsibility and so much love, and my husband has completely torched our entire foundation with his selfish, self-centered, destructive behavior. I just don't see how these things could ever resurface after such devastation. In place of trust, I feel the need to protect myself from him in every way. However, having said all this, at the very core of my being I don't want my marriage to fall apart. And then I ask myself what is wrong with me--why would I want to remain with someone who has disregarded me and disrespected me in every way possible. I just don't know...

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    3. Part II

      Nothing makes sense to me. I am searching for some kind of understanding--anything--and there is none. My whole world has come tumbling down around me and this time, I just don't know if I can pick up the pieces. I'm tired. I have spent so much time asking questions and trying to figure out why or how he could do such a thing...it's exhausting. There is no "fixing" this; no erasing it; no making it right ,and no sweeping it under the rug. How can I accept something I can't understand, much less accept it and move on with my life--with or without him? I just don't know how to do this. It is so very personal. Even though I didn't do it, I'm not responsible for it, it wasn't done "to" me or done "because" of me or even because of some shortcoming of mine. Even though I am aware of all of this, somehow this is still as personal as anything can be. I am devastated. I know I'm a good human being. This is not shaking me as a woman--at least I don't think it is. But it is shaking the very ground I walk on. It goes beyond not being able to trust him. I don't feel like I can trust anything. Everything I have believed in is gone. Our love story, our relationship, our marriage, our family, our entire lives--gone in one fell swoop. Basically everything that made me feel grounded and safe. I trusted in all of it. I built my life around it. I lived for it. And it was all an illusion. How does one "move on" after this kind of personal devastation? I feel completely overwhelmed just thinking about it.

      To make matters worse, I still haven't told anyone. When people call--family, friends, etc., I pretend everything is fine. I try to laugh and act as though life is just fine, yet all the while I am hiding this terrible, shameful secret. I'm not protecting him--I just can't talk about it right now. It is enough to get myself out of bed, get dressed and live and breathe each day. I just cannot deal with friends and family right now. I can't answer questions--I don't want to talk about it at all. I can't even think about seeing the expressions on their faces--shock, disgust, or worse--pity. And then comes the question, "So what are you going to do about it?" I just can't go there right now, so I haven't shared this with anyone except our daughter. And even that is very difficult. Even though she is an adult in her 30's with a husband and family of her own, it is so hard to hear the pain in her voice. I question whether or not I should have told her at all. Perhaps I was selfish by leaning on her? Perhaps the "right thing to do" would have been to spare her this news. I guess I wasn't thinking of her at all--I just needed someone to talk to and it all came flooding out one day because I couldn't hold it in for another minute. Now she's devastated, too, and I'm responsible. I didn't do this terrible thing, yet I'm responsible for breaking the news to others. I didn't throw our lives away, yet I am isolated because I can't get past the shame or the burden that comes with explaining it to everyone. I can't even take care of myself, I sure can't take care of others when they hear the news. My responsibility is to myself right now and no one else.

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    4. Part III

      Thank goodness I have my counselor. I am not seeing her with my husband present--I can't do that right now. I need some space and some privacy to mourn in a safe environment. He sees her separately. As you have said to me, Elle, my counselor continues to tell me that I just need to take care of me right now--not to worry about anything else. She advises not to look for answers, nor to try to make sense out of it; just allow myself to feel the emotions that are washing over me. So I'm getting up each day and going about things quietly, trying not to push myself to "get better." There is no getting better. I'm still doing things around the house as I always have--cleaning, cooking dinner, taking care of the laundry, etc. These are the only "normal" things I have left in my life, so it somehow comforts me to do them...for a little while, anyway. My husband moved into another bedroom. I still cook for the two of us and I still do his laundry, etc. My daughter wonders how I could still do these things for him. My response to her is that we've been together for 26 years--I find it childish to cook dinner for myself and not include him, or to sort through the laundry and pull out only my things to wash. That just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. After all these years it seems to me that I can be civilized as much as possible through this traumatic time in our marriage, rather than add further fuel to the fire by doing passive-aggressive things to hurt him. I need my life to be as "normal" as possible right now, and as crazy as it may sound to someone else, doing these trivial things around the house gives me some semblance of security. I think I'm functioning on "auto pilot" right now as I heal my heart.

      Elle, can you give me some direction as to how I can best take care of myself during this phase of my recovery? What exactly does it mean to "just take care of you?" The only thing I can think of is to write about my feelings and to pray...a lot. Other than this, I feel like a walking zombie going through the motions of life, waiting to feel something other than pain and emptiness. Any suggestions would be helpful.

      I'd like to apologize if this post is dark and depressing. I'm not a dark and depressing person by nature, but for now this seems to be who I am. My moods are up and down and all around like a roller coaster. For a moment or two I might even forget about it, but then it's back again--with a vengeance. One minute I am hopeful that we may work things out and the next I feel it would be utterly impossible. For the first time in my life, I have no plan and no direction and it frightens me. I sure hope this doesn't last forever. Thank you for listening.

      Lost in Grief

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    5. Merilee,
      You don't ever have to apologize on this site -- or in real life -- for expressing your deep sadness and grief. Ever. We've been there. We know how it feels. We know how it feels as if we're being swallowed by it.
      You ask what it means to "take care of myself": It means exactly what you're doing. Waking each day, doing things around the home, remember to eat something healthy, sleep when you can, avoid toxic people and toxic substances.
      You mention you pray a lot. And prayer is about faith. It's about trusting in something even when you can't see it or feel it or touch it. It's about letting go of control and allowing life to unfold. It's also really tough, I know. We're a culture that loves control. We want deadlines and promises. But healing doesn't work like that.
      Your mind and your body have experienced a massive shock. Be gentle with it while it recalibrates with this new information. But trust that healing is taking place deep inside where you can't yet see it. Trust that those of us who've gone before are telling the truth when we insist that you'll be okay, that you'll come out the other side.
      Whether you choose to stay or go is less an issue than whether you choose to heal or stay wounded. Choosing to heal, which you are doing by not hanging on to bitterness and fury, means that, with him or without him, you're going to be just fine.
      Time. That four-letter word that works magic. This is all still so raw for you. Each day you're getting incrementally stronger. Trust that. The answers you want will become clearer. Trust that too.

      Elle

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  59. I can't speak to his not being there for u when u were ill, but I can tell u from everything I've read affairs happen even in happy marriages. I couldn't understand that because in multind u only have an affair if u don't love ur spouse. But that's generally a woman's perspective. Most men justify affairs because it was only sex they still live their wives & never intended to leave. Most women justify affairs bx they say they love the affair partner & don't love their husband anymore. That's where reading helps-- it let's u see from the male perspective. My husband thought that with both women he slept with it was going to be sex with no strings attached because they were both married with children. But both of them were using him as an exit affair to leave their unhappy marriages (which by the way I could have told him as a woman but he never saw coming as a man).

    As for ur husband loving her, they love their reflection in the lovers eyes, not the partner themselves. It's easy to love without the responsibilities of the real world, which is what their actual spouse represents.

    We also have told no one & are not going to therapy because I think my Husband was afraid the therapist would tell me to leave him. So we are talking a huge amount, he is doing everything possible to account for his whereabouts, & I am reading a ton.

    Don't be so hard on urself. The more u read the more ull see u r not alone & r not to blame, even if as u say u didn't hold him accountable in ur marriage. I could say the same for myself. I assumed most of the responsibility for the kids, most of the house related tasks, ran all of the errands, did all the shopping, etc. that all means nothing. He would have cheated anyway.

    Now is ur time. It's time for u to be a little selfish & take care of u. Find something u want to do & do it. It will make u feel better, will distract u from moping around & perseverating.

