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

Were They Thinking of Me?

were they thinking of me

The following is a true story and encounter I had with “Carol and Tim.” As you might have guessed, I’ve changed their names to maintain anonymity. I hope sharing both their conversation and their struggle will help provide clarity for you and your own situation, while also keeping in mind every case has a vast array of unique nuances that must be considered.

 

 “What were you thinking? Did you even consider the consequences? I just don’t understand how you could ever do this without thinking at all about me and the kids!”

Carol’s eyes burned into Tim like lasers. Tim, her unfaithful spouse, hung his head, avoiding her gaze.

"I don't know," he stammered.

"Liar!" she screamed.

Unpacking Their Story

Carol and Tim came to see me after his four month affair with a co-worker. Discovery had occurred when the two of them were rearranging their living room furniture. Tim handed his phone to Carol while he moved the couch. That's the moment when Ann's text popped up saying, "Love U. Can you drop by?" Carol stared at the phone in disbelief. Tim saw the look on her face and asked what was wrong. She held the phone up revealing the text. At first, Tim lied saying it was nothing, then he claimed they were just friends, but once she discovered his secret email account, he had no choice but to come clean.

From the beginning, Tim told her it was just a fling and meant nothing, but that only inflamed Carol's anger. Was he willing to put her and the kids at risk and lose his family over something that meant nothing? He had written Ann telling her he loved his wife and that it was over, but that offered little relief to Carol, who was triggered each day he left for work. He had fooled her before; how could she know if he was telling the truth now?

Tim begged her not to leave and swore it was over. He agreed to whatever she wanted if only she'd give him a chance. She wanted answers and she wanted them to get help. That's how they ended up in my office. Carol just couldn't get her mind around it. They had a good marriage and she'd been a great wife; why hadn't that been enough? What was missing? What could lead Tim to risk it all for some fling that allegedly, meant nothing?

No, They Typically Aren’t Thinking About Their Spouse

"Didn't you even think of me?" she asked Tim.

The tension in my office was off the chart. We were approaching a dangerous level of confrontation.

I figured it was time to step in: "Would you like to know some truth behind his actions? " I asked, yet not waiting for her response, I turned my gaze to Tim, "Do you mind if I share with her some observations….and you can correct me if I'm wrong?"

He nodded his head in fear filled consent.

"When he was with his AP he rarely thought of you, but what's probably more painful is the fact that when he was at home he frequently tried to escape life and responsibility by thinking of his AP.”

"Why?" she cried, "Is that true?" she demanded to know, looking at Tim.

"He's right.” Tim sheepishly said.

Healing Requires Raw Courage

Before I go on with this article I'd ask you a similar question, are you up to the challenge of understanding the painful dynamics of infidelity? For most betrayed spouses it's difficult to fully grasp their mate's explanation because of what we call "assumed similarities." We can only judge or understand another's motives by what it would mean if we did the same thing. For instance, if you're not prone to pain avoidance, it might be difficult to understand why some people drink. Part of the danger in writing this newsletter is my use of some broad sweeping stereotypes and generalities. Please remember to take the best and leave the rest. FINALLY, I AM NOT CONDONING OR EXCUSING ANYONE'S INFIDELITY BY THIS EXPLANATION. We cheat because we’re unhealthy. There’s a litany of things we could have done rather than cheat, but we weren’t brave enough to do them. I only hope to help with much needed perspective on what was going on for some people when they were in the middle of their affair(s). Genuinely understanding what was going on in the mind of an unfaithful spouse can help bring clarity, healing, and peace of mind, if used properly.

This is a hard truth to absorb, but my goal today is to help bring much needed clarity to difficult and painful situations. Having said that, I’ve been in this field for over 30 years and have seen over 3,500 couples, and a majority of the unfaithful spouses I work with have reported thinking about their affair partner (AP) when they were with their mate, but rarely thought about their mate when with the AP. One person said there were times she thought of her mate when with her AP, but she only focused on the things she disliked or was angry about, to help push her guilt away.

