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

A Betrayed Spouse Chimes In - How I Recovered After My Husband's Infidelity

What follows is the personal story of a betrayed spouse. We hope that her story provides hope and insight to your own personal journey, regardless if you share the same worldview and faith.

As my husband walked through the door, I immediately knew something was wrong. He was supposed to be on a plane to speak at a conference, but instead was home, looking at me when he said,

"We need to talk."

I had never seen that look in his eye, and I knew something was wrong.

As we stood looking at each other uncomfortably, I heard the Lord say to me,

"You love this man and you will forgive him."

What did that mean??
What was going on??
What was I going to have to forgive?

I felt like my heart and mind froze in that moment.

You may not be a Christian or even believe in God, but for me, this moment was both comforting and paralyzing all at the same time.

For years, I had prayed desperately and agonized for our situation to change. My husband was never home. He was constantly traveling and serving the pastor's family and the church, all while we were growing more and more distant. I knew something was wrong, both with our marriage and with the amount of time he was spending away from home. The more he did for the "ministry" the louder he was applauded. His ego was no longer just inflated -- it was completely out of control.

When I brought up grievances or suspicions, he and church leadership led me to believe I was the crazy one.

I eventually began to believe that I was the problem; the never happy, overbearing and controlling wife. I even received counseling for my controlling tendencies and I was told to be submissive, supportive and to have more sex. I got tired of being the black sheep, so I figured if I kept my mouth shut and died a slow death inside, life would flow smoothly. It did, but I was a shell of a person and very bitter inside.

So, on that fateful day, my husband sat me down in our living room and proceeded to tell me that he had been in a two year affair with his assistant.

I KNEW IT!!! I was RIGHT!!!! All of my suspicions were true; the lies, the deception, the cover up. His audacity to continue this affair for two whole years, right under my nose is beyond me.

The realization that I was not crazy, but had actually been picking up on the truth was a relief that is hard to convey in words. It's hard to explain because it was relief coupled with the most excruciating pain and shock I have ever felt. I could hardly breathe, swallow or think. He offered to tell me anything I wanted to know. But I wasn't sure I wanted to know. I began to ask him questions and details until I couldn't handle it anymore. He apologized in tears, confessed his love, and said he would do whatever it took to make it right. It didn't matter.

It was already done.

He had an affair and had betrayed, hurt, and humiliated me. I didn't want him to say he loved me or to make things right. I hated him and wanted him away from me. The only reason he told me the truth was because other staff members were coming to my house the next day to verify he told me everything.

He was finally caught. The lies now had to stop.

As the truth of the situation slowly began to penetrate, I found myself overwhelmed with emotions I had never felt so strongly: shock, disbelief, horror, despair, anger, pain, and sadness.

With a newborn and two small children, I didn't know how I was going to make it. I switched to autopilot in order to provide the essentials for my children. I sifted through the options on an hourly basis: separate, divorce, or stay? All the while, the theater in my mind continued to play the details of the infidelity over and over again. I didn't sleep, barely ate, and cried constantly. Every time I looked at my husband, hate would well up in my heart, and I couldn't stand to be around him. The man I once loved and cherished now became the object of hate, disappointment and overwhelming grief.

I got on a plane with all three children and fled to a friend's house.

The stress and emotional chaos were overwhelming. My now 6 week old would not nurse and cried constantly, almost refusing to sleep. My other two children sensed the weight of the situation and cried for their daddy continuously. While at my friend's house, I continued to weigh the options: separation, divorce, or restoration? I tried desperately to hear God's voice, as even my friends (who hadn't been through infidelity before) were encouraging me to divorce.

I just wanted to figure out the right thing to do.

I was so confused. I felt like every negative emotion known to man ran through me on a daily basis. Because my husband was extremely broken, repentant and began pursuing recovery work, I had a glimmer of hope. However, I didn't know if I could ever forgive and move on with someone who had completely betrayed me, lied to me on a daily basis, and offered himself to another woman for over two years. It felt like I didn't even know who this man was. However, I was often reminded me of the words God first spoke to me that day, "You love this man and you will forgive him."

I eventually realized I was mad at God because he had allowed this to happen and now, He expected me to forgive this man.

I investigated and researched all my options and decided to just wait a while to make a final decision. When I returned home, I allowed him to stay in the house, but I distanced myself from him emotionally.

In the days that followed, I lost my job, my financial security, my friends, my church, and any security I had in my relationship with my husband. Believe it or not, my church family was "advised" to leave me alone. To ‘give me space' so I could heal.

We couldn't tell our family members. I only had two friends who lived in different states that were there to support me.

I felt totally alone and isolated.

Because we had been so visible in our community and our situation was so public, I decided we needed to leave the situation by moving out of state to be with one of my friends. It was a tough move because it meant leaving my family and my husband's family behind. However, I saw no choice. During this time, I was trying to find all the help I could: reading books, calling counselors, and researching online. One day I would be OK and could function reasonably well and the next was a roller coaster of emotional outbursts.

I physically attacked my husband.

I took an ax and destroyed a playhouse in the backyard. I "let myself" into the AP's home while she was gone and destroyed her belongings. I spray painted "whore" on her bed, stole her journal and took back all my family pictures on her walls! I threw things. I broke things. I slammed and broke doors. I wasn't sleeping and constantly got sick. I knew we both needed help to get through this but I had no idea where to turn.

Once we settled into our new home, we saw several different counselors which provided little relief and only more confusion and frustration. We finally ended up at Affair Recovery roughly six months after D-day. This is where, almost unbelievably, the tide began to turn. When we started counseling, I still was not 100% convinced that we could restore our marriage. I still had a back door open. But slowly, as we proceeded through the EMS Online course, that back door started to quietly close. As we worked through some gut wrenching and painful exercises, I began to feel that my husband was "getting it."

