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

The Infidelity Divorce Syndrome: Divorce Recovery After Infidelity

Divorce Recovery After Infidelity

How does infidelity impact those who get divorced (i.e. divorce recovery) and what are their unique challenges? This week I'd like to focus on the specific barriers the betrayed spouse faces and the baggage they may actually carry into future relationships.

Moving on after divorce, especially when infidelity is involved, is just not easy nor without new hurt.

After 26 years of marriage and three beautiful children, Martha discovered her husband was cheating on her with girls closer to her children's ages than her own. Her first response was to kick him out. There was little or no remorse on his part. He felt she should just get over it. Eventually she invited him back, prematurely she now admits, for the sake of the kids. She wasn't even sure what she needed to forgive given his lack of disclosure. Change was not something that interested him, in fact the only change he felt necessary was on her part; she needed to get over it, lighten up and be more fun. Eventually her husband's unwillingness to commit to a monogamous relationship led to divorce.

"How do you move forward when the best of who you were has been shredded and rejected?" she asked.

That harsh reality is now 11 years past, but healing didn't begin until recently. Charged with charting a course for her family, she ignored her own need for restoration. In her mind, financial survival and raising children were the top priorities.

As she put it. . .

"I didn't even feel I had the right to have needs. It was all so scary. I didn't just lose my husband, I lost my whole life. I lost the majority of things that made me who I am: my home, many of our friends, my identity as his wife, my confidence, my security and my future."

Life after divorce and betrayal creates unique challenges for the injured spouse. While divorce may be the best next step for some, those who divorce have a difficult journey ahead of them. They will have to overcome issues with . . .

1. Mistrust:

Infidelity shatters the reality of the injured spouse so thoroughly that they often have trouble trusting their realty, their judgment, others and even themselves. Moving on after divorce, how can you know you aren't making the same mistake again? How do you release your heart to the care of another? Even finding Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful doesn't necessarily solve the dilemma. It takes a great deal of individual work before enough healing occurs for self-confidence to return and hope for the future is recovered. Until that healing comes, releasing one's soul to the care of another is a challenge at best.

2. Triggers:

Betrayal is frequently a traumatic experience for the injured spouse. Divorce in no way remedies the problems of emotional flooding. Reminders of what happened can create strong emotional reactions for years to come. While an unfaithful spouse may understand the root cause of that reaction, others who weren't involved at the point of crisis may find their reactivity confusing. Failure to take the time to process the trauma of the betrayal on top of divorce recovery can leave them susceptible to emotional flooding for years to come.

3. Jealousy:

Life after divorce and betrayal can leave the injured spouse with an unfounded fear regarding the faithfulness of future partners. It's understandable, but the need for safety can be higher for these individuals. Choosing not to mistrust is frequently a daily struggle and key to divorce recovery. It's no wonder that hypervigilance becomes a natural part of their being. The old saying "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" rings truer than ever before. The last thing they want is to be hurt again and in their mind "better safe than sorry" can become a limiting factor for future relationships.

4. Risk aversion:

For those who divorce, infidelity often creates a problem with intimacy avoidance. One approach to avoid future pain is to always hold a part of self back in future relationships. Being "all in" can present a serious challenge if you choose to avoid the risk of future pain. While there's a part of us that longs to be connected to a special person, taking that risk may seem next to impossible if betrayed in a previous relationship. You may find, while moving on after divorce and into future relationships, that you feel as if you have hit a wall when the relationship progresses to a deeper level of intimacy.

5. Negative lens:

Betrayal may create an aversion for anyone of the opposite sex. To create safety, a person may choose to believe that all men cheat, or that all women lie, etc. Divorce does nothing to correct the stereo-typing of an entire people group. As a matter of fact, life after divorce potentially creates more bitterness and mistrust of the opposite sex. The inability to find a place of forgiveness and reconciliation can create a jaded perspective of life, which prevents them from ever reconnecting again.

Eleven years later, Martha is still single. Until last year she longed for a new relationship, but still struggled with issues of trust. She went through "Divorce Recovery" and even led divorce recovery classes, but was still limited in her ability to move forward. Last year she entered Harboring Hope.

"I never thought anything could go deep enough for my healing. The other women in my group refused to let me avoid looking at my pain. I finally recognized that I had legitimate needs that had to be addressed and Harboring Hope systematically led me through the necessary steps for healing."

On the importance of community for specifically healing infidelity, she adds,

"The girls in my group are still serving as a healthy support for one another months later."