Affairs Are About Escaping

While this may be disturbing to the betrayed spouse, I believe it helps explain a dynamic frequently present in unfaithful spouses. Affairs, as well as many other acts of infidelity, often serve as an escape. They provide for distraction and fantasy, allowing the unfaithful spouse to escape the pressures and realities of life and inadequacy. Unfortunately, in that moment little or no thought is given to the impact of their actions, they are solely focused on what they stand to gain (escape, approval, affection, etc.). Rarely does anyone consider why they are doing what they're doing or how it will affect everyone in their life. Typically their only thought is, "I'll never get caught." They don't consider what it must inevitably cost their mate, or what they could do to improve their already existing relationship since they are only thinking of themselves. To say infidelity is self-absorbed and selfish is a colossal understatement.

When it comes to relationships, it's impossible to find someone capable of meeting all your needs or someone whose needs you can fully meet. You may love your mate and be content in the relationship, but we are two separate individuals making sacrifices and compromising to live life together. For many it's the fact they've given so much that makes them value their marriage.

If, however, we are under-invested, then we won't value the relationship to the same degree. With a lack of value comes a lack of motivation to protect and work through the difficulties of marriage. Instead of maintaining an attitude of love and caring concern as we vowed to do, we betray ourselves - abandoning love, becoming self-consumed. Whatever captures our attention captures us, and as we focus on our mate's failures we lose sight of how we are failing our mate and family. Misery is increased as we focus on what is lacking rather than the blessings we have. We move into self-deception, extolling our virtues, minimizing our faults and falsely believing we deserve better. We make it our spouse’s fault we’re cheating, as we’re forced to go outside the marriage to get our needs met.

If life is viewed through that kind distorted lens it's tempting to start dreaming of something different as a way of escape. It's interesting how easily we're deceived into thinking our problems will be solved by a change in circumstances.

Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. External fixes rarely work. The only type of baggage that never gets lost in transit is our personal baggage. That baggage never fails to show up at the new address.

It may be hard to fathom, but many unfaithful spouses don't want to leave their marriage, but they do try escaping their reality (at the expense of their mate) through the activities of their secret life. If they are trying to escape reality through the illusions created by their extra-marital activities, we have to realize they do not want to burst their fantasy bubble by thinking about their mate. Thinking of their marriage only destroys the illusion and kills the secondary gain of their fantasy. They are trying to escape what they believe are the pressures of life and marriage and unmet needs, while also trying to silence any and all voices of shame they live with each day. Why stop this fantastical way of life if it  represents the drug they use to escape reality?

Fantasy is the window to our soul. The illusions we create through fantasy and acting out reveal what's broken about us, NOT what's wrong with our mate. Much of recovery is based upon learning to see our own defects rather than those of our mate. It's based on learning to see how our actions impact others rather than focusing on how our mate affects or has affected us. It's learning to own and accept and eventually transform what we have rather than fantasizing about different circumstances to make things better. It's about diffusing the self-absorption and learning how to make life about others, not only ourselves.

Eventually Tim came to see his patterns of self-deception and avoidance. He actually began investing in the relationship rather than leaving that sort of thing to his wife. Carol finally came to understand it wasn't about her. Not that she was perfect, even though they both felt she was pretty dang close.  As she came to understand the ‘why’ behind Tim's actions she began to have hope that things could in fact, change. As she witnessed his efforts to address his personal issues she developed a confidence that things would be different. Tim’s efforts to understand what he'd done to her helped her see that he cared, but was on a journey to finding a new sense of humility and personal transformation. Finally, his commitment to helping her heal revealed he was finally thinking about someone besides himself.

If you're still searching for why maybe this helps give insight. As I said before, the above mentioned explanation in no way excuses betrayal of any kind, however, I do hope it serves as a reminder that great relationships aren't based on right circumstances; rather they are largely dependent on choosing to be the right person and owning our own dysfunction and failure.

