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

Stuck? 3 Methods to Get Moving in Infidelity Recovery

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One truth we've learned at Affair Recovery is that it's not just time that heals wounds; it's how you spend the time. Often, I hear about or see couples that are just plain “stuck.” The good news is, you don't have to be stuck. You can move toward healing and gain — and sustain — momentum in your recovery journey.

You might be saying to yourself, “Easier said than done, Rick.” I hear you. So, I'm not going to just say it's possible to move forward. Instead, I want to share how to actually get unstuck during infidelity recovery. If you’re feeling frustrated, lost or just plain stuck, I recommend using these three tips to maintain traction in your personal recovery.

1. Let Go of Discovery

There comes a point in infidelity recovery where you’re going to understand what happened as well as you’re ever going to. And once you understand the situation, seeking more details can actually be quite disruptive when recovering from infidelity pain. With each new detail, the betrayed spouse might get sucked back into the pain they want to move past. With each new answer, the wayward spouse might reexperience the shame they want to escape. There is such a thing as too much detail.

Cindy Beall, an inspirational infidelity survivor and author, was our 2018 Hope Rising Conference keynote speaker. You can view her powerful speeches by purchasing Hope Rising On Demand here. Additionally, if you're the betrayed spouse, I encourage you to continue your journey to wholeness by registering for our virtual 2021 Hope Rising Conference here. In Beall's book Healing Your Marriage When Trust is Broken*, she discusses why questions can sometimes hinder healing:

Sometime during the first year after Chris' confession, I finally made a decision. Chris and I were discussing the past, and I don't remember exactly what I asked him but it had something to do with an encounter he had with a woman. He very gently took my hand and said, "Babe, I'll answer any question you ask for the rest of my life, but will my answer make you feel any better?"

I looked into his eyes and knew he was right. The answer wouldn't make me feel better. The only thing it would do is tell me the date and time that he made a fool of me. I know that when I ask questions, it comes from a place of fear in me. My heart starts beating faster, and I literally don't have the physical or mental strength to stop moving forward in my quest for answers. So I stopped asking questions. And maybe you should too.

Beall explains that very specific details, such as which sexual acts were performed and how often they occurred, won’t help you feel better but may make you feel worse. Asking questions to grasp what happened is one thing, she says, but too many details may be triggering or cause you to imagine what happened — both of which are surefire ways to stay stuck during infidelity recovery. Beall continues:

I know how hard it is to let it go and stop asking questions. So, here's what I did to walk myself through that. When my curiosity got the best of me, I first asked myself two questions:

  1. Why do I need to know this?
  2. Will this help me heal?

More times than not, asking the question would only hurt me more, which would not bring healing. Other times, the point of my question was just to find out when I'd been fooled, thus fueling a pride issue I was battling.

2. Have a ‘Good Enough’ Recovery

To some of you, I know this may be a controversial way of approaching affair recovery. We typically think of infidelity recovery in all-or-nothing terms. Our fear of relapse produces an intense need to get it right, and we want our mate to get it right even more. Who would want to take the chance of ever going through this pain again?

But fear and perfectionism cloud our judgment. When we not only want our mate to “get it” but to also “get it” perfectly, we can get stuck in a hopeless loop. There comes a time when you have to decide that they understand it well enough. Remember, they are not you, and they may never be able to fully understand; if they are trying to understand, then you can give yourself the gift of accepting what is as good enough. Hopefully, over time, the two of you will continue to grow in understanding.

Keep in mind: I'm not saying, "Get over it," or, "Just deal with it." In no way do I think betrayed spouses should accept being blamed for their mate's affair or being treated in any sort of unloving way. I'm also not suggesting that you continue to live with someone who is unsafe and refuses to get help. What I am saying is there comes a point where you accept a heartfelt desire to get healthy, even though it may not look exactly like you want it to.

3. Take Personal Responsibility for Your Healing

If you're the hurt spouse, I understand how devastating this is for you. You didn't ask for this. When recovering from infidelity pain, you may experience the temptation to make your mate "fix this mess," which is their mess and their fault, in order to help you feel more secure. That decision, however, puts your infidelity recovery in the hands of another, whose actions have already proven hurtful. Why would you want to be dependent on them for your healing and the future quality of your life?