At Affair Recovery we know the wounds of betrayal can be healed. Regardless of whether your spouse has left you or not- don't lose hope. You have legitimate wounds as a result of the betrayal and you owe it to yourself to do the necessary work to heal. If you’re open to the possibility of marital restoration, our August EMS Weekend still has limited openings available. Our weekends provide safety for both spouses to address their own hurt, while also caring for the wounds of the marriage.



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those 5 points

Those 5 points can also apply to a betrayed spouse who decides to stay in their marriage.  Even with the new strengths that come from rebuilding our relationship, I still have much doubt about her.  All of these points seem to apply to how I now feel about my life and my spouse.

* I don't trust her or my perception of her - Before the affair there were issues, but everything appeared normal and yet she slept with this person.  Today she does many things just the same and looks exactly the same as she did then.  She was faking it then, is she faking it now?

* Triggers are constantly coming to light - Whether it is our house, something she says, a song, or even during sex she might touch me in a way that makes me wonder if she did the same with her AP.

* Jealousy was never an issue. I trusted and believed in her blindly. Now, I don't trust when she's alone.  I recently figured out a past scenario where she snuck off to see her AP (before the affair came to light)  under the guise of going shopping. Now I panic every time she leaves the house.

* Risk is not something that I will ever take again, not even with my wife. I trusted her openly and even tried to warn her.  I had faith.  She failed me.  I won't let that happen again.

* I see everything with a negative lens.  If she makes a comment "I'm all yours", I privately snip that it isn't true since she gave herself to another man.  She acts shy or coy and I think "You weren't that innocent when you were taking those pictures or wrote those words". I see women who have much more difficult lives and think about how my wife isn't nearly as worthy as these women who chose to remain faithful and work through their issues.

Honestly - I love this woman, but this not a way that any man wants to envision his wife (as a cliche).  I am so disappointed in her decisions and ashamed of what she did. Right now, it feels that I may never be able to forgive her.

Did you end up staying

Did you end up staying together? How has the recovery been for both of you, regardless if it ended or not?

Staying with your wife after her affair with your best friend

After 14 years of marriage my wife had a affair with my best friend, the affair lasted 6 months and I felt pain and hurt like no other.
We stayed together and worked it out and have now been married for 39 years.
We moved away from the area and started again and my wife as been loyal and Faithfull ever since.
26 years later and I'm watching old videos of my wife and bang it hit me how much I did love her and I totally have fallen head over heels in love with her again. She is loving all the attention. The downside to all this is all the old feelings of pain and hurt have returned like it was yesterday and it's making me Ill and spoiling what should be a wonderful time in our lives.
The mind movies have returned and I'm having trouble sleeping and getting on with my life.
I'm also bringing up her affair and asking loads of questions which she rightly saying she cannot remember and as put it out of her mind.
I don't think she would foget something like that.
I love her to bits and she loves me but the past is haunting me again and all due to me falling in love with her again.

Betrayal marriage & divorce

I stayed in a 22 year marriage 12 years following the betrayal. This involved more than one affair & ended with an unstable individual stalking me for 2 years. It was publicly embarrassing, humiliating & earth shattering for my family. I stood by my man and marriage - but I could not move past the exact things stated in the comments above. We split 2 years ago and oddly enough are the best of friends. He truly never took full accountability of his actions until he lived alone. It changed him as a person & reconciliation is not a consideration. I would but he would not as the guilt is overwhelming. I don't know if you can truly ever trust that person again. I am deeply saddened for anyone that experiences this in a marriage. Tragic and damaging situation - it changes both people and the dynamics of the marriage

Affair and Divorce

My husband of 36 years left me a year ago for another woman that was a supposed friend of mine. We were together almost 39 years. I thought we had a great marriage. Normal problems of course but always worked through any problems. I was blindsided. Came to me one day and said he was in love with another and wanted a divorce. It has been shattering. I have not handled it well and struggle every single day. I beg him to come home and get away from her everyday. I almost have not survived this. There are things about this woman he refuses to believe. Heartbroken is an understatement.

Affair and divorce

My husband and I were together for about 30 years..20 years ago I found out about 2 affairs, left him for about 5 years, and then reconciled. For the last 15 years I worked hard to regain trust and was finally in a good place. Then last month I was blindsided when he came home and said he wasn’t happy and wanted out. I repeatedly asked if he was involved with someone else again and he denied it and accused me of being paralyzed and not trusting of him. We tried to work through things until yesterday when I discovered he’s been having another affair. I asked him to leave last night. I am devastated that this is happening again. He says he will always love me and care about me..but how can you hurt someone so badly if that is true?

Discovering me.