If you've betrayed your mate and you are finally ready for your own personal recovery work to take center stage, or you just want to find out why you did what you did, click here to register for Hope for Healing. As you work through the material, you'll learn how to get out of yourself and begin to be a person you can respect. Regardless of what many may say or believe, there is a proven pathway to healing. Don't make emotional decisions; instead get the information needed to find what you're truly looking for.

 

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Comments

Still Hurting

My now ex-spouse never admitted he was wrong. I will never forget the moment he told me what he had done and the next sentence being that it was because I was fat. There are no excuses and it was just rubbing salt in the wound. I am happier now. Happier than I have been in a very long time.

GREAT ARTICLE

Rick,

Great article. I know the "why" question is the most asked. It's hard to explain why you hurt the person you love the most. This article nailed it!

Wonderful article !

What an encouraging article !

The Why Answer

Thank you for this solid article. It helped add to my understanding of why I was betrayed. I have started losing who I am in trying to be the perfect person for my husband with changing my appearance, trying to change my personality to be like the women he sought in his affairs, lusts, etc. Change sometimes needs to happen and is considerate of the other person, but I have come to an unhealthy point of it. All of this has led to a more insecure me. This article has helped me see in a greater way that it was not about me. Thanks so much.

Did you think about me?

This is what I struggle with the most and this article helped me to understand that my husband is no different than all the other unfaithful spouses. DD started 1 1/2 years ago with FULL disclosure ( I think, I mean I hope!) about a year ago. He was not forthcoming at all really, the further I dug, the more I found. I'm sure that the circumstances for most couples are different. It might be a one night stand, a week, a month or an even longer affair, but in my case it was a period of two years, with not just one woman but three women and that is making this all even harder to get over. I do however understand that he didn't think of me or even consider what he was doing to me, all the pain month after month that I went through.

We had such a great life, a life that was enviable by most and I think that played into his decisions to cheat with so many women, almost a sense do entitlement. He worked hard and he also "played" hard without a thought of me and our kids. I have triggers daily and this is never far from my thoughts, I'm just hoping that with time I can move past this and have a happy life with my husband again. Have I forgiven him, yes, but sometimes that is just not enough. I have to see remorse and the intent from him to make this better. To this day I still wonder if I really know everything - but then again, maybe I don't want to really know everything.

If it was so easy to do this not once, not twice but three times all at the same time, how easy would it be for him to do it again???

I want to trust again!!

This article was very informative, and while reading it I did feel better..but then reality hit in again...Why did he do it?? How could he do it? I had the best of marriage, we have the best of children..our marriage my friends were jealous of...I always knew my husband was a flirt from the day I met him..yet I was his choice, the chosen one..over the 27 years of marriage I would get phone calls asking if I knew who my husband was with..when I confronted him he assured me I was the only one, that he loved me. I believed him!! Last summer I went away with two of my children on vacation, after arriving home things were different. My husband was cold and distant. Told me he was tired..I grew very suspicious and checked phone records. Needless to say there were numbers, I asked, he lied..so I called. Then he said it was once, it meant nothing...well the "nothing" lasted over 9 months, with not one but two girls...yes girls both in their 20's...30 plus years difference. I was horrified!! I am 11 years younger than my husband, 5' 5"...125 lbs...the girls were both 50 plus pounds overweight and smoked..he hates smoking. So why?? Never has he said sorry, never has he gave a straight answer....I want to trust him, to love him, but am I just being a fool?

My ex never showed remorse or regret and now we are married

My now ex-wife definitely became "detached" from our marriage including our children. She became like someone who had developed a drug addiction. She refused counseling, placed all the blame on me (which was really stretching the truth as even by her own admission I had been a fantastic husband and a wonderful father), never once said she wanted to save our marriage. She simply "wasn't HAAAAPPPY!!!" all of a sudden - which dated back to when the affair began.