You may need to read that statement again to grasp my true heart's intent. If your happiness is dependent on your mate always saying or doing the right things, then your success is dependent on someone whose performance is already suspect. I am not saying you should leave your marriage, but I am saying your happiness and the quality of your life is in your hands.

Not to minimize the difficulty of your current situation, but some day the feelings you're currently experiencing will pass just like every feeling before has passed. Ultimately:

  • You get to choose the principles you'll live by as you go forward.
  • You get to choose whether you'll be open to learning new ways of being.
  • You get to choose the story you tell yourself about what's happening.

You can either see yourself as a powerless victim who’s forever trapped in circumstances beyond their control, or you can take responsibility for your life and intentionally make choices that bring life to others and to yourself.

Unfortunately, we cannot choose what happens to us — as every hurt spouse in this situation understands; we can, however, choose how we respond. This situation doesn't have to define you. If you're feeling stuck, ask yourself whether you're ready to move forward. If you're not quite ready, that's OK; just know you can move forward if you so choose. When recovering from infidelity pain, you don't have to get it right, you just have to take a step. The goal is progress, not perfection.

If you're the betrayed spouse and feel stuck, I encourage you to invest in your personal restoration by registering for our cathartic Harboring Hope course. If you’re the wayward spouse and want to escape shame and get unstuck, I encourage you to register for our transformative Hope for Healing course. Both of these life-changing online courses are safe spaces to heal and rebuild when recovering from infidelity pain. Remember, you matter and your future is worth fighting for.

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Our Emergency Marital Seminar Online, better known as EMSO, isn’t a one-size-fits-all program for couples. Over decades of experience exclusively in the field of infidelity, our methodology has been honed to better serve couples as they address the betrayal, reconnect as partners and restore their lives.

"To be honest, I don't think my wife and I would be together if not for this course. Affair Recovery provided hope where I thought there was none. Along the way, I gained understanding as to why my wife entered into her affair. I am better off as a person and husband for taking the course." — September 2020 participant.

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Comments

STUCK

Thank you so much for this information its very liberating, its ten years and yet I still feel like it happened yesterday and I havent let go of wanting to know the nitty grities of the affairs that were conducted. So here is to moving forward I am not going to be stuck and continue licking my wounds.My husband didnt want to disclose information and he concealed a lot even though in some cases I had hard evidence of text msgs and emails and yet he would deny some of the affairs which is the reason I have been stuck in wanting to find out. May God help me to let go and let Him do a perfect job of restoring my marriage which is getting better each year.

your comment makes me sooooo

your comment makes me sooooo sad
10 years and it feels like it happened yesterday for you

i am thankful/relieved i divorced my wife for her affairs
i tried for one year to hold my marriage together and keep my family from being destroyed

i wanted to give it one year - No more
if i could do it over.... i would Not have tried for one year; i would have packed and left immediately

Stuck

I found I was "stuck" because my spouse wasn't doing the work he needed to do. Leaving him unstuck me.

I may need to follow your way

I may need to follow your way of getting unstuck.
It sucks when sometimes he's sweet and loving, and then he throws a new wrinkle in things and gets mad at me for reacting to it. He says I don't deserve him, that I never have. Well, I sure don't deserve to be treated the way he's treating me.

Betrayer keeps betraying

Diane,
It’s been 6 years for you now since you say you became “unstuck” by leaving him.

Are you still glad you made that choice?
Are you truly free happy and unstuck now?
Thank you for what you wrote. It’s the only comment I’ve been able to relate to. It’s been almost 3 years for me and I do not see my husband caring enough to put the necessary effort into our marriage.
Lin

Excellent Post

Very helpful and well done. I think this is probably more for those a couple years out IMHO. I'm going to print this off and re-read it. Think I will buy Cindy Beall's book too. Thanks, very well done.

this seems an awful lot like

this seems an awful lot like settling to me. I guess it's good enough, I guess I should be ok with him sharing parts of his life with another woman, romantically, while he was still married to me. I'm not good with that. Will asking more questions help? Only if they clear things in my head if this was a dealbreaker or not.