    Sam

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  60. PART 1
    Thank you for this blog. Reading it really helped me. I was beginning to think that I should be over this by now, but reading all of these posts has made me feel a little less crazy for still thinking about it every day, obsessing over what happened and what he did. It has been 18 months since I found out my husband had multiple affairs over our 26 year marriage. I suspected he was having an affair 20 years into our marriage. He is a prof. and convinced me to let a female student come live with us (she was 23 years younger than him). I cooked with her, watched her interact with our three children. I started to suspect that she had my husband wrapped around her little finger a few months after she was living in our home. He started talking to me about not wanting to be married, getting his own apartment, etc. but any time I asked about him having an affair he denied it. I thought he was just having MLC and knew we were unhappy. Finally I couldn't stand it & told him if he wanted to stay in this marriage she had to go and we needed to go to marriage counseling. He got her put of house and then made excuses to get out of going to counseling. I let myself fall for it. Fast forward six years later and he starts talking to me about wanting to leave again. Doesn’t come home most nights. He makes it so obvious and then denies it to my face when I confront him. Swears its not true. After coming very close to a nervous breakdown, I found out on my own that he was not only having an affair that year, but I was right about the one six years ago and that he had this problem for 25 years. It was like being run over by a bus. Then it was like a vale was lifted from my face. I realized that he had taken his wedding ring off the second year into our marriage telling me it didn’t mean anything. He never came on family vacations, never wanted to go away with me when I asked. Yet, I never suspected a thing until that first one, 20 years into our marriage. I found out he took these women to places I asked him to take me but he always said no to me. I found out he was with this latest one on our anniversary and then took her away that weekend. He went back to her after I kicked him out. Lived with her for a while and then tried to come back in the house by showing up with his suitcases unannounced. When I wouldnt let him come back, he got an apartment right in the same complex as her. HE keeps begging me to let him come back home, has told me he is sorry, that it was a big mistake. That he blew all of these relationships with younger women because he loves me. Wants to go to counseling and meet with me and for us to finally deal with this because we have never been honest. I still thknk he is lying to me. He obfuscates, changes the subject, turns it around to what I didn't do, also tells me that I have not dealt with my anger, that I am not looking into my own part in this, etc. Meanwhile I have gone to therapy since day one but he refused until recently. Now he is in therapy and wants me to go to marriage counseling with him, actually he just wants us to start meeting alone on a regular basis, dating and seeing how it goes. He has admitted for the first time, an affair that he had that I did not know about. When I insist on not taking him back He starts Telling me that I am burning down the house, I am the one who is driving this divorce, he does not want it, etc. I am pretty sure he is a classic narcissist. He fits the bill completely. Even my therapist thinks so.

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  61. PART II - THE QUESTIONS…..

    The thing is, that everything he says gets to me still. I think, wow, 28 years, am I just throwing that away? Our finances would certainly be better if he came back, but is that a reason to stay? I read about all the women on this site and others who worked to save their marriages and I wonder am I just being a coward? Am I being a conflict avoider? Why does he get to pin it on me? Then all the memories of what he did, bringing a woman into our home and having sex with her downstairs in her room while the children & I slept upstairs. Why would I let someone back in my life who could do such a horrible thing to me, treat me with such disrespect and disdain? What does that say about what I think about myself? What message does it send to my teenage daughters? (they know he had some affairs, but don't know details). I think I know the answer. Recently we had another of our texting bouts. I come out feeling beaten up by him. He says wonderful, loving things promises me the world and then blames me and then doesn't answer my questions and contradicts himself from previous emails all at the same time and it makes my head spin. When he leaves me alone I feel strong, happy (except when I start reliving all of this in my head, which still happens on a daily basis but not as strong as it used to and I don't always cry). I even start feeling less hatred and more like I can get to a place where we can be at our kids events together and I can even be nice to him. I recently spoke to him when his sister was very ill because I knew how close he is to her. I guess that means I still care about him, but I don;t think I love him anymore. That statement really scares me! I have agreed to meet with him with his counselor, but I don't know why or what to say. I really feel like I want this marriage to be over, to be able to heal and grow strong on my own (I have an amazing support system of friends and family who have kept me propped up through all of this - including his own family!) Anyway, one minute I feel strong, the next I am thinking about everything he did and how he has reacted and my blood boils and then I am crying and then I feel emotionally drained and then I start thinking what if I am wrong, what if he really has changed, really could change, but then I don't believe it…..I go round and round like this most days. It is driving me crazy!!!! I think I should listen to my gut instinct which says RUN as fast as I can!!! but am I wrong? HELP!!

    Feeling Crazy!

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    1. Feeling Crazy,
      We've all been there. What's interesting though is that I don't think you do feel that crazy. He's making you crazy. You said, "when he leaves me alone, I feel strong and happy."
      You're not the problem, he is.
      Of course, it's not easy to walk away from such a longtime marriage. But as you note, it was never really a very fulfilling marriage for you. So what, really, are you giving up? Sounds like you're getting a whole lot more.
      He's the father of your children so you owe him respect in that role and it sounds as if you're willing to work for a future in which you can care about him in that capacity. That's pretty amazing. And he's lucky you're willing to do that much.
      I think you need to listen to that voice in your head/feeling in your gut that knows exactly what you want. Don't expect that walking away from so many years will be easy because it won't. But that doesn't mean it's the wrong thing to do.
      And of course there will still be residual pain. But you'll get through that too.
      I think you're going to be absolutely fine. I think you're one of the least crazy on this site!
      Go out and live your life. It's going to be amazing.

      Elle

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  62. Elle -

    Thank you so much! Everything you wrote is so meaningful to me. I am so glad I found this site. It really helps to feel validated, especially during this time.

    Feeling Crazy

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  63. I am here because I'm struggling. My husband has not been faithful since before we married right out of high school. I always suspected other women but never had proof until we separated in 2007 - just before our 13th anniversary. I asked him to leave because I was tired of him staying out late and coming home drunk. I found out the next week that he was having an affair. We lived apart for 6 months while he continued the affair. He came home when I hired a divorce attorney. He decided we could work on things. He talked to her a few more times after he came home but eventually it died and I thought things were better. I stopped checking his phone records. I began to enjoy our time together then things changed again.
    Last July things seemed off. He wasn't happy and I began to feel resentful. When he said we needed to talk I was ready to accept we were going to be divorced because I thought we had just grown apart. I'm not sure why, but I didn't suspect another affair at first. Then something began to bother me and I checked his phone records. I found out he was talking to his old high school girlfriend. The girl he thought he was going to marry. The betrayal was too much but I was willing to go to therapy and work on things. He wasn't sure he wanted to do that. He considered moving out. During this same time he was in contact with the woman he had the affair with in 2007. That was the last straw for me. Everything in me that was willing to try to work on our marriage died. And surprise - he decided he wanted to try again. We have three daughters. I said I would go to therapy with him. At this same time I started going to therapy on my own. My husband missed appts - most of the time canceling with me at the last minute, one time simply forgetting. He went to counseling on his own for a couple of appts but then quit going. I could see that he wasn't committed to me. In January I told him I thought we should separate. He didn't like the idea. He said he was blindsided. In April I moved out because he would not.
    I resent that I am not in my home - even though I am the one who left and even though my apartment is fine. I resent that he is with my children more often than me when I am the one who was with them 90-percent of the time prior to moving out. I resent that he suddenly knows how to keep the house clean and do laundry when he didn't help me with these things very often - and never without expecting a pat on the back. More than anything, I resent that my children don't know that he had an affair and that my middle daughter resents me for moving out. I am second-guessing my decision to leave even though I know in the end - us being apart is the best thing for everyone in our family. My girls are getting the best of their dad right now. He makes sure he is home to get my middle daughter from school. He is more present than he has ever been. I hate that I resent that and that I keep wondering how long he will keep it up. I resent that I feel bitter and small. I feel like this is his fault and yet I am suffering. That feeling makes me feel guilty.
    I don't have contact with me family (child abuse placed a wedge). I don't have strong friendships because I've spent the last 20 years being a mom 24/7. (One of the reasons my husband says he had affairs - I was too devoted to them and not devoted enough to him). I feel like I am going to break. I want to feel loved and wanted. I don't feel loved or wanted by anyone in my family. I feel like they are all getting along fine without me. I'm glad they are all fine but it hurts. When will it stop hurting? How did you come out on the other side? Did I make a mistake by moving out of our home? It's suppose to be a trial separation but I don't see any positive moves that will end with use being together. He didn't
    part 1...

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  64. part 2
    show up for our counseling session on our 20th anniversary - said he would feel bad if he left his guys friends who were working with him on a volunteer (but paid) job. Last week he complained that we aren't intimate so I invited him over one night and he said he had plans with his friends. It feels like it's all a game to him. In our last session he said he wants to save our marriage but not if it means compromising who he is.... I don't think he takes any personal responsibility for what has happened.(He told our middle daughter that I moved out because I never had the chance to live on my own) I want him to feel accountable and willing to make changes that will build trust. His MO is to justify and make excuses. It's never his fault.
    When I am feeling as bad as I'm feeling right now I think I need to give up and tell him I want to meet with the mediator and begin the divorce process (something we discussed when he was ready to leave last summer). Sometimes I have that thought even when I'm feeling particularly good. I don't know what is right but I know I can't keep doing what I've always done. I can't bend to meet his needs when I feel like I am not valued or respected. I've seen my oldest daughter make decisions in her current relationship that are reflections of my relationship with her dad. I need to set a better example for my girls.
    I'm hurt, scared, mad, and hopeless when I think about my marriage. I'm all hurt, scared, happy, and hopeful when I think about a future without the man who says he wants to stay married but who's actions don't match those words. Not being with my children everyday makes me feel confused and guilty. I don't know what's right.

