Share Your Story Part 6 (Part 5 is full)


  1. Hello.

    I am presently in the eye of the storm and struggling badly.  A while back my husband had a breakdown which we all assumed was from the pressure of work.  

    Recently I received a message from a girl saying that they had had an affair.  I thought it was a joke or spam and texted my husband lightheartedly not expecting that it was true.

    His reply absolutely blew my world apart.  I have never felt hurt and distress like this and I have been through some stuff in my life.  I can't eat or sleep and have lost just under a stone in a week.  And the rage is like nothing I have ever experienced before.  I'm ashamed to say that I was so disgusted with him it's all I could do not to spit at him.  I have never hit anyone in my life and I swear I could have ripped his head off! (I didnt, obviously...)

    Turned out the breakdown was through guilt and breaking up with her to fix things with me (or so he says).

    I can't understand why he would risk losing his family for someone like her and she is completely opposite to me.  Plastered with make up, false eyelashes, ridiculous looking big fake eyebrows, bleached blond hair, uneducated. Everything I am not and he says she meant nothing to him.  You know, the usual bullshit.

    One of the most difficult things about this whole situation was recognising the state our marriage was in.  We had been effectively separated for years in the same house.  It was never acknowledged. However,  I still thought of him as my husband and thought we would get help and reconcile.

    We both had untreated issues and were hit with a series of bereavements and unemployment which led to him having to work away from home which he did for a few years before the affair.  This led to even more of a disconnect between us and of course gave him the opportunity to cheat with impunity.  He never had to 'work late' or come up with convincing excuses.  If he had, it would have lasted 2 weeks as he is a crap liar!

    I have considered that he thought this would be a good way to end the marriage but the affair has been over for a long time and he is fighting hard for this marriage.  He says that he loves me and doesn't know why he did it.  He has said he was lonely and had depression but I'm not sure that he didnt just see an opportunity which he took.

    We have acknowledged that we both had/have issues which led to the disintegration of our marriage (before the affair) and have discussed addressing these issues to see if we could maybe carry on as all this has brought the underlying love we have for each other to the fore.

    I'm just not sure if I can handle the betrayal.

    Does anyone have any positive stories of being able to forgive and move forward in a new changed relationship?

    Is there a chance that we could get help for our issues and carry onto an even better relationship than before? 

    1. Anonymous, There isn't a woman on this site who couldn't have written your letter. Maybe the specifics are different but the reactions, the feelings are exactly the same. The shock, the devastation, the rage, the despair, the hopelessness. Yep, yep, yep...
      But here's the thing I hope you can take in right now: The affair was NOT about her. She was convenient, willing and available. That's all she brought to the table. Oh, and she distracted him from the rest of his life which, as you noted, was a particularly difficult period. The affair was like a fantasy, an escape from that. From feelings that he wasn't able to deal with -- loss, loneliness, despair, whatever.
      So...please know this wasn't about you. It wasn't even about her.
      It was about him. And from what you've written, it was likely about the state of your marriage. That's not to place any blame on you -- you were in the same marriage and you didn't cheat. But it is to note that you were both in pain, unable/unwilling to express that to each other.
      This can be the death knell for your marriage or it can be your wakeup call. You can use this experience to rebuild your marriage and, yes, it can feel richer and deeper and more meaningful. You've both learned what happens when you don't feed your marriage. It withers.
      There will be a lot to process and I would urge you to find a therapist who can help you process those deep and legitimate feelings of pain and grief and betrayal. I would encourage your husband to find someone too -- who can help him recognize how he used the affair as escape, who can help him learn how to recognize difficult feelings in himself and learn how to feel them and express them in appropriate healthy ways.
      And then, I hope, with time and intention, you can bring these skills into your marriage. Your marriage can become that place where you both feel safe and valued, where you can share life's ups and downs.
      It takes time and work. But, in my opinion, it's worth it if your husband is genuinely remorseful and willing to do the work. If he's a good guy who did a bad thing, it's worth it.
      I'm not letting him off the hook, of course. He owes it to you to do a LOT of work on himself and he needs to support you as you cry and rage and demand answers. But it sounds as though he's willing to do that.
      I wrote a book (you'll see it at the top of the right-hand column) that's part memoir, part how-to-survive guide about my own experience. You might find it helpful. This blog, too, is filled with women who know exactly what you're going through and who are so smart and so kind and so supportive. You're among friends.

    2. Thank you Elle. In the last few days we have looked into each other's eyes, held hands, expressed some real genuine emotion to each other for the first time in years (after I stopped trying to kill him!) It's almost like he has been invisible to me for the last few years. When I looked I could see the man I married. He is forever altered but he's still there. We both need help for our own issues and after that we can maybe try marriage counselling. I am by no means certain that this is what I want but at least we can get to the stage where it's an option.

      In a way I think it's the letting go of the person I thought I was too. I never in a million years thought I would ever consider forgiving someone or staying in a relationship with someone after what he has done to me. My initial reaction was 'that's it, it's over, I never want to see you again' in slightly stronger language! When he first started talking about counselling I told him many times to shove it up his arse! I thought he was delusional. That it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. I couldnt see through the abject pain I was in. Now, I'm thinking maybe, just maybe.......

      I'm also conscious of what the few people who know might think of me. Especially, my best friend. She has said that she will support whatever I decide but I dont like the idea that people might be looking at me and thinking that I am a mug or stupid or weak.

      My husband has said a few times that it us up to us what we do. Unfortunately, every time he says this I explode into 'it wasnt just about us when you were fucking someone else whilst I was holding down the fort at home.' You can imagine. It might be true but I'm finding it hard to take from him just now.

      I will have a wee look at your book and thank you for your response. X

    3. Anonymous,
      Yep, you're pretty much right on script. Not too many of us who EVER thought we'd say to a cheater, "well, sure we can give it another go". Nope. I was absolutely a kick-him-to-the-curb person. Until it happens. And then a whole lot of us look at things differently. And that's also what I'd say about your friend. Unless she's gone through this, she has the same sense that it's impossible to rebuild. Our culture is a "kick-him-to-the-curb" culture. We don't have many public examples of rebuilding. Even those we say, we imagine she's just gritting her teeth and staying out of duty or fear or weakness. But here's the thing: Staying and rebuilding a marriage takes incredible courage and guts and commitment. It's not a sign of weakness at all. Neither is leaving. We each get to walk our own path through this and nobody should stand in judgement, even those of us who've gone through it. Nobody knows what your marriage is about except you. And you are the one who has to live with your choice so please make it based on what feels right for you. Not your friend, not our culture, nobody but you. "My heartbreak, my rules" is our tagline and we mean it.

    4. Hi, My husband had a breakdown too, one year ago.
      He started to act strange, and coming in late.
      He used to travel a lot, because of work, and I always trusted him, we've been together total of 17 years, 10 of marriage at that point.
      Two kids, and I believed we had a "good marriage".
      But something was happening. I asked him straight, are you happy?. What's going on?. Could you give US an opportunity before, giving it to someone else?.
      Then it all started.
      Total breakdown from him, I've never had seen him cry like that. But he did not tell me anything for days, just crying and like zombie.
      One month passed and we were like roommates.
      I asked him to separate.
      To go and find out what he wanted for his life. Because this life for me was like going thru hell. So, he did, he left, for two weeks.
      Then I received Anonymous messages " your husband is cheating", Yes. The OW.
      I asked him. He denied everything.
      He came back, and then out to travel from work again. This time I asked him if we has coming back was to get help or a final separation.
      He came back, He told me that I was the love of his life, asked for forgiveness, he told me he was going to be a better husband, father, a better man, for his family. That day, he proposed to me again.
      Two days after that, More messages incoming, I always ignored them. But this time, she shared all their pictures together, videos, travel with him, messages between them, everything.
      The shock, and the pain, every inch of my body wanted to tear apart. I knew her, shes the kind of woman that you know, every man looks. Perfect body. I didn't like her before at all, I hated her. I knew he liked my husband at a party just by the way she looked at him.
      He, finally confessed, and I decided to give US a chance. I already had. Before all those pics. ( I knew something was going on, lets face it we all know.)
      It has been very very hard, To work a lot on me, on US, on everything that tore us apart. On Her, she registred her kids at my kids school. When I encounter her, I ignore.. always ignore her.
      It has been difficult, but at the same time, We are better than ever, he really is another man, a compromised Husband and Father.
      She keeps trying to tear us apart. I don't know if it is for fun, or just because she really fell in love ( BS). But a couple of weeks ago, a car pulled on our driveway at 3AM shouting songs and calling out his name, and pledging love for him. ( she is crazy) It has been a year.
      My therapist says that I could expect another year of her craziness.
      Sometimes I get ALL emotions, sometimes I want to get at her, get at him, specially when She does her crazy stuff just for kiks ( @$#%). But I look at my life right now, and everything is better, with all the changes happening, I can realize now, that we lost each other as a couple,we were just a Family team, now everything is different, we do not take anything for granted, and we love each other more.
      I know that I am not ready yet, but someday, I will encounter her and Thank her. Maybe her yelling is a remider for us, to keep working for our relationship and love.
      I pray for my forgiveness, to me, to him and to her.Everyday.
      What I am saying is .. there IS a chance for Love to work thru everything.

    5. Wow. You've gone through so much and WOW, your ability to see the silver lining is incredible. She sure sounds crazy. And I hope she moves her crazy somewhere else soon. But thank-you for sharing your story. And kudos to you for your huge heart.

  2. This is just something which sprang to mind just now.

    I just cant understand why his girlfriend decided to destroy me. The affair was over. He wasnt going to leave me. Almost two years later, shes in another relationship and she decides she is going to destroy me and she has darn near done it.

    It makes me very sad that she could carry on this relationship with someone she knew to be married and knew had children, bearing in mind this information is coming from him. I'm not completely sure if she knew or not but he was a man who works away and then goes home every weekend. It's not hard to work out.

    I dont want to sound like I am blaming her because I'm not. I 100% blame my husband but just dont understand the vindictiveness. I wonder, if she could see me now, would she feel remorse or pleasure. Who knows?

    As an aside, social media is an absolute curse. I couldnt help looking at her and know she knows this. The smugness on her ugly mug (sorry) has to be seen to be believed and it is so deliberate yet I couldnt stop looking. I have been good the last few days, refrained from looking and felt so much better.

    1. (Part 1 of 2) Dear anonymous,

      I am so, so sorry that you are being forced to go through this. Discovering my husband’s affair, and then, two months later, discovering that he had been lying to me daily since d-day about the extent of that affair, remains the most devastatingly painful thing I have ever experienced.

      I was struck by this part of your post: “Is there a chance that we could get help for our issues and carry onto an even better relationship than before?”

      I only discovered Elle’s website six months after D-day. By then I had done a remarkable amount of learning and growing. Still, I gobbled up the posts, ordered her book and read it straight through in 24 hours (highly recommended). I was so, so hungry for narratives of couples who had made it through affairs and were happy. Which is what you asked for.

      What I have come to understand, on the doorstep of my one-year D-Day antiversary, is that what I actually needed to read (although I didn’t know it at the time) were stories of women who had made it through being cheated on and were happy; not couples who had made it through and were happy. I can’t control what happens in my relationship — it take two to make it a success — but I can control what I do with my own mind and heart.

      It would have been more comforting to read the narratives of couples who were happy. It was more helpful and realistic and empowering to read/hear the narratives of women who made it through.

      Apparently it *is* possible for couples to use the trauma of the affair as an opportunity to do a post-mortem, figure out what went wrong in their marriage, and decide to have a new and healthier relationship together. Esther Perel writes about this. (If you haven’t seen or read or heard her stuff, start with her TED Talk on rethinking infidelity.) Most of the stories I hear about these kinds of couples are from Christian sources and not being a religious person, those weren’t very helpful to me.

      Anyway. Yes, I did find one or two narratives of people who made it through infidelity as a couple and thrived, although I’m not sure how much I trust their exuberance. The best example is Beyoncé (watch the Lemonade video series in order — most importantly the introductory poetry written by Warsan Shire). If Beyoncé can be cheated on, literally anyone can be cheated on. Her decision to make Jay-Z’s betrayal into a story in which she, Beyoncé, is the hero, is brilliant and it’s also what I’ve tried to do. I am the hero of the story of my husband’s affair. Why? Because I choose to be. Why should I let anyone else — the other woman, my husband, societal expectations — be in charge of the narrative?

      I found a lot more narratives of people who tried to reconcile but ultimately the marriage ended. But just to be clear: these are not stories of failure. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle is a great example. (Part two of the book describes the experience of the trauma of infidelity in a way that was so bang on for me.) Glennon writes that when she put herself back together again after the betrayal, she discovered that she just didn’t fit her old life. If you don’t have the time, money or concentration to read, listen to the Oprah SuperSoul Conversations podcast episode Glennon Doyle did on this.

      Mostly, what I found where narratives of people for whom reconciliation wasn’t even an option, either because the cheater wanted out or because the betrayed didn’t want to consider it. But again: those can be empowering stories, too. All four of my friends who have been cheated on were in this camp: two didn’t even want to reconcile because the betrayal was so horrible, and the other two had spouses (one was a man whose wife cheated, the other a woman whose husband did) who just wanted to leave. All of these people are happy now. Things didn’t go the way they wanted, but they still ended up happy. One is happily married (to a HOTTIE!) and has a new baby, one is happily in a relationship (also with a hottie! Hmm... theme?) and two are happily single by choice.

      (continued below!)

    2. (Part 2 of 2 for anonymous)

      The most useful narratives for me, regardless of the outcome of the marriage/relationship, came from people who used the experience of being cheated on as a catapult that propelled them to enormous growth. Pain can be rocket fuel if you let it. That’s what I chose to do and now, a year later, I feel more powerful than I have in years and more grounded than I ever have. The best narratives of those personal growth experiences are Pema Chodron’s book “When Things Fall Apart”, Glennon Doyle’s book I mentioned earlier, and Elle’s story, as described on the Surviving infidelity podcast from earlier this year. You can’t know how your marriage—or indeed any marriage—is going to turn out. All you can do is take the next right step, as Glennon Doyle writes.

      It’s like driving in fog. You can only see as far as your headlight but it turns out that’s all you need.

    3. Anonymous, I wondered if it might be helpful to get someone else's experience of the things you mention in your posts. So, I wrote out my experience, not as advice but just to give you insight into what someone else lived. Once I started writing, I just couldn't stop. So, I'm posting it all here, in multiple posts.

      #1 ANGER.

      Girl. When the shock wore off (which took about 12 hours), I didn’t just have anger, I had violent rage. Violent. Rage. A spirit animal — a bird of fire — came and inhabited my body for three straight days. I packed a bag and walked out, leaving my husband with our two little children and with no indication of when or if I’d be back. My anger was so furious that separation was the safest thing for both of us. That’s when my husband realized just how catastrophic his choices were. That was his rock bottom.

      #2 PAIN.

      The pain was more intense than any pain I have ever felt. I gave birth without an epidural or any kind of pain control, and I swear, this was the same level of pain, but sustained for weeks.


      The gaslighting. And the fact that he wanted to share special things with her; not with me and our children. Unlike so many women I’ve heard from, I knew — knew in my gut — that something was wrong as he was starting the affair. Our marriage was in bad shape despite the years of effort I’d been making but even at that, I felt something shift. I forced us into marriage counselling and it turns out that my instincts were bang on. He booked their first date, thus starting the affair, the same day as our first marriage counseling session. I even asked him point blank one night if he was having an affair. (That sense of just knowing that Elle describes? Girl. I had that too.) He denied it all of course and used our therapy sessions to make me think I was imagining things. But I never gaslit myself. I knew something was wrong. His affair “only” lasted two months and the physical component was “only” a week long and, so he claims, never quite made it to being sexual (and yes, I’m defining that terms in the broadest possible sense). But it wasn’t the fact that he made out with her multiple times or even that he came close to sleeping with her once. It’s the fact that he made diner reservations for her, not me. That he sent joking emails to her, not me. That he invited her to go hiking with him, not me. And all the while I was staying home with the two kids, unwittingly facilitating his affair. Girl, that is a punch in the gut, even now.

      #4 WHO TO TELL.

      I didn’t make it a secret that I was going through the experience of discovering I had been cheated on. That said, I didn’t advertise it either. The reason I didn’t make it a secret is because I knew I’d need people supporting me, and those people needed to know the truth. Also, this is apparently something that happens quite a lot in our society, and I really think that if we just TALKED about it more, a lot of the stigma would be reduced and also people who are tempted to think that cheating is something they can just do on the sly without hurting anyone would disabuse themselves of that bullshit. In the very very beginning, I reached out to two women I barely knew that I knew had been cheated on, seeking their advice. I wouldn’t have had those people to turn to if I didn’t know they had been cheated on. Now, maybe I can be that for someone else who is as desperate as I was.


      My friends were and continue to be awesome, which really speaks to how amazing my chosen community is. I have surrounded myself with a network of women who are smart and strong, who understand and embrace the sticky messiness if life, and who will respect and support me whether I stay or go. Along with those women come the men and women who love them and are their life partners: people who value self-knowledge and are compassionate and kind. The big disappointment for me was my parents. When things fell apart, I literally couldn’t function. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t work, and could not take care of my children. I was in crisis. I really, really, really needed someone to listen without judgement and to physically come in and take care of me and my kids for a while. My parents, who could have done it, chose not to. They wanted to preserve the comfort of their perception of reality and of their routine.

      So who did step up to take care of me when I was incapacitated? Here's where it gets weird. It was my husband, the man whose selfishness put me in that state. And looking back, that was what first made me consider the possibility of staying.

      #6. WHY DID HE DO IT?

      I’m lucky because right from the word go (because of work done by feminists and relationship experts like Elle and like Esther Perel), I knew this was 100% because of him and his issues and 0% because of anything that had to do with me. I’m an awesome catch in every way. But it took a while and lots of therapy with a very very good therapist before my husband finally figured out for himself why he essentially blew up his whole life (and mine and that of our kids). In our case, my husband had an affair because he wanted to escape the problems in our marriage, which existed because of a whole lot of crap from his horrible childhood that he had never had the courage to deal with in a healthy way. But instead of being brave and facing the crap and accepting that HE was the problem in our marriage, he instead chose to create a double-life in which he presented himself as a single dad to the (very) young woman who asked him out one day, taking the opportunity when it arose. I had been working diligently and patiently for years to try and make our marriage better but it turns out that the more effort I put in, the less he felt like he needed to try, and the more he felt entitled to take take take. Ain’t that a kick in the teeth? When I discovered his affair, my boundaries came roaring back into place and my healthy sense of entitlement came roaring back. I could literally hear the roaring in my ears as they came back from wherever I had shoved them down to over the years of self-sacrifice. They are all still firmly in place and will never budge again.

    5. #7. WHY HER?

      Again, I am soooo lucky that I had very strong resilience going into this. (Which reminds me: read “Resilient” by Rick Hanson. Amazing.) I knew from the beginning that my husband’s affair wasn’t because I lacked something. In fact, when I started to learn about the other woman, it became clear to me that she was inferior to me in every way (except age, if you adhere to our society’s view that youth is superior, and fitness level, where I’m still pretty fit but not compared to someone 13 years younger with no kids who can go to the gym whenever she likes without having to arrange child care). And that was the whole point for my husband. He WANTED someone inferior to me — less confident, less powerful, less accomplished, less educated, less worldly, less well travelled, with lower earning power — because he liked how it made him feel better about himself. Was I making him feel bad about himself in our marriage? Hell, no. I thought he was awesome and sexy and a fantastic dad and told him so all the time. The voice that made him feel inferior wasn’t coming from me, it was coming from inside himself; but he didn’t want to admit that to himself. So what did she, the other woman, have? As Elle wisely says: nothing I want. She is damaged and lacking in confidence and willing to not ask too many questions about why the guy she’s dating kinda still seems to be living with his wife and kids despite his claims that they were separating. Do I want to be like her? Hell, no. The other thing that made him choose her is convenience. She flirted with him. She was available. And would I ever want a man to choose me primarily because I’m available? Duh. No.


      Some people say you shouldn’t hate the other woman but rather pity her. I say do both! She was instrumental in nearly effing up my children’s lives by wrecking their family. Of course I hate that bitch. That pathetic, pitiable bitch.


      Nope. Because if she did care, she wouldn’t have done it. You’ll never be able to understand how she can live with herself so don’t even try. The answer is that she is completely messed up. Take solace in the fact that you aren’t. You are in pain, but you are not messed up.


      I'm not sure if your kids factor into this at all, but they did for me. I’m actually pretty surprised at how rarely I read that kids factor into people’s decisions to give a cheating spouse a second chance or not. Personally, if I didn’t have kids, I would have dumped him immediately. Our marriage was in a terrible state before and I was the one doing all the work to make it stronger. The fact that we had two very young children is the ONLY reason I even contemplated not divorcing him; I was very happy, independent and accomplished before we met and, without kids, and would immediately have gone back to that life. When I discovered his affair I was willing to fight for our family but not for our marriage; he had to fight for that.


      It sounds like you're already doing this, Anonymous. After the first few weeks of shock and body-shaking sobbing and furious anger, I decided that I would have to actively rewire my brain so that the unhealthy stuff didn’t have a chance to create entrenched neural pathways. I knew the anger would poison me. I knew that trolling the OW’s social media would make me hurt more. I knew that drinking a bottle of wine every night was just making things worse. So, I forced myself to make them. And Girl: it sucked. But I did it. When the angry thoughts came in, I actively stopped them and forced my brain to think of my awesome children. When self-pity squeezed me, I forced myself to feel gratitude. When I wanted to check the OW’s Instagram, I forced myself to read a gripping fiction novel instead. Forced myself. Forced. It was an act of will. And Girl, as I did it, it felt like it wasn’t helping at all. I was still so angry. I was still so consumed by the injustice of it all. I still obsessed over her. But I kept on doing it. And thank god I did, because within about 2-3 months, all that stuff just got much, much quieter.


      You mentioned being in the eye of the storm and struggling badly. To paraphrase Mira Kirshenbaum from her book “I love you but I don’t trust you” (which I found good but inadequate — it’s better for “smaller” betrayals), if you’re asking yourself “how do I survive this pain?” the answer is that you already are surviving it. You are doing it. My advice, if you find a wave of grief crashing down on you, is to enter the texture of the moment, and breathe. Notice the smell of the room. The texture of what you’re sitting on. The saturation of the colours. The many sounds. Stay in the moment. Breathe. The pain will eventually release you. Then, at the end of every day, make a point of being grateful. In your mind, actively relive all the things you experienced during the day that you are grateful for.


      Make no mistake about it, Anonymous: you are being brave. As a society, by and large, we only value loud courage: the action hero kind of courage. Punching. Shouting. Kicking him out. Calling a lawyer. Going it alone. (We don’t appreciate the phenomenal difficulty that single mothers face every single day, but we do applaud the woman who kicks the bum out.) We don’t value (or even recognize) the silent kinds of courage. The courage to find compassion for yourself and others. The courage to really feel the pain. The courage to stay with someone who has hurt you but is trying like crazy to make amends. The courage to shield our children. The courage of grace. We appreciate things that look physically courageous. We mostly don’t know how to even recognize emotional and spiritual courage. Does it take courage to leave? Yes. Does it take courage to stay? Yes.


      As a writer, words are extremely important to me. The words “taking him back” make me feel really uncomfortable. They just don’t reflect my experience. Because “him” – the man who cheated on me – is more or less gone at this point. Instead, over the past year of rocket-fuel-pain-powered growth, my husband has become someone amazingly different. That’s why I prefer these words instead: I’m seeing if I the person I have become might want to have a new marriage with the person he has become. Wordier, yes. But accurate.

      I hope some of this helps, Anonymous.

    8. Chinook,
      Wow. Thank-you so much for all that (on behalf of me and everyone else here). I'd love to copy this and re-post as a stand-alone blog post, if that's okay with you. You can let me know at Thank-you. Thank-you so much.

    9. Chinook, you've got a wealth of great stuff here. Welcome. Anonymous, Chinook has wise words. You are so early in this discovery and honestly when I was where you are I was a puddle of mush and vacillated between wanting to die and wanting him to die. It gets easier to deal with your new life over time but right now you are in no way, shape or form to even think about the future. Just take it a day at a time. There is so much collective wisdom on this site. I could read in small bits because I never believed I'd still be married to my husband after his disclosure. It's been a little over four years and we are stable and moving forward with a totally different life than previously. I will never go back.

    10. Chinook this thread of posts is outstanding. SO good. Thank you. I love this bit. "I am the hero of the story of my husband’s affair. Why? Because I choose to be. Why should I let anyone else — the other woman, my husband, societal expectations — be in charge of the narrative?"
      I can relate to so much of what you have posted. I hope all the people that need this see this. I wish I had stumbled in here closer to DDay. It's a great idea to make this it's own post Elle. It's quietly reaffirming and empowering.

    11. Thank you, Elle, Beach Girl and SusannahJ.

      And Anonymous, listen to Beach Girl. She is totally right when she writes "right now you are in no way, shape or form to even think about the future. Just take it a day at a time."

      This is exactly right. Your *only* job right now is to survive, and you do that by taking it one day at a time or, if a whole day is overwhelming, one minute at a time. Let yourself feel the pain without reaching for an escape or something to numb you -- it's the hardest thing you will ever do but it is also the healthiest way I know to heal oneself.

    12. Wow! Chinook I am impressed! I'm 68 years old. Dday for me was 30 days ago. I found out the day before our 15th wedding anniversary. I was muddling around, lost in a fog of pain. Until yesterday when I caught H meeting OW in a parking lot to pay back money he owed her. Then I finally got angry. I confronted them both and she left. Then I beat the crap out of my H in the parking lot. (I've never hit him before). I will tell you it felt GOOD. Now I feel like I've got my mojo back and I'm going to use your writing as my roadmap to get past this. I will not look at her social media again. I will not give her any power over me. And my cheating husband will never underestimate me again. I can't guarantee where this marriage is going, but I will NOT be his doormat ever again.

  3. Anonymous,

    I completely understand. I felt the exact same way. It's so unfair that even something as simple as ironing is a trigger for you.

    I think it is completely reasonable for you to want to purge your household of anything that might be tied to the other woman, including your husband's shirts. It sounds healthy.

    I'm really glad to hear that you are taking measures to protect yourself from self-harm. I just learned recently that about half of the time, suicide is not pre-planned, which I didn't realize. Asking your husband to hide those pills is responsible and also helps him understand how desperate you feel. Do you have the means to see a counselor or therapist? Not all of them are good at their jobs, and you need to find the right fit, but once you do see someone who is knowledgeable and who is the right fit for you, they can be enormously helpful.

    From one warrior to another: please know that you are not alone. Please hang in there. Please enter the texture of the moment when you feel yourself drowning in sorrow. Please breathe when you feel yourself burning with anger and remember that the past cannot hurt you. When you feel desperate sadness, treat yourself to something that feels wonderful -- a massage, a pedicure, or just a good book and mug of tea in a sunbeam if you don't have the funds for anything different.

    You write "Every time I think I might get through this something else bites me on the arse" but hear this: you ARE getting through this. The pain you're feeling is all part of getting through this. The triggers are all part of it. It hurts SO MUCH and it is so brutally unfair. And you are getting through this.

  4. Chinook. Thank you so much. There is so much I can take from your posts and so much I could say.

    An interesting point that I was thinking about whilst reading your post was the part about children.

    I have a friend who asked 'what would you do if you didn't have children?' as an instrument to get me to separate my kids from the equation. I found this question irrelevant and a bit silly because we do have children and if we didn't, who knows where we would be and what we'd be doing. I love my kids more than anything (apart maybe from Chinese food) but kids do come with massive amounts of stress. They change your relationship in so many ways that my idiot husband found hard to cope with. That kind of question just annoys me. It's totally unhelpful.

    On the subject of friends, I have only told two. One my long-standing closest friend and one a newer friend who I love and trust but didn't tell the nitty gritty of the affair. She knows i'm struggling and has been giving me daily support. My closest friend I can feel pulling away from me as she realises that I may not be going for the immediate separation option. It's so hurtful. I get the feeling she is on the brink of the 'stay with him but don't come running to me if he does it again' speech.

    It's heartbreaking because most of my immediate family are dead and this whole thing has made me realise just how badly I was struggling with grief, isolation and anxiety for many, many years. Yesterday, I was lying in my bed thinking that I had not had a genuine happy thought since the first tragedy and that has been a long time. I have been like some kind of a zombie going through the motions. I want my first priority to be sorting myself out and then who knows?

    I'm sorry, I seem to be just going off on rants! I have so much I want to say about your posts but just can't organise my thoughts just now.

    1. Hello Anonymous, it’s been 10 months for me and I still feel pretty much the same. Reading your post it sounds so much like my thoughts. Ironing... I cut up the jacket he wore when he saw that W....... I wish I could remember the shirt pants...
      Today was my first day of therapy... (I think the therapist was falling asleep at times but he’s very kind. Next Friday it’s the next appointment, we will see
      I know what you mean about girlfriends, I only have two and I can tell that they’re tired of hearing me. Unfortunately I’m alone as well, no family and not many people around me. Let’s be strong and continue this journey that life through at us.

  5. Chinook

    My husband's choice of girlfriend was quite a bit more than 13 years younger than me.

    I think about it sometimes but mostly it doesn't bother me. I would like to explain why without sounding superficial and buying into the narrative of a society which values women only on the basis of their attractiveness and encourages us to beat each other down, but fuck that she is not very attractive at all! I have 20 years on her but look better in a dress. I have never seen the inside of a gym but have a better body than that girl and I wont even talk about her face because I havent seen it through all the fakery of makeup and false this, false that. What I have seen of her face isnt very attractive and she has a nasty aura about her. During my internet detective work I found several photos which made me incredulous as to why this was his choice and I know this question has been answered before but I'm just venting.

    The part about your husband supporting you through this hit home too. Its so fucked up. I literally nearly killed him in the first few days. He should not have been here as it was dangerous for us both yet now he is dealing with the kids, making sure I eat etc still saying a lot of stupid things though! I don't want to return to the marital bed as yet and he said 'but it's a fundamental of married life'. He wasnt taking about sex just the closeness but you can imagine my response that a fundamental of married life is not fucking someone else, followed by door slamming and more sobbing! For some reason I am finding some of this comical in its ridiculousness. You couldnt make it up.

    1. Anonymous - The who is irrelevant. The OW was readily available. End of subject. There was nothing special about her other than she was available.

      I would tell you to stop the internet detective work - but I know that it's part of the process. I'm more than 2 years out and I can't stop looking at her social media stuff - even though it's locked down and her latest profile pic is not a selfie.

      Elle's post ( been a lifeline for me when I get too absorbed with the OW.

      Have you found a therapist? I made the mistake of finding the first available one and it was ok for the moment but was nothing that would have sustained me long term. I have had 2 others who were NOT helpful and finally 23 months later I was able to land in the office of a woman who is a God send. My point is ... please take the time to look into finding someone who can help you through this. Girlfriends are great ... but a nonpartisan professional will get you further from this trauma faster!

      As Chinook said - you are NOT alone. I would be lost if not for the sisters I've found here who will hug you, honor you, and push you (lovingly) to doing what's best for you!

    2. Kimberley, thanks for your post.

      My husband keeps saying that she meant nothing to him but this somehow does not make me feel better. Part of me wishes it was some big love story where they were irresistibly drawn to each other, were soul mates (whatever that pish means) and were together forever more. This 'she was just available' stuff makes me question the quality of his character even more. After looking at her social media pictures I actually, seriously asked him if she was a prostitute because of the way she looks! She is so completely opposite from me or anyone he would consider marrying or introducing to his family. Maybe that was the fantasy. Who knows?

  6. Oh, Anonymous, my heart breaks for your sadness and worry. Hang in there, fellow warrior. Everything you describe here sounds very familiar.

    My children were both preschool age on D-Day. They both witnessed a horrific fight between my husband and I, which was unprecedented in our household. I am very proactive in talking to my kids about emotions, so as soon as the fight cooled off, despite my shock and grief, I sat us all down on the couch for a debrief. I told my children that Mommy and Daddy had just had a fight, which was wrong and shouldn't have happened, and that we were both very sorry. To help them orient it, I added that the two of them fought together often, and grown-up fights were similar but more rare. I added, repeatedly, that it had nothing to do with them. It was just between Mommy and Daddy, and we both loved them and they did nothing wrong.

    There were many days when I was too depressed to get out of bed. Many days of crying. I never lied to my kids about this. I told them I was very sad. I asked my oldest what he thought was going on, and he said that because Daddy and I had had a fight, the fight broke my heart. This seemed like a good version so I told him he was right and now my heart was healing and it was going to take a long time and I was going to be sad for a long time, but it had nothing to do with them, and Daddy was very sorry he broke my heart and was doing everything he could to make it better.

    Some weeks later, my husband and I separated. My children lived only at the house with me, and my husband came and went. (This arrangement is known as "nesting" -- the things you learn!) I explained to the kids that this was all part of my heart healing.

    The main things that seemed to comfort my kids were: (1) I was always honest about the emotions that were flying around -- no gaslighting of my children! I would often prompt my oldest to see what he had come up with as an explanation, then kept that version or adjusted as necessary. (2) my husband and I both made a Herculean effort to NOT fight in front of the kids. There was also ABSOLUTELY no parental alienation, which can really mess kids up (3) we repeatedly reassured the kids that this was only an adult thing and not related to them in any way, and that we both loved them, and that we were taking care of it and they didn't have to worry about it (4) I did a lot of very fun and comforting things with the kids for many months, like movies all together on the couch even on school nights, etc. (5) Despite my grief, I spent a LOT of time with them.

    I advise that you assure them that it's not their fault and that the grown-ups are handling it. I strongly recommend being honest about your feelings but limit details about what's causing them (just say it's a grown-up thing). Do not fight in front of the kids or within earshot if at all possible. And help keep their routine as consistent as possible, which they'll find reassuring.

    My kids have really taken the whole thing in stride. Once they were reassured that they weren't losing their father despite his moving out, and once my mood started to improve (which took about 3 months), things were fine.

    My husband recently moved back in, but to the guest room, and my kids are taking that in stride too. They don't seem to really care where their father is living as long as everyone is getting along, there's no fighting, they know that both parents are available to them all the time, and they know what routine to expect, more or less, every day.

    Anonymous, I was worried about this hurting my children, too. But if my kids are anything to go by, there is absolutely no need to worry about anything catastrophic.

  7. Chinook. I was given no space by my husband. He was away for work at the time and came home one day after d day and then refused to leave because he felt like it would be the wrong thing to do. We managed to get the kids away for a few nights and the worst fights were then but my girl who is in her early teens overheard something one night. She woukdnt tell me what but I just said that Daddy had hurt Mummy very badly (which she could tell anyeay) but that it didnt make him a bad person and that we both loved her very much. That sometimes people make mistakes and we were trying to fix it. This was so hard as wanted to scream that he was a lying, cheating, deceitful son of a bitch! Tears running down my face just now as I had the most wonderful of parents. They had a true deep love. They weren't perfect but I can honestly say that I never heard either of them shout in anger and they just lived for one another. I am heartbroken that I could not provide this for my babies. I'm afraid I have not been able to be as controlled as you Chinook but I have not been given a second away from him since this all broke!

    1. Anonymous,

      All of this is very familiar to me. Painfully familiar. I am so sorry you're being forced to go through this. It is so unfair and so undeserved.

      First off, it sounds like you are doing remarkably well. You are validating what your children see (i.e., that you are in deep pain and your husband is the cause of it), which is very important because it builds trust. You are resisting the incredibly powerful urge to trash talk your husband to your/his own children. That is very hard to do but really speaks to your character. And you are intuitively understanding that there is a much larger context for the choices we make as parents, and that past generations of parenting influence that. The first two are actions that can be taught but this last one is so important because it's a way of seeing the world that takes a long time to develop.

      I know how hard it is but please, please don't think of this as a failure in your ability to provide for your babies. It is not true and it is not helpful. If that thought comes into your head, do not allow it to linger. Forcibly change your thoughts, even though it seems weird and fake to do so. Do not allow the neural pathways encoding that thought to become entrenched.

      Instead, find compassion for yourself. You are suffering. You have been hurt in one of the worst possible ways. You are feeling pain that is so huge and powerful it engulfs you. You did nothing to deserve this. And still, you are making healthy and wise choices. You deserve a medal.