He was finally, finally beginning to understand how much he had hurt me. This was a big part in my healing.

Once I felt that he "got it," I was slowly able to own up to the issues that I had and how I had contributed to the downward spiral of our marriage.

Through the marriage course I was able to forgive the infidelity, express my pain, hurt, and anger in a healthy way, and focus on building a new foundation for our marriage. My husband changed dramatically as well, and was able to deal with things that had been issues for years. After the 13 week program, we continued with counseling and sought other resources.

Today, we are a little over 10 years out from discovery. I am so, so, so, so glad I decided to stay married. We have an incredible, loving, intimate marriage that is better than it ever has been. I see how close we came to losing that, and I am so grateful for all that we have today.

Of course, it did not come easy. Recovery is a PROCESS and it can be a LONG process; it is not instantaneous. The road can be long and hard, but it is so worth it. I wanted to communicate some of the details of my story, not for sympathy or pity, but to prove that even in dire circumstances there is still hope for restoration. Even when you're presumably forsaken by almost everyone close to you, you're not forsaken by God. God always has a way out and through.

Throughout the past ten years there have been endless miracles and bright spots straight from heaven that have brought me hope and confidence.

I am eternally thankful to Rick Reynolds and his team at Affair Recovery for saving our marriage. They are INCREDIBLE at what they do! They have helped to restore multitudes of marriages after infidelity. I am so happy and grateful that such an excellent resource exists for couples that unfortunately find themselves facing this crisis.

If you are stuck and don't know where to turn, please don't stay there. Get help. EMS Online was incredible for my marriage. I highly recommend at least giving your marriage a chance before you make a decision. Learn more about EMS Online here.

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This article.

I SO needed to read this message this morning when I feel such hurt, despair, and anger over my husband's betrayal of my trust. This experience has crossed over to ALL of our relationships, especially church. PRAYING for the MIRACLE that this couple and family have had. I, also, sent this message to my pastor.

a betrayed spouse chimes in

I am where you were and hope to be where you are now. Hearing from people like yourself gives people like me hope. I feel little hope in my current situation. I only have hope in myself right now. I am torn giving this my best shot knowing my husband does not yet get it and giving up. When you are so tired of beating your head against a brick wall. When it's all up to the hurt spouse to make things happen. When all you want is a bit of intiative on his part, a bit of active involvement. Congratulations I hope I get there someday. 

To betrayed spouse

Please get help from the affair recovery program...I too was where you are now. But through God's grace and this program I have come to forgive him. There is HOPE when you get help. Since your husband doesn't get it yet, you need the extra help from these people. Thank God they were here for me. I am in love with my husband,he loves me, and he truly is sorry and repentful and our marriage is stronger. Praying for you...

 

Thanks for sharing your story

Thanks for sharing your story and experience.  It helps to comfort my broken heart and hurts from my husband's infidelity.

betrayal by spouse

hello, like you i found out about my husband's infidelity by accident. however, it is still raw with me its been five months and I haven't reach to the place where I can forgive or trust him. I do not believe in him because what he did  was the ultimate disrespect  and selfish act unlike you I have to deal with a baby who will be born in a few weeks. this had robbed me of everything because we have two boys and I do not want to raise them in an environment that is toxic. Everytime I see him (spouse) I'm filled with rage but has to be there for my sons.at this point I'm at the crossroads I want to take my boys and move away but that will rob them of their father but then he do not deserve to be around them because he betrayed their  trust. To be honest my first instinct is to get a divorce but I have been married for 14 years and where do I begin  

This story helped me so much,

This story helped me so much, perhaps more than anything I have read her yet. I can sense the author is and was a good woman with depth and integrity, and I feel like we have that in common. And like her, we are both guilty and horrified after physically attacking a betrayer. That gives me so much relief. I am so ashamed and distraught that I did that. It doesnt matter that I am small and he is not and that he was only scratched or hit. It is assault and was wrong. The pain of my behavior after learning of his betrayal, left me feeling like I had betrayed myself too, and I felt truly alone. I have attacked him briefly twice when the pain overwhelmed me as we talked it over. I was obsessed with destroying her property and cannot refer to her any other way except as the "whore." I refer to her two little girls the same way. This is not like me and makes me so sick when I hear the words leave my lips -- but it helps somehow too, in a significant way that I cannot explain rationally. She is a family, anger management and domestic violence counselor and I feel betrayed by the profession -- and that she used her professional training to cultivate, coax and maintain a leg up in this emotional and ultimately sexual relationship with him. I view her as a predator and am sick that she has access to unsuspecting potential victims and fantasize about putting up a billboard de-advertising her professional services. I have found a lot of relief reading the articles and blog here. But this article helped me so much, because it is specifically, internally where I am at today -- this minute, facing this struggle inside my own self. I have never felt such uncontrolled rage. It frightens me and worries me that I am not normal. I have refocused all of my energy and hurt into running and biking and being in the vicinity of positive people -- even if they polite smiling strangers in the hallway at work, when I feel triggered or flooded and its helped. But the shame and fear that my physical feelings and reaction in the past month or two, are sick or abnormal has really tormented me. I have prayed that God will forgive me for the way I behaved and I know that it is already done. But it is like a whole new hurt on top of the other. Thank you for your frank story. I have been too ashamed to discuss this with anyone. I feel a huge sense of relief and release and self-forgiveness reading your story and learning that temporary hatred happens, but that it isnt where I will stay stuck, not if I keep pushing forward and focusing on grace. Thank you again and to all of you who join in these blogs. You are my life preserver in choppy water these days.