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    1. Sweetheart, you know exactly what's right. And please allow me to tell you I think you're an absolute superstar.
      I also think, however, that you've spent entirely too much of your life allowing other people (i.e. your husband) to dictate what you do. You've got a moral compass. He does not. You therefore get to determine where you go from here.
      And where you go from here is to draw up a separation agreement. Get thee to a lawyer, outline what you've done so far (leaving probably wasn't the best idea, but I completely understand why you did it), and see what you can do to ensure that you get equal access to your girls and the home.
      And, perhaps with your counsellor, figure out how you're going to navigate what your girls know. Allowing them to believe something about you that isn't true (and might feel like something of a rejection of them) isn't serving you or them. While I understand your reticence to give them the salacious details of their father's cheating, you certainly don't need to allow untruths to be told about you. He's the reason you're in this mess. He can darn well start living with the consequences. Again, talk with your counsellor about what's appropriate to share with them. But please, always ALWAYS treat yourself with respect. As you so wisely point out, they're learning how to be women in this world by watching you. It's time to show them that women don't put up with other people's disrespect.
      None of this is fair for you and your outrage is justified. Channel that outrage to ensure you get a fair separation agreement and divorce. Unless he's willing to take FULL responsibility for what he's done (and it sounds like that's a long shot), you can't stay married to this guy. You know it -- you also know that without him your life will be calm and sane and healthy. Getting there might be tough because he's not going to make it easy. But that doesn't matter. You're entitled to what you're entitled to (talk to your lawyer).
      And you're going to continue to set an amazing example for your daughters. Calm, respectful and with very clear boundaries.
      Hurt and scared are normal under the circumstances. Once you take back control of your future you'll feel less scared. The hurt will take longer. You've been deeply hurt by the person you trusted. But, honey, that's on him. He didn't deserve you.
      Right? You know exactly what's right. Start trusting yourself. And respecting yourself.
      And, please, let us know how you're doing. I think you're going to do great.

      Elle

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  65. It's been over two years since I found out about my husbands affairs. They started back in 2004 and continued until October 2011. There were 9 women that he had sex with and a couple he just had an intimate online/email relationship with. Out of the 9, he had a long term, long distance, emotional and physical affair with 3 of them. We move a lot due to his job, and this enabled him to keep these relationships going. Out of the 9 women, only 2 knew that he was married, (one found out a few months in to their romantic long-distance relationship, and the other knew from the start, but after a couple of years of being told he was leaving me, which was a lie, she broke up with him to move on with her life.). He lied to all of them, told them he was a divorced, single father. When I found out, he was currently in two long-distance, physical/emotional relationships, and emailing with two others.

    My world as I knew it blew apart that day. It was, by far, the worst thing that had ever happened to me. Not only could I not believe that he had cheated on me, but that it was multiple affairs over a 7 year period, and that during this time, I thought I was in a loving and committed marriage.

    When I found out in Oct. 2011, I had been married for 19 years to my husband. We had our ups and downs like every marriage does. We had only one rocky period in our marriage, back in 2007 when out of the blue he wanted to get divorced. I was floored. If I had only known the reason why he went down that path, at the time, it would have made sense to me. He was getting pressure from Other Woman #1 to leave me so they could be together. Not knowing this, my husband and I went to marriage counseling, and after about 7 months of talking and work, he felt better about our relationship and we got back to being a couple again. At no time did we legally separate, or did he move out. He was still living at home and we were still actively working on our marriage. He traveled a lot for work, but other than that, we had never separated. We were starting over on "us" in 2007-2008. It also helped that we had a major career move over-seas at this time, and it was like starting over, a fresh start. Unbeknownst to me, he and Other Woman #1 and Other Woman #2 (yes, he was having a relationship with them at the same time) broke up, with him telling them that the relationship wasn't going to work while so far away, etc. etc. However, he just started new relationships online and then follow through with dates, sex and trips with these women when he would travel for work. He took three of these women to Hawaii while there for work. Just typing this and thinking about it makes me ill. If he just would have paid that kind of attention to me instead, just think of the difference! But he chose women that didn't think twice of leaving their kids, dropping everything and jetting off to Hawaii to spend a few days with a guy they really didn't know. Other Woman #9 actually knew he was married to me, with kids, and she still went there, leaving her two young children with family while she converted around with a married man!

    He dropped all of these relationships the day I found out. He stopped seeing them all, emailing them, he cut off all contact. How special they were, that he could stop being with them without any thought. Cold turkey.

    There are many more sordid details to this entire thing, but at this time, I just don't want to get into it. I'm posting today, just because I'm having a bad day with my self esteem. I just needed to get it out. Putting it down, blogging about it, seems to help me expel the anger and sadness I feel for my marriage sometimes. It does get better, with time and work. However, no matter how much work and transparency he puts forward to help our marriage and relationship heal, I Will Never Forget!

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    1. Brandi, I know your pain.
      Like you, my husband has multiple affairs/partners over years and years.
      I hope you're getting closer to understanding that this has nothing to do with you. It wasn't anything that was missing in you...it's what was missing in himself. And I hope you also know that, though three years seems like a long time, it isn't so long to heal from such a betrayal. It took me closer to five years to truly feel like it was behind me. And even now, I struggle now and again (though I'm increasingly aware that I'd be struggling anyway...the betrayal, however, gives me something to "blame" for my struggle).
      I'm glad you can get it out. It does help to share with others who completely get what we're going through.
      And yes, these other women defy any sense of decency.
      You never will forget. But I think you will get to a place where you don't always remember, if you know what I mean.

      Elle

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  66. Thank you, Elle. Thank you for responding. I feel incredibly blessed to have you and your blog to turn to during this time.

    I am finally able to cry. It is incredibly painful, but a release at the same time. Little by little I am allowing myself to feel this pain a bit more.

    I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, if we can only find the strength and courage to open our eyes in order to learn. Opening our eyes means suffering the pain and that is difficult, at best.

    To admit that I am afraid is also very difficult. It's not that I don't feel fear on a regular basis. I just have never allowed it to stop me in my tracks. This time there is no moving forward. In fact, I can't move at all. I have a sneaking suspicion that I need to surrender to it fully before I will be able to take baby steps in the right direction.

    I suppose this is where my faith comes in--"trusting in something even when I can't see it or feel it or touch it," as you said. I am hearing you and trusting that God sent me to you and your blog for the help I need, as well as to my counselor.

    I will stay close, continue reading your blog and doing my part as best I can. I will be back to write to you again and to update you on my progress.

    Thank you again for listening and taking the time to respond.

    Sincerely,

    Merilee

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  67. In January of this year, i found out my husband of 28 years having an affair (emotional, sexual) with his elementary school friend for last 8 years long. My whole world came down on me as i was reading their text messages. In spite of all the anger, betrayer, devastation, i tried to save our marriage. Didn't want to lose all the memories we built together for last 3 decades. However, end of April, i found out he had an another affair with his ex-girl friend back in 2004-2005 and on and off until 2012. He was having love affairs with two different women for last 10 years simultaneously. His ex-girl friend is a married woman. And, my husband is a church pastor who should be an example to all people. I thought my story was bad enough, but after reading all other stories, i am not the only one in a hot spot! I am now getting professional counseling and reading lots of books related to affairs. With the reading, i found out my husband has a personality disorder called narcissism. According to the books, people with his characteristics -- self-absorbed, self-centered, irresponsible, lack self-discipline, lying -- seldom have conscience; therefore, lack guilt and empathy. Although, he desperately wants a second chance with me, he does not show genuine remorse. Therefore, i have decided to move on. I finally feel relieved and feel a major peace in my heart. For me, i know, this experience will be a blessing in disguise. I wish you, all the hurt ladies, the best in this devastating predicament. Pray God will heal your pain as He heals mine!

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry for everything you're going through but heartened to hear that you feel at peace with your decision to move on. I don't know much about narcissistic personality disorder, but from what I do know, the prognosis is not too great. In other words, they often don't change. So I think you're wise to move forward.
      Thank-you for your kind thoughts.

      Elle

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  68. Hi,
    My husband has been having multiple affairs for the past 3 years. The realistic count is 3, but lately he's been dating multiple women. We had a terrible time in our life, the other woman broke it off because she sensed that our marriage is not going to be broken, and their relationship will get nowhere this way. We were happy for 2 months, then he began to visit his fantasy land again. I was depressed for over a year, and just coming to terms with reality, and went back into the whirlpool again.

    This time I am clear I am going to move out. Deep inside I want to save the marriage. But I read in many sources that to save a marriage, I need to heal myself first. I need to be strong enough to face - either married (if reconciled) or single (if D). Don't know why, the word D just makes my brain nerves shiver. But that's the final stroke I am going to give him.

    I hope my journey towards healing myself will succeed and hopefully I can save my marriage from breaking.

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    Replies
    1. I think you're being wise to heal yourself on your own. Until he's ready to break off any and all contact with OW and agree to figure himself out, you simply don't have a marriage worth saving. I'm sorry for all you've gone through. But I've no doubt you can get yourself to a far better place.