asking more questions

I have learned that the main purpose of asking the questions is to find a why to the things that happened. When each spouse can come to a common ground on why things occurred then I believe they can continue to seek the appropriate help they need. For instance if it is an addiction or a behavior that has been in place a long time or a one night stand and so on and so forth. Each scenario will require a different type of recovery. Our counselor made it very clear that I will ask my husband a million questions over and over again in an attempt to piece my life back together. It can also help the betrayed feel safe while walking through the storm so they know the appropriate steps to recovery are being taken. What I didn't realize is that after 1 year I had many more answers than I probably really wanted to know. My husband and I had a common understanding of why and how things occurred and what type of help my husband needed. what I didn't realize until recently is that the compulsion to ask questions that wouldn't really perpetuate my recovery was keeping me stuck and hindering my ability to heal. I asked the questions and he gave me the answers and I was not left feeling very good at all. I had always wanted to know EVERYTHING and not until now do I understand that I need to really evaluate my need for asking the questions and if it will help me or not. I do recommend asking all the questions you need over and over as many times as you need until you feel that you have some sort of understanding of the events that happened and if at some point the questioning doesn't stop or isn't letting you heal your wounds then I would consider moving in to asking yourself what purpose the question and answer really serve you. one key aspect to this for me was our therapist. one more thing I would like to quickly add is it was very crucial to me to gain rational understandings of affairs in general and come to terms that what my husband has done and all the things we discussed will never make complete sense to me becuase they are not of a rational nature. It is all very irrational and doesn't make sense to a person thinking logically. Not even to him now that he has gained true perspective and truth. Gaining a general understanding of affairs helps with this. hope this helps a bit.

Thank you for this reply,

Thank you for this reply, even though it's been a couple years since you posted it, it's something I needed to read.

Thank you Jannak. I feel that

Thank you Jannak. I feel that my situation, responses, and even my husband's response, closely relates to what you have stated I approach it the exact way you described-- a million questions over and over. Same disclosure, nothing has changed. I am trying to hard to believe as he tells me, and as you have said.. its such an irrational thing.

Thank you so much for you post.

Totally agree

Some people need more information to process and might need more time to wrap their minds around the affair. To minimize their healing process is undermining their experience.

minimizing only adds to the pain

Thank you, Totally Agree. It hurts so much when people tell me to leave the past behind because it makes my husband "feel guilty", and its "holding back the recovery of your relationship." Two days ago my own GP told me that "you're punishing him by still asking questions 17 months after his affair ended; now you're becoming the villain!" I walked out feeling suicidal, and as though my pain was my own fault. I, too, need ALL the details in order to process what happened, and though it is very painful, every painful detail he gives me makes me feel he's being honest, and I don't think our relationship can survive if I can't gain back a large measure of trust. I need the honesty. When people minimize my pain, and suggest that at some point my questions need to stop, and I have to focus only on moving forward, I'm further hurt. It's as though my husband committed the crime, but I'm expected to serve the time alone.

Settling

You're right. "Good enough" is settling, resigning yourself to accepting that, if your relationship stalls in its recovery, that means it's as good as it'll ever be, and you shouldn't expect more. I refuse to accept "good enough". If he can't continue to prioritize making me feel safe and loved again, then I'll stop prioritizing our relationship, and leave. For most of this post-affair period, I've felt that I'm not good enough for him. Now I'm reaching a point where I'm wondering if he's good enough for me.

agreed

i totally agree with your feelings and comment. TY

thank you

Hi Rick,
Ive been on this site for almost 8 years now, and Ive struggled with myself to accept that my partner will not change. Its sad but it left me with the choice you mentioned about either remaining immobilised by the situation, or taking small steps to be happy. At first I didnt know what to do! Then I went for a walk and without knowing it I was smiling and people smiled back at me! I realised that I can be happy in doing many things outside of the home, and that is empowering to me. Sadly in the home, Im exposed all types of abuse, only when theres company does he show his nice side.....This cycle has gone on for years. I just pray that I find the strength to leave soon. Thank you for your understanding. Kind regards, Heidi

Wow!

Thank you! Just what I needed to hear. I'm exactly there, a long way into healing but stuck in feelings of loneliness, separation anxiety and 'will I be ever really able to trust him again'
I told my teenage son almost exactly what us written here about being responsible for your own happiness, but I guess I had missed the point myself ;-)

taking responsibility

I have been stuck for a while now. I can't seem to move forward and I am tired of looking back. All of my questions have been answered and I am fairly certain that there is nothing left to tell, and frankly, asking questions just makes me feel worse - like the article says. I have given my husband the responsibility of "fixing this mess" that he has created. Maybe it is time that I start taking responsibility for myself and not relying on someone who cheated, lied, and broke my heart to "fix" things. I need to stop waiting for him to do the right things and say the right things when I am always on the look out for him to mess up again. I need to do the things that make me happy.

