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

How Do You Deal With Anger After Infidelity?

Today, I’d like to begin by reflecting on a conversation I once had with an angry wayward spouse. He had been trying to gain his wife's forgiveness ever since his affair two years prior. Sadly, he wasn’t making much progress.

The sad part in this particular situation wasn't her inability to forgive him, it was the fact that the bitterness and anger after infidelity were unmanaged and destroying them both. For the betrayed spouse, the journey after betrayal can be absolutely excruciating. Rather than letting go and choosing to walk through the pain in order to move past it, her antidote to dealing with the betrayal was attempting to hurt him as badly as he had hurt her. I fear she might have succeeded.

Due to his choices, the devastating betrayal, the lack of help they received and the way she was treating him, recovering from the affair seemed nearly impossible. He believed his wife was either mentally unstable or just plain evil. He had trouble seeing the third vital part of the equation: Anger distorts our perception. When spouses are unwilling to change their response patterns, restoration can seem impossible.

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How Does Anger Affect the Way I View Reality?

"How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it." This famous Marcus Aurelius quote reminds me of the aforementioned couple’s predicament. She was expressing her hurt as destructive anger, for which the consequences were an unsafe environment in the relationship and an incredibly difficult task for them both to heal and move forward.

Typically, anger after infidelity is a secondary emotion. Behind the veil of anger, you will often find feelings of guilt, inadequacy, fear and/or hurt. Anger:

  • Is the emotion we often use to deal with painful feelings. This is especially true when it comes to recovering from an affair.
  • Can empower us, motivate us, strengthen us and even help protect us.
  • Can destroy us as well as those we hold dear.

When wounded by a loved one after betrayal, it's not uncommon to feel the primitive rage that is programmed into the core of our being. While natural, this anger can most certainly destroy everything in its path if it’s left unchecked.

For the hurt spouse, the pain after betrayal can trigger a primal fight or flight response. Internal checks and balances are critical to keep anger after infidelity from becoming a destructive force in our marriages and in our recovery work. Love, compassion, respect and integrity are some emotions that can help form a safety net that prevents anger from raging out of control. Maintaining a healthy balance of emotions is at the heart of solid anger management.

Is It Wrong To Be Angry After Infidelity?

The anger is not the problem; how anger is expressed is what can cause problems. Anger can be viewed on a continuum from aggressive to passive-aggressive. When anger is expressed through aggression, we either cease to care whether our actions hurt someone or we actually intend to cause them harm. When we display passive-aggressive anger, we do what we know will drive the other person crazy. For example, if our mate wants to talk, we'll just stonewall and give them the silent treatment.

When anger after infidelity is unmanaged, we move away from our natural desire to be caring and loving individuals; we allow ourselves to act in ways that are completely contrary to the way we actually want to be. I've met very few individuals who profess wanting to be an instrument of destruction in the lives of others, even in light of betrayal. Most of us hope to be a blessing to others.

For some, it's a matter of their belief system. For those who believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, destructive anger — and even a lack of anger management — is seen as justified or necessary to restore the “balance of fairness.”

But when we exact revenge from others, we wind ourselves up and become even angrier, creating the opportunity to establish a long-standing, dysfunctional pattern in our own life. We might even begin to believe: "When someone hurts me, they deserve to be hurt in return."

This appeals to our human sense of justice; however, this type of response is never driven by love, and it almost always gives way to resentment and long-term unforgiveness.

Am I Addicted to Anger? Is My Spouse Addicted to Anger?

Some may actually find themselves powerless to control the impulse to wound and to hurt. For such individuals, anger might very well be an addiction. Others may be responding in anger because it’s the way they’ve been treated in in the past. Regardless of the reason, destructive anger is not OK and will exacerbate any and all attempts to reconcile or move on.

It might seem justifiable, given life's circumstances and the hurt that has occurred, but acting in anger after infidelity is never acceptable. As difficult as this may be to hear, destructive anger needs to be controlled. Anger management is crucial to dealing with betrayal in a healthy manner.

Am I Torturing My Mate and Disguising It as ‘Anger’?

Who wouldn't be hurt and angry if they were betrayed, slighted or rejected by a loved one? Anger is a natural response to betrayal; however, anger needs to be expressed assertively — not aggressively. The truth needs to be spoken, but it needs to be spoken in love — not in a fit of rage with the intent to destroy or wound.

There is no glory in attacking a mate who has taken responsibility after betrayal for the wrong done, and who is trying to make amends. Destructive anger might bring momentary relief, but it will leave you with an empty and lonely feeling in the long run. When dealing with anger after infidelity, no amount of “payback” will be sufficient to stop the pain that was initially inflicted. Furthermore, putting someone through the wringer is a response to pain that will leave both parties in a worse state than before.

You may be asking: "How can I ever be with someone who has hurt me so badly?" This is a legitimate question, but its answer cannot be found through fits of rage. You might choose to separate from the one who injured you, feeling incapable of getting beyond the pain. Your mate might fail to accept responsibility for what has happened, which might leave you feeling unsafe.

Regardless of the outcome of your situation, whether it’s reconciliation or separation, you can keep your self-respect if you continue to respond with integrity, honor, respect and love. When recovering from an affair, responding in these constructive ways is essential to keep your life intact and your situation safe.

How Can I Break the Pattern of Anger After Infidelity?

When thinking back to the couple at the beginning of this article, I grieve the fact that he failed her and himself by breaking his marriage vows. I grieve the fact that she was unable to control her anger after infidelity and, subsequently, wounded herself, her husband and her children. I grieve the fact that his anger became destructive, cost him his self-respect and caused him to respond in ways he never wanted. Perhaps most of all, I grieve the fact that their lack of anger management destroyed what they both wanted.