Spot on

She totally expressed the multitude of emotions one goes through beginning with suspicion that something is NOT right, the pooh poohing of those suspicions by spouse and others, the crazy feelings  that the problem must be ones self, the fear at realization that acknowledgment of betrayal is coming down, and the massive see sawing emotions and horrific consequences of that awful day of disclosure.  An absolute Tornado of epic proportions drops into a marriage with devastating destruction.  Do I rebuild or do I leave? The voices of the multitude counsel like shifting winds.  But out of the chaos and storm, a ray of hope-- do I dare hope?  What more is there to lose?  Is their a reason to hope? ---  Affair Recovery Center--Harboring Hope, Hope for Healing.. A reason to hope, support for the healing process, honesty,  sympathy, empathy, compassion born out of experience, their own devastation turned toward comforting the grieved.  Encouragement of better days ahead ..can I trust it will happen for me, for my marriage? .. Many days just  Hanging onto the hope that they must be right... They've been here, walked this path and they are still standing, full of joy and restored.  And they were right. 

I'm Not Alone

It is actually comforting to know how the writer behaved while going through such a hard time. I have often imagined doing all of the things she did to her husband, especially physically attacking. At least I know I am not alone in having these emotions. Thanks for being so candid and open.

Thank you so much for sharing

Thank you so much for sharing your story.  Although the infidelities I've experienced over the past 16 years or so from my husband probably didn't involve a sexual aspect, the emotional infidelity and deceipt, amongst other issues has rocked my world, and destroyed my trust in him little by little over the years.  I had gotten to the point about 2 weeks ago, that I told him I was basically through.  I did not have any feelings for him whatsoever, and was ready to move on, and secretly making plans to do so.  He begged me to give him "30 days" to prove his love for me, and give him one last chance to be the husband I needed him to be.  Inside I 

But then a week ago, my strong, robust 54-year old husband had a massive heart attack.  He had to be flown by helicopter to a hospital in a larger metropolitan area that could handle the severity of his heart attack, and he had quadruple bypass surgery.  The following is something that I wrote to a friend to try to express the miracle that took place in my heart:

"I had crazy, mixed feelings when this first happened. Knowing immediately that if he survived, his rehab would be lengthy and the role I would play would be consuming, emotionally mentally, and physically - I asked God to give me the exact kind of love that he needed to get him through this ordeal. Plus, I thought, why do I want to care for him merely out of duty? I would be even more miserable. This will be a very tough process on many levels, and i needed the Holy Spirit to fill me with a selfless love, if nothing else, to assist him in getting to a healthy, independent state again - because I had already made some decisions and had begun to take actions in regards to my future. A miracle has happened and feelings for him that I absolutely did not have have evolved over the last few days. He needed me not only as a friend, as I have been. He needed someone to deeply love him. I see in these early days (post heart attack) spiritual changes. Only time will tell if they'll stick, but for now I must stay committed, after all, I was the one that has prayed for God to do whatever it takes to draw him back to Him."

So, I still don't know the end to our story.  The changes he is experiencing from his near-death experience may or may not stick.  I will give this more time, although at age 47, and almost 22 years of marriage, I feel like I've given him more than enough time so far.  God's timing is perfect; my understanding is finite.  I just have to lean on Him more than ever for wisdom, strength and endurance.

Your story gives me home though.  Thank you.

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your story and for the bravery it took to put it "out there"...gives me a lot of hope.  God bless you and your family.

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your story.  I have had and am still having all of those emotions.  I am only 2 months post D-Day.  My husband's affairs(2) covered the last three years in which in the middle we also planned and added to our family with baby #4, which has been a big hurdle for me knowing now that he was having an affair the entire time we tried to conceive this baby.  Of course, baby #4 would not be here if I had known what was going on.  It's bitter sweet.  Your story gives me hope, when some days I don't feel hopeful.  I know God is telling me the same thing he told you, but right now it's hard to see happiness in my future with all of this raw pain.  Thanks again.

My Marriage

It was great that you were able to save your marriage, and move ahead.  For me it was back in 2006 that my husband came home at 3:00 in the morning only having me worried sick where he was, to only have him tell me he was having wine with a woman.  After that all fell apart for me as he didn't want to be with me any more.  Now nearly 6 years gone by without any real repentance on his part, and me thinking he wasn't seeing her any more, he has had a stroke and during his hospital stay I had found out that just a few months before in 2013 he was still seeing her in secret.  So I am still trying to be the loving wife with all the weight of this mess on my shoulders.  I Know he never before wanted to get any help for us, but now I don't know how to handle all of this.  I do have a close friend who has helped me in many things, but my husband  isn't home yet and I'm not sure how things will be for us.  It's a scary thought!!!  

Wow! That was so good to

Wow! That was so good to hear! Thank you for sharing that story with us. God is amazing and I am so thankful that he has given you all at affair recovery a passion for helping others in these horrible situations...

Inspiring Story

I only wish I felt like my husband was sorry for his actions, but I am still hearing that I am to blame for what he decided to do.  I keep hearing that men are men and they cannot help themselves.  I keep forgiving hoping things will get better, but then things fall apart again.  He does not want counseling or to attend church or seek any help of any kind, and that keeps me at arms length.  I feel like we are just back to where we were on D-Day.  I want the hope and forgiveness, but unfortunately have become so numb to him that I want out.  I do not feel any reassurance that this will not happen again.  I am not sure he has changed, or I am just finally seeing the person he really is.  Just lost and alone at the moment, hoping, and praying, that God will intervene.

You are not to blame!

YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME! Please don't let anyone tell you that! Your husband made the choice to cheat. HE is to blame. NOT YOU! My husband tried to push his poor choices on me and it took ALOT of counseling for me to see that HE made the choice and by blaming me for not doing such and such was a cop out. I pray you are well tonight.

wow. I am so glad you shared

wow. I am so glad you shared this. So much of what you shared parallels my situation. I discovered less than a week after it happened about my husband's affair. I begged him to stop, told him he couldn't have a relationship with her while married to me, but he continued. The lies-oh the lies. But sometimes I feel I didn't do enough, go the extra mile and now I feel foolish and naive. The affair ended for him after he was arrested for stealing money from his job (a church). The public shame of that, losing church relationships and now struggling to be able to live (we have small children) have taken priority it seems. There are times I feel I'm just here for the kids, that I am a shell of a person, that I was never strong enough, didn't have convictions. I want to call her, months later just so I can feel I've taken control, that she knows the awful things he did, that she knows the truth. Some days I just can get her out of my head. But I know it takes times. Your story strikes my heart and gives me hope. Thank you for sharing

Thank you

Thank you for this reminder that recovery is a journey. I am two years post d day, and still grateful for our reconciliation, but some days my mind still drifts backwards. AR saved our marriage, helped me save myself, and demonstrated with recovered men that there is another way to be a husband.

How I long for the reconnection you describe

It has been three and a half years since I discovered my wife's 2-year emotional affair with the married youth pastor at our church. The head pastor and church board kept my wife's name from going public and the youth pastor was fired, but everyone could connect the dots easy enough as our family left our church of nine-plus years. We were heavily involved in this church and, all these years later, I have yet to hear from our head pastor or his wife or barely anyone from that church outside of three married couples who stood alongside us. Broke my heart and I still have bitterness about how I felt we were silently "excommunicated" from our church family.

Back to our current state of affairs. My wife and I went through 2-plus years of individual and marital Christian counseling, but our marriage counselor really had no background in infidelity. Felt like we kept throwing jello at the wall each session trying to figure out how to reconnect.

We finally ended up doing something my wife had begged since nearly Day One and that was to move far way. We moved from all of our family and friends 2500 miles cross country to a new place we knew absolutely no one with our youngest child,a sophomore in high school.

So here we are and we basically just moved our baggage and history and the same disconnect 2500 miles. As each day passes, I basically tell myself I will gut it the final 2-plus years of my son's high school and then call this marriage of nearly 25 years quits. My oldest two kids are seniors in college and have their own lives. I am just fed up and frustrated, resentful, bitter and angry with my wife's lack of empathy, remorse and continued spiritual, emotional and physical disconnect when she is the one who was unfaithful.

I have been fervently praying, reading, listening to podcasts and watching videos on healing from affairs and have been doing this by myself. All it does is crush my spirit and make me question God's goodness and ability to make things right when I have been the one who has tried - by myself- to keep my marriage covenant intact.

Yes, I admit I have had issues and trials I have suffered through and needed help for as I haven't been the husband I have wanted to be. Three job losses over seven years will do that to a man who wants nothing more than to be the provider for his family. I did become angry at God and myself, but I have always pursued God throughout our marriage and be a Godly man. This has made everything so difficult and makes me question both God and my wife, who actually says she pursues God herself while remaining so disconnected. She says "I love you " to our kids, her family and friends, but hasn't said it to me in 6 years.

My heart breaks daily from the pain that I try to give to God. Just don't want to continue to show our kids what an unloving marriage lo9oks like. Unless God can work a miracle in my wife's heart and in our marriage, I am done!

Forgive or move on

I am anxiously waiting for a reply to your situation . I discovered my wife's 10 year affair about 4.5 years ago .
I am riding a rollercoaster . Hate and attempts at forgiveness and moving on or out. We are still " together " but I question my self everyday. My life has changed so dramatically over those years . I was so distraught and confused I lost my position and demoted. How can I forgive and forget the emotional hell I've been through .when will I allow myself to get out of it .
In short , you are far from alone .

Responsibility

I hear your pain and suffering and have all said it before myself. I don't know if you can hear your thoughts which are what is holding you back from your recovery. I prayed for God to change my husband's cheating heart, for him to take responsibility for the hurt and destruction HE caused. I prayed for him to get "help" and to "get it". I will tell you what I finally had to understand myself. He is not responsible for my happiness, I am. Who do I want to be in this life right now? Do I want to be bitter and resentful for the rest of my life? With him or not I will carry around that feeling. I don't want that, I don't need to do anything about him to work on me. What he does says about the feelings and thoughts he has, and I have no control over them. I have control over me and my thoughts, feelings and actions. I thought if he changed I would change, but that is just a lie the enemy likes to whisper. If he loved me I could be kind to him, honor him , love him. The truth is I get to choose all of it no matter how he shows up. You say " I am just fed up and frustrated, resentful, bitter and angry ...." when you are all of these things how do you show up in your marriage? How do you behave, act or your inaction? Honest I thought those things as well, and I showed up and acted unloving ,unforgiving , judgemental. I left no opening for my husband to be vulnerable, honest, remorseful or physical with me.
So what I learned was God didn't need to do a miricale in my husband's heart, but mine. God didn't need to change my husband but I needed God to change me, to change me to love unconditionally, forgive and take responsibility for only what I could, and that was me my actions, my thoughts, and feelings. Once I gave up my husband truly to God and stopped trying to control what he "should" be doing and controlled what I should be doing, changes started happening. I became the spouse my husband could come to and be vulnerable with, and in doing that, he was able to begin to feel love from me he desperately wanted, because all he had been feeling was my resentment, judgment and criticism. He had and still beats himself up, God tells us to love one another, not condemn. In our hurt and pain we do more of it than we realize and move further away from love. Love is a choice we get to choose in every moment, we can choose to love the other person no matter what they do.
This wasn't all that I learned, but what I learned that made the biggest shift in our relationship. Praying for you and your marriage, my God heal the broken pieces in you.