Thanks for the insight.

My New Attitude

DDay for me was about 15 months ago. I found out that my fiancé cheated four months before we were married and was devasted. I love her and so I pushed through the pain and we got married. But our first year has been extremely rough and I have been looking for ways to cope and hoping that she could somehow understand and help fix this mess. She has done a great job at apologizing and changing and doing everything a Spouse could ask for in a wayward partner except at times our communication gets out of whack which sends me back down the painful road. Out of the hundreds (maybe more) of resources I’ve watched, read, and listened to this article is one of the best I’ve read. My self-esteem was shattered and I felt like my manhood attacked. So I’ve been asking her to help me find what she took away. As simple as it sounds, I can no longer allow her to be responsible for my recovery and healing when she selfishly let me down before. It’s clear why at times she’s defensive and that’s just not something I can continue to risk. I can’t put my healing in her hands because she fumbled in a way that almost cost us the super bowl. We can still one but I need a more reliable running back to get to the end zone. I’m that running back!

STUCK--just in time

18 months into recovery, and I really needed this. Much of the information available addresses the immediate fall-out of the affair. There is not much for those of us farther down the line. The shock is over, healing has begun, but still there are bumps on the road,

My husband is really trying, but when he inevitably has a bad day or falls short of our goals, my heart plummets. I have been struggling with how to measure our progress- sometimes a bad day is just a bad day. It is no reflection of his love or the healing of our relationship. This article really helped me put some perspective on this issue. Thanks.

Thank you for your comments.

Thank you for your comments. I am where you were 3 years ago... 18 months in and know my husband is trying and we are moving slowly forward. It is reassuring to read the articles and the perspective from others on how their progress. Not expecting anything overnight. Seeking trust in God for letting go of controlling the circumstances.

Thanks

I really needed to hear this today. This week I felt like I was being sucked back into a big black hole which I have already climbed out of before. Every time feels like d- day all over again. We've come a long way from that day, thanks a million!

You're right

It has been almost a month since I found out about my husband's online affairs, and it's been driving me crazy - literally! I've been obsessed at finding out more and more about his multiple online affairs, and wondering whether he consummated any of them physically. I have been creating a timeline to figure out what he was doing, when, and what I was doing, and what we were doing together, and what he was saying to me (that he loved me - I was totally fooled by him!), and this has been going on for 10 years!!! I just found out last month. I need to move on, but I can't, but this article is another reminder that by remaining stuck on obsessing about the details of the affairs, he still has power and control over me. I'm determined not to let him control me, and I need to get past this. This will take a lot of effort on my part, however, because I have been hurt so much, and he betrayed me for 10 years, and he still refuses to admit to the affairs. First, he isn't aware that I know, and second, he believes that it's not an affair if it's not physical. Why am I staying with this man? I often wonder why, why am I trying so hard to save my marriage? And the answer is always because of our kids. So I need to get past all this and be a strong mother for them.

Take responsibility

As the "Betrayer", 'Lettng Go of Discovery' and 'Take Responsibility...' really hit home. I can't tell you how many times my spouse, the Betrayed, has told me, "I didn't create this mess," or has asked explicit details of my affairs. It has been a difficult journey, especially for him, to try to let go and move forward. I understand now why his attempts of making me "fix this" always fails or falls way short of his expectations... because he needs to take responsibility for creating his happiness.
This is a wonderful and insightful article. Thank you for everything that you do.

You're right but...

I agree, but we still want to take responsibility for what we've done and do everything within our power to help them heal so they can move forward.
Rick

So...

Is answering the questions continuing to help them heal and move forward, or asking, like the example, will the answer actually help them heal?

Healing

I find the people generally ask questions because they want to stay, but they still can't understand. Patience in answering the questions generally helps them feel safe and eventually heal. Rick

I love Rick's response.

I love Rick's response.

I think he's right....I ask questions because I cannot put 2 and 2 together. Her affair was/is illogical, completely out of character and just doesn't make any sense. There's no justifiable or rational answer, so my mind and heart probe for one. I can't find one. She can't give one. Asking questions is how we cope until we begin to accept...accept that there is no great answer and accept that "it is what it is".