Because they lived in this horrible cycle of anger for two years, we can assume that they both actually wanted the marriage; otherwise, he wouldn't have endured her destructive anger and she wouldn't have invested so much energy in trying to “make him pay.” I'm afraid this destructive cycle of anger and hurt might have caused just as much damage as the betrayal as well as caused each of them to become people they never wanted to be. That, unfortunately, is the consequence of unchecked anger after infidelity.

If you are the wayward spouse and struggling to get a handle on your own anger or your spouse's, our Hope for Healing course might help you during this difficult time. With 17 weeks of insight, guidance and recovery specifically for the unfaithful spouse, this course is designed to transform your life and your recovery after infidelity. For more information and to sign up for this course, click here.

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Designed specifically for wayward spouses, Hope for Healing is a supportive, nonjudgmental environment for you to heal and develop empathy. Over the years, this 17-week, small group course has helped thousands of people find hope, set healthy boundaries and move toward extraordinary lives.

"I just finished Hope for Healing and am proud of the changes that I already feel in myself and my marriage. I found Affair Recovery when I was at the darkest point in my life, and this course has helped me to get myself on a true path to recovery." — S., Alabama | November 2020 Hope for Healing participant.

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that horrible feeling of rage

I am only too familiar with that white hot, burning, all consuming rage. We went through several revelations of my husband's betrayal because he initially tried to deny and downplay. We are coming up on the 3rd anniversary of the 1st revelation of his affair, which makes this time of year so hard for me. And when I think about it, I remember all too well how I was so filled with anger that I was scared of myself. I wanted to not only emotionally hurt my husband and his AP, but I had thoughts of physically harming them as well. It frightens me to think about the intensity of my anger and how hard it was, and has been, to deal with. I am thankful that much of that initial blinding rage has passed, due to time, recovery efforts on both our parts, and my husband's grief and remorse, and willingness to accept responsibility for what he did. But I still have those flashes of anger when his betrayal comes to mind. I guess that now it is less rage and more of an aching pain, almost like a tootheache. Sometimes it is barely noticable and I can put it out of my mind...other times it throbs fiercely reminding me of it's presence, keeping me awake at night.

Anger after Betrayal.

As usual, I agree with what you are saying in this message. GOD makes it possible to forgive and reconcile after betrayal. Sadly, you can forgive your spouse and they continue to commit the same behaviors that led to the breakdown of the marriage. In that case, there is no understanding of their part in continuing the hurt, which triggers the same angry response and dredges of the painful memories of hurtful behavior. The cycle is too toxic to be in an on-going relationship until the destructive behavior ends. You do not have to reconcile to forgive.

NEEDS ADVICE

My wife was committing adaultry with four policeman and was suspected many times. When I asked her about who this people were, she said that they were her brothers. When she was caught, she admitted everything. Since then, I had been very angry with her and also the four policeman as well. Since I am also a policeman working at the same police station, its a terrible pain I,m feeling to see there faces. Please help me on that case.

Anger

I could use some insight. I am at the tail end of betrayal. He's been having an affair for over 2 years with same 'girl'. I found out a little over a year ago but he lied and told me he ended it. Just this past October, I found an email from 'girl' proving it had not ended. I have not seen him since then (we are not married and live in different states) nor does he even want to see or talk to me; only if i make contact most of the time. He has given me NO closure whatsoever; we've been together 10 years. What I know about this affair is what I've found out through my own 'investigation'; its not much but yet it is. He also keeps stating that he is not a coward and he will face me and tell me that our relationship is over. Really? There has virtually been next to no contact between us. I am now dealing with anger and extreme hurt all at once. He has given me many gifts over the years and I am giving them all back for 2 reasons: anger (I don't want his 'guilt' presents - they feel like that now if I keep) and hurt (hopefully to convey that I only wanted his love and loyalty, not material things). I joined the Harboring Hope group and also had spoke with him about attending the weekend course to no avail. After reading this piece on how to deal with anger after infidelity, I am having second thoughts to how I would like to approach this. Can you help me decipher? My plan was to drop it all off at his business (he owns) to one of his employees when he is not there. He does not of course want anything back (this was discussed previously when he pretended it was over with the AP to get info out of me of how I found out, knew things etc and I had told him that I was planning on giving things back) but I also feel like he has given me no closure so I have to get some kind of closure on my own. Help!!

Anger :(...

This is precisely the boat my husband and I are in, the anger boat. My rage has become unbearable for everyone in the house, even the dogs...this put things into perspective for me. I feel like I'm holding onto my last shred of dignity and respect. I'm so resentful I only see red when I think about our situation and his lack of accepting any responsibility only makes those already fuming feelings crackle and sizzle even more.

Anger

I am also after his four year secret affair and now 16 mos D day, just now getting in touch with anger. I’ve a few storming out the door , slamming doors , but last night I overturned the tables on the back porch. It exploded in a way that surprised myself, much less my stonewalled H. I guess I’ve been stuffing anger , pleasing , pleasing him, manipulating to communicate his feelings . He will not. So at least we know anger not transformed will be transmitted. What to do with anger? Go back and learn helpful tools . Thank you for posting , let’s pray for healthy ways to express our anger.

So how do we let the anger go

So how do we let the anger go? Been with my husband for 17 years, married for 6. My heart is shattered, we both want it to work, but I'm angry!

