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

Why Couples Fail After an Affair: Part 1 - Not Knowing What Happened

Why couples fail after an affair not knowing what happened

Series: Why Couples Fail After an Affair

Part 1: Not Knowing What Happened
Part 2: Not Getting It
Part 3: Denying Your Reality
Part 4: Failure to Grieve

When I was five, I asked my mother, “Why do people smoke?” To this day I remember clearly what she said, “People think it makes them look pretty.” Now maybe that seems like a good answer for those of us who are adults, but as a child I was totally confused. Problem is, at age five I was limited to concrete thinking. My little five-year-old brain had no way of conceptualizing what she said. I spent the next six years doing a comparative analysis of people who smoked to those who didn’t, and for the life of me I was unable to tell if the people who were smoking looked any better than those who didn’t. In fact, according to my research not only did they not look better, I actually thought they looked worse. There is no telling how many hours I wasted trying to understand my mother’s age-inappropriate explanation for why people smoked.

I believe something similar happens to someone who has been betrayed after an affair. People naturally try to understand the events of their life. Until we are able to make sense of these events, a part of us continues trying to solve the mystery. If I spent six years trying to understand what my mother said to me, how long do you think someone who’s been devastated by betrayal will spend trying to find the answer to their questions after an affair? Solving this mystery is a key success factor in re-establishing trust and surviving infidelity.

Apart from understanding what has happened, there is no way for the betrayed spouse to assess the level of damage and the probability of future success. Until the unfaithful spouse extends trust to their mate by sharing what happened, it is difficult for the betrayed spouse to rebuild trust. People are more than capable of getting over a betrayal, but continued deception leaves no path for trust and obliterates the opportunity for restoration.

A substantial difficulty for couples recovering from infidelity is the emotional flooding created by the trauma after an affair. Infidelity creates a pain like no other, and difficulty regulating the ensuing emotions is common. People say, behave, and feel things they’ve never before experienced. Emotional regulation and stability are created through what is called a coherent story. Up until the point where “what has happened” makes sense to the betrayed spouse, emotions run rampant. Understanding what happened provides a safe foundation on which they can begin to rebuild. Please keep in mind, this step in the process takes a significant deal of time and cannot be rushed. Empathy from the unfaithful spouse (which we’ll address in a moment) is necessary to encourage healing.

To move forward, couples need to come to an understanding of their history. Regardless of the type of affair (i.e. emotional affair, one night stand, pornography addiction, etc.), the story of what has happened needs to make sense to both husband and wife. As I work with couples that are stuck, not knowing what happened seems to be the number one culprit. I appreciate the work done by the late Peggy Vaughan in her e-book Help for Therapist and Their Clients.

She hypothesized: A couple is more likely to stay married after an affair when they thoroughly discuss the whole situation.

55% of those who discussed the situation very little were still married (living together).

78% of those who discussed the situation a good bit were still married (and living together).

86% of those who discussed the situation a lot were still married (and living together).

She concluded that the amount the affair was discussed with the betrayed partner was significantly associated with present marital status.

A second hypothesis stated: A couple is more likely to stay married when the unfaithful spouse answers the questions of the betrayed spouse.

59% of those whose partner refused to answer questions were still married (and living together).

81% of those whose partner answered some of their questions were still married (and living together).

86% of those whose partners answered all their questions were still married (and living together).

She concluded that the extent to which the partner answered questions was significantly associated with present marital status.

Research clearly supports the benefit of couples exploring what has happened. Understanding what occurred allows both parties to rally around solutions.

Not only does the hurt spouse have a need to know what happened, the need for those who were unfaithful is just as great. Speaking from personal experience, I can attest to the benefit I received from discussing the events of my infidelity. There is a strong tendency to be self-deceived when facing a side of ourselves we’d rather keep in the dark. When we feel shame we betray ourselves as well as others. Exposing what happened has a unique way of providing clarity, not only for one’s mate but also for those of us who’ve been unfaithful. After my affair ended, I was not capable of thinking clearly and consequently made many poor decisions. It wasn’t just my mate discovering what happened; I also began to understand things I had not seen.