      Your husband's affair is NOT a result of your failing as a parent. HE is the one who has failed your children, failed your family; not you.

      I'm not sure if this will help at all, but I chose to adopt a narrative that in my family's darkest hour, when all hope seemed lost, I was the one who put on the bulletproof bracelets, grabbed the lasso of truth, drew on super-strength I didn't even know I had, and ran towards the crumbling buildings and burning fires in order to save us all.

      Dramatic? Yes, it is. But when I was going through something horribly, negatively dramatic, I needed something heroically, positively dramatic as a counterpoint.

      Action movies are full of reluctant heroes. Liam Neeson didn't WANT anyone to kidnap his daughter, but when they did, he broke out a very particular set of skills that made him a nightmare for people like the kidnappers. Wonder Woman didn't WANT the second world war to happen, but when it did, she was willing to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

      The bitter pill is this: Yes, Anonymous, this is now a permanent part of your life story and your children's life story. Yes, they will now forever be the children of parents whose marriage was traumatized by infidelity. So are mine. So are the children of every woman and every man in the world who has been cheated on.

      But here's the thing.

      If a person makes it through their entire life unscathed, that person has not really lived.

      Life isn't supposed to be a race to get to the end without anything bad ever happening. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote: "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience."

      You cannot control whether anything bad is ever foisted onto your children by some other person. It is a horrible betrayal that this pain was foisted on them by their own father, who is meant to be their protector. And that is a shame he will carry for the rest of his life (whether he admits it to himself or, like some many cheaters, hides his own shame from himself). But at some point, all of our children will be forced to live with something really hurtful. The way I see it, my job is to give them a framework for that pain that makes it understandable and bearable, and the resilience to make it a part of their life story.

      If you have not yet read "Resilient" by Rick Hanson, I strongly recommend it.

      (continued below)

    2. Something else that I read in your post relates to boundaries. The fact that you asked your husband to give you space and he refused to do so is very troubling to me. I understand his desperation to not have you leave because it's a desperation to not have reality (i.e., the fact that he cheated) be as it is. But when you say you need something, he should listen. Elle wrote an amazing post about boundaries. Have you read it?

      Some of the best advice I got in the time immediately after D-Day was to not make any decisions but rather to gather information -- information about him but also information about myself and my thoughts and feelings (which is why journaling was so useful to me).

      Cheating husband doesn't know why he had an affair? Interesting. That's good information to have.

      Cheating husband won't respect my boundaries? Interesting. That's good information to have.

      Or: cheating husband is sobbing himself to sleep every night? Cheating husband has bought every book he can find on reconciliation after an affair, taken a week off work, and is reading through them all? Cheating husband is going to weekly therapy?


      It's all good information to have.

  8. Part 1 of 3
    Dear Elle & Betrayed Wives (or girlfriends),
    I recently came across this site and I have to admit that I am so thankful that I have. I am 9 months out from D-Day and I have searched articles and blogs grasping to find similar stories or experiences with minimal luck. I have read books and just constantly searched and here is a community of women all who have been through similar pain. I am not a wife, I am a girlfriend. Which at first made me very hesitant to share my story after reading all of your posts that most have been married for years with kids and a life before an affair happened which made my situation feel kind of silly. But nonetheless, I feel like I need to share for insight and support. Or just for the fact that someone can actually say “I know how you feel” and truly mean it. My boyfriend and I met two years ago and right from the beginning it was unlike anything else I had experienced. We had so much in common, same likes, dislikes, morals, wanted the same things out of life. It was perfect. And I fell in love with him fiercely and quickly. I knew early on that he was the love of my life, and I truly believed he felt the same way. We both came with a past, I had dated a not so nice guy for awhile and he came out of a rocky long-term relationship that he was already checked out of for years until he actually ended it. I felt like we understood each other. We dated for awhile and then decided to move in together. We were talking about buying a house in the Spring and figured we should give it a “trial run” before making that commitment. I had lived with a significant other before and he had not so I thought it was important that we try it out. So, I packed up all my stuff and moved to the other end of the city for love and I was happy to do it.
    We certainly had our ups and downs and looking back now there were red flags that I definitely overlooked at the time. Things that maybe seemed a little odd but I didn’t question because I was either reassured that it was nothing, or I convinced myself that my boyfriend loved me unconditionally and there was nothing else to worry about. Nine months ago I was standing in the middle of a shopping mall when I received a message via Facebook from his ex-girlfriend letting me know that over the course of the last couple months they had seen each other, he had told her he was single, and they had slept together. When I first read those words, I didn’t believe it. What I had known about this girl was that she was pretty dramatic and was just a little crazy. I figured, here she goes trying to stir the pot. I have him read the message, tell him it better not be true, and walk out to the truck to wait for him. He comes out, tells me
    “I’m going to get to the bottom of this” and into the truck he goes. So I’m thinking, okay, you’re right, she’s crazy, he didn’t do anything. So I say
    “Okay, then just tell me you haven’t seen her and then I have nothing to worry about” silence and then “I can’t tell you that” and then I knew. We get home, I pack a bag, we yell, he panics, I ask him over and over again if he did it, denial. So I read the message again and in the message she offers to share messages to back herself up so I say that to him and he goes silent.
    “Did you sleep with her?”
    And then everything went numb and I left.
    I continued to talk to him that evening (after a few drinks with my sisters) and demanded answers and details. How many times? Where? In our bed? Where was I? What lies were you telling me? And he would not answer anything. So, I had her call me.

  9. Part 2 of 3
    Looking back now it’s like an out of body experience. I have no idea how I was so calm and collect (shock I suppose) but I was not mean to her, I wasn’t even mad at her, I just told her that woman to woman I needed to know, and she told me. She cried on the phone to me and claimed she truly didn’t know about me. I really didn’t care at that point, I just wanted answers.
    The next few days were a blur. I didn’t go to work, I was in the middle of finishing up at my job to start a new job so I had a week off. I didn’t eat, sleep, or do much of anything. I was staying at my sisters place and I literally felt like a zombie. We went to his place to get my things which was heartbreaking.
    He was remorseful everyday and eventually I agreed to meet him in person to talk. We met, I drank, I cried, I yelled, he cried. It was extremely emotional. And at the end of the night I didn’t want to go back to my sisters house. I wanted to go to my house where I actually felt comfortable. So I went with him. When we got to the house I stood on the street and cried. And then again when I walked into the house. And again when I got upstairs. I cried over and over again. I made us lay on the floor because I refused to lay in the bed. And eventually my crying and shaking turned into use being intimate. I don’t know how or why and for a VERY long time I couldn’t understand how I even wanted that but now reading different things on here I understand that it actually is pretty common. It continued for awhile, and each time I would sob uncontrollably after.
    I went back to my sisters the next day and stayed there for a few more days. When the weekend rolled around I (regrettably) lied to my sister about where I was going and I went straight to his house. I hated lying. But I felt like the only time I had true support was when I was talking about leaving or doing what everyone else thought I should be doing. As soon as I waivered or considered staying with him, the support was out the window which made it really hard. Of course I had some friends that were supportive no matter what, but I felt very disappointed with my family.
    I agreed to counselling so he booked the appointment. The day we were going, an hour or so before our appointment I received a bunch of screenshots from her. It was about ten screenshots of messages exchanged between the two of them over the course of the affair. It was sickening. It was like twisting the knife. The only thing I really gained from it was knowing the exact dates of when the cheating occurred, I could pin point what I was doing, and what he lied to me about during those times. It was incredibly hard to see how truly deceitful he was being and the things he was saying to her while he was in a full on committed relationship with me.

  10. Part 3 of 3
    The last nearly ten months have been incredibly hard. Some days are easier than others. Some days all I can picture is the two of them together. I picture myself waiting at home for him while he lied about being at work or golfing when really he was with her. I think of all of the red flags or out of the ordinary things I noticed and I kick myself wishing I would have dug deeper. Or known what to look for. I feel like that is the hardest thing now. I grasp at things and I feel like I constantly am looking for something because I missed it before. But I never even knew what to look for, I still don’t.
    He has made significant changes. He has opened up a lot about his past and his issues that he needed to address as well as work on. He has a ton of insecurities which led to where we are. He has explained that he was able to shut off the part of himself that knew what he was doing was wrong. He admits that he was selfish and put his feelings above everyone else’s. He admits that she was someone who actually made him feel more superior because she is such a shitty human being so in some strange way it led him to feel like he was better than her. Even though he wasn’t. They both sucked actually.
    I have days or even weeks at a time that we are good. I still think about it here and there on those days. But then I have days (like yesterday) where I am triggered by the time of year and a negative memory and it all comes flooding back and I see red. And I am mean and lash out and I hate when I do that. I don’t want to be an angry person. I want to be the happy person I was before all this when I thought I had it all figured out.
    I know 9 months is still pretty fresh. From most of what I’ve read it can take years before things start to feel better. I guess I am looking for guidance in the fact that am I insane for staying? We haven’t been together for very long, we aren’t married. Everything is solely based off of love and trying to make it work. I just fear I will let my life pass me by or even worse, that he does it again. I don’t want to be a changed person because of this but I feel like I will either way, whether I chose to stay or to go.
    I want to believe that he is a changed man, he reminds me all of the time about how grateful he is for a second chance and he knows that it can’t be easy for me. He has made significant changes in communication and is way less selfish then what he used to be. He sat down individually with each of my friends and family members apologizing and confronting his demons. I want to love him forever and I want to have the life we had planned but it is equally terrifying.
    I think that a big thing is that I feel stuck. I can’t let me guard down because even when I start to I immediately panic and think that if I let it down for too long that something will happen or I will miss something. I have also read that a big part of healing is forgiveness but I don’t know if I could ever forgive him for this. I just don’t see how. My therapist told me that I need to forgive her as well even though she isn’t sorry. I have nothing but ill things to think or say about her so I don’t know how to get there either.
    I guess I just am venting now, but I do find comfort knowing that there are a lot of bad ass, incredibly strong women out there who have been through similar situations and have dealt with it. So thank-you for this community and for sharing your stories. It has helped more than you know.

    1. Hi Beck,

      Welcome. You are among friends. And although I completely understand your need to qualify that you were not married nor parents together, I also know that it does not make any difference when it comes to the excruciating pain of betrayal.

      I am going to give it to you straight, Beck. The things that worry me most in your post are these: "I had dated a not so nice guy for awhile" (your relationship history), and "he came out of a rocky long-term relationship that he was already checked out of for years until he actually ended it" (his relationship history). These two things, combined with the intensity with which you fell in love, make me uneasy.

      Here's why:

      It sounds to me like you find yourself in a situation right now where you are weighing Potential against Actual: the potential for him to be a much, much better man against the actual fact of his past, which is that (1) he had a rocky long-term relationship that he nevertheless continued for YEARS, which shows an ability to be dishonest with himself and his ex about what he really wanted and a lack courage (huge red flag), and that (2) he then re-entered that relationship while simultaneously with you, supposedly the love of his life, while lying to both of you, exposing you both to very serious sexual health risks, and continuing this behavior for several months of a two-year relationship (which is a fairly significant proportion).

      What worries me about your relationship history (i.e., the fact that you were with a not-so-nice guy) and the intensity with which you fell in love with your boyfriend is that you may be allowing these to cloud your judgement as you weigh out the Potential vs. Actual. If you are comparing the Potential against your relationship history, maybe that will make the Potential seem more attractive. If you are letting the intensity of your feelings of love feed the Potential, that might be making it seem bigger than it is.

      Maya Angelou wrote: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." You had a vision of a happy future with this man whom you felt was the love of your life. Just make sure that there isn't a part of you still holding onto that dream that might be obscuring your vision as this man shows you who he is.

      I'm glad to hear that your boyfriend is going to therapy and doing the work required to better understand why he cheated and why cheating is so cruel. But just to make sure that YOU know: that does not mean you owe him a second chance.

      Have you considered individual counseling? I think it's worth exploring all the feelings this is bringing up with a therapist who is focused not on the relationship but on you. If you've never done therapy before, know that there are a lot of not-great therapists out there and also lots who are just not the right fit for you. Shop around. Ask for recommendations. Be choosy.

      Also: have you considered moving into your own place while you continue the process of figuring out what you want and if a relationship with your boyfriend is part of it? What if you just opened up a parenthesis where you can focus on YOUR space, YOUR healing? It wouldn't be making any final decisions, just opening a safe space for you.

      Personally, I found that separating was essential. It allowed me to really feel like my previous relationship with my husband was finished and, when we came back together, that we were starting a new one. It also truly gave him an opportunity to show me who he was.

      You have had a terrible trauma, Beck. It's still very fresh. Be kind to yourself.

    2. Hi Beck,
      Just shared with you on my past experience. Betrayal is real be it in a marriage or not.

      1st betrayal happened after we've been together for 1 year+ (before marriage). We broke up for a year and eventually back together again. 2nd betrayal where he had few one night stand which happen 2 years later after our 2nd relationship (before marriage). He asked for forgiveness and promise me that he will changed and do anything to gain back my trust. He did it and we are married.
      After 2 years of marriage, he chose to betrayed me again. This time, he is having affair with his colleague. This time, he didn't ask for any forgiveness or felt sorry about it and he told me that he is proud of himself. Not sure what is it so proud of.

      Personally, i feel that separating is a something you need to consider. Be alone for a while to figured out what you really want and whether if he is your "Mr Right". Love yourself before loving others.

      Be strong. I know how you feel as i had been through that.


  11. Hi there. Recently found this site (via Elle's interview with Samuel on the Overcoming Infidelity podcast) and felt I should add my story to the ever-growing list of stupid-ass anecdotes about ding-dong husbands. it is!

    On 5 Jan this year, the hubs' everyday demeanor changed - he’s typically pretty conversational and engaging but was acting weird - enough that I asked a couple times if he was okay. That night after our kids went to bed, I was sitting in bedroom writing in my journal and he came in, sat down and said, “I’ve lacked the courage to tell you something” - my heart sank, like, down through the floor - then, “I’ve been unfaithful to you”. Felt like the entire world was folding in on me. His AP’s husband had come across a phone bill, confronted her and she had confessed, then messaged my hubs to let him know the word was out. She/I had been friends since 2012, they live in our neighborhood, attend same church, our children are friends, we were carpooling, buying each other b-day gifts, swimming at their pool, going out to dinner together, the works. (see: double betrayal) If you had asked me about the state of my marriage before d-day, I would have said things were mostly good, fairly stable, but that the past two years had felt harder for some reason. Personally I was doing a lot of introspective work, trying to become a healthier version of myself, yet feeling more distance from the hubs. He seemed more preoccupied with work and other community events. He also seemed less patient and more irritable with our children and me. I’ve experienced quite a bit of other relational loss over the past decade - have struggled to forgive - and he started telling me I needed to work harder at letting go of those other hurts. I was asking him to be more attentive to our relationship (physical affection, sex, dates, occasional wknd trips, etc), to spend more time with our family, to go to therapy more regularly, but nothing changed. So when he told me he had been having an affair for about two years - the same length of time I was feeling a sense of bewilderment about our marriage - I actually felt some relief. It wasn’t ME. It was HIM. He’d been actively deceiving me and that’s why things felt so off. (continued below...)

  12. I immediately correctly guessed who the other woman was, this "friend" of mine - my antenna had been up on her since about Feb 2016. I had come across his text thread with her at that time, made up of mostly innocent banter but also a flirty comment or two. I confronted him about that text in 2016 and we continued having in-depth conversations about their friendship, if it’s possible to have close friendships with members of the opposite gender when married, and so on. As I observed their interactions, I could tell they were attracted to each other. It seemed to me she was unhappy/lonely in her marriage and reaching out to my husband. He/I discussed these matters just between the two of us, and also occasionally in therapy. So. I knew she was the AP and would have been surprised if it had been anyone else. Still...the news was stunning. I was shocked. Nearly everyone in our community - friends, family, colleagues - reacted similarly. Even our therapist choked up, not wanting to believe my husband - the proverbial "good guy" who everyone adores - had been unfaithful.

    Hubs' deception was completely out of line with his character, or at least the persona he's put on for his entire life. He’s extroverted, charming, good-natured, and has been regularly affirmed by many; some of the words I’ve heard used to describe him are “exemplar, golden boy, superstar”. When he told me of the affair, I immediately launched into “How?? When?? Where??” He went to work and came home, that’s it. Didn’t work late nights or travel much. But they were meeting on lunch breaks. In his car mostly. But other places too...incl but not limited to her hot tub, our backyard in a tent (with my kids sleeping in the house!), at her parents' house when her parents were out of town (I laughed out loud at that one). My first statement to him: “Do you realize how much you two just fucked up our entire community???” And that they did. Completely obliterated our closest group of friends (us, the AP/her husband, and two other couples). And almost everyone in our community now knows. Parents of AP and husband - they are now divorcing, btw - also attend our church. My parents have been supportive but they live two hours away. Hubs' mother lives in town but is in denial that her perfect baby boy would do such a thing and is of no comfort.
    This event is like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my four plus decades. I truly trusted the hubs more than myself. Almost seven months out and still having trouble wrapping my mind around it - his betrayal as well as hers. Although I do feel - based on all the info I've gathered over the past months - he viewed her as a little something-on-the-side, she was looking to supplant her husband with mine.
    Intrusive thoughts bother me off and on daily but esp when I lay down at night. These thoughts incl them having sex of course, texting every day, sharing their secret when our group of friends was together. Also wondering what it would have been like to catch them in the act, why I couldn’t have figured it out sooner, how this man who I've always categorized as so kind willingly deceived me for almost two years, and of ways I can confront my ex-friend or scare the hell out of her just for funsies. Most of all, I wish the hubs could FEEL the depth of my grief; it’s so profound that I can’t even wholly verbalize it. But I guess you all knew that already.

    1. Gracia,
      Your story is similar to mine. H is a good guy. I was shocked. Never thought I would ever have to deal with this. We've been together 30 years, 28 married. AP in an unhappy marriage. She was a member of a mostly male club H belonged to. She was "one of the guys" but little did he know she was there for the male attention. He did not participate in the verbal sexual exchanges that the other men did with her. Maybe that's why she targeted him - a challenge? She befriended him, then me. Pounced on him while I was away on a trip. He told her it could never happen again. But she opened up Pandora's box and his brain, in the middle of MLC, took over. He felt young and excited and figured it was his last hurrah. I caught on within a month. He insisted they were "just friends" and wouldn't give up the friendship. We went out as couples with another couple too. It sickens me that the 2 of them planned a dinner out so they could be together, right under my nose. Even brought her to a couple of day trips with me with her son and daughter. There were a few unsuccessful attempts at sex and then it became more of an EA, except for the few times they would see each other at the club and makeout or a quick meetup on the way home from work at the rest stop in the car so she could get fingered. Most of the year it lasted it was an EA. They would use a secret messaging app to call or text. I couldn't trace it, but one day it popped up when I had the phone in my hand. He still denied it. Said he had to use the app because he like talking to her and I would get mad - fuckface. Then I found a screenshot of a message that mentioned that she had no other friends like him along with some other incriminating words that I'd rather not turn up in a search. He still denied it - her words, not his. Went to therapy. He agreed not to text her anymore. Sent him to therapy - 2 sessions - was able to break out of her spell. Therapist treated him for addiction. He was addicted to the feelings of being young again - not her. 9 mos since dday. 7 months since full disclosure. At first I was happy it was over and since my H was suicidal by Dday, felt like we got a second chance at life and love. But lately I've been so sad, hurt and continuing to go over things in my head. Maybe it's the quarantine or maybe the adrenaline is gone and I'm in the middle of grief.

  13. Hi,
    I am not married or have kids. I feel like most of the resources out there are for married couples. However, I have been with my boyfriend for 8 years and lived together for 2 so in my mind we are basically married. I thought we were doing well. We had are moments of bickering but nothing serious. One weekend when I was out for a bachelorette party, he had some work friends over and ended up sleeping with one of them. He told me two weeks later. Within that two weeks, I guess things blew up at his work with her and she left, now she is trying to sue him which is another problem in itself.

    I was shocked, and not expecting it at all. I always thought cheating happened when your relationship was struggling or someone was not happy in it. Not when everything was good and you were beginning to look at engagement rings. I think the worst part of it was the cliché of him sleeping with his intern in our home, in our bed. I am frequently triggered just by walking around our house or being in our bedroom when I know which parts they had sex in. Did the OW not care about having sex in a room where the girlfriends laundry was lying on the ground? Did my boyfriend not use the pictures of us on the wall as a reminder of oh ya I have a girlfriend? How could he forget about me? About my existence for one night?

    He claims it was a one night stand. He was drinking way too much and he told me because he wants to stay together and needed to be honest. I still can’t get past the WHY part. He drinks with his friends all the time, he has never slept with someone else. I constantly ask him are you not happy? Are you sure you really want this? Do you want her? He says as horrible as the situation is, it has matured him and made him realize what his priorities are. He realized he was taking advantage of our relationship and he is ready to settle down now. When I kept pressuring him for a why, the only thing he could come up with is that he is constantly pressure by friends and family to propose when he isn’t ready, and it could have been subconsciously a rebellion against that? The only argument we did have more than once was the settling down argument. I was at a point in my life that Friday night meant wine and game night, he still wanted to go out to the bars with his friends. Still though, I think so you slept with someone else because you don’t want to marry me? I’m so confused by it all. I feel like he is being honest, and since then has been spending more time with me, not going out as much, and doing things to make me happy but I can’t get past it. I keep thinking there has to be some big underlying reason he did it like I’ve seen in other cases about having things from his past, but nothing ever comes out.

    I still constantly picture them together when walking around my house. I still don’t understand why it happened. And if we were good, how will I know it won’t happen again when we are doing well in the future? I have made the decision to stay with him, but it has been 4 months since D-day and I still can’t go more than a few days without tearing up or breaking down. I think I’m getting stronger and then something triggers me such as a song on the radio or walking past an old picture of us and begin thinking “that picture was from before he cheated”. I still love him but I feel as though my love for him has changed, it feels different, more guarded. I get jealous seeing other coupled friends happy together. We can put on a show, I even had a friend mention recently how much she loves our type of relationship and I was want to SCREAM. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON. WE ARE NOT OKAY. I’m trying to heal, I feel as though he is trying to change for the better. I just want this feeling of doubt and uncertainty and low self-esteem to go away. I use to be such a happy and positive person, not this sad, angry, and untrusting person.

  14. Hi Cat Lady (wear that badge proud!! I'm a cat lady too!!),
    Married or not married, doesn't matter. You were betrayed by the person you trusted most in the world to not betray you. And that hurts like hell.
    Everything you're feeling/experiencing is perfectly normal under the circumstances. The roller coaster of emotions, the triggers, the confusion, the fear, the sense of feeling like a fraud.
    Like you ,most of us really struggled with the 'why'. Lots of had what we considered really good relationships. There might have been some resentment or the usual ups and downs of a long-term relationship but...cheat? Why?
    Well, alcohol plays a big role often, as it seems to in your case. Not that he cheated because he was drunk but that being drunk made the cheating a lot easier. Just the physiological changes of alcohol in our brain remove the barriers to shitty behaviour. But yes, on some level he was open to it. And that's HIS job to figure out. It sounds as though he's spent some time thinking about it, which is good. And his recognition that he resented the push to get married makes sense. But it's not just a matter of recognizing this, he needs to learn how better to handle those uncomfortable feelings. He needs to recognize them before he's acting out in destructive ways. He gets points for telling you -- that takes guts. But, again, he needs to use this experience to handle things better in the future. And that, likely requires some therapy.
    I would urge you, too, to seek out help to process all this pain. Betrayal is excruciating. None of us ever imagined how painful it was and how long it takes to heal from. It's a trust violation and learning to trust again is tough.
    But...there are many MANY women on this site who have done exactly that: rebuilt a relationship from the ashes of an old one. Continue to read and post here. The women are incredible and will undoubtedly share their wisdom. You'll likely get more response to the more recent posts just because more women read those. But you're welcome here, Cat Lady. Ring or no ring. You've been betrayed. Welcome to the club none of us ever wanted to join.

  15. Hello sisters ... my story is all too typical for the most part, it seems; married 26 years, each of us with childhood issues and each of us is ADHD; sex dwindled away to nothing about 12-14 years ago, with me trying a few times to get things going again but him showing no interest. He's been a workaholic, and during those "dwindling" years we had several businesses going at once ... sheer insanity and exhaustion ... and he works in the restaurant industry, which means 60-80 hours of work each week, nights and weekends in particular. It's a marriage-killer.
    Nonetheless, we didn't really fight; we seethed internally, but we've been conflict-avoidant. A few years ago he had a breakdown, for lack of a better description, and went into therapy right away. Diagnosed with complex PTSD from both childhood abuse and military years. Was emotionally numb and isolated himself for months. I freaked out, as this triggered all of my own deep fears; we went into marriage counseling, and I went into IT as well.
    The affair was with a young woman (younger than my children) who would frequent the bar of his restaurant. He was struggling and depressed and our counseling wasn't going too well; I understand now that she was simply available and in the right place, but for a long time after finding out, her youth and beauty was a torment to me. I learned of the affair between Christmas and New Year's. It had lasted only a few months and was over by the time I found out; but I was totally devastated and didn't want to live for a while.
    Reading everyone's posts here has been tremendously helpful to me over these past 8 months. We are slowly healing; there's a long way to go, but I am cautiously hopeful.
    Here's why I'm posting -- I need some guidance. Labor Day weekend will mark one year since I first saw him interact with his AP, and I knew intuitively that there was something going on (which he of course denied at the time). As the anniversary gets closer, I am becoming increasingly agitated and have begun having some nightmares again. The images from that time are all too clear and memorable. Not only will Labor Day be the anniversary of when I first saw them being all flirty, but then I will have to get through Oct & Nov, when they were actively sexual, and the end of December when I found out. Do you have any advice for how best to take care of myself during this time? What has it been like for you when these dates roll around? Thanks to anyone who can give me some guidance ... xoxo

    1. Dear Dhabi,

      Welcome, fellow Warrior. You are among friends.

      First off, you are very wise to know that all these anti-versaries (as Elle calls them) will be terrible triggers, and you are brave to seek advice managing them.

      I'm about four months ahead of you on the timeline. The main things that helped me as I approach the 1-year mark of everything (the affair beginning, the affair happening, me catching him, the subsequent lying, the final reveal, me telling him to move out...) were (1) to be compassionate with myself, (2) to be of service to others, and (3) to redefine my sense of what "success" or "progress" was when it came to recovery. Other things that helped me were (4) ramping up the self-care, and (5) continuing to actively replace bad old memories with good new ones.

      1. Self compassion

      On this front, ask yourself if you are meeting the three components for self compassion. Are you showing yourself kindness? (Or are you judging yourself?) Are you experiencing a sense of common humanity? (Or are you viewing your experience and yourself as isolated?) Are you practicing mindfulness? (Or are you over-identifying with the hurtful thoughts and feelings?) Adjust accordingly.

      2. Service to others

      You can be of service to others in little ways every single day. You can let other people go ahead in line. You can smile. You can tip a little extra. You can pay genuine compliments. You can leave positive reviews of books you have genuinely loved (it's free and boy do writers ever appreciate it). And of course you can offer solace to our fellow Warriors here at this site. (Like I'm doing right now!)

      3. Redefining "success" or "progress"

      This was the hardest one. As the one-year anti-versaries started flowing in, I found myself thinking about the affair way more. I started going back to old questions, re-opening lines of inquiry that I had chosen to close. This felt like back-sliding, which felt like failure; or at least a lack of success. But now that I'm almost through the one-year anti-versaries, I wonder if this is actually a necessary and possibly healthy thing. When I was in it, it felt like I might be picking at the wound. But now that I'm through it and looking back, maybe I needed to debride the wound in order for it to heal more cleanly. I don't know.

      4. Self-care

      Self-care isn't all pedicures and brunch. In fact, it's almost never that. Self-care is going to bed early instead of watching more TV. It's choosing to not eat a second helping when you're no longer hungry. It's having herbal tea instead of Chardonnay. It's choosing to go to the gym every day because that's the most effective way to get rid of the stress that builds up in our bodies when we are fighting tough emotions. Self-care sucks most of the time. But it works.

      5. Actively replacing bad memories with good ones

      Remember when there were cassette tapes? And you could record over top of them? That's what I've tried to do with the places that my AOH went to with his girlfriend. I can never fully erase the knowledge that they went there together (and hopefully he can never fully erase the guilt) but I can layer tons of positive new memories over top so that it doesn't feel so crappy every time I see a place where they were together. It's a slow process and it hurts. But it seems like it's gradually working. I'd love to hear if anyone else is doing this and having success.

      That's my guidance, Dhabi. Hopefully more Warriors will respond. I'd love to know the answer to this myself.

    2. Dhabi. Chinook has given you wonderful advice to follow. #5 is my favorite and one I still use to this day. I've had far more wonderful days over the course of my 57 years to think about, and today is a day I want to remember good memories.

      3 years ago today my husband and my friend exchanged phone numbers at a mutual friends celebration of life. It didn't even occur to me until I saw a memory on facebook this morning of how he was having stomach issues at this event. 3 years later it hit me why. But I'm choosing to make today special for me. I want to remember my friend that passed at 43 and remember all the good time's we had. I remember how beautiful and fun his celebration of life was. I plan on reading from a book I recently got by Byron Katie, I'm going to do some yard work and art and drink some champagne this afternoon because it was his favorite beverage.

      I've found that with time, certain dates don't pack a punch like they used to. I honor my feelings what ever they may be. In the beginning it was anger and sadness. Now a days it's surreal to think back to the shit storm and I'm good with that. What I've learned over the past 3 years is to mainly focus on myself. I did everything I could to save my marriage, but it wasn't until I realized that fixing my marriage wasn't my salvation, that I realized I have to fix myself, he has to fix himself and along the way we are trying to build something new.

      Chinook, you are amazing. I admire you so much. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. ♥

    3. Thank you, Chinook and Michelle. I appreciate your wisdom and advice. I knew from reading others' posts that the anti-versary of D-Day would be difficult, but I didn't expect the triggers to start so soon. So much hypersensitivity right now ... it caught me by surprise, and it's comforting to know it's normal. Chinook, I have been doing all of those things but this was a reminder to ramp them up (especially thinking "chamomile instead of Chardonnay" ;-), and the value of going to the gym; it's too easy to feel sad and overwhelmed and tired. My work as a librarian affords me plenty of opportunities to be of service to others, and indeed being at work is the most stable part of my life right now. Michelle, I look forward to a time when the intensity has diminished ... and I so much appreciate your reminder that we have to fix ourselves rather than thinking that fixing the marriage is the priority. I have focused on my relationships to the detriment of myself my entire life, and it's a tough habit to change. This entire situation is indeed the most difficult thing I've ever had to deal with, and I'm grateful to have found you all.

  16. All things take time. I'm 9 months out from discovering that my husband had a emotional sexting relationship with an acquaintance of ours.

    He decided to "blow up" an almost 33 years marriage because in his words...he lost his "fricken" mind.

    I have decided to work on our marriage with my husband because he did not have a physical sexual relationship with the OW.

    He is completely remorseful and has taken complete responsibility for his actions.

    He has made a complete turn around as to how he treats me.

    He asked me for a divorce on November 25th at 3 pm and I agreed b/c the night before I discovered the phone bill with calls being sent to and from.

    On November 26th around 1pm he said he thought he loved her and she loved him and in the same breath he asked me to work on our marriage. (WHAT)

    It wasn't for another week that the messenger messages that he said were forever deleted, started to pop up on his IPad while he was at work. (Hmmmm) (Screenshot, Print and Saved to a Thumbdrive)

    Last night I broke down b/c I found messages between him and his Motorcycle riding group where he referred to me as his "Warden and Ball and Chain" I got upset b/c it really shows me his frame of mind at the time and how detached he was making himself become from me.

    HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS: My husband and I are making a come back. My husband just wants to put it behind us and he wants us to get back to where we were. He is ashamed.

    I have set my boundaries: This will NOT happen again. I can't go through it another time. I will walk. (and he assures me that I won't have to do that) I told him that I just want to feel safe again.

    1. All Things Good,
      It's pretty amazing that you selected All Things Good as your name on this site. You sound like an incredibly positive person.
      And it sounds as though, as painful as it is for you, this has been a real wake-up call for your husband. My only cause for concern is your statement "my husband just wants to put it behind us". I understand that impulse -- I'm sure he is ashamed and would prefer to just put it behind him. Thing is...he needs to take a hard look at what allowed him to cross those lines. What stories he was telling himself that somehow made it okay. And YOU are the one who gets to decide whether it's something you continue to talk about and learn from or whether it's truly "in the past".
      But good luck. Glad you found us here. And hope you'll continue to read and share your story.

  17. Hello Ladies! I'm glad I found this forum because honestly I do not know who or how to turn to anyone I know for advice. My boyfriend of almost 7 years admitted to me last Friday that he received a handjob and blow job from a thai masseuse. Of course he claims the usual "I wasn't expecting it and I didn't mean to" bullshit. All in all, it's at the point now where he's acknowledging he made a terrible mistake and is trying very hard to gain my trust back.

    He's always had issues divulging personal info like finances, work (he owns a business and deals with a lot of employee drama), etc. After the cheating, he's self reflecting to figure out why he's so secretive and vowed to answer anything I ask him this point forward. I do feel he is trying very hard and has answered questions openly that he would never answer before. (like about finances and employee info). The only reason why I am even giving him a chance is because he had been an incredible boyfriend 99% of the time we have been together.

    As I slowly pull out his skeletons, there is one skeleton that he still will not admit to. His best gf had sent and probably would still send him photos of herself in lingerie or topless with her hands covering her nipples. I know this because I snooped through his texts (bad I know). He's admitted after cheating that she had texted him these types of pictures WHEN he was single, however not after. (lies!) In his texts to her, his responses are for the most part objective as that dumb ho is super insecure and texting him all the time about how fat she is and wants his opinion on her body. They have had this type of relationship way before he met me.

    Side fact: don't know if this is important. but this woman is cheating on her own husband and has been for over a decade with another mutual friend they had in college. She doesn't work, only goal in life is to size up her ring, and uses her husbands money to fund her plane rides and hotels to see the guy (who is also married). She's the most insecure, meaningless excuse for a human being I have ever met.

    I know he's lying about the extent of nudity and time ine of these photos. Should i confront him about this information, or let it go? I assume he's avoiding the whole truth to 1. prevent me from getting upset again and 2. he truly believes that he will change and never cheat again (whether or not he will or won't who knows?). I'm torn between trying to force this truth, or letting this detail go and giving him a chance to change.

    This is the last secret that is majorly bothering me. Any opinions?

    Thanks so much for taking out the time to read this.

    1. Dear Life’s Confusing,

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Your situation does sound confusing and I think that’s because you are missing an awful lot of information. I'm so glad to hear that your boyfriend has been "an incredible boyfriend 99% of the time we have been together".

      You asked for opinions and I thought I’d respond by touching on four points that seemed very loaded in your description.

      1. Your boyfriend sounds like a “hidden” person.

      By this, I mean that it sounds like he keeps parts of his life hidden from other people -- especially the people he is closest to -- because he fears judgement. That judgement is probably not coming from those people he is close to, including you; it’s probably coming from stuff in his past.

      He may not be fully aware that he is doing this; he may only know that for reasons he can’t explain it feels “safer” to keep a piece of himself held back. He might have been doing it for so long that he think this is just "who he is". Rather than explore those reasons for staying hidden, which could open the door to a whole lot of tough feelings, he might come up with excuses that feel plausible even to him (e.g., "this is just who I am", "it's normal to have some privacy", etc.).

      Having a relationship with a hidden person by definition means you’ll never be able to fully trust and love each other -- and I'm saying this from experience. The alternative to this is having a wholehearted relationship -- which is what I'm trying to have now.

      My husband was a hidden person for our entire 10-year relationship until I discovered his affair and walked out on him (which triggered a catastrophic failure of the walls he had put up in childhood to protect himself). I always knew he was a bit hidden but I thought that if I just made it safe enough for him, if I was just gentle enough with him, he would come out of hiding like a scared bunny learning to trust. But no: the opposite happened. The more understanding and kind I was, the more the promise (or for him, the threat) of real emotional intimacy scared him, and the more selfish he become to compensate, culminating in the affair.