Thank you!!!!!!

Thank you for sharing your grac with us!!!!! Pray my husband does the same.

Responsibility

Tabitha, are you saying that once you started acting differently, more open, forgiving, loving unconditionally, that your husband did the same? Are you saying he completely gets it? Are you saying he started going to get help for himself once you started to not be bitter and angry? I just want to make sure I'm hearing you correctly. Please let me know if my description is not accurate.
Thank you for sharing your story

Wow...so powerful

This is so spot on, Anon. I was the unfaithful, and my wife continues to astound me with her love, grace, and forgiveness. Her refusal to outright reject me convicted me even more than I already was after D-Day, and motivated me to work on myself. We're just now beginning to work on the marriage itself, as I needed to work on things within myself before we could turn to the marriage. But I would be so, so lost if my wife had rejected me at the outset, which she had every right to do. I can't speak for how she processed her pain, other to say she eventually made the decision to forgive me and move on for the sake of our children and our marriage. It really does come down to choices on both sides.

Thanks for the advice

I know that God has to help me change my heart and attitude. It is so difficult to get past that daily disconnect and pain -- and I truly want to. Praying that God can restore my heart to the unconditional love that I long for. I don't want my marriage to end, but I also know I can't keep living this disconnected "roommate" type of situation we have been in for the past 3-plus years as there is so much underlying tension on both sides.

I send you support

I am moved by your story and your perserverance. It sounds like your wife may be soo ashamed of what she did to you that she can't bring herself to fully confront the impact of her actions or she just does not know how and may be too proud to ask for help. If in your heart you feel you have done everything to be a better spouse in the marriage and better person in general then you should tell her this. If she brings up excuses be firm and let her know that because you tried your best in the marriage you are at peace with ending it without any regrets. But if there is still things that you need to improve then work on that and pray every moment you feel challenged. Talking to God has given me strength that I never thought I had. I will pray for you and your family so that God can bestow peace in your heart and guide you to the right decision for you and your family.

Peace Harmony

Have you watched their YouTube affair recovery videos? There are a ton of them & many geared towards the cheater, but mostly for us as the betrayed. Pick through them for yourself!, they helped me soooo much & get your spouse to as well. I emailed the ones iiii needed my cheater to hear. Hope you find peace in life. I too am n that journey

Betrayed spouse

Thank you for sharing your story! We are four years this week since DDay and I’m still struggling! We need to come to see Rick and team! Was reminded of where we were and where we’ve come! Encouraged by your story ❤️

Not sure I want restoration anymore

I found out about my husband’s affair over 4 years ago. I did everything possible to try to restore my marriage but I learned there is so much you can do on one side. In the meantime, my children, who are young adults and teens, and I live a miserable life with my husband at home. He is so selfish because everything is about him. I believe he is still in this overseas relationship. He thinks everything is fine and shuts us down when we try to voice our opinion on how everything is not alright. He won’t leave because he cannot afford to. My eldest and I are in counseling. The other two don’t want to go. He does not want to go. What type of help can we get? Do we need to wait until the affair is over?

Can't hold up both ends of a "relationship" ALONE

I agree with your sentiment that you can't heal both sides of a relationship alone. While I appreciate that in some situations grace from the betrayed spouse may be the catalyst to healing, it's also important to consider whether the unfaithful partner is in the game and doing their part. While I agree that we as the betrayed can only be responsible for ourselves and our own journey toward healing, if we are to stay in a relationship where the bonds of trust have been mortally wounded, healing of the relationship will at least require some effort and self-evaluation from the unfaithful partner. Our own recovery will often require a frank and honest look at the the unfaithful partners investment in the relationship. We (the betrayed) sometimes need to ask ourselves if holding out for the unfaithful to change or invest in the relationship may be futile and even self-destructive. I spent four years holding out hope, trying to be as loving as possible, believing that my partner actually loved me, and that if I could just tell my partner in the right words what I needed from him post-affairs, or love him enough, he would want to do his part. It finally took me leaving before he was able to even begin to look at himself honestly and to apply himself, of his own volition, to carry some of his own weight to help heal his betrayal. I hear and see a lot of stories here of betrayed spouses staying in a toxic situation with an unfaithful partner who is continuing to pursue individuals outside the relationship, or having to deal with an unfaithful partner who puts no effort into recovery, or one who shows indifference, apathy, and where the message is "just get over it." For me, I suffered through so much of this indifference and toxicity that I literally have made myself physically sick. There is a reason that infidelity hurts so bad. It's a message to the betrayed that something needs to change, and it's most often NOT that we just need to apply more grace, but to insist we not allow ourselves to be exposed to the thing that is tearing us apart. Sometimes it's about realizing as a betrayed partner we are in fact responsible for our own happiness and recovery, and sometimes that means getting ourselves away from the source of our pain and the toxicity and trauma we are trying to endure. You are right in that you cannot hold up both ends of the relationship, and if you aren't seeing any effort from your partner you may need to think about what it will take to save yourself from the daily toxicity that will eventually make your physical body unhealthy and unhappy too. My hope for you no matter what you choose to do next is that you make a commitment to yourself that you will do whatever it takes to honor yourself and give yourself what you need to heal your spirit whether your partner participates or not. And honestly, for some of us, this will require getting ourselves away form the source of our heartache and trauma.