WOW! the 5 points hits it out of the park. I feel exactly the same way that's described. After My Wife destroyed my world with her 2 (That I know of) affairs and abandoning the children and I for her last affair during our marriage. I found that even though I would have given anything to have her back I was losing site of who I was. It was & still is so hard to do things sometimes, IE Trusting any woman. I've placed walls up and I'm definitely NOT at this point allowing any woman Into My children and my world.
My Blind trust of her made me feel stupid, ashamed and after seeing the nude photos that she had sent to him and reading and seeing her obsession with how Buff he was I refused to even have or want sex with her or anybody else for that matter. I felt so bad about who I was that all I did was go straight into survival mode. Kids, Money and sleep, was all I worried about. I still have a hard time going anywhere without them and my confidence is no where near where it used to be but I do try to make little strides in my life.
Infidelity is a terrible thing!


My heart goes out to all those spouses who have been betrayed. Hope, trust and the belief in love is completely gone. No person in this world should be so selfish to take all these beautiful values from a person. Unfortunately marriage is taken far too easily and as soon as the other spouse does not "fullfill my own needs" then they feel entiteld to search for somewhere else. I will never understand how can a wife / husband hurt, lie and betray his / her partner. It shatters a world of trust and surviving all the pain it carries everyday is a very big stuggle. I have been also betrayed from my husband after 20 years of marriage and been replaced from another woman that is hardly older than my son! It causes terrible hurt, shock and disbelief!
I am now facing a divorce and on top of all this HE is the victim and I am the dreadful wife. Could a person be so cruel? What I now have learnt, it's not you the faithful spouse! There is something about them that is so empty inside. The ones who have really lost are the cheating spouses.
They do not know the meaning of a beautiful family. Please keep strong and God bless all hurting spouses. I truely hope we will all find our peace and joy one day.


Yes, when I discovered my spouse’s adultery all my world came down, I felt in dispair, my heart and soul shattered, I couldn’t believe and comprehend all the series of texts,audios and videos between him and his married cheater lover.
Being betrayed is one of the roughest experiences that I human being can go through.
How can you earn the trust back? My answer: never!
Now on days it isn’t only about the betrayal, we must add the STD’s and the psychological abused we have to endure while trying to hold on on what we thought was our perfect relationship and marriage.
I walked away from my marriage knowing I gave my 100%, I had to regain my dignity and respect for myself, I never went back... I wish my ex-spouse the best, no hard feelings, just heartbroken.
He deceived our marital institution.
Now just picking up and restoring myself, trying to stay positive for a brighter future of my own.

This is so true and exactly

This is so true and exactly what I am going through.

same experience that i am currently experiencing

Man any advise? Did you consult a psychologist?
I am in the same experience the buff guy, the texting, the calls, the secret coffees. After months she confessed that she is in love with him.
I am lost, I don't want to live anymore. She is leaving home in days with my kids.
I am here just for my kids,


Hi Jay.
I hope you’re doing better by now. I understand what you’re going through and how hard it is to put yourself back together. Please know that it wasn’t your fault. You WILL heal and move on from this point in your life, having improved as a person. You will come out the other end as the best version of yourself.

Just keep moving forward. No matter what.

Be well.


Update Please if you would please

I am anxious to hear if my very much mirrored frequent feelings you described ever improved with time for you? I sure hope they did not only for your marriage but for your ease of pain and HOPE mine can someday too bc I am 3 yrs post DDay and improvement doesnt seem possible considering history.

You wrote this a long time ago on an affair recovery feed.

Did it get better? I feel almost exactly everything you wrote about your wife about my husband who had an affair. I'm almost 2 years out from DDay and thought I'd be past it by now, but I feel like it's getting worse and not better. I wondered how it ended for you.

I feel everything you said

Every single point you made is exactly what I feel. I truly feel the only way not to feel this way is to leave the marriage. I feel I will never look at him the same.