GREAT article

My divorce was finalized recently. My ex-husband cannot understand that I didn't leave due to his betrayal but I left due to his ongoing blaming, anger and manipulation. I realized that I did not like who I was becoming around him. I had a choice to make and I made the best one available. I wake up daily and CHOOSE to forgive him AND to forgive myself. He claims that I am angry and bitter. It just makes me sad for him at this point as he continues to destroy our relationship even further (if that is even possible). I will continue to show up with character and integrity for both my children and for myself. I am grateful to Ric and Affair Recovery. AMAZING articles and resources! THANK YOU!!

wish i read this years ago

I would like to thank all of you for sharing. I am a CS who recently lost his wife due to my actions. The anger that was created from her side just justified but I didnt want to see that, so in defense, I too would become enraged and battle back and lose the ability to be what i was suppose to be which is sensitive and more understanding. The anger after betrayal is so so toxic that it changes people. The last thing I imagined was my wife becoming angered,but I never recognized that her anger was really her hurt being expressed differently. For CS, learn from me IF you truly want to fix your relationship with your partner...manage your anger and explain to your partner why you are reacting the way that you are. To the best of your ability, use right speech where you are carefully choosing your words to express your emotions but not igniting an argument. I can't tell you how many times I blew my top becasue I wanted her to 'get over it' so that I could feel more comfortable around her. In reality, her anger was really a manifestation of love & hurt that I wasn't empathetic too. Do not follow my footsteps.

anger

I have been angry for a long time with my husband. He has had three physical affairs and two emotional affairs. We have been married 13 years. I have never really been able to forgive him and there are times when rage just seems to surface. He recently ended his latest affair and says his reason for even having it was that he felt controlled and I didn't trust him anyway so why not give me a reason to not trust him? He said he was tired of the anger and bickering. I don't know how to just let it go.I would give anything for our marriage to work but don't know that I can ever trust him again and I don't know how to begin letting go of my anger.

husband won't forgive.

i confessed to husband about 16 yrs after 3 month affair. It has been almost 2 yrs since i told him. I told him out of guilt. I feel now I should have carried the secret as a burden as the hurt was so great. Very shortly after I told him, he started with the dating sites. I initially thought it was ok, because I felt so guilty. I saw several counselors who told me how each of us needs to be faithful to rebuild. two wrongs do not make a right. I shut the door on my horrible judgement many years ago and have not looked back and only think about the AP with revulsion and shame and sorrow. I wish I could take it back. I have told my husband over and over how sorry I am and that I love him and feel we have so many more milestones. He saw counselor only once. He has done nothing but show ferocious anger the whole time, justifying his current unfaithfulness. He continues to insist I must put down in writing specifically what I had done. He has threatened me physically and emotionally. I have written/emailed the circumstances under which I felt desperate in the marriage and how I let myself open to wrongdoing. I do not blame him/anyone for crossing such a line. I have gone to confession and explained to spouse that I start each day in sorrow, but I choose to lead rest of my life being the best person I can be and to function for my children. I chose counselors with strong spiritual conviction so that any decisions in my life would not cause further harm, even if that meant leaving home. I was blown away that I was met with encouragement support, and hope for our future. How do I get my husband to get past the control he feels he should have in punishing me . I can't withstand any more. It hurts he is dating.

Same here

Really angry everytime I think about it :(It's been a year but I can't help it. I I remember it everyday. So painful I can't not even explain the pain level.
Married for almost 7 years now, last year my husband, the perfect man, my best and only true friend I thought, the one who promised me love, respect and being faithful etc. Told me he was leaving me for another woman ( not even some one good) she was a prostitute that only wanted his money.
I think that's what hurts the most. After thinking I was a good wife for him he cheated on me with such a bad person, felt like I was something unuseful horrible...can't even explain how it feels when I think about it. I gave him another chance and a month later had his other lover knocking on our door...more pain for me that I was pregnant and had to deal with all this.
I have that anger, I feel it and I keep thinking about giving up and leaving him everyday when I see how he is talking to younger girls(16-20 years old) and locks phone and computer and doesn't try to help me deal with my pain.

anger

I have to tell you that I relate to your anger and know that you are not lone, so many women that I have talked with carry this for a couple of years even after the best work with counselors and a remorseful spouse. You need to surround yourself with support. I have had none so had to step out and find it after my husband of twenty five years decided to have affair. Why they think that is the answer for their problems with no regard or courage to tell their faithful spouse i will never understand. This is his problem and has nothing to do with what you did or didnt do. Seek good counseling get strong for yourself.and if he doesnt seek help you need to do better for yourself.....You are not alone......Sandra

Anger

It has been almost 3 years since he confessed to his affair, but 1 1/2 years since it really completely ended. The anger and hurt I feel today is as fresh as if it happened yesterday. I moved out for a year, then moved back home. He has done everything possible to help me with healing. I don't understand it when people say their marriages are better than they were before the affair. I feel that the hurt has left a scar so deep, that it will never really heal, no matter what. What if I can't really get over it? Sometimes I am so sad.

anger

d day was 3 years ago this july, I have been married 34 years, my husband had an emotional affair with an old flame from before I met him. the affair lasted approx. 3 months until I discovered it by chance, this woman lives in another state and I don't believe they ever met in person during this time however the affair resulted in thousands of text messages, phone calls around the clock, sexual pictures of each other back and forth and last but not least Phone sex. I was blind sided and traumatized an in shock, my husband is extremely remorseful, totally dedicated to saving our marriage, he has cried with me due to the pain he has caused and regrets ever contacting her and cannot to this day explain how it got so out of hand. My husband I know loves me very deeply and I love him as deep as a person can love another human being, but for the life of me, to this very day I cannot control my pain, jealousy, destructive thoughts and extreme anger. I feel like I am on a roller coaster ride from hell, my husband and I love spending quality time with each other, we laugh, we talk, we love, we are great together, if only I could stop the ( once every 4 or 5 week trigger episodes) that start out as just wanting to let him know my feelings, with every intention of just saying my piece and leaving it at that, but my mental anguish starts, because my heart won't let me accept the things I cannot change, the anguish turns into anxiety and all hell breaks loose, my anger gets out of control, I paint as vulgar a picture of him and her as I can get, to him and it tortures him (and me), my body trembles and it turns into a full blown rage for me, I feel like a total lunatic, but its not something I am able to control, It happened tonight that is why I turned to this site, i screamed and cried at him and it always turns into an anxiety attack so bad that i feel like i am having a heart attack, I cant breath, i scare my husband and i scare myself in the process, i have gone to counseling but the councilor pissed me off so bad I walked out. (twice). I don't understand why i can't find peace in my heart and mind, my husband and I love each other and neither want a divorce, and I don't want to continue having these episodes, its exhausting for both of us and unproductive, years of this is ridiculous, so what's the answer? How do you turn off the thoughts that haunt me..