At the same time, knowing what happened isn’t the same as knowing every detail about everything that happened. Too much detail creates additional problems with intrusive thoughts. The betrayed spouse might want to know what happened, where it happened, how often it happened, if there are potential health risks, and when it began and ended, and they have a right to this information. Questions comparing themselves to the affair partner, however, serve little or no benefit. Comparison questions ultimately create intrusive thoughts and complicate the healing process.

For those who want to help their mate feel safe and heal by sharing their story, here are some words of advice. Begin by asking your mate if he or she wants to know. If the answer is yes, then tell them the story. I find that carefully telling the story from beginning to end is the best way to relay the information. Far too often the story is told piecemeal, as the betrayed spouse asks questions and the unfaithful spouse tries to answer. This leaves gaps in the timeline causing problems later. When you finish telling the story, please don’t say "that’s everything." You’re far better off realizing that you’ve told everything you remember at that moment, but there’s always the possibility that other memories will come to mind and/or your mate may not have heard everything and will later be devastated if more information comes to light. Tell them you’re committed to honestly answering their questions and exploring what happened.

A word of caution, the why will be much more difficult for both of you than the what. Therefore, we've written a series that starts with Why Did They Cheat? Part 1: The Role of Oxytocin. As you are working through why the infidelity happened, it is important to remember the necessity of safety in the recovery process. For the offended party to feel safe there must be signs of genuine empathy. Without truly working to understand the depth of your spouse’s pain, all attempts at reconnecting will appear hollow or self-serving. In John Kador’s book “Effective Apology,” he identifies five dimensions for apologies. I’ve used his first four dimensions and substituted the word “reform” for what he calls “repetition” for the fifth dimension. For the offended party to feel safe there must be:

Recognition: Without the recognition of what someone has done to wound another there can be no meeting of the minds or hope that things can ever change. The unfaithful spouse may not understand the depth of the wound just yet, but they must strive to understand the concept of how their choices have deeply wounded their spouse.

Responsibility: If the offending party fails to take responsibility there’s no hope of the relationship being safe in the future. Failure to identify how you are responsible leaves you forever the victim and powerless to prevent the same thing from occurring in the future.

Remorse: Without remorse the offended party will never feel they matter to the offender. The grief displayed by the offender for the pain they’ve caused communicates the level of remorse and the importance of the relationship.

Restitution: Without restitution there is no sense of sincerity. Words without actions are, to be frank, mindless chatter. True grief is followed by action to try and ease the pain of another.

Reform: If steps aren’t taken to assure this never happens again, the offended party is left only with good intentions. For trust to be reestablished there has to be reason to believe the necessary changes have occurred to assure there will be no repeat performance.

Rebuilding trust after such a heavy blow will never be easy, but the good news is you don’t have to have trust to rebuild a relationship. In the meantime, you can replace trust with a whole lot of honesty, and a whole lot of empathy. Unfaithful spouses, these two gestures will go further than you may realize to soothe the deep soul-wound infidelity has left your mate. If you are not sure where to start or how to develop empathy, consider joining an EMS Online course. You’ll have a safe place to process both the story and the emotional whirlwind. Even if you’ve made mistakes in your recovery, there is always time to start being honest and to start showing empathy.

 

 

Vaughn, Peggy. Help for Therapist and their Clients: Report of Survey on Extramarital Affairs. Dear Peggy. n.d. Web. 07 July 2014.

Kador, John. Effective Apology: Mending Fences, Building Bridges, and Restoring Trust. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2009. eBook.

Sections: 

RL_Category: 

RL_Media Type: 

Add New Comment:

Comments

He "doesn't remember"

I have always had a problem with the timeline and when the affair started. My husband says he doesn't remember. Today he said I need to accept that or leave him. Those are my choices? Not very satisfying. I wish he understood that I am hurting, even though it's been 10 months. I really want to move on and have closure. I don't know why this is so important to me.

I get a whole lot of "I don't

I get a whole lot of "I don't remember" as well. That doesn't help me feel secure or trusting. I know he doesn't want to remember because it is his pain as well.

