Rick Reynolds, LCSW
by Rick Reynolds, LCSW
Founder & President, Affair Recovery

20 Most Common Mistakes of the Unfaithful Spouse

mistakes of the unfaithfulAfter the revelation of an affair or other sexually inappropriate behavior it unfortunately, is very easy for the unfaithful spouse to make a series of well-meaning mistakes which only complicates the situation. Listed below are some of the most common ones we see in our practice.

We hope that this information will help guide your actions. Navigating your relationship in the wake of infidelity, regardless of whether or not your spouse is aware of the affair, is overwhelmingly complicated.  But, you're not the first to be in this tumultuous situation. We've seen these actions in couples time and again. If you can avoid them, your road to recovery may be smoother, but if you've already committed them, it doesn't mean you should give up hope. Do what you can do to avoid these actions in the future.

1. Naively believing that if you and your affair partner decide to do the right thing and return to your marriages, that the affair is indeed over.

In reality, this relationship probably meant more to one party than the other. For that reason, just because you decide to end the affair doesn't mean the other party will honor your decision, or even that you will. The "Break-up, Make-up" cycle is a natural part of an affair. But you cannot begin to heal your marriage until you take a stand and absolutely refuse contact. However, don't be naive; the next attempt or temptation to contact is bound to come. Denial of an impending reality will only leave you vulnerable to relapse. So, prepare yourself for having to firmly and definitively refuse contact.

For more information on making a unilateral decision to end an affair, read "Ending an Affair" - a 6 part series.

2. Leaking out information over time.

The revelation of an affair or sexual addiction is a frightening process, but one of the worst mistakes is trying to hold back the whole truth. Similarly, spinning the truth so your mate won't be so upset is just as damaging.

The problem with leaking information is that it delays your mate's ability to learn to trust you again. If your mate believes that you've laid out the whole truth and nothing but the truth, that there are no more surprises or painful revelations yet to come and then your mate encounters multiple "oh by the ways" or other discoveries as time goes on, then it will eventually destroy your mate's ability to believe a single word you say.

For that reason, it is best to lay it all out on the front end. It’s never a good idea to try to control your mate by the flow of information. Either your mate will be able to handle the truth or not. Getting the truth out, all of it and unvarnished to your mate is a great opportunity to display real integrity and safety: something you may feel you've been lacking if you've had to hide your actions or lie. Don't miss your chance. Tell the whole truth as soon as you can.

For more information regarding full disclosure watch the video: "Reaching Ground Zero - the Importance of Full Disclosure"

Also, you can read our 4 part series: "A Crucial Step to Surviving Infidelity: Discovery."

3. Being defensive.

The antidote to defensiveness is taking personal responsibility. Defensiveness is the number one thing to avoid when talking with your hurt spouse. If you become defensive, then your mate will only assume you don't understand and he or she will begin to turn up the volume. During this period in our lives, one of my wife's favorite questions was, "How loud am I going to have to get before you hear me?" I always knew when I heard that line that it was time to listen. It is extremely painful for the unfaithful spouse to examine what has happened, but minimizing, blaming one's mate, or even blaming another party, is not a solution.

Since the revelation of a betrayal is so traumatic, there is no room for defensiveness. You're better off using two phrases: 1) "You're right" (when they are right) and 2) "I deserve that" (when they are wrong). Answering the "why" questions is tricky at best. Any explanation you give will be perceived as an excuse. The best answer for the why questions is to tell your mate you will do everything possible to search for the answer, but admit you don't want to sound defensive while trying to answer a question you don't necessarily know the answer to. Whatever you do, don't be defensive.

At this point, you might be saying, "I don't want to take all the blame; my wife (or husband) made her (or his) own contributions to what has happened. We had issues in this relationship long before I had an affair." And while that may be true, your first order of business needs to be the stabilization of the marriage. Give your mate time to recover, and then begin to address the other issues in the marriage. One of your first steps will be avoiding defensiveness when talking with your mate.

4. Believing everything your mate says.

When people are emotional and hurt they may say things they don't mean. If your mate says "I want a divorce," don't assume that you are going to be divorced. If your mate resorts to name calling or trying to hurt you by threatening to take your kids, don't overreact. After all is said and done, there will always be a lot more said than done. If your mate asks you to get out, then accommodate, but don't assume it's for the long run. A new day will most likely bring different feelings. If anything, you can be assured that feelings will shift over time.

Warning: While you are taking your mate's words with a grain of salt do not minimize what your mate is telling you. Listen empathetically, and let your mate know you heard what was said. Just don't structure the remainder of your life on what a hurt spouse says, especially in the first three months after the revelation of the affair. Balance your thoughts about your mate's word between sincerely hearing and understanding that every word may not stick.

5. Living life as normal.

You can't go on living life as normal if you want to bring healing to your marriage after a betrayal. Normal is what got you into this. Changes need to be made to give your mate assurance that you're taking responsibility for your problem and being proactive to prevent it from happening again.

We have had clients who continue to go to the bar or stay out late without informing their spouses where they are or who they are with. To some, it may seem elementary to make sure and build safety in a concrete way, but it cannot be stressed enough. Taking responsibility for your betrayal by avoiding high risk situations and getting the necessary help to get your life (as well as that of your mate) back into safety is part of taking responsibility for your infidelity. If you want to rebuild your marriage, this is not optional. Make them aware of the ways that you have altered your life in order to create a culture of safety. These are the things that will assure her that it's not "life as normal."

6. Trying to defend your affair partner.

It may seem to go without saying, but don't defend the other woman (or man). Most likely your mate will trash the affair partner (or if you've been using porn she may just try to trash you). Don't try to defend your affair partner. It's easier for your spouse to be angry with the affair partner than it is for her (or him) to be angry with you, and if you defend the affair partner, your mate is likely to feel that you are more loyal to the affair partner than you are to your mate and your marriage.

7. Trying to avoid talking with your mate about their feelings.

The way the betrayed deal with trauma caused by infidelity is by talking about their feelings. In fact, they may need to restate the same thing, or ask the same question multiple times. We the unfaithful tend to feel that our betrayed mates are bringing it up just to make us feel bad or shame us. That's not the case; it's just how they heal. Answer your mate's questions, 20 times if need be. In the long run, they will appreciate your openness and you will have helped them heal while also working to create a ‘safe’ climate for you both to heal.

8. Pointing out your mate's faults and failures.

Deficiencies certainly exist in every marriage, but now is not the time to deal with them. First, you have to re-establish the fidelity and stability of the relationship. Then, after the breach in the relationship is repaired, you can address other issues. Early on, the unfaithful spouse must learn to embrace the spotlight being on their own life before any issues within the betrayed spouse can be discussed.

9. Taking your spouse to the same places you frequented with your affair partner.

One of the most difficult battles the hurt spouse fights is the one of reminders. On any given day your spouse might have as many as 50 to 60 reminders. Each time, your spouse has to calm themselves down and get back in control of the emotions. Taking your mate to a place where your mate knows you were with your affair partner will cause your mate serious pain. For your spouse's sake, be sensitive to places that will serve as a reminder and bring pain.

10. Telling a lie (of any sort).

Giving your mate good reason to feel safe is one of your goals. Telling a lie (even the smallest of lies) only reinforces the belief that your mate cannot trust you. As difficult as it may seem, tell the truth. In the long run, your mate will at least know that you're being real with them even if your mate doesn't like what you're telling them.

11. Not supporting your mate's recovery.

The pain of the revelation of a betrayal is disorienting to both partners. Both the husband and wife will struggle with how to cope with the pain resulting from the event. Sometimes it can be frustrating since frequently the hurt spouse takes longer to move past the initial trauma than the unfaithful spouse.

In these situations, the hurt spouse wants to continue to understand what has happened and wants to continue to talk about it; the unfaithful spouse will often interpret that as an attempt at punishment. This may cause the unfaithful spouse to quit trying to support the other's recovery. At some point, it may be very tempting to tell your mate to "just get over it."
In fact, it may seem like a good idea in terms so that you can move on, but if the initial period of recovery doesn't run its course, it can result in future problems. If your mate represses her/his feelings and doesn't finish processing what has happened, then the feelings will begin to surface again in about 5 years.

In reality, you are far better off to support your mate's recovery at the time of the betrayal rather than living five years with a mate who is hurting and who will eventually blow up.

12. Not being consistent in your recovery plan.

After a betrayal, there is an obvious problem with trust. To re-establish trust, an unfaithful spouse has to be consistent in what he or she says and does. It may seem easy for you to think even a minor inconsistency is no big deal because you know your heart's condition and your intent, but your mate does not.

The only thing a hurt spouse can rebuild on are your behaviors. If you are consistent and do what you say, then over time your mate can begin to trust again. But if you fail to follow through with what you say, it will only serve to reinforce your mate's distrust. It is imperative that you say what you mean and mean what you say. Don't make the mistake of telling your mate what you think she/he wants to hear only to fail to follow through. You will be far better off if you're realistic, and then do what you say even if what you say (and then do) is not as grand as you or your mate had hoped.

13. Not keeping commitments you make with your mate.

This is much the same as the above item. If you tell your mate you will not eat lunch with another woman, then don't go out to eat with another woman (or man if that's where your temptations lie). If you tell your spouse that you'll go to counseling together, then go to counseling together. If you agree to be home at 6:00, then make sure you're home by 6:00. If you agree to go to an accountability group, then go to the group. Failure to keep these types of agreements, though small in perceived impact, will cast doubt on any and all of your integrity and make it difficult for your mate to trust.

14. Telling your mate to forgive you.

As a general rule, never tell someone to forgive you. You can ask, but don't tell. Forgiveness is a process your mate will have to work through. In many ways, it has little to do with you; it's a gift your mate has to give herself/himself. Failure to forgive would result in your mate remaining a victim. It's far better to tell your mate that you want her/him to be able to forgive you and ask if there is anything you can do to help your mate heal and forgive or to make the process easier for them.

Also, don't beat your mate over the head with religious terminology, telling your mate that now that you've asked forgiveness, forgiveness must in fact, be granted. If you tell your mate to forgive, it will only lead to resentment and make it more difficult to forgive you. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.

15. Not answering all of your mate's questions.

This is a tricky one. How much information a person needs to heal is best determined by personality type. Some individuals need little information before they come to the point where they have enough to understand what has happened and can move on. Others need massive amounts of data before they feel they understand what has happened. For these individuals, what they don't know truly does hurt them. Usually, what they can imagine is far worse than the reality.

One of the greatest gifts you can give is the gift of answered questions. Tell your mate you'll answer all of the questions, but if you feel your mate is asking questions out of anger and in an attempt to hurt you, then call a time out. Use the 24-hour rule. Tell your mate that you'll give whatever information is needed, but you'd first like for your mate to take 24 hours and pray or think critically about whether she/he really wants that information. Then at the end of 24 hours, if your mate still wants the answer then give it, truthfully and completely with no spinning. Giving your mate the information she or he feels is needed is important because your mate must rewrite the history of your relationship. Moving on will be difficult if not impossible until this task is complete. Don't withhold the information that your spouse will need to move on.

16. Not talking to your mate.

There is more than one way to hurt your mate and being passive aggressive is certainly one of them. It's not uncommon for the unfaithful spouse to be angry about what has happened and how the hurt spouse has responded as a result of the pain. Since it may feel inappropriate for the unfaithful spouse to be upset, and clearly they have no right to be verbally aggressive, some unfaithful spouses choose to hurt their mate by not talking. Both aggression and passive aggression are intended to hurt your mate. Both reveal an absence of love. Give your mate the gift of communication in order to help your mate to heal.

17. Trying to get all of your mate's friends and family on your side.

You might be hoping they will help your mate to "wake up and see reality." Some of your friends may come on board. But that does not mean that your mate will listen. In fact, it’s very common for this strategy to backfire and only increase hostility and resentment towards you. Other friends may believe and reinforce the fact that your spouse is correct in leaving someone so controlling if you try this approach.

18. Believing there is a simple formula or a set course to fix the problem.

It would be nice if there were, but each type of affair has its own set of challenges with a different set of solutions that are not linear or stepwise, and are unique to each situation and couple.

19. Threatening your mate.

In the moment, it may seem that your threats will make your spouse "see the light" and that will convince her/him to "fly right." But it's important to avoid making threats because it generates the false motivations for complying with your wishes.

Threats result in fear, guilt, and shame. While these motivators may serve in the short term to get your mate to follow your desired course of action, they will only be effective as long as these feelings continue to produce pain. Once the fear, guilt and shame wear off, then your mate will lose motivation.

You are far better off being supportive and telling your mate "I hope you choose to stay with me, but I want you to do what God is telling you to do." Coercion from a mate can actually drive your spouse away.

20. Using your children or grandchildren as pawns.

Frequently, this happens in an attempt to manipulate one's mate into staying. But this will only hurt your children. If your mate is determined to leave, forcing or manipulating your mate into staying is neither good nor healthy for your relationship or family.


Having read about these common mistakes, don't feel doomed if you've already committed half or even all of them. That's the point – these are common mistakes. But if you can avoid them in the future, you'll begin to stabilize your relationship and find that you can move forward. Don't give up hope at healing your relationship. You may even consider taking time to apologize to your mate for any or all of these mistakes you’ve committed in the healing process. It will speak volumes to your mate that you’ve come to see how wrong you were and how your choices affected them. To begin the healing process, a great first step would be to complete our Free First Steps Bootcamp for Surviving Infidelity. This 7 Day bootcamp goes through many of these mistakes in detail as you learn to navigate this process. If you've completed the Bootcamp, a next step is signing up for EMS Online or the in-person, weekend intensive, EMS Weekend or Hope for Healing our course for the unfaithful spouse. If you’d like more information please call 888-527-2367 or email Info@hope-now.com.




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I wished I would've read this 6 months ago!

Time machine

I wish I’d see this 10 years ago when I messed up the first time. I was so good for 8 years then fell apart. Had I known no. 11 and realized that the festering wound of infidelity could reappear years and years later I wouldn’t have given up and relapsed.

Well Put

Good information. Not easy to follow at all times but you've got to stick with it.

Do they care?

These are great points. The problem is most unfaithful spouses don't care and won't read it, especially at the early stages of discovery. I guess it helps for us betrayed to know that these are common mistakes, so we don't feel so alone when we see them from our unfaithful.

I'm sorry to hear that most

I'm sorry to hear that most unfaithful spouses won't read this or care. On the contrary, my husband was committed to working things out. Which meant he was extremely attentive to what I needed. We read many of these articles together. I admit I asked a lot of very feeling oriented & detailed questions early on- I couldn't help myself, I was so shocked by the disclosure. Over time I was able to ask in a calmer way. It was more about fact finding & intellectualizing how & why the affair started & continued. I began to understand that asking questions I knew wouldn't devastate me were much better. I aske myself first "why do I need to know this? Will it be helpful in my healing? Is it a healthy question? Will both of us learn & grow?" Not only did I get better answers we both became more self aware & more intimate in our own relationship. Also, many of the thoughts rolling around in my heart & mind weren't as bad as I made them out to be. This statement is a mantra: real but not true. The feelings I had were real but for the most part the images were not fully true.

My husband would read, watch or listen to pretty much anything I asked him to b/c he knew it would help me. If it helped me it would create more trust, healing & intimacy which would help him! I encourage you to kindly ask your spouse to support you by reading articles like these then allow for lots of conversation after.

So happy for you that your

So happy for you that your husband is so accommodating and understanding. My husband keeps asking me to let go and move on, saying it’s (the affair) over. It’s almost 2 years since I made the discovery and I am like a yo-yo where my feelings are concerned. I have discovered a lot of details initially in my own, then through asking a lot of questions but many times through fights and arguments with my husband. He keeps saying he wants peace and move on. A few times after serious arguments he says he wants out! I sometimes feel like doing that as well but I have many considerations and also the kids. He is nice and wants reconciliation but he cannot take it that I may change my mood suddenly. Sigh!

The Mistakes

Not to be harsh, but my wife did just about if not all now that I think about it. Wow! It was crazy to hear and watch her actions. Then there was an outside influence in a friend as well. Thanks.


I still feel as though there will be more Ddays. He's trying to be honest, but is still defensive at times. He doesn't claim to remember the time line well enough to give me a solid picture. Basically admits there are aspects he isn't sharing for fear of me knowing him too well.

I'm feeling stuck.

lost memory

when i told his wife he claimed memory loss.

This has hurt our friendship and has left me depressed!

Lost Memory Seems to Be Common

My wife also dosen't remember a lot. Like the year...BUT she remembers his telephone number...Strange, no?!

Why does my husband claim to

Why does my husband claim to not remember something’s ? At first he claimed not to even remember her name. And how many times they where together. I feel like he is holding some things back from me.

Stuck also

We are 22 months past D-Day and trickle truths about the depth of his affair still surface! It’s deviating every time something new come up. He is also not clear about what actually happen or his timeline. He can’t remember and I find that extremely hard to believe. How do you forget reservation at hotels? I feel like he just lies to my face and I’m just to believe him? Trust is so broken. Respect is lost.

Stuck is an understatement!!


I have made most of them and it has created a nitemare. It has not allowed my wife to heal, sometimes I think at all. I come from a family that did not show emotion and I have no idea how to deal with her's. The biggest issue today is trust. She constantly accuses me of things that are not true but cannot be proven, mainly what my thoughts are and feelings are. It has been 1 1/2 years since contact was broken with the affair partner and we are no better off. The problem I have is how to respond to the accusations. I end up reacting and not responding mainly because I have made a lot of changes and I am defending myself. This is obviously not the right way to handle it, but I know no other way. Any pointers from someone that is where I am would be great. I have been told to take it, but if I do it seems to reinforce what she believes.

I almost wonder if you're my husband...

But there is a minor difference in the story and you posted 29 days ago, but we blew up back in November of 2015.

I was that wife. Constantly accusing. But my H did not cease all contact, as that was not possible because she is his boss.

And his willful refusal to get another job and sever all ties with her was the reason I didn't trust.

Not more than a year later, I caught him sending her inappropriate text messages and FB PM's again. She then promoted him and had him working long, late hours, very closely with her.

And then she had him out running HER personal errands, while telling me he was at work.

Of course, I went off the deep end when he took the promotion. And every late night was an accusation and a fight. And there was the little hussy at work telling him that his home life was having a bad effect on him doing his job and he needed to get his head right about his home life.

Then he started to push and push and push... going out, staying out all night, telling OBVIOUS lies, playing mind games with me... it all blew up on Dec 27th. By Dec 29th,he was living in her house and the same day he claims he moved in with her, is the same day that he removed me from the bank account that his paycheck got deposit to.

He says he's done. He wants a divorce. He hates me and can't stand me. I have too much angst. That's an excuse to have an affair and leave the marriage? I dunno, I wish he'd pass me that bong he's smoking, cause that must me some good stuff in there.

Finally, he told me that he thinks he took it because he knew it would end the marriage, and that the marriage was actually over for him a year before he met her... there you... the 'workaround' excuse for never having done the 'work' to recover from the affair in the first place.


It is very good that you came clean and told the hole truth to your spouse. Every person takes a different amount of time to heal. You must remain patient and empathetic to her needs because she is dealing with trusting you again. Counselling is strongly recommended.

Listen to the pain

My best advice is to listen and affirm the pain and fears expressed through the accusations. Your wife is looking to move through the pain but also trying to figure out if she can or should trust you again. What she wants, and needs for healing, is to feel safe. Assuming she hasn't already closed the door entirely on ever trusting you again, eventually, your steadfast empathy for the pain she feels at not being sure she can trust you, will get through. If you view the accusations as an expression of her fear and pain of being betrayed again, and a cry for your steadfast love and reassurance, it will make it easier to figure out what to do. A year and a half may seem like a long time for her to still be in so much pain and fear, but that's not much time for a broken heart. Being patient, reassuring, acknowledging the pain and fear she is feeling when she makes accusations will eventually disarm her, because acknowledging her pain will eventually help her trust and will reduce the fear impulse. Acknowledge the pain and fear and love her through it. I suspect that not responding to her has made her feel that you are apathetic. You must find a way to express empathy for her fears and heartache while reassuring her that your fidelity is solidly steadfast.

I am in the same boat

I can connect with the comments of the unfaithful in this case. My problem is related to porn and have taken steps toward accountability and internet filtering. I also cannot deal /do not know how to deal with the constant barrage of accusations which are baseless. I have tried my best to be patient and to take steps that I know to take. Need help with showing my empathy or emotion enough so that my wife feels safe. My lack of outward emotion is being taken as apathy on my part or that I simply do not care, which is not the case. I am almost ready to give up.

Still hurting

My husband and I have been married for 3 years.... Lived together for two prior to marriage- he is in his 50's and I in my 40's. Not our first marriage.

I thought. I found. Someone mature and settled. It wasn't until after we were married that I discovered the affair! ( 3 months after- because the tramp he was seeing sent me images of their texts for over the past couple of years. Included were photos shared. I was furious!

He stated the affair ended in Dec. we were married in April. However, I receive cruel notes on my door , calls in the middle of the night and emails from this woman. A restraining order haseen taken out- in front of the judge this woman lies and denies she sent the emails etc. Since I cannot prove it... The case was dropped. The threats cont as well as the accusations that they still see each other!
I moved out- back to my home. He was sincerely apologetic. I do love him and decided to try to work through it. I am still angry- I still ask question- I am still hurt! He tells me to get over it already! Curses at me, calls me names. I am now on guard when he interacts with any woman- he is extremely jovial when another woman pays attention to him ( yes I give him attention and never denied him anything emotionally, intimately...)

He defends other women, however continues to point out my flaws as if I don't already know- he deflects and turns the argument on me as if I have done wrong.

I am not ugly, I am not overweight... I don't know why he has to insult ME- when all I want is answers.

I want to move past this - I love my husband - if I were to ask him to read / watch this- it will only cause me more grief and hurt. " Get over it!"

I agree...

and I'm sorry that happened to you, Annie. You sound like a good person. All I can tell you is that this wasn't your fault. Your husband is emotionally abusive and he doesn't care that he hurt you.
Please tell me you have divorced him since then. As to that other woman? She sounds evil and sick.

A couple of years ago, my husband received a nasty nude photo of a woman whom I believe to be his coworker. I only saw the image for a split second, but I believe it was her.
We should not tolerate this treatment for another minute. It's worse if they are not even sorry for cheating. My prayer is that you are in a better place now, emotionally and mentally.

As to not being ugly or overweight...neither am I. I'm thin, attractive, and a lot younger than my husband. That still didn't keep him from straying.
Also, even if you were fat or unattractive? Him cheating and abusing you would STILL be wrong. You are a person, you are his wife, and nobody deserves to be hurt that way.


I discovered his current affair about 6 months ago. Thought we were moving forward, than found text between them in October. He has since acknowledged he has been seeing another(s) for at least 16 years. Believe he lost sexual interest in me after our child was born. I am a pretty woman, talented in many ways. My friends and colleagues would tell you I am anything but dull or unsexy. But he has put me in a box. Would you be able to repost or send me that audio recording about" Why her" Our marriage is done as he has told me he can't lie to me further as he is disgusted with himself. He will not come clesn about the current or recent affair. 16 years of infidelity would make that self evident. I appreciate it if you could attach that post as I no longer can find it. It made me feel much better as he has been trying to blame me, but I realized hearing that posting it really is not me at all. Thankyou Jeannine

she a hard women

I had to read this to her as I don't think she wanted to read on her own but the steps had our relationship to a T i hope

Struggling.... totally ignored

I wish my man had the type of care for me to read this. He doesn't. I found out about the unfaithfulness almost a year ago. His reaction as been to do pretty much all the above. I, the last year tried to suppress my hurt and disappointment. It worked most of the past year until now. Im so angry at myself, at him, at love in general. I cry soo much. I want him to talk to me. He shuts me out and avoids it or gaslights. Its to the point i feel my love for him is dying. He hasn't been there for me to find closure. I've been left to figure answers myself which obviously are horrific. I am the type of personality that needs lots of questions answered to process information. He has gone totally left with that.

It just hurts and im tired of feeling unloved.

Unbelievable Sadness

This is a God-send website. I just found out my best-friend, lover, love of my life, whom I adore and am in love with cheated on me. When I suspected it as a result of finding inappropriate text messages or email, the issue quickly became my fault for "going through my stuff" privacy this and that - I would be the "bad" person for going through and saying something! But the issue of cheating made it's way to me by way of an STD and God knows I have been faithful since the moment I laid eyes on him! I am finding it difficult and almost impossible to talk to my 3 close friends but am finally getting some relief from this website. The videos you have made are priceless and I am praying that their impact on my best friend, and love of my life will be such that I don't have to suffer through the turmoil of the mistakes he's already making (avoidance talking about it, impatience ("get over it") telling me it's over, but coming home late -- phone in the bathroom still, texting in the bathroom :( it's all devastating and I'm hanging on by just a thin thread right now. Please pray for me as this is the most unbelievable paralyzing pain that leaves me feeling ashamed, dishonored, I feel less of a woman, I feel deep deep sadness, I'm crying all the time, I've loss my appetite. I NEVER ever would have thought he would have done this and I am terribly afraid because of all the emotions I feel, but I feel imprisoned to the situation and most importantly - HIS RESPONSE to my knowledge about it, and his overall response to his transgression will determine ultimately if I can survive this horrible event - one which I do not wish upon ANYONE. I am also very devastated that the other woman knows me, and knows how crazy in love I was with this man - and still chose to go down that path with him. I try hard to think of anything else but that situation, and I am so grateful when 2 hours go by and I haven't thought about it. But then there's moments in the day and night when I get a vision in my head and it makes me just want to cry out and curl up in a ball. It is the MOST PAINFUL event (other than putting my dog down and the death of my mother and dad). In fact, I have to say it is the WORST painful event for some odd reason - maybe because he is alive and I know he CHOSE to do what he did. And well, for me - what that means is that he was willing to risk our relationship. You see, I knew I was in love with this man because I am NOT willing to risk my relationship with him. Not ever in a million years. I just hoped he felt the same about me. So my reality is that I am not "that" special after all. Thank you for allowing me to post my thoughts. The past few minutes have been therapeutic for me and the pain is just overwhelming. I find myself wanting to accommodate him almost allowing him to control how we handle this situation. But as much as I'd like to believe I can get over it - what Rick Reynolds speaks about is SO SPOT ON!!!! That helped me feel validated and confirmation that I am responding in a normal manner. thank you so much for your time and attention to my comment.


I found out two week ago. Like you I have found the pain of this is WORSE in some ways than losing my wonderful mum. My husband is generally a good honest man and can't understand how it went that far. But I am finding it really hard to trust him even though he say's he still really loves me. HOW DO YOU MOVE ON??????

Old post

Did you ever figure out how? How to move on?

Husbands of 23 yrs Was caught but denied it all still

I Just found this site I believe for a reason because I was walking iinto Our Bedroom to tell him I'm leaving because of his Affair but mostly because he won't admit to any of it when caught red handed.. I will be back on in the AM since I have no privacy when he is here... I'm getting to where I can't stand to go to bed... This Man was My World... as he says I'm his .. but how when I think he is still seeing her or at least texting in the bathroom like another member stated her husband did .. I'm going to take a breather before I go and talk to him...Any Prayers would be appreciated... Thanks and Hope You all have a Peaceful Night...❤️

So glad you shared your heart

I am so glad you shared your heart as I TOTALLY resonate with everything you said.
I too was devastated by my discovery that my wife was in an affair and even more devastated when she decided to divorce me.
Please, please let me know if you can how you are doing now - some 9 months from when you posted this, it would do my heart good to know that I too will make it, that one day I will smile again - because weeping is what I do now.

I feel the same way

Thank you for this post. It has helped me to see that I am not alone in what I am feeling. I feel exactly the same way. Every single day there may be a moment when I do not think about this. The pain is literally unbearable. This was a man whom I loved with all my heart, and who blamed me for his affair. He told me he had no choice. That it is my fault for being who I am. I thought I was someone who loved and was loved, but it turns out that this stopped after our child was born. 7 years ago. He brings up comments I made to him, fights we have had from YEARS ago, as though he has been keeping a list of all of my faults to use against me in this way. As an excuse to validate his actions. I thought that normal relationships had ups and downs. You do not blame the other for the downs, you work through them. I honestly thought that the past year was our year of working through things, growing our relationship. But, it turns out that the entire year has been of him having an affair with a woman on the other side of the world, constantly texting, frequent international trips under the guise of business or visiting family. Constant phone calls from work. But why would he be showing me attention over the past year? Why sleep with me? Why spend holidays with me? Travel? Over the past months I always had a feeling when he was communicating with her. It would usually be after making love with me. The next day he would once again be withdrawn and sullen. Then i would find the messages. What does this mean? Did sleeping with me make him feel guilty for 'cheating' on her? I can't make sense of his behaviors, the way he denies everything, even though it is so painfully clear that it has been going on for more than a year. The "get over it", "Stop repeating it" "Oh, we are back to THAT again," defending her, telling me it's not HER fault, it's only between us, telling me things she has said about our relationship and our child. I am just at such a loss, and it is obvious that he has no remorse, no feelings. The secrecy, the lying, and the denial and blame shifting is just simply too much for me to bear. Please let me know how all of you have gotten through this. They say time heals. But this pain that I feel will never go away. This was a person to whom I entrusted my entire life, the father of my child, and who I never thought for a SECOND could do anything like this. Does this mean he never valued what he had? Having a family actually means nothing to him? (One of his frequent remarks is "children are flexible. She will get over it. It's not big deal.") .


The words from this post could almost flow directly from my own thoughts and mind. Thank you for sharing this. Thank you!

Very thing is raw to me and

Very thing is raw to me and the pain is crushing my heart. I cry all the time.....
reading your comment gave me some comfort because I realised I’m not alone :(


Thank You for sharing your thoughts. It is quite healing for me to know someone else has made it through the pain.

Sense should prevail...

None of the points in both sections are difficult to understand. Following the guidelines may be harder but certainly not impossible if we try to be careful, as I am working hard to do in these early days. I am very hurt and I have not yet decided to stay, he has yet to fully comprehend or openly discuss the whole story, some defensive behaviour and some avoidance to complete disclose. Almost as if he's holding on to something sacred and doesn't want to lose it by sharing it with me, very painful but I have the heart condition to be patient, we have a family. I have chosen to remain patient because it took eight years to get us to here, it will take time to salvage anything that may be salvageable. I am hopeful and open minded, I would recommend open minds to any hurt spouse, particularly if children are involved, careful not to abandon the relationship for the sake of abandoning and no other good reason. Take the time to ascertain whether it's still worth saving. Never a great idea to make huge, life-altering decisions whilst angry and in pain. We put pressure on ourselves to reach a resolution hurriedly but if it isn't required to speed through it, please be gentle with your pace. I am so grateful for the guidance of such articles and for any help I can glean from anywhere that will assist me to walk the best path for us as a family. As I said, early days so it's hard to tell but I accept people make mistakes and I also have a responsibility for the breakdown. Let's all treat one another with grace and try to remember what brought us together in the first place, distant as it may feel today, it may be what keeps us moving forward and growing from our pain. I wish everyone going through this experience a steady and satisfying return to joy. May your families prevail. xx

Good Advice

This is very good advice. However, most times the unfaithful spouse will not admit to their affair. My husband was having an emotional affair with my second cousin. I found out by mistake. He asked me to help him recover his email password. I saw numerous messages from her. Smiley faces with hearts for eyes. Messages that she wants to be with him etc. When I asked him about it he quickly deleted all the messages. I also found out that he went to her birthday party and lied to me about it(he said he was at a male friends party). He kept saying nothing is going on. She even had the nerve to message him about me telling him that I was sneaky and that he should ask me why I decided to join Facebook. He of course denied denied denied. I am not 100% sure that a physical affair did not occur.
If my husband would admit he did wrong and not turn everything back at me. I most likely could slowly forgive. However, I am so angry and do not not trust him. I would also have more respect for him if he would man up and admit to his affair instead of lying about it(he lies even when proof is shown to him). My point to this rant is if you cheat on your spouse please just admit to it. Stop being a coward and admit that you betrayed the marriage.

Lost in Anger

I was so caught up in my own hurt and anger I made many of these mistakes and held on to my anger and now that I have actually humbled myself and come to the realization that no matter what my husband was doing did not justify what I did. I own my mistakes and I have hurt him deeply. I am longing for him to forgive me it is very painful watching him suffering and not being able to make it go away. As he has said how ironic is it that I caused the pain now I want to fix it. It took a couple months for me to realize I was so lost after he found out about the affair and then I didn't know where to go from there. He feels deserted by friends and family he is very toxic. I am still holding out hope and in God in love I believe it is possible to worth through it. It is not easy and his heart is very hardened. Why do we hurt those we love so much?

Glad to see your post

I hope everything worked out. I recently discovered my wife's affair and i am completely crushed. She's trying to help but then when she sees me sad says it makes her feel like she can't make me happy. Well she can't. I'm responsible for my happiness and its going to take time but if she's really honest and wants to really help get through this thing id be glad to have her in my life. I imagine your h feels the same. It's tough but hang in there. Men are very different with this than women who are cheated on. Its just biology but please don't give up and keep being kind encouraging and affectionate toward him..good luck

Or just not admit that the affair is going on for 3.5 years

If he blames me for everything, won't even admit that the affair is currently still going on... is there ANY HOPE ?


I just confirmed my husband’s ‘relationship ‘ with a woman who lives in another country. They met last year when she visited our island on vacation. I suspected, but recently created a FB account and found evidence of them communicating. I don’t know to what extent they went but my suspicion arose when she sent a thank you card to our home as a form of gratitude for my husbands assistance during the family trip. I questioned him and he shrugged his shoulders like it was nothing. The pain I feel from this betrayal is deep. I love this man. And he claims to love me and wants this marriage to be saved but I dont know if I will be able to trust him. He isn’t interested in reading articles to help but agreed to go to a marriage counselor. I am in shock and not thinking clearly. My first thought was to leave but he asked me to stay and work this out. How will I move forward when I can’t trust this man? I don’t feel that he understands my pain or what I need to start healing.

Unwillingness to hurt the AP

I had a 9-month affair with a coworker. I fell in love - or at least that is what it felt like - and was on the verge of leaving my wife and kids. However my integrity wouldn't allow me to leave, and I ended the affair and disclosed to my wife 2 weeks after I ended the affair. My wife and I have been in recovery for the past 3 month, both in joint therapy and for me, individual therapy. My emotional "detoxing" from the affair has been intense...I was very emotionally connected to my AP, and we continue to work at the same job. Progressively over the past 3 months, it has gotten easier. While my wife knows I was in love with my AP, I have not shared the full extent of my grief of the end of the affair as of course that is very difficult for her to understand. I don't defend my AP, but what I find difficult is any action that would hurt my AP. I would like to be done with any emotional attachment to my AP but I cannot wish my emotions to simply disappear. My wife and I got into an argument recently over my putting up pictures of my wife and I in our workplace - not because I am unwilling but because my wife saw my hesitation. I fully understand that my wife wants our marriage represented in the workplace, and I want that too. But I cannot help but feel the desire not to hurt my AP. I am putting up the pictures. My question is not about the pictures (of course I should put them up; of course my wife wants that; of course it helps send a signal to my AP; of course my hesitation hurts my wife). My question is how to deal with emotions of wanting to protect my AP. I don't want to feel that way, but I can't help it. I suppose it's an aspect of letting go of the affair, and certainly a challenge of working together. leaving my job is a solution that my wife and I are beginning to explore. But is it natural to not want to hurt my AP and how can I get past that? Your thoughts welcome.

I Understand This

I was talking with my therapist about this last week. My affair ended only three weeks ago. I told her that I don't understand why I feel a loyalty to my AP. I don't really want that loyalty but whenever I think of doing anything that could hurt my AP, I feel so terrible. I wonder if you ever got a response to this question or learned how to move past this moment.

Maybe you can ask yourself if

Maybe you can ask yourself if you love your wife more, or the AP? Because if there is loyalty to the AP...then (as bad as this sounds) you probably don't love your wife.

Reply to Unwillingness to hurt AP

And after 5 years, I wonder if your wife has realized that she deserves better than some cheap, no-class tramp’s leftovers. I hope so. I hope she finds the strength to make a life for herself with someone who will be able to look into her eyes, tell her that he loves her, and that he has always been faithful to her and their marriage vows.

Really wish I had read the do

Really wish I had read the do not do for the unfaithful sooner. It has been 2 months since D day and I can honestly say I’ve broken my share of the don’t do’s. I’m trying however to make up for that and my ultimate mistake of the affair and find all your blogs very inspirational and helpful. I want to thank all of you at affair recovery for everything you all do. This is truly out of all the places I’ve researched and blogs I’ve read the most helpful.

My Husband cheated

I wish I learned this sooner. He said it was not for as long as she said - but I don't know. I think he lied, he really did love her.

Letting Go

I currently had a love affair, and it all came crashing down. My wife found out, forgave me and wants to work on our marriage. I feel there’s no hope in our marriage, I can’t even let go of this love affair partner and she don’t want anything to do with me cause I’m married. How do I move on and go forward, when I feel my heart belongs to this woman I had an affair with?

He told her we where not together in process of divorce?

In many cases the affair partner know about the wife, but not in my case. She knew about me, but claims he told her we where in the process of getting divorced. It’s been two years and I still feel that he felt so much more happy with her. He meet her family n friends and even vacationed with her multiple times. He had opportunity since he claimed to me he was so busy with work. How can someone say they love men do this? He said he had to play a role with her, but he was tired of her already, but to me it’s like you kept it going for a reason. She showed me a text with him saying beautiful things to her such as I miss u and I never felt like this before. We have kids n it completely broke my heart. He was with her for two years and in those two years he not only put me in a corner but also our kids .

Wish I had known

Wish I had done it right to start with. I hid and lied. Trust is lost. Sorry isn't enough.

20 Most Common Mistakes of the Unfaithful Spouse

Guilty as charged on several items. Never thought about the time-out period, instead I would leave the house to cool down. Terrible error on my part.
Thanks for the tips.

Lost Memory Seems to Be Common

She can't remember what exactly happened when - not even which year - but remembers his cell number...18 years after!!!
Go figure...

How do I do it “right” if he refuses to work with me

Im a 41 yo highly educated ambitious woman, in a relationship for 15 years, of which 12 y of marriage to a real alpha male who was a college dropout. Together we started a business, which he runs mostly, in quite a successful way, while Im doing my job as a medical specialist. We have 2 kids 8&11yo. Our relationship has been a very good one until last year, except for the fact that he is not able to share his feelings or deeper thoughts and is also not really willing to listen to mine. He’s a quite dominant type of man, with rough talk, somewhat controlling behaviour. But As I am a quite demanding wife myself, it compensated each other somehow. Im not trying to justify the situation, as I myself believe that it cant be justified in any way. But it definitely is the result of some deeper problem concerning emotional desolation.
The past two years have been rough, especially for me, as I was unsatisfied with the growth possibilities in my field of expertise, where I had the feeling of not being able to reach full potential. I had some major life events as well, like remigration, dead of a loved one, sickness of father. I also somehow had this in-satisfactory feeling of not being able to be myself and freely do things I like to without counting in kids, work or “permission” from my husband.
I cheated on him when on a businesstrip alone (which usually never happens) with an old acquaintance who is a very soft, understanding and emotional type of guy. The mostly emotional cheating had been going on for a couple of months (from long distance) of which 2 weeks were non long distance with a sexual affair. Its about 6 months after Dday.
After finding out my husband first clinged to me as if he was scared to let me go for some weeks with lots of excellent sex and promises from his side that we will make it and he will stick by me. That phase lasted for about 1 month. after that there was real hurting with crying most of the day for nearly 6 weeks, depression. Afterwards there were 5 months of verbal aggression (denigrations, rage, accusations) and isolation from (stonewalling) me, with his own ideas of how everything went running wild. Since a couple of weeks he is calmer ( started because my health was seriously deteriorating) but not really constructive towards me or the relationship. He keeps stonewalling, neglecting me saying that he is done with it and stays only for the kids, but as soon as I ask to file for divorce he kicks back and tells me to start the process, as he is good in the current situation. He can be very mean, verbally abusive and after some hours he’ll hold me tight and can come a bit closer in a good way. He demands from me to tell everything, has access to my phone email and everything, and literally gets crazy if I decide to go out, while he is away every night, without telling where and with whom. He refuses couples therapy, makes up stories about other women he is seeing and refuses to do anything fun with me. When I tell him that this is not the way of working on a relation, and revenge will not bring him happiness or satisfaction, I believe thats the only thing he is in need of. he says that he needs to do it at his own pace, on his own way and that I have the option to take that or leave it, because it is his way of dealing with it. He says to be in need of distance and time, and doesnt exactly know what he wants, or where this goes to. He also cannot promise me faithfulness in the future.
What do I do in this case. Go or stay? And for how long and which boundaries to set? Please give me some real advice.

I am in the same situation but with my wife

Please if you have gotten any advise or suggestions since this posting I am in desperate need of some sort of direction I should be going in?


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