We are divorced now. She remains angry, bitter, lashes out at me and is even abusive to the children, but not enough to bring to court - no "marks" are ever left on them. I marvel at how her "escape" became like an addiction - to a full change in personality, and now I am hated and treated like a horrible person. How did I go from "Dream Husband and Father of the Decade" to the worst? It's beyond my ability to comprehend. The affair blew up in her face and she's now on boyfriend # ??? I don't know anymore, but nothing is working out and she is a terrible excuse for a mother.

I have a question: How often do you see the wife committing adultery, only to turn around and show true remorse and want to reconcile? It seems to be extremely rare from my limited point of view. I would love to see some insight on that question. Thanks for all you do!

Escape..... Is such a lame excuse

Escape to fantasy... Isn't that just an immature excuse that someone isn't mature enough to handle the pressures of a marriage? My hubby had a 11 yr affair. And a couple emotional affairs in that period as well . Caught numerous times in the 11 years. He had the nerve to tell me if I ever cheated on him he would divorce me Bc he would feel disrespected. And yea his affair is his " stress reliefer" he admits. I see it as those who have affairs need to grow up. You wanted the marriage and kids. So when things get stressed. Grow up be an adult and stay faithful. If you can't then get the divorce let your partner be happy. Divorce is 99% easier to adjust to and recover from then an unfaithful spouse who has affairs . And I can speak from experience! Divorced after 15 years of marriage .... Remarried to unfaithful spouse of 11 years where no trust in a marriage: waiting out the years till I die. Or he gets courage to divorce me because 2 can play at his game.

Guilt thinking during affair

I agree with what you say here about what the betrayer was thinking. I do however recall a second part to the thought process and although my last affair was over 11 years ago, I recall thinking of my spouse with constant guilt. "I shouldn't be doing this," "I can't believe I am doing this." Would constantly be going through my mind. It was rarely enough to stop the behavior, because of the needed escape. I would only turn to thinking of my spouse negatively to help justify my actions and get past the guilt. In my case I did think of my spouse, but my resentment overcame my guilt. I felt justified but horrible about myself and at the end of it all, the internal negativity ruined the escape. None of it had anything to do with my spouse. It was all in my own mind. Thank you for helping me see this through your program and great articles like this one.

It's hard

I feel like Angela in that I am always trying to compete with my husband's AP. She had a personality close to his and liked video games, chats, sending dirty jokes back and forth, etc. I do not, but find myself trying to do things like that for him. But I realize, I will never be her…and I don't want to be. Even though he says he realizes she was a fantasy and really not even a nice person, I still wonder how often he thinks about her.
I know he loves me and he is truly remorseful, so I need to let these invasive thoughts die. Thanks for this, and all the other, articles. They help, even though they hurt.

my worry also, Diane0403

Why did he do it? Because he could. It was easy for my cheating spouse to have an EA twice with the same woman at work, even it the affairs were years apart. The therapist for AR says it is because he formed an attachment the first time and never closed the door on it, so it was easy to come back to her a second time. The attachment may be stuffed down , but it never goes away, sort of like your feelings for your first love,( if I understood the therapist correctly). In order to live with my spouse, I was told I have to open my heart and understand that he can choose to do this to me again and again, but that I have to choose to love and not throw it back in his face ever again. His job is to choose to be the right person.

I didn't have confirmation of the first affair until this most recent one in which he admitted the first one. Now I am having to deal with both affairs at once. I have yet to see that "right person". He can't understand why he and the AP can't still be friends! After all, she is the only one he can talk to at work who understands his love of farming and livestock and the country life. She is his only friend there! There is no one else to talk to!