Me too

Well said - exactly how I feel

too painful

I'm literally dying on the inside-reading this, the comments. My husband whom I've been with 17years, never thought he'd drink again, never thought for once he would be unfaithful. Sober prior to meeting me, then into our relationship/marriage-13 years later-loses his mother and another family member-and starts drinking. That pain was one thing, but our love was still strong, and we together were going to be okay-as he kept telling me. Or at night-reaching over to touch him, make sure he is still there-for him to say "I'm right here baby, I promise I'm not going anywhere."....fast forward 17 years later to 2021 2nd trip to rehab/detox, he gets involved w/ female coworker... who was living w/ a man she claimed she was engaged to and loved. Yet she was texting my husband who was intoxicated at nights. Next thing he tells me we aren't connected, or intimate-and he leaves our home. A few weeks back and tells me he had to sort things out, but we will be okay. A week later-he has a mental breakdown-I get him hospitalized thinking finally he is suffering from his mother's death-but no, it's because he left me to run off with this woman, had committed adultery-and she dumped him to go sleep with another coworker who was his best man at our wedding. Now remember she's still living w/ the one guy, sleeps with a married man, ruins his marriage-sleeps with a third. I have always been devoted and loving and supportive and knew his addictions were going to be a struggle...but infidelity was something I was NOT prepared for. We decided we loved each other and wanted our marriage. I told him no contact w/ this woman. And he said he wouldn't. Yet another two months as we were trying to get him sober, recover the trust-here comes the woman again... dumped the other coworker, wanting to be friends with my husband. Here we are a year 6 months later-she managed to ruin his emotions, yes he now admits she was emotionally involved after the physical-and he is to blame as well as she. He filed divorce in May claiming his feelings changed. I spend 17 years and the last 5 years struggling with his drinking, then his affair, and continued relationship with this woman who is beyond mental, but she stole my husband, ruined my life, my future and now ruined my emotional and mental state. Time to heal? After the abuse I have gone through I will be surprised I wake up each morning. How can you trust again? Love again? I only can pray.....

I feel the same

I read your post and it is the mirror of how I feel about my husband, every single point is so true.

I have 3 teenage children and still cannot believe how gulliable I was - I thought we were happy.

I have the same mistrust you do, compliments now seem hollow as he gave them to me whilst sleeping with another women and giving them to her also.

Remorse is not something he has ever truly shown, despite everything he has said, I feel stuck after doing so much to heal myself from the pain and sorrow from this, and just utterly disappointed in my husband.

Did you find a way to forgive? I know they say the forgiveness is for us as well but I cannot swallow that yet.

Biggest Challenge

My biggest challenge, after 21 years, was realizing I was enough.  I was SO co-dependent.  I was his wife, my kids mom, but never myself.  But I found an amazing christian counselor that helped me onto the road to recovery.

It hasn't been easy.  Nothing about infidelity and divorce is easy, but it is DOABLE.  It IS survivable.  Finding the strength and courage to move on was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to endure.  But it was important to me to do it right and to be able to be a good role model for my 2 girls.

I still have my moments, it's called being human.  But I have tools that help me overcome.  I'm looking forward to the day when the triggers are less and less and I can embrace the Hope of tomorrow. 

Blessings to all of you going through this.  Rely on your faith and trust God's plan.  Trust that you will be happy again.  Blessings also to this ministry.  It has gotten me through many a dark moment.


Me too....

My situation is ending in divorce. I so want to be where you are and to be able to identify myself as just ME... Not just his wife or mother to his kids. I want my husband back and it kills me. But I am ready to let go of the pain and the triggers that are literally driving me crazy. Thank you for your comment that there is hope for the future.

I feel your pain!

I, too, am a betrayed wife, and my situation is also ending in divorce. While I feel that my identity is intact & has grown over our 23 yrs of marriage, my husband was my best friend, confidant, and life-long partner in faith & love - I never dreamed he would betray me. I wanted reconciliation, but he could not/would not give up the affair partner. He's moving to another state to marry her & start a new life - has pretty much walked away from our 3 kids (ages 19, 20, 22). In spite of all of that, I am looking forward to my future, and it's encouraging to read the words of others who have been through this & have come out WELL on the other side. I am participating in a divorce recovery group, as well as seeing a Christian counselor, and it is helping immensely. We will make it, and we will be well, whole, and healthy, beth1017!

Divorce and biggest challenge

My biggest challenge has been having my ex and affair partner clode by and her continued flaunting of their relationship thru publically posting Facebook albums of their times together before and during and after our divorce. I feel like I am finally able to open up again with other potential partners, but the triggers still traumatize me, cell phones being a big one! I feel I am coming back to life slowly but surely and praying God restores my youth which he miraculously has in terms of my innocence being restored and my physically and emotionally well-being. All my stress related health issues are finally gone!!!

All Challenges are equal

There seems to be no bigger challenge than another. Besides the 5 points you mentioned above I found myself facing the challenge of being an empty nester, so loneliness is a huge challenge add factors #1,2and 4 while looking through that negative lens and I'm pretty sure i'm one day away for becoming a cat lady. Some days are an hourly struggle because somehow I have become very isolated and have or trust absolutely no one other than my spouse (yes the one who betrayed me) with my most inner thoughts and fears so it is a sicking circle of no progress one step forward one step back. But there are good days the sun shines and I am slowly finding the person I am to become on the other side of this mess.

I just had enough

Realizing that my husband of over 20 years was having an affair with a co worker, was devastating to me. But I am much stronger now. I went no contact, hired the best attorney I could find and gained strength and peace. I realize that it had nothing to do with the other younger woman. She is nothing special, she was just available.
He disrespected me and his son in any way possible, and he has lost us for ever. You just don’t leave your family for some new , exciting sex with the young co worker. That's plain evil. Glad I got rid of him. Who wants that?