"Doesn't Remember Either"

I get the same line in addition to being told that "I'm just dwelling on all the negative instead of trying to move on". I want to understand it and move on, but how do you move on when your mind is creating the story for you instead of the unfaithful spouse? The lack of empathy gives me very little hope too.

He "Doesn't Remember"

My heart goes out to you,for I am dealing with the same exact thing myself. Today makes 1 year to the day he was last with her. Last night I cried as I watched a video message I sat and made at 4:11 am on my iPad. The video was me in a frantic state asking him "WHY" because he wasn't home and after calling and going to his friends looking for him I knew there was only one place he could have been. Of course when he made it home after 1:00 in afternoon he told me he went to a friends house (a friend that I didn't call of course) and drank, passed out and didn't have a phone to call me! It didn't take long to find out the truth (from the other woman) that they spent the evening watching fire flys and the night together!
I still feel like it was yesterday, the pain is just as bad, my heart broken.
He noticed the last few weeks my staring off, getting snappy with him, and my eyes red after coming out of the bathroom that I use to sit and silently cry hoping he don't know.
Last night I told him I deserve to know the truth about it all. That I love him and that's why I chose to stay although after a year to the day now I DESERVE the truth. The whole truth that I want/need from him, not the other woman.
He looked at me and told me he wants to move forward and I won't let us, I am stuck in a rut because I like it. He looked me in my eyes and told me that I am a crybaby and he is sick of hearing me cry and wine, that I need to grow up. He continued with "I can't and won't continue to live like this so get over it as of right now or move on"! He said me being such a crybaby after this long is making him miserable!
I have not said or asked any questions today even though it's what I call D-day. (Dooms day anniversary)
I feel different after hearing him say the same things last night that he has been repeating every time I try to talk or ask questions since the beginning. I realize I have been cheated again (not with another) but cheated out of a year that I struggled alone, cheated from the real love I have given him and the respect of the truth. I chose to stay because I love him and want to be with him till death makes us part, but I didn't chose to be hurt so badly with cheating along with name calling and ultamatioms! I see things differently today on D-day... I truly love and stayed to make it work but it's time to accept the love he has for me is not nearly as deep or real because if it was he would help me heal not making it harder. I am going to walk away still heart broke but I won't carry any regret on my shoulders when I go. I stayed, I tried, and truly loved him. He couldn't show me the same by just telling me the answers to questions I asked only " I forget" " I don't remember when ect"
I wish you luck and hope you get the answeres you deserve...

Hmm

Thus article showed up in my inbox just hours after my husband and I had an argument where he told me he is tired of trying to be a good husband when it doesn't seem to be helping our relationship much, and asked me when I'm going to get past this and start trusting him again. He offers to do things to make me feel safe but resents doing those things and "forgets" to do them. Because he offers, I expect that he will do it, and it cracks the trust more when he doesn't do what he says. We are about ten months into this. I want to trust him. I want my life back. I didn't ask for any of this. I read all of the links at the top of the page. It all makes sense. But I feel like every time I take a step forward, he does something to shove me right back.

Truth is the first step in healing

This was very well written. Thanks Rick.

I being the hurt spouse can tell you that if you are the unfaithful spouse, honesty and telling ALL of what happened right from the start go a long way in healing.

In our case my husband had 3 ongoing affairs more or less at the same time. One was emotional with a women he had almost had a sexual affair with, (or so he says), 5 years before, then started calling again, one was a sexual affair with an old girlfriend, and after her he had a serious sexual affair with another women.

On D-day, I was only told about the last affair. This alone tore me heart to pieces and drove me almost insane with grief.
For a year or more whenever I asked any questions the answers were always vague or he couldn't remember. This only added to my confusion, frustration, and doubt. For I had been living with a man I thought I knew and he had become so good at telling lies, that I could no longer tell what was truth. I think it may have been almost the same for him. He was so used to telling a lie about almost everything that the real truth was muddled for him. Also his lies were his biggest defence mechanism.

About 6 months after the first D-day and much counselling, individually and together, my husband gave me the password to his cell phone account. It was here that I discovered the other two women.