I still don't have a timeline of both affairs, what truly happened and when it happened, or any of the details I have asked for. He refuses to talk specifics, just gives me vague answers. All the while, around therapists and other people, he acts like he is trying so hard. He just wants to "move forward" and "share goals" and "have the same vision for our future", etc. But let's don't discuss the past or any of what I need to know to be able to move past it all. We need to just focus on the future and bury his infidelities. Let's just move on past this and have our lives. We need to share the same vision for our future and come to a compromise about out goals. And I just need to get over it. I guess that attitude works great for him. I guess he thinks he is being 'the right person". For me, I trigger daily, but really can't cry any more. I'm all cried out. I just feel empty and lifeless inside, no hope for the future because if I stay, it will be with the certainty that all this will happen again. There is still that attachment. And I have no control nor ability to know what goes on at work.

Don't know how much longer I am going to wait for him to be the "right person". If he doesn't get it after 17 months, EMSW, and 4 separate therapists, then he will never get it. Who in her right mind would want to put herself through all this pain and abuse a third time?

A pivotal piece

There is a lot of good information on this website, but this is the single most helpful piece I've read. This helped to dissipate my anger and make sense of my husband's confusion, and it gave me hope that just MAYBE there is room to understand what happened and possibly reconcile. I do not know if my marriage is salvageable at this point, or if I can ever move past his behavior, but reading this piece was pivotal for me. Thank you for writing it.

Still hurting

To think that he was thinking about the other person while he was home...it's like I'm still wondering if he's still thinking about them...yes them!
It's been a year now since I found out that my husband had 5 different women while we were together. I found proof of 2 and he later admitted to the other 3 only after I bluffed and said I had proof. To this day I think that there were more. With him it was the online chats and emails and the exchange of sexy pics. Here I was offering him sex and he used to refuse so I thought it was cause of the baby weight I had gained and didn't loose that used to turn him off I did everything I thought was right...wearing sexy lingerie, planning alone time, but still he was either tired or had a headache
Things are different now...he's more open with me and he says that he's glad that I found out cause he doesn't have to hide anything from me...I have access to all his emails but that doesn't mean that I trust him 100% I will never trust him fully again. I always have my antennas up...I know that he can create new emails and have accounts but for now he has done a lot to show that he is sorry and doesn't want to loose his family...
he's given me access to his emails
he doesn't go out with the guys anymore
he doesn't drink
we started having more date nites
We go out more as a family
he doesn't avoid answering my questions
I know that he can do it again...but I see thay he's trying so I try my best to meet him half way...it's been a tough road...really tough

Thank you for your help

I have been reading your great insights into the horror of infidelity and I have learned so much. This last piece about understanding the mindset of my husband and his 41/2 years of adultery has been enormously helpful. He kept repeating ad nauseam that he never thought about being discovered and I just couldn't believe that someone as intelligent could fail to see the repercussions and catastrophe that has ensued since D day 7 months ago. I can write this today because the tsunami of horror is quiet today and I am not so tormented. We have been married 46 years and like everyone who has been shocked by their partners failing' I never thought this would happen to us'.
Thank you for your comfort.

Great article!

This is one of the best articles...it opens many truths that happen when infidelity occurs. My tsunami occured 24 years ago. When you think about it is quite obvious that the betraying spouse thinks nothing about their spouse or children. Cheating, lying, infidelity is born out of self absorption/emotional immaturity. The big "I" is always in the middle of SIN. If you are the betrayed know it to be true that it is never your fault. Each individual has a choices to make and we all have to be responsible for those choices.

Victoria;

Victoria;
Bless your heart. 46 years.
I KNOW your devastation, we were 27 years married when I discovered my beloved husbands infidelities. Please know that as each day passes by, the waves start to diminish. I could not grasp that last year when I found out. I truly thought I'd never survive the horror, sadness, disappointment, loss, betrayal....on so many levels. But to live, and learn....that's been my way through. Slowly but surely I started to understand his personal brokenness , deeply wounded as a young boy, wiring changed forever; deep shame, lack of self worth...all tied in to behaviors that he despised but couldn't fight or manage appropriately....Not fully healed, by a long shot, I still hurt daily, but together we forge ahead, with the Lord at our helm.
The torment will subside, and you will emerge as a stronger, wiser and more beloved woman than you ever knew possible. This I know, for sure. Blessings.