      Elle

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  69. I should consider myself fortunate. The women's blogs I juat read above chronicle men without remorse, who pay lip service to reconciling but don't put actions behind their words.

    My husband seems truly remorseful. I have found out about 2 affairs, 1 from 10 years ago that he says lasted 1 year but I think probably 2, & the second from 3 years ago that lasted under 1 year. (Although the emotional aspects of both affairs lasted longer). They were both with coworkers, 1 a nurse & the other a resident. He is really trying to make amends & I do feel we are making progress. Before if I complained about him flirting or having inappropriate friendships with women he would poo poo me, say they are just friends. & that he could control the relationship. Now he admits he can't, that aggressive flirty excessively flattering women are his weakness & he agrees he has to stay away.

    10 months post 1st d day I feel I am much better. Although I think about his affairs & OUR relationship almost every waking moment, the sobbing has stopped. I guess I'm getting used to the idea.

    But I now have 2 problems:
    1. I still think or am simply afraid that there were 1-3 more affairs (certainly he has admitted they were emotional). At this point does it really matter? As I have written elsewhere if I didn't divorce him over these 2 am I going to divorce him over other offenses (all in the past)
    2. Although he says & does all the right things, I can't gat past the fear that he will do it again. & I'm afraid this time I won't know because he will know how to better cover up-- deleting texts, sex in on call rooms at the hospital (even if I were to follow him I'd never be able to figure that one out). How do I get past the doubt?

    Sam

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  70. I just found out that my husband has been having an affair for the past year with a former co worker who is 28, married, and has 4 children. He also had an affair less than 3 years ago with another woman he at one time had worked with. He lied about everything and it was our 11 yr old son who noticed some of his activity online and pointed it out to me. I did my research and found the whole thing right there in front of me and out in cyber space for everyone to see. This is the second major betrayal in a very short amount of time. His lies seem never ending. He swore to me that he has a problem and needs help although he doesn't know what the problem is but he likes the thrill and the danger of doing things he shouldn't be doing. He wants another chance, he says he loves me and our family and doesn't want to lose us but my trust in him is gone.
    I went from being shocked that this was happening again to enraged where I seem to be stuck. It's only been 3 weeks since I found out and the feelings I have right now are very similar to the ones from the previous affair only for that one my reactions were magnified by 1000 since I was pregnant with our daughter that time. Now I find myself so angry at him. I'm angry for everything he's done to us, to our children, to me. I don't know how to process all of this. I've made an appointment with a therapist again, he's supposed to be seeing one of his own but I honestly don't know if i can get past it again this time. I don't know what to do with this rage. I feel stupid, embarrassed, less than human. I know I shouldn't but I do. One part of me wants to believe him, the other part tells me if I don't get the hell out of this marriage it's going to destroy me and our children. I don't know what to do. I do feel like I have PTSD. The feelings consume me. The rage consumes me. I'm keeping myself together for my kids and trying to give them as much normalcy as possible but they are angry and hurt too. How do I deal with them when I can't deal with my own feelings? I'm trying to figure out if it's even possible for him to change at this point. We've been married for 14 years and he is not the same man I married anymore. I don't know who he is or what he is. All I know is that there is so much pain and hurt and rage, i can't think straight. If I stay with him am I just setting myself up for more lies and betrayal? If I leave will I regret it later on when my feelings subside and calm down. Am I teaching my children that it's ok to walk all over their spouse? Will they respect me if I leave or stay? There's so many questions and so much doubt. I feel like my life is falling apart in front of my face and I can't stop it. Any help or advice is deeply appreciated.

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    1. Everything you're feeling is completely "normal", under the circumstances. The rage, the shame, the confusion, the grief. You likely are experiencing some sort of PTSD. A therapist will certainly help. He clearly needs to see someone too.
      In the meantime, don't try to make any big decisions unless you're certain it's the right one. You're not in the best state to be making decisions that will impact you and your kids for a lifetime. There is no right choice. There's only what's right for you, and it's hard for you to know that right now.
      By all means, relegate him to the couch or whatever feels right. Put him on a short leash, if that feels right. But let him manage his own recovery, so to speak. He's aware he has some sort of problem, which is good. Now he needs to figure out what he can do about it, which is where therapy comes in.
      You can bide your time, watch what he does/doesn't, and concentrate on healing yourself and providing stability for your children. The time will come when your choice becomes clear, or at least more clear.

      Elle

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    2. WOW. this story is EXACTLY like mine. I too don't know what I'm doing and feel EXACTLY the same. Are we right to allow them to stay? My GFs want me to divorce but they aren't in it. I now the answer seems so clear cut but it isn't. I have two beautiful children who adore their Daddy. And I hate to break their hearts. I have an 11 year old and 5 year old and they have seen some really ugly mommy moments over the last 3 days. I can honestly say the lines of communication are WIDE OPEN. I am not in counseling. I don't feel I am the broken one. I went on my own about 3 months ago and realized it was HIM that needed the help. So NOW he's in counseling. We went to the initial consult yesterday and he will continue on his own from here on out till whenever. I let him know that if I needed to come it I would. I feel your pain for sure anonymous. It's sorta nice to know their is someone out there like me just struggling to hold it together.

      Delete
    3. We're all struggling to hold it together. Some days are easier than others.
      I'd like to challenge your notion, however, that counselling is for the "broken" one. Counselling offers whoever needs it the chance to explore their own pain, a safe place to share their fears and concerns, and an objective person to challenge long-held convictions about what's right. I have yet to meet the woman dealing with infidelity who couldn't benefit from that.
      It's absolutely your prerogative whether you want to go...I just want to point out that I think your notion of counselling is based on assumption rather than reality.

      Elle

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    4. Hi Elle- I realized later the counseling was necessary for both. He is going on his own next week as he wants to find out if there is a deeper reason to his cheating. I respect that request. I went the first two times and I feel like we are running in circles. At least I feel like I am. Why why why???? I know the counseling is worth it. I look forward to resolution. Thanks for all your advice.

      Queen B

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  71. The eternal question of whether to stay for the sake of the children is really a hard one. It depends on the ages of your kids and whether you can forgive him at some point. When I decided to stay, my kids were very young and my husband traveled a lot as a pilot. That helped because I could get my space to just heal without him around. And my counselor said that we tend to marry the same kind of person over and over again unless there is a lot of therapy. Bottom line for me was I didn't t think I would ever find someone to really care that much about our kids as my husband did. He was very remorseful which helped but my getting an STD which May have caused cancer later on hasn't really helped me forget any of his affairs. Our children are really good people but it wasn't the family I wanted to raise them in. They do carry the models of what they grow up in into their own marriages. No doubt about that.

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  72. More thoughts on "for the sake of the children". This is an amazing blog and one of the best I've read and only wish something like this had existed 25 yrs ago. Amost 27 yrs past D- day and there are still shadows from my husband's affairs with two flight attendants. It's old news and full of cliches, but the most important element is the HPV I got. Whether it caused the Head &Neck cancer I got, no one knows but anyone going through this should ask for a specific test for HPV and not just the general battery of tests they run for STDs. There are different strains and HPV can live in your body for years before it does harm. Most people (80?) percent of the population has it but people can develop an immunity. I'm no expert but if you think you have been exposed , do the research and see a doctor. There are consequences for every conscious decision and they're not always known right away.

    When my husband was a good looking young Captain, he would go out drinking with the crews after a flight and the couple of flight attendants who got too close we're just random women. He sees how he got sucked in after the fatal attraction FA brought a suitcase (pilot's) kit bag full of affair souvenirs to our front Dort. The suitcase from Hell was full of her nightgown, pictures, and a letter detailing juicy facts in her letter plus the significant news that there had been another FA two yrs before her. Whether to go or to stay was the eternal question for five years. There was a lot of damage, shattered innonce, and what my therapist called erotic injury. No doubt about it. The atmosphere of the family was entirely changed and 14 years of marriage shattered. So now here we are with the children gone living side by side. Ask yourself to see your life after the children leave and what it will feel like to coexist. And if you need a really good book to read in the dark of the night, try Frank Pittman's Private Lies. It was like my bible and helped in so many ways. Also, try renting Ruby Sparks.

    Would I stay or would I go knowing what I do now? Definitely stay because my children were better with two parents than one. I didn't want the other woman raising my children and there were things my husband could do for them that I couldn't. But we were ever Ozzie and Harriet but you might have thought so. We were more Ordinary People. Feelings change. What you feel today you might not feel tomorrow was something my therapist also said but he never advocated staying for the children unless I could move on. Good advice.