Once we accept, I believe that is when a real, rational and informed choice can be made to save the marriage or to move on. Before that, it's just emotion and love holding on for dear life.

Thanks Rick.

I waited for this

After reading the article, I was just waiting for a reply like this one: "Get over it already, it's your own responsibilty to create your own happyness, not my fault you're hurt by my actions".

And it's absolutely true, with a WS attitude like this, recovery of the marriage has very bad odds. If my fWW told me this, I would take responsibility for my own happyness and divorce her today. I do seek happyness by myself, within myself, in small everyday things - and don't rely on her to keep me happy, but if she doesn't care about creating safety in the relationship, making herself safe to be with, I'd rather be on my own.

You're right

If the unfaithful spouse doesn't take responsibility for creating safety in the relationship, making themselves safe to be then I agree it would be better to be on your own. To heal broken bonds requires the a willingness on the part of the wayward spouse to change the ways and show by their actions that you matter. Without that how can you feel safe? Rick

seperation and divorce

A lot of the help on here is about recovery when the couple's stay together, how do you cope when there is just no way back and you know the marriage is over? My husband cheated on me for 10 years of our 44 year marriage, there is no going back but I'm hurting so much and finding it so hard to move on.

Greiving

You're right there's resentment not enough material about those needing to move on. I think you might find help and support in the Harboring Hope course. That program isn't just for those wanting to save their marriage but also for those how are grieving over the loss. There's nothing like being with others who truly understand how you feel, but are committed to finding life rather than being trapped in bitterness and resentment. When you can find an internal piece, being content in what ever circumstance as the Apostle Paul wrote then you will transcended the evil he's perpetrated and move on. Find others who have been able to accomplish that end. Rick

Still Stuck

It has been 20 months since my husband's affair. I am still stuck I admit it. He left as soon as the affair was discovered stating that it had gone too far and he had strong feelings for her. He is still with her and appears happy. He is blaming me for the end of our marriage and that the adult kids don't understand why is was okay for him to leave marriage. He continues to take me to court because he didn't agree with the settlement costing me money that I don't have.
It is difficult to move on...

I can't imagine

I feel so bad about what you're going through. I'm glad that your kids see the truth, but grieved that he can't take responsibility for what he's done. I do hope you can find the grace to move forward even though he keeps trying to drag you back into his miserable life. It's time to move forward and find a better life. Don't let him be an anchor holding you back. With him it's not about letting go it's about moving on. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help. Rick

helpful to take stock

Rick,
Your articles are full of wisdom and help me to take stock of my situation. For me this article and many of your articles have helped me queue myself to when to guard and when to possibly let go and let God. After Harboring Hope course I lean more on God.

Specifically from this article its rare I ask questions about husbands fantasy relationship. I say fantasy because my husband had a weird way to betray me. He'd become infatuated w/a woman at a gym program. I know they flirted a bit and emailed in a friendly manner. He withdrew from me and did not act himself and turned on me. I'd been seriously ill. My husband is a very hard worker and a good provider but has fallen short in terms of emotional support. (Could have a degree of Aspergers) While I was sick I was really scared and lonely.

My husband says he gave up on us because he'd worked hard while I was sick to help around the house and I did not appreciate him enough. Still, after he revealed his infatuation and that he 'loved me but was not in love" anymore he clung to the infatuation. He invented all kinds of other excuses for this continued fantasy betrayal.

I've believe I have read every marital book now and have gone to the moon in terms of investing time and attention into the relationship. So I'd been doing the work, present the concerns, pull out the issues, come up with new things to try etc and my husband tells me and himself he is working hard on the marriage because he is going along.

Now we are seeing a new therapist. So far she is not requiring him to do anything outside the
room we meet. He gets to show up. I guess she is trying to establish trust so he'll perhaps stop being mute. So I talk and the meetings are oriented around stuff I bring up. He does seem to learn a bit from the comments and interactions and there is some improvements outside.

Its difficult to be patient. I would say I have been pretty traumatized over a three year period. I can't say I'm at a 'good enough' point because my husband has just now comprehended the affects on me from his ambiguious state.

Its been difficult to pull out of a role that has made it difficult to nurture myself as well as I'd like to. But everyday I see God's hand in my life.

Realistic progress isn't good enough for my betrayer

Considering that we're just under four months from discovery, that I've lost so many things over his affair, the constant reminders, triggers even within my own house, I thought we were doing phenomenally... We've resumed friendship with each other, we pray together at least twice a day, he seems happy with us, wants to include me in his activities, shares in mine, has expressed hope and plans for our future, he even replaced or lost wedding rings and bought me a renewal ring as a promise to celebrate our upcoming 20th anniversary with a special mass and reception.

I thought all this was extremely hopeful. He's had a rough and steep learning curve as far as becoming safe for me. I've even stopped, for the most part, asking questions. I still have daily reminders, moments of binding rage and fury at what I've had to endure, but I manage to contain myself, I'm usually able to calm down alone, but once in a while, there is just one particularly vicious memory, or a suspicious event that will send me careening of the deep end. Mostly, I want to know why... why he could go literally, within a couple of weeks from loving andcrushing or life and marriage, to viscerally hating me, our relationship, and being so convinced that this vulgar, vile deviant he cheated with was the ultimate sample of womanhood. I know I will never have an answer... he can't even explain it to himself. But when I'm caught in that riptide, being drowned in that anger and confusion, he just wants to quit! He thinks nothing has changed, that his efforts are fruitless, that his only option is to leave me. His words were, " If I don't belong to you anymore, you can't be angry...You wouldn't have any reason to be sad, upset, suffering. I'd remove the source of your distress."

It's discouraging to me, that I now feel like I can't express myself. I can't be open with him about my distressful moments, because they just snd him running when all I need is reassurance and comfort from him. I know it's bordering on depending on him for my happiness, but that is what I need from him. At the beginning of discovery, I felt very rejected, hated, insulted, and every negative emotion from him. I'm still carrying a lot of the wounds his words inflicted, fresh and open in my heart... I've tried to change my perspective on why he said and did such things to me, but it doesn't take the pain away... logic is a lousy pain killer, I'm afraid.

I'm at a loss... I know what I need, I know what I feel, but it seems even the amazing progress so shortly after discovery isn't good enough for him...

When do the lies stop?

I know I am stuck, but during the first year of recovery my husband continued to lie about the details of the affair. How long it lasted, when it ended, what happened, etc. now he says everything is out, that I know the full truth, but I just don't know that I can believe it. He said he was too afraid that I would run if I knew the truth. He didn't understand that he made things so much worse by continuing to lie to me. I just don't know if I feel safe. How do you move on if you feel like something else will drop on you. I want so much to believe everything he is saying, and is actions show that he wants to stay in the marriage and continue to work on it, but I am having the hardest time trusting and believing.

How do you trust?

His continuing to lie made things far worse. I don't blame you for having problems believing him. When someone has made the mistake of dribbling out information over time I often suggest the use of a polygraph. That may now be the only way you can ever believe you have the truth. I hope he's willing to help you. Rick

STUCK

Great article. It has been 15 months since EMS WEEKEND and there are times when I still want to ask questions. I do agree the need to "know" lessens over time. My wife and I have been able to restore our marriage after her 10 month affair with a co worker. I can honestly say our marriage has never been better. EMS weekend gave us the tools to see this through. Thanks Rick and the whole team at affair recovery. You guys gave us hope when everyone else encouraged divorce.

Stuck/rumination

Thank you, Rick, for you very helpful article. It has been 2.5 years since our DDay. My husband did break it off with the AP although they continued to work together for a short period of time. He did lock the door and did not respond to her subtle overtures. Fast forward 2 years- our marriage is doing great. He is the man I married- not the delusional stranger he morphed into for a short period of time. My issue now is exactly what you addressed- when do you stop discovery? He has answered my questions, albeit initially very slowly and grudgingly- protecting the AP. our counselor got him to open up and his answers helped me wrap my brain around the whole sordid affair. Lately, however, little questions that were never answered have started plaguing me- along with my rumination about the AP's lack of remorse or apology towards me. I realize that the answers will no longer matter, or change our life together so when those nagging thoughts enter my mind I need to learn to shut them down. It is counterproductive to keep asking my husband the questions because he he done the work and is here- all they do is make him feel guilty and sad all over again. Thank you for the tips to not be stuck in this discovery mode- at this point I do realize it dies not benefit my marriage at all.

How Long?