How are you ?

Hello. I was just reading through these posts and found yours. How are you now ten months later? Your story is exactly like mine. It all crashed a month ago. How did you find the strength to go no contact?


i am going through the same thing as what your you went through
its been a year now and i caught him going to lunch with his coworker even tho she was married and kids she still was having an affair with my husband of 20 years
and because he asked for a divorce a year ago but we were still leaving together in the same house because he had no where to stay
they are coworkers and til this day her husband dont know about the affair she is having with my husband
i kicked him out once and i shouldve of left him out but since he has no where to stay i said he could stay til he found a place to stay but not to be messing around no realatioships with other women til he leaves the house
and that is how i caught him sneaking out for lunch with her
till this day i cant get over it and i am so depressed
i know my mistake is having him there with me why i cant get over him and i have this jealousy that kills me so much
i need help to get over him and pay more attention on my daughters instead

Going through a divorce and found out wife it’s cheating

I have been married for 6 years, we have two beautiful children (5 and 2 year old baby) that I love with all my heart. The relationship was extremely difficult since almost the beginning due to the fact that she was too controlling, I love my wife to death. She broke up with me and filed a TRO against me so she can take the kids from me. TRO got dismissed 2 weeks after it was granted. I filed for divorce because I was all heartbroken and couldn’t believe that she did that to me in order to keep me away from our kids, I’m having second thoughts about the divorce but I recently found out that my wife it’s having an affair with the clinical supervisor for my son’s ABA therapies. They have been seen each other since way before we got separated, we have been separated for almost a year but they have been having this odd hours meetings 6 months prior to our separation. i asked for the schedule records for therapy visitation sessions at home and I noticed odd hours for sessions, they were seeing each other at 6am just after I leave for work, and he leaves before the kids woke up to go to school. My wife broke up with me and asked me to leave our house. Then they started to see each other more often after our separation, sometimes at 4:45am till 7:15 am just before kids wake up. Everything is on the schedule records. I talked to someone in the care provider facility that give us the ABA therapies and he said that they don’t work that early and they don’t spend that many hours with just one client. I want to file a complaint about this clinical supervisor that violated my trust since I let him in our house, he has no morals and it’s very unprofessional and unethical to be involved with the clients like that, he disrespected me and my family, I lost my family and wife and I’m extremely hurt and I feel lost. I was hoping we could fix all this and try to start again but now that I found about her infidelity, I don’t know what to do.

Life after DDay

Tania, I am living a very similar nightmare! I was married 38 Yrs before I told my spouse to pack his bags and get out!
He was havIng a relationship ,I came to discover, With a co-Worker, 20 Years his junior( Who was also married and had 2 Children Young children! My spouse had portrayed himself to me and others, As a righteous, Honest man with very high standards And good values! It was in no ones realm to believe that this judgemental, Opinionated man , Would ever cheat! He not only betrayed me and my family but all our friends who thought he loved our family and was a man that had very high standards to honor his marriage vows and the commandments! At one point in his life he wanted to be a priest!! Thats how honorable we all thought he was! You can imagine my surprise after I discovered it was all a lie! He would never come clean, So I had to hire a PI to follow him on his travels, and prove to myself that he was not who we all thought he was! He was living a double life. it sickened me to finally realize who I was actually married to, A narcissistic Pathological liar!!! I had him served with divorce papers as he arrived home from his last trist that I would be any part of. He was totally blindsided, And that is the only part that I feel quite relieved about!
This last year has been a rebuilding year that I never thought I would be doing alone. my children yet in their 30's trusted this man sooo much that they are still and will always be in disbelief! Why he felt he was entitled after 38 Years of marriage to break our vows and continue this relationship with a married women with NO regard for his family , we will never know! its just so sad for my kids and their familIes to realize what kind of person he REALLY IS!
my divorce was final in August of 2018, So I am coming up on one full year of DDay memories. I do not have in my heart to forgive , I am just working through forgetting him!
Which is almost an impossible task after almost 39 Years of being together! Keep your head up, Be strong, Find some good friends you can cry with, That seems to help! One step at a time ! Its a process no one should have bare!

I will complete the first goal in the first steps boot camp by t

It's is good to have a "by when" goal

Was talking about this yesterday

My wife of 14 years moved out this June. Discovered her affairs 3.5 years ago. They had been going on for about 6 months prior to that. I've spent those years doing everything imaginable to restore our marriage, lead her back, and find a place of reconciliation. Her consistent response has been "I'm changing." She has zero interest in a monogamous relationship. She isn't unhappy or unsatisfied, but still wants her freedom to have sex with whomever she wants. I've been through every option, and it came down to two: live in an unsafe marriage until my bitterness and anger explode; or start the process of separation & divorce.