      Have you read about attachment theory? Secure, anxious and avoidant attachments? Hidden people are avoidant. My husband was BIG TIME avoidant. That can make even the most secure woman start to feel a little anxious.

      2. The dynamic between his “best girlfriend” and him is not a healthy friendship dynamic.

      You’re like: “duh, Chinook, obviously!” But it’s important to be very clear about this. That woman has BIG TIME problems. She uses sex to make herself feel like she has worth, even if that ultimately hurts herself and others. She is lying to her husband about her affair and she is lying to herself about her issues.

      So, what is your boyfriend getting out of a friendship with someone like that? Why is he continuing to be friends with someone who is so clearly damaged and who is comfortable making choices that hurt or have the potential to hurt others?

      Does it give him an ego boost to know that there's another woman out there who would be willing to send him suggestive photos? Why does he even need that ego boost? (Spoiler alert: It has nothing whatsoever to do with you!)

      (continued below)

    2. 3. He admitted to the hand job and that’s a very good sign. It might also be testing the waters.

      The fact that he volunteered the information about the “special” massage he got is a sign that he wants to be more open with you, which is absolutely fantastic. Because you can NEVER change someone who doesn’t want to change.

      Given this and the photos, there might be more he hasn’t told you. You can’t accidentally find yourself in the kind of massage establishment where sex can be purchased... So what led up to him being there? (That's a question for him, not for you.)

      He might have been testing the waters by telling you about this one incident — checking to see how you react before he tells you about anything else.

      4. This is an opportunity to really get it ALL on the table.

      It sounds like your boyfriend could be at a point of personal reckoning, wanting to go from the hidden person he has been to the more open and vulnerable person he could become. This is just my opinion and I'm no expert, but it feels to me like this is an incredible opportunity for the two of you to really get it all out on the table. “All of it” being basically everything he hasn't told you about because there's a part of him that's afraid you will judge him -- and anything you haven't told him because you're afraid he'll judge you. That could be anything from porn use and sexual fantasies to things that are part of every day life but have nothing to do with sex.

      Honestly, Life's Confusing, I think this could be an incredible opportunity for you and your boyfriend to deepen your understanding of yourselves and each other, deepen your trust, and in so doing, deepen your relationship.

    3. Life's Confusing (yes, it very much is!),
      H'mmm...a boyfriend of seven years isn't something to just dismiss. That's a long, big commitment.
      And, of course, his betrayal of that commitment is devastating, whether or not there's a ring on your finger.
      The hand job was a clear violation of that -- which is why, I assume, he told you about it. He knows it was "a terrible mistake." Nonetheless, it's not enough for him to expect that time will help you trust him again. He needs to understand how/why he put himself in that position, how/why he didn't stop it. Before we get to the actual sex act that, in our culture, usually constitutes cheating, we've already crossed a number of lines and we need to understand what stories we're telling ourselves that allow us to cross those earlier, less serious lines.
      Which brings me to the other betrayal: the nude photos of his female friend. All he needs to know is that this behaviour makes you very uncomfortable. (I suspect it would make most of us very uncomfortable but that isn't the point.) You have told him you don't like it. That should be all he needs to know. You are setting boundaries (though perhaps not very clearly) and he is dismissing them. That's a red flag. The fact that you are snooping is less a symptom of your own disrespect of boundaries (though there is that) than evidence that you do not trust this man to tell you the truth. And that's hardly the basis on which to build a healthy relationship.
      And finally, the secretive approach to finances/work. There are things, I'm sure you understand, that, as an employer, he must keep private. He owes it to his employees to respect their privacy. And I wonder if this would bother you less if you trusted him in other ways. As for his finances, that's something that I think he's entitled to be private about depending on how significantly your finances are intertwined. However, this secretiveness seems to not just be about finances but about anything in which he suspects your disapproval and therefore your wish that he do things differently. can walk away. There are enough red flags here (not the mention the sexual cheating) that walking away would be a completely reasonable choice. However, if you choose to stay and work it out, which is also reasonable given that you've spent seven years with this guy and, I assume, see plenty of reasons why he's worthy of your love, I think it's crucial that you two get some couples counselling to learn how to better communicate and to get clear on setting and enforcing your boundaries. And within that context -- of a mutually supportive couples counsellor, I think you need to come clean about your snooping. Lying is lying. But then get to the bottom of your lack of trust in him and his almost chronic dishonesty.
      Life is confusing. Marriage is confusing. And if you both want to continue a life together, then understanding now how to have a healthy relationship can put you on much more solid ground.
      I hope you'll check back in and let us know how you're doing. We often lack relationship skills because we haven't seen a healthy relationship modelled for us in our lives. There's certainly no shame or getting help from an expert. Good luck. Life can be confusing but when we live according to our value system and refuse to compromise that, it can be less so.

  18. D day for me was July 28, 2019. He was taking me on a date and wanted me to map the restaurant for him. I asked for his phone to GPS it and he yelled "NO!". I laughed it off and said "what are you worried I will see your girlfriends messages?" and laughed. The look on his face I will never forget as long as I live. It is permanently burned into my memory along with the date. He said it was emotional for 6 months then sexual for 6 months. She was 27 he is 51 I am 47. She broke it off with him because she found a man and moved in with him. She told my husband their age was a problem, and the relationship was going nowhere. I blew up when I found out. The rage was so strong. Then came the gut wrenching pain and the tears they have happened every day for me since D Day. Little background he took a job in Austin TX, but the kids and I stayed in MS so they could finish their schooling. We have two boys 19 & 22. The 19 is very unsure of himself but extremely smart. Graduated HS at 16 and has one semester of Community College left. Plans were to move to Austin where our son would attend University of Texas. Other son is off at MSU. He has always been a head strong independent young man. He goes after what he wants and lets nothing stop him. My husband is a workaholic. I quit my job years ago to be a stay at home mom and support my husband as he climbed the corporate ladder. I took care of everything for many years. He traveled a good bit to begin with. He was there for the birth of our first son but then had to fly out and didn't see him again for 9 months. So the kids have always been with me and I with them. Before he took the job in Austin (because the company here is MS closed and no one else designs computer and cell phone chips in MS) he took a job in Albuquerque NM. He moved out there first and then I followed later. The kids stayed at home at that time, my oldest was there to take care of the youngest, but when he got the job in Austin I came home to be with the youngest because the eldest went off to college. Plus my special needs brother developed colon cancer and I helped take care of him for 4 months until he passed. My husband has always been a loving, wonderful, driven, bread winning, great father and husband and would never cheat on me and had not until moving to Austin when this 27 year old caught his fancy. We would still meet on weekends 4 hrs for me and 4 hrs for him and still took Christmas vacations as a family during the year he was with her.

  19. Little background on me. I was emotionally and physically abused by my alcoholic father. I and my sister were also molested by my father. I moved out of the family home when I was 16 and no one cared. I felt guilty for leaving my sister (3 yrs younger) at home with my father, but I couldn't take anymore of the abuse and I was too young to take care of myself and my sister. Finished HS with honors, AAS degree with honors. Met my husband at the Community College and married him once we got our AAS degrees. We continued our education as a married couple and received our BS degrees both with honors. I told my husband all about what happened to me as a young girl starting at age 7 before we married. I had never told anyone, but there was something wonderful about this man that I wanted to share everything with. So I held nothing back. I did not realize what that trauma had actually done to me. My husband had a long road of breaking down my walls of protection to get in. Trust is very hard for me you see. But I dropped those walls for him and ended up relying on him all the way (which is something I had vowed never to do with a man). We have had a wonderful and rough marriage as I ended up in counseling to begin to heal from what my father had put me through. I always felt like so what things happen in every family you survived and you are strong this is in the past just get on with your life and let the past remain there. I did not truly understand the impact it had on my life. I had issues with sex. Triggers. PTSD..My husband was there by my side the whole way. He was just wonderful when I was a complete mess. We traveled with the kids each summer for 3 months and made amazing memories which I had never had before. It was also very hard for us to get through, but we did. Then in Austin, he became consumed with work and we began to see less and less of each other. I begged him to make time for us, but he was trying to level up in his job. That was more important than I was or the kids were. Then on our family Christmas vacation I noticed he was so cold and so mean. If I tried to have a conversation with him he just became so angry and would even curse at me. I just thought wow this job is really taking its toll on him. But no it wasn't the job at all. It was another woman.

  20. So current day. He took 3 weeks off of his job to be home with me, but he is void any emotion at all. If I cry he becomes angry. He says he did it because "he wanted too" He said he caught feelings but were unsure what the feelings really were. He says he loves me but is not in love with me. He says he wants to spend time with me again to get to know me fall in love with me again. Meanwhile, I look at him and my mind thinks "did she touch him there" "did he hold and caress her hair like he does with me after we make love" etc.... He was never the kind of man that would do something like this...yet he was. Everything for the past year seems a complete lie...our memories...our family...because he was leading a double life and I was so daft because I had no idea it was going on...I am crushed beyond words...can't sleep..can't eat..can't even do my job at work (I went to work when the kids were older for something to do). Honestly I have no idea how to handle this....I am so seems that all the counseling that I have done for the past many years has just come back to square one...but this time I don't have my husband to lean on....

    1. Oh, Unknown. My heart is breaking for you. I'm so sorry you are being put through this.

      This is a massive double-betrayal: the betrayal of an affair (ew) and the betrayal of being the person who accompanied you as you healed from your childhood abuse. And Unknown, this JUST happened. You JUST found out a month ago. The fact that you could even scrape yourself off the floor and make it to the computer in order to type out this message is amazing.

      First things first: you need self-care and a whole lot of it. High intensity exercise, sleep, healthy food, spiritual connection (like church/temple/mosque if you're religious, or meditation if you're not), journaling, and no alcohol or non-prescription drugs. All of these things are evidence-based methods of preserving resilience and improving mood. I also recommend finding two or three of the most compassionate, wholehearted, non-judgemental girlfriends or family members you have and telling them you're going through hell (you don't have to tell them the details of what happened if you don't want to) and that you will need to lean on them. You can't and shouldn't do this alone.

      Next, I strongly recommend individual counseling with a professional who has a lot of experience in trauma. You have experienced a lot of trauma -- there is absolutely no doubt about that. The right therapist can be very hard to find, so be very clear about your criteria that this must be someone with lots of experience in trauma, childhood sexual abuse, and infidelity. I've recently heard about CPT (Cognitive Processing Therapy), which sounds extraordinary.

      Your husband's reaction is infuriating. He becomes angry if you cry?! Wow. WOW. I mean, I don't think it can get any more selfish than that. It might just be a mask for his crushing sense of guilt, but still. WOW.

      Also, I'm sorry but the whole concept of "I love you but I'm not in love with you" is such bullshit. What does "in love" even mean? Smitten? Infatuated? Lusting? Is that actually "love"? No one stays "in love" for the duration of a multi-decades-long marriage, and that's completely normal and it's NOT a sign that anything is wrong. If desire and passion have waned over time, that's okay: they can be reignited with work. WITHOUT CHEATING.

      And another thing: a 24-year age difference? Really? REALLY?!? Does your husband think that if your 19-year-old son started a sexual relationship with a 43-year-old woman it would be psychologically health for both people involved?!? Why do we have such a disgusting gender bias about this?

      Please don't think that your counseling has come back to square one because that is simply false. You built resilience and became stronger over time, and that strength is still completely there, it has just taken a hit from this new and very traumatic revelation that, by the way, JUST HAPPENED one month ago! How do I, a perfect stranger, know that you built resilience and strength over time? Because you were essentially a single mother raising two kids while your husband was in another state. THAT is resilience and strength, honey.

      (continued below)

    2. Be very kind to yourself right now. Please don't say "I was so daft" because you weren't: you were doing all the right things. You were honouring your vows and honouring yourself.

      You wrote "I have no idea how to handle this... I am so lost". But you ARE handling it, honey. You are processing. You are not denying your feelings. You are reaching out to us. The only thing you have to do right now is to breathe, love yourself, engage in self-care, and make it abundantly clear to your husband what is and is not acceptable (like, it's totally unacceptable for him to meet your sadness with anger).

      This blog has amazing information. Buy Elle's book -- it's fantastic. Read some of the other books recommended on this website ("When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chodron is a personal favourite). And keep breathing.

      You are a Warrior. And you are among friends.

    3. Thank you Chinook for the advice and reading all that poured out of me. I will get the book you recommended for me. I am currently reading anything and everything to help me through this season. I believed we were strong in our marriage of 27 years, especially all we had been together through the years. This is just so devastating. I honestly didn't believe anyone could hurt this much. And my emotions are all over the place all the time like someone is snapping their fingers and I am crying then snap I am angry then snap I am numb or depressed. I love my husband with all I have and I always will and I want our marriage to work.But losing the trust that I gave him after I struggled for so long with that very thing. I just don't know if I have that much strength for the road I know is ahead of us. I held onto my childhood secret until I met my husband and had flash backs and triggers for so long. I have learned enough to help me with that stuff but it was a very long long road and a whole lot of work. I don't know if I can handle the flash backs of me seeing my husband laying with her and touching her that I am having. I've just had way too much trauma for one person to endure. I pray that God walks with me and that when I am unable to put another foot forward that He carries me. This is just so very devastatingly hard. Hard to know, or to comprehend that he is that type of man when the man I fell in love with was incapable of putting me through anymore pain then I had all ready experienced. I definitely need prayers. I am thankful for this site where I can let all of this just pour out of me. It does feel good to talk to others that have been through the same stuff. Thank you for reading and helping!

    4. Unknown, I'm glad you found us but so so sorry for everything you've gone through. Let me first say, you are incredible. That you were able to remove yourself from what you knew was damaging to you and turn your life around is amazing. You are clearly strong, courageous, resilient and incredibly smart. Those skills are going to move you through the pain you're in right now too. So don't ever forget that you possess them.
      Still...even the strongest, smartest most resilient of us reel from betrayal. Like you, I confided my childhood trauma to my husband. I assumed that, knowing that about me, he would be doubly sure to never put me through anything like that again. Turns out...nope. He was already acting out sexually at that point, before we were married. I'd been so careful to make sure I wasn't marrying an alcoholic. I married a sex addict instead.
      And that's the thing, Unknown. Without realizing it, you have likely married someone who has his own dysfunction. That doesn't make him unworthy, it just means that, at some point, that dysfunction was going to reveal itself. Hurt people hurt people. You've done a ton of work and clearly have a lot of insight -- and that's something that plenty of people don't have. I made the conscious choice when I got married to NOT do what my parents had done. To be faithful. To be sober. That's not to say I didn't bring plenty of other dysfunction (ie. around lack of boundaries) into the marriage...but I was clear-eyed about what I wanted. Sounds like your husband never did the same reckoning that you did.
      I know you're exhausted right now. And of course you are. Rest. This is the time for EXTREME self-care. Treat yourself the way you would treat your very best friend fo a child who was going through a similar trauma (and yes, betrayal is trauma, especially when it re-triggers old trauma). Be so gentle with yourself. Be so nurturing.
      No need for big decisions right now other than...I will get through the next 10 minutes, next hour, next day. Moment by moment. When you feel those flashbacks, remind yourself that they are fantasies. They are not real. It is not happening right now.
      Rely on counselling for support. I would tell my husband that, if he even wants you to consider reconciliation, then he needs to be in counselling too. And absolutely no contact. This is the time for clear boundaries based on what you need to keep yourself emotionally safe.
      He sounds...lost. But it's HIS job to find his footing again. Yours is to take care of you.
      Hang in there, Unknown. You'll get through this, I promise. In the meantime, there's an army of women here who can light the way forward.

  21. (1) Sorry… English is not my first language so please bear with me :”) I know this forum is especially for married couple (but anyway I’m a wive now), and I’ve never shared this complete story before.

    I’ve read Elle’s writings somewhere else and found out this forum/blog, I truly appreciate her story and sharing. Very encouraging. Previously I’m afraid to be “judged” for my decision, or be told foolish by society. But this is my story...

    I grew up in a not very “safe” family. mother and father fought a lot, one time father had an affair and I found out. And I think it affected me that much. I was afraid to get into marriage although I was so much in love with my (then) long-term boyfriend. I was insecure and very anxious. I think I developed anxiety disorder.

    Don’t think this text could explain everything, but long story short, somewhere along our 7-years relationship, I found out he betrayed me in a brief period of time and had a physical affair with an unimportant ugly girl or bitch could I say. By the time I found out, the affair was already over. He said it was never an emotional affair. That happened when I was in a period where I didn’t want to get married, we were in a long distance (different city, 2 hours by plane), I never gave a single care about him, I didn’t paid attention, I didn’t answer calls, I was busy with myself, I even planned to go abroad for my Master scholarship while he was very much alone in the city (his beloved mother died few years back) and he made friends with the wrong circle of people. Well, I know those situations couldn’t be an ‘excuse’ for his doing, it’s still unacceptable, but I try to understand the “why”.

    “Being cheated on is the worst pain in the world” is kinda an understatement even. I have seen pain and sadness since I was little, but yeah, this one was the real deal.

    I got into depression, even had suicidal thoughts. And he was deeply devastated also and regretted everything that he did. I’m not being cheesy, I am a tough girl to crack and I said, saying goodbye is easier for me. Ending that relationship might hurt, but that’s it. We could continue with our lives. I always said if I got betrayed, I would immediately leave. But it’s easier said than done. I chose not to leave. I chose to stay.. and I made some strict terms. I have to know everything, or I’m gone. And I set strict rules for our relationship.

    What made me stay? Of course, I love him, I still do. To the point of forgiveness. I’ve known him for more than 10 years. It’s not in his character, he’s not a player. And I am the one who can “judge” and observe him, we are the ones who run this relationship. If I have to admit, I am also a ‘difficult’ person, it’s not easy to stay in a relationship with anxious and ‘violent’ girl like me, and many other bad traits.

    The affair happened in early 2018. Journey to healing has been a roller coaster, the process is very complex and complicated. For both of us, because I choose reconciliation.
    Being a curious girl that I am, I joined a forum for infidelity, learned everything that we have to do and what to avoid, I researched through every article and psychologist, what makes healing possible, what to expect, what rules should we make, etc. Ironically, I could say, those traumatic events have both destroyed me and “rebuild” me as a person. I can see positive changes within me also, I am now more understanding, listening, accepting that life is not always what you want it to be and you have to roll with it. It affects every aspect of my personal and professional life. It changed my perspectives, my views of people, etc.

  22. (2) We are in for that road, together. There were days of setbacks and anger, where I lost control and emotions ran wild, and then we start to forgive all over again.. Again and again. I’m tired of counting. But he were there, and he survived it all. He is still the most loving person, he always tries his best to make me happy. He transformed into a better person more than I ever know. He even fulfilled all my requests, using GPS tracking, phone calls and video calls everytime, everything, because we were still in long distance relationship back then. He would paid my plane tickets to see him, he gave me everything I need, 100% transparency, he would do literally whatever, whether it’s material or emotionally to help me see that he regretted what happened in the past. I know it’s not easy.

    It’s been more than a year, and I feel that I truly love him that I was willing to get married. Without any doubt, without any pressure. I have never had any pressure from my family about getting married, so it’s my own decision. We have been married for 1 month now. I moved into his city, and we live together. I left my job and career, but still work as freelancer for my former office. Everything is perfect in our life together so far, we don’t face what other people said could be ‘challenges’ in early marriage, like disagreement, arguments, annoying small things, nothing. Maybe because it’s still one month anyway. But partly because, I believe, we have known each other’s flaws and worst characters for so long. He’s seen the monster in me, I’ve seen his lowest point and worst version also. We are accepting each other for what we are. And we are in love.

    I have been processing this “healing” progress for more than 1 year, and I can’t say it’s perfect. But it’s been good. Since early 2019 I don’t feel that throbbing pain anymore, I try to cut off any drama from my side. I know that trauma should be processed “naturally” and with the help of time and strong self-determination. I’m amazed to testify that few months back, I feel genuine happiness and joy, no sadness and pain anymore.

    But something’s bothering me these days.. Now that we live together, I have the access to everything. One night I looked up his last year’s emails and seen the details that I’ve never seen before, like the hotel bills, the dates, etc. I’ve known it all, but not that detailed or see it in the flesh. And it triggers my pain and anxiety back. Suddenly the flashbacks playing in my head, my thoughts I couldn’t control. “did he do this to her, did she do that…” I HATE IT. I keep telling myself “the past is in the past, and all we need to see now is the future”.. And the future is bright. But the clouds from the past keep coming back in my head right now. And I hate myself for keep bringing this up to my husband, I can see how sad he is. After all his effort and hard work, it seems that I would still reminding him of his mistakes. After all the new joy and happiness that we shared this year, he thinks that I am still unfulfilled. I want to stop and heal this new layer of sadness, because what I fuss over is not relevant and unsignificant to our life right now. I’m thinking to go to hypnotherapy, does it help?

    Thank you for reading this long story…

    1. Indonesian Girl, Thank-you so much for sharing your story. You've come a LONG way in a short time. One year is not so long in terms of healing so it's not surprising that even with as much as you've done, you still feel sometimes taken back in the form of triggers.
      While I think it's good that you're able to focus on the future, what I think this episode reveals is that there's still some deep pain that needs to be pulled out and processed. It's normal to not feel "over it" at this point. Betrayal, as you point out, is a pain like no other. It's devastating.
      I think you both need to frame this differently. When you are experiencing painful reminders of what's happened, it isn't about you reminding him of his "mistakes" but of what you've both gone through. I'm sure he continues to have guilt and shame about what he did (which is something for HIM to continue to process) but that doesn't change what YOU have gone through and continue to experience. Your job is not to make him feel good about all the work he's done. It's to be true and honest about your feelings. That's what you contribute to this new relationship with your husband -- honesty and respect.
      I don't know about hypnotherapy but I had a very good experience with EMDR, which helps process trauma.
      Please continue to let us know how you're doing.

  23. I'm still here. D-day was yesterday. I'm confused and feel like my life has been torn apart. I'm questioning everything. I don't know how to fix it; I'm a fixer. I feel helpless and I'm hoping I find the answers. He goes to work with the OW tonight and I'm a freaking mess.

    But I'm still here and that has to mean something...

    1. Hi Unknown,
      Yes, it means that you're choosing you, which is a very good thing. And I hope you'll continue to choose you. Day after day.
      But I think, if there's a lesson in this, it's to learn to relinquish control, to give up being a "fixer". This isn't about fixing, it's about feeling. It's about learning to feel all that pain, feel all that vulnerability, recognize that there aren't always answers -- at least not right away -- and to sit with those incredibly uncomfortable feelings and learn that they will not drown you. That you can move through them. That you can learn to trust in yourself, in your resilience, in your strength.

  24. I just found the most AMAZING book. If you are just finding out that you have been betrayed, I highly recommend that you read it as soon as possible. This is the book I wish had existed when I first discovered my husband's affair.

    The author, Michelle D. Mays, is a therapist who specializes in betrayal trauma, and is herself the former spouse of a sex addict, so she REALLY gets it. She has an excellent blog:

    The book is written in a very wise, calm voice, and it outlines the things that you should do (and shouldn't do) after discovering an affair.

    When you sign up for her mailing list, you can download a free copy, which is here:

    But please consider just buying the book in order to support her and so that you have a copy to go back to over and over. (Given the number of times I've re-read Elle's book, I'm so glad I got a paperback copy and not an e-book!) The link is here:

    1. Thanks for this Chinook. Anything that helps us in those horrible days of discovery is a good thing.

  25. I'm so grateful to have found this blog. I feel like this is a virtual support group! No one I know has been through this so it is helpful to read through some of these posts.

    My story is pretty typical. Married 10 years, I'm a stay at home mom to 3 little girls. Husband works a ton, travels. In the past 7 years we've had 3 kids, moved states and he's started his own business as an entrepreneur which requires him to travel and work more. Our marriage took a bit of a toll. I didn't realize it was as bad as it was, to him. He says we were more like business partners than friends and married people. We never fought like crazy or anything, we were still intimate, etc., we've been on date nights through all this, etc. Well apparently it wasn't enough. A few weeks ago I found a text from some chick and then went into his email (his password was saved on my computer, I'm not at all a snooping wife ironically) and found several emails that came as a complete shock. She was basically professing her love for him. Needless to say I was floored. I emailed her and told her to stay the f*ck away from my family (not in those words). He downplays the whole thing, says their relationship was mostly work related, but that they did "kiss heavily" (insert gag reflex here). He apologized of course, and we both broke down. I think the actual affair/relationship went on for as little as 3 months, maybe 4 or 5. It's hard to tell when he's telling the truth or whether or not he's leaving stuff out. Some days I am doing ok, other days - like this week - I rotate from being completely disgusted to fits of rage.

    Do you guys all see therapists? I've never seen one in my life. I read books, listen to podcasts, etc. to do my mental health work. Do you find just having someone to vent to in person helps enough to make it worth it? My time is so limited so I just have to be careful what I invest in. Thanks in advance.

    1. Anonymous,
      I'm glad you found us too. And I'm so sorry for what you're going through.
      I'm concerned about a couple of things re. your husband's response. You mentioned that he "downplays the whole thing." Which tells me that he doesn't really understand just how devastating betrayal is and what a violation of trust it is. Sure, he was feeling disconnected, etc. But he cheated on you. He violated your trust. And that's a HUGE betrayal.
      I also really REALLY hope I'm wrong about this but I'm not buying the "kissing heavily" and nothing else story. Is he giving you access to his communications with her? Has he completely broken it off making it clear that it was a mistake and that he is committed to rebuilding his marriage?
      I'm also concerned that, from what you've written, he hasn't given you the details you've asked for. Not uncommon. Most of these guys minimize what's happened, downplay the extent. They say it's to protect us and not hurt us further but really it's to avoid their own complicity and feelings of shame. It's also, often, a way to avoid having to really deal with the fallout re. the other woman. If it wasn't such a big deal, they can continue to see her, work with her, etc.
      Regarding your feelings, okay to disgusted to rage pretty sums it up (though "okay" wasn't really in the cards for me for a l-o-n-g time).
      And your feelings are perfectly normal. As I said, betrayal is considered by experts to be a massive trust violation. It takes YEARS to move past and that's with two partners working really hard to do so. Trust broken is very hard to regain.
      As for therapy, it was crucial for me. I needed a safe place to really sort through everything I was feeling. Like you, I had three young children and was trying so hard to protect them from the shitstorm that was going on. To be able to fall apart with a therapist who's commitment was entirely to my safety and health felt like a luxury. I think, too, it can really help to have someone who can respond -- a book is great (including the one I wrote about my experience) but one thing it doesn't do is push back on what you're thinking, feeling. To get you to dig a little deeper into your feelings and ideas.
      I hope I'm not causing you more distress because I know how horrible this is. I am concerned, though, that he's minimizing what he did and that there's more to come. I'm wondering what demands you've put in place for reconciliation (I would insist that he seek therapy, for instance. He need to understand why he was willing to risk his marriage/family for someone who, apparently, doesn't matter a whole lot) and what your boundaries are to help you heal.

    2. Thanks so much for your reply. Its really so nice of you to take the time out to help so many people who are going through this, and I'm guessing you do this out of the sheer goodness of your own heart.

      I just wanted to add something though - what's been most helpful for me -and my situation might be unique in that my husband is a good person who was deeply hurt and made a huge mistake - to be honest, is actually communicating with my husband. Seeing him break down and tell me how much he has missed our relationship and how horrible he was feeling about the way I was acting towards him was legit helpful for me. I found it extremely helpful to hear his side of things so that I could put the pieces together.

      I'm only writing this in case someone else who is just as lost as I was is reading. Just don't forget the importance of that. Try to get to the bottom of why this happened and understand where it came from. We took an already planned family vacation immediately after I found out about all this which actually ended up being to our benefit. I didn't want him to come - I wanted nothing to do with him but I sucked it up, we drove in separate cars and I allowed him to talk to me about it. I do believe him when he tells me over and over again and explains certain things, but we've definitely had to have several conversations about the SAME things multiple times for me to really seem to come to understand this. Understanding why and how this happens is KEY. And it starts with communicating with your husband.

      I also found a good podcast - Healing Broken Trust. It helped me tremendously to hear from other couples and hear the "betrayed" spouse's being able to have compassion and even empathy for their unfaithful spouses.

      This stuff can really mess with your head and your mind is constantly spinning. I had to literally force my feet to touch the ground and just talked non stop to my husband which I do believe has been beneficial. I hope this helps some of you! xo

    3. Anonymous,
      I agree -- seeing genuine remorse for the betrayal can go a long way toward healing. And knowing he's a "good guy who made a horrible choice" can also help us determine what our next steps are.
      I also absolutely agree that it's crucial to really understand what the cheating is rooted in -- what was the thinking that led a "good guy" to violate his own moral code. In order to reduce any chance of it happening again, each partner, but particularly the offending one, needs to be able to see just where they crossed so many lines.
      Betrayal definitely messes with our heads -- and just when we think we see sunlight, we can get thrown back into the darkness for a bit. I'm glad you've found a podcast that's helpful.
      I created this site because I was desperate for something like it when I was in my early days. I wanted to create a safe space where women could come and find comfort and wisdom and guidance and compassion. Though it might be out of "goodness of my heart", I get an enormous amount from the women who here -- who share their own stories and their kindness. It has been healing for me too.

    4. Dear Anonymous,
      Welcome to the club none of us wanted to join. First, let me tell you that I thought I was married to a great guy, strong moral compass, Mr. Clean, Mr. Eagle Scout, Mr. Professional, etc. What I did not know that his facade hid a childhood of trauma, sex abuse and family disfunction including early porn exposure which led him to early sex play for self comfort. He was a budding sex addiction way before I ever met him. He lied to himself and me for years and years. I've been married 40 years. Four years ago this June he sat me down the night before a doctor's appointment to tell me he thought he had AIDS because he had been buying sex for years. Yes, years. He also had an affair, masturbated daily, watched porn daily and went to strip clubs and jerk off joints when out of town for work. My Mr. Clean held a deep secret and it nearly destroyed our marriage. Hi doctor referred us to therapy right away and the months that folowed were horrible. I lost 50 pounds and my hair fell out in handfuls in the shower. I could not eat. I could only cry for hours on end. It took months for him to admit he was a sex addict and to uncover his past abuse and accept that all those horrible things happened to him. Your husband needs therapy to figure out why he made the choices he made. I went to therapy do figure out how I could have been snowed for decades. We are now in a good place but it has taken lots of work. You might find that therapy will help you deal with this betrayal trauma. He is the one person who promised to not hurt you and to protect you and have your back. He needs to go talk to someone to find out what made him do this. Until you can both deal with what is going on individually it will be impossible to deal with it as a couple. Just my 2 cents.

    5. Beach Girl, I am so sorry for all that you have suffered through. No one should ever have to go through that. It must have been (and still be) so traumatizing. I do think each person and each case is individualized though. And my recommendation to each person who has come across this site with a simple google search that is reading this is to not think the worst and immediately jump to conclusions based on other peoples experiences.

      For the record, I actually do know my husband (and with all do respect, I do NOT know you ladies at all) so while I appreciate the advice, I think all women who go to internet message boards looking for marriage guidance should take it with a grain of salt. Just my 2 cents.

      I won't be coming back on here but I hope that you ladies all heal as best you can. Life is filled with ups and downs but it's also short. Best of luck to you as you navigate these choppy waters.

  26. I am the anonymous from the top of this thread. I am reeling right now as just received a voicemail from the bitch saying that my husband loves her not me and I should leave him alone. Bearing in mind this is neatly two years since they split up. Should I be worried for my safety?

    1. Anonymous,
      Should you be worried for your safety? I honestly don't know. She's likely a garden-variety train wreck desperate to ruin your marriage because, in her twisted logic, that will leave your husband available for her. It's crazy.
      If you're genuinely concerned, you can certainly contact authorities and see about a restraining order though unless she's made threats or otherwise violated any laws, I suspect they'd be unable to do much.
      As hard as it is, I'd ignore it. I'd block her number, completely cut her off from any access to you (I hope your husband has already done the same). Some OW feed on the drama -- it's oxygen to them.
      In the meantime, what is your husband saying about this. I'm giving him the credit that he has done nothing to encourage this...but have you had access to his phone/social media/etc? Are you comfortable that he hasn't had contact with her?
      I'm so sorry - I'm sure this has you absolutely rattled. It's frightening and it's destabilizing after all you've been through. But, unfortunately, it's not uncommon. I hear so often about these crazy OW who keep throwing bombs into our marriages in the hopes that they can cause fights, create rifts, and ultimately destroy them.
      As best you can, don't give her that power.

  27. No. I havent seen his phone. She told me to stay the hell away from him which is weird language to use. It's almost like what a wife might say to mistress. I'm at the point where I dont want him anymore and would love to tell her this but dont want to stir her up again.

  28. Bf of 7years screwed his coworker twice sept 18. He took her to our cabin. When he came back we had unprotected sex and he was telling me he wanted to get married and have another child and acting quite weird .he finally told me what happened 2 days ago. It’s pretty clear he regrets what he did. I know that besides sex we hadn’t been connecting on a more emotional level for some time. I would go out with my friends and family without him and he repeatedly told me that he felt that I didn’t make any time for him but I didn’t care or listen. And now this happens, although I know that it’s not my fault he cheated I can’t help but feel like I was being really selfish in our relationship and I wasn’t caring for him. I believe that he doesn’t care for ow and that it’s over. Am I a fool that I just want to be with him, have another kid and get married?

  29. Ok Ladies I need your help:
    My wife and I have been married for 10 years, we have had many issues. I was diagnosed with PTSD, she has been as well. We both have counselling for Ptsd and she has some meds for it. we have 2 younger kids. One has a serious medical issue that causes ups and downs. Both of us started counselling for our mental health issues.

    My wife stopped working about 2 years ago and everything is on my salary, i don’t stick that in her face but it is tough!
    She started working out, a while ago and i applauded it as i think she’s withdrawn from everything.

    In the past We have been rude to each other, sarcastic, short and fight verbally about stupid things. She is older then i am in her latter 40’s. She had a lot of crap growing up with her parents who separated when she was 12. She was sexually assaulted at 16 and never got help. She had a previous marriage and discovered the guy was nuts so she left her home town for 7 years.

    I found lately she has been withdrawn and doesn’t want to talk about any of our issues. One night she told me she was going to meet with friends she hadn’t seen in a while. I was happy for her. She went out and came home late. I said nothing about it other than i hope she had a good time. Later i found out she was with a guy she dated when she was 16-17. I was upset she lied to me. He has a fiance who was in town looking after an ill parent. She went out with this person with her mom and sister, then went out with him alone. Long story short i found out she was meeting with him and met with him alone at her sisters apartment over night. She tells me nothing happened and she’s just friends. I said well can i talk to his GF she said no your not wrecking his relationship. I was like what the heck it’s ok for ours??
    We were agreed to go to counselling and i didn’t want her to speak to him while we were working on things. She said ok.
    Turns out she still messaged him and deleted the messages. she told me so. All of a sudden she drops the “i love you but not in love with you” line. She tells me the day before counselling she doesn’t want to go to counselling and can’t see us working it out, and she wants me to be happy with someone else. She want’s to live in the same house as long as we can. We went to counselling and she told me again she stopped communicating with this dude.
    3 weeks into counselling she tells me at the end of the session she is communicating with him and it’s not like what i think. I don’t know what to do. She won’t let me in and the whole thing is killing me. It was like when i try to change and try to trust she keeps messing with my head.

    She initially told me she met with him the night she was at her sisters house because he was going back home. The week later where she wasn't supposed to be speaking to him i feel the week is going good. Then on the Friday she tells me i have to go meet with him and his family (his parents not gf) I said i thought you said you had to meet with him last week b/c he was leaving. She denies having that conversation. She went and met with him, that was also our 10 year anniversary. I’m struck because i love her, she told me we should have never got married. I asked her about him, she says she doesn’t want sex with me or anyone else. I think thats BS. She says they just talk and she laughs, she likes it because he doesn’t know anything about what has gone on with our lives
    i actually believe that.
    I don’t know if things were sexual or not, i care for her, and legit want to work on it, she still says she doesn’t and doesn't see a future. At counselling i'm the one talking. She shows no remorse for anything. I don’t know what to do. its been since mid Aug i am so broken. She still guards her phone and takes it everywhere. She sleeps in our bed some nights and in the spare room others. I just don't know what to do.