Thank you

Thank you for sharing your story. We are coming up on 11 months from the first D-Day. We went to the EMS weekend, and have been seeing a great counselor (separately for now). There are good days and bad ones. Bad ones seem more prevalent as the 1 yr "anniversary" looms. I am committed to healing, and my wife is too. Thank you again for sharing your story. God bless.

The process...

We are 5 1/2 years post D-day (1st D-ay) and 5 years past D-day’s 2 & 3! We have made progress, especially me through AR, but my husband just wants to forget anything has happen and move on with out him really “getting it” and not to discuss what he’s done and the hurt and pain he has caused me and our adult children. We kind of are sleepwalking through the marriage without the proper resolution and restoration. Is it just up to me to just let it go without him understanding what his multiple affairs has has cost me?? I’m at the point that I think I need to suck it up and forget the past, it may be the only way for me to feel sane because I don’t think he’ll ever “get” what it has cost us. My health is suffering because this continues to weigh heavy on me - too much stress and feelings of resentment because of his insensitivity and lack of ability to understand my feelings.

I am right there with you

I am right there with you Debbie, we are 2 years out from the first Dday and my husband does not get it. He says he gets it, I just need to forgive and forget, never bring up his multiple affairs. If I can just "Get The -- Over It" we can be great. Due to his entitlement I have a lot of resentment.

happier now

Almost 2 years ago I found out my husband of 22 years had been having a very long time affair. I m still not sure how long as he cant remember when it started but it was about 7-9 years long. So almost half of our marriage. Yes, I knew something was not right but he kept professing that he was depressed/ stressed etc.
At first I thought I d work it out but at counseling he wouldn't take ownership and still today doesn't. The counselors we tried all brushed the affair aside. I decided to pursue a divorce.
Almost 1 year later after discovery, my husband found out he has stage 4 colon cancer. He is on borrowed time, may not see our youngest graduate high school. I offered to put the divorce aside and help him thru it. Ironically, he wanted to speed up the divorce as he doesn't want me to get "his money".
We are at a standstill now. He has decided to set aside his counter divorce( he accused me of having an affair) I think he s tired and lonely. The kids stood by me. Extremely disappointed in their father. While a good provider never really there. Raised our children in the church , they are concerned for his soul. I know the kids would like me to drop the divorce but as my youngest has said - " you re really happy now Mom I can tell"

Always knew something was wrong in our marriage but he lied so much. He travelled for work and therefor was able to hide the affair easier.

It s a sad situation all around. But I cant go back to him. Just too many lies.

Not feeling so alone today

From being a regular on this site, I know who the betrayed wife is. And reading her story makes me feel just a little less alone in this hell storm I was dragged into 19 months ago. I want to silently cheer you on for your bravado towards the other woman ... and I can only wish I could have had even a miniscule amount that you did.

Instead, I'm entrenched in the hatred that is talked about in this article. Hatred for what he did. Hatred for her. Hatred for society that blames the betrayed. Hatred for feeling like a coward instead of a lady for not avenging their actions and staying silent instead.

The ebbs and flows of this recovery work is for the birds. If not for the desire to protect the family unit ... that's what I keep repeating to myself over and over.

One of these days I'd love to have the inner peace that you do betrayed spouse ... I'm just not certain I have the patience to wait it out.

5 months out

I am amazed at the similarity in my story to the one told here. I had been hurting and suspicious of the closeness I saw between my husband and my "best friend" for years. Anytime I would ask him or even her about it, I was made into a villain for even bringing it up and also began to decide that I must be the problem. A very painful D day and a resulting loss of job, home, friends, and a move to a new state. I hope that we are able to take advantage of EMS soon. Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to being able to say, "10 years ago".

Encouraging article/story

Thanks for sharing how you turned the worst pain possible(other than being nailed to a cross) into a great story of redemption

Thank You

Thankyou for sharing the detail of your story and your feeling with such honesty. I totally relate to it and am touched by how much your post and other shares resonate with my story and strong feelings as a betrayed spouce.

Helpful to know it’s likely to be a long process and that marriages can be saved. I am 2 years into the process of trying to heal and am still not there.

As I live in Europe, I hope to be able to connect with others in this space on the online courses in the near future.