We decided in February to start the process of disentangling our finances and once the kids were out of school, she moved out. We're co-parenting our two daughters, and thankfully have a wonderful support system of family who are local to us. We're still very friendly to each other. We never had a toxic relationship - she doesn't want monogamy, and I do. That makes us incompatible in marriage.

I have experienced all of the doubts discussed in this article. Will I ever be able to trust anyone again? Will my fears of betrayal keep me from that sold-out commitment to a future girlfriend/wife? Have the events of the past few years warped the way I perceive sex?

I'm a very introspective person who's constantly seeking out ways to improve myself. For the first time in my life, I don't think I can do this without 3rd party assistance. Finding serious resources for "help: my wife wants us to both have sex with other people, but I prefer monogamy" is rather difficult. It's not really something you can discuss with your parents. Even your friends are more likely to say "what are you complaining about" than they are to show sympathy. I've been thrilled to find Affair Recovery. Thank you for the resources, and helping me understand that I'm not alone in this.

How Are Things Now


Just wanted to see how things were for you several months after you posted this. What's the relationship between you and your ex like now? Praying for you brother.

60 and divorcing

Triggers is the only one on the list which applies to me. I have good self esteem although it took a beating when I found out about the affair and that he loved her. I knew instinctively that I would come out of this OK but it would take time working through the emotional turmoil. The first year after the separation was the worse, living without his input, managing everything a single mother manages, but when I survived financially and gave myself and children a holiday that year, I knew I was going to make it.
Now I have had the divorce papers served on me and the memories of his betrayal has returned. Luckily I don't have to do anything, so it should go through without me needing to be involved. For the moment I feel an enormous sadness, but I now know that with time I will come out of it OK.

Trouble after 12 years

My ex husband and I were married for 10 years, 7 of which he cheated on my with my parents best friends wife who happened to work with all of us in our family business. She was at the birth of both my children. After my divorce I told myself that it is what it is and killed everyone involved with kindness so that I could move on. Its been 12 years now and I have been in a relationship for the last 6 years and I am slowly destroying it without even trying. I really thought I had moved past what had happened in my past however my issues with trust seem to get worse and worse. I am so glad I found this site as apparently I need to work on some things !!!


How do I move passed his deceit and betrayal. Married 23 years...going together for 4 ... and I find out he isn't the person I married. Instead I lived with a narcissist and found pictures of him nude on websites. he says he was never w women but I found pictures which he denies they are of him....yet he says he was never unfaithful. He threw me away after 6 years of marriage ... not wanting anything to do with me intimately, yet putting on the facade he loved me. And begging me not to divorce him. We divorced May 2017. How do I move forward. I feel so so useless.

Finding photos of him and

Finding photos of him and having him deny - it's gas-lighting and it's abusive. It has you doubt yourself to the core. It's just selfish self-preservation on their part. I'm so sorry this happened to you and that it continues.

Thank you

Thank you for sharing this article. I am the UW and this has opened my eyes to what I have done to my husband.

Regaining Trust

This one really has hit home as to where I am at and have been. It's been 25 years since D-Day. We stayed together...I chose for the sake of my children to have a two parent home..not to have to volley between houses. I am certainly glad I stayed, believe it to be the right choice. My husband was defined as a 'sex addict'...and yes, his behavior in our relationship was and has very negatively impacted us by his perverted views of what sex in a marriage should be. There is a great mistrust that is still present; about 8 years ago he 'relapsed' with choices to have close lady friendships....writing, emailing...choosing to meet in work rooms alone...covering up the windows while they talked 'alone'....etc....swears nothing happened..according to him the problem WAS "I don't trust him." I never knew how relationally and emotionally immature he was and in some ways continues to be; along with making just plain old bad choices. Whether something physically happened or not...it was still a violation of his behavior that has TRIGGERED my flooding thoughts and emotions as if it is all happening again. I think the correct terminology for what he did is emotional infidelity....he doesn't believe there is such a thing. Trust is not the foundation of our relationship....probably from his point of view it is there. The explosion of infidelity was so deep. The second round of his poor choices have left me believing that the trust can never be there. I just hold on to the vow I made...and the rest is in God's hands. I would literally be living in government subsidized housing if I was to leave....I have medical issues and then mental issues that have come from the infidelity; and I am unable to work a full time job. We've been married 35 years and I just pray that God would still give me the kind of love that I need to have towards him. According to Rick, I have PTSD. After receiving more counseling and seeing a psychiatrist, which also, diagnosed me with PTSD. I have been on medication for this, and pretty much resent it. My husband doesn't like me taking the type of med's that I take, but, it is the only peace of mind that I have been able to get. Even that conveys a message to me that he will most likely never understand the depth of what infidelity does and can do to another person. He thinks it's like: ....okay....I did wrong....forgive me...and life moves on. I'm told that what I have is post infidelity PTSD. It's been described that with PTSD the chemicals in your brain have been altered. I have not been through Haboring Hope and not even sure that I would be able emotionally to go through it....I perceive the emotional triggers would be to great. Thank you for sharing another great article!!