Crushed in spirit

I know your story for it is also mine. I have also, with God's help and guidance been able to unravel my husbands story, after years and years of reading, personal counselling etc etc and never understanding why the stuff they suggested didn't have the effects they said it would, and facing increasing damage to our relationship. At last I have some peace that comes from a recognition of what I am actually dealing with. May I ask how you are finding a path through your husbands shame and deep unworthiness. I am healing and no longer stuck but my husband is still firmly stuck, too fearful to face himself and stays lost in his shame. Everly day I face new challenges as his shame finds new exits, new escapes,new way's to avoid reality and facing himself. I am starting to put up strong boundaries against these attacks. Sharing my hurt doesn't help - he is so focused on himself, it matters very little to him. Only strong boundaries with loving consequences can counter his self focus. I look to God for my strength, love and support. AR is a huge Blessing and source of comfort.

Victoria... thank you for

Victoria... thank you for your words and encouragement from your own experience. I was about to respond to the woman married 46 years when I saw your reply. You see, I too, just celebrated our 48th anniversary. It was disclosed just six months ago that he had been active for our first 15 years together, 4 states, 2 children. Clean for over 3 decades, but kept a horrible secret. I was clueless and totally deceived, devastated that my long marriage had been a sham! Seeking help to get to the roots of this horrible betrayal!

Thank you

Thank you for your response and kindness. We have to find a new 'normal'. The status quo has shifted. Slowly slowly I am beginning to understand how this catastrophe happened. To believe there was a reason but no excuse and to somehow surprisingly reconcile myself to the reality of now. I have raged, ranted, cried and been sleepless for 36 hours at a time. One of the best things I did was to write obscene limericks about the OW and shown them to my husband. I did not know how liberating this could be until I read them out loud. Try it! We do the best we can.

Long term affair

This is very helpful. I however find myself saying yes, but. My husband was with one woman for 8 1/2 years. It feels like a double life. What you say reflects what he says. But the length tends to blindside me all the time. And although I grasp my part in it 8 1/2 years even blindsides that. I feel that the marriage was great when he started. By the time it was discovered it was horrible. I feel like we go to that time to try to figure things out and really the hard times was what deteriorated because of the affair. I feel like very few blogs and authors who are talking about recovery address the long term affairs.

Long term affairs

Long terms affairs (11 years) are rarely addressed and a lot of information on short terms affairs or one night stands, are not entirely relevant to a years long situation. Where can solid, comprehensive information on this be found? Can you give direction to that?

The core of his being

37 years unknowingly with a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the sum of self-absorbed motivation, and I still have to fight to keep myself free from blame for what he chose. He truly never did see me as anything but a source of supply. I've had to stop seeing him as a wounded child, even though he was, and recognize that he did know what he was doing was both wrong and ungodly, but he had to deflect blame to "preserve" himself in his own eyes. Sadly the woman he's with now knows he was both abusive and adulterous, but I'm guessing she thinks she can change him. no; she's reinforcing his sin and enabling him to dodge real transforming repentance.

Were they thinking about me?

This article provided the insight I've been seeking since I found out about my husband's affair a year ago. I just couldn't understand how my life partner was willing to throw our 23 year marriage away so easily. To add insult to injury he admitted he didn't think about me or our four children but had compartmentalised us away and ignored our existence while he led a double life with his mistress and her children. I only found out about the affair when he took her on a luxury romantic getaway and I saw the hotel details requesting double bed and sea view to celebrate their anniversary. Unlike the husband in the article he has refused to see a counsellor, he texted his mistress to not think about him anymore and took her case full of her belongings back to her leaving birth of them sobbing. He says he still loves me and the affair meant nothing, the evidence is to the contrary particularly family exrcursions and weekends together. I ask him to look at the great articles and want to discuss them but he doesn't want to be reminded of the affair and leaves the room. I have always loved my husband, through all our difficult times but it seems I have to make the effort to save it. The excuse of mid life crisis is getting a bit thin.