still shattered

I identify with the writer's feelings...it's been almost 3 years since Dday and I'm still a trainwreck. Although Dday (of his emotional affair) was 3 years ago, we were 15 months into our recovery when my husband dropped another bombshell: he was addicted to gambling (and had $36000 in private loans - at 25% interest,) and was also addicted to a prescription drug. He had one relapse of the gambling in March of 2018, which ate up another $8,000 (we had earned and saved together) in a matter of hours. Even though I know he is deeply remorseful, has been transparent (since March '18,) and desperately wants to save our marriage, I still fear him. I love him...but I also hate him. I could forgive everything, in fact, I think I have - except there was one thing from the affair that devastated me. He made a sexual video for his affair partner...and I found it. I should backtrack a bit and say that our marriage was the envy of many. Oh how I loved him...and he always said, "he adored me" - even as he was playing "what-ifs" and "I love you" with the former girlfriend. We were married 33 years at the time of the affair, and it lasted 18 months. I didn't discover the affair (or video) until 6 years after it ended. At discovery I was devastated to realize they were still Facebook friends. I found out completely by accident -but as horrific as it has been, I know I needed to know, because our marriage was still at risk - and would have remained at risk - because they had no intention of ending the friendship. In fact, they still called and messaged each other from time to time all the way up until discovery. I am not the person I used to be. I am so sad. I used to be a leader at my church, but even my faith has been affected by all of this. Truth is, we were going through some very hard things at the time of the affair (and other addictions,) but I've been so angry at God because as I was praying for us, my husband was telling another woman he loved her. Still takes my breath away....still feels like a gut punch. Why did God not give me even a inkling that this was going on under my nose? At the end of the day though, the one thing I can't rise above is the video. All our married life I had a stronger sex drive than my husband. Even though I always stayed in shape and took care of myself, I felt undesirable because other women always talk about their husband wanting too much sex. I used to think, "what's wrong with me?" After a number of years, it got better because in every other way my husband always made me feel very loved and appreciated. I just finally decided he would be the same no matter who laid next to him in bed. Then...the video. Here is Mr. Low Sex Drive getting turned on my a woman who is not even touching him. In fact he said, just "thinking" about her made him crazy. It hit me like a sledge-hammer: "it's not that he has no desire...he just doesn't desire you." I have never recovered. My self-esteem has been non-existent since that day. The thing is, I have asked many times for him to talk about the video. Where he was...where I was. To this day he says he doesn't remember. Who doesn't remember something like that? We went to counseling, he went by himself...but always I have said he MUST remember that video. We MUST be able to discuss it because it is essential to my healing. I have waited almost three years...bringing it up occasionally - asking if he is starting to remember. He continues to say no. Moving forward as a couple was always predicated on him remembering. I have said I cannot trust someone who could do something like that to me - and not remember it. I just can't. It was too painful. I still can't even undress in front of him. I'm 61 years old now...broke and broken. It has occurred to me that the further the affair gets in his memory, the less the likelihood that he will ever be able to discuss it. Maybe it sounds unfair, but to me, the video was as painful as if I had walked in and caught him in bed with her...maybe even worse. At this point (and probably always) I don't want details...I just need him to stop saying he doesn't remember. He HAS to remember. Some friends have said maybe he really doesn't remember...but even if that's true, how can I trust my whole heart with someone who actually can't remember something like that? Am I wrong?

Your not wrong

You're not wrong. I have been dealing with a partner who routinely cops out on discussions regarding his infidelity by either outright denying what I already know to be true about his betrayal, argue and focus on some minute detail as a distraction from addressing what I need him to talk about, diminish what he's done, or pretend he doesn't "remember" what he has done. The tough part is that if you have a partner that is overtly loving and showers you with praise and words of affection to your face, but then goes behind your back to pursue other women, it can take some of us a very long time to fully accept the kind of warped value system, manipulation, and callousness it takes to be with another or many other women and then come home to us with no sense of allegiance or remorse. His not "remembering" is a part of the selfish warped value system that allowed him to cheat in the first place. For me, I wanted to believe that the charming person who lavished me with kind words and affirmation was who my partner really was, but as time has passed I see more and more clearly the depths of depravity it takes to carry on this way with no concern for me and my well being. Your husband absolutely positively does remember the details of that tape, and I believe as I suspect you do, that his holding out on you is a reflection that he is unwilling to be all in by doing whatever it takes to make his betrayals right and to allow you to trust that he is willing to give you the parts of himself that he had reserved and kept secret for another person. I think you are right to hold out for him to tell you about the tape, because it is a message that he is at least trying to give himself back fully to you. You deserve that before he deserves your trust again.

Can't remember is a lie

You're not wrong. It took me a year of detective work to uncover all that I wanted to before I decided I had enough information and anything else I found was too much for me and didn't matter anyhow. Everyday throughout that year I was met with "I can't remember". For the things I did find proof for to clarify the "can't remember" lies he fed me to attempt to shut me up, he would act like that was the end. Now I had the proof. He's suddenly remember after I showed him proof. The lies that he tried to scramble to come up with to prove I was wrong were laughable. Even saying Google had the wrong dates. Idiot.
I am 5 years past Dday and have told him unless he willingly comes to me with an admittance to a lie, I will never trust him. The nightmare I lived through that whole year of discovery happening day after day something new because he "couldn't remember" killed me. I stayed because I was pregnant at the time and had a toddler. Now the kids are a bit older but my self esteem is gone. I have only financial support from him as we are basically roommates. I'm stuck in my anger.

Forgiveness

Thank you for your article, it was great. I did divorce because my husband choose his AP. I was able to forgive him, I thought after I went through EMS online and now I have more hate the longer I have to figure out what was going on in our marriage during his three year affair. How can I let go of the hate for both of them? They used my home as their hotel and I believe she had even touched my personal items while in my home.
Still having a hard time and at times is worse.

Is this hate?

Thank you for your story. Learning that a betrayed finds a path to peace and restoration is certainly positive
And proof that for some this is possible. However each of our stories are like fingerprints and unique to us... the overall experience of exactly WHAT OUR UNFAITHFUL SPOUSE did...by reading the comments on this blog
There is a mixed reaction as to whether we find hope based on another’s journey to reconciliation..
I usually find one to several similarities while reading other betrayed accounts of their unfaithfuls infidelity...
Some had a 2 yr. affair... some more than 10 yrs.. some a one night stand.... some the affair is STILL going.
Some thier spouse had many many affairs and one night stands... ( as in my situation).
I experienced my first infidelity trauma back in 1988.... it was a 3 year affair .... I was devastated but forged
Through reconciliation because I loved him and we had 3 young children...... our marraige was in tack but it was a living hell for me... I was just so naïve ... that affair had caused so much trauma I never thought for one minute he would dare do it again.. over the next 20 years our marraige was so awful and I basically thought it was because my husband had SO MUCH resentment over the way I publicly “ outed” him for the affair in 1988,
By 2015 I finally had to put an end to the horrible emotional abuse and confusion my life had been since that affair discovery back in 88.....I confronted him and said I wanted a divorce... that his behavior was abusive... has been abusive almost our entire marriage and I believed he had been very unfaithful... I told him he had to tell me that very moment what he has been doing or I was going ahead with divorce proceedings the next day...
At THAT TIME we had been married for 35 years... I guess he had a split decision to make ... at the deepest level knew he wasn’t a young man anymore ..knew he ultimately didn’t want to be single... so he threw the switch off.... ended his life of bad behavior and secrets... and proceeded to tell me his 2015 version of his past betrayal..... of course This resulted in another trauma ..... extreme pain.... and the processing of my past confusion and bad marriage being explained by what was REALLY going on.. the only problem was THIS TIME.. none of what he told me seemed like the truth... he was admitting all this infidelity but but seemed like a lie because it didn’t match up to my perception of what had gone on all those years.... His intentions did a 180,
I finally had this dialed in... kind... loving partner.... who professed complete fidelity for the rest of his days ..
All I needed to do was forgive him of these handful of additional infidelity’s that he has admitted occurred..
I did stay with the marraige and gave as much as I could to build trust again but my deep inner soul knew this man is still not being honest with me... I wouldn’t let it drop... we did get along very well... the marraige was 75%
Improved in comparison to the previous 25 years but I could not let go of the fact that “ what you have told me you did does not MATCH up to the way I witnessed things were.... FINALLY in July 2018 I discovered Affair Recovery... after reading much of the material and blogs on the site I knew I had to get to the truth in order to have sanity and true complacency in my heart and mind... I eventually convinced my husband to take a polygraph to verify and convince me of his truthfulness and honesty.... he agreed and was very convincing
He too believed that a polygraph would finally seal the truth and move us both forward, together in trust and happiness.... the next morning he was a mess... he suddenly just blurted out he can’t take the polygraph...they he won’t pass.... he said “ I’ve done some awful things” .... we sat down for the next 7 hours while he poured out
A lifetime of lies, affairs, mini affairs, planned trips with women, how he immediately jumped back into cheating after the 1988 affair....stories that put me in an “ out of body” feeling..... so simultaneously I’m thinking That he gave me lies to suffer over from 2015 to 2018 and all that time thinking about all those stories that never even really happened to..... now I have to start all over again and think of dozens of more horrific stories. And he revealed that his latest and longest affair yet (3 years) was still at a very benign level going on... he and AP were still in direct communication by phone and were with each other on 2 business trips ( but swears not physically together) .
So my feeling at this point is ...... is this HATE or is it just that I’m too damaged from all the emotional
Repercussions from enduring the abuse of the lying and sneaking, and the horrible gaslighting... living a lifetime
Of doubt and confusion and mental abuse may not be repairable...... I want to be positive... I want complacency and happiness for my life... it’s been 6 months now since I was finally blessed with at least the truth.... I can say without hesitation that no matter what that truth is... it feels so much better to have truth validate your life..
But I’m damaged now... I need to find a way to live with this damage. It’s not hate ... it’s damage

So glad you mentioned you physically attacked your husband...

I think physically attacking the source of one’s pain is more common than we know. I have been grappling with the fact that I physically attacked my ex a number of times. I also showed up at his place when his AP was there and threw my car keys at her and asked her “what are you doing with my husband?” I am still embarrassed about these things because I usually handle issues calmly. But something happens to our brains. It is like they short circuit or something. I was diagnosed with PTSD that was actually from my childhood and it got triggered. Anyway, confessing this stuff is hard and I applaud it. It is never ok to get physical but we are only human. The good part is that we learn what we are capable of so we can deal with future situations better.

Thank you

This article touched all my emotions. I did not lash out in a physical way because I decided neither was worth that amount of emotion. I did daydream about exposing her since her family does not know but again decided to drop it. Instead I decided to take my husband's verbal and written apology and move on to a new normal. 20 months later we both are working hard to rebuild. There are setbacks and at times, I have my divorce daydreams but I believe a 25 year marriage is worth salvaging if my spouse is serious about moving forward. He has told me the affair was insanity and he feels like a foolish person. I can only build on that and move forward or in time I can move on. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I am pursuing new hobbies, new friends and new learning opportunities. I really appreciate the new of life these days.

The hurt

I found out seven months ago that my husband was cheating with a woman younger than our children. I want to repair us and he says he will never hurt me again but i can't get out of my head! The pain of cheating and the lies just replay. How and when does this stop? I am lost

How Do you deal with the hate

I read the story and know exactly how hurt you are. It is the most hurtful, unbelievable, uncomprehending, cruel thing that happened to me. My husband is truly remorseful and doing everything to ensure me that it was a stupid mistake and I did not deserve this. We had no problems. No babies, no long business trips. Second marriage for us both, second chance on happiness and I though we had it all. I cannot believe that he risked all he had, our family (my and his children love him), his job, his home, me for a stranger. Will I ever stop asking WHY!!!! I have to. I still love him. You cannot switch off your love for someone in an instant. We are going to make it work and we have decided that we had to make God a priority in our lives. But mentally and physically I am scared for feeling this way too long. I want to be happy again and to read your story does confirm that it can happen. I love AR. One of the very few website blogs that does not tell you to kick the unfaithful out of your life but that helps to restore what we had and will have again. I thought it was God's punishment for divorcing my first husband but I realize now that God will not punish us and that we make our own decisions and mistakes. Our 12th wedding anniversary last week was very difficult. How do you celebrate a marriage where your husband was not part of for a period of time. Where he joined with another woman and put me on the shelf. He never wanted to leave me but thought he could be in control and nobody would know. Now we sit with all these tears and heartache. I hope it does not take 10 years to overcome as I am already 61 years old and do not have that time to waste. Please pray for us. We are worth being together and must just overcome the past for a better future.

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