It has been 11 months since I discovered my wife had been having an affair with a co-worker. The affair ended, I am pretty sure upon discovery, however, she continued to work with him for 5 months after my discovery of the relationship. I initially asked for ALL the details, which my wife offered up somewhat willingly. Times, places and details of what exactly was done. She divulged things that she had done with this other man she had for 30 years told me she did not want to do. Now, she will offer to participate in these actions with me saying she likes it now. This leaves me with mental images of she and the affair partner in these acts and it immediately kills any feelings of passion I have for her. Is there any hope that after any amount of time that this will cease? I feel like I am becoming indifferent towards her now and just ready to move forward without her. I have held for the past 11 months that I wanted our marriage to work, and I don't have bitter feelings about the affair anymore - just these mental images that are stealing my closeness. Has anyone else gone through this and made it out on the other side? Is there hope here?

How long?

Dear how long,
My husband refused to give me details however the AP's husband was given all the dirty details and while we commiserated he shared them all with me - initially I thought I needed to hear these and now, 2.5 years later I wish I did not know them because they do still cause pain. However- this far out, my husband has shown me that he is truly remorseful, wants to stay in the marriage, and with the test of time he has shown me he means it. Time is the ultimate healer - and your spouse being a completely open book, ie being precisely where they say they are, calling/texting to check in, allowing phone records to be checked, realizing the opening he gave to the AP in the first place and completely affair proofing our future life together.
It's so hard to get the pictures out of your mind but they do fade with time. When these images surfaced in my brain I would play some very upbeat/happy music and take my dogs walking alone and it also helped keep the demons at bay. I wish you luck and hope you find peace.
Connie

Stuck

I really appreciated this message in my inbox this morning.
I wonder if I'm "stuck"........I know I feel a need to question, and re question, to settle myself. My husband is doing everything humanly possible to support me, and has also promised to answer any and every question from now to eternity, but the truth is that some of the answers really don't help....they only settle me in the moment.
Such a hard journey......praying for acceptance and the ability to leave the past where it belongs, and forgiveness - so that we can live the best of the life that still waits to be lived.

Great Article

Boy did this article resonate with me... I cheated on my wife just about two years ago. We've had ups and downs but always tracking upward. For the last few months now things have gotten backwards and I literally feel "stuck". This change has coincided with some changes at work which require more of her time and more travel. Her focus, which she fully admits to, is work and she will not commit to our relationship in any way. She will not say that the relationship is over either. She is going day-by-day and if I can't handle that then I can get out. She also claims to want to focus on being a mother, we have two beautiful girls (2-6) but that is not the case. Quite opposite, she has never been more disconnected with our girls which definitely wasn't the case before. I'm not talking about not being around because of her travel, i'm talking about being disengaged when they're together. In the meantime, I have done everything she has asked me, willingly. Still today, I feel guilty and ashamed of what I did and I am willing do anything. What I am noticing now is that she is no longer on the same page. In the past we would have ups and downs but we always ultimately had a moment where we would get together and agree on stuff. That isn't the case anymore. I find myself tired and I'm starting to feel resentment that this now seems like a one person effort. Why put in all this time and effort if she is now disengaged and focused on work. Recently, I put pressure on her to make a decision. Its only been two years but that is a fair amount of time to at least have an idea of how to move forward, together or not. She will not go to any sort of therapy. I don't know how to get unstuck!!!!

Unstuck

This article resonated with me as well, as a betrayed wife. I can't speak for your wife, but I can encourage you to be patient. At some point I imagine you were disengaged from you wife while you were having an affair. I am also a mother of girls and I have chosen to stay with my spouse because of my daughters. Some times I wonder if I am teaching them to settle by staying with their father/my husband. Regrettably I inwardly blame my children for me continuing on in this marriage and think if I never had them I would have divorced my husband the moment I learned of his infidelity. This outwardly manifest as me being frustrated with my children and isolating myself from them. Infidelity to the betrayed spouse introduces a multitude of emotions, actions and behaviors. At some point we will all decide to stay or go, but each day brings new challenges and old hurt. Please be patient, she didn't put pressure on you to stay. Allow her time to heal, you may think two years is a long time. No one can determine how long it takes to heal a broken heart. If you chose to leave, ask yourself if you have done everything you can on your part and be sure you are at peace with your decision. You chose your wife twice now, there's something beautiful you see in her that's worth the work and the wait.

Wayward spouse with cheaters amnesia

I ask my husband for answers about the affair to give him a chance to show remorse and prove he is willing to be transparent and honest from here on out. But he always says he does not remember the details of his 8 month affair. So we are stuck. We want to do EMS, but he says his answers will never change because he simply just does not remember much at all.

Asking questions

I understand that to keep asking questions about details is not always beneficial to healing myself. But somehow I have a gut feeling that there is something more, and I can't find out if it is me trying to analyze everything, or if he has a hard time telling me hard truths. He has answered my questions, and tried to explain why and how he did what he did and how he got there. He understands my pain, and does feel true shame and remorse. He has many times told me he has told me everything there is. It just seems the story doesn't add up, and when we talk about it (we do talk calmly and rationally), it just seems like the story is always downplayed, and he swears there are time lines and details he doesn't remember. It's not even about the details to me sometimes, it's about feeling like he's protecting me rather than giving hard truths so that I can heal. All of his other actions are wonderful, and he seems to want to be open. At what point do I realize I may not know all of the details or even truths about how serious it may have been? I think my greatest battle is my gut instinct telling me there is more to the story, and I feel I would be not trusting myself by trying to let it go. I have tried over the past six months to let it go, tried to realize that maybe the answers won't help my recovery, but this feeling won't go away.

Asking Questions

I know it's been over a year since you posted. I wonder if you have found peace. I'm 3.5 years out from my D day and what you wrote resonates with me. This is holding me back. I'm hurt and frustrated that I assume I want the answers and frightened by the possible answers and whether they would be helpful afterall. I have decided to turn inside my self , work on learning to love myself. Meditating apps have turned a corner for me. There will always be a cloud over us but in my heart I know he is just not capable of giving more than he already has on my healing journey. My happiness is something I have a better chance of orchestrating. I get better loving responses when I am showing improvement. All the best at finding your inner peace.

Am I stuck?

We are 2 1/2 years from DDay #1 and 2 yrs from DDay #2. There hasn't been a DDay #3 because I have stopped looking/digging. The claim is "just" an emotional affair. The evidence leads me to think otherwise. Not once that I can think of has my wife told me any piece of information about the affair. I found it all out through text messages. Initially, I asked tons of questions, all with answers you'd hope to hear. DDay #2 began to unravel those some of those answers, creating more questions. Now the claim is, "there's nothing else to tell." This gets re-stated over and over again. I, for obvious reasons, do not believe her. Am I asking for more than is necessary? Am I stuck? Should I just move on and try to let it go? We are doing ok and have had other life trials that have brought us together, but the bottom-line is I do not trust her now anymore than I did a 2 yrs ago. I don't like that feeling. Any thoughts?

Stuck doesn't describe it

I feel that the only movement is backwards. I've caused a real mess by the way I've handled this. In the beginning I didn't find that me reaching out to an old lover was that big of a deal. It was though, to him. I then put his needs last because of my avoidance issues and my biggest mistake of all was... Letting him lose to view my bank statements, call and text logs for my phone and my mother's and my Google time line, thinking if he just looked at it all he'd see that I'm innocent from any other betrayl. That only opened up more doubt and questions. Questions that I'm a loss to remember. I've offered poly graphs, tried counclers, begged to do boot camp but all I feel is his distainment towards me and the hatred and anger boil over DAILY. He says I'm not genuine and I'm not honest and I'm every bad name in between. I'm so buried in my initial mistakes that he sees nothing worth staying for. I think if he had somewhere to go he'd be gone. He has tried really hard and tried many approaches to bringing process to his healing but I believe his need of control and my lacking of validation drives him to see red. I have such a hard time seeing things from his eyes when I know I haven't been the evil woman he believes I am. We work together so when could I have cheated. He says I need to have my place as the person who's betrayed. I need to be someone else during this recovery. Someone like himself cause how I respond or cope is far different then his. I wish I could show him this article to help us. It also makes me so sad, that he is hurting so much. A year and a half ago I found out he had sex with his baby's mama, and in fear of losing him and to not become overcome with his betrayl I chose to push through it and move on. I'm puzzle why he wants to hold on to this so much. Sometimes I feel he is holding on because his baby's mama is that evil person he thinks I am. And he's punishing me for what she has done. There's something to be said about what you said. Be accountable for your own, even if they were good or bad to you.

Just what I needed

This article is exactly what I needed today. I am 5 months from discovery. My wife and I are still together and I am thankful for the progress we have made. But I do have days where I feel “stuck” (like today) and these words were the encouragement and advice I needed to hear.

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