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    1. Pilot's Wife,
      Thanks for sharing your story. I'm so sorry you're dealing (potentially) with the physical ramifications of his affair.
      I'm curious what brings you to this site so many years post-betrayal. Has something changed recently. Are you feeling reflective? What advice would you give your younger self?
      I certainly stayed in the beginning "for the kids". At that stage, I thought I was just protecting them until I was emotionally stable enough to make an actual choice. I didn't want them feeling unsure until I knew exactly what I was going to do. By the time I felt that stability, I had made the choice to stay. The kids were certainly part of that choice but I don't think I could have stayed if I hadn't also decided that my marriage was itself worth saving.
      I'm also curious about the term "erotic injury". What does that refer to? I've become interested in the idea of "sexual trauma" and I'm wondering if it's essentially the same thing -- an altered sexual life because of trauma associated with sex/infidelity/abuse.
      Hope to hear your thoughts.

      Elle

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    2. I, too, am interested in hearing more--especially pertaining to sexual trauma. It's true, I am only four months post D-day, but at this point I don't ever see myself having sex again--with anybody. I am completely turned off and I don't even want any man looking at me in any personal way whatsoever. It makes my skin crawl.

      Delete
  73. Part II

    Here is my letter:

    You are right. My smiles are only fleeting moments of happiness until the painful truth of our situation slaps me back into reality.

    It is vitally important for you to listen to my heart and really feel what I am conveying. But I want you to comment--not to be quiet. I want you to tell me you've heard me. I want to you share in my pain. If you just listen and have no response whatsoever then you aren't participating, which means the conversation has become a lecture and, more importantly, it tells me that my thoughts and feelings are meaningless to you. But please don't defend yourself, because that means you aren't hearing me, but that you are only concentrating on your own pain.

    We need to be able to talk about things, whatever they may be. Whether they are painful things and, as such, make you feel pain in your heart; or when they are pleasing and make you feel happy in your heart. I want you to share how you feel, as well--even if it is painful for me to hear. That's okay. It is okay to talk about painful things. That's what marriage is all about--sharing what's in your heart. If you are feeling low, sharing that burden with another person somehow helps. Sharing my fears with you somehow lessens my burden. It doesn't magically make them disappear, but somehow knowing that you are here, listening, ready to help, and fully engaged lifts the burden from me and is now a burden shared by two. Everything between a married couple should be that way--whether it is happiness or sadness, pain or joy. That is what is meant by married couples "sharing their lives" together.

    In the same way, sharing your heart means that you say things even if they make you feel vulnerable. When you feel something, you should say it. If you feel wonderful and loving feelings toward me but you aren't sure I share those feelings, say them anyway. Make yourself vulnerable in every case. Yes, there is certainly a chance you could be hurt in the process, but it is always better to give love and risk being hurt, than to let the moment pass you by never having said a word, because each of these moments will never, ever return. The same goes for conveying things when you are hurt--another vulnerable moment that also comes with the added risk of an argument. But that's okay--say it anyway. Convey your feelings in the moment, not a month or year later. Say what you feel, always being honest and upfront. I will respect you as a man and as a human being, and I will also learn to trust you when you reveal the truth about yourself and allow yourself to be completely vulnerable. Because hiding your feelings means not only that you are living in fear but, and perhaps more importantly, it means that you don't trust me to share your innermost thoughts and feelings. And when you don't trust me enough to share and be vulnerable, then I begin to wonder why--what you are up to in your own life that you mistrust others?

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  74. Part III

    I know it is very hard for you to hear about my broken heart, mainly because you are the one who inflicted this pain. Constantly hearing about it makes you feel uncomfortable and causes you to relive your own guilt and pain. But this burden of pain you've put on my shoulders is too much for one person to bear. Essentially, you brought two other women into our marriage. You did things with them that were supposed to be sacred to only you and I. You had sex with them which was ours alone to have; you shared personal relations with them which was ours alone to share; you broke our sacred trust between us; and you let strangers into our sacred bond of marriage. By doing these things, you threw me and our marriage away. Then, when you finally confessed to something I've always known in my heart, you put the weight of four people squarely on my shoulders. The sins of the three of you are now all on my shoulders to bear...utterly alone. I can't bear this pain alone. If I try to bear this alone, it will surely ruin us for good.

    This is why I need you to listen to me with your heart and acknowledge my pain. Don't make excuses or try to deflect your pain back onto me. And especially don't try to deflect your pain by creating yet another topic to argue about. These are petty, juvenile attempts to lessen your own pain and, in so doing, you completely disregard mine. These tactics, whether you realize you are doing them or not, are entirely selfish and in no way put the needs of your wife above yourself. All you need to do is just listen to me, and talk to me, and care for me. Acknowledge my feelings and share our sorrow openly. It won't take the pain or burden away, but maybe someday it will lessen my pain. I don't know when that will be, because right now I can't imagine my pain will ever lessen, but all I know is that I cannot bear the weight of the sins of you and two other women all alone. I am heartbroken and feeling depleted.

    Thanks for listening, Elle. If you have any advice or encouragement, I would sure like to hear it.

    Sincerely,
    Meriee

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    1. Meriee,

      That was absolutely beautiful. You have such deep understanding of yourself, of the situation, and of your husband.
      Please know that the pain will lessen. If your husband can hear what you're asking of him, then it will lessen more quickly.
      But no matter how he responds, your own wisdom and compassion will move you toward healing.

      Elle

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    2. Thank you, Elle. It has only been four months and I'm trying very hard to pick up the pieces. Things are better than they were, but still very raw. I hope it gets better soon, but I know it will be a long road to happiness. I still don't know if my husband and I will remain together, which is a very sad scenario given our 26 years together. So much history in those years. Only time will tell.

      Thank you again for this website. I am so very grateful. You have saved me.

      Sincerely,

      Merilee

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  75. This past weekend I very calmly asked my husband about his 1st affair 10 years ago. The second one 3 years ago was at a time when our marriage was in a rut. He was working long hours and I was forever resenting him for it.
    The first one was when we had been married for about 2 years, although we dated for about 9 years before getting married. I asked if there was anything I could have done to prevent it, could I have been more available to him, more attentive. He replied it really had nothing to do with me or our marriage; it had to do with him and his own insecurities. 11 months ago this statement would have meant nothing to me; now after reading countless books, articles, and blogs all saying the same thing I believe it.

    Inch by inch we are making progress.

    Sam

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  76. OMG today is such a bad day (again). After so many good days why do I do this to myself? Why do I ask him questions when the answers only upset me? I feel like I'm repeating the same grieving process over & over again; every time I find out a new tidbit the cycle of anger & depression starts anew.

    Last night when I asked him what did they fight about, the answer was me; it was always that she wanted him to leave me so they could be together. Instead of being happy about that I continued to ask questions. Initially he said they didn't go anywhere together except the park and for ice cream. Last night he admitted to going to the movies and to dinner. At least the movie was about 3 months after my son was born. I don't specifically remember thinking this at the time that movie came out but since then so many times I longingly watched as movie trailers came out thinking I wish WE could go. It really hurts that he went with HER and never even thought to ask me. Which of course means it wasn't just sex; it was also companionship. Yes I know it still wasn't about me; it was about him enjoying the fantasy relationship, the high of a new relationship; the flattery of someone who is all over him (the way it was in the beginning of our relationship too).

    And yet I feel sooo rejected. This is ridiculous. They slept together; what the f**k does it matter if they went to see a movie together.

    Sam

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    1. Sam, I know exactly your anger. And I suspect much of your anger is about having been left to your devices with the kids for so many years -- something you agreed to do because he was so busy carving out a (ahem) career -- and to find out that he was able to find time for these other women while you were the martyr at home is infuriating. I had exactly the same situation. And I was livid.
      I had spent years eating dinner alone with the kids, trying to get three kids into bed, into baths, into their pajamas, dealing with their meltdowns, and on and on. His "work" was always more important. So when I found out it wasn't always work, well...the proverbial shit hit the fan. If things hadn't changed -- and fast -- I think I'd still be angry. And I highly doubt I'd still in the marriage. That was one of my main demands: that he make his family his very first priority. He claimed it always had been, blah blah blah. He needed to SHOW that his family was his first priority. That meant leaving work for school concerts, volunteering at least occasionally for school trips, getting up to deal with sick kids, and so on. No more me playing the martyr because his career was so f-ing important.
      Anyway...back to you (clearly this topic gets me rattled!): I think this is one of your main issues, given what you've written on this site. I think you, justifiably, have a lot of anger over having felt taken advantage of, taken for granted, treated like a babysitter/nanny/housekeeper, etc. You are his partner, not his staff. Once he really begins to recognize that (and it sounds as if he is) and treating you with not just respect but sincere gratitude for all that you did in support of his career and children, then I think your anger will begin to dissipate.

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    2. You are so right. This morning he said to me, "what is it you think I was trying to do, do you think I was trying to replace you?" I said no, maybe supplement me. He said no, I was trying to supplement me and my inadequacies. I told him I was projecting my own insecurities into the situation, always thinking (back then, because he has made it a priority now to spend time with us as a family and with me alone) that I was good enough to take care of things at home but not fun enough to spend time with on the outside world). It kind of did work out that way, as it seems to have for so many other women too, although not intentional on his part. But it did help to get it off my chest, both by writing it here and having it echoed in so many stories by so many others, and by discussing it openly with him.

      Sam

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    3. This hits so close to home. I do the same thing- cycle in and out of asking questions that I know will upset me or upset him- yet each time I know that I get a little more information that helps me makes sense of an illogical situation. I also think she was a "supplement." I was ok to be married to, to handle all the horrible stuff at home during that time, but she was more important than I. She needed help, apparently I did not, even though stress was through the roof at home and he knew it. I also think I ask these questions, because, frankly, I do not know who he was (for 10 years!), and I have to know who he was and why he felt she needed his attention and I didn't. Why she needed presents and I didn't (even during recovery from surgery). Why he didn't talk to me, why he didn't go anywhere with me-even when I asked, etc. But he was all hot to trot to talk with her for hours, to shop for her for hours, to go somewhere with her. I wasn't good enough, I guess. And yet, I know this wasn't about me- it was about him.
      The picture I get now of my husband is not a pretty picture. He runs away from problems, finds a new situation that will distract him from reality. Is unable to deal emotionally with difficult situations. How many times I wanted to run away, but I couldn't...and he did. I had no idea he was like this and now I have to reconcile this husband with the one I thought I was married to. I only hope that this is his story- the other one rattling around in my head is less pretty- that he was bored after retirement and needed something to do during the day (while I was at work). I hope it's not that, but I'm preparing myself for it.
      I only hope that he now realizes what he lost during that time- how responsive I would have been to some attention. How he screwed up. That may be the only justice I get out of this. I will continue to ask questions and force him to face himself. It's all I can do while I wait for him to get through enough counseling for him to be able to tell me why he did this stuff. The more I read here, the more I think what we're doing is perfectly normal, so I say, the only way through this is through it- keep asking questions, get your information, try to make sense of this, even though it makes no sense. Good luck to all of us here.

      Delete
  77. Thank u for ur response; I'm glad I'm not alone in this. Both MBS & pilots wife have said the same-- that they were left to take care of the kids while their husbands went galavanting w other women.

    I almost feel like I'm crazy sometimes, because it seems this aspect of it bothers meore than the actual sex. But I'm glad I'm not alone it that feeling.

    Yes he has done a 180. We have done more together as a family than ever (we always took 1 week of vacation to go away as a family yearly, but now we go to the aquarium, the zoo, have picnics, etc. he has been to every parent teacher conference since d day. We have also spent some alone time together (not much, but certainly much more than in prior years).

    I just have to keep telling myself how much things have changed. There really is no point in perseverating over what he did, as long as he has changed that's what matters.

    Thank u to all the women who share & help all of us in feeling that no matter how crazy we feel, we are not alone.

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    1. Sam, I think once he begins to invest himself emotionally in the family then the payback is so huge that it, literally, will change who he is. My husband began to feel more competent as a father (I absolutely had to let go of my own need to "manage" the family and acknowledge that my way wasn't the only, or even necessarily the right way to do things), which in turn boosted his own self-esteem and made him want to do even more with the kids. Made a huge different in him personally and in our family dynamic. He was so detached from all of us. Now he knows exactly what he'd be losing if he screwed up again.
      Glad to know things are changing for the better.

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  78. Elle,

    You asked why I'm on this site so many years after my husband's affairs. Reflecting on life as you begin retirement certainly is one and constantly dealing with the side effects of cancer treatment is another. Maybe just sharing my story of what HPV can do later on in life is a good one. And at the time I was healing from the explosion of Dday, the distraction of raising children and teaching allowed me to shove a lot of stuff under the rug. How many people actually live the life they planned on? Not many I suspect but the legacy of how I hope my children will remember us is that we were good people, just not very good at marriage. And most of all as Pittman writes, " these kinds of things(affairs) do happen in families, they should not, but when they do they should be forgiven". There will be problems in every family, they are layered like an onion, and when the layers or secrets are eventually let out that is when healing begins. For too many years, I hid these affairs as if it were my fault because I came from a shame base faily. So thank you for creating this website for me to share my story. At the end of the day and maybe as wives go through it, they will come to realize that betrayal should not define who they are anymore than cancer or any other dreadful thing that happens in life.

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  79. To pilots wife, if you don't mind me asking,

    How has ur life been since finding out about the affairs? Did he eventually stop? Did u look away, as so many women do? Now that the kids r gone, how r the 2 of u getting along?

    Sam

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  80. Like many women here, I was totally shellshocked when I found out about the cheating. Blown out of the water, blindsided, you get the point. A lot of it was due to finding out about the first flight attendant from the second FA. Her suitcase was filled with her nightgown, pictures, and a letter giving me the juicy details including news of the first affair. Did he stop? Sure did after that! He felt soooo betrayed by her. Funny. Except it was more like black comedy. I was so trusting before that but not after tho he did everything he could to make amends. And to his credit he has done much except change his huge ego. Goes with his job. So now that he's retired he is doing consulting online which is pretty much like his cockpit. He lives on it cause it's a form of escape. Hard for him to face the shame when he thinks of what he did he says. We both are more comfortable with space between us. There's no fighting, just space.

    Families teach. That's a favorite of my therapist. You learn behaviors in your family and tend to repeat them in the family you create. If anything, I grew too comfortable in playing the role of victim. So in my later years, I've tried to be less passive, say what I think, and just try to find some moments of happiness in the day. Retirement after affairs may be the most challenging chapter yet. While you may have forgiven, you don't forget the pain from them. And I do have chronic pain from my neck dissection and radiation that makes me wonder what if Inhad never gotten hpv. Would I have escaped cancer? Who knows. But it's a lot of trauma. If any good comes of me posting, I hope it will be to encourage people to have their teens get the hpv vaccine. Think of my story. I never smoked, I never drank, and I never slept around and I ended up with hpv due to my husband's affairs. Michael Douglas made light of his oral cancer but trust me, radiation isn't funny. It's the gift that keeps on giving especially if it's on your head or neck.

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  81. Hi Elle- I was on here about a year ago and I had found out my husband had an affair. Well, I thought things were OK. Every relationship has their highs and lows. But you guessed it...He did it AGAIN! This time only 6 months after the last. He says THIS TIME was an EYE OPENER? We have a very interesting story and the first time affair made sense...if that makes ANY sense, but this time....I have no flipping clue. He is still in my house as I am taking my time making a decision. I told him I do not consider us married though he still wears his ring and SWEARS AGAIN up and down he will never do it. I feel like an idiot. I feel like I want to kick him out but there is a part of me that is hanging on. 13 years is a long time to invest, but is he vested? I can only assume no. He is like a scared little boy with no where to go. I haven't told ANY of my family, but I have two very close girlfriends who I told.

    Long story short, One friend asked me if I had an ETA of when I was going to divorce my husband? That she needed to know...FOR HER? Excuse me? Since when did this become her problem? Anyways, I did not feel it was right for her to pressure me.I think of this woman as my sister, but she apparently is tired of hearing about the drama. My husband witnessed some very ugly moments yesterday while I was conversing with this woman. For a short time, I thought I had lost my friend. HE IS TO BLAME for all of this! NOW I'm losing my friends over it? Has anyone else experienced this type of thing?

    I don't know what the heck I'm doing. My husband is a SICK man and he is back in counseling. I may still divorce him as I may not be able to get past this second offense. I know it's not right. I know there are others out there. I'm 35 for God's sake. Am I alone in this? I feel alone. I feel as though I am being judged. I feel like I'm taking ANOTHER risk against my better judgement. HELP!!!!

    Queen B

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    1. Queen B,
      No you are most definitely not alone. One of the sad casualties of our spouses' affairs are sometimes our friendships. It takes a strong person to be with us in our pain and not impose his/her own issues on us.
      I've heard similar stories from people dealing with a frightening health diagnosis. It scares people ("that could be me!) and they just want us to deal with it, be strong, and show them that everything is A-ok so nobody needs to feel uncomfortable or threatened or face any of their own icky stuff. It's those who can simply be with us in our sadness who are true friends. Those who can allow us to feel it, and trust that we're doing the best we can with what we've got.
      As for judgement...we tend to get that in spades, too. Which is incredibly unfair. But, again, it says far more about the judger than about us. Infidelity make people really uncomfortable and we all have our own ideas of how it should be handled. Then it happens to us...and we realize that we're flying without a map.
      You can try and tell all this to your friend, and I hope she can really hear you. But brace yourself. Cause plenty just can't.

      Elle

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    2. I like that "Flying without a Map" cause that fits me to a T right now.

      Queen B

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  82. Don't assume ur husband is not vested because he did it again, like an alcoholic falling off the wagon setbacks can happen. Also, someone lease posted that more than 1 affair can still be considered 1 if it's part if the same event (such as a midlife crisis).

    Sam

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  83. Part I

    Hi, Elle. I am writing to update you on my progress.

    I am almost at the 6 month point. I seemed to be making progress for about a month or so. The fog was beginning to lift and I found myself able to live again. My grandchildren came to stay over the summer and my husband and I each did our own things separately with the kids. We went out to dinner a few times together as a family, but mostly we kept apart to a certain degree. I don't think my grandchildren realized anything was wrong. We are not fighting--just making do as best we can. The only thing that my oldest granddaughter noticed was that Papa was sleeping in another bedroom. I made light of the situation, using his snoring as an excuse.

    It was good to have the kids here visiting. I needed a distraction and I also needed the love of my family around me. This kind of devastation leaves you feeling stripped bare of love and affection, so the presence of my sweet grandchildren was a gift for me. They came at the perfect time…a time when I didn't know if I would survive.

    The mood lifted for a while even after the kids went home. I was beginning to wonder if reconciliation really might be possible. That is, until now. My husband has a new client list and will now be traveling back to where we once lived--our home town. And, strangely enough, he will be calling on a new customer--a company he worked for many years ago. He was married to someone else while in this company's employ. And, ironically enough, he had a one-year affair with a woman while married to his previous wife. This woman was a fellow employee of the company. Recently when he called on this company as his new customer, low and behold, he found that his old "flame" still works there. Her marital status has changed since their affair--she is now single. She apparently wasn't at work the day he visited. The company's buyer took the liberty of filling my husband in on all the details concerning his old flame.

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  84. Part II

    Afterward, we had a long, long discussion about the affair he had with this woman while married to his previous wife. Oddly, it felt very personal to me. Most of the details were the same--it was simply a different cast of characters. I learned a lot about my husband during this conversation. I learned a lot about myself.

    First of all, I now know without a doubt that all of the affairs my husband has had—both past and present--were due to my husband's issues alone. He is the only constant in this--the only one who continues to reappear in this saga. All the rest of the players seem to be interchangeable. Replace the names and faces and you've got an all new cast--except for the starring role, of course, who never seems to change...and therein lies the problem.

    I don't think I have to tell you that this opened a whole new can of worms with me. Any progress I seemed to be making quickly vanished and I now find myself starting from scratch at the very beginning...all over again. The wound has been reopened.

    I do not want my husband visiting this customer. I do not want my husband to come into contact with this woman at all. And, yet, at the same time, it angers me to be put in the position to dictate what customers he can and cannot see. I have never been involved in such things and I do not wish to begin now. I do not wish to behave like the jealous wife; yet, at the same time, I feel an urgent need to set firm boundaries.

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  85. Part III

    My husband insisted that I no longer need to worry about such things. He has (miraculously) turned over a new leaf, and even though he hasn't seen this woman for 30 years, he's certain there will be absolutely no attraction between them. So I asked him a few questions: First of all, what has he learned from counseling and from his life mistakes; and, secondly, how is he applying those lessons in his present day life? It seems to me to be common sense that unless he has been able to identify his personal issues and then devise a plan to apply these lessons in his present life, he hasn't got a prayer of hope for not going right back to his old ways. Of course, when I asked him these questions, he looked at me with glazed eyes and that all too familiar blank stare on his face. He had no idea what I was talking about.

    This makes me wonder what the hell I am still doing in this situation?? Am I a glutton for punishment? He can insist and promise and swear all he wants in order to profess his newfound love and commitment for me, but without looking deep into his own soul in order to find answers and ways in which he can change his present path, I see no hope. Am I wrong??

    In my own counseling (we are seeing our counselor separately), I am working on my own issues which are many, of course. Due to my childhood and lack of relationship with my father, I have always had issues trusting men. I wonder if I will ever be able to open my heart and trust again? I ask myself whether or not I have forgiven him. I honestly don't know. Perhaps I have not. Will forgiveness ever come? The thought of merely "coexisting" with my husband for the rest of my life certainly sounds like an empty way to live. I just don't know...I don't feel anywhere close to being capable of making an informed decision here. His progress appears to be minimal and we cannot come together until there is significant growth. I am living in fear--fear of a broken heart, fear of his relapse, fear of the instability in our marriage, fear of uncertainty. This fear will not dissipate without the ability to trust. But without solid knowledge, understanding and clear goals on his part, trust will never come. Do I prepare myself for the worst-case scenario? I feel lost...

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    1. Merilee,
      I'm so sorry you find yourself in this muck. I absolutely agree that he needs to understand what has made him so vulnerable to others' attention in the past and how he plans to fill that hole to ensure he doesn't jeopardize his marriage again.
      I'd be curious, however, if he simply doesn't understand how to answer your questions. I say this because my husband struggles to communicate about feelings when I ask him about it (the old guilt/shame/I'm in trouble feelings surface), and yet, when he's not feeling like his back is against the wall, he can routinely explain what he's learning. I wonder if your husband is similar.
      That said, his insistence that he can handle this situation does sound alarms. He shouldn't be quite so sure at this point.
      And he clearly doesn't recognize just how difficult and hurtful this situation is for you. And that should be his biggest concern -- how to make this situation as easy for you as possible.
      It's up to you, of course, whether you give this one last kick at the can. If so, I would suggest couples counselling in which you come up with a plan to handle any situations like this -- to begin working as a team to support each of you move past. No guarantees, of course. But if he's truly committed, then starting to work together will go a long way toward helping you rebuild trust. You'll see that he's willing to do the hard things necessary to keep you safe.
      That feeling of "lost" is your clue that you're feeling unsupported and alone. Unless he's willing to take steps to remedy that, then I think that feeling is your guide toward what to do to keep yourself safe.

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  86. Ten years ago i found out my husband was having an affair with an ex friend. He promised me it was over but two years later she came up to me and told me they loved each other and i was in their way. We split up but he wouldnt go to her. After an absolute age we decided on marriage counselling to help repair our marriage and after that everything seemed fine.
    I spend a lot of time at horse shows with my daughter and this year she started going too. I felt awful every time i saw her and went home cross with my husband. I felt it had ruined my summer. This week my sister told me that she had been approached by someone who asked if we had got back together again. We have not been apart ! When i started digging deeper i found out that he had gone back to her and they had resumed their affair. I am absolutely devastated as i have always really loved him. I cant bear to see him as i just want to be with him when i am around him. Outwardly i am being very calm but i cant sleep and am very stressed inwardly. I know i didnt have the perfect marriage but i thought we were fine. I just dont get him. I am talking to his sister and my sister and obviously getting conflicting advice. I suggested to him that her should just go and live with her but i think she is his escape. I definitely am not having him here but i have a 10 year old who wants to know where her daddy is. Any advice on telling her or how to get over this would be greatly appreciated. Am staying strong for her on the outside.

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    1. Ella,
      I'm so so sorry for the roller coaster you've been on. I urge you to find some outlet for your feelings (even this site!) because carrying on as if you're "fine" will take its toll.
      Tell your daughter that sometimes moms and dads have problems and need some time apart to get clear on how to move forward. I hope he will spend regular time with her. She will, no doubt, be feeling quite frightened but her major concern will be how this will affect her. Protect her from the details but not from the facts -- that Dad will be living elsewhere for the time being but that both parents love her very much and this is an adult problem. If you move forward with a divorce, at that point you'll share more information about living arrangements. If she questions what happens, I think it would be fair to say that Dad wasn't being honest and one of the important parts of any relationship with honesty. The rest is "adult stuff".
      In the meantime, however, I hope you'll get yourself a counsellor who can help you through this. You won't "get over" it, but you will get through it. The key is get through it with your self-esteem intact and with confidence about a bright future.

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  87. Hi Ladies...have a question - after you discovered the affair and confronted your husbands...would they admit to all their crimes or would they deny it all and get cross with you? I'm in a situation when my husband would first deny and then when I would show him the proof he admited but still with anger as if I was the one who did something terribly wrong.
    Now, he is a pretty stubborn person, and I'm trying to (as much as I can) stay calm so that I do not say anything that I'm going to regret later on. It's tough but at least I'm not loosing my self respect.
    I would expect that man who cheated, when given a second chance would really try hard, that is why I find it difficult to understand why when I tell my husband things that I need (like do want to see this OW gone from his contacts list on some of web portals) he does not do it straight away..I get a feeling that he is scared she's gonna go crazy or something. I seems pretty cowardly...as he did not think twice before doing something that would make me go crazy and upset.
    It looks like as if he feels forced to do certain things, because I keep bringing such things up and feel reluctant to do that. He's been always like that - like to do stuff in his own pace..but wtf - it's a different situation....
    I just would like to hear from you...do your husbands support you all the time, or do they get angry with you when they see that you have a "sad & bad" day again?

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    1. Sadly, it's pretty common for cheaters to deny everything until they're faced with proof, then downplay it, or respond with anger. Anything to get you to back off.
      And sadder still, it simply exacerbates the pain we're already in. What we need more than anything is a spouse who takes full responsibility for what he did and is willing to do what it takes to minimize our pain. Rarely do we get that.
      You might need to give him an ultimatum (assuming you'll stick with it) that he either fess up to everything or move out/sleep on the couch/whatever. And that means EVERYTHING. It's horrible to have what's called the "trickle truth", where bits and pieces of info are released and each time it's like another knife in our hearts.
      If he wants you to even consider rebuilding your marriage, he needs to establish no contact with this woman -- copying you on any e-mails or allowing you to listen in on the phone call. No last good-byes. No "just one more meeting". Short and sweet: "I can't see you anymore. I'm committed to my wife and to making up for the pain I've caused my family."
      Are you in counselling either alone or together (or both?)? He needs to understand that while he can't undo the horrible mistake he's made, he can take steps now that will go a long way toward helping you heal.

      Delete
  88. He said that he does not have contact with her, however he does not want to delete her from his contacts, as he does not want for her to react with anger and do something stupid- hey, what about my feelings! yes, we are in counselling togehter, and I can feel it's helping...I feel better now, I do not want even think about how I felt when I discovered...but I will never forget it. I try to act with dignity...but find it difficult to understand why when I ask some questions - he sometimes gets angry....because it's probably 10th time I asked about something that we have already discussed.
    Did your husband sit down with you and talk about it - my says that I do not need to know all the details, and in a way I do agree...details I know are making me so sad...and I keep thinking about stuff that I know and feel like I'm going to puke

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    1. I call bullshit on his refusal to delete her from his contacts. I would insist on it. Her feelings should not matter to him nearly as much as YOUR feelings. If he wants to rebuild his marriage, it starts by him completely shutting her out for good.
      As for the questions, you might want to give your husband this post to read.
      http://betrayedwivesclub.blogspot.ca/2014/04/my-letter-to-husbands-just-talk-about.html

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    2. I wanted the details and my husband was closed lipped. When the second FA brought a suitcase full of affair souvenirs ( pictures, nightgown, & a letter full of details) and left it on our front steps, I went into shock. There were way too many details and I used to go over them much like a young person who cuts. Kind of emotional numbing with pain. My therapist used to tell me to stop hurting myself with the mind pictures. So I get your obsession but realize it can make you sick or as you said wanting to puke. There is no going back once you uncover something but if you need it to heal he should tell you. In my case actually, tho actually very painful it helped him he she was really an evil person. Good luck to you.

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  89. The problem is that he is scared as they work in the same company..and that him doing that may let the monster out...I do not know, sometimes I feel stronger, and sometimes I feel so tired of this all that I do not feel like insisting...as do not want to go through this discussion again. I feel bad, that I need to even mention that for 2-3 times....as if he wants us to heal his way...I feel so bad today.....

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    1. I can understand that. But she would have something to lose too if the affair became public. There's no harm in simply saying that he wants no contact going forward as he's recognized the pain he's caused his family and wants no part in exacerbating that. However, I completely understand your desire to just get past it. It does tend to feel like picking at a wound.

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  90. Elle,
    Our first DD was late Sept/2013. My WH had a 4-month EA/PA with another woman and he was "caught". When caught, he went NC immediately but TT was a serious issue for some time. Minimizing, etc. Just this past weekend, we were going over a few details again, and an outing with an old coworker from last year came up. We discussed it over and over but it just didn't feel right. After a few days, my WH confessed that he had been having an affair with this coworker since before we were dating! Over 20 years! He says that it was the type of situation where they would see each other once every year or two with nothing in between. Since they no longer work together I do believe that to be true. It seems that when they were able to cross paths, they would arrange a "get-together" that would sometimes involve just kissing after lunch or a day in a hotel room. Then they wouldn't see each other again for anywhere between 1-3 years. But our WHOLE MARRIAGE!

    Can someone please tell me if this marriage can even be saved? I thought we were making such great progress towards R. He hasn't seen or been in any contact with either woman since last September but how do you get help for a problem like this? Am I a fool for even considering staying?

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    1. Ugh. I know your pain too well. My husband's sex addiction (which steadily got worse) began before he met me...and continued until I discovered his affair with a co-worker.
      The short answer is "yes, it can be saved". The longer answer is that it takes a long time. And the even longer answer is that it can only be saved by two people who've determined that they want to rebuild their marriage from the ground up by seeking plenty of help to learn how to be together with total honesty and transparency...and find ways to create trust.
      Your husband's deceit isn't just a one-time thing, it's a lifestyle for him. And I suspect it spills into other areas -- white lies to his boss, to his parents, etc. He believes that lying "protects" people while he gets to do what he wants. The question is whether he's a sociopath with no regard for others' feelings, or someone who learned early in life that lying was preferable to others' disapproval or judgement. In the first case, he has no feelings, in the second, his feelings are overwhelming to him.

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    2. Elle,
      Thank you for your reply. I "think"that his feelings are overwhelming to him. He truly seems overwhelmed and it's so difficult for him to do the "hard" things so he avoid conflict. Even though I believe he has been NC with both of them for 11 months and has been in IC, he never told anyone about the LTA. He said he didn't plan on returning to it (although I think he would have the next time he needed his self-proclaimed "fix") but figured that if he told, everything was over. Yes, lies (usually just not mentioning something but occasionally more direct lies) to avoid conflict are standard for him. I have health issues which make it difficult to return to the workforce. I feel despair over my choices and for my children.

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    3. Are you in IC? It's a horrible to feel caught between a rock and a hard place. That any "choice" is a lousy one. IC might help you sort through your own feelings on this and help you feel more conviction about your choice, whether to stay or go.
      Sometimes it comes to whether or not he's a good guy with some screwed up ideas or whether he's a not-so-good guy who got caught.

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    4. I also thought we were progressing one year after DD1. Although I knew I hadn't been told everything I was stunned when my husband confessed to a very similar on/off affair with the same ex girlfriend for nearly 20 years. Again it was sporadic contact and sex when to opportunity arose , which wasn't often as she lives at the other end of the country. She got married during this time and is still married. He admits thinking it didn't count as I would 'never find out'. The emotional connection through the continued contact is the hardest to deal with, contact during most of the important times in our marriage, anniversaries, illness, etc. I feel I am not allowed memories any more as they remind me and cause triggers. We are again progressing and things are improving but I know this will take a long time and will never completely go away. This site is valuable to me as I am comforted and guided by people who have similar experiences and let me know I am not alone or that our pain is not unique.

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  91. I am so glad I found this site! I'm posting under a fake name, as to not let our story out to people in our family. This is my 4th affair in this marriage. I know before you even say it, I should have left years ago. We've only been together 9 years though, married for 8, so a lot of our relationship has been dealing with lies and cheating. The thing is though, my husband has never done anything physically with any of these women. 2 were online and 2 were with co-workers. The only times he actually took his clothes off were for the 2 online ones. The first time, was a girl he worked with at a local restaurant, her name was Michelle and they would text their plans to meet up back and forth on nights he worked. I never once saw any of these texts. Someone actually ratted him out. Eventually I got the whole truth from him (with the threat of a lie detector). He said he backed out at the last minute before he was supposed to go to her house (she confirmed this and timelines matched up). The 2nd one was a woman from Wisconsin, Sara (Chezara), that we played an online video game with. She would flirt with both of us and she was my "friend" or so I thought. I worked until about 4 am at that time and apparently while I was working, Sara and my husband were taking their clothes off and playing on Skype. I found their conversation when he changed his password on Skype and didn't delete the email. She was immediately cut out of our lives. The 3rd time (July of this year) I found out he had an alternate email that he was using to find women on Craiglslist in our area. He says that he was just looking for pictures of real people. He also was using Snapchat to communicate with a girl (her username was Roxy-something) and send naked pictures to which then turned into email when I found out about snapchat. After this one, we had a period where I decided if ya can't beat'em, join'em and we would play online together. That didn't last very long as he didn't like it that other men could see 'his wife' so we stopped it. This last one (September of this year) was with a girl he worked with (Leah Eckstein) and it is by far the most painful. I am literally at the end of my rope with him. If I catch him in one more lie, I don't care if it is a small lie about if he let the damn dog out, I'm done. I posted the entire last story on my own blog (I just started a new one to get this off my chest and talk about it) if you want to read it. I haven't read all of your stories yet, but I plan to.

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    1. Nadia,
      I'm curious why you're giving him a fourth (fifth?) chance. What are you waiting for? I think it's time to either both of you commit (ie. therapy) to rebuilding a marriage based on honesty and healthy boundaries, or to cut your losses and move on. He's got serious issues. He's been caught, been caught again, been caught again...you get the picture. What the hell is HE waiting for?
      I hope you don't interpret this as being dismissive of what you're going through. I don't fault you at all. I've overlooked far too much in my own life. I'm just challenging you to figure out what you want your life to look like...and how to achieve that.

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