  30. My wife and I have been married for 10 years, we have had many issues. I was diagnosed with PTSD, she recently has been as well. She is supposed to take meds for depression. we have 2 younger kids. One has a serious medical issue that causes ups and downs. Both of us started counselling for our mental health issues. She stopped working about 2 years ago and everything is on my salary, i don’t stick that in her face but it is tough!
    She started working out, a while ago and i applauded it as i think she’s withdrawn from everything. She doesn't want to be around people and is withdrawn around people.

    In the past we have been rude to each other, sarcastic, short and fight verbally about stupid things. She is older then i am in her latter 40’s. She had a lot of crap growing up with her parents who separated when she was 12. She was sexually assaulted at 16 and never got help. She had a previous marriage and discovered the guy was nuts so she left her home town for 7 years. I found out she was a cutter as well.

    I found lately she has been withdrawn and doesn’t want to talk about any of our issues as all we do is fight. One night she told me she was going to meet with friends she hadn’t seen in a while. I was happy for her. She went out and came home late. I said nothing about it other than i hope she had a good time. She acted strange which caused me to question things in my head. Later i found out she was with a guy she dated when she was 16-17. I was upset she lied to me. She all of a sudden doesn't see witholding info as lying, yet wouldn't accept it from our kids! He has a fiance who was in town looking after an ill parent. She went out with this person with her mom and sister, then went out with him alone. Long story short it came to a head when i found out she was meeting with him and met with him alone at her sisters apartment over night while she was supposed to be looking after her sisters ill dog. She tells me nothing happened and she’s just friends. I said well can i talk to his GF she said no your not wrecking his relationship. I was like what the heck it’s ok for ours??
    We were agreed to go to counselling and i didn’t want her to speak to him while we were working on things. She said ok. She told me she never intended on meeting with him it was last minute. He was leaving to go home. What made me mad i found out she was with him around 11 p.m. she never came home. She told me later they were together until 1 a.m. and just talked.

  31. That week she makes an appointment after i gently pushed, I felt that week went well and was starting to forgive and work on things. Out of the blue on the Friday night she says, I have to meet with him and his family hes leaving to go home tomorrow. I loose it, wth. Really you told me you weren't talking to him. I deleted his messages so you wouldn't get mad. You told me you had to meet with him last week because he was leaving...No i didn't.....WTH!! I said well i guess thats it then we're done? So she just left.
    That was our 10 year anniversary we found out later.
    Well it turns out she still messaged him and deleted the messages. she told me so. All of a sudden she drops the “i love you but not in love with you” line. She tells me the day before counselling she doesn’t want to go to counselling and can’t see us working it out, and she wants me to be happy with someone else. She want’s to live in the same house as long as we can. She looks forward to living in an apartment and just doing whatever she wants.It's surreal!
    We went to counselling and she told me again she stopped communicating with this dude.
    3 weeks into counselling she tells me at the end of the session she is communicating with him and it’s not like what i think. I don’t know what to do. She won’t let me in and the whole thing is killing me. I’m struck because i love her, she told me we should have never got married. I asked her about him, she says she doesn’t want sex with me or anyone else. She says they just talk and she laughs, she likes it because he doesn’t know anything about what has gone on with our lives.
    I don’t know if things were sexual or not, i care for her, and legit want to work on it, she still says she doesn’t. I don’t know what to do. She was staying in the same bed some nights and others she goes to the spare room. Her phone never leaves her sight. We went to a weekend away and it's just strange. its been since mid Aug and i don't know what to do. Do i try and salvage or am i spinning my gears. She also shows no remorse.

    1. Hello WD and welcome to the site,

      First, I'm so sorry you're experiencing this pain. In your posts, I read confusion, sadness and frustration. All of those are very normal, healthy emotions to feel in this situation. You are brave to let yourself feel them.

      It sounds like you are very clear on what is happening: your wife is violating your trust and your boundaries. Her relationship with the man she dated in adolescence, even if they are not physically intimate with each other, involves an emotional intimacy that is is not "just friends". You don't know exactly what they've done together but you very wisely know that regardless, it constitutes a trauma to your marriage: a serious trust injury.

      You ask "do I try and salvage"? but the sentence immediately after hold the answer: "She also shows no remorse".

      WD, I'm so sorry, and I am saying this with nothing but gentleness and kindness, but here it is: reconciliation is not possible if there is no remorse from the person who has cheated. If you attempt to reconcile without true, genuine remorse from the cheater, the reconciliation will be false and, WD, that will hurt you even more than this whole episode has already hurt you.

      Elle (the extraordinary person who runs this site) has some truly fantastic blog posts about what is required for reconciliation. Browse through the site and give them a read. For starters, you need:

      1. Genuine remorse. If the person who has cheated is not genuinely sorry and willing to do anything to earn the golden opportunity of another chance with you, the whole thing is a non-starter. Sadly, many cowardly people have "exit affairs" because they want to end their relationship but lack the strength
      to do so in an honourable way. Do you think this might be what your wife has chosen?

      2. No contact. Your wife should make it clear to the affair partner that there will be no more contact. Some therapists use the metaphor of a house in which the door has been closed to the spouse and the windows open to affair partners. The person cheating must make the decision to close the windows and open the door -- the way it should have been all along.

      3. Full disclosure. You get to decide how much you want to know. Once you do, the person who cheated should volunteer the information. If the person who cheated promises that you "know everything now" but it turns out you don't, that's a horrific violation. On a personal note, my husband did this for nearly two months, and it was the worse trauma I've ever lived through -- MUCH worse than the affair itself -- and I honestly don't know if I'll ever get over it.

      Since your wife is not delivering any of those three things, I think you have to put reconciliation to the side and simply focus on yourself and your boundaries.

      This doesn't mean you'll never reconcile. It just means that your focus right now needs to be on ME, not WE.

      (continued below)

    2. Focusing on yourself means putting yourself first -- ahead of your marriage. It means making choices that are healthy for YOU. Eating healthy, drinking water, exercising, getting enough rest, not drinking or smoking or using drugs, socializing with friends whom you consider emotionally healthy people, and finding an individual counselor who specializes in trauma (not only do you have a history of PTSD but betrayal is a form of trauma). In our society, men are not given permission to feel emotional pain and if they nurture themselves they are scoffed at. So it might be hard for you to give yourself permission to do this, WD, but I strongly encourage you to fight against any machismo you might encounter, inner or outer, and nurture yourself. You deserve to feel safe and cared for.

      It's important to point out that you are not caring for yourself in the goal of winning back your spouse's affection -- this isn't about "I'll show her what she's missing out on!" or what is sometimes called "the Pick Me dance". This is really just about you.

      Establishing boundaries means asking yourself what you, WD, need in order to feel safe, and then putting your energy into those. Elle has a great blog post about it here: Working with an individual therapist on this is helpful for many of us.

      WD, I read a lot of compassion for your wife in your posts. You share some of what she has gone through in her relationships in the past, and there is a lot of pain there. You also describe feelings of resentment of her. And there's your very understandable anger, and your sadness. I don't want to go all Yoda here, and I'm not qualified to speak to this the way many other are, but I encourage you to allow yourself to have all those emotions, and not think that any are somehow invalid or that you "shouldn't" be feeling a certain way. A lot of what we feel in the aftermath of a betrayal is conflicting and confusing, and that's okay.

      If you are comfortable reading, get Elle's book. It's so good. Also, I just found this awesome resource and have been recommending it to everyone, and you're no exception, WD. I recommend that you read "When It All Breaks Bad" and also do the Crisis Risk Assessment.

      You are going to be okay, WD. It hurts like hell -- it's the worst pain I've ever felt and many of the people on this site say the same -- but you're going to be okay.

  32. It’s been a little over 5 months since D-Day and I have finished reading your book Elle. It was amazing and very helpful! could relate to a lot of the topics like trickling truths, pain shopping, mini movies, etc. I used it as a way to begin some hard conversations with my boyfriend. Currently, I relate most to the healing section. Where you begin to have better days. You begin to not have the affair run through your mind every 5 minutes and have some time together that feels like how it use to. BUT I feel guilty for letting go of the hurt and feel like I need to constantly remind him about his affair so that he remembers how badly he hurt me, even if I am laughing with him and having a good night together.

    Though it still is hard, overall I can feel myself healing. I still have triggers, I still randomly get upset and have a short temper, I know I have become more snappy with him, I still have mini movies that play in my head and as much as I know I should not, I still occasionally look at the OW’s pictures. I still have a lot of questions and still don’t understand how he could do it. I still get jealous when I see happy couples. But as much as it still hurts, it’s nowhere close to how I was 5 months ago. The good days are beginning to outweigh the bad. Not a day goes by I don’t think about it, but a few hours can. I use to think I was weak and pathetic for staying, and I now realize how strong of a person it takes to work through something like this. It has been hard, but it’s getting better. As scared as I am for the future, I also have a glimmer of hope.

    I have days where it takes everything in me not to contact the OW. I’ve had a letter written to her for months that I’m constantly tempted to send. I KNOW I SHOULD NOT. I know nothing good would come from it. I want to ask her how she could do this to another women?? How could she inflict so much pain. How could she come into my house and sleep with my boyfriend in my bed. Us women are suppose to stick together. Did she lust for him? Was there a build up of sexual tension? Or was it really just a one night stand? I want her to know that I know. I don’t want her thinking I’m naive. I don’t want her thinking I’m stupid or feel bad that I’m with someone so sneaky. I want her to know that I do know what she decided to do while I was out of town. I want her to know I decided to stay.

    1. Cat Lady,
      I'm glad the book was helpful and so glad to hear that you're beginning to have more good days than bad. That's a testament to your strength and resilience and hard work.
      I understand the fear that your boyfriend might minimize the pain he's caused if you're not constantly reminding him of it. It feels like we're betraying ourselves if we begin to release that pain. We're not, however. We're healing. And that's a good thing. As long as you are able to continue to talk about the infidelity and how it's affected you, not all the time but whenever it seems pertinent, then you're honouring your experience. As long as he's able to listen to you, to share what he's learned through this experience, then he's also honouring you. I told my husband one day that I was afraid he'd think it was no big deal if I wasn't either falling apart or reminding him that I'd fallen apart. His response? "I will never forget the pain in your eyes and I never want to cause you to feel that again." He didn't need reminding. He was reminding himself all the time. He still does, more than a dozen years later.
      Talk to your boyfriend about this. Tell him that you want to know that this has changed each of you for the better. That you NEVER want to go through that again. And that you need to know he never wants to put you through that again. And then...continue to heal.
      I also understand the impulse to want to tell the OW that you know, to make it clear that you're not some dodo who hasn't a clue but a strong woman who's made a choice. But think about what you're really after: I suspect you want to prove something to her, to make yourself superior to her, and to have her know it. Absolutely understandable. But, I think, misguided. If this woman has any moral compass, she knows she did something shitty. And if she doesn't, then you're not going to convince her otherwise. Whether or not you know, whether or not you stay, doesn't change that she was complicit in cheating on another person. That's her stain, not yours. Keep the letter. Add to it whenever you want. But don't send it, for now. I suspect this woman will continue to retreat into the rear-view mirror. This wasn't about her. She was a willing accomplice. That's all. I hope she'll have her own reckoning and decide to be a better person. But that's her journey, not yours.

  33. My story is similar but very different to everyone as well.
    My husband and I have been married for over 20years together for 30 years. Teenage kids and has been a wonderful life really. Financially quite well off and hardly ever any conflict.
    He did have some family issues, resentment and rejection from his father. He had high blood pressure, cholesterol and really believed he was going to die.
    September 2018 he had a nervous breakdown. So out of the blue as nothing seemed really different. He was really stressed at work and seemed unhappy.
    We worked through things and by February my old husband seemed to come back and he was doing really well.
    I found out he was bisexual. Never had any idea. His breakdown was real. His work, health and family issues contributed but he was also confused. He loves me but his mental health and belief that he was going to die, he hooked up with a young fellow and had oral sex. 5 times between October and January.
    When he started to feel more ‘normal’ he couldn’t believe what he had done to himself and our family and became suicidal. All the while I had no idea about any of this.
    All ended in the January. He says he has known he had an attraction to men since he was a teenager but also attracted to women so no big deal. He loved me and never would he cheat so he can’t understand what happened.
    I love him. Has been a wonderful husband and father. He is on anti depressants and seeing a Counsellor. Seems to be trying to work everything out.
    But geez this seems so hard to get past. I have been through all the stages described by everyone else. My added challenge is the fear of his attraction with men which he assures me is not an issue.
    I believe this is a big mistake in an otherwise great 30 years. But I have horrible images in my mind. I believe what he is saying, and I want to move on together, but it’s so hard. It’s weird I want to sort it out but then I feel he hasn’t suffered like I have.......
    Is it worse that he cheated with a man. Maybe, but any cheating is unacceptable. He believes in marriage and monogamy but he had a breakdown and his decision making was way off.
    How to accept this and move on together and be happy......I don’t need him financially I am successful in my own right. My kids would be fine as well. Problem is I still love him. Would be easier if I didn’t I guess ��

    1. Anonymous,
      I'm so sorry for the pain and confusion you're in. My husband also cheated, occasionally, with men. He was diagnosed with sex addiction so, honestly, the gender wasn't the issue so much as availability and confidentiality. But yes, I struggled too, at first.
      Though my husband doesn't identify as bisexual, what else can he be? I think we all exist on something of a spectrum.
      In your husband's case, it sounds as though the depression played a large role. I've heard that story many times. Sex and danger and illicitness can make someone feel alive, when they're struggling to feel anything at all. I'm not excusing what he did at all. But it can help to understand that these decisions were made in moments of desperation. That there wasn't intention behind them.
      It's always your choice whether to stay or go. However, from what you say, there's little reason to leave except that you're in pain and want a release from it. Leaving won't change that. I think, if you remain, you'll need to create an atmosphere of total transparency with your husband. It sounds as though you two have been very good friends for a very long time. That's a solid foundation. But he's also, clearly, not been entirely honest with you for your whole relationship. That needs to change.
      If you're not already in couples counselling, I would urge you to find someone who can help you through this. His attraction to men certainly complicates things in the short term; however, if he's committed to monogamy, then it becomes something of a non-issue. Sort of like knowing he's attracted to blondes if you're a brunette but knowing he'd never cheat with one. I don't mean to minimize this -- of course, gender is different from hair color. But, as noted, if he chooses monogamy with you, then that's what really matters. Although, it can certainly change your marriage if you're both able to speak more honestly about desire.
      Hang in there, Anonymous. You've been through hell -- even your husband's health problems were no doubt frightening. I hope you'll take some time to let this all settle and then figure out where you go from here.

    2. Anonymous, I second what Elle has said. This is not an easy journey. My husband's history includes Asian prostitutes, strip clubs, porn, jerk-off joints, brothels, escorts and a lifetime of overall poor choices filled with debauchery and lies. Four years ago my life blew up and I found individual counseling for both of us and couples counseling to be very helpful. We are friends and we have come a long way. You can never go back to where you once thought you were and that was/is my hardest lesson so far. What I thought we had was only true in my head because he was living a different life than me all along. We are open and honest now even when it hurts but we are still together and he is trying his best to live with integrity daily. I've read so many stories about one or the other partner being gay or bi and being able to stay together so those success stories are out there. You will get to write your own story. I wish you well as you travel through this living hell and at some point you will find that the light at the end of the tunnel is no longer the incoming train. No big decisions need to be made so take your time. Breathe. Cry. And find someone you trust whom you can talk to as much as you need to.

  34. Hi

    I know it may seem foolish of me that i’m still holding onto this but, a few years back the love of my love that i’ve known my entire life cheated on me. We had been together for going on almost 2 years. The first year *honeymoon phase* everything was perfect, even though we didn’t get to see each other as much as we would like to because my mom is against homosexuals. Either way we always found a way. Then things started to change heading onto the second year, she was lying to me and would get caught up in it whenever i confronted her about it. We argued a lot and never saw each other, things were just not great. I did everything for her, risked getting thrown out, disowned, and even contemplated suicide. Whenever there was a holiday or birthday i would make sure she had everything she wanted and more i always went big for her. When I found out she cheated it was because she told me it was around Thanksgiving and i hadn’t heard from her for a week. Come to find out she was doing drugs and had blacked out and cheated on me with her dad’s girlfriends daughter. She would always come over and ask her if she wanted to make my girlfriend feel better. That same day that she told me i got texts from the girl off of my girlfriends phone telling me everything that she did and she even called and they both laughed and made fun of me. After all of this happened not even 24 hours passed before my sister stopped me from overdosing. Before this happened i had snuck off to her house without my moms permission to see her and got caught and she took my mom took my phone and texted her threatening her to get her dad to lose his job and horrible things.(this was before the cheating happened) After all of this happened we got back together and she wouldn’t even talk to me the same, she didn’t even say i love you back. We broke up saw other people and eventually got back together again over the span of 2 years. When we got back together i layed some ground rules as far as what i was and wasn’t going to expect as far as loyalty, honesty, respect, etc. She promised to oblige. A couple of months later i find out that she still has pictures of her ex on her phone that she supposedly deleted, her ex’s fingerprint to unlock her phone, her ex’s moms number still in her phone, she made posts about her ex’s because they were supposedly friends, she had a promise ring at her house from her ex that she was supposedly going to sell and forgot about, she went to go see her ex’s family and lied about it. She still had her ex on social media, she had messages to her ex that she said her cousin was using it to talk to her that turned out to be true but she never told me beforehand she never tells me anything beforehand. Her ex showed up to her brothers graduation and hugged all of her family members and took pictures with them. She proposed to me, but she knows that i don’t trust her and that we aren’t on good terms. And i just don’t know what to do with all of this it’s been going on for years and i don’t know what to do. I’ve tried ending things before but it hurts so bad but it hurts being with her because the memories constantly come back and make me angry all over again. How do i stop thinking about it? we both want to work it out but i don’t know if it’s possible or not. Please help me .

  35. Hi

    I know it may seem foolish of me that i’m still holding onto this but, a few years back the love of my love that i’ve known my entire life cheated on me. We had been together for going on almost 2 years. The first year *honeymoon phase* everything was perfect, even though we didn’t get to see each other as much as we would like to because my mom is against homosexuals. Either way we always found a way. Then things started to change heading onto the second year, she was lying to me and would get caught up in it whenever i confronted her about it. We argued a lot and never saw each other, things were just not great. I did everything for her, risked getting thrown out, disowned, and even contemplated suicide. Whenever there was a holiday or birthday i would make sure she had everything she wanted and more i always went big for her. When I found out she cheated it was because she told me it was around Thanksgiving and i hadn’t heard from her for a week. Come to find out she was doing drugs and had blacked out and cheated on me with her dad’s girlfriends daughter. She would always come over and ask her if she wanted to make my girlfriend feel better. That same day that she told me i got texts from the girl off of my girlfriends phone telling me everything that she did and she even called and they both laughed and made fun of me. After all of this happened not even 24 hours passed before my sister stopped me from overdosing. Before this happened i had snuck off to her house without my moms permission to see her and got caught and she took my mom took my phone and texted her threatening her to get her dad to lose his job and horrible things.(this was before the cheating happened) After all of this happened we got back together and she wouldn’t even talk to me the same, she didn’t even say i love you back. We broke up saw other people and eventually got back together again over the span of 2 years. When we got back together i layed some ground rules as far as what i was and wasn’t going to expect as far as loyalty, honesty, respect, etc. She promised to oblige. A couple of months later i find out that she still has pictures of her ex on her phone that she supposedly deleted, her ex’s fingerprint to unlock her phone, her ex’s moms number still in her phone, she made posts about her ex’s because they were supposedly friends, she had a promise ring at her house from her ex that she was supposedly going to sell and forgot about, she went to go see her ex’s family and lied about it. She still had her ex on social media, she had messages to her ex that she said her cousin was using it to talk to her that turned out to be true but she never told me beforehand she never tells me anything beforehand. Her ex showed up to her brothers graduation and hugged all of her family members and took pictures with them. She proposed to me, but she knows that i don’t trust her and that we aren’t on good terms. And i just don’t know what to do with all of this it’s been going on for years and i don’t know what to do. I’ve tried ending things before but it hurts so bad but it hurts being with her because the memories constantly come back and make me angry all over again. How do i stop thinking about it? we both want to work it out but i don’t know if it’s possible or not. Please help me .

    1. Trainwreck,
      I'm so sorry for the pain that you're in. Let's simplify this: You set clear boundaries around what you will and will not tolerate in the relationship after you got back together. She violated those boundaries and continues to violate them with no regard for you. You broke up. It hurts. It also hurts to be with her.'s the thing. Doing the right thing (breaking up with her and staying broken up) isn't always the easy thing. It will hurt. It will hurt for a long time. Heartbreak is really really hard. But I promise you, it's better than the constant heartbreak of someone who violates your boundaries, who disrespects you and is disloyal. I PROMISE you that.
      You ask how you can stop thinking about it? You can't. Let yourself remember. Write it all down. Go for a run or do some exercise. Listen to music. Cry. Cry some more. Just let yourself feel the pain. I guarantee the pain will not kill you, even if it feels like it will.
      With time (and with ZERO contact with this person), the pain will get smaller. And then smaller. And then one day, you'll notice someone else who makes your heart skip a beat. And you will be ready for a new, healthy relationship because you've done all the work to be done with the last UNhealthy relationship.
      You deserve better than this, Trainwreck. But you have to believe you deserve better. And I suspect, with a domineering intolerant mother, you might not believe that you are worth more than this. You are. That is the truth. You are worthy of love and belonging with someone who thinks she's the luckiest person in the world to be chosen by you.
      In the meantime, avoid drugs. They only mess things up and waste your money. Find a therapist who can help you move past this and figure out what a healthy relationship looks like.
      Treat yourself well. You deserve it. And insist that others treat you well too. Setting boundaries was a really healthy thing to do. But you have to enforce them, over and over. And you have to remove people from your life who refuse to respect them.

  36. My husband and I met when we were kids, him 16 and I was 17. We were young and foolish but so in love! Got pregnant and decided to get married 1 year and 8 months after we started dating. We were blessed with 3 more kids. But that's when things turned around. My husband wanted no part in raising our kids. He thought he did his job by providing financially and the rest was up to me. I got the kids to school, helped with homework, cooked, cleaned, made sure the bills were paid, school activities. All of it I did on my own. He wouldn't include himself in our activities. It was me and the kids. He became very volatile over time. He became mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive. This went on for several years. Then things changed a little. In early 2011 we began having issues with our oldest son. He was very volatile. Once he was a legal adult he moved out. Then in fall 2013 I lost my stepdad. Less than 7 months after that my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She lost that battle on Augus 3, 2016. My mom was my best friend. The pain of losing her was awful. And my husband was anything but supportive. He'd often tell me to get off the emotional roller coaster I was on and move on. I'd never felt pain like that before. Until August 3 of this year. I discovered information on my husband's phone for hotels. Thus began the trickling down of his affair. The information finally all made it's way to the surface by late September.
    We've been married 29 years and 13 of those he was having an affair with a coworker. A complete emotional and physical affair. He talked to her about everything. When he'd never listen to me. They had sex in her home. Store parking lots. Restaurant parking lots. Hotel rooms. And we had times of no sex because she was giving it to him. This ugly old whore of a married woman 12 years older than him. They went to lunch together. Held hands. All of it. And he was distant and totally disconnected from me and our children. The last time they had sex, July 26, he texted me from the hotel parking lot telling me he had to work late. And that he loved me. He even called me as he was leaving her.
    He has supposedly seen how she used him. How she manipulated him. And he's made big changes. He helps around the house. But our kids are grown. They're 18, 25, 26 and 28. They don't want Daddy to play soccer with them anymore. They no longer have school programs to attend. They don't need him like they did when they were young. They and I were desperate for him to be involved. Now it's too late. The damage is irreversible. It hurts. I cry. I'm angry. I feel like I'm trapped in a small dark box and I'll never find my way out. He wants our marriage to work. But he isn't patient with me. I'm experiencing every emotion there is. And I'm not sure I want my marriage anymore. He threw me away. I wasn't what he wanted or needed. He lived another life and I was too stupid to see it.

    1. Drowning,
      I know the pain you're in. We all know the pain you're in. I was lucky (ha!) in that my husband woke up while our kids were still young enough. But, like yours, he had missed YEARS of their childhoods. Years that he will never get back. Years that they will never get back.
      But here's the thing. And though I know it's agonizing that you did it all yourself, you didn't miss those years. You were there for them. You showed up. And for that, you can be so proud of yourself.
      You're not stupid at all. You trusted the person who promised you he was trustworthy. That's not stupid. That's actually pretty normal.
      But now...what to do now? That's your choice. Of course, he wants his marriage. He's just realized that he wasted 13 years of his life with someone he neither respects nor who respects him. What a pointless things, huh? But that's for him to come to terms with, along with his absentee parenting.
      What do YOU want? It's okay to not know right now. It's okay for you to lay out clear requirements if he wants you to even CONSIDER staying married to him. For one, he needs to work on being patient with you. For another, he needs to get his butt to a therapist to figure out why he's wasted so much of his life on someone who doesn't matter to him. And to understand just how deeply he has betrayed you in so many ways. Not just the affair but not supporting you when your mother died, not helping you out at home.
      And I would urge you to also seek therapy. In some ways, you betrayed yourself. You allowed yourself to be sidelined by him. I get it. You thought you were being a good wife. But you weren't respecting yourself, and that has to change.
      You get to decide how this looks going forward, Drowning. YOU get to decide. "My heartbreak, my rules" is at the top of this site. We mean that.

  37. Hi. I discovered this site a couple of weeks ago and found it to be tremendously helpful, reassuring and on my wavelength. So I thought it’s maybe time to say hello, introduce myself and share my story.
    I discovered 5 months ago that my husband of 15 years has been having an affair for approximately the last 3 years.
    He immediately ended the affair,took full responsibility, identified the reasons, did not try and blame me for anything at all and agreed to get individual counselling. He insisted it wasn’t about me or anything I had/ hadn’t done. It wasn’t about her either - he didn’t love her, didn’t want to leave to be with her, was happy to end it. He even said he’d wanted to end it quite some time ago so it was a relief.
    I embarked on what seems the be the usual roller coaster of devastation, grief, despair and fury. I don’t even remember the first 6-8 weeks I was in such a mess.
    I’m feeling much stronger now. I understand he did this because he has long standing self esteem issues, exacerbated by more recent health issues and his response to the the aging process. I think I believe him when he says he loves me and never stopped loving me throughout. I certainly always felt loved and cared for and that’s partly why it was such a huge shock.
    He is doing everything he can to love me, reassure me and fix himself.
    I am trying to accept his love, to acknowledge he is working to address the issues, to get help, to change, to let the dust settle and to see how things unfold. I am also looking after myself well.

    At first I felt a need to make a decision, and quickly. I now feel I can take my time.
    I am still pretty devastated (although feeling quite flat this week). But questioning what to do and how to frame this? He has had a long term affair, which is awful. But I thought (and he agrees) that we had a good and happy marriage before this happens. After all, if it had been unhappy, and he were an awful husband, it would be much easier to make the decision to end it. I feel as though it might be rash to throw everything we have and have built together for what appears to be an episode of self destructive behaviour lasting one fifth of our marriage. Four fifths, or 80 percent, he was faithful.
    So finding this site, which gives permission to try to understand, to be compassionate, to reflect, to be self aware and to take time to make a decision, had been wonderful. Thank you.

  38. Hi. I am happy to have discovered this site recently...I can relate to so many of the posts. My DDay was 6 weeks ago. The affair had been going on for about 4 weeks at that time and was mainly emotional, but had just turned physical prior to me finding out. My discovery began with those dreaded words as my husband told me “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore.” And, in the days that followed, the truth trickled out, each bit of information more painful than the last. His schedule changed, and I quickly became wise to what was happening.
    My husband and I have been together for over 20 years (married for 15). We have two children, typical work and home responsibilities, and the daily stressors that come along with our life. We had been going through the motions for a few years, stressed, tired, not really focusing on “us”, but honestly, I thought it was just all part of this stage of our life. I took on more at work and did more with my kids, while he became more and more distant, and eventually distracted himself by confiding in and beginning a physical relationship with another woman.
    I initially couldn’t believe he could betray me (us) in this way, but what shocked me most of all was that he couldn’t stop. I asked him to leave our home, which didn’t really feel right, but I had no choice because he wouldn’t (couldn’t) stop the affair and I couldn’t handle that. After a week away, he asked to come home to work on “us” and being a better husband/father. He said he ended the relationship with the OW prior to coming home. Unfortunately, he does occasionally run into her at work which, although I don’t like it, is unavoidable at this point.
    As far as I can tell, he’s been honest and open about everything. We have been working on rebuilding our relationship since he came home. Overall, it seems to be going very well. However, some days, I find myself on that emotional roller coaster and it’s off the rails!!
    This whole experience has rattled me to the core....I never thought it would happen. I am not and will never be the same person again. Although the uncertainty I feel at times is awful, I am feeling more hopeful and stronger as the days go by. My family & friends have not been supportive, they are of the “kick him to the curb” crowd and have no concept of what I’m truly dealing with. (I honestly thought I felt that way too until it actually happened!!) I’ve dealt with much of this on my own, with the help of a counselor and support from my husband.
    Reading the posts here about others’ experiences while walking this road has been enlightening and reassures me that the emotions I’m experiencing are a “normal” part of dealing with this tremendous blow and healing from it. I’ve also learned here that it’s okay to take things one step at a time. I’m confident that trusting my instincts and following my heart is the best way for me to get through this on my own terms. Thank you so much to Elle & all of you.

    1. KMalibu,
      Welcome to the club none of us wanted to join. Glad you found us. And thank-you for sharing your story. Yeah, I think most of us were of the "kick him to the curb" club until it happened to us. Suddenly things aren't quite so black and white.
      I'm glad you're giving yourself time to get clear on what you ultimately want. I'm sorry your family/friends haven't been supportive. I've never quite understood why people can't trust that you are doing the best you can and that their job isn't to direct you and hurt you further but to simply support you in your own choices.
      Thank goodness for good therapists, huh?
      As you know, there are incredible women on this site, each of whom is making the best choice for you, right now. Some stay, some leave, some have the choice made for them and learn how to heal themselves no matter what.
      You'll get there too. Moment by moment. Day by day.

    2. Thank you for the warm welcome, Elle! I’m happy to meet all of you, I just wish it was under different circumstances for all of us!!
      I also cannot understand why the people around us can't trust that we are doing the best we can with this and just support us in our choices. Their unwillingness to deal with the situation is stressful and hurtful. It almost feels like I take a step or two backward when I speak with them and makes me not want to. I’m honestly not sure what they want from me.
      Otherwise, I feel like I’m doing pretty well and moving forward. My triggers are diminishing. But, sometimes, it just hits me. One thing that is tough at times is the occasional contact my husband must have with the OW through work. It’s unavoidable because they occasionally work together. It’s minimal contact, a few times per month and there are always other people with them. He’s very honest about it. But I don’t like it! Sometimes it brings out my emotions, sometimes it doesn’t bother me at all.
      Yes, day by day, sometimes moment by moment works best for me right now. Getting stronger each day.
      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement!

  39. KMalibu, you are correct to state you are not the same person you were and that is something your spouse may never understand if he is a compartmentalizer like my husband. My husbands cheating with prostitutes and his affair back in the early 80's was too much for my mind to comprehend. I was once head over heals in love with my husband, thought he was a moral and honest man and I was wrong. My D-day was June 2015. Something died inside me when he told me he though he had AIDS from buys sex for years. Say what???? He was so disgusted with himself but probably not as disgusted as I was and sometimes I am still pretty disgusted when I look at him. I did not want to blow up my adult kids lives or my grandkids lives so I sucked it up and only talked to a therapist initially and after 6 months told my BFF a very modified version of my story because she has enough on her plate. We changed our entire life and I gave him a year to get his life together. Luckily we did not have anyone else living with us otherwise I suspect I could not keep this secret. He is highly skilled at keeping secrets. He has changed his whole life too. You just keep doing what you are doing and make yourself a priority in your life and your marriage. You might want to consult an attorney to find out what your rights are in your state just as a baseline. I saw an attorney within a few months because I did not believe my husband would change. It was reassuring to hear what she had to say given the state where we lived. After about a year, when he and I were talking I told him I had seen an attorney and that really shocked him. He started to babble and I just told him to stop talking because I did not believe a word he said about never trying to cheat me out of what I was owed. Hmmmm, ya, right. You already did that a-hole. We are still together and although I have triggers still at times I handle most everything pretty well. I don't do what I don't want to do and I actually think my adult kids kind of appreciate that I moved south for the winter and am living a very active and exciting life, meeting new friends and making my last years my best. You just make your own decisions and be true to yourself because you deserve it. Happy Thanksgiving

    1. Hi Beach Girl,
      Thank you for sharing part of your story with me. You seem to be incredibly brave and very strong. I am so happy to hear that you are handling most everything well, living your life as you want to, and making the years to come your best! That’s amazing!! My goal is to do the same. Staying true to myself is something I strive to do with each passing moment and so important to me. It’s getting easier the more I rely on me. I truly appreciate your support and words of encouragement. Thank you!!
      Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

  40. Well I've been trying to write this post for months now. My 1 year D-day anniversary will occur on New Years Day...because why not a holiday? If I had written this months ago it would be much more detailed...but I'll just stick to the main points. It was revealed to me by my brother that my husband of 16 years had an affair with my 19 year old niece who had been helping us out with our 8 children for 2 summers (this occurred summer 2018). The manner in which I was told by my brother, was that my husband would sneak in her room after the kids were in bed and rape her. It became vividly clear that those accusations were severely false, and that it was a consensual relationship of mutual pursuing, right under my nose, in my house, while the children and I were both awake and asleep. This neice of mine, lost her mother 5 years prior to cancer, and I had taken on a mother role in her life. My brother did not get her or her two sisters grief counseling , and her precocious relationships after her mother died were very obvious signs of her acting out. I was adamant to my family that she needed help...but being the youngest in my family, i clearly didn't know what i was talking about. And god forbid after this monstrous explosion came to light, I ask ANYONE in my family to acknowledge her role in the affair. Fast forward to 3 weeks post d-day, after my husband had been out of the house for that time, and we had to share the reason with our four older children (heartbreaking to say the least)....I found out he had been having a first emotional/then physical/then emotional for five years affair with a co-worker, with an added bonus physical weekend at a conference in 2017. He remained out of the home until June (at which time I didn't know of this forgotten rendezvous). Moved into our sunroom and has been there since. 4/8 kids know about their cousin, and have been in therapy since january. The younger kids were also in therapy initially to deal with the change in the household. I myself have a PC, a separate EMDR therapist, a couples therapist, have completed single and couples courses at AR, and have a support group. I read. I listen. I watch videos. I"m consumed with my recovery. My husband is also in several therapies. He has learned much about his past, his difficulty with rejection, nothing ever being enough. He is working hard to heal his brokenness. I think he has emotional state addictions, and I am asking him to address those. My family has abandoned me. The first month they supported me the best they could. When I let them know in June he was back in the house, I have been shut out of all communication except for 2 of my sisters who are much more caring, yet still unsure how to support me when they despise him. I have learned my family is very good about conditional love. The shitty thing is my children are part of this wreckage. My family is showing them conditional love too, when they haven't done a single thing wrong. Neither did I. Do they know how difficult it is to raise eight children ages 4-14 with NO SUPPORT in this situation? No, they don't. Do they know how excruciatingly painful it is to wake up every morning knowing that this is my life now? How do you explain to a 5 year old why we can't go to Grandma's at Christmas? Besides the fact that my niece will be there, as they fully support her as being taken advantage of and the victim in all of this. My children have lost their cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles and any sense of normalcy because of their father's actions. The losses are so great to us all. 1 of 2

  41. 2/2 At first i imagined my heart broken into tiny pieces, and that the healing was picking up those pieces. I now know that there is actually part of my heart that has died. It was killed by the man that i thought was my world. I thought our marriage was the best it had ever been. We planned a future together that was so bright. All the while he was this broken man who hated himself and felt he would never be good enough (thanks in laws). He is a stranger to me. The last 16 years are a lie with some good vacations here and there. He is doing the work. He is committed to working on his brokenness. He wants to be with me. He never wanted otherwise. Our MC suggested though that maybe I don't want this man that is so broken. That maybe that is why it is so hard for me to be happy for his small victories in recovery. It's an interesting thought...I didn't think I married a broken man...the man I married was outgoing, confident, trustworthy, respectable and honest. We had fun together. Now it is so much work to exist together for the kids. Oh, and I lost my family. So is it worth sticking around to see if the broken becomes beautiful? When there are so many losses incurred? I see how my children benefit from a 2 parent household and having their dad here. I see glimpses of a man i could love again. And then the darkness of that dead heart takes over. But who else do I have? Clearly not my family. What i have realized from all of this is that everyone in this world is broken. We all have this stuff that lingers inside our hearts and impacts us and our relationships. But how much is too much? When I look at my situation from a birds eye view, I think I'm an idiot for staying as along as I have. But I'm still here. Why am I still here? Can a heart regenerate and form new?

    1. Anonymous,
      Oh my...your story is heartbreaking on so many levels. So much destruction. I am glad to know that you are so well supported by therapists.
      I think that you're expecting clarity when you are, likely, just getting over the shock and the trauma of what happened. I think clarity will come but...for now...I think it's enough to just keep your own head above water and help your children heal from this too. I can't imagine how exhausting this all is. It's hard enough to heal ourselves personally without having to deal with an entire family reeling from things they had nothing to do with.
      So...continue to take care of yourself and them as best you can. Let your husband continue to heal his own brokenness. Whether or not you stay with him, you want your children's father to be as healthy as he can possibly be.
      As for memories, he has always been this man. It sounds as though he was particularly good at keeping a mask on. But the brokenness was there. And it doesn't mean he didn't love you all along. But it also doesn't mean that you are obliged to stay with him. You get to decide, when you're ready, what's right for you.
      I'm sorry your family isn't able to support you but I can imagine it all feels pretty complicated for them too. And though I know your niece was not a child, I nonetheless think the power/age imbalance puts the lion's share of responsibility on your husband's shoulders to have behaved appropriately. I hope you can come to a point where you're able to extend some compassion to the position your family is in, even if you're deeply wounded (understandably) by their treatment of you and your kids.
      Anonymous, I don't think your heart is dead. You are clearly someone who loves deeply. Your heart is profoundly wounded. But it is alive and you will find joy again. You are doing everything right to create the conditions for that to happen someday.
      I had nowhere near the destruction that you're dealing with and it took me around 5 years to feel well and truly past this. It's a long road.
      I'm glad you shared your story. And I'm so so sorry for what you're going through. You are among friends here. We know your pain. And we are rooting for you to heal from this.

  42. 10/25/2019... D-Day. Not husband, boyfriend of four years. We recently had a child, who was intentionally conceived (I always feel this is important to share).

    I had known for some time that something was off. I've been cheated on before in prior relationships, I know the signs. While approximately 8 months pregnant, I found Facebook messages, which looked really bad but did not fully confirm his cheating. I confronted him with them and he of course gaslighted me and denied them. When I say confronted I mean I literally stated "If you are doing something or did something it needs to stop and you need to tell me so we can work on this" not "I'm going to fucking leave you and take our child", which crossed my mind. Gaslighted and told I was crazy.

    Flash forward to D-day, I was asked to call "her". I knew why she wanted to talk to me. I knew who she was since it was the same person from the messages. Initially, I felt relieved that I was finally going to get the truth. She initially tried to act like she didn't know we were together (she knew) and then came the bitch slap, she is pregnant and she says it is my boyfriend's child. However, it is known she is sleeping with multiple men, including another who just had a child. Bottom line, she is a homewrecking whore. As I stated to her, my boyfriend is also a grown man and knew exactly what he was doing. I told her this while I was talking to her on the phone and looking him directly the eye.

    Anyways, he has owned up to what happened and we are currently in counseling. He stated they had a fling that would happen every few months and was not consistent. He said he has no feelings for her and it simply about sex. However, it's not like he wasn't getting it at home. We've always had a good sex life. He said it had nothing to do with me or our relationship, but it is hard to believe that sometimes.

    Bottom line, he cheated on me while we were attempting to have a child, while I was pregnant and while I was recovering from childbirth (literally like a month after birth). I just don't know if I am strong enough to potentially help raise another woman's child. The child is innocent, but she and my boyfriend are not and if this child is his, I will forever have to relive this pain. I'm sure it will dull with time... I just can't see that yet.

    Of course, she is doing everything she can to tear us apart. Will not do a paternity test unless he is dating her, is going to make him go through the court process to find out, etc. Basically, she's a bitch.

    They have ruined what is supposed to be such a special time in my life. I cannot look at pregnant women without getting this ache and ball of rage. I cannot think about the birth of our child without sadness. I find myself playing with my child and not fully being present and I HATE it with every part of me.

    I think I am finally coming down from my rage cage and now I am simply sad, hurt and feel betrayed. Right now, I'm pushing through and working with the couples counselor. Hoping this gets better. I have not fully decided if I am going to stay or go. I seem to flop back and forth almost daily. No one knows what is going on. Only a few people know: the therapist, each of our best friends, the home wrecking whore and apparently a few of her friends.

    1. I read your story and it could have been my own. Especially the gas lighting. And the flipflopping. Just wanted you to know that I understand what you are going through. Hugs.

  43. Tried to publish my story before in a couple of parts. Maybe it was too long? Perhaps I’ll try again later. D-day was 11/26 and every single day hurts so frickin much. I’m a total mess. Maybe it hurts that much more because he chose to want to leave to be with the ow. He has known her a couple months. We were married 23 years. For those who have been dealing with this longer, how long did it take before the pain began to ease?

    1. Shattered Dreams,

      I'm so sorry you're going through this but glad you've found us. In answer to your question, the pain is still somewhat with me but the worst of it had passed after about a year. It was insanely intense for the first month, then I started actively healing myself (which I've described more below) and it became slightly less intense for the next few months, and then progressively lessened, with a few flare-ups from time to time. I'm 16 months out and it sometimes still hurts but nowhere near as much. Before, I couldn't breathe. Now it feels like a terrible stomach ache sometimes.

      For now, the only thing you have to do is hold on and get through the pain day by day, or minute by minute if you have to. When the pain flooded me, making me feel like I was drowning, my instinct was to stop it somehow (wine, Netflix, ranting with anger). But I followed the advice of Pema Chodron in her book "When Things Fall Apart" and learned to just let the pain take me over. I surrendered to it. I survived second by second, using my senses as a lifejacket. I entered into the texture of the moment, giving all my attention over to how things felt under my fingers, how they looked up close, how they smelled. Eventually the pain would release me.

      Over time, I took a more active role in healing, which is what I advise for you, too. I recommend: lots of self-compassion, lots of water (no drugs and minimal alcohol), lots of sleep, lots of walking outdoors in nature, breathing deeply. Join a gym and do high-intensity exercise. Meditating wasn't my thing but I started and it was so helpful (start with just 5 minutes of day), and expressing gratitude every time I felt awful also helped despite the fact that it sounds counter-intuitive.

      If you haven't read it yet, get Elle's book and read it. It's really amazing. And read everything you can find by Michelle Mays, who is a therapist specializing in betrayal trauma, which is what you're experiencing.

      You may not want to hear this, but pain can be rocket fuel if you let it. This pain you are in has the potential to catapult you to a place that is more amazing than you could have imagined. Stronger. Deeper. Less innocent but more rooted. And yes, eventually, happy. When my pain subsided, so did the potential for extraordinary, almost otherworldly growth. I was NOT sorry that the pain was lessening, but I actually did feel a bit of a sense of loss for the fact that the super-power-level growth potential had closed once more.

      Write again any time, Shattered Dreams. You are among Warrior Sisters.

  44. Part ONE: So very glad to have found this site. I found it from the article Elle wrote-My Spouse Cheated, Here's Why I stayed and that itself gave me a glimmer of light..thought I still ponder if I am simply a Plan B. Hubby claims to want to Reconcile but only after being outed by the Other woman after he allegedly had no contact. He did own that after she spilled the beans it helped him "see what he was doing" but I feel like I am being set up for yet another heartache.
    Married 15 years, together 18. 2 daughters, ages 8 and 13. As you will note from my signature evidence of EA/PA allegedly no sex-kissing DDAY #1 0207 (met girl at bar, admits to talking on phone and texting-her story as well) and 2016 EA different woman (email messages mostly about our marriage but inappropriate contact if you have to sneak in my eyes). We had MC after 2007. I went back to same therapist 2016 individually. Didn't bring him because during that same year I own that I was messaging an old college boyfriend. Husband never found out and I cut it off thinking two wrongs don't make a right. I continued IC for work anxiety, etc. Marriage was on the rocks just due to ...we were struggling and I contemplated divorce without knowing there was an OW. My therapist talked me through what I wanted to do not based on the email discovery. This was 2018. I Decided to work on it but too late clearly.
    Based on most recent DDays (Days because while same OW never fully got the truth until she outed him.) the other two probably included six.. My husband is a professional liar clearly.

    DDAy #3 November 16, 2019 found Facebook Messenger message and camera pic. Allegedly no contact afterwords. Spoke to OW (I found her number and called her-she claimed only messages, they talk about me blah blah. she lives in a town an hour away but claimed no face to face etc. (she lied for him-for them)
    DDay #4 December 5, 2019 discovered messages on laptop which clearly indicated PA. Confronted him. He owned seeing her but nothing else.

  45. Part TWO:

    He travels for work. Came back home on December 6. Silly me I still love him despite all of his wrong and knowing the other was PA I am ashamed to say I slept with him. Deciding together to R. Asking him for true honesty. Was supposed to have NO CONTACT after the 16th. Discovered that was not so on December 17.
    December 10-Something clicks in my head. He isnt really acting remorseful. No flowers, gifts, etc. Just asking me to stop crying. He went to MC but turns out he lied there too. I ask for a divorce. He hands and knees begs me not too. To please work on it with him. He agrees to go to IC. This was new. I want him to get it together for my girls. He has anger issues, he has never had a father as he is one of 13, doesn't excuse his actions by no means but he needs to address his issues. He also stopped believing in God two years ago. That was game changing for me too but for better or worse I hung in there.

    December 17, OW calls me out of the blue. (this is one month later). She outs him to the utmost degree. He is home while happening. Long story short he slept with her the day before he slept with me (Dec. 5). HE was playing us both telling her he was gonna leave me. She spills the beans about December 5 and many other things I want to erase from my mind but cannot. Like her dropping him off AT OUR HOUSE and I was inside. He told me it was the uber. Like ordering her a present on MY birthday from amazon. WTF. SO many things i am in rage about just typing it. He also contacted her many times after the 16th. During Thanksgiving we traveled to our hometown. I was the opposite of 180 crying, sad, all of it. But yet he continued to talk to her.

    Fast forward why beg me on December 10. My theory is that he couldnt or wouldn't choose and I am angry that I am a choice and not the choice. I am a Christian and I believe in forgiveness but this..this is another level. I feel like Plan B.

  46. Part III:
    His mantra is if he wanted to leave he could have..this is true but the same is said for her. She spilled the beans only because he told her he slept with me. Nice huh? Like like a rug to [italic]me but not to OW of 6 months (I think longer but this is what I have evidence of).

    Summary: My therapist made us agree to no decisions until after the holidays so that our girls don't hate Christmas forever. I am STRUGGLING because I know as I type this how this man does not love me. How he has abused my trust and continues to do so. While now I see remorse (and I have 180ed. Trust me after finding out he slept with us both within a day how could you not?!) gifts, transparency and apologies (which I should have seen November 16 but now do because in my opinion she told him she wasn't going to wait any longer for him to leave me) it is only because I am Plan B. His explanation is I was always the choice or he would have left me Wow. Lucky Me. :(.
    December 22 he played the ultimate card Sunday and went to church after seeing he was an atheist. He is manipulative and I know this but yet here I still am. He is on the couch not in our bed. I tried to make him leave on two occasions both DDays and he won't. I work and while not ideal I can support myself and my daughters. I have gone to see two divorce lawyers during this. But when I think of the fact that I will have to share custody of my girls it angers me so much. When I think of the fact that he will get half of my retirement in the state of Ohio it angers me again. Then I remember all that he has done. I feel so sad and mad....I clearly need IC because why else would I still love someone that did all of those things to me before, during, and probably after. And oh in case like me you wondered that why did he remain in contact with OW and sleep with her if it was always our family he selected-his story is that he knew she would spill the beans about the extent of their relationship if he didn't try to ease away from her. I don't buy it either. I almost wish he would have left or just leave me. Then I won't feel like I am in limbo.I hate myself for not being strong enough to do it and for saying I love someone who would treat me in this way. WOrking on that in IC..

    Thank you for reading this. It helped me to get it out.

  47. I can imagine things can be worst.
    But this is a huge struggle for me.

    I just found out my husband was having very explicit conversation with another female only a month after we got married. Found this after finding a video of her showing her cleavage and licking her lips after. I confronted him about the video. It went from randomly found on line to randomly sent to I know the person who sent it.

    Of course going crazy I did my snooping around to find that 138 messages were exchanged in 1 day. According to him this conversation was a quick catch up and when he claimed he had to get back to work this video was sent.

    After claiming his innocence for almost a week and me not giving up on asking for the truth (obviously I didn’t believe him) he confessed his conversation was not innocent at all. But only after fighting and defending himself claiming he was being honest.
    I managed to see only a glimpse of this conversation. This broke my heart into tiny pieces. And I’m not one to use that phrase of being broken hearted often. How could a man I just married a few months ago be having such an explicit conversation with another female.

    He claims it was a one day thing, first and last time he spoke with her like that. He claims he doesn’t know why he did it, but that he is sorry.

    Now my trust is beyond gone, I cannot stop thinking about what I read, I sit here wondering if he’s telling me the truth, my anxiety takes control out of no where. I wake up at 2 in the morning thinking about it. Wanting to reach out to this female to get more answers.
    It just hurts.

    How can someone I love so much not think about his wife, but claims he loves her that she means the world to him and he doesn’t want to be with out.

    A month after we got married how do you do that?
    And I’m only finding out 7 months later.

    I’m struggling with forgiveness, I’m struggling with dealing with it, I can’t stop thinking about it.

    My marriage feels like a joke, I sit here wondering why did we get married, I feel so betrayed & so disrespected..

    This is my quick and sweet version of this last month

    1. Anonymous, I'm so sorry. Of course, you're devastated. And things don't have to be the absolute "worst" to be nonetheless excruciating and heartbreaking. So please let yourself feel the pain without telling yourself you shouldn't feel it.
      As for your husband, I don't doubt that he doesn't know why he did it, it probably was just one day. But that's not the point. The point he betrayed your trust. The point is he was engaging in behaviour that he wouldn't have been engaging in if you knew he was doing it. That's betrayal. That's a violation of his vows. And now, its his job to figure out why he did it, what he was after and how to ensure he doesn't go down that path (or further) again. If I were you, I would insist he seek some sort of counselling -- either with you in couples counselling or on his own. This could be his wake-up call to get in touch with his own issues before he completely blows up a marriage he says he wants.
      I would also encourage you to seek counselling too -- and keep reading here. You need support and compassion as you move through the pain of this. You will get past it, I promise. But it really helps to have support along the way.

  48. I have been married to my husband for 2 years and we have a beautiful 1-year old daughter. Having a child has changed our lives dramatically and over the last 6 months our marriage has been a bit rocky. I will admit, my attention was placed on my daughter above all else, including my husband; I went into extreme mommy-mode (we had been trying for years and my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage so I was intent on giving this child my all). I’m not excusing him for his actions but taking ownership of mine. We’ve been arguing, spending more time apart than together, and just not seeing eye-to-eye. Right around New Years, he asked me for “space” because we were fighting a lot, he was not happy, not in a good place, and didn’t know what to do about it. (Space does not mean we separated, just time for him to “think.”) We went through a period of space for about a week and then reconciled.

    Days later, I discovered texts to another woman on his work phone. Turns out he had been having an emotional affair for 3 weeks, pre-reconciliation and post. Please know, I asked him several times if he had cheated or wanted to, the answer was always no. I didn’t ask in a condescending way, rather, giving him opportunity to be honest. He claims to have not seen her in person or even talked to her over the phone. She is an old friend of his who he claims showed up on a “people you may know” feature on a chat he uses to talk to his friends across the states/abroad. While I know sometimes emotional affairs are looked at to be not as devastating, however, I feel like someone ripped my heart out, stomped on it, and then threw it in a blender for good measure. I confronted him as soon as I found the messages and he instantly became angry at me and left our home. He came back an hour later to discuss.

    We tried to work through it, probably too quickly in retrospect. He expected me to be over it in a day and I tried to be but couldn’t. I would ask questions; he would get extremely angry, his responses were always “I don’t know,” and he’d leave. He started turning the situation around on me and treated me like I was the one who did wrong. But I found more damaging information about him lying about where he’d been (he was at a strip club). Again, confrontation, fight, “I don’t know,” he leaves. Throughout this whole thing he kept saying “I don’t know what I want,” “I don’t know.” He resorted to ignoring me for a week and treating me quite terribly. I would talk to him, cry to him, and he was mute. I finally told him that he was free; that I love him, but I cannot be treated this way and he should leave. He came right back. He started talking a bit more, not about anything we need to discuss but about our daughter or our dogs.

    However, now the “I don’t know” has switched to “I don’t know if I want to be married.” How can he be the one to think that?! I should be thinking that (and I am) but he did wrong, not me. I didn’t step outside of our relationship; I didn’t seek excitement from someone else. How can HE not know? And yet, he doesn’t want me to leave. He wants me to stay and wait until he decides. I’m having an internal battle of my own to stay or go but The Betrayed Wives Club, my best friend, and my mom have all told me that I don’t need to make a decision now. Every day is hard.

    He’s given me no inclination that he’s trying to make changes to be a better partner. But I am who I am, and I step away from my own anger and pain to try and see his. I think he’s struggling emotionally/mentally: with his life, with his job, with not being able to be completely independent, and do what he wants whenever he wants. But I’m struggling too. Struggling with how to act and who to be with him. Do I fight for him even if I’m not sure I want him? Do I let things continue on how they are with little conversation? Do I fight to know the whole truth because trickle truth is real in my home? Maybe I just have to ride the painful wave of emotions but I’m struggling with how I even begin to know if this is all worth it.

    1. Anonymous,
      I'm so so sorry for the pain you're going through. And yes, an emotional affair is as devastating as a physical one. As a whole lot of us have learned, it's often not the sex that hurts, it's the lying.
      Your husband is pulling all the classic cheater moves. The minimizing, the deflecting, the blaming, the "I don't know if I want to be married". And you, despite your moment of strength (for which I really admire you) have fallen into the betrayed's dance of "please pick me".
      I'm hoping you can go back to that moment of strength whereby you made it clear that you care about him and your marriage but that you will not tolerate being treated badly. I would reiterate that. He has betrayed you. He has violated your trust. And while I don't doubt that he's confused, wanting you to wait while he gets it together (and continues, likely, to carry on with this or other women), is simply unacceptable.
      So here's what I would suggest: He either seeks help for his "confusion" -- ie therapy -- and immediately stops any/all contact with this/other women and allows you access to any/all forms of communication or he [you fill in whatever is acceptable to you -- sleeps on the couch, moves out, etc]. In the meantime, you need support of your own and I would encourage you to find a counsellor who can help you through. Being a new mom is tough enough without the bomb of betrayal ripping through you. You deserve to be heard and supported.
      I admire your ability to see both sides and take responsibility for the role you've played in your marriage getting into this state. But his choice to betray you is HIS. It is never your fault that he violated your trust. That's on him.
      Unfortunately, it's not the least uncommon for men, newly dads, to seek out attention elsewhere when they feel as though their wives are less available to them. I suspect he's having all sorts of uncomfortable feelings around your new role as a mom, his new role, the neediness of a baby/child, etc. Factor in someone who makes him feel exciting and interesting and it's intoxicating. hurts the people he has promised most not to hurt. Which is where therapy comes in -- to help him sort out those uncomfortable feelings and figure out what he truly wants and how to achieve it. I suspect he's having something of a crisis...but it's his job to get clear on it. Not yours.
      Yes, you get to take your time deciding what's next. You don't need to issue any ultimatums, except when you're ready. But, it sounds as if this situation is getting untenable and it also sounds as though he kinda likes having his cake...and you too. We call them fence-sitters -- they don't want to leave but they don't want to stay -- and sometimes they need to be booted off that fence.
      You'll find a ton of info here so I hope you'll keep reading. You tend to get more responses on newer posts so if you post there, you're more likely to have others read and respond. In the meantime, Anonymous, please know that your feelings are perfectly normal. There is no "good" cheating -- whether emotional or physical. Betrayal is devastating.

    2. Thank you, Elle, for your response. I really appreciate hearing your perspective.

      I'm in the process of finding a therapist who can help me work through the minefield of emotions and maybe help me sort through the confusion of it all. I've also taken some advice from the articles on here and from my friend to work on myself and do things for me; so I've been trying not to focus so much on him and pay some attention to myself.

      After I found out about the OW, I recommended that if he was going through something he couldn't/didn't want to share with me, he should reach out to someone. He contacted one of his friends who is quite amazing (she would have been my pick too), coincidentally she's a family attorney so she is able to look at things very objectively and she suggested individual and couples counseling. As soon as she said it, he stopped confiding in her. From my perspective, he's made no effort to change and I don't think he can do it on his own. We are already sleeping in different rooms, which he initiated and I agreed with. We are basically roommates who share a child.

      He insists he's stopped talking to the OW but I don't know for sure; he smashed his work phone so if he's talking to her it's on his personal. He is guarded and keeps his phone with him most times. However, lately he's been leaving it around, flashing the screen at me, etc. I don't know if it's in an effort to show me what he's not doing or to show me what he wants me to see. He's also been talking to me a bit more and being very kind. I have a feeling he's seeing me work on myself (getting back to exercising, taking care of me, not initiating conversation with him, and being extremely independent) and it's making him a bit nervous.

      Any time I try to talk about the important things, he responds with immediate anger and deflects by saying "I don't have any answers for you" or the infamous "I don't know." I have set an internal deadline, see improvement or make the hard decision to leave. Yet, I haven't told him what I need and maybe I should. Even if he doesn't respond, at least I will have said it and then it's his opportunity to do or don't.

      Thank you, again, Elle, for responding and for creating this community. It's unfortunate the reason we are all here, but it's amazing seeing all these women supporting each other.

    3. You are doing so amazing. Keep at it. Focus on you. Get to know (and love) yourself again. It's also important to do that as a relatively new mom. And it sets a great example to a child to see a woman treat herself like her needs matter.
      And yes, I imagine he would get nervous. It's funny how similar these guys are. I suspect he has given little thought to the fact that you might just decide he's not worth it. And now he's being forced to recognize that there are consequences to his choices. Time for him to grow up a bit.
      Interesting too that he balks at therapy. In my experience, the people most afraid of therapy of the people who most need it. But looking within is terrifying for them because, chances are, they know they're not going to like what they find. And because often the drivers of poor choices are a deep long-buried hurt that they'd like to keep buried. However...his problem, not yours. Yours is to keep your head above water in the short term.
      Hang in there. And yes, the women here are amazing. This site makes my heart swell every day. Seeing women transform their own pain and use it to help others is incredible. You're among friends.

  49. I posted back in December about my boyfriend of 4 years, who is also the father of my child, cheating on me and the OW being pregnant. She was seeing other men also so it was up in the air if it was really his child or not.

    The baby was born earlier this month and he snuck an at home paternity test (she wasn't going to let him do a test). We got the results yesterday and it is his child. Our child isn't even a year old yet....

    I feel like I've broken all over again. I curled up on the floor of the bathtub while in the shower last night and just cried and cried and cried. Only each of our best friends and our couples counselor knew what was going on and I finally told my parents last night. They're amazing and said they would support me no matter what decision I make.

    My plan has been to stay with him. I'm just not sure how I can do that and help raise this other child. I also know I don't want to go without seeing my child every day, which is what would happen if we broke up. I just don't know what to do....

    1. Oh Anonymous, I am so so sorry. I can imagine how desperately you were hoping this other child wouldn't be his.
      Give yourself time. For now, just feel the pain of this. I'm so glad your parents are supportive of you. That's huge. And I'm sure your boyfriend is reeling from this news too. You both need a ton of support and compassion (though, to be fair, he made this choice, not you).
      You don't need to make a decision right now so give yourself time. I'm glad you have a therapist. And that your best friends know what is going on too.
      You don't need to know how you're going to do this. You only need to know how you're going to get to the end of today. And then tomorrow. The path will become clearer with each step. And you're allowed to change your mind, too.
      Be gentle with yourself. You will get through this. It's that old adage re. driving in the dark: you can only see as far as your headlights but you can make the whole trip that way.

  50. We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary on a weekend getaway to New Orleans. Something felt off the entire time, but I assumed it was his stress from traveling.
    We were out listening to live music when I asked him to show me all the pictures he had taken so far of us on the trip. While he was scrolling, a picture came up that caused him to put away his phone really fast. After asking several times what it was, he refused to answer and asked me to respect his privacy. I couldn't argue that, so I dropped it.
    The next night, he had gotten extremely drunk on Bourbon St. So, after I got him back to the hotel, I used his fingerprint to unlock his phone while he slept. I felt shameful for sneaking through his phone, but my gut told me there was something he was hiding.
    He must have deleted the photo because I could not find anything there. However, I went to his text messages and found a conversation with a prostitute. I discovered he had paid at least $150 dollars for her, and was making plans to see her the night we got back from New Orleans.
    I could not believe he would do something so disgusting. I should mention that several years ago I caught him on dating apps, to which he claimed he never intended to meet any of the women on there, he just liked the conversations as they made him feel wanted. I believed him, and decided to work on myself to be more attentive.
    Now, this has happened. My first instinct was to figure out how we could get past this and make it work. I find it incredibly difficult to be in a life without him. However, I also feel like a complete idiot.
    I’ve been depressed this past year as I was laid off from a job I worked so hard for, my two dogs died of old age, and my grandfather passed away. I have not been myself, and I know that sometimes my lack of will to do anything could be hard to deal with. I cannot afford a therapist, so I do my best to battle my depression on my own. Maybe through my depression, I pushed him away. I had no idea, as I thought we were doing great. He was actually helping me survive through my depression.
    Yesterday was the day I told him I knew. It was hard to see him break down and cry. Seeing him genuinely hurt made me want to forgive him, even though I knew my heart was not ready for that yet. I decided to ask him questions about the prostitute that he did not know I knew yet. I wanted to test his honesty (even though testing him made me feel horrible).
    Out of the 5 questions I asked, he lied each time. Yet, he still appeared to be hurt and wanting me to forgive him. He claimed he wanted to change and do better for me, and that he lied each time because he was ashamed that he stooped so low and paid for sex. When I asked him why he sought the attention of a prostitute, he said he did not know.
    His lack of being able to explain what he has been feeling makes it impossible for me to know if this is something I could help him work on, or if it is simply that he is not in love with me anymore.
    I’m terrified of starting over. I already miss everything I thought we had. I felt like he was the one person in this universe accepted me and all of my flaws, that I could be 100% me with. It hurts to know he does not feel this same way with me. It hurts to know that he has now done this to me twice, that I know of. There could be so many other times, but I fear I will never know because right now, I do not trust him.
    Reading through this blog has helped me feel less alone. Every fiber in my body wants to make our relationship work, but I fear that perhaps I’m weak, and I am not strong enough to try and face life on my own. To start over, knowing that it would mean moving in with my parents for awhile, in a small town with not much going on. I’ve already had to start my career over, taking a job making much less money, having no friends due to my depression alienating everyone, and knowing that everything I own, we bought together, and those reminders would kill me.
    I already felt like a failure in life before this, but now, I am at rock bottom.

    1. Kay,
      I am so so sorry for everything you're dealing with. I'm glad you found us.
      I want to start by assuring you that you are NOT the reason your husband sought out prostitutes. It's not your "flaws", or your depression. He sought out prostitutes for reasons that are HIS to figure out.
      It also sounds as though infidelity is only the latest of the painful experiences you're going through. I'm sure losing your job was difficult, and I know that living with depression is so hard. You say you can't afford therapy but is there anything in your area you could access that might help you feel less alone with it? A support group, perhaps? My daughter has mental health issues (bipolar disorder and an anxiety disorder) and she's found a local crisis centre is a great help. Do you have such a thing you might try? Even just a phone counsellor would help.
      Because depression does tend to isolate. And right now, you need support. You need to be reminded that you are so much stronger than you know. (The other depression does is lie to you -- it tells you that things are futile, that you can't handle things, etc. -- all of which are simply not true.)
      Kay, you and your husband are both undoubtedly hurting right now. But he owes it to you to figure out what he's avoiding by seeking out prostitutes. And the dating app? Nope. Married people who need to feel wanted or attractive to others who aren't their spouses are playing with fire.
      I hope you'll try and find a group or a resource who can help you with your depression and your self-esteem. Whether or not you choose to stay with your husband (and I sincerely hope he seeks help for his own issues -- nobody cheats and lies unless they're dealing with their own issues), you deserve to feel good and worthy.
      Please try and find counselling for each of you. It's definitely worth it.

  51. I'm 2 weeks past D-Day. Thank you for being here, thank you for supporting each other, and in turn providing some kind of base for what I was embarking on.
    We have been together for 15 years - married for 6. My husband is loved by all. But who he is externally is a lie, at home he's a completely different person. Dismissive, angry, judgmental. We'd been struggling for the past 5 years, and REALLY struggling once I became pregnant with our son 3 years ago.
    My husband is an alcoholic/binge drinker. He is a party animal and his social life has always taken precedent. In addition to the booze, I believe he has an intimacy disorder, and was masturbating 3-4 times a day.
    He was angry he wasn't getting what "he deserved" at home. We would fight and my response was always - I need you to love me, respect me, and come home and take care of your family. His response - I need more sex. And around and around we went, never coming to conclusion.
    I suspected something this summer. I noticed whole texts and conversations being deleted from his phone (yes, I looked!). He was preoccupied even when he was here and constantly on his phone.
    He has been having an affair with a colleague for 6 months. Meeting up and having sex in cars in parking lots. My husband is an educator in the public school system. I am disgusted that not only did he not care about his family, but he wasn't at all concerned what an arrest like that would do to his career.
    The biggest issue for me is that this was never going to end! He moved school districts in September yet continued to find himself with her. They got caught by some friends of OW, whose husband contacted me. He immediately set to lying to me: first claiming he was a scapegoat for someone else; then admitting to flirting and kissing; then it was, yes, we had sex once; then it was 3-4 times; finally 6-7 times. I'm guessing that we are so far beyond knowing how many times it is he can't even be sure.
    He's sorry and ashamed. He's wallowing in his misery.. He's trying to give me my space to be angry and work out how I feel and being respectful. BUT...this was never going to end...
    My dog (my soul creature) died suddenly on 1/24 and he was out with OW on 2/2. He lied about who he was with of course. But the kicker was he never even bothered to check in. He was gone for 6 hours and I never heard from him. I have never felt so invisible and unloved in my entire life.
    I know this is not about me - he was living out some kind of fantasy with her. I do believe he's disappointed in himself. But, how can you be so sorry if you were actively trying to hook up with her just days before you got caught. To me you are only sorry for yourself.
    Despite it all, I want to work on this. I believe we could come out the other side stronger. Cheating is not in his nature, this was a situation of convenience and desperation for them both and a perfect storm.
    However, I'm not sure he fully understands that our lives, even though a work in progress, will likely not change. We are both professionals, with a home, and a child. You can't escape our day to day lives. How could he possibly be happy if that is what made him so unhappy in the first place.
    Not even to say, will he ever be happy with our sex life after this?? I mean, IF I ever get over it and can be open with him again - I don't think his unrealistic sexual expectations are something I am willing to dole out considering.
    My therapist is helping to keep things in perspective and and my convictions strong. He is having a hard time finding a therapist, but I do believe he is committed to finding one and working on himself.
    Our son is young, he misses his dad and knows something is up. He comes over every day on the weekends and we try to do something together. He picks up from daycare.Part of me wants to be ok with him coming back and starting to try to put our lives back together...but I'm not sure I'm ready for that. How does that even work?

    1. Anonymous,
      I'm so sorry for everything you're going through. Two weeks is still so SO raw and I can't imagine making clear decisions at that point. However, you are obviously rational and smart and so brave.
      I don't think your husband is beyond redemption but he has a LOT of work to do. Addictions frequently overlap and it sounds as though, along with an alcohol addiction, he has a sex addiction. He likely used both to numb his feelings, to escape emotions that make him uncomfortable.
      Addicts are also liars. They lie about everything, including things they don't even really need to lie about. And mostly, they lie to themselves. So, to start, he needs to get himself into addiction therapy and, I would urge, get to a 12-step program.
      He's lucky in that he hasn't completely blown up his life yet. At a 12-step group, he'll meet plenty who have. He needs people who will call out his lies, refuse to cover for him, and demand that he be a better man.
      I would imagine, given your years with him, that you've developed some co-dependent behaviours yourself and I hope that's something you're working through with your therapist. I grew up in a home with addictions and, like it or not, we tend to learn a "dance" that allows us to remain in an unhealthy environment. We sometimes learn to lie to ourselves too.
      So that's where I'd start. I suspect the infidelity was a distraction -- a way to scratch an itch, so to speak. I wonder if, once the addiction is being managed and he can see more clearly, if he'll be as shocked as you are by his behaviour. The shame will likely be huge, which can sometimes drive people back to the behaviour they're ashamed of. But with a good therapist and a group, he should be able to work through it.
      You might want to also seek out Al-Anon or, if it's available, a support group for partners of sex addicts. I have a feeling you'll hear stories that sound a lot like your own.
      And, of course, you're welcome here. There are quite a few here whose husbands also have addictions, alongside the infidelity. It often goes together. I'm glad you found us. Please know that you're going to get through this. You deserve so much better than this. So does your son.

  52. part 1

    I am here to share my story. Elle's article led me to this site and i truly feel it is a blessing. I am at a loss as to what to do.

    My partner and I had been together 9 years. We met in college and dated on and off. There was a night in college when we were just getting back together that he slept with another woman. I ended it- and we stayed friends. a couple years later we decided to start dating (at 21). We dated for 3 years and were both happily in love with no infidelities. We went long distance and he went to medical school and I stayed and went to graduate school. at the end of our first year we began to discuss getting engaged. He came back to our hometown + purchased a ring. He went back long distance in 2017 and we fought a lot that summer. he felt distant, and something felt off. He told me he wasnt sure he felt love like i did and when i inquired he shut down completely, but things seemed to go back to normal. he proposed in fall 2017, and our wedding planned fall 2019. As we got closer to the wedding, we were still long distance and something did not feel right in my gut.
    I flew up to where he was in fall of 2018 and asked him if i could see his phone. i quickly discovered there was a woman he was sending messages with. nothing sexual but exchanges to see one another. I confronted him + i pulled it out of him that he slept with her 3 times over a 2 week period a few months back. i asked about other woman he denied it + said he loved me but there was a crack in our relationship and he was scared and didn't know if we should be together because there was something wrong with him.

    I found out a few weeks later that there was another woman from the summer of 2017 (again a quick 2 week affair- and one night involved a 3some).
    I felt completely blindsided and absolutely devestated. I did not see this coming at all and I was completely shocked, because cheating and lying is not loving someone. he decided to take a year off of medical school to work on our relationship. I called off the wedding at the time of the discovery in 2018. he has been and we have been working on our relationsihp for over a year. it took a fantastic counselor and couples counselor to help figure out the underlying issues.

    It stems from his fear and inability to speak up and use his voice. he was emotionally shut down as a child any time his opinion came up, and he only recieved conditional love at home from being obedient, and doing what other people wanted to. He felt like he was losing his voice in our relationship (didnt realize it at the time) and it would have happened in any relationship. his mother is controlling and type A and his father is obedient and has no autonomy in the marriage. He was terrified to express his feelings, become fully vulnerable and only knew to feel love through obedience and making others happy. He felt like marrying me was turning over his autonomy and his voice. When he cheated in summer of 2017, he didn't know what he was feeling but his "Gut" didnt feel right. through therapy, it turns out that he did not want to enter a marriage where he was unable to use his voice and felt trapped in feeling like he loved me, but that he didnt feel fully comfortable because he couldnt let down his walls, and had never done so with anyone at all in his life. his insecurities and lack of self worth led him to feel good when he felt desired, distracted him so he didnt have to be alone with his thoughts, and he felt lost in himself. When he said he didnt feel love like i feel love, that was him feeling immense guilt and not knowing what to do because he did want to be with me but didn't understand why he just cheated but too afraid to confront his own emotions or actions. he went forward with the engagement, and then a little over a year later, ended up cheating with the woman from fall of 2018 that i discovered, for 2 weeks.

  53. part 2

    I have watched him pause his entire future, move states, pay thousands of dollars in therapy bills and show up every day in tears working through all of his unresolved childhood abuse. he has worked to be introspective, and is showing up every day in our relationship like he has not in years. he swears he wants this and is 100% sure that this would have happened in any relationship and had nothing to do with me. He fully want this and knows that his infidelities were due to his fear of turning out like his dad with his inability to confront problems, and his soft spoken inability to state his feelings in any of his intimate relationships due to the fear of only being loved conditionally. I believe him as we have goen through couples therapy, and at age 28, with no children, why else fight like hell for this unless not for so much love for each other?

    he is not a narcissist, and while there is an element of porn addiction, the therapist believes his infidelities would have contineud to happen until he was willing to self examine, confront his own feelings and have someone to express to without that fear of being loved conditionally. he is starting to let himself feel more conditional love from me (though that has been here all along he just wasnt open to it). I am still trying to figure out what i want. i love him so much, and i truly believe he is a fantastic person and could live a full, happy life togther. On the other hand, so many people are quick to say you are young get out now while you can before its too late. My parents really adore him and support me working on this, and dont believe that it is ever too late if i do decided my love is not growing any more, but I hope to be able to work back up to a place that we can marry and feel as full in my heart as i used to with his self growth and determinedness to change. there is so much love here, but i am also so broken. i know they say cheaters never change, but what if he truly wants to and feels as though he has gotten to the bottom as to why that was his escape? I am just feeling so lost and alone.

    he says he hates himself and the person that he grew into and is working to rewire his ways of feeling, thinking and acting and wants to be a better person. its SO easy to say "oh honey you are 29 just let it go" but I have now spent 10 years with this man and love him through and through. i see him for who he truly is as my best friend, biggest cheerleader that has been terrified to open his heart for fear of rejection to anyone and to speak up for fear of rejection and believed that to get married was to give up all autonomy.
    thanks for listening. if you have any encouraging words , please help me.

    1. Unknown,
      I'm glad you found us.
      And yes, i have encouraging words. I think we all carry a whole lot of stuff from our family of origin. In some cases, it's not too unhealthy and we work it out through our marriage, children, etc. But in other cases, like your fiance, the pain he's brought with him into adulthood is leading him to really unhealthy behavours. There's a saying, that if we don't tranform our pain, we transmit it. That's what he's been doing, transmitting it.
      I think your friends, etc. are well-meaning. They see a fantastic person (you!) and they don't want you to end up in a relationship with someone who's capable of hurting you so deeply. And I get that.
      But, as you've pointed out, your fiance is doing incredible work to figure out why he's making such hurtful choices and how to NOT make them. Thing is, there's no guarantee that anyone won't hurt us. I married my husband because I was convinced he would NEVER cheat on me. And I am.
      So, frankly, I'd put my money on someone who's done the hard work of introspection and who wants to be a better person and is willing to figure out how. It's too bad that infidelity still holds such shame in our culture because I suspect that's part of why you feel lost and alone. Rather than people looking at your relationship and seeing perseverence and resilience and transformation, they see infidelity and only infidelity.
      There's an incredible essay that Cheryl Strayed wrote as "Dear Sugar". I'll link to it here. It speaks to the value of a couple who has fought back from betrayal. It might help you. But, ultimately, Unknown, you need to make peace with your choice, whatever it is. You are the only one who gets to live YOUR life. Nobody else. So you need to make choices that YOU can live with. Nobody else.

  54. Blah! In 2019 the universe decided to have diarrhea all over my life. That has trickled into 2020. I was in the depths of grief over the loss of a loved one when I found out about my husbands affair. After reading on this site it's like men have a freaking guidebook and I have felt all those feelings the wives have been expressing. I am full tilt into getting myself back together, eat right, exercise, meditation, and therapists. Not for anyone but for myself! I am working on things with my husband and really feel like I am slowly digging myself out of the darkness. However, I still get moments and waves of despair . . .I was in the throws of one of those days and decided to reach out to HER. I have had this compulsion to see her face to face that I can't seem to shake. I don't want to run into her down the road and be caught off guard. I use to see her on a regular basis and had no clue. I feel like if I do this it's on my own terms it's something I can control out of this whole messed up situation. I'm not even positive I have anything to say to her. I am really trying to move forward with kindness and compassion in my heart. Should I say anything? Is this even a good idea? I just want one moment of control back. I don't think I would yell or threaten or put her down. I don't have room in my heart for hate. I feel like I need this.

    1. Bear,
      I'm sorry! I missed this comment. Hope you're still here reading.
      I"m curious if you've done anything about this. I don't think there's a right/wrong, though I generally discourage people from asking the OW for information re. the affair because I don't think it's necessarily trustworthy.
      In your case, however, if you think it might help you move forward, then figure out how to proceed. Beware that she might say some cruel things to you. Some of these OW can be horrible -- telling you things that really really hurt and that you don't know if they're true or not. So...proceed with caution.

  55. Hi my husband is cheating and I have confronted him with anger few times and he once asked for proof. I know the details and so his call logs but if I tell him that than I will need to also disclose the friend that got this information for me. She has asked me to never reveal about her. He said don't acuse me if you don't have proof. He also said if you are certain that I am cheating then y are you with me. Since then his behavior hasn't changed. He still comes home late and talks less. I don't know what to do...I am deeply hurt that he knows what I said about him is true and he didn't change a bit. Do i stay like I don't know anything

    1. Unknown,
      You are 90%? 100%? sure that he's cheating. Whether or not he agrees with you doesn't change what you know. So you need to proceed with what you know. If he's unwilling to change, then he's telling you that your fears/anxieties/pain doesn't matter. He's telling you that, unless you can "prove" that he's cheating, then he will continue to disregard for feelings.
      Here's the thing: Whether he's cheating or not (and I don't doubt that he is), he is already telling you that your feelings aren't of much consequence to him. At the very least, you are married to someone who is unkind.
      So...where do you go from here? You get to decide. Why are you with him? If he wasn't cheating, do you consider him a loving husband? Is he worth giving a second chance? Ask yourself that. Take some time to consider your next step. Is this a marriage you want to be in?

  56. Hi
    I am 2 years post DDay. I discovered that my H was sexting with THE most unlikely candidate that I could ever think of. 24 years younger than him, extremely physically unattractive, mentally immature (like a 14 year old with ADHD or something) obnoxiuos, lewd and loud, cringingly attention seeking etc etc etc...VILE!!
    Now, I'm super summarising here, but the short and long of it is that he has been compulsively masturbating and consuming porn all his adult life. This all came out post DDay. He acknowledges Sex Addiction and is working very hard etc. We are making lots of progress (made slower and harder by his trickle truthing although most of that was detail rather than major occurrences) but I really find it hard to not feel a sense of disbelief, I just can't shake the 'what!? HER!!!???' feeling. Obviously I know it's true and I understand his motivations/sex addiction/emotionless sex/power/affirmation etc and given that i know what she is like I can believe he didn't 'like' her, but this is where it all gets do you feel aroused by someone you don't like or find attractive? surely that is a version of 'liking' someone?? He says he manipulated her with low level flattery etc and telling her he thought she was sexy and he couldn't wait to f**k her etc so that she would show him pics of her breasts. He also said that he would have liked to do pornographic sex acts with her because she would have let him and he wouldnt have even had to buy her a drink (and he's not wrong on that either, it's how she rolls!)
    I get it all generally, his demons/depression/addiction etc but each day, for a time, i find myself feeling this WTF feeling...i can't name it. I can't get my head round that she wasn't just the moron at the pub, she was actually something to him...althoough the paradox is that she 'didnt count' to him (his words). So she is something and nothing?? I actually cant beleive i spend so much time thinking about her so she is certainly something in that, how the hell does this moron freak that is as significant as an annoying fly buzzing around making a racket become the thing that nearly broke my (generally wonderful) relationship!?!?!
    He ACTUALLY took her into his life...WTF??
    I'm rambling, so apologies! ANyone had a similar experience and can relate to this WTF feeling?
    Thanks all!

    1. Unknown,
      It's was the repulsiveness of my husband's affair partner that actually helped me better understand his sex addiction, which I didn't know for six months. I thought they'd had an affair and I just couldn't wrap my mind around it. Her? He hated her? She was disgusting and cruel and a drunk and...and... then, six months after that D-Day, my husband confessed that it wasn't just her. It was many. She was just the latest. And it was then that I got it. Of course, it didn't make sense. It wasn't HER at all. It was willingness, it was a lack of healthy boundaries. It's awful to say (though true and deeply shameful to my husband), he wasn't a human being to him. He didn't care about her thoughts and her dreams and her likes and dislikes. He didn't care about her at all beyond her willingness. Sex for sex addicts is sometimes referred to as "masturbation with skin on" -- in other words, the other person is nothing more than the opportunity to get off. What's more, they don't fear rejection. Because the other person's opinion of them doesn't matter one whit. Rejection is an inconvenience (if it happens at all). It isn't personal so they don't fear it as they do with someone they care about.
      It helped me to think of my husband's sex partners the way I thought of my mother's vodka bottles (she was an alcoholic). If vodka wasn't available, she'd drink beer. If beer wasn't available, she'd drink shoe polish remover. IT DIDN'T MATTER. What mattered was the high, not what got her high.
      I'm glad to hear that your husband's recovery is moving along. But, as you recognize, your healing is crucial too. And I hope you're able to acknowledge that, as you put it, she was no more consequential than a fly buzzing in his ear. Ultimately, I felt pity for the horrid woman my husband cheated with (his work assistant). I felt sad that she was nothing more than masturbation with skin on. No wonder she was a horrid person -- she had been mistreated her whole life. She settled for nothing because she felt worth nothing. I didn't want her in my life...but I genuinely hoped she'd seek her own healing. Hurt people hurt people.

  57. Thanks Elle,
    It really helps me in some ways to know that he didn't have any feelings for her, I suppose the surreal wtf feeling is probably more about him than her, that he would be interested, but i guess the whole way his mind had warped through porn consumption explains that. I'm probably still trying to digest that this kind, loving man i thought i knew was capable of deceit and capable of being completely un-discerning, covertly abusive, borderline predatory. Perhaps you are right, I need to view her as masturbation with skin on (great name). He is deeply ashamed and desperate to make things right.
    Can I ask, did you struggle with questioning his feelings for her?, Is it something that you wrangled with? I suppose it's different when you discover multiple people as it would be unlikely that numerous people would each mean something to him. As far as I know, she was the first live person he acted out with, just porn til then. I think I believe him on that but there's always a little bit of doubt!
    I do occasionally feel pity for OW but struggle with this due to her relentless unscrupulous behaviour. Like you say though, hurt people hurt people.

  58. Hello Elle and Everyone...

    I hope you'll allow a betrayed husband to comment. I'm very grateful to have found your site and to learn that I'm far from alone. A little wife and I have been married for almost 25 years. We had a wonderful start to our relationship, including a fairytale-like engagement and wedding. Over the first 15 years, we were very happy, though we had our rough patches (most notably when she couldn't get pregnant). I stood by her side and supported her through all of her infertility treatments and miraculously they eventually worked.

    On the other hand, I had gone through two rough patches in business, and she was anything but supportive. Instead she was verbally and emotionally abusive to me. And occasionally physically abusive. She behaved this way in front of our girls. I tried to get help for her but she was mostly unwilling. My therapist told me that if I loved her, I needed to stand by her through her mental illness and think of it as though she had cancer or any other illness. I do love her so much, so I remained supportive.

    Eventually, my business picked up, she apologized for her behavior and she committed to getting help, but she eventually had to be hospitalized twice for her illness...once for bulimia and once because she was suicidal. As you'll see, I later learned that her guilt over what she did to me was a major reason for her problems. I can't begin to tell you how difficult this was, but I stayed strong and kept held our family together.

    Last Spring, after the second hospitalization, she really turned a corner and so did our relationship. It was the best it had ever been. She was getting help...we were getting help together and our relationship was as good as ever. Then, in February, I stumbled upon evidence that she had an affair in 2011. This was during the time I was struggling in my career. I was devastated and confused and just shattered. I couldn't even bear to get out of bed. But I was able to pull myself together after about a week and I decided I wanted to try to save our marriage.

    Unfortunately, right around this time, I stumbled upon even worse news. In 2018, the second time I had career challenges, she slept with one of my oldest childhood friends. This was a guy who I confided in...he knew I was abused and that we were having challenges and that she had a history of mental illness. And he preyed on her. No of my best friends did this to me and lied about it to my face even though I had all the evidence. Sociopath. This time I was beyond devastated. Inconsolable. I have never cried more in my life.

    It's been a month now since I found this out and I alternate between wanting to save my marriage and feeling lower than dirt. Everywhere I look there are reminders of my friend and every one of them makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry. But I love my wife so very much and our relationship was going so well since she got the help she needed. Seriously, everything about our relationship has been amazing and our family has been so happy together even during this horribly stressful time. My therapist thinks we are both amazing people and she sees that we are drawn to each other. She says that we can get through this and have a better, stronger relationship than ever. It's so hard to envision that today. I still feel so weak, so broken.

    A few questions and I'd love any feedback: Am I crazy for wanting to give her another chance? Will my indescribable pain ever go away? I hate my former friend more than I can put into words. Will I ever be able to let go of that? How do I balance my love for her and my family with the awfulness and lies and breach of trust?

    Thanks for reading...

    1. Willie,
      I'm so sorry for everything you've gone through and for the double betrayal. I'm glad you found us and, of course, betrayed husbands are more than welcome too. It seems as though there isn't the same level of support available to men that there is to women and we all need it.
      No, you're not crazy for wanting to give her another chance. Many of us are here because that's what we want too. There is no "right" way through this, there is only what's right for us.
      And yes, your pain will dissipate. I can promise that. But it takes a lot of work and time. Go ahead and hate your friend. He sounds monstrous. But the day might come when you can extend him even a sliver of pity or compassion. Hurt people hurt people. Doesn't make what he did okay. Not even a bit. But sometimes we can come to place where we realize that he either has to live with what he did or, if he's truly a sociopath, feel no remorse. Either way, I wouldn't want to be him. As much as it hurts to be you right now, it's still a better place to be than in his head.
      However...that's not your problem. Your problem is to keep yourself stable and focussed on healing. You sound like an incredible guy who's worked hard to overcome some real challenges already. That strength will serve you well. Focus on what you can do to help yourself now -- I'm glad you're both in therapy. But also remind yourself that you did nothing to deserve this, that her mental health issues are her responsibility, not yours. It is her job to manage her issues and your job to manage your own. When there's former abuse and mental health problems, etc. it can be easy for a relationship to become co-dependent. Do what you can to separate yourself out from what's her responsibility.
      When you see the hard work she's doing (and I hope she is) to hold herself accountable for what she did and to find ways to ensure she never does that again, you might find the love for her overshadows the pain. As for trust, when you rebuild this marriage, it has to be one of total transparency and honesty. Trust is rebuilt day by day. By her showing you that she is committed to learning why she did what did and how to better handle her issues in a way that's not harmful to herself or anyone else.
      You'll get there, Willie. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to post here, get support from the many wise and compassionate people here and see for yourself just how many of us are on the other side of that pain.

    2. Thank you so much for reading and offering your advice. I feel so lucky to be included in this group. You're 100% right that there just aren't the resources for men in this area that exist for women. Same for domestic abuse. I feel so alone on both counts.

    3. You're absolutely not alone. If you're on Twitter (or want to create an account), there are a few men there who are going through what you are. Find me at Introduce yourself (you can create a pseudonym if you're more comfortable with that) and I'll "introduce" you to some other guys and incredible women. And please don't hesitate to continue to post on this site. The more recent blog posts tend to get the most traffic/eyeballs. And please know that you're going to get through this, Willie.

  59. Hi all, - part 1 apparently...

    I initially found this website within days of finding out my husband had been cheating on me for a few months (D-day Jan 18, 2020). I have a background of science, I like reading evidence etc. So of course I turned to the internet to read everything I could. It turned out to be too overwhelming, so I stopped to try to calm my chaotic mind. So here I am, nearly 3.5 months later.

    My husband and I have been together for 4 years, just married in August. Last year was a busy year- engaged in January, bought a house in July, married in August. We (or so I thought) were eager to try for kids, so we embarked on that adventure in October. We've had the typical minor issues- communication misunderstandings, but nothing ever that major, or concerning, or red flags raised. But it turns out, as I learned, my husband was unhappy since before we got engaged. To my now awareness, he thought it would be good to get engaged, to see if it would help him get his spark back. He said he really didnt know why he felt so unhappy, he says he loved me and that never changed. He never spoke up about this, he felt dimmed by me, my voice strong and my opinions loud and clear, he felt unheard and unseen. But didnt say a thing.

    So he felt he needed to seek out other friendships. He downloaded an ap in August, BEFORE we got married. And started talking to a woman he didnt know. Still to this day, I dont understand why he didnt reach out to his friends to express his distress. He wanted to push the wedding back, felt he wasnt ready and things were moving too quickly and that he didnt have any control. So he started to talk to a new friend on this ap. He claims they didnt talk at all the two weeks we were away getting married and vacationing with family, but soon after we returned back home, they were talking again. We got home in September. He met up with her for the first time, he claims innocently, in October as friends for coffee. He would go out on the evenings I Was volunteering for special olympics, the nights he was supposed to be staying home with the dog.

    Apparently things got heated beyond control and he was unfaithful more than once, only after the 1st time, did he tell her he was married. But yet, they still continued. Eventually they decided they both felt too guilty, but he still didnt tell me. But yet they still hung out, talked late at night, texted each other photos etc.

    I started to get a bit suspicious of his behaviors- protective of his phone, if I got near it he would close all aps. One night I caught him on google maps- we share location- and he was WAY far out of where he said he would be. This was in decemeber- he was picking her up late at a bar and drove her home, he claimed he was helping a friend boost his car. Nothing added up. I questioned him. He continued to lie. He wouldnt prove to me on google maps that he was somewhere else.

  60. Part 2..

    Come Janruary, I kept snooping around. Jan 18- I had been to a funeral that day for a colleague. My husband and I were quite sick the whole week before and his friend invited him to go out in the evening for beers to decompress after a long week. He told me where he was going and I felt I didnt need his support, despite being sad about my colleague who had passed away. I watched him tidy himself up, take the dog hair off his pants, put on cologne- which I thought was super weird to go see a guy friend. But I didnt have enough proof to straight out accuse him of anything. And I didnt want to know. I started to snoop that evening- trying to get into his computer but the password flagged his phone for security measures. I was looking through coat pockets for receipts. Eventually I found a letter he had wrote to me- one he was going to use a script to help him get through it. He had planned on telling me soon, as part of the letter stated- he couldnt go on our honeymoon with the guilt of what he did- we were supposed to leave for Hawaii on Feb 21st.
    I called him and he was out with her- because she was having a hard time with her stalker ex-boyfriend.... Oh boy I lost my mind on him, I made him come home, I yelled at him for hours, our dog peed on the floor because of all the yelling and I mopped it up and threw it at him. I made him call his mother and fess up.. It wasnt my finest moment, but I did everything I could to not strangle him I was so unbelievably angry. I kicked him out for about a month. ANd we went to counselling and individual therapy as well.
    He's a bit slow with attending his own therapy- reluctant, resistant. He's apologized profusely. We've had our moments of love and moments and why are we even trying. We are sometimes still in limbo of is this going to wrok, can we save this marriage, is it worth it? We have no timeline of when our relationship really fell apart, how it happened or why. There are theories and things we've talked about how it all went down. I'm sick of being part of the "fall out". He knows its 100% his issue that he didnt speak up to begin with. He KNEW he was dating a strong willed, opinionated, passionate woman who does not back down easily and I have welcomed it MANY times for him to argue or disagree with me- like PLEASE do. I cant learn or know better without someone bringing it up. I cant read minds- surprising, right?

    So here we are. I am wondering when the heck does anyone know, which way should I go? Should I stay and continue to try and want this? When do I know, how do I know, if I've wasted my time? I know, and read, and I love - the average time for a couple to heal is anywhere between 18-24 months. Thats a long ass time for an inpatient person to sit around for to see if their husband will step the F*CK up! He's slow to open up, hes slow/ not comfortable to being vulnerable (me over here- love it- took a yoga instructor course JUST to explore more of this side of myself). We are so different with how we process, how we express our emotions, how we cope, communicate, etc. He gets tired and overwhelmed easily with therapy and emotional nights. I still have flashbacks and bad dreams and moments of intense anxiety. While I am back to work now (I took 6 weeks off because I was a HOT mess), and in the midst of covid-19 restrictions, life just SUCKS. Work is stressful (frontline health care), everyone;s backs are up, our relationship is on this standstill sort of- our therapist isnt great. We dont know whats to come, we dont know the right steps to take.

  61. Part 3.
    I feel stuck, and like we've hit a plateau- for now. I acknowledge that I am impatient, but I just wish there were more answers out there. I know its time, time will heal, time will tell, time will allow for growth. And I am standing my ground- if our relationship doesnt improve, and things arent better for us, I am not staying. He knows that. If she comes back around, I am out, instantly. If he does this again, I am out.

    I just, feel stuck, and dont know whats next, where to go, who to turn to, what to read, what to think, what to feel (despite feeling it all- grief of so many things including the relationship, not trying for a child- which I desperately wanted, grief of traveling, loss of socialization, loss of support, financial stress... I could go on). We are a young couple, I am wondering if any others have been through this so early on? Is it typical for those who havent been together long and not married long at all- to stick it out? Am I crazy to stay? Am I too inpatient? The unknowns feel paralyzing to me. Its a lot. Life feels like a lot.

    Thanks all for reading/ replying, being in this together. Hope everyone is staying safe, healthy and sane, as much as you can during this shit storm.



  62. I’m lying in bed after combing through 3 months of emails and pictures after finding out my husband has cheated for the 3rd time with the same woman. All within 10 months. I know what it all stems from. He’s plagued with bipolar depression, he’s dealt with this for at least 15 years, but just started intensive treatment on the discovery of his infidelity, and is currently finishing out a 72 hour hold in a mental health facility for trying to kill himself after being confronted. He’s tried to kill himself 3 times in the past 2 years, and has been seeking therapy and psychiatry since July/August of 2019. I say seeking, but I mean only going because I manage and feed him the pills. It means nothing because he has taken nothing seriously.

    I wrote him a 5-page letter single spaced, venting my anger, outlining the year-long separation, how money would work, how visitation with our 2 year old would work, what he has to do for me to even consider restarting with him. Clearly laying out every thing he did wrong and every way he had change. Telling him I loved him despite what he’s done, and that I had one last shred of faith in him to change. And then I went looking through the emails.

    I see the confession that he tells this horrible woman he thinks of her while having sex with me. I see the loads of pictures she’s sent him. I find her husbands number, I tell him she’s been cheating on him for months and I forward them.

    I think about everything he has said over the last 2 days, the insistent reaching out and calling me from the hospital, the promises of change, the apologies that were never offered until he was left to rot in a mental institute with nothing but his thoughts for two whole days. The anger of hearing those things from him, and wondering why he could come to those conclusions now but not when he was phone-screwing a coworker. The confusion and blur of what is “him” and what is his “mental illness”. The “revelations” he’s having, that seem to only anger me more. If he was always able to come to these conclusions, why couldn’t he do it BEFORE he chose to betray my trust.

    Then I spend all night reading stories of mended relationships after affairs, relationships coming back stronger and cheating spouses growing as people and actually changing in ways that allow them to start their marriage over and try again. It makes me wonder if that could be a possibility.

    It’s Mother’s Day weekend, and my mind is swimming, and I can’t catch my breath, and I just want all of this to go away. All of it.

    1. You must make the change you want to be. I am there once again. Sometimes you must leave emotionally, when you know he is not invested in the marriage, before you can leave physically. Having a 2 year old is hard to make a change, as it means in every aspect in your life changes...but that might be a the best thing. Looking back, I settled hoping for change...but just a few months ago I found out nothing did...ending with an affair with a family friend, who both had crushes on each other in high school and they finally got together, until I caught them. You dont want that. Do not be a victim to there crappy morals and values.

  63. Hello all. I never thought that I will be writing this but here I am :-( My D day was last September. It started by me finding a strange screenshot on his phone and ended up with the confession that my husband had sex addiction and that he has been cheating on me for at least 6 years. They all have been one offs, prostitutes, other married women...and a lot of porn. And I now feel so stupid for not seeing it. But he is one of those people who you would never suspect, he never flirts, he is very respectful, always home. I havent realised that when I was away to see family he has been doing these horrible things or that he has been finishing work early and going to hotels to have sex with prostitutes before coming home on time. I am so angry. I thought that after 9 months the anger will be gone but it is still there. I am not proud but I have been throwing things at him at the beginning, hitting him...I was feeling such a rage, I have never felt anything like it in my entire life. I dont do this anymore but I am still very angry with him. And I dont trust him at all. He has been so remorseful however. He was the one who drug us to counselling, he bought a save where we can hold our laptops ect so he doesn't have access to online devices. It was his choice to buy a watch through which I can track him and he also changed his phone to really basic one. I think he is really committed to his recovery as he has now realised how wrong it all was and how much he has to lose. We dont have children, we were together for 10 years before we got married. In January I decided to divorce him and the divorce was finalised in April. I never thought that my marriage would last less than 3 years!! I cant even look at our wedding photos because I feel really upset.I just couldn't see a point to be married as clearly been married didn't mean anything to him. Apparently he was taking his wedding ring one and off. Now I am just trying to figure out if I should stay or if I should go. I think if it wasn't for him begging me stay I would have gone by now. I feel so much pain, so betrayed, so manipulated...And so angry! I really thought we had a beautiful union and I was looking forward to starting trying for a baby. Now I just don't even know myself, how did I let it happen? How I was not able to see? Why I was so blind? Why I was not more assertive ? Hiw I didn't see that he had email accounts I was not aware, how i didn't realised that he has been chatting to all these people online..I just don't even myself now.I haven't seen it then how can I be assured that I will see it if it happens again? I am just so confused and so bitter... I look at him and I dont think I love him. All I want to do is slap his lying face but I know that if I do that nothing will change. I will still be as broken hearted as I am now and the present will be still the present. I wish I could just forget and erase the last 9 months!! And I know that he is trying hard, may be I am just a nasty person for not letting it go? Sometimes he asks me what else he can do to show me, to prove me that he had changed and he loves me and he wants to spend his life with me. And I dont know, I don't even know if I care if he loves me anymore. Reading all these stories makes me feel that I should be grateful that he is trying so hard, but I am not. I am just this angry person who still can't understand why he chose to betray us the way he did :-(

    1. Unknown,
      I'm so sorry for the pain you're in. A lot of us go through that "how could we be so stupid" phase but the truth is, you trusted him and he violated that trust. There isn't anything wrong with you. There's something wrong with him.
      That he's willing to acknowledge that is a good thing. I'm curious what he's doing to deal with it -- is he in therapy? Why did he risk the person that mattered for people who didn't? There's obviously some deeper issues there that he needs to reckon with.
      As for you...nine months is not so long in the trajectory of healing from infidelity. Three to five years is what experts usually say. Betrayal is traumatizing. We go through the stages of grieving -- the shock, the pain, the confusion, the numbness. Are you in therapy yourself? It can be enormously helpful to have an objective person, who understands infidelity, support you as you heal from this.
      Whether your marrige ultimately survives or not, I hope both of you will seek help, if only to ensure that you're both emotionally healthy for a new relationship.
      But marriges can and do survive this -- they can be richer and more meaningful if this is used as the chance to create a healthier communication and to deal with some deep-rooted issues. The reason why he betrayed you is his to figure out. I hope he will.

  64. Hello Fellow Warriors,

    Part 1

    Married almost 30 yrs. Together for 36 years.  I mourn for the marriage that I activity described as "a GOOD marriage" to other people. 

    My D Days are two:

    D Day #1 Feb 7, 2020--H demonstrated VERY suspicious phone behavior that I'd never seen before (picture fingers FLYING to shut down some screen or app on his phone, as I walk toward him at midnight to ask why he's still awake in our hotel room that we were sharing with one of our kids). Sadly, I was too damn groggy to put 2 and 2 together in that moment. But got suspicious about 90 seconds later in the bathroom.  Sadly,  I wasn't courageous enough at that point to just ask for his phone. Either way, he likely deleted some stuff while I was in the bathroom.  I waited until I was sure he was asleep (about 2 a.m.) and checked his phone. One last flirty message was waiting on FB messenger from a woman whose name I didn't recognize. Had a field day with his phone for the next hour or so, but couldn't find anything else--partially because I never use my own FB account and didn't even know FB now had "messenger," so I didn't know then what I know now about how to navigate it.

    So, now it's 3 a.m. and I'm in a quiet hallway in the 1st floor of a hotel trying to decide what to do.  My only evidence is that flirty message--nothing overtly sexual, just the tone/wording sounds flirty--and my gut, which I do trust,  says something is wrong here. So, I wake him up quietly--with teenage daughter sleeping just feet away in that hotel room, and H & I go to the staircase near our room and we have a whispered I'm-confronting-you-and-want-answers conversation.  TOTAL denial and gas lighting ensues. I'm not satisfied and tell him I'm keeping his phone and tablet. I literally slept with them under me for the next 2 hideous nights. We were on a trip to support our other high-school-aged child in a sports competition and got snowed in on the way home.  So, I'm a suspicious wreck with virtually no sleep and spending 24 hours a day with one or both kids and H, while we are at the sports event, or at a restaurant, or in a hotel room. I'm totally freaking out. I'm hoping the FB lady will send another message and clarify my suspicions, but I'm also dreading it. No new message comes.

    I have enough time on the sleepless nights to plan a great speech for when we get home and finally have some privacy to talk. I do the speech and it's an awesome and calm and supportive plea for the TRUTH. I'm emphasizing how trust is foundational to our relationship, so telling the truth is much more important than anything that may have happened. I'm truly ready to hear anything; I've braced myself. More denial and gas lighting. I believed it. I believed it so much that I felt guilty.  I.felt.guilty...for not trusting him. And we had sex then, and it was hot sex. And I didn't know that I was really being f****d twice....until a few days later.

  65. Hi all, hope every one is sane and well, it's been tough times lately, ready to share my story, so here goes

    Although I suspected an affair late April 2018 (No, I didn't suspect I knew ! My gut, my heart, the whole universe was screaming at me, I just didn't have evidence)

    I guess I'm a common cliche really, been with my partner 25 years, 2 children, money worries, the usual that lots of people go through, basically just life!

    My partner is not a very emotional man, and I though quiet an antisocial person, never attending family do's, nights out etc, in-fact the last time he took me out was about 9 years ago, he didn't keep in contact with old friends and never went out.

    I was a typical stay at home mum, I done everything, I mean everything, no I wasn't the perfect housewife but I still stood on my head backwards trying to please a man who never seemed pleased. I returned to work when the children were 8.

    I never got any help from him around the home, even doing food shopping I'd carry all the bags up to our flat (about 40 stairs) whilst he was sat on his arse. If he was not at work (I can't fault him he has always worked) from the moment he woke up to the time he went to bed he would be playing games on his tablet, children and myself having to tip toe around him not to interrupt while he was gaming, did not attend the children's school for parents evening, he done nothing ....

    Will continue in next post
    Bigmac x

  66. Continued from Bigmac x

    And I will be the first person to admit I started feeling very resentful towards him, I would go as far to say I hated him, but most of the time I kept my mouth shut because if I ever said anything he would blow up.

    So come 2018 we were in a bad way (when I look back)but I was just plodding on , doing my best (sex had died, cause I couldn't bear to be near him, I also slept in kids room, but that stemmed from him complaining about kids not sleeping)

    But I still done everything for him,still thought he had my back like I had his.

    End of April I felt there was something off with him, he then said he had a facebook account (oh yes ladies,you know what I'm going to say next !)

    He started sitting in the bedroom instead of the living room, started loosing weight, started going out walking and said he was having a reunion with some old friends, but it would be on my birthday and did I mind him going.

    I was absolutely thrilled he had made contact with friends and thought this is just what he needs and maybe it would do us good as well, told him not to worry about my birthday (not that he would take me out)

    Anyway as time was approaching the big night out (July) Alarm bells were ringing, he had lost a drastic amount of weight, always kept his mobile with him, then the night out turned into a weekend, he was even more distant and seemed to be picking fights, our old dog had died as well and he didn't even console me, I felt like he had totally disconnected from me, I'm not even going to say I should not have looked at his mobile, because as far I was concerned I have every right to look (forget to say he works nights) So whilst he was asleep I looked in his contacts and I can't explain it but Her name came out and it was like it was flashing at me, I just knew....

    Continue ...

  67. Continued .....

    So not having a Facebook account (it's weird but it must have been some kind of premonition, I never wanted a facebook account, I always joked with my partner it was the devil!)

    Anyway I got a friend to look the woman up, and it turned out that they were friends with each other (according to my partner's mobile she was a human resource contact at his work)

    I confronted him over his behavior and this woman in his mobile and he said they were just talking on Facebook and she was an old friend, he also told me that he felt I didn't love him, taking this on board I tried to start to make an effort with us as a couple but he was not interested, he then said the weekend was going to be from the Thursday to the Sunday, I had enough and told him to pack his stuff and go as I knew something was going on with this woman, so off he went to his mum's (where he was meant to be staying anyway on his weekend out) It was a week before his weekend and I didn't hear from him, he didn't even contact the kids, he also made a big point of me having the car and he was going to borrow his mum's car.

    His mum and sister were out of their minds, his behavior to them was off the wall, not eating, staying in his room, not talking to them and I can say hand on heart were totally supportive to me but he swore to his mum nothing was going on and it was me being crazy.

    I asked his sister to take note of the car mileage cause where he was going to stay with his friend (by now he was only meeting one friend, not a big reunion, and was going to stay at his friends house, but his mum's house was a lot nearer) so it should have been a 100 mile journey there and back, and I knew the other woman lived 400 miles away And this is an important part of the story, after he came back from that weekend his sister said the mileage was more or less right.

    Fast forward he stayed at his mum's for a month, I needed childcare as my parents were away so August he came back, we spoke about making more of an effort with each other but whilst I was trying to repair things once again he did nothing.

    Come start of September I still felt he had done something that weekend and I felt like he was playing me, so 25 years of repressed anger spilled out of me like some volcano , honestly I didn't know I had it in me, the rage, my god the rage.

    I asked him to go but he refused saying he needed to save up and that he wouldn't go back to his mum.

    I stopped cleaning, cooking for him, we got separate bank accounts and I looked in to getting his name off the tenancy and if he ever came into the same room as me I would turn my back on him, I would not look at him or acknowledge him.

    I started taking more care of my appearance, I was basically getting on with it. Then just before Christmas he wanted to talk about the children's presents, wanted to take me and the kids out for dinner (he was still living at our flat) I reluctantly went as the children were so excited, come Christmas he had brought the children very expensive presents (but said they were from both of us) and he also brought an expensive bottle of perfume and a radio that I had wanted (first time he had brought me anything in years) The kids were happy that we seemed to be getting on and in the January all I can say is I guess I crumbled and ended up having mind blowing sex.

    To be continued....
    Bigmac x

  68. Continue Bigmac.....

    So we got back together late Jan/Feb 2019, him swearing on the kids life he never done anything, but that feeling he had done something would not leave me, he was also making an effort, but If i'm honest I never stopped looking for proof, whilst I still couldn't get on his phone I had other ways, I tell you the FBI had nothing on me, but I just felt compelled to find out the truth, I knew he was lying when I asked him things and one thing is I'm not a fool.

    So October I had got into one of his tablet devices and found back in april to the July 2018 he was looking up love poems, and hotels (where the other woman lived)then November I was able to get into his google map timeline and there it was evidence of him travelling half way up the country and staying at some cheap hotel for 4 days.

    Well he could not deny it then, made sure I took photo's so he couldn't delete it and say I was crazy

    He cried for about 4 days, couldn't look at the children without becoming upset, I never seen him this way, he said he was glad it was out, he admitted to having unprotected sex with her for those 4 days he said he had finished it with her, but was a bit vague about when he finished it and other things I wanted to know, so I phoned her, but she wouldn't speak to me, so then I contacted her over Facebook (using my son's account) she denied doing anything full stop (she is with someone new)this infuriated me more that she would not speak to me and the fact my partner said ' I thought she was going to tell you everything' WHAT IS EVERYTHING?????

    I'm sorry this has been so long winded, it has been good therapy for me writing it all done, and would say to anyone worried about doing that on this website is to write your story, my shoulder's feel a little lighter.

    So here I am now, still filled with unbelievable rage.
    My partner is trying to do all the things he can, access to his mobile, Facebook etc, he does house work, doesn't sit on his tablet device 24 hours a day but I just can't contain my anger and every week or so I absolutely explode wanting to know things, it has now got to the point where it is getting physical, I know I am pushing him to the edge and making him ill, to him it happened 2 years ago, to me I only found out 7 months ago, he just wants to let it go.

    I know he is truly sorry but I know he won't take my terrible outbursts for much longer, but I feel so much rage to how could he do that to me, on my fucking birthday that I meant so little to him, I'm not sure if I actually love him anymore, but I know all this negative behavior must be having an impact on my children, I just don't know if I should end it or not, I just feel I will never forgive or trust him again.

    Thanks for letting me share

    Bigmac x

    1. Hi Bigmac fellow sister,

      I'm new to sharing my story too (as my parts are interwoven in yours.)

      So much of the deceit and gaslighting is common to all of our experiences. It's the nature of the beast.

      Ah, the rage. You are so justified in the rage, yet you are seeing that your anger probably isn't good for your kids to see. So, while that anger is so understandable and totally justified, you already know that you need better outlets (counseling? exercise? venting to a close friend? vent here? long walks? drive somewhere private to scream & kick & cry & maybe throw something? write your rage out and burn it?)

      You've already come so far and it seems like you are already clarifying your own questions that will help you make decisions.

      I'm wondering if setting clear boundaries would help you feel like you were moving forward with direction for yourself.

      Decide what your non-negotiable are. What information or details do you need to know or understand that he can provide? How does he need to acknowledge the pain and destruction his betrayal and deceit has caused? What does he need to do to demonstrate that he really wants your relationship to work? What kind of husband does he need to be for you to want to stay in this new stage in your marriage?

      I'm in the process of writing this down for myself right now. In my next solo counseling session I plan to review it with my counselor. I want her guidance in how to talk about my boundaries with clarity and in a way that it might be best understood by my H.

      It's been good for me to take time with my "list," because more occurs to me as I reflect and I keep adding and revising.
      For me, writing it has felt empowering, since I now know what I want, what I'm willing to put up with and what I'm not. I'm not expecting perfection, but I am expecting lots of communication and honesty. I cannot put up with deceit again. I am expecting a more selfless and supportive partner in marriage--because I've spent years being that partner to him and I deserve likewise.

      I'm so glad you wrote your story out. I agree, it has lightened my burden.

      I wish you strength and clarity and some moments of joy wherever you can find them in your days.

    2. Also (and I cannot believe I didn't think of this first, because it IS first and the most important): SELF CARE.

      Each day (even if it's brief), do something or some thingS to take care of you. You deserve it and it is an absolute necessity.

      It is so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of the day and the stresses that will come up, but you need to prioritize you--so you can be the best self and mother possible during this very difficult time. Women are champs at putting everyone and everything else before their own needs. You matter. You are important. Prioritize yourself.

      At the urging of my counselor, I have set a goal to do at least one thing that feeds my soul/spirit everyday. Sometimes the "thing" is brief, sometimes it's longer. I kept forgetting to set the goal...and then it would never happen. So, I set a repeating reminder on my phone calendar to tell me to set the personal ("me") goal for the day and I've been better at actually doing it.

      I also told my H about my overall goal to do something for ME each day, and I told him that one way he can support me is to do something with/for the kids some days to make sure I get time to do make sure I have time for my personal care goal or to understand that I might take a pass sometimes on what he asks me to do with him so I can do something for myself.

      Self care has really helped recenter myself, and find some joy, and build my confidence in expecting and asking for what I deserve from others.

    3. My fellow sister Phoneix Rising

      I just want to say a big thank you to replying me,I'm sorry it took a while to get back, but not had any privacy.

      Thank you for you advice, and yes self care is something I have been doing and I have to say I haven't looked this good in a long time (not blowing my own trumpet)

      It's the inside I need to work on, I can't afford counseling and to be honest it really isn't for me, my mum and good friend have that job! lol

      My anger is something I really need to work on, I generally put on Skunk Anasie "Twisted' on full blast and jump around like a lunatic (if you haven't heard it ladies it's a brilliant tune to work out some anger)

      I just don't know if I like him, whilst he is trying to be super husband I can't help feel too little too late, He won't discuss HER anymore , and say's he is trying to stitch us up and I keep pulling the stitches up, and yes I can admit I do.

      I just look at him and think do I want to do another 25 years?????

      But I will look after myself more, I think this is key.

      Once again Phoenix thank you for your support.

      Bigmac xxx

    4. Bicmac,
      "The rage, oh god the rage." Yep. It's incredible, isn't it? Just how our pain boils over and explodes. But that's what it is. It's our pain screaming to be heard. And once we know that, we can label it as pain and, maybe, treat it as legitimate. Which it is.
      Your story breaks my heart. It's so familiar. So many men who feel lost and alone and unable to express it. So many women who have done the lion's share of everything and feel overlooked and unvalued. Hurt people. And that hurt, far too often, get expressed in infidelity, while the other partner can't figure out what's going on.
      Here's the thing, BicMac -- your pain is completely justified. Of course, you're hurt. Betrayal is utterly excruciating.'s on you to find healthy ways to feel that pain that don't blow the roof off your house.
      As for your husband, he needs to learn how to communicate his feelings to you, how to see you and value you before he loses you completely.
      Are you in counselling? Because I would urge you to find a marriage counsellor who understands infidelity who can guide you both through this and who doesn't diminish your pain.
      You'll see at the top of this site, "My heartbreak, my rules", which is pretty much the mantra here. You get to decide what you want. Take your time figuring it out.

  69. Part 2

    D day #2 Feb 12, 2020.  I had a pic of FB lady's contact info on my phone and in the 5 days after D day #1, I had time to reflect on other behavior around H's phone that now struck me as suspicious. 

    So, I got up the courage to reach out to her in a text. I did it at the worst time, what was I thinking?? I'm making dinner and H is about to arrive home with high school kid from practice and other kid is also home...and my shaking fingers send the text. My phone is on vibrate. Everyone is home now and in the kitchen filling their plates (it's been less than 5 min since "send"), and I feel the vibrate of a reply...and I can't stop myself from locking myself in the bathroom to check it...and I'm full-on shaking as I look...and as it confirms my suspicions I think my heart might beat right out of my chest and my ears are pounding with my heartbeat and I feel pressure rising in my chest and I think I might throw up. And her text is so kind and supportive and apologetic and she didn't know he was married (and I believe that to this day).  And I text her back, asking for screen shots of their communication and my message is garbled because I'm shaking so badly. And she sends the messenger screen shots that he deleted but she let's me know that she had deleted the d**k pic, so she can't send that.

    And my marriage that I thought I had for almost 30 years is over as I knew it. This marriage is something I didn't see and didn't know about and never imagined.

    Confusion, white hot anger, hurt, frustration, hollowness, dread, shock, horror are now fighting for dominance in my head and heart, after a betrayal I never saw coming. But, as many of you know, this was just the beginning. 

    Because it ain't over yet, honey. I want to hug myself of 4 months ago to help her brace for more impact.

    Cue the trickle truth.

  70. Part 3 

    After getting the "I deleted the d**k pic" message from FB lady, I confronted H. He was just beginning to minimize the relationship, when I let him know that my phone was already vibrating with the incoming FB messenger screen shots she was sending me. He then admitted to even about more than she had told me.  There were naked pics back and forth AND masturbation videos. 

    She had already told me they had never met in person or even spoken on the phone (he said the same and she lives in another state). In fact, she told me that she should have suspected that he was married when she asked him to call her several times and he never did. 

    Absolute feeling of betrayal and naivety about what he DID do, though. Who was this guy? How could he do this? How did I not know? 

    WHITE HOT RAGE at the lies amd previous denials. I had given him time to reflect and a calm and supportive chance to tell the truth.  I had felt guilty about being suspicious and had sex with him...and this?? THIS???

    There are definitely patches of the night and conversation that are a blur to me, but it boiled down to marriage counseling now and he had to arrange it. He had to show me that he wanted to save the marriage. 

    He was panicked and apologetic. I gave no promises about what I might do about staying or leaving.  He gave me access to his electronic devices.

    It took me only a couple of days to find more: lots of searches and likes of scantily-clad pics of women/models on FB (I had never previously worried about my husband looking at porn or pics of women, because it seemed infrequent/casual...but the likes and views of pics were so frequent now). Worse, there were several more FB lady friends (all lived in other cities--none were local) with deleted messenger conversations.  Worse yet, I found a screen shot he took of a work instant message with a married female colleague (a woman who even I knew lived a drama-filled life) that emphasized to my H that certain other guys she was communicating with were "JUST FRIENDS" (her emphasis). 

    I texted one other out of town lady from FB.  She told me that he had flirted with her over FB messenger, but she had ignored the flirting.  He admitted to the flirting, but also insists that she is downplaying her own responses.  (I don't really care about her responses;  she's not in a supposedly committed relationship with me.)

    I also texted the work colleague. She denied anything beyond a friendship.  (I hadn't let her know what message I had seen when she emphasized that she was "just" friends with other guys.) She also stroked her own ego about how people often turn to her because she has been through a lot of trauma,  so she is easy to talk to, BS, BS, etc.  She's a lying, manipulative women, and I never interacted with her again. 

    He admitted that evening that the colleague had reached out to him over email before she responded to me to ask what she should tell me. I asked to see the email amd his response, but he had deleted it (after I had specifically asked that he delete nothing else).  He downplayed their interactions over FB and was very upset (read DEFENSIVE) when I didn't believe him because nothing he said explained why she needed to emphasize that her relationships on FB with other men were "just" friends (which was repeated and even capitalized at times in her message) I waited and thought. 

  71. Part 4
    I was now in "the evidence must match his explanation" mode. Feb 21, we took a drive outside of town to talk with privacy. I had planned my approach and I was merciless.  I knew what might make him break and finally tell the truth and I used it. (It had to do with his truly  lovely parents who had passed away being privy already to what he'd done--since we both believe in afterlife--and how disappointed they'd be in his deceit.) It was the one time in my life that I was merciless...but it felt like either that conversation or the end the marriage. I now knew to trust my gut, and my gut knew that he hadn't told me all. He finally admitted to exchanging naked pics and m*st*rb*tion videos with the colleague.  He has always claimed no physical contact happened with her.

    We have been in counseling--both together and solo since Feb 21.  In general, we are in a better place right now (most days).  My gut still says I don't know it all. We are reading the book Not "Just Friends" together.  We are going through electronic devices, both of our calendars, texts, what he didn't deleted from FB, etc. to create a written (electronic) timeline from April 2019 on. Prior to April 2019 all FB activity looked like friends and family, then the pics of models and friending women he didn't know in real life started and built until I caught him in Feb 2020.

    I'm still really working to decide how to or if I should trust him. There are still 2 FB women (not in our city) I am suspicious about, but I haven't had the courage to reach out to them yet. He says I know it all, but I think it's time for a very clear boundary on that.  If I find out more on my own, if he hasn't  told me everything, I leave. And so far NO ONE in our family knows what has happened or what we are going through. Our kids know we are in marriage counseling, but not why.  Our extended family doesn't even know that. If I walk, I'm not staying silent anymore.

    He HAS told me some details I would never have known (like the pics and videos with the colleague and that he gave her money to buy something she couldn't afford but wanted for her hobby.) Yet, I still feel that there is more. That's the brutality of the trickle truth. 

    When too many of his "truths" have had to be extracted by me finding evidence or only after swearing he was telling the truth only to be caught in another lie, how do I ever know?

    Or when do I become comfortable saying, I'm leaving because I can't rebuild the trust with you?

    Or when do I become comfortable enough to decide to stay even if I don't think I know it all?

    That's my crossroads now.

    Today, for right now, I choose to be kind to myself and I'm heading off to do something that brings me joy.

    Wishing all of you some moments of joy!

    1. Sister Phoenix,

      I just read your story, and I am truly horrified for you, and to be honest he is lucky he is still breathing!

      Do NOT feel bad for one moment about being mercinless, end of day he won't admit to stuff if he knows he can get away with it,he doesn't want to make it worse.
      My partner said to me why would he admit it, but I totally get you are now with someone who you don't know and how can you ever trust them again, I think it is far too soon to expect to trust him and it will take years, question is like me do you want to give it years? The way I feel at the moment I will never trust him again, our relationship for the past 25 years has been wiped out, so If Had my time again would I spend it with him?

      I think deep down If financially I was better off he'd be gone, that's how I feel at the moment. But there is no time limit on what WE decide to do, but I know I don't want to waste too much time deciding , I've already given him 25 years.

      Stay strong

      Bigmac xxxxx

    2. Phoenix Rising,
      You are fierce. I am so glad to hear that you are prioritizing your own joy. That is such a healthy response to this. The questions you ask will be answered with time. There is no "right" way to deal with this -- you will come to a place where you feel as though what you put into the marriage is more than you are getting out of it, or you will discover that you've rebuilt a marriage that feels good and meaningful and that has grown from the infidelity. In my case, by the time I felt ready to leave, I no longer wanted to. My husband had earned back my respect. Thirteen years later, we're still together and happy to be so. Those early days were hell -- absolute hell. And I wouldn't wish them on anyone. But...I'm not sure my husband and I would be where are now if we hadn't walked through hell together.
      As for trust, you don't trust someone who's revealed himself to be a liar and cheater...UNTIL he shows that he's become a better person. Until you see him display honesty and integrity, even when it makes him uncomfortable. Until you see that he recognizes that the easy way (lying) isn't worth it.
      Hang in there, Phoenix Rising. You do, indeed, sound as though you're rising. Keep going.

  72. Oh the betrayal
    3 years ago my husband asked for a divorce after I found out he had an affair. Apparently that was the easy way out..... well after some serious conversation we decided to work on our marriage. I always had my doubts that he was 100% faithful, and to find out recently I was right. This time is so different I found out he’s been in multiple relations with men. See he travels for a living, so I’m lucky to see him every 2-3 weeks for a week. So a lot of investigating on my part has to take place. I have yet to have all the evidence I need before I confront him this time. I don’t want to end our marriage but I know it’s not healthy. I just don’t know where to go with all this. How many chances does he deserve I know I’m worth more than what he gives me, but many years invested on my part with him. He absolutely has a double

    1. Hurting in Ohio,
      I'm so sorry. I imagine you must be in total shock. I, too, found out six months after D-Day 1 that my husband had been involved with men and that he was a sex addict. He was already in treatment (unbeknownst to me). But it was excruciating.
      Whatever happens, please find yourself a good therapist who can support you as you process this. And if you're considering trying to work this out, get very clear on your boundaries and conditions for reconciliation.
      And please know how sorry I am for everything you're going through. It's agonizing but I can promise you, the day will come when you are past this.

    2. I hope the day comes soon, as keeping this to myself is more than I can handle. I really don’t have anyone that I can talk to about what I’m going thru

    3. I hope. Reading other post I see other people struggle as I am. I just need to get advice/options of what others go thru

  73. Going crazy in the headAugust 1, 2020 at 6:36 PM

    I found out my husband was "in love" with someone else back at the end of May. It's been 2 months and I'm just now starting to fall husband claims he never cheated and he had only just figured out how he felt about her shortly before I found out. He only knew her 2 weeks and he just knew she was the one for him. He said he thought he knew what love was when he met me but he was wrong. I was devastated I thought we were trying to work on our marriage at least that's what we had decided just 2 weeks prior to me finding out which would have been the same 2 weeks that he was "falling in love" with this OW if we can call her a women. That day was one of the worst of my life but I didn't beg for him to stay with me and let him go as hard as that was I knew I deserved better than what he was capable of giving me. The next day he decided that he didn't love this ow and that he wanted to fix us. Of course I was skeptical but I loved him (still do). But I had stipulations for him if we were going to stay together. 1 he make me a priority 2 he go to counseling and 3 he was to get his tax issues resolved. So far he has done number 1 on the list. It's been 2 months and things are better than they ever have been but I still have this nagging feeling that he just chose to stay with me because it was the easy option. The last few weeks he has been off. The sex has pretty much stopped we do it maybe once a week and it's quick. He doesn't show me the attention he did at the beginning of all this and now he is always gone doing stuff for himself or working overtime as much as possible. I'm not stupid I can see and feel the difference in him. But part of me also feels like I'm just being paranoid. It takes time to heal and I never really have myself that opportunity to deal with what actually happened. I'm making myself insane with all the thoughts I have and it's taking a toll on my work/ family life. My friends want me to be happy and think I shouldn't have to live this way. I just don't know what to do. I do see a counselor and she is super helpful. I'm just lost.

    1. Going Crazy,
      I'm so sorry for everything you're going through. But here's the thing, Going Crazy. I don't think your lost at all. I think you know exactly what you need from him and have, in fact, told him. He just isn't doing it. And you're struggling to enforce your boundaries now because you'd prefer to avoid the conflict. But you do know what to do. You show him the door and reiterate what you require from him if he wants to remain in a relationship with you (very reasonable requests, by the way). That he prioritize his relationship with you (which he's no longer doing), that he seek counselling (which he didn't do) and that he sort out his taxes (which he also didn't do). He's giving you valuable information. It's just not the information you want. And I'm so sorry. He's a fool. Don't be one yourself. You're too smart to let yourself get played. He will either step up because it's clear that you're no longer putting up with his bullshit or he won't. Either way, it will hurt like hell but you'll ultimately be better off. Either with a better him or without him.

  74. My D-Day was six month ago. He had an affair with a coworker.
    The last months were more than tough, but we were doing so great, I was doing so great.

    I just experienced a big milestone on my healing journey. I reached a point where I realized that I cannot fight the whole thing anymore. I understood that it was his choice. And I also understood that I need to accept that he did this because otherwise I keep myself from living in the presence and be happy again. It was time to be kind to myself again.

    My husband´s affair felt like there was a battle and I wasn´t there to fight it. The battle was over. But I was still fighting it. It just felt so unfair that I did not get a chance to fight it. To stop him from going to see her, to be with her.

    However, the moment I realized that I cannot fight a losing battle I was somehow free again. I was able to stop all those mind movies, to stop reliving things to the fullest, I stopped having all those fantasies about doing bad things to them, to her, you know what I mean. I could ease this excruciating pain that sometimes – frankly spoken – I would inflict on me on purpose.

    Learning about the “loss cycle” from my therapist, I understood that I surrendered.
    And with it came this wonderful peace of mind that I haven´t felt since ages. I felt so so good. My friends even said I look so relax and so young again.

    But one week ago something terrible happened. Out of the blue, there was D-Day 2nd.
    We were about moving houses and while packing boxes I found an old bank statement showing that he withdrew a lot of money in a dodgy part of the city in December 2018. And suddenly there was this thought I wanted to deny but I couldn´t.

    Long story short: He also betrayed me with prostitutes. He visited brothels and sensual massage places. Basically, since we are together. He has done it since 20 years.

    Today I still feel numb. And I am so so confused! How can you live and love someone and not see that he is acting out like this. Even though, looking back, it now all makes sense. It´s like I finally found the missing puzzle piece.

    After the revelation of the affair, he kept saying that he feels so relieved that everything is out and that I know everything now. I should have known better!

    We both are committed to make our relationship all it can be.I see that he wants to become a better man. He still tries hard. Every day.

    But now I wonder if we can? I understood the “why” of the affair. I did not approve but accepted that emotional betrayal. But can I accept all the other betrayals as well?

    He says that he only did it for the excitement, for the thrill of doing something forbidden. Less for sexual satisfaction. He says that this part of his life belonged only to him. He also says that he did not like it, but he could not stop it.

    I don´t understand. I just don´t understand.

    Any first aid advice out there?

    1. I didn't understand either when I learned, first, that my husband was having an affair and, then six months later, that he had had multiple sexual encounters – with women, men, total strangers. But there I was, trying to make sense of it all. And what I've learned is this: I will never understand how he was able to conduct this double life. But I can accept that he did. I can accept that his compulsion was powerful enough to override his own value system and his love of his family. I can accept that he believed the stories he told himself, that nobody was getting hurt, that he was just "different" than other people with a stronger sex drive. But I couldn't accept any of that until he sought help. In my case, he had reached out for help before I learned about the sex addiction. The exposure of his affair opened the door for him to admit he had a serious problem that threatened everything that mattered to him. It was up to him to discover what drove his behaviour. My job was only to accept it had happened and move on. It was my choice, also, whether to move on with him in my life or without. But the accepting was, for me, not optional. Because not accepting was a denial of reality. He had cheated on me with many many people. All the wishing in the world wasn't going to change that. And like you discovered, accepting offers us the chance for peace.
      This is the job in front of you now. To accept that his behaviour is his to understand. To recognize that hurt people hurt people. That they behave in ways that harm themselves as well as those they love. That they behave in ways that exploits others as well as exploiting their own values.
      Oddly, I think understanding has come for me, if slightly. I understand that my husband had never learned how to manage deeply painful feelings from growing up in an oppressive abusive home. Sex was an escape for him. It took him out of his day-to-day life into something of a trance -- he was either seeking it, arranging it, or engaging in it. Immediately following, he was filled with shame and regret and would tell him, not again. Until the next time. It was addictive behaviour. And addictive behaviour rarely makes sense to those of us who aren't addicts.
      I wish you peace, again. I think you'll find it.

  75. Dear Elle, I am truly thankful for your kind and wise words. Honestly, they are like crash barriers for me, helping me to stay on the road in darker moments. The same goes for your blog with all those stories and comments, knowing that I am not alone out there that suffer such intense pain.

    My husband is seeking help now which is giving me hope and also space to focus on my own healing.

    I hope that I will be able to accept, once again. But it is such hard work. Right now, I don´t want this reality to be real. But unfortunately, it is and denying it does not help. You are right.

    However, I will try to use this pain as a teacher. This teacher has already taught be so much.
    I started a list with all my learnings, my realizations that I like to share. I truly believe that always something good comes from something bad. We only have to see it.

    1. I have learned how strong I am. I know what I want and from now on I will fight for it.
    2. Those dark hours forced me to meet my true self. And I like her.
    3. SELF CARE IS IMPORTANT. Never again will I forget about myself!
    4. I don´t want to live with any resentments anymore.
    5. Experiences shape us, but I can decide how they shape me.
    6. I don´t have to be with him, it´s my own choice. (as you said)
    7. My happiness is not relying on him, my happiness is my own responsibility.
    8. Without his acting out, we probably wouldn´t have the chance for something bigger and better.
    9. Without his acting out, he wouldn´t be the man he is becoming now.
    10. ...

    I treasure this list, it helps me to grow. And to believe that our love can be stronger than betrayal.

    1. Awesome list. Sounds like you're rediscovering your power and your strength. Brava!

  76. As similar as my story is, mine is part of relapse and a PTSD all wrapped in one. He had the affair on a business trip, their first encounter nothing physical happened just emotional. The second and the third visit however things changed. This happened in 1994 I would have had no way of knowing odd thing is I looked at his ring and moved it around to see a tan line and replied at least I know you're not cheating on me. I feel like a fool. Any way 95' went by he said nothing just treated me crappy at times, in Feb of 96' he had big fight with his boss an emptied his desk bringing home pictures. He forgot to get rid of them I went into his coat pocket for the checkbook and found them. I kicked him out for a week, we went to counseling and by April I was pregnant with our third child. Over the years we had our fights over money, kids life but we just lived. Last year was a bad year money wise and he'd gone on a short business trip then came home and spent the month of Nov treating me like crap cold shoulder no affection then we got into a huge fight and things calmed down a bit enter this year and the virus his friend's wife offered to cut my hair, before we left he said he to shave I asked for who? Your girlfriend, he went through the roof, another big fight and things got patched up, I got my hair cut while doing so his friend made him an offer he couldn't refuse regarding a gun. (I don't like them, we've never had one in our house) but at the moment he wanted so he agreed to, this was a Sunday. We spent the day together, had sex, the next day he went to work, came home, tue went to work came home only to tell he did something I may not like, he bought a gun, but he has to leave to get it registered and left, stopped back real quick for paperwork then left again. He was gone 2 hours during which I lost my mind in the way I was treated and over the past 2 months I've fallen into a black hole about the affair and the way he's treated me at times lack of respect being one of them. To me it feels like it just happened, we're seeing a counselor and am talking to a therapists. It's been 24 years since I found out and now since we're truly talking about it without children in the house I am in such a bad place, so stuck and hurt and angry. Any advise is welcomed!

    1. I'm so sorry for the pain you're in. I remember it well. Like I wanted to crawl out of my own skin. You will get through this. Breath. In. Out. In. Out. Moment by moment. Day by day.
      Trust that you are stronger than you know. You are experiencing what sounds like post-trauma and it's not surprising. You describe a long relationship in which you've been devalued and disrespected. That has got to change, starting with your prioritizing yourself and treating yourself with respect. Slowly, if you both choose, you will learn how to better communicate with each other, to treat the relationship like it matters. But within that, it sounds as though there needs to be dramatic change within you and your willingness to go along with things to keep the peace. You have a voice. You deserve to set and enforce your boundaries.
      For now, though, just make your way through this pain and know that, on the other side, you can begin to create change.

  77. So I’m new here found you through articles on google. I am a stay at home momma of three toddler boys. I found out Friday while my husband was quarantined away from me for our children’s safety six days before our one year anniversary he cheated on me again. The first time I was pregnant with our second son. Didn’t find out until he was two weeks old. that was three years ago. Swore he wouldn’t do it again. But here I am. We’ve been together five years married one. I don’t know where to go from here. I can feel myself detaching from the pain.

    1. Unknown, I'm so sorry for what you're going through but glad you found us. I can understand that detaching. You have three toddlers to raise, which is exhausting in itself. I had three young kids when I found out too and I needed to have parts of my day where I could function as a mom and parts of my day where I could fall to pieces and sob. Can you try and ensure you build in time when you can focus on you and take care of yourself? When someone else can look after the kids? I would also urge you to find a therapist who can help you process the pain of betrayal and figure out whether you want to remain in your marriage or not.
      Your husband, if he wants you to even consider staying with him, needs to do the same -- figure out why he risked his marriage and his family. And how to ensure he doesn't make the same mistake again.
      In the meantime, please know that his cheating has nothing to do with you and everything to do with whatever stories he's telling himself. That's for him to work through. Your job is to take care of you. You'll find a ton of info and plenty of support. Welcome to the club none of us wanted to ever join.

  78. Hello all.
    So I found this site trying to figure out what to do because I am just numb and dont know what to do anymore. We arent married yet. Postone the wedding till next year due to Covid. Yesterday morning I had recieved a message from a girl who is friends with with my fiance that told me that he had invited her over to his hotel he was supposed to be out on a business trip. Of course things had happen but apparently this wasn't the first time. I had came to him about this because I thought it was a joke. Of course we had our ups and downs but I never thought it was to a point where he just wanted to go to another woman but everything came out. He has been doing this for a year. He told me that he feels that hes unstable and that he needs help. I of course want to help him because I truly do love and care for him. But this anxiety that Im feeling is just awful. Currently we dont live together we see each other on the weekend due to his job moved him across the state and Im putting in the final touches of making sure my family will be okay when I leave to move in with him, finishing school and looking for another job in his location. But since Im not with him to physically see him I cant believe anything that hes saying. He gave me all the passwords to all of his social media accounts and email but I am just in limbo.
    He is coming down to me so we can talk more in person about everything but I just dont know what to do to fix this.

    1. Hello,

      I am in a similar situation as you are. I found out my boyfriend was cheating on me because I was looking through emails trying to find something and found that he had been using his old dating app account. When I found out, I confronted him and he didn't deny it. He said he was sorry and that what he did was so messed up and he would understand if I couldn't stay with him because of it. He knows my trust is completely broken and that I don't know if I can ever trust him again. He showed me all the messages and deleted all of his accounts and any other social media so that something like this doesn't happen again, but I'm still sitting here wondering if he is just going to get them back and do it again. We don't live together but had planned on moving in together at the end of the month but now I'm not sure what is going to happen. I keep thinking that if he actually loved and cared about me that he wouldn't have done this, but our relationship isn't perfect. I've been super busy and haven't been giving him the love and attention he deserves so on one hand I can kind of understand. He said it hasn't been going on for long and it happened because he felt like he needed someone there and thought I was too buy for it. In no way was he blaming me for cheating, more so trying to help me understand why it happened in the first place. I am currently taking time away from our relationship to see if it is even worth it. As much as I love him and want a future with him, I don't know how to forgive and move on. So in regards to what you said about fixing it, there is not just one simple way. If he really is sorry then he needs to prove it. In my case I made him show me everything because I thought it was important to know what exactly happened. In order to be able to continue the relationship he needs to put in the work and understand that it is going to take so much time in order for you to ever trust him again. It is an awful feeling and it doesn't just go away. However, over time it might get easier. I don't know if this is what you were looking for, but just know you are not alone.

    2. To both of you,
      I would absolutely not marry someone who hasn't sought out therapy to help them understand why they cheated on someone they claim to love and want to spend the rest of their life with. It's absolutely possible that this is a wake-up call that they address and learn from and it can even make them less likely to cheat in a marriage because they understand the signs and how to avoid making such a stupid choice again. But it's also possible that this person is revealing their inability or unwillingness to remain faithful.
      Either way, you need to know.

    3. My husband has flat out refused, in no uncertain terms, to get counseling. He knows he stuff things down and compartmentalizes and said that he doesn't want to remember awful things from childhood...who'd want to do that? (Meanwhile I've been doing EMDR for years.) And he also made a comment that he's afraid I'll find something out and it will make me want to leave (!!!) What screams "I need therapy!" like that?! Even though this infidelity thing has been going on for years and years and I'm 10 months out from the last Dday (IDK Dday542 maybe?) it's only been in the last two months that he has started to "get it". I set some very clear boundaries and made it clear what would happen if he crossed them. He's been complying and there are still some things to be addressed in that regard. But he has been doing other things, as well, to try and make me feel safe. Plenty of work to be done. But I'm still on the fence about the therapy thing. He needs it. Clearly. But I can't make him go. And I can leave if he chooses not to do it. But I'm unsure I want to do that (just yet) since I do see other efforts. However, how long will these other efforts last?

    4. LTF, You need to do what feels right for you. If you're not ready to leave (or simply don't want to), that is absolutely your choice. You get to live your life post-infidelity in the way that feels right for you. What concerns me is that you've gone through so much. And you're saying "now", he gets it. And you're asking him to do something for you (though actually for him, too). Something that makes him uncomfortable. Scared. And he says "no". Flat-out. Despite him asking you to stay with someone who has caused so much pain. So that concerns me. For what it's worth, I crowd-sourced some comments from other betrayeds regarding how to respond so an unfaithful spouse who needs therapy but refuses it. I'm simply putting it here. YOU get to decide how to proceed. Here goes:
      •“I am healing myself, and that includes getting the help and clarity that therapy gives me. You are free to refuse to attend therapy,to find out how you were able to make such devastating choices and why you risked what was most important to you. But not as my husband.”
      •[From a husband who was cheated on]: Any person who refuses to look inward and self reflect is a time bomb. Unfaithful or Betrayed. Infidelity is just one of many destructive paths.
      Men are socially conditioned to not be vulnerable. ‘Suck it Up’ culture has made male vulnerability something to fear. Even as a betrayed spouse, I was afraid to be emotionally vulnerable. I saw it as a weakness and did not understand the benefits. Nobody ever talks about the benefits for men.
      •Mine went to therapy ‘cause it was this or I leave.
      In therapy he did nothing. When asked he was “I’m not like you, I’m healing my way.”
      Meanwhile, his phone kept pinging at 2am, will refuse to hand it to me & eventually he got conflicted.
      Lesson: they’re all in or they’re not
      •Yes, he is a time bomb. One of my "rules for reconciliation" was therapy was required for both of us. When my husband started skipping sessions I knew it was just a matter of time before he checked out completely.
      •Mine didn’t go for 2 years after dday! He said daily AA was enough ‘therapy’. It helped with sobriety but never addressed why he was a drunk in the 1st place.
      Therapy frees us from the skeletons in our closet.
      •The best thing I've heard is that sometimes when a spouse can see changes for the better in the other spouse [thanks to therapy] sometimes it entices them.

  79. What do I do if my husband still isn’t sure who he loves more... me or the affair partner?

    I found out a month ago that my husband has had an emotional and physical affair with a client for over a year, up to 6 years. I found out because I sat him down and asked if he likes me and loves me anymore. I sensed he didn’t. It takes a lot for me to sit him down and ask those tough questions. I discovered the magnitude of the affair slowly over 4 days. I had to be a detective for all of it. He was not ready to disclose. (At first he just said he isn’t sure if our life paths match anymore and that he was having a midlife crisis). I’m unclear when the emotional level elevated. She has been into him the whole six years, though.

    I trusted him implicitly. I thought I had a family guy with values. We hike, camp, bike, play with our kids, have favorite shows we watch, have stay at home date nights during covid, plan vacations... all through the last year, too, when he was double crossing me. This is not a covid issue. Affair started long before that. He met her 6 years ago and they have grown closer over time. Over the last year he has had daily phone calls, multiple meet ups.... he says she makes him feel loved and he has never felt this way before. We have been married 17 years, have an 8 year old and a 5 year old. I started therapy immediately and I’ve only told one friend. No family knows.

    I’m feeling that I need some space. We are still living together. I want to do a controlled separation where we continue with marriage counseling, share the kids, see each other for a date night each week... with a set timeline. (This is not a made up concept there is a book I read about it). I need space to sort my feelings away from him. I don’t want to push this under a rug. Or let him.

    He says he wants his FAMILY (meaning stay with me and the kids). He broke off the affair with her. (In person, mind you, with no masks despite covid times, despite my urgent desperate plea to do it over the phone). But, he has not in a month said he WANTS ME. This is a sticking point for me. I do not want to be the second choice so he can keep his comfortable life. He also says he isn’t sure if our life paths match anymore.

    I have been reading and journaling nonstop. I’m starting to feel frustrated that all the info seems to point to the betrayed spouse trying to make the marriage work. What if I don’t want to? Where is MY pride and dignity in all that? Do I want to suffer through two years (average beginning healing phase I’ve read?) and maybe longer for his poor decisions. When he may be thinking about his soul mate the whole time?

    One of their meet up spots was at his office at lunch, or when he said he was working late... he works alone. Alone. There is no way to monitor whether she is still showing up there, if they are still seeing each other. He honestly told me he isn’t sure if can maintain no contact for a 6 week separation.

    Meanwhile, I’m left holding the ball on what to do next. If I choose to end our marriage I am responsible for the choice since he says he wants to stay and repair and rebuild. I am responsible for the effects on our children. At what price? How much of my self and my own needs and feeling of respect do I need to sacrifice to do what’s right for my children? And, I cannot imagine ever wanting to be intimate with him again. I have zero attraction for him. I feel like he (and by proxy, I) am dirty and will forever be dirtied by this other woman. He slept with us concurrently.

    I feel like he mentally left me a long time ago but is too scared and/or lacks the self awareness to be honest about that. I’m not sure where to go next.

    1. You'll notice at the top of this blog site the words, "My heartbreak, my rules, my healing". We live those words and they can be your guide. He made the choice to cheat. He is telling you that he's not quite ready to NOT cheat. He's also telling you that he doesn't want to lose his "family". So...he's telling you that your wants/needs don't matter to him. He's telling you that HIS comfort trumps yours. That HIS wants trump yours.
      You are very clear about what you want. A trial separation in which he is given the chance to show you that he wants to be a better husband. That's incredibly generous of you to give him a second chance that he isn't even really asking for. What's he's asking for is for things to basically stay the same -- he cheats, you put up with it, the kids never know and he gives up absolutely nothing.
      You're not okay with that, which OF COURSE you're not okay with that.
      Ambivalent, it's time to stop being ambivalent. It's time to start prioritizing your own needs/wants. If you "choose to end your marriage", it is because HE chose to violate his marriage vows. You didn't start the fire, you're simply walking away from it to save yourself. Which is exactly your job -- to take care of yourself and your children. To refuse to tolerate disrespect and dishonesty. It's never your job to protect him from the consequences of his choices.
      If you separate, it might be the wake-up call he needs to become a better man. But he also might show you that he can't be that person. Which is valuable information for you.
      Either way, Ambivalent. I think you know exactly what to do. it. Start making choices centered on what's best for you. You are modelling to your children that they, too, don't need to tolerate disrespect and dishonesty in a relationship.

  80. So my story starts like everyone else's, I was happily married for 20 years and thought that I had the perfect marriage. I never admitted that my husband was not the man that everyone else saw, he would talk down to me but idolized me in public. I was never put first in his life, his family was first and I was second. I learned to just except him the way he was. I still don't know why I checked his phone that day, it was something that I had never done before. I noted that there were several calls to a number and I found out a name. When being confronted, he lied about the sex but admitted to a emotional affair. I was beyond devastated. After several day, I found proof that it had in fact been sexual as well. She lived in another state and he would buy her plane tickets to come see him 3-4 times yearly. With me, he always pinched pennies but with her, she got everything. I later find out from him that it had been going on for 6 YEARS!!!!! I wanted a divorce, he refused to sign the papers. He broke everything off with her and told her to never contact him again, told me that he never thought about leaving me for her and that he wants "us"...I agreed to try, it's hard to throw away 22 years with a man that I thought was my soul mate. He was with me through cancer and even though he had his faults, I loved him dearly. The COW refused to talk to me and blocked all contact with me, since she lives in another state I can't just show up at her house (although I did think about flying there to do just that). I found out that the COW was almost half his age and that he was buying her more jewelry then he ever bought me, he spent a week at a work class and took her along with him, he slept with her on our anniversary. I don't know if I will ever get over the things that he did with her and for her. I told him today that what hurts the most is that after he stood by me through the cancer, I thought that he was the one person that I could count on in life and that I feel like I lost my best friend. It has been 3 months since D day and it still hurts, enrages, and destroys my soul when I think about it. I am still not sleeping well and started taking anti-depressant medication. I lost weight in the beginning but now have been able to eat again. I told him that we have to do counseling and he is trying to find us a place to go to.
    We do not have children together but do have them from previous marriages. They are adults so at least he didn't destroy a family with small kids. they are mad at him but say that they will support me in whatever decision I make. If I walk away, they will still have contact with him because he was their father figure for so long.
    He has been trying very hard but I just don't know what to do. He says that it was all him and that he was never unhappy with us, maybe a midlife crisis. He never says that I did something wrong, which I know I didn't, that he is just screwed up. He is going to a psychologist personally in order to be a better man.
    I have downloaded books on how to cope with this and try to trust again but they are not helping yet. I don't trust him as far as I can throw him, how do you have a marriage without trust? Am I just wasting all of our time? I know that I love him but I am not in love with him anymore because I have found out the man that he truly is. The husband that I thought I was married to would have moved heaven and hell to never hurt me like this. Or maybe that is the husband that I made up for the world to see.
    Any advice is appreciated.

    1. angel,
      I'm so sorry for what you're going through but yes, unfortunately, your story is all too common.
      You are still very raw. Three months isn't much time to absorb the shock of discovering betrayal from someone you trusted. Most experts urge people to wait six months at least before making any big decisions. I think that's wise (except where there's abuse, in which case...people need to get out asap). I would encourage you to stop trying to "get over" it and instead focus on just feeling all the feelings. Process them. Trust that you can handle them. Please get a counsellor for yourself where you can work through this pain without having to think in terms of him or stay/go. Just you. And your pain.
      It gets clearer with time -- whether you want to rebuild your marriage or leave. But you want to make that decision from a place of self-respect and consideration for your own needs/wants.
      So...right now, rest. Get therapy. And take the pressure off yourself to heal from this. It will happen but first you need to work through so much pain.

  81. My husband and I have been together for six years and were married for only six months when I found evidence of him looking at sexually explicit photos of women online. It has been 2 months since that day. When I brought it to his attention I expected to be told it was just spam. Instead I learned of his years long addiction to porn, which recently progressed to also looking at women online and any attractive woman he saw on the street. He used these images to get off, usually while I was in the other room but also every morning before he left for work. It was his way of releasing stress. The looking at women (outside of porn) habit started just weeks before we were married. I was devastated and went into a manic depressive state. I struggle with my mental health due to years of childhood abuse, and this discovery felt significantly worse than what I had gone through as a child. I lost my sense of reality, something he caused through years of gaslighting, telling me he was one of the good guys, he would never betray me, he didnt even notice other women since meeting me. I used to tell him how grateful I was that I never worried that he would cheat. I knew he would never do that to me. He did not have a physical affair, but actively looking for women to get off to is as much cheating to me, as we had always had that uderstanding. At first he claimed he didnt know it was wrong, every man does it, every man does it behind his wife's back. He now realizes, after much research into sex addiction, that he was very, very wrong. He is ashamed, embarrassed, disgusted by his actions. He started recovery immediately and has been respectful of my recovery as well. I removed my wedding rings the moment he confessed and cannot image putting them back on. They are a reminder of lies I have been living with for six years. We are working on building a stronger relationship, but I struggle with what is known as "reflection aggression" because I have tried for years to make improvements to our trust, communication issues, etc and he never took it seriously. The fact that he is only trying now, after I found out ON MY OWN (he has admitted that he would not have stopped these bad habits on his own accord), makes me question his motive behind everything. I am angry that while he has been able to make great progress in his mental health, my years of work on mine has been set back so far. I have yet to say any of this to anyone other than my husband, as I dont have any family outside of my in-laws. I am so grateful to have found this blog and to be able to relate to so many strong women who have experienced the same roller coaster of emotions and made it out on the other side.

  82. A woman (age 52) in a foreign country with no marriage prospects and whose life is unraveling , finds a knight in shining armor she thinks, a fiancee visa, until she arrives in the US and a girlfriend living in his house. He is apologetic but did not take the proposal as seriously as her. She cannot return home for some time. I think this scenario will play out different for a 50 year old than a 30 year old. Do you agree? I see a few possible choices: 1) give up on him, leave ,and find a minimum wage job 2) stay in the awkward house and rebuild a life 3) stay in the house and try to win back his heart.

  83. I'm not married, and it wasn't an affair, but I am still reeling a year later. After a whirlwind 2.5 years together, madly in love, I moved state & jobs for him, wedding in 5 months, I visit my friends in a different state for the weekend & find he's acting "off" when I get back. He breaks down after I poke him & says he doesn't know if he wants to get married. starts crying hysterically, moves into a full-blown panic attack, vomits on our living room floor. Doesn't know if this is the best it could be, what if we're not supposed to be together, we're just sat watching tv most evenings (both have very busy jobs, he was off at rugby 3 nights a week, golfed on Saturday, I had just spent two weeks with my parents as they were both in hospital & he incredibly selfishly didn't come to visit, never really made any effort with my parents if I’m honest, but I swatted any negativity about it away cos they lived at the other end of the country & it wasn't like we could just pop in at any time, he literally got to do whatever he chose to do, we went on 4-5 holidays a year, were literally counting days til a lux spa break, followed by a weeks holiday 2 days after that) questioned why he wanted to go to rugby & golf instead of being with me all the time, did we need the holidays to sustain us, where they the only craic we were having, said these feelings had been building up for a while, started August at our friends wedding (this was December) cos he was looking round at the expense & he was like "is this it" (our wedding was looking at costing 80k for a day that neither of us were particularly wild about (numbers, location, etc.) plus the arranging was SO stressful. but he had been SO into it before, much more than me, & it wasn't like I noticed at the time he lost interest, even now looking back I know there was 1 or 2 emails he didn’t respond on, but nothing I can say made it obvious that he had lost interest in the planning, particularly because there had been plenty of emails that I wasn't rushing to reply to cos it was stressing me the fuck out. Anyway, after 3 days of holding him whilst he sobbed (I will never know how I held myself together), he went to work & I started rooting through his emails (I had NEVER done this but I just needed answers cos I was so confused how I’d left the best relationship I'd ever had
    & came back to this). Found a house reservation for the night before his "breakdown". His ex had started working back at their company (albeit different city) after a messy break up 4years before after which she had cut him & his family off, refused to speak to him, moved away got engaged to another man, broke it off & she had then started crying to him at a work event the week before about how much she hurt him all those years ago & he was acting like nothing was wrong in the office. He asked her to meet up to discuss it all, apologise, make things ok with work & not start all the gossip again that had plagued them years earlier & to prevent it affecting our relationship. Didn't want to meet in either of our cities in case anyone bumped into them & gossiped so met midway. I believe him, he's not an overtly sexual person (Prem Ej), and I rang her & she said nothing happened, she didn’t know why she met him, why he was so determined to look forgiveness, she had been drinking which was why she cried, had forgiven him years ago, didn't know what was wrong with him, they were awful together, fought all the time, made her so insecure, his doubts were nothing to do with her but she didn't know if there was still spark or feelings there because of their history (which I can understand - my ex was the biggest tosser going, but meeting him randomly in the street my breath still catches cos of all the highs & lows).

  84. Part 2
    he was begging me to stay with him immediately, and I did (still in a complete state of shock, in another state, no friends/family close by), but he was still crying & dazed & distant, not showering me with love & affection like I felt he should be, so I packed up & got an apartment. he came crawling back on bended knees 3 weeks later, he'd had an epiphany, he was stupid, I was the love of his life, he had been focusing on the wrong things, because we didn’t shout & scream & roar at each other he temporarily didn’t think there was a spark. I did counselling, I think that made me worse, I screamed, called him all the names of the day (he pined for that spark, well now he's fucking got it), pushed him away, said we're done, called him all the names of the day, and he's apologised & apologised, never tried to blame me, or excuse his behaviour, & he's stayed consistently understanding, never thought boohoo poor him, has never wavered. and he's an all-round better person - he's more open, shares things with me, loving, thoughtful, playful, sex life is insane, less selfish, has quit rugby, bought me golf clubs to come with him, he'd literally be on my lap 24/7 if he could, it's like this grip on him opening up & being openly in love with me has gone. but I’m still sick in my stomach. I can see this is/would be a much better relationship than we had, our future would be amazing, but I can’t let go of the thoughts that it shouldn't have taken him betraying me to do it. that I'm not married to him, I should get out before I do marry him in case, I’m stuck having this sick feeling in my stomach for the rest of my life. His betrayal wasn't as "bad" as a lot of you ladies went through & I'm still angry a year later (particularly because whilst we're working from home now, she has used covid to move back to our city & will be in the same office as him when covid is gone (I must be the only person praying covid stays). I believe him that there is nothing in it - we're not married, we don't have kids, he's endured me screaming at him for the guts of the year, he begged me to move back in, he’s here cos he wants me. I believe the only contact is work related (he'll be her boss now), but I just feel like she's stalking me, but then at the same time feel pathetic knowing that she doesn't give a single shit about me. she's not wasting head space on me & here I am a year later writing a novel on a betrayal website. I just need to know I’ll get over it & stop having angry horrible thoughts about him being a selfish prick, putting himself & his job before me & doing this to me again if our life gets slightly dull. I just want to be blissfully happy & content again, like I was before.

    1. My dear Hopeful. Fifteen years ago my daughter was your age and went through a similar situation. I recommended she seek counseling to clarify her feelings and thoughts about this man whom she planned to marry. She didn't want to spend the money because therapy is expensive however I pointed out that marriage and divorce is far more taxing and expensive and asked her to put herself first without any concerns about him. She took my advice. Today she is married to a different guy and has a lovely life and two children. Do yourself a favor and go talk to someone who can help you sort this out. You owe it to yourself to put yourself first right now.

    2. Hopeful, I'm with Beach Girl. You need time to heal from this. He can't just flick and switch and expect you to accept this "new" him. Great that he's had an epiphany but now you need to do the work of healing and then deciding if this is the relationship you want going forward. You don't owe him anything but honesty.

  85. I’m nearly one month out from DDay, my husband and I have been married for 8, nearly 9 years, we have 4 young kids and have previously discussed a 5th. We also come from a highly religious background. He was raised very Catholic, I became Catholic after we met. His faith has always been important to him. About 4 months ago we suddenly and unexpectedly lost his father and ever since he has struggled. Constantly saying he doesn’t deserve us, or he can’t do anything right. I’m not a nag, we never fight, when something is wrong we discuss things.

    Around the same time his dad died, a new girl started at work. He wanted me to be friends with her as she was new to the area and lonely, I met up with her a couple of times and noticed how often she talked about my husband. After meeting her I went home and told my husband to beware of her, which he told me he would. They became friends at work which I told him to watch out for because I could see her attachment. He didn’t get it, but at the same time we moved away from all of our friends last year so my husband has felt lonely so I tried to be understanding.

    So he worked a long weekend 4 weeks ago and didn’t get home until 1am, which isn’t unusual if his work is busy, but I texted him and received no response which was odd, I tried to wait up but two of my kids needed me and I fell asleep with them. The next morning he left early and didn’t get back until after 7pm (again not uncommon but he’s generally home by 5/6.), and then the next morning he left at 8am despite not needing to be at work until 1pm. I went to erase my husbands old iPhone as he requested I sell it. When I logged on messages came through via Instagram from this girl that were obvious. I called and no answer. I’m sure you can guess the rest. I had 4 kids that needed me to make breakfast, I had tunnel vision, felt like vomiting and couldn’t breathe. He finally called me back freaking out. And over the phone he told me he didn’t sleep with her. I didn’t believe him. At that stage I had already called my MIL who I’m close with and asked her to watch the kids. I took them over to her and broke down, she offered to watch them as long as I needed. My husband skipped work and came home to try to reconcile. I was livid, hurt, betrayed all the feelings. He was apologetic, remorseful and full of shame. I told him to leave but he requested to stay and I didn’t know what to do because for one I have 4 young kids, for two my whole world was just ripped apart, and for three I’m a stay at home mum with no income. I let him stay on the sofa. I yelled at him a lot in the first days, he broke down and said he just felt so lost since his dad died, he knows it’s no excuse, but he hasn’t been himself, he said he never wanted to ruin everything, hurt me, destroy our family. And that he has no feelings for this OW. He has been completely transparent since and has told me everything that happened. I knew this woman was after him but apparently that week she started sending him nudes and grabbing him at work, and he said she got in his head and he couldn’t see reason. It was supposedly just sex and he could care less about this girl. Also I feel I should add that other than the upset about his father our relationship was fine for years, we’ve never had issues, I’m still young, intelligent, and I take care of myself, our life isn’t terribly strenuous, and our sex life was fine prior to this. I don’t understand how it went so wrong. Now he feels stupid and manipulated by her and he tells me he’s so sorry for what he’s done to us every day and that he doesn’t care if I hate him he will do everything he can to make me happy, he will be here for me and the kids and he will support us even if I decide to divorce him. He cries just about every day. He’s a genuine guy, he’s not the type to fake this behaviour or manipulate so I want to believe him but the trust is broken.

  86. Part 2
    At this stage we have agreed to work on it, but I’m so skeptical. I keep having emotional breakdowns, and worse I feel like I’ve changed a lot in the last month. I’m full of anger and hate and rage and as a mum it’s just not ok.

    Am I an idiot? Because I definitely feel like one. For not catching that this was happening in front of my face and for still loving the man even after such horrible betrayal.

    Is there hope?

    1. Lady Naive,
      There's always hope when a husband is truly remorseful and willing to do the incredibly hard work of rebuilding a marriage and your trust. His story sounds, not surprisingly, so cliché. Going through something (father's death), not knowing what to do with those feelings (mortality, fear, grief, whatever), being distracted by a new shiny object (ie. her) and blowing up his life and then being shocked when he sees the pain he's wrought. It's such an old story. And I'm so sorry you're dealing with it.
      Like you, I had young kids, was in total shock, had no idea what I wanted to do next. So I waited...and learned that's okay. Give yourself time to figure out your next right step. Find yourself a therapist who can help you process the pain. He, too, should be in therapy to learn how to better handle life so that he doesn't make such a stupid choice again, so that he can see the path he walked down.
      And no, you are most definitely NOT an idiot. I hate that our culture doesn't recognize the incredible strength and courage it takes to work through pain and give someone a second chance. We see walking away as strength (and sometimes it is!). But being willing to do the hard work of rebuilding a marriage takes strength too. And yes, I'm willing to admit that his willingness to face the consequences of his choice and do the work of becoming a better man takes strength too.
      So...this is your life, Lady Naive. You get to make the decisions that make sense for you and your family.

  87. I wrote this in Oct.2015 [DDAY2] He says he loves me. But he keeps secrets and lies. He says "I want to grow old with you." But, I don't want to wait, I want to grow with him now. He says he does not want to lose his family. But, he has lost years none of us will get back. He says he is sorry. He says he does not like the tears on my checks. Yet admits he is the one who put them there. He tries to brush them away. But they won't stop. [and I start to control my breathing, and stop crying, because it is what I do. I can't even cry right. So, I cry alone. I doubt. I morn, and I do what the donkey always does, Puts one foot in front of the other. Plodding on, straight off a cliff. In Nov2020 my world imploded. My H of less than 18months[20yrs common law] was seriously addicted to internet porn. We had some hard and fast rules were porn was concerned. This was not enough. I have recently been diagnosed with complex PTSD. I also lucked out and found a solid therapist. Thank you for this blog Elle. I been reading it almost daily. My H is now in counseling. my boundaries are firmly back in place. Now is a time of patients. [So how long will this take?] I recommit everyday to trusting my partner today. He has committed to counseling, healing, and talking. Again, thank you Elle.

    1. just me,
      I'm so sorry for what you're going through though I'm glad to hear you've got a great therapist. They are, literally, life savers. Glad too that your husband is committed to battling his addiction.
      It's so hard. But here you are, doing it. Here we all are, doing it. I'm glad you found us and so glad it's helping you. I hope you'll continue to share your story and process your pain. We all learn from each other and lift each other up.

    2. Thanks Elle. Having this come out during covid does not make anything easier. Reading all the warriors stories has helped alot. Stay Safe.

  88. My husband recently cheated on me. This is the 2nd time. The 1st time was when we were just dating. Crazy we were able to get through that and got married.
    Both times have occurred when he is depressed. I've asked him to get in antidepressants and get therapy. I really hope he does. I think he's a sex addict which doesn't make anything better for me emotionally. He told me he got the same excitement from cheating as when he buys something he can't afford. (He has a spending problem as well).
    I just don't know what to do...
    We finally have an opportunity to move out of my parents house and into our own place. He will become an apartment property manager so we will get an apartment. Ots a great opportunity for us both so we can continue to save, pay things off, and eventually save for a house. Its perfect.
    This job is directly tied to me because my parents work for the apartment management property and helped him get the job.
    If I kick him out, he will be homeless and lose this opportunity and I don't want to do that to him.
    Or we will both move in and live together. But we will get divorced regardless. Not necessarily the end of the relationship. Just divorced.
    I love him still. Cheated twice and I still love this lying f*cker. I hate it. I know who he is and the spending and cheating just doesn't aline with who he is. I hope medication and therapy helps him.
    I only found out because his iPad reconnected with his iPhone somehow so I could see his messages. They had sex 3 times, no condom. I will be getting myself checked soon.
    He said he intended to end it when we moved into the apartment. I don't understand that logic but ok...
    Just hurts. So bad. I wish I could take all this pain away. I wish he could just be the man that I know he can be. Its not difficult, I don't ask for much.
    I just don't know how to get through this. Again.
    The last time was very toxic and I don't want to be like that again.
    I went to his work and smacked him last time. I was so embarrassed and so was he. He quit that job the day after because he couldn't face them. The OW worked there too. They would meet in the back just how him and I used to do when our relationship first started. I had worked there too before going to college.
    God, it hurts so bad. This time is just bringing back the memories from last time as if we never got over it. But we were happy. I wouldn't have married him otherwise. I thought we got through all the hard sh*t.
    Please, someone, help me cope. Help me figure out what to do.

  89. well, where to start? I am 24 turning 25 and before me are two sets of tracks... to know which track to take I am coming to the betrayed wives club in seek of guidance and from other who not only sympathize, but truly understand. So I met Alex when we were 13 and 16. He was a freshman and I was a junior. We met his first day on the school bus and I called dibs on him. that whole year we became friends. The following year (I am now senior, and him a sophomore) I told him I wanted to go to the dance and he took me to his. Fast forward I go away to college and eventually come home after my first semester since I could not stand to be away from him and we were getting serious at 18 and 17... Too young i know... His mother made that clear for the next 6 years. Anyway in that time he developed epilepsy struggled with that, we got married, moved to my moms to care for her, transferred to the same college, and started a business together. Here we are now I am 24 turning 25 soon and he is 23 turning 24 soon. We have been married for 2 years, have two dogs, still go to the same college, have our own place, two okay jobs, two new cars...everything we ever wanted. On Monday April 19th on my way home from the podiatrist he tells me over the phone he had an affair two years ago with his supervisor at work, and so many details. He met her kids, it was before - after - and during the wedding. He would leave me caring for my sick mother and go watch tv at her house, go on dates, the mall, and they sexted, and he eventually had sex with her NO CONDOM. This all came out two years later as he broke down and said he hates himself and he cant hold it in anymore because he feels we can never be truly close with this buried and that he has not been able to love me right because of it. My response was so collected. At first I did not believe him because legit he is such a shy guy how??? it made no sense... I got home he packed up and went to his mothers. I NEVER drink ever, but that night I drank till black out and other things again I have never done and ended up in the hospital (my neighbors think were crazy now). anyway that night he came to the hospital having seen me on a stretcher on our security cameras. we talked but I was still buzzed. He came home and slept on the couch. I woke up and seriously process what happened. Everyone wants me to leave him, but the person that he has been this last week has been better than he has ever treated me. He put in his two weeks notice, is working on another job and promised to buy us new rings today. Next Saturday we are going for our first counseling session. I am very excited to have a better marriage. The only thing? My best friend does not support this... my family think I deserve better and warn me of this happening while we have kids. I am only going to be 25 and I love this man, and I married him so I clearly see the possibility of a future. I have no way to know if it will happen again... i don't think he is that person he was two years ago. I think that we can have a better marriage than ever before. However, if I do this and get back on the track that he is on and we have kids and he does this again... I will have felt like I could have been happier just leaving. Am I wrong to think that even if I left this could still happen? This can happen to anybody? Am I wrong to want to believe the man who wronged me? Am I weak to stay?

    1. Wow! First off, Welcome to the club no-one wants to join. Second, No darling, you are not wrong to want any of the things you spoke of. But, there is a lot of work for both of you. Your Heartbreak. You need to decide what that means to you. Not any-one else's definition. Yours! Your rules! Ask for what will make you feel safe. Elle has a list elsewhere on this site. From the sounds of it you have a handle on the beginnings of this one. Your healing! What do you need? A simple question with out a simple answer. But! You get to answer this one. And it might take awhile to figure it out. I only found this site 5-6months ago. The women here are healers and warriors. Each brings hard earned knowledge and wisdom. Read through and this will become apparent. Wishing you well.

  90. Checking back in 🥺 thank you so much! We’ve been in counseling weekly and I am trying. Through all of this I still feel so week yet so strong. I think about getting out of at least saving up and making sure I always have an out. Two months later brought me to a place where I am working hard on myself. I got a really good job and have been learning from the other women 💖 also stats say men who cheat are almost 4x more likely. Like the divorce stats Very high! I’m trying to find my own voice, but honestly haven’t found it. He left the job, but I can’t stop thinking she had my husband... in every way intimately. How can he ever really fix that? I want to leave and find someone who just would never hurt me like this. Someone who treasures me. I know it’s surely possible... I got in an accident and totaled my car two weeks ago... since I’m questioning everything. I love him, but truly feel this is destined to happen again and idk if I can waste my 20’s like this...

    1. I'm glad you're in counselling AC2019. Just me's advice (above) is right on the money. You know what's right for you but sometimes we can only see as far as our "next right step". Keep asking yourself, what do I need "next". And then...take it.

  91. I'll skip thr really long story and paraphrase: After 3 year affair with a stuttering stop, he then talked with her "as just friends" off and on for another 7 years. Last time I found out, counseling with our Pastor, which seemed to change him due to accountability, he said. Now, 2 years later, just discovered he is now sleeping with prostitutes, on porn sites and online web sites to hook up. I am beside myself. Killer is, he now thinks he is a sex addict as he has done some reading and says he fits the picture with his actions and resultant feelings (same, guilt, etc). He likens his want of something outside of marriage to an alcoholic.
    I don't want to go, but I don't want to stay. He is doing a program called mindful habit system, just started. Dday #? Was just 3 days ago. My 2 girls (29 & 20) knew for months, but didn't feel they should get in "our business." I am a doctor, I am a strong, smart, nurturing woman, but feel like a doormat- again! What the hell is wrong with me?! My marriage vows mean something to me, but enough is enough!
    On top of that, he has Parkinsons disease, so the meds he takes encourage addictive behaviours.
    I am at a loss. It has taken many years for the ghost of the long term relationship to leave my brain and our bed. Now, it's worse as he is paying for sex and searching for thrills.
    Weve only lived in our new city- moved for better job, insurance and location in November- he started in January!
    Does he have a disease? He seems to fit the patterns I read dor sex addiction.
    Is sex addiction different than a habitual cheater? I have no idea. He's had the affair, the best friend but it's ok because were not having sex, the prostitute, the porn, the online banter.......
    Can he change? I cannot and donnot want to go through this ultimate betrayal again. And again, ad nauseam.
    How stupid am I? It happened again!!! He did it to me again, and different. And worse, and unsafe!!!! And my kids know, and my best friends know (but are incredibly supportive) embarrassing, to say the very least. I have no one to talk with. Reading your site helps a bit, but I dont know what to do with the disease aspect vs just a slimy, lying cheater.
    I'm 56, he's 63. Been married 22 years. Thought he was my soulmate. We are each other's best friends. I want to hug him for comfort then beat him to a pulp.
    Any help out there?
    Signed, kris

  92. Hello all,

    I found out about my partner's affair because I asked him about the women he dated before me. I wasn't asking because I was jealous but because I was genuinely curious... What were they like? What was the relationship like? I tend to be inquisitive when I'm in love.

    We've been together for 3 years but have been close friends for 8 years. We met as roommates back in the day and became close friends.

    When I asked about his past relationships, he became squirly and anxious. I didn't peg his anxiety for an infidelity, but I knew something was off. The next night, I asked him why he got so fidgety about the question which led to him becoming even more anxious. I poked and prodded... I was a detective. The more fidgety he got, the more it became clear there was something he was hiding... Then it became clear it was something that was going to hurt.

    He told me with tears in his eyes that he slept with someone a couple months before we moved in together (2.5 years ago). It was a woman he dated before me. I had figured it out during my investigation but to hear it from his mouth crushed my soul. I moved 300 miles to be with him because I was in love. It was the largest leap of faith I had taken in a relationship before. It was devastating to find out that he slept with someone while we were apartment hunting.

    It was one time. She played on a regular Saturday soccer team that he was a part of. When he broke it off with her, she would still occasionally go to play. One night, everyone decided to play pool. Everyone bailed except my partner, the OW and another player. The 3 of them played pool and drank heavily. So much so that the other player needed to be carried inside his home. Once my partner and the OW laid their friend on his couch, they got into her car, and she invited him over to her place. The rest can be filled with imagination.

    His story continues with him waking up next to her and realizing what he had done. He promptly left. He reached out to her a few days later and invited her to a park. He brought her sandwiches and they sat down where he told her that what they did couldn’t happen again. He told her he was in love with me... and then they continued to have lunch. In the 3 months to follow, there were sporadic text messages about their pick-up soccer game, her busted car and other non-sexual or flirty messages (I checked his phone). Looking at the dates, I could tell he had messaged her in my home... The home I had left to be with him.

    I was completely humiliated and devastated. I've been in therapy off and on for 7 years and once he told me about his infidelity, all the growth I'd accumulated went out the window. I was on a warpath. I asked for all the details, sexual and otherwise. I asked them 2, 3, 4, 5 times to make sure he was telling me the truth. We went to bed at 4am that night. He wakes up at 5am each morning for work.

    The next day, I asked him for 3 things: 1. I needed him to leave the house. I didn't know for how long or where he would go but I needed my space. 2. He needed to be 100% transparent with me regardless of what questions I asked or what information was going to be shared. 3. I needed him to begin therapy for the first time in his life. He agreed to my terms.

  93. I lost about 15 lbs the first month. I had no desire to eat. I had given up an incredible support system I built for myself in SoCal filled with friends I considered family (I'm 7 years sober and that is where my original path of sobriety began in AA). I lived next to the beach for christ's sake! I was happy! I willingly left those things behind to be with the man I had chosen as my life partner. I now feel sorry for the girl that said goodbye to that life.

    He's realized, in therapy, that this happened as a last, knee-jerk reaction that stemmed from his time before our relationship when he wasn’t accountable to anyone other than himself. He could do things like this with no consequences. He says this was not planned and he knows where he wants to be. He had hoped to shove the infidelity down and never speak of it out loud ever again. I told him healthy relationships don’t work like that… He needed to give me the opportunity to make my own decision out of respect for me and our relationship. He’s shown a massive amount of remorse for what he's done and has exuded so much energy into making me feel safe and loved. We've just begun couples therapy to add to our individual therapy sessions.

    Despite his infidelity, this is the best relationship I've ever been in (I'm 36). It's incredibly loving and supportive. I feel heard every time I speak. But something like this shakes you to your soul and at times I don't feel like myself. I'm not spiteful, I don't hold grudges, I'm not mean... But the woman who was cheated on holds grudges and she is spiteful.

  94. Hello ladies, some advice please. Discovered that hubby has had a brief affair with a work colleague. (we've been married 28 years)
    Interesting discussion: he works in a female dominated field.
    Here is the situation so far.
    Toxic workplace with lots of sexual harrassment (from women to men)
    He reports constant sexual language and propositions to him.
    He had a couple of friends in the workplace which he then mistakenly asked for sex out of hours. 2 x knock backs.
    He left that workplace and was then pursued relentlessly by one woman who managed to hook up with him.
    He says it was totally sex on his part and he was out of his head due to the toxic work culture. He says he wanted more sex than he was getting at home but never ever told me that. Both of us being awake at the same time might have helped that.
    He says it was never ever meant to be in the long term - it was just a silly naughty thrill.
    He says that we had grown apart. This was partly due to work pressures and mainly due to the fact that his temper was horrible. Temper was always an issue but the past couple of years while in that workplace were shocking. So OK, valid comment but so not my fault.
    OK, its easy to get lazy in a relationship and forget the amount of effort that you need to put in for each other. That may have happened but most of the back off was because of walking on eggshells.
    I knew what was going on (not all of what was going on) and despite him saying it was all over, it wasn't. (Lasted about six weeks with one hookup)
    It all come to a horrible end when her husband tried to kill himself and the cow tried to tell him that she was in love with him. He actually looked like he was in shock that day.
    I collapsed with panic attacks that I couldn't control. Can't believe that didn't elicit some sympathy.

    Anyway, five months down the track, we are feeling like we have put everything back together and he has said all the right things and done all the right things. I have sweated my hearts blood to bring us both through this and I think I have done as good a job as a counsellor. I insisted we speak for a minimum of one hour every day until I felt I had had my say.

    Do I really believe him? Like your opinion. I don't want to get thinking my life is OK again and then be traumatised again as I don't think I can get through that.

    I am fairly confident this is the only one lapse in 28 years and he has told me that had he not been in that workplace, he certainly would not have taken any steps to seek out an affair. He has no dating sites or secret things going online as he is not tech savvy and I am pretty much all over everything.
    I know that is not trusting but if I couldn't check up on him, I couldn't make it from day to day.
    What do you think? Are we likely to make it OK?

    1. Anonymous,
      I'm not in the prediction game. But here's what I do know: Each day we stay in a marriage is a choice. If you're seeing the change you want to see, then stay. If he's doing the work to become a better husband and to use his horrible choice as the chance for greater intimacy and honesty with you, then stay. If you are happier with him then without him, then stay. You can change your mind tomorrow or next year or next decade. And so can he. Which is where our fear comes in. We want to think that we can predict what will happen but all we can do is give it our best guess based on what we're seeing today.

  95. I found this group a few months ago, bought the book and this website became my go to when the pain gets too much. It is the first time I am sharing my story but I have to do it. I always feel so ashamed and do not want others to know. I feel as if I disappointed myself. Today I realised that maybe there is someone that can relate to the position I am in and can give me some advice. I am 53 years old and married for 32 years. I found out about my husbands first affair almost 20 years ago, the second one 10 years ago and then again 5 years ago. These are the one's I know of. I have forgiven him every time and I was the one then that went for counselling afterwards. I really thought it stopped but then 2 months ago i saw some photos and realised my husband is a sex addict. I confronted him and he admitted the whole story and said that he stopped a while ago and the OW of 5 years ago told him that he is the father of her child. The child is 5 years old and this is the woman that constantly sent me messages telling me how good her sex is with my husband. He shared this with me the evening and two hours later his mother passed away and as usual I did not process anything and just continued. After the funeral I realised I need some space and went away for a few days. He begged me on his knees to forgive him and told me how ashamed he is and we are both going for counselling now. The previous time it happened, my kids found out about it. I was in a clinic while my son wrote his final exams. I came out and found out my son is smoking weed. It affected our kids so much and it took so much of me just to make sure they okay again. Today we are okay and do so many things together as a family and they adore their father. If they know whats happening it will destroy them. It's suppose to be such a happy year. Our first grandchild was born this year. I know it sounds crazy but I made a conscious decision that I don't want to leave. I have invested too much in this marriage, worked so hard and at my age I don't feel like starting over again and I know i will struggle financially and maybe just maybe he is really trying to change. I know I am crazy and should have left him years ago. I don't even know if he is really honest this time and once again he prefers not to talk about things etc. I need to find a way to carry on without feeling this much pain because I am struggling. I need to detach but don't know how. It feels as if the whole world is laughing behind me - the crazy woman staying with her cheating husband but I know the reasons I am staying....

    1. I'm so glad you found us. Please please know that you are not alone. I felt much like you do -- what kind of idiot stays with a husband who cheated repeatedly, like mine did, like yours did. You get to decide how to live your life. And yes, your husband's behaviour has affected your whole family, including your kids.
      I would ask, given that they know part of the story, that your husband is honest with them. That he admits his "secret" life, that he assures them he's in treatment for his addiction (assuming he is -- I would encourage you to insist upon that) and that you too, are seeking counselling to help you cope with this.
      You cannot control their response to this news but I think it's a good thing to teach our children that, while we cannot control what happens to us, we can take responsibility for how we deal with it. And I also think it's a good lesson to teach our children that we can love people who are flawed and who own up to their mistakes and make amends. That we can, if we choose, give second chances. It gives them permission in their own lives to make mistakes (hopefully not the SAME mistakes) and own up to them.
      I'm so sorry for all you're going through and I hope you, too, are in counselling to give you the support you need to work through all this pain and trauma. You will get through this...I promise you will. But you must prioritize your own healing, you must set clear boundaries for your marriage, and it can also be enormously liberating to continue to share your story. You have nothing to be ashamed of. And you have no doubt already discovered how many smart, funny, incredible, strong women are on this site and who know the pain you're going through. You'll discover that the most recent blog posts are where you get the most readers/comments. Some of these older posts get overlooked. But are among friends.

  96. Tks Elle, just felt good to put it all into words. The hardest part is being too ashamed to talk to people and ask for support.

    1. Loris, the shame is not yours to carry. You did nothing wrong. He didn't cheat because there's anything wrong with you. He cheated because there's something wrong with him.



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