When I confronted him on these numbers and these women, he told me they were just friends an he was just being social.
I once again asked more questions and was told more lies. I had a feeling that something was very wrong and I would not let it go. I had failed to trust my feelings before but never again.

I was right, not that this was a good thing, but a year after the affair he wrote letters to all 3 women and told them he loved me and had wronged me and that he never wanted to see them or ever have any contact ever again.
It was after he did this that the one old girlfriend called our house and said he had just lied and told her how much he loved her over and over and that he had lied to her telling her that he would get rid of me and they could have a future together and that it was wrong of them to have an affair.

Even after her telling him all this right in front of me he denied ever having sex with her over and over. Then the next day admitted to me that he did, but only once, like this made it so much less of an offence. Stating that he had lied to me as to not hurt me further. Well let me tell you it hurt even worse, because here I thought he was really trying which he was, but truth is one of the biggest healing agents when trying to heal from an affair.

Now 2 years later I am still a mess. My husband is being very patient, honest and loving. He has changed his ways and is doing everything he can to make our marriage better. I on the other hand still feel so crushed, abused and depressed. I feel almost worthless and ugly inside and out. It is hard for me to grasp that someone I gave my life to has done all this to me. I love him but I hate what he has done to me.

We never talk about it and our counsellor has moved away, so I have no one to confide in. I could look for another counsellor but the thought of telling this story all over makes me feel sick.

In conclusion to those of you who have been unfaithful, you should know that Rick is so right in saying to tell it ALL and get all the questions dealt with as soon as possible and as honestly as possible. To withhold the information is just more abuse!

Please remember that life is short and we gave our lives to you to share and you have no right to waste a second of it with your lies, deceit and cheating. Love and marriage is a very special gift that we have decided to share with you. If you are reading this it would seem that you are at least willing to try to make your marriage work. If this is so then it would be best to do EVERYTHING that you can possibly do to make things right. Telling the truth is one of the most important steps to our healing without it the damage and abuse is ongoing.

why do the unfaithful & AP get to have

secrets? Why is OK for "the AP" to know things about my spouse and her that I don't know? Why is it wrong for me to have details? Why should the events they did stay in the dark and not come to light? Why does it always seem there are new ways to "protect" the unfaithful and the AP by not asking for details? Why is it always about them? Do I sound upset? You bet I am. When a wife/husband makes the decision to cheat they have made the decision to give up any and all rights to privacy about any aspects of their affair. I'm just saying.......

When 'everything' still doesn't make sense

It's been 6 mos since discovery and he says he has told me everything. Much of "everything" has holes, doesn't make logical sense, and sounds a lot like "the dog ate my homework ". The newest thing is that when I tell him I still think about it every single day, he says he Never thinks about it/her unless I bring it up. He had a 9 mo affair (timeframe questionable) and never thinks about it? Am I crazy to think this is just the new lie?

Defensive Outbursts and Shut-downs....

Reading this article makes my heart sad, today...it's been 4 years since my husband's secret living was brought to light. In the beginning of our recovery time, I felt he was kinder in his responses, tolerating my questions, but never offering anything unless "I ask." For this reason, it has always felt choppy and handed to me piece-meal. Lately, a lot of triggers have brought these original raw emotions out in me, and when I want to delve deeper with him, he is defensive and angry that I am "bringing up the past." Something in all of this makes me feel 'unsafe", thus reliving all of the original patterns that led me to his "secrets" in the first place. Praying that God will reveal himself in this situation, of today...praying for a marriage that is built on Christ, filled with honesty and trust.

Same here

I just posted the same thing on another article about complete disclosure. I do love my husband. I have - like most everyone of you- spent over a year working on processing any dripping disclosure only to suffer the pain of grief day after day. I have waited for so long for him to open up about what they shared ( other than sex). I talk to no one- due to the humiliation- even my own mother is unable to share due to the pain it brings her from past experience. So I'm asking anyone if wanting to know the details of their conversations is impotant- to me- it is. He just doesn't remember what he said and can't understand why I need to know. I wanted that special recovery- the kind where putting it all on the table and allowing me to important enough and special enough to bring the dark secret conversations to light. What happens when they never share that with you.....

Same problem but no answers

It's been 9 months and I still can't seem to get enough information either. Other than, "I don't remember," I'm dealing with the fact that my husband was heavily drinking during his encounters. So if he's really told me all he knows, what am I supposed to do from here? Accept it and move on or stay stuck in this rut? Unfortunately, I don't have the answer to this problem. I know a lot of details and he thinks I'll never know enough. I'm wondering if he's right. It's like I'm looking for something to make me feel better and I think I can find it by knowing more, but it's not working. Hopelessness is seeping in. It's so painful and exhausting. Can anyone help?

It becomes all consuming, I felt like I was going insane!

I understand too, I seem to continually have questions and want to know more...I am wondering is there actually any more to know? Alcohol has blurred my husbands memory too and so if he cant actually remember, how can he honestly retell to me how, what and why it happened, and the last thing I want him to do is make up a story simply to satisfy me just because he cant really remember... it has only been 3 months , he has told me what happened, he was so ashamed, he has told me he is sorry over and over, he has stopped drinking. I am still shocked and hurt and it is tough to get past this...it is so tough and I continue to ask questions but I just don't think there are any more answers... I think the biggest realization I have come to is this... What happened had nothing to do with me, once I removed myself from what happened I saw things differently...I realized I was blaming myself and decided I should not take the blame for his actions. I did not make him cheat. He made the decision to cheat. He choose to stray... understanding that was really the only thing I needed to understand...and I think because the answer is something I am ever going to be comfortable with, it is hard to accept and take in and be finished with... I too have been looking for something to make me feel better and thought knowing more would do the trick, but it does not. I now stop myself from asking anymore questions simply because I have asked them all before and he has answered them...I now need to either accept it, forgive him and start to move on with him...or I dont... I agree it is so painful and exhausting...it really is...and its not fair... I hope somehow my story helps...

But what do you do when you

But what do you do when you feel like he is still hiding something from you or not giving you the full truth?

I am so relieved to have

I am so relieved to have found someone else who's husband had multiple encounters while intoxicated. You took the words right out of me.

Healing

As the betrayer I have to say in the beginning a lot of the details seemed blurry because I was trying to wrap my own head around what happened and we were still living in close proximity to the AP and trying to get out. I thought I was giving the details as my spouse could handle them. After moving a little further away but still close enough to run into the AP I felt safe and started opening up so that my spouse and I could have a better understanding of what happened. I was very forthright with details with the exception of sexual details bc honestly we all know what the act is and there is no benefit to that type of explanation. Also in my own head I wanted those images to go away because of my shame. After moving out of state my spouse felt like we would have a new beginning but still did not feel like I was being honest and after going through the explanation of the beginning to the end of a 4 month affair there was not much else that I could come up with. I have been empathetic but sometimes realize I could be a little more and after 4 years I am really trying to be kind and loving and simply apologize when my spouse shares that those intrusive thoughts are going through their head. My spouse tends to get really upset after drinking and sometimes have to cut the conversation short because it tends to turn ugly. I see all the hurt and pain I have caused and wish I could take it away but I just hang in there and do the best I can with the tools I have. We did go through a period of if you give me more info I will feel better and I found myself repeating what I had already told. I think after being screamed at in front of my family I was done and told my spouse I realize my faults and working my butt off to make things better but I will not be treated like that....I can understand in the beginning but not years later. Things actually seem to be better since then as we have both set up our boundaries.

Memo to the Unfaithful

If you are reading this then read all the other replies as well.
Do you see a common thread here?
If we are still in the picture you should get down on your knees and thank God for our kindness.
Take us by the hand sit us down and tell us EVERYTHING.
Don't make us ask and ask and ask until we ask the right question.
Don't make us wait while you decide to dole out your responses.
Don't lie to us that you don't remember.
You lied to us over and over so you could be with that other person and if you want us back in your life then give us the respect we deserve and tell us what happened.
This makes me so angry and your unco-operative attitudes is what keeps us in this hell you have created.
For once stand up and be a man, (or women if that is the case).
You want us back be the better person we deserve!
A honest open and loving person.
Please quit abusing us and start being the person we deserve.
Above all remember you have no right to waste a second of our lives and you are very lucky we are even still here.
My heart and prayers go out to all of you who have been cheated on.