What an excellent article! I

What an excellent article! I was an unfaithful spouse 5 years ago, my husband left me 2 weeks ago for his affair partner. I healed from my affair and he stayed stuck. I pray he finds help for his past hurts and unforgiveness. We have made a mess of our 24 year marriage.

This hurts!

Does it really get easier? D day for me was March 30, 2016, and I still feel the pain almost as bad and the day that I found out every single day. I still cry almost daily. I still don't trust my husband at all. I still wonder daily why I'm still with him. Then I remember..I LOVE him. I wish I didn't love him as much as I do. But, I do. I love him so much that it hurts. We don't have any children together. We've been together 7 years, married 6. His affair lasted a little over 4 years. There are certain aspects of the affair that I just can't seem to get past. And, I've become obsessed with his AP. It's all become very unhealthy for me. I feel like it should be getting somewhat easier for me by now, but I just don't feel it. Since you guys have been through it, please help me. Please give me some advice to get me through some of this...some days I feel like I'm barely hanging on. I do suffer from mental illness, and the day after I initially found out about all of this, I attempted suicide. This has really broken me.

This hurts

Interesting enough, I found out Feb. 2016. I was sick. I lost weight. I felt like going to sleep and not waking up; however wouldn't do anything to inflict more harm to myself and children. That first year, I wanted so badly to repair the relationship despite the AP now being involved with his family. I felt like we could press through it, but time and again I was constantly blamed for the infidelity, told that I wasn't this or wasn't that, and anytime our kids became upset, it was my fault. So today, we are still living apart. I dont have that same feeling that I had then. I had to stop and seek peace for myself. I had become a nervous anxious wreck. I begin taking anti depressants for anxiety (to avoid depression). I'm now embracing my life, I have found a piece of peace. I can honestly say here lately, I don't think about the AP as often. I keep my distance from his family to keep the horrific emotions in place. So I say all of this to say....take some time to get in a good place with yourself. Not saying leave him...but one thing I had to come to grips with is 'a broken person cannot fix you'.

He Won't Stop

Been married six years.
My husband hasn't gone a full year without cyber cheating.
He gets himself an online girlfriend. Says "I love you" to her. Shares sexual fantasies with her. Masturbates to her. Receives pictures and sends pictures. Everything that would constitute as cheating minus the physical act of penetration.
He gets caught. Stops for a few months. Starts again.

The longest he ever went without doing this was seven months. If I can even believe that.
Two days ago, I found out he was doing it again.
I don't want to destroy our family.
I don't want to divorce because I don't think I could find another man that doesn't look at porn and/or cyber cheat.
I'm sick of this though.

He won't stop

Therapy may help. Depending on how long he has been doing this, he may be addictive. He would need a therapist and possibly a group therapy session. And there are therapy groups for you (the innocent party). Pornography is serious and I honestly think it's like a gateway drug that leads to other things for those who have an addiction.

I think it is just an excuse

I think it is just an excuse to justify immoral and horribly hurtful and inappropriate behavior. If someone is so weak - are they really worth crying over, worth spending your time and money making them realize what is important and has value in life. Not so sure...

I understand

Yes, they are worth it. But I do understand your anger. I'm 3 years into having found out about my husbands affair. I love him. I want to move on.
I'm trying hard to understand how and why he chose her. In my mind she is a a low-life who went after my husband because she too, was lonely in her or marriage. SO WHAT! We all have moments that aren't perfect in marriage. If yours is that bad, then i would make a desperate, significant change. Don't start looking around for someone who is weak as well. My husband had cancer and survived, but not without what I call the "Cancer Hangover". He was messed up psychologically. He is fine physically, but it left him feeling "less than" in certain ways.
We were doing great and very much in the afterglow of his survival. Unbeknownst to me, he was struggling. This "person" came along and teased and flirted with him. Making him feel virile. I too, found out via an email with a picture of her in her bra....whilst on a college visit with her daughter, no less.
My husband denied at first, then admitted, then told her they were threw. Yet, here I am 3 years later....
Still hurting. I understand forgiveness. My problem is that forgetting seems impossible.

I'm on round 2.... cheated on

I'm on round 2.... cheated on with multiple women multiple times 10 years ago. Kids were young, still loved him and stayed. Now all this time has passed and he was right back at it - once in 2013 (that I didn't know about until the more recent stuff was discovered) and then again just last fall. People that cheat don't change. Why should someone be made or trained to be faithful? I don't want another child to monitor. I don't want to check his phone. I don't want to be reassured that he can control himself. It's obvious he has no control. They only find remorse when it adversely affects their little world. And then it's still selfish and only remorse for themselves.

No Trust

Living to constantly be looking over ones shoulder is too much of a burden. I agree. Looking through phones...checking pockets...or just simply walking around with a knot in your stomach for fear something is not right is too much. I wish that my husband could have done something to secure our marriage after his infidelity. The longer there is no communication for planning...the more suspicious and untrusting I become

And, there is always a woman

And, there is always a woman out there willing to tell them how absolutely wonderful they are. And as I think most of us here know; men are gullible and foolish.
I agree it's impossible to forget.

were they thinking of me?

one of the BEST articles i've read here & this site has not only educated me but helped me to heal. This article seems right on. i was betrayed during my 24th year of marriage. My husband has told me repeatedly that it had nothing to do with me! He has owned it all, broke it off immediately upon my finding out, we've been mentored & he had personal counseling - which healed some childhood wounds. I still struggle to understand it but it's been nearly 3 years & i want to forget! we have moved on & our marriage is better than it's ever been - ever! Our communication is amazing, our sex life is amazing & our kids were able to watch God do a miracle. but forgetting is difficult - so now when reminders come up. It is my responsibility to keep my mind in check, so this part has been tough but i feel God is using this to teach me many things like self control, obedience & accountability. My husband and i still talk about it when necessary & he is patient & understanding but I've watched God change him, his heart & mind I'm so sorry it had to happen to any of us. Thank you! AR has helped me considerably!

2 years and still stuck

D-day was 2 years ago and I still feel as disconnected with my unfaithful wife as the day I brought the affair to light. She talks to me but nothing deep. We have been in counseling constantly, but everything is oriented to her boundaries and why I was so bad that she got caught up in her 2 year emotional affair.

I long for spiritual, emotional and physical closeness, but she never kisses me, holds my hand, cuddles on the couch or gives me a hug. My spirit is crushed and devestated. I wish I didn't love her and we could have a new fresh start to our 23 years of marriage but my dreams for anything better just wither and die on a daily basis.

It has gotten to the point where I find myself thinking of life without her, moving on and finding someone who will love, desire and cherish me. If it wasn't for our 3 children, I probably would have given up a long tme ago, but for some reason I put myself through this daily he'll and just keep praying something will change.

Am I crazy for hoping and dreaming that God will soften her heart and our marriage can rise from the ashes and made into something beautiful? My heart is so broken.

It's been 6 years since my

It's been 6 years since my husband's 2 year physical affair and 8 year cyber "friendship" with his old high school flame was discovered and ended. We have 6 children together and we're married almost 20 years when I came across evidence of his affair in 2011. Even though he has been physically faithful since that day, he has yet to do the work to help me feel safe or us heal from this life implosion. I can say I'm not where I was 6 years ago but I know we are not where we should be. He is still underinvested (as discribed in this article) and I'm getting tired of giving much more than what is being given. I keep reminding myself that sometimes what is best for the family as a whole and what is best for the individual is sometimes opposite directions. I don't know how much more I can or should take.

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