How is everyone doing?

The board has been quiet lately. I hope everything is ok with everyone. Just wondering if we have a plan for this Sunday's call?


My husband and I lived abroard I came back to open our house up, I was so excited for his return! I bought presents etc,. He seemed stressed over work so a pushed him to tell me! And he did! Affair for 4 weeks and “I think I love her!! Subsequently divorce period throgh the post! I am now divorcing him for infidelity!!! He told me over FaceTime!! My world is shattered ! Can’t work can harldly live! Have lost too much weight and continue to isolate myself!! 18 years of complete trust down the drain. I said let’s get counselloring but no he’s still there with her and my heart is broken

Still can't believe it...

I had attorneys the next day after discovery - 4 weeks ago.

She is my best friend. I love her so deeply. We had no serious problems in our relationship, but she was becoming increasingly more emotionally distant and only showed me affection when she was drinking. It was becoming palpable. As I pressed for answers as to her distance she entered a "Mid-life crisis", not sure if she could ever love anyone.

We separated for nearly a year as she was working through the midlife crisis and sex addiction (discovered by the therapist) as a result of her past sexual abuse.
I set clear and reasonable boundaries - stay celibate (both of us), stay in therapy - or I was out of the marriage.

4 weeks ago I got a text, didn't look at it and she burst into the house... she was sleeping with her therapist for the past 4 months and not going to therapy. We were moving back in together next month. We are in the middle of building a new house. I thought she was getting better and there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

So now she is set back years from ever being healthy, co-dependent me is enforcing my boundaries (divorce)... and we still talk every day. I love her. I know it's not all her fault. She wants to be back home with me... I made this my bottom.

I hope it's her bottom too.

Burned it all to the ground... let the lawyers sort it out.

Aaaaand now for years of my own therapy.

Pain and Depression

I'm so glad I came upon this article. I got divorced six months ago after 17 years of a declining marriage and my discovery of my ex-husband's emotional relationship (later physical) with a girl half his age. We lost our five year old daughter six years ago, so it has been a whirlwind for a long time. My ex husband is a covert narcissist and only now am I seeing how abusive our marriage was. I tried over and over to make things work, as I believe marriage is a commitment. However, I heard over and over that I was crazy and I was the one who needed to change. He drew up the divorce papers a day after we decided and if I had not pursued legal action, I would have only received 10% of our net worth. Negotiations with him were very difficult and he still came out on top because after a while I just gave up. Fast forward to now, I am completely depressed, hurt and in chaos. I live alone with my dog with no family. I can barely go to work (I'm a teacher). I made a big step a couple days ago and decided to move across the country to live with my sister so that I can have family support and start fresh. I cannot function in the same town as my ex-husband. Though moving across the country won't take my feelings away, I will be an environment where I can heal and lean on my faith to find hope again.

These 5 things happen

These 5 things happen regardless if you stay in the marriage or get a divorce... so please know this doesn't just happen if you get a divorce. This list of 5 things will absolutely also happen if you try to stay in your marriage. They are just 5 things you will have to work on for the rest of your life to overcome if they rear their ugly head... and they will... even years later... you just have to learn how to cope with the intrusive reminders and learn to let them go when they do and give them to God. Once betrayed or unfaithful... the mind game changes forever... you will never get away from what your mind does... but you can learn to control how your respond to what you mind says and shows you. As soon as I realize the darkness is trying to creep into my mind... I try to acknowledge what it is showing me and remind myself that was in the past and it is Gods now. The painful reminders that creep in our minds for the rest of our lives now are awful... but what is worse is allowing it to fester and become a bigger picture... when you find yourself in that moment... immediately stop yourself and remind yourself "you can't change the past and that you won't let the past change you"! Give it to God and immediately look to the right and left of you and begin naming everything you see in your sight... (example: I am in my kitchen right now.. I would immediately start naming everything: fridge, oven, sink, hand soap, hand towel, coffee maker, mini fridge with wine, beer and soda in it... ) I would do this until I felt I caught myself and then go into prayer asking God to calm my mind and help ease the memories. I would tell Him to hold me tight and remind me that He is here and will never leave me or forsake me!
Hugs to ALL of you going through infidelity... I am a BW... but my heart goes out to ALL... both betrayed and unfaithful and the journey after betrayal is a long painful road that both must go through regardless if they stay or end the marriage. Know you will go through all those 5 steps above regardless of which direction you face. It is just a part of your life now. Embrace it, manage it and each time they happen look at it, acknowledge it and begin the process of giving it to God! God speed!

The Betrayed Who Stay

I found out my spouse had cheated on me in September of 2019 after 26 years of marriage. It was the worst day of my life; I discovered by text on his cell phone which I had borrowed to use the flashlight while walking our dog. I had not had any suspicions prior to this and thought we were fine.

Apparently the affair had been going on for two months or so he said. We had also taken a vacation during that time period and were still having sex.

Anyway, 3 marriage counselors and nearly 3 years later things are much better. But those years were horrible as the pandemic hit and I was cooped up with this man I no longer recognized. We were both working from home for a while. He also had an online affair during that time which I did not discover until later. Additionally,I found out he withdrew his retirement-supposedly because he worried I would kick him out. So suddenly trusting him financially was an issue as well.

I can relate to the points you discuss. I still have issues with trusting him, and I still doubt my judgement. He says all the right things to me now, but I still don’t feel secure and this impacts my ability to be “all in” with him.

Trips are a huge trigger given that he was cheating on me during two vacations. I found out later that he had texted naked pictures of himself while we were on vacation during his second affair which was online with a woman only 5 years older than our daughter. I had gone for a swim in the pool at the time. Now if we go anywhere, I don’t feel like I can leave him on his own in the room. We are leaving for vacation later this week and I am feeling a bit triggered.

Except for the first affair all of this was going on while we were in marriage therapy. I am still in individual therapy but he stopped his individual counseling long ago and we stopped marriage therapy a few months ago.

I am sorry

Reading through comments of how infidelity has affected most people, i realise how my unfaithfulness has really affected my husband. I was hoping for a reconciliation of my marriage but my husband has started filing for divorce and moved on with someone else. I have realised how much i loved my husband and i have really lost a good man. It is only when you lose something special that you realise how important it was. To those that have given their marriages a second chance after infidelity I pray you continue finding the healing you deserve. One day at a time is all it takes.

In limbo

Married for 27 years and recently found that my husband an emotional and sexual affair for 4 years with a family friend. Every year I was just as approached by her husband but I never thought anything until the last and final confrontation. Then it’s been 2-3 years of bagging and questioning. He finally fessed up.
I’ve officially known since April 1 and it’s now July 4th. What was a good between us seems like a lifetime ago. And I’m going through the motions. He had another person he confided in. Someone he cared for over and above me. Not just once. Not a few times. But for 4 years! She’s disgusting but obviously he had some attraction to her. I’m so angry and depressed. How do I move forward? Do I move forward with out him? Is it hilarious that he still wants to be with me? I ask myself why and I think it’s because we own homes and have children together. He doesn’t want to lose a comfortable life. However, I’ve lost my security, trust, love and friendship. I’m shaken to the core. We are going to counseling but not sure it’s helping. He gives me trickle truths. I feel like I’m at square I every day. He can barely be truthful. Something he has always been. I an angry and I want them to feel like I do. I’m not in a good place. And I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same. I don’t want another relationship.


I was married for 31 years. My ex husband cheated continuously throughout our marriage. I finally left in 2020. I started dating recently and have been seeing him for about a year. Everything was fine until one of the females my ex-husband cheated with commented on my current BF video post on social media. I swear I had an anxiety attack. My thoughts immediately went the negative and I started thinking irrationally. And what was worse is my new bf had no clue what was happening. He had no clue who she is or what happened. The aftershock of all those years took its toll on me. I never thought i would feel that way. My reaction naturally who i am, wanted to run away and stop seeing him. My thoughts were irrational followed by my behavior. I had made up my mind that i was gonna stop seeing him all because of seeing her on social media. It was definitely a trigger. I have since calmed down, talked to my counselor and i am finding that this stems from not dealing with all the emotional issues after my divorce. My new bf has been very understanding and says and does things to make sure i know he is here for me and helps me trust more just by doing little things. I have to remember he was not the one who betrayed me. And that he is not my exhusband nor is he anything like him. This was a tough one to deal with but i get better day by day. I have friends who support me and seeing a counselor has helped me so much. I see so much of the same posts, please get help and start the recovery process. No matter if you stay married or not, healing has to happen. God Bless you all in your journey.

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