Stuck

This is a well written article and explains just how I feel stuck with the lack of information that my husband is giving. After 3 separate occasions catching him in lies and questionable circumstances/relationships with other women, he swears NOW he is a changed man, that from here on he will think different,y and behave differently. To him just saying he was wrong, saying sorry and answering questions (with lies and half truths) should be enough for me to get over it and move on. I know he hasn't been honest, he has given me no detail in regards to timeline, the person, how they came to be etc. he thinks it's enough to give a 'fake' name and that's it. Now he will argue that he is doing his best to prove to me he wants to save the marriage but won't relent and give me the information I need to know. Why do I need to know? I need to know his frame of mind, who the high risk women in his life are, how long he was involved and how deeply. Instead of full disclosure I have resorted to playing PI and reveal information that is disturbing. He says no matter what he says I won't believe him anyway, that I expect him to tell me what I want to hear. Really? But we both know he did! So fed up with lies and secrets.

From The Cheater

I am the cheating spouse.

I had a three month affair and when my affair had ended I made the same mistakes it seems that all of you are suffering. It's been over a year since my affair ended and my wife still feels that there are still holes and gaps to be filled.

I'll start from the beginning

My job requires me to go to the homes of others whether male or female. So this is how it happened and I am not going to tell anyone what I do for a living. So I met my AP at her home. I want to say that It was about a week later when she had called me while I was at the grocery store and she was asking me to go dancing with her the following evening. I told her that I don't dance, (1st mistake), "I should have hug up", "I should have told my wife what just happened", and when I was going to checkout she asked me If I was married and I said yes I am. So you think It would have ended there, "right". I'm not sure exactly when the next call came from her it may have been within a few days or so but when she called me the next time she had asked me to go to an art party with her. I didn't respond by saying yes or no but when I went home I had asked my wife If she would like to go to an art party that I was invited to and right now I wish she would have said yes. Please keep in mind that I am not blaming my wife for the poor choice that "I" made when "I" gave myself the permission to start seeing another woman.

I called my AP and said yes I would like to go and meet her. My AP asked me to help her bring some things to the building a week prior to this party. So this would have been on a Friday, the party wasn't until the following Friday and Saturday evenings. When I was with her the 1st evening she wanted me to go downtown with her to another function so I agreed but before I needed to get something to eat so we went to Applebees and she had a drink while I grabbed something light. Then we went downtown and I paid for both of us to get into the function. I was constantly looking around for people that I might know or my wife knew and I can personally say that it was very stressful. I stayed for about 1/2 an hour to 1 hour, I'm not sure because I left my phone inside my vehicle. "We both drove separate".

Before I left she asked me to meet her next week at another place downtown. I think we met on a Tuesday and Wednesday evening at a certain bar/restaurant. My AP was busy that week because she had a lot of things to prepare for this event that was just in a few days. I went to the Art Party Friday evening but I didn't enjoy the atmosphere and I wasn't having fun. I was stressed out because I didn't belong there and felt guilty because I was with another woman who was not my wife. So I told my AP I didn't feel good and then I went home. "Oh, by the way some of you may ask, "what was I telling my wife before I left". (Every time I left I told my wife that I was going to work), yes I lied.

The next time I was with my AP would have been on Sunday afternoon, which was the following day after the art party. (Art party was Friday and Saturday). We didn't go anywhere just stayed at her house for an hour before I went home. We discussed going to the shooting range the following Saturday. So my AP and I set up the day to meet and I went to her home that morning and I picked her up and we spent at least 1/2 the day together. I don't remember everything we talked about but we probably had discussions about our two very different lives, family's and how much fun we were having with each other. "Maybe to some of you that sounds kind of lame", but It's very difficult to remember "exactly" what was said. I think more of it is just bringing out facts of what happened because for me their were many times I met with my AP and I know we talked privately but I can only mostly remember the topics of our conversations rather than exactly how I responded or how my AP responded.

We met many times again and again and we talked by phone and text. Since I wasn't sleeping with my wife and had not been even before my affair it gave me time to both respond and engage. Just so some of you may understand how in the world is he doing this and covering it up.

Ok, I don't want to make this so long that all of you and Rick if he reads this gets disinterested so I am going to make this a little shorter.

There was a evening that my AP sent me a text and she had asked me to meet her. It was maybe 11PM. So I told her to find me out on the road which was about 100 Yds. away from my home. So I threw on my headphones and went for a walk. My AP and I went for a drive and then parked, I'm not going through any further details but I can tell you that this happened two times. Then one evening I told my wife that I had to be on a job at 3AM and that's when I went to her home and this happened during the work week not on a weekend and I did this more than one time.

We still went out many times after and met at several different places of my AP's choice. My AP had her own business and was always telling me that she never had any money. Several times she would continue on asking me to help her fund her business for her office employees expense. I always responded by telling her that I wanted to see her books so I could see what she was doing. I never supplied her any money for her business but I did pay every time we were out.

When my wife discovered.

I was with my AP one evening and it was around 11PM when I was on my way home. My wife called when I was driving. My wife said she knew everything. I said about what, and she said she found out about my affair. I told my wife I was driving home and I would talk when I was there. Then my AP calls me and she said your wife knows about us. So know overdrive kicks in and panic mode, damage control, anger, guilt, shame and now I had to come and face my wife. The only thing, there was no reality, none. I didn't even know what I was going to tell her, no plan, nothing.

I walked into a area where we always sit outside and there she was. I think she was smiling but I could feel her tense. So I think she was smiling with anger. So I sat in a chair next to her and denied my affair. Knowing me, I probably told my wife that I was tired and wanted to go to sleep and why can't we just talk about this in the morning. I don't know but I think we had a conversation and I think I told her that my AP and I were going to get married. I don't know what else was said that evening but I think I wore the same smile of anger, only mine was from getting caught.

My wife told me that she wanted me out. She didn't want me here. So I said I would leave but I needed to find a place to go. (Saturday evening was discovery and I moved out on Monday. I didn't move to my AP's home but I did go to a friends and then to my Mom and Dads as they were leaving for several months.

My wife and I didn't talk for a day or two except for she asking me to get the rest of my things out. I also talked with my Dad but the only advise he had to give me was, "you know, I never loved your mother". Instead of telling me, "Son what the heck did you just do, you just destroyed your family and your son and now you need to do anything to get them back. I wish he would have said something.

I'm leaving a lot out of this but I will say that I went back about a week later. Yes I was no longer with my AP but some text messages were back and forth and finally ended.

Mistakes I made were not telling my wife everything. But I didn't know all of the rules. She knew about the sex but not our conversations about what we talked about. I think it took me about two months. Then the dribbling started. Then 6 months I was still dribbling. Then 10 months, still dribbling. 12 months, still dribbling.

I don't mean this to sound this way. Sometimes I feel that my wife is looking for this smoking gun. This specific piece of information that will suddenly be able to help her heal. I feel like I'm the star wide receiver but I keep on dropping the pass in front of a stadium of 50,000 people and the crowd is booing and yelling for the coach to yank me from the game and put in a player that is more consistent and competent.

I love my wife with all of my heart and I love my only son with all of my heart. I want my wife to heal and I want trust again. I want our marriage to be this wonderful thing between us to be so exclusive to think that nobody has the bond like we do.

My wife knows the timeline of events. She knows the where and how many times and I think she knows why but I'm not sure. But for some reason she believes she doesn't have all of the information. Believe me I have had a bomb of information dumbed on her all at one time and more.

My affair was for three months and I regret every single moment I was talking, texting or spending time with my AP.

What the heck am I doing wrong. My wife is struggling every single day and I am running out of ideas and ways to help her.

I love my wife and she truly means everything to me.

Bob

What type of affair was it?

Our free Affair Analyzer provides you with insights about your unique situation and gives you a personalized plan of action.
Take the Affair Analyzer