anger

This is more common then alot of counselor want to talk about, most women that I have talked with and have read about goes through this experience too so dont think you are a lunatic.I Iearned that when my daughter was killed in an automobile accident that everyone grieves different and everyones marriages and circumstances are different that doesnt mean you crazy for not responding the way others do. It has only been one year since D day for me since finding out about my husband work affair on my 25th anniversary and find that the rages do start by some kind oft triggers but am learning. The best thing that I have found just like when my daughter died is talking with other women that have gone through this and getting positive support. I have also found good counseling is very hard to find, keep trying I went through 4 and had to drive an hour and a half.
Wishing you peace.

Anger

Anon, I see its a year now since this post. I'm the same, are you coping better, has your rage subsided. If yes, was it time or did you do something different?

Rage Meltdowns. Any Solutions?

Yes, I wonder too. Are you coping better? Have you found any methods of (1) Avoiding, or (2) Breaking out of the Rage Meltdowns?

Anger only because he never gave me what I needed

Angry because I feel like he got away with it. I never really got the apology I deserved. I go through stages. Then it hits me....and I get angry.

Angry/Hurt Spouse......At a loss how to handle

I can so relate to this post. I am the betrayer in this story. My and husband and I have been trying for 2 years now to somehow get past my betrayals to no avail. I confessed to everything, 2 years ago, to all of my betrayals from over 20 years ago. So, in my case the infidelity was not recent but over 20 years ago, I do realize to him it is new. However, I feel he is trying to punish me by the constant/daily reminders he talks about of all my transgressions. It still becomes an interrogation of questions and accusations almost on a daily basis. This turns into an argument with name calling, put downs and the like, which gets us no where. I have confessed to all, owned and honestly apologized for all the hurt I have caused him/us. He says he loves me, wants us and knows we need to stop the cycle we are now stuck in. Every time I think we are making progress, we wind up right back where we started.....stuck in misery. I do not know what else to do. I do love him and want this to work. But I honestly do not know how much more I can take. I kills me to see him so hurt and to know I caused it. Any suggestions on how to help him let this go enough so we can finally move on would be appreciated

reply

Your situation is very similar to mine. 27 years married and I found out about multiple online relationships that had been going on for years. We both want to move on and are trying to make our marriage work. He is remorseful but I have bouts of anger every couple of weeks. I don't know what to do with the anger when I am triggered. I know your post was years ago and I hope you found something that has helped. I am searching for something to help me.

Anger and love.

Thank you for putting into words exactly how I feel right now.
I've been with my partner for 31 years. In the beginning I felt that I'd met the "love of my life" .We'd both been married before and he had treated me like a queen. We then moved house and it was even more perfect, I loved him and he loved me, I felt it.
Then, what seemed like overnight , his character changed ( i've only recently realised that he had "adult dismissive avoidant attachment style, which means that he feared and tried to avoid gettint too close to anyone due to some trauma in infancy).
He then began to treat me as if I didn't exist, stopped having sex with me due to his "low testosterone" and was mean to me in every way possible.
I tried to be sensitive to his "condition" as every now and then he would offer a few crumbs of kindness towards me which kept me living in hope.
In 2017 I accidently found out that he was having an emotional affair with a woman from his tai chi class for 6 months. I was completely devastated but worked on the relationship and controlled the anger inside.
18 months later he decided to tell me about another affair he'd had as he thought that I'd guessed about it already. This one was "purely physical". I was stunned for a few days and then came the anger and worthlessness. This furious anger would surface wth almost every trigger and furniture and ornaments would fly as this affair started when his "low testosterone" started! It was also the start of his horrible treatment of me, however loving and generous I was with him.
I was totally in love with this man and he knew it.
We'd been together for 31 years and the affair had started at his Jeckyl and Hyde change of character and gone on for 17 years!.
We'd both been in bad marriages before we got together (the signs were there- he'd been in three!), but he'd never shown any signs that he wanted to leave me and that made me feel more 'safe' with him.
All this began 3 years ago at age 73 (he wore his age well, as I'm told, do I) He started to realise it was me he now wanted and was nicer to me than he'd been for the previous 30 years, but I couldn't get over his deceit for all that time and the fact that he hadn't allowed me to find happiness elsewhere.

5 weeks ago he caught Covid. Three weeks ago he died age 76 (I'm now 71).
His legacy to me is pain, anger and love. My head is so messed up with his "stonewalling" and lies since it all came out that I still don't know "which way is up" but my anger has not abated in the least and now sheer frustration and love share my mind with it.
I notice that your message was from 7 years ago and I wanted to know if this corrosive anger ever goes away? I can't face a future knowing this is how I'm always going to feel. I'm in despair at the moment. I wish I knew what to do next.

The anger

How do you get over the anger? It's been almost 2 years since I uncovered my husband's affair with someone he paraded around as just a good friend to both of us. The affair was at least 7 years and 4 months. I am still devastated. I am trying to do EMDR therapy with my therapist and couples therapy too. He just wants me to shut up and not talk about the past at all. He tells me to get over it. I know only I can make myself feel better but I don't know how to do it. I am fearful and far from trusting him. I deeply resent the pain he caused. On the surface everyone thinks he's such a great guy. I long for compassion and good reasons to swallow my anger and my pride. Help.

Forgiveness vs. Restoration

In reading some of your posts, I think it is important to remember that forgiveness is not restoration. Forgiveness is a process and takes just you...restoration and healing from the trauma of infidelity takes two people to participate in the recovery process. When the spouse who was unfaithful participates in the healing process and the injured spouse forgives, healing can be possible but it will be a long road and all parties will need to participate in the healing process. If there is an unhealthy cycle of anger continuing, them it is time for counseling help if both parties want to see their marriage restored. This is a process that needs 100% from both marriage partners. Remember, forgiveness doesn't make wrongs right because wrongs can't be made right, they will always be wrong, but forgiveness sets you free!

Words of Yruth

So true are you in the truth and wisdom of these words. If only reluctant spouses on both ends of infidelity embrace this truth. How I pray for this Grace for all and in the hearts of all husband and wives no matter what side , for the healing of all.

still trying to make since of it all.

Hi, July 3 (Dday number 3) is quickly approaching, I am in such turmoil in my mind that I almost feel like I am having a nervous breakdown, 3 years is a bit much don't you think? I started thinking about things and it occurred to me that when my husband and I are together, I feel such love and devotion FROM him, when he looks at me its so loving and so sincere, he always holds my hand in a very loving way, when we are together i feel so deeply in love with him, He does everything in his power to make up for betrayal. And when we are together If I somehow get a trigger moment I can somehow push past it, i feel genuinely happy and i feel his happiness to. However!!!! My husband works out of town 4 days a week, when he is away from me I cant control my thoughts about the affair, I try to block it out but it always comes back with a vengeance, A simple trigger will get me started and my mind takes a strong hold, suddenly in my mind he becomes the enemy, not the man I so love when we are together, but a husband whom threw me aside for another woman, a husband who had another woman on his mind twenty four seven even when he was with me. I try to make since of how he could do it to us, how he could not resist, why he didn't consider me for a moment. Why I was not a factor when he was about to cross the line. I get very angry because he always says he don't know how it got so out of hand, HONESTLY!!! really? REALLY? what a COP OUT nobody in this day and time is that naïve, lets face it, The whole northern hemisphere knows that contacting and old flame or having a friendship with the opposite sex (in secret) is a potential affair in the making. And ohhhhh please!!! Affair Fog , give me a break (what a bunch of crap) Affair fog is a pretty lame excuse for justification, what the hell was the excuse when he was at the cross road making a conscious decision. He shouldn't have put himself in that position in the first place. , I have had a few men whom i was attracted to Try and hit on me,but i never had a problem telling them that i am married and i love my husband and i would never cheat on him, EVER. I can't even fathom the thought of an other man touching me sexually. I don't want anyone but him. If he is still in love with me and loves me like he claims, how is it possible for him to be involved with another woman,. I simply don't understand, When you love someone, you don't want anyone else. You just don't.

I couldn't agree more. My

I couldn't agree more. My husband also travels for work, and I have the same issues. When he is home it is much easier for me to feel his sincere remorse and to have hope that we will make it through this nightmare. But when he is away and unable to reassure me in person, my mind goes crazy and I am easily deep in despair.

Words from my heart

I thought your words were written myself. My UH said he never stopped loving me in his four year emotional entanglement with a woman he supervised at work. They had lunch together everyday almost he said. There were 10,000 text messages as far as could be seen on records . And this is a man that DOES NOT TEXT for communication. He loved me ? Never stopped loving me? Well hard to convince me bc not once was I invited to come lunch with “ them” . Never texted me not once. Could not call me at lunch bc he was working through his lunches . Never stopped loving me? well I guess it’s a pause in loving me? He is brilliant and intelligent and knew what he was doing. Almost two yrs past D day still waiting for full disclosure. Says there was NO PHYSICAL touch. Screams and defends , I believe I feel guilt for asking such a question, shuts me up. My intuition is he is disclosing tip of the iceberg and due to ego and pride he’s not going to tell.
UH are very savvy and smart and deceptive in their secrecy and manipulation to have their cake and eat it too! My H lost his long supervising position for “ unknown” reason????? He’s home now and triggers are less, yet if they want to cheat , they find away. I thought it would eliminate all triggers , but it didn’t. I can’t babysit him 24/7 nor do I want too. I do know I’m doing all I can by the Grace of God not to be poisoned by their sin, any longer. They know the wedding vows they promised. Cake and eat it too? My H has to prove his fidelity , trustworthiness, for me to believe in him again. Actions , words can be cheap. Show me. I will pray for you for peaceful thoughts while your H is away on business. I’m so sorry you are in this position. I’m struggling with anger and want to process this phase consructively. Any tips anyone?

Thank God my anger is finally subsiding

After reading this story, my heart went out to this couple. I know I am withing a couple weeks of one year since I exposed my wife's two-year emotional affair and she finally came clean. After lots of individual and marital counseling over the last 10-plus months, God has been loving enough to put us on a more solid path toward healing and reconciliation.

At the same time, during the first half of the year after disclosure, I was an emotional basket-case and lashed out in anger a lot. Even until recent months I have been passive-aggressive in my attitude, which I knew in my head was unhealthy but in my heart I just wanted justice and to inflict the same kind of hurt that I experienced from her betrayal. Every time I would lash out with little comments around the house or in a full-blown bout of rage that put her safety walls back up with me, I knew this vicious cycle just couldn't go on.

Fortunately we have very patient and Godly counselors who have been unpacking our past garbage and giving us tools on how to deal with the past of our unhealthy relationship that led to the affair and also given us tools to help correct communication struggles. It is something I have to pray about daily and review in my own heart and mind in how God truly wants me to respond in love to my wife.

I am also very fortunate that God has placed some really good friends and mentors in our life that have spoken truth with love. It is their words of wisdom repeated time and time again that has helped disarm the anger that was boiling within me during those initial months following disclosure. And while the enemy still likes to try and throw the trials and circumstances of life into my face (we had to leave our church of 9 years with all of our friends because the other man -- now the former youth pastor -- still attends there with his family, and we sold our house of 10-plus years as we await a possible move from the area) as we are in transition between rentals and I am applying for jobs out of state so we can move from the tension and get a fresh start, I am learning more and more to just give it all over to God.

I pray daily -- and ask others for prayer -- that I can become the man of God I need to be while watching God also work in my wife's life so we can truly form a new, healthy marriage foundation for the second half of our life together. I want to take what has been anger and pain and turn it into a ministry to help others struggling with bad marriages.

Excellent post

I appreciated your frankness about your anger. You could have been talking about my situation. I am 6 months post discovery of my husbands emotional (hopefully that is all), but he will not talk about it or accept responsibility. He just wants me to get over it. So needless to say, I am angry. I really don't know how to escape this nightmare. We started going to couples counceling, but I cancelled after a few sessions because he kept lying (I presented proof of the lies, then he would admit it), or would just shut down. I am now in individual counceling and am trying to figure out what I want.

Re: excellent post

I so understand where you are exactly!! I am there as well and it is so hard to make him understand I need to talk about it. We need to. He is ashamed and I get that but to get past this we have to face it and his reluctance to be forthcoming with everything is really making me bitter and though I try to deal with it I find I am losing the battle. I, too, have sought individual help so that I might not give up without having tried to do all I can. I don't want to give up but I do not want to live in the shadow of lies and wondering what was the rest of our lives.

Prayers to anyone going through this. I have 22 years and a beautiful family at stake. In true motherly fashion, I have considered burying it deep down so my family will not be affected. Though my children are grown (young adults), I know they would be deeply affected by a divorce. In doing that, I find myself dying a little each day. I don't know what will be left of me or us if some resolution can't be found. That is why I sought out individual help, to see if I can find a way to move forward and not lose myself, without knowing what I need to know that would help me to understand this whole horrible mess.

God bless.

To Reddyleigh

Thank you for your affirming message. We appear to be in the same place in life. I wish you well and totally understand your sacrifices for your family. I feel the same and am working to become the best person I can and have the best life possible (both for myself and my family) considering the hand my husband chose to deal me. I have made it perfectly clear to him that even though I graciously gave him a second chance, there will be no third chance. Be strong my friend!

What *are* the choices for

What *are* the choices for those of us whose partners do not take responsibility for their actions, continue the affair, and leave us?

What helps in forgiving someone who won't say, "I hurt you, and I'm sorry"? What helps in forgiving someone who didn't stay around to be forgiven?

You eventually have to grieve

You eventually have to grieve the many kisses you have felt, you separate from the past by gradually rebuilding you life and your identity as a single person. If you experience trauma or triggers, then counseling will help.
I was told that I would learn how to manage all the emotions involved and find a healthy place. At the time I didn't believe I could, but I eventually did. I divorced, not because of the affair ( he did end it), but because of ongoing lies and his failure to get his own anger under control. Those 2 were my bottom line.
So sad. I don't understand his ongoing need to lie.

forgiveness

What helps in forgiving someone who didnt say sorry or ask for forgiveness is the freedom it gives you, the forgiver. Holding on to bitterness and unforgiveness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. You only hurt yourself while the other person is unscathed. But choosing forgiveness frees you from the prison of bitterness and hate. After my husbands 2nd emotional affair i found myself hating his 1st affair partner who kept creeping back in and seemed mentally unstable (showing up at his work in her pjs with her 3 kids in the car to hysterically ask why he wasnt answering her calls seems a bit unstable imo.) But when i had those feelings of anger and hatred towards her I'd pray for her and ask God to help me forgive her and He did. Eventually my anger towards her seeped out of me even as i prayed and i felt compassion toward her and pity that she thought such a dysfunctional hidden relationship was ok. I prayed for her and her children's salvation as well. She didnt know i forgave her. She didnt ask for it at the time. But it helped me and my mental and spiritual well being. She eventually started coming to our church and while i cant say for sure, her motives seemed to be to wedge herself back into my husbands life. She ambushed me in the bathroom one day and although she apologized she passed blame and dodged responsibility while trying to put a wedge between my husband and i by telling me he said she wasnt the first he cheated with etc. But i calmly told her i had forgiven her and had prayed for her and was glad she was going to church and bringing her kids. I felt at peace while she trembled and was teary. Not long after our convo she stopped coming to our church but i felt at peace knowing i handled the situation in the right manner. Forgiveness was for me, not her.

Unfaithful Anger

Anger prevents real communication. In my case it's my unfaithful wife who has anger problems. Can't discuss sensitive, personal issues necessary for healing because she works herself into a frenzy, gets contemptuous then stonewalls. It is frustrating and disheartening. Losing hope. I ask her to please get some individual counseling to help address this. She says no, she is fine, I'm the problem. What do you do with someone so stubborn, other than leave. Nearing our 29th anniversary.

CS Anger

Untold..I am sorry for your pain. My wife is behaving the same way towards me. In fact, she says she nearly has a nervous breakdown everytime we are "forced" to spend time together. She refuses to end her 2 year emotional affair as the AP is a consultant on most of her work projects. The AP is a married guy with 2 kids and I just found out his wife is looking to divorce him because of this affair. After struggling to limit contact (longest time was 2 weeks) she now sees the APs divorce as confirmation that they are meant to be soul mates. Absolutely maddening.

Meanwhile we are in individual counseling. She is now back in denial, saying "nothing happened" and "I did nothing". Then the justifications, of which she has many.

My counsel has been basically "don't interfere, make her make a decision". She says she does not want our marriage ( of course, AP is meeting alot of emotional needs). I agree that she needs to decide, and so I'm working on myself, those things I'm seeing that I need to change. She wanted to feel more safe, not just the "yes" man, but a man who confidently leads. Of course, I made mistakes but does not justify her affair. At all.

But how long do I wait? I think she will have come to a point where she justifies blowing up two marriages before I blow up ours. 3 kids- each will be devasted in massive ways. She is a child of a nasty divorce where kids still hate mom. She has deep unresolved issues from all that. Yet she is on the clear path to repeat the sin, totalling at least 2-3 generations prior.

Praying, and waging spiritual warfare, daily for us. God knows my desires, but His will be done.

Something is missing from this article

I get that bitterness can get in the way... I believe the operative necessity to release the anger is a mutual desire to reconcile the marriage, but both spouses must understand and empathize with the other person. The unfaithful spouse cannot be intimidated by what needs to be done to rebuild trust.
If the unfaithful spouse refuses to do what it takes to rebuild trust and communicate well and stop diminishing the anger and hurt and distrust in the other spouse, they find it hard to overcome the anger in general. It's natural to maintain anger as a safe barrier if the betrayed spouse does not see efforts to build trust.
Too often my unfaithful spouse as well as inept counselors used my anger as the reason for lack of progress and failed to see my spouses continued insistence that I should "just get over it -it's done"! They failed to acknowledge that my husband continued to lie about finances, and continued to undermine me as a parent, and continued to call me crazy because I still had devastating emotions due to the TRAUMA of the betrayal. Years of lies and cover ups are traumatic.
Unfortunately, bitterness does have a way of building a serious callous if there isn't enough understanding or compassion for the betrayed spouse. There was a lot of pressure from my spouse and outside counselors to have my emotions catch up with my desire to forgive - more pressure and expectation than my h had to become accountable.

You just cannot rush the healing process in a betrayed spouse and yet it seems that is what everyone else wants to try to do.

Agreed

I'm rowing the same boat as you....you're not alone, friend.

Amen! I agree 100%. My

Amen! I agree 100%. My experience with 3 counselors are that they are too quick to push forgiveness and moving on before getting questions answered, reviewing causes and sharing pain experienced. My unfaithful wife uses that against me now. Even though I remind her counselor #1 was undermined because she lied about and denied the whole adulterous relationship until 6 months in when I found her secret cell phone. Even then she lied and denied the extent of the affair until after she quit counseling and DDay 2 one year later when I found the PA evidence. Cheaters by nature lack accountability about their affair and the deceit, and too many weak counselors don't hold them accountable, leaving the faithful spouse alone to fight that nearly impossible battle.

Agree

Agree - the unfaithful spouse who does not admit/minimizes wrong doing and desires to (now, not before when I wanted to or when it would have had preventive power) discuss marital issues is THE barrier. Let's avoid the extreme trauma and harm you've caused and focus on what we should have focused on before - logic, common decency say no way! Enduring the shame shield of blame while they try to "get it" is exhausting. I wish there was a fee we could pay for the betrayers to be taken to the "wood shed" referenced on this site. A therapist actually stated that she would be the "mother"/"accountability" chair - 2 simple "safety" assignments were committed to over the course of a month and she did not remember to bring them up - fascinating. This sent a message to the betrayer that it wasn't a big deal - I can assure they remain a BIG deal 12 months later. It really must take experts who have lived the nightmare to help.

I like your reference of a "serious callous" - I have been referring to the only consistent behavior of blaming as having a cumulative effect. When do we talk about the lies/deceit, physical, emotional, financial energy given to someone else - if half of it was given to the marriage I suspect EVERYONE would have been much happier. It is interesting that some betrayers are unable to see the connection - if you weren't giving much of anything before AND at the same time betraying - don't you think the betrayed will now have MUCH GREATER needs...and of course the link is the betrayer - the needs exist because of their actions/choices - if the betrayed don't protect themselves, who will? You've taught us it isn't you - if you want us to believe in you, you must prove it.

Here here!

Exactly. Facing a spouse that refuses to admit what they did or take any responsibility for the fall out that has happened. Yes. I'm angry. I have every right to be. But you can't pretend nothing happened and expect everything to be normal. It never will be and that's your fault. Don't blame me.

I'm so angry at my husband

I'm so angry at my husband for his continued betrayal AFTER I gave him chances... I wish I could forget everything that happened. I can't.
I just don't see a resolution .

Wife cheated with multiple men

Married with 6 children and I learned my wife was meeting men off the Internet and having unprotected sex. I forgave her and tried moving past only to learn she was still cheating. I still love my wife yet anger has taken a hold of me at times. The sadness I felt has turned to anger and bitterness. It's been very difficult. I love my children with all my heart and want this marriage to work. Not sure I can get past the anger part.

Anger

Hi, today is November 2017. I have been married for over 20 years and we have 3 children. I found out in March that my wife was cheating on me with her co-worker. I had a weird feeling one day and started snooping around, looking at phone records and for other clues. I ended up finding so much evidence: documented texts/phone calls, hotel receipts, receipts for gifts, condoms, etc. This discovery caused me incredible shock and pain. My anger was unbelievable. I confronted her and she confessed that she had been having an affair since July 2014. She had incredible guilt and shame and was relieved to be discovered. What further angered me was that we had been going to marriage counseling since mid 2015 at my request. So she was already one year into the affair at the start of counseling and I totally felt used. To make matters worse, her affair partner's wife was pregnant at the time they started the affair and my wife was also friend's with his wife. I wanted my wife to face the consequences of her actions, to face the guilt and shame head on. I wanted so much to disclose the affair to everyone we knew as a punishment, yet I have held off. The most difficult part of this is to accept and overcome the betrayal and how she used my trust against me. Looking back, it was the many work meetings, parties, business trips, that she says she was at which she used as a front to conceal her misbehavior. I fully trusted her and this was the last thing I expected. I have experienced so much anger throughout all of this and have done my best to keep it all together. I have recovered emotionally a great deal since March, but I find that I cannot shake the bouts of anger that arise periodically. We still have to co-parent our children and I have not forgiven her fully, nor do I trust her anymore and possible never will. Counseling after the discovery has helped a great deal, but I wonder and hope if I will ever be able to fully put this behind me and move on.

Abuse and shame

There was a 3 week period after my wife's emotional affair where I was verbally abusive and made her feel terrible about herself with no regard for the hurt I was causing. I liken myself at the time to that of a wounded animal, thrashing around not caring of anything else I was hurting, or like a drowning man, not caring if I was drowning my rescuer. The alternative hypothesis where I was deliberately trying to hurt my wife doesn't ring true.

It lasted 3 weeks and was labelled by one psychologist as domestic abuse and separation was recommended. 2 other psychologists thought it was better described as a grief reaction in the context of the affair and recommended reconciliation. Regardless, the abusive behaviour stopped.

We no longer live together though we still go to counselling together and meet up once a week.

I now sit with the shame of having been labelled as an abuser. I work in an industry that detects and reports domestic abuse. And now I wear that label too. Love to me means caring so much for someone that you could never hurt them. The anger is still there. I can't see myself wanting to move back in with my wife while I'm still angry. There are many obvious reasons but I think one of the subtler ones is pride - I can't bear the shame of being labelled as an abuser again. It feels I would rather walk away now with a 'win' than to risk getting back together, losing control of my anger and have the marriage fail as my fault, because that would be me 'losing'.

Just one strange part of what I'm struggling with. There is, of course, all the usual hurt, 'she doesn't get it', a second D-Day, trickle truth, a lack of ownership of events, a perceived lack of an apology, her wanting me to just 'get over it' along that strange loss of self confidence that comes when your lover chooses someone so obviously inferior to you that you think 'Wow I must be horrible.'

Partner Infidelity & Cheating

It's difficult to get beyond the rage I feel about 5 years of infidelity and our descent into financial, spiritual and emotional bankruptcy. I'm in my 3rd week after discovering a 5 year affair where my husband brought his affair partner into my home, my business and into our marriage--all while keeping his computer and cell phone "an open book." He was so good at deception had I not seen a messenger message before he erased it, he would "still be with her today." yet, he says she was nothing to him for those 5 years despite the promises he made to love her and take her away from her husband. I cannot get over the rage I feel right now. We have slid from an comfortable upper middle class lifestyle to now going to food banks to supplement our income because my husband jeopardized his living and now cannot find a job. he also caught a felony that was reduced to a misdemeanor due to his head being in her crotch instead on what he should have been. I'm disgusted and doubt that he will ever change--considering he cheated on his first wife twice and the woman before me. I'm just angry at the continual lies and betrayal and I don't see how will ever change.

Feel your pain

I feel for you, and want you to know you're not alone. It's easy to feel alone and forgotten, but there are many of us going through the same. Found out in Aprli that my H of 27 years posted himself on a website as a sugar daddy looking for sugar baby. I under covered that he found several. We too were a middle/upper class family with two grown college educated children. On the outside we looked like the all american family. I've tried to keep in perspective that and not take his cheating personally, he has deep seeded problems that only he can solve. If he would have put the energy that he used to lie and deceive me for months into our marriage, we would be happy. All I wanted was his time and attention. He choose to give that away to girls in their 20's, the same age as our children. He says he is sorry, but his actions over since the day of discovery have proven otherwise. I'm sorry for you, and sorry for me, and for all of us going through this, but we are strong and will come out on top. If our husbands really wanted to get their life together and make good choices, they would. Try not to take it personally, it's their character defect, not yours.

Anger and change

I think your last sentence got it. Are they wanting to REALLY CHANGE? After years of trying I finally had to cut all ties with my ex, she became an expert at manipulating the consequences of her adultery without giving it up. I just had to accept the fact that she has no intention of ever changing because she just doesn’t want to. A bitter pill to swallow to be sure but I’ve concluded that it’s better to live in reality, even if it hurts, than in some fantasy world where another person cares . That’s the question does he really want to change? If not.......

Anger

18 months ago, I discovered my husband's 6 week affair with a woman he hardly knew. 12 months ago I discovered he had been dishonest about the details. The second betrayal was much more painful than the first. The anger was at times overwhelming but the gutwrenching pain was so much worse. To realize after 30 years of marriage that my husband has no integrity is overwhelming.
Yet, I still try to make it work on a daily basis because that is the direction my prayers keep leading me. My anger has somewhat been supplemented by compassion for a man who did something he really regrets. I try to remember that I would have compassion for a friend who falls--- so I have to demonstrate the same compassion for my husband. I do not know if we will make it as this has exposed major differences in our views of life. Our marriage may end but hopefully not in a fit of anger. I will always feel anger and disgust for what happened and that may end our story but if it does, I am confident we will have tried.

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