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

Affair Recovery Timeline for Healing After Betrayal

How long does this take?

When the pain is intense and life is undone, the process of recovery seems as slow as pouring thick molasses on a cold winter day. Actions can be taken that help facilitate healing, but it still takes time. At the risk of writing a boring article, I think it could be helpful to lay out the healing timeline. Let me stress that this timeline is hypothetical. Each couple travels through this process at their own pace, but this will give a general rule of thumb. Also, as you look at the timeline, don’t get discouraged. The intensity of the pain and the frequency of the intrusive thoughts should subside over time. The following diagram reflects the stages of the recovery process.

In a perfect world, and I’m afraid we are far too complex to let that happen, here are the general timelines for a couple’s recovery.

affair recovery timeline

  1. The discovery stage: zero to six weeks
  2. This stage is frequently characterized by shock and emotional instability. Hopefully, by the end of six weeks the story has been told. During this stage the couple tries to establish “WHAT” has happened. Until this initial stage is completed it’s almost impossible for the couple to move forward. If this stage take’s longer than six weeks, then it becomes more difficult for the hurt spouse to redevelop trust. Once this task is complete, it’s possible to move forward in the recovery process.

  3. The reaction stage: six months
  4. During the first six months multiple tasks have to be completed in order for both parties to feel safe about continuing in the relationship. The hurt spouse needs to feel that their mate cares. This is done through the development of empathy and a willingness to explore the reality of why this happened. A shared understanding of “why” this happened needs to be established before moving forward. Both parties have to learn how to regulate the emotions generated by the event. There is a grieving over the loss. The unfaithful spouse should be pursuing whatever actions are necessary to assure they don’t put their mate at risk of being hurt again.

  5. The release stage: Months 9 to 12
  6. This stage is characterized by forgiveness and this opens up the door for reconciliation. By this time, both parties have a better understanding of “why” this happened, and hopefully their mate’s personal pursuit of healing provides the hurt spouse assurance about their commitment to the marriage.

  7. Recommitment and moving on: 12 to 18 months
  8. During this stage the couple makes a conscious decision to move on with their life. The event will have brought new meaning to the couple, but it won’t define them. Rather, their ability to deal with the adversity created by the infidelity and to move forward, can provide new meaning and significance for the relationship.

    Please don’t think that because I said 18 months you’re beginning to freak out. Please don’t do that. If you’re on the right path you’ll experience a much improved marriage long before 18 months. However, the intrusive thoughts may still cause emotional swings into the process.

    If for some reason you feel stuck and are way off on this timeline, please seek help. Do all you can to move forward.



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extended timeline

This timeline assumes the cheating spouse is comletely separated and done with his/her relationship.  My spouse couldn't get over the intense feelings he had for his "girlfriend" and tried reconnecting with her secretly after three months.  At ten months, he finally let go when she wrote him a letter saying it was over and he needed to leave her alone.  We are at 18 months, and I'd say we have not hit the rebuilding part.  So much damage was caused that I cannot retrust him and am not sure this person or relationship is the right thing for me.  I'm sure some people go through it quicker, but again I think this only happens if the cheating spouse is DONE and already feeling some empathy for the devastating effects of his/her actions. 


I am sort of in a similar spot but much earlier in the process. I just found out three months ago and he is telling me it's over but I find things that show me it's not. I want to work it out but I don't know if he can ever be honest. It's devastating to go through this after 25 years.

your post

hi, i am reading through this information and i wondered how it all ended for you 11 years on?

Up to you

I was the cheater. There were major issues in our relationship on both parts leading up to the incident . I found someone to fill the void.. I made a huge mistake… We separated for a year then decided to get back together to work it out. 8 years later and he still throws I it in my face every chance he gets. Tells me every day he will never trust me again and tells me he will never love me the same. Why I stay. I couldn’t tell you. Maybe I feel like this is my penance and I don’t deserve to be happy and I’m trying to make up for it ? Please dont make the cheater feel like my man does to me. You need to make up your own mind weather you can/will trust him again. Or move on. It’s not fair for you to be in this turmoil nor is it fair to lead on your mate if you’re never really going to forgive them.

Cheated on my wife.

No two ways about it. I Cheated. I brought it on not only myself but placed A Lot on my wife! I accept my part. After years of being accused and a rocky marriage I finally told myself I’m already accused of it so why not. Had I known the extent of pain, sorrow, distrust and several other factors I would Never had done it!!!
I accepted it, came clean, answered the questions, talked about it and for years been trying to make it right.
However it has been 25 years now and I Have Not had another affair!!!!
Even though I did this and have tried to pay my debt after 25 years it just seems like it is now the weapon used a Lot against me. Even Love has its limits. I know most woman are gonna say I’m getting what I deserve but am I really???? Yes my act almost destroyed us 25 years ago but does that mean that being Open and Faithful for 25 Years means nothing and I’m never to be treated as a human again????

Cheating versus affairs recovery is different

I would assume that this timeline is applicable for a 1 or 2 time sexual encounters. I can’t imagine any wife forgiving a long term affair. Or any husband who had a long term affair really wanting to end what made him happy and stay miserably married. Affairs normally happen because of emotional attachment with the affair partner not just sex.
How can I trust again when my husband made the choice to be with the other woman over and over and over for 1 year and half? Isn’t this a sign that he didn’t care at all?
I found out that even though he tells me he wants to work on the marriage, he is still in touch with the affair partner telling her he is staying married for the kids, until they are a little older and divorce then.
Affairs are a relationship that make them happy, I just don’t see how you can make someone love you again and recommit to marriage when they weren’t happy before the affair and even less happy after the affair.
I don’t know if I can be this delusional to think it can work. It’s been 8 months and the situation is not good. We are both miserable but staying for the kids.

"how long does it take?"



Excellent article on "how long does it take?"


Jerry Sinclair, Marriage Missionary

Faithful and True of Jacksonville, FL

follow me on LINKEDin

Other Woman/Man

I would like more information about forgiving the other person.  In my case it was a woman who was supposed to be my best friend, someone I had a 17 year history with.  I'm 6 years past discovery but am having difficulty with this as we attend the same church and I see her from time to time.

My marriage has been healed for quite some time, I trust my husband.  I am not concerned about it happening again.  She has truly shown her true colors over the past 6 years and they aren't very pretty.

I believe part of the problem is knowing that on any given Sunday I may run into her however I think a part of the problem is getting my head around how she could have done this to me.


Same situation here...

My spouse cheated on me with my best friend of 20+ years. I'm finding that's it's easier to forgive him than it is to forgive her. I haven't seen her in months, and certainly not since d day. I've expressed my hatred towards her to her many times. It doesn't help the situation, but at the moment, it makes me feel better. I could NEVER see her. It would be way too painful. Some days I really miss our friendship. But most days I want to slash her tires!! I don't know how to forgive her and move on for me, not for her. Sometimes I get so angry I just want to scream! How could he sleep with my best friend?? How could she do that to me when we've been so close for so long? Talk about pain! Not only did he cheat, but I lost my best friend in the process.

Oh how I wish I could speak

Oh how I wish I could speak with you! I have the sam feelings. I’m such an angry person that my husband of 30 years could have been seduced by “my good friend and the person I sat with at church each service!! A 3 year long affair that I uncovered makes me wonder if I am too damaged to heal.

This is the exact topic I

This is the exact topic I have been searching for. Trying to forgive the AP. My husband has done his part in showing remorse, regret, sorrow etc. He has begged me for forgiveness and I have given it to him. There has been no contact with her. He has been totally devoted to me. Our marriage is better than ever but I cannot get over the anger and hate I feel toward the AP for pursuing my husband to the point that he finally gave in.It’s been three years since discovery and the affair was many, many years before that. How can I get over this rage and bitterness I feel toward her? I want nothing more than to confront her with what she did to me and the pain she caused me and my family. I’ve been told by therapists and have read many books that say she would not care but I feel like the only way I can ever find closure and put an end to this rage is to confront her with what she did. Whether she cares or not is really of no consequence to me. I just want to get it off my chest.

Same here!!

My husband and best friend had a long term affair. I’m feeling the same things. The pain is so unbearable. To make it worse we share a driveway so I see her almost everyday. I just want to wake up and not be in pain anymore.


your timeline is way too short. we have been in intensive couseling with a wonderful counselor for two years and we are just now starting to normalize. this may be due to my unfaithful husband's reluctance to let go of the other woman.  he continued to insist that he would always love her for over a year after the disclosure. it is only by the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we have made it this far, but now I believe we will make a full recovery. I think your timeline should be twice as long.

I think the timeline is based

I think the timeline is based on when the unfaithful spouse is truly done with the affair and focused on the marriage relationship. That's when day 1 can begin.

I must Agree

I have to agree with your comment. It begins the day he apologizes, feels remorseful ends the affair for good.

I agree with you

In my experience, it was a year after he ended the affair for good and woke up from his intoxicated dopamine coma.


I agree, the timeline is too short. Our counsellor suggested 2-5 years to heal from betrayal due to infidelity. Add in any other disclosures that come in the weeks & months to follow or any continued activity between the affair partner & your spouse. It begins all over again, at least the rebuilding trust part. In year 2 I felt a new normal. By year 5 I was living anew life, active, engaged, alive & happy. We were stronger, more intimate & really living the kind of life we both actually desired from the beginning but didn’t know how or were too afraid to live out. By year 7 all emotional responses to the affair(s) were gone. It’s been 8 years now since R-Day (redemption day) which we celebrate!! That said, the thoughts of the infidelity are not gone. I’ve come to realize that moving forward means I do so with the mark of infidelity on my marriage resume, and that’s okay. It doesn’t define me but it is a part of our lives & we’ve used the experience to help others. It’s a long recovery but worth the fight!


I agree; my heart sank when I saw 18 months. We are at 21 months, and although things are better, I am still hurting and angry. My husband did break it off promptly after discovery (although I had to put up with the knowledge he was still exposed to her as she did not quit until 12 years ago). He has told me much, although it took about a year for him to come completely clean, but I still don’t know if he is feeling me the whole truth or just sticking to his story. We had been together for almost 30 years, married for 27, and have 3 kids together. We had been through some trauma together due to our sons’ emerging mental illness when the affair began, but this only increased my bewilderment - we had worked so well together as a team. Why would he do this? I am wondering if I will ever get over it, and the timeline stating I should have been over it 3 months ago makes my despair increase. Yes there have been a day or two recently when I haven’t suffered intrusive thought and anxiety, but these are still a marked minority.

Its been three and a half

Its been three and a half years for me...but my husband tood over two years to tell me everything.He ended it immediately, but we had to get a restraining order against the other woman.  it was a 5 yeal long afair with a women he practically lived with.  My husband travels extensivelly and he took her with him...meanwhile I was home raising three children.  My husband did thing that I can't even fathom..the pychiatrist says I suffered fromm post tramatic stress syndrom.  I met me husband when I was 14, and he is the only man I've ever been with....and up until this affair I though I was the only women he had evver been with.  We are committed to making the marriage work...but it has been a long, long, hard road.  I'm not sure what stage I'm in..it depends on the day.  Your advice and input help alot.  I've just never heard of anyone quite in my situation



Hi Kelly, did things ever get

Hi Kelly, did things ever get better?

3.5 year affair

My husband's affair was for 3.5 years, never saw it coming. Its been 4 years since I found out and I feel I have lost 4 years of my life. Every morning the details of the places they were , things they did , even in our home haunt me everyday. I have had encounters with the woman and she asked for my forgiveness for all the terrible things they did , the hate for her and for what they did is overwhelming at times. My husband broke it off as he told her he would the day I found out. He is a broken man , and is doing everything possible to make our marriage better than ever. I feel obsessed with the pain and loss, we have been married 37 years. I wish we could attend the recovery weekend but it is not feasible , we only went to a few sessions with a counselor , I'm thinking I need to go myself as I just can't seem to move on. I am good when we are away from our home , and sometimes am good for a few weeks. Then I seem to spiral again with visions of the two of them together. I was never a hateful person, and it has caused great depression and anxiety in my daily life. I think the time to heal depends on the time spend with someone you love not knowing they had a secret life , like having another wife , emotionally and sexually for 3.5 years is taking it's toll.

I feel like you’re talking about me

You’re saying exactly what I feel. My husband and I have been together for 29 years and I had my D Day on 11-17-17. I eventually found out the affair lasted for four years with someone he worked with and was a friend of mine too. He told me three times it was over only to catch him talking to her, sending twitter messages under fake names and even caught them meeting at Barnes and Noble. Finally after 10 months of that I was done. He said means things and left. In less than 3 hours he was back and saying he didn’t know what was wrong with him. He said he felt insane and he wants our marriage and needs help. Now, we had been going to individual and marriage counseling but he was lying to our therapist too. We finally went to a therapy session and he told her everything. Admitted to lying to me and her for 10 months. She said, now we can begin therapy. I still think
About the affair every single day. It has changed me into someone different. I will never be the same. We had a truly amazing love and he threw it away. I’m trying to heal, to love, and to live. For me and me only. I pray we survive together and are as happy as we used to be. If we don’t, I will know I did everything I could’ve to save my marriage. I loved him with every ounce of my being. And, I did not do this. He did. I pray for us daily.


I must comment that I am blown away by your strength. I can feel the hurt and pain you feel in every word you type

How are you now?

I am where you are in your post. How are you now after a few years with everything? I feel like I will never move past it. Thanks Kim

Unique bond broken

My husband had an affair with a good friend of ours. Her husband was his best friend since high school. We also started our relationship at 14. He claims that what made him want to have the affair was curiosity since he had never been with anyone else. The other couple was in the same situation. They thought it would be safe since they were just friends and neither ever wanted to leave their spouse. Of course, things changed once they started the affair. I always felt that the fact that we had only ever been with each created a very special bond. We are trying to make it work. We have been married for almost 28 years. The loss of the bond is on my list of losses to be grieved but ultimately accepted.


While I agree there is hope that the timeline can be achieved, I do not agree it is true in most cases and it can give a false sense of "completion" at 18 months.  I have heard from various counseling resources in Austin - recovery takes 18 - 24 months, 3-5 years or even 1/2 as many years as the unfaithful spouse was in the affair and for some that is many more years than 2, 3 or even 5 years.

I am 3+ years into recovery and find my marriage is better than it has ever been, but, I feel like I am still healing from the pain to the point of "I'm good" but, not truly "healthy" just yet.

ARC helped my husband and I so much and I am truly thankful for all the counseling and encouragement we received.  We would not still be together if it were not for Rick and Leslie - You guys are AWESOME!!!  My desire is "Let's be real about the possibility of this life changing pain and the effects it has long term and that becoming "HEALTHY" after discovery may take many more years to come."  To me, I find there is a big difference in being "healed" and being "healthy"...  My thoughts...for what it is worth! : )




Thank you for your comment. It is so good to hear from someone years past D-Day who has chosen to stay and work on their marriage. Thank you for your realistic comment--it brings some hope in this difficult time. I am looking into the different programs that AR offers, if you don't mind me asking, which did you find most helpful and which would you suggest? Thank you!

Re: Intrusive Thoughts

It's been over 12 months since my husband revealed his 2 affairs. As much as I can see the changes he has made over the last year, I still can't let go of the past. I feel the intrusive thoughts I have on a daily basis is hindering my healing. Any advice on how to stop these thoughts.

I think a few things help

I think a few things help intrusive thoughts:
- thinking of them as attacks from Satan - what would you do with an attack from Satan? pray about it, reject its message and pass it along to God. You can actually say out loud "I do not want that, God please you take it".
- not to fight the thought as in "I will not think about a pink elephant". Did you just think about a pink elephant? That's why fighting a thought doesn't work.
- place the thought on a piece of paper in your mind, like a sticker on a piece of paper, then rip the paper off the pad, and throw it in the river. This is all done in your mind. Watch the paper run down the river out of sight in your mind. Handling intrusive thoughts like this helps to objectify them for your mind, to treat them as things that can be managed in your mind. Its using the other parts of your mind to relax the hurting part.
- write about the thought on physical paper. The mind trusts things written down can be safely forgotten or de-stressed.
- walk or do something else physical. Physical activity helps the mind flush things in the mind, process them. Do not sit in one place or stare in one place, that's a way to enter a trance which is the opposite of how to relax from an intrusive thought.
- allow yourself to feel that thought, cry from it, count it as a loss/hurt, and ask God to take it from you over time.
- Go help someone. Helping others, is great healing for the hurting heart/mind.
- Talk to someone safe about this thought. Tell them what it was, why it hurt, how it made you feel, how that feeling is connected in any way to any past life experiences, and if there is anything about those past feelings that you'd like to be rid of as well. Kind of an amateur self therapy. If the person you can share with can just listen, not try to fix it, and be your "witness" to the moment you will feel some peace as you cry and let the moment/memory/thought come out of your concerns and become a pain which has been processed.

The book "growing yourself back up" by John Lee can be helpful. Intrusive thoughts are one form of regression. They can't be cured but they can be identified faster, and processed more efficiently and affect your present life less. And as that happens you'll feel your current life improving and your control over your emotions feel stronger. Just reading the first 2 chapters of that book can help - if you know what's happening in your mind then your mind can handle that better.

Thank You

Your advice is perfect and it's in perfect timing that I discovered it. For me my husband's affair was discovered 2 years ago. We had several false starts but most recently he has told me, he does not want to work on our marriage (as he continues to live at home, sleep on the couch, but see the other woman whenever he feels like it). The thoughts of what he is doing with her, invade my mind all the time. I have been working on myself spiritually for 2 years now but it seems the closer I try to get to God, the stronger the attacks. I put on my spiritual armor each and every day just to have it torn off me at times due to the thoughts I allow to rage in my mind. I know the Lord wants me to surrender completely to him and I try to each and every day. I lost my husband and my best friend and sometimes losing my best friend is worst. I know I have to see him as God sees him and not look at his behavior or give much thought to what he says. Your practical advice is great for someone like me. Thank you!

12 months since me and my husband cheated

I just want to stop thinking about the visions

What if the betrayer, whose

What if the betrayer, whose betrayal is part of sexual addiction, begins raging, name calling, verbal abuse, ect?  This has left me, the betrayed, with more reasons to not trust.  How should this be dealt with?

how much infidelity over a longer period of time = more time

I might point out that for every injury of infidelity, or when new information surfaces that changes the picture of the once disclosed betrayal, you can expect the recovery and healing time to take much longer than reported here. My investigation from other resources states that sometimes the more injuries to the marriage, and the longer period of time the betrayal occured, determines whether or not a marriage can survive at all. The injured person's hurt will take however much time is needed, and depends on the spouses assistance and support, or not. Otherwise, it is not so easily grafted as stated here.

Recovery Timeline

I believe the general timeline is about right if full disclosure has taken place. However, in my case, my partner disclosed he got a ‘casual’ friend pregnant early in our relationship in April 2016. The baby was born in December 2016 and since this time I have found out she was his ex- girlfriend and there was a significant crossover. Facebook posts since the birth of the baby have been so hurtful I can’t begin to put into words. I had a positive message exchange with the ex- girlfriend in Sept 2018 where we both learned the truth about each other and the deception from my partner. He still maintains she was ‘casual’ as she didn’t live with him full time but it’s clear from her account that she was his girlfriend. I can’t be around the baby due to the hurt it cause me even though I tried initially. My partner’s reluctance to admit the truth and use ‘semantics’ to absolve his actions are causing untold damage to the recovery process. In addition, I’m reminded of what he did every time a fb picture is posted and the sad thing is people do this to hurt me too. I’ve been focusing on my own healing and have got in touch with a cognitive behavioural therapist which I’m hoping provides the support I need to reduce the intrusive thoughts and triggers. I fear I will be a casualty of the infidelity but I’m hanging in right now just over three years since initial disclosure but six months on from girlfriends disclosure. It’s not a place I would wish anyone to be in but the support I have received from blogs and videos has been tremendous in providing a dim light in s very dark tunnel.

I'm not following the stages

I am not following the stages very well. :) I actually forgave my husband almost immediately. I still don't completely understand what/why things happened. He's not telling me the complete truth but only enough to try to pacify me. But I am a pretty smart woman and can see through his lies even though I don't know what the truth actually is. He says it was just a friendship but I have never seen friends send such racy texts and emails and I have never seen just friends have such a difficult time breaking it off. We are at about 90 days. If we didn't talk about this situation we pretty much get along perfectly and have a great time. I've made some big changes in the areas that I was not working well in. Pretty much I don't sweat the small stuff and I have decided as my husband I should do things for him because I love him and I want to show him that. So, sex and everything else has gotten better. But I don't think it is over and it's not just guessing. If he could stop I could get over this but he keeps seeing her and then swears he won't again. I know I've been an idiot for staying but I love him and feel very strongly on keeping marriage vows.

Unsure how to even begin recovery

With the first affair occurring 6 years ago, we divorced... We later reconciled, and I never realized I hadn't forgiven him for the first time. I believed I had, but hadn't. The same female who was more relevant to him than a faithful wife and family has became an issue yet again.... I always swore that I'd never feel this way again... Yet here I sit. I don't think a second Chance means anything if you didn't learn from your mistakes.... I feel like a fool, and want nothing more than to end this pain. We have 3 sons together and that is my main reason for seeking any and all help I can get.... Any advice would be greatly appreciated...

reply to unsure how to even begin

i am in the same exact boat my wife had her first affair 8 years ago we divorced and later reconciled few years later. the past 6 years i would catch her just in text messages and picture on her phone and i felt like a fool also for putting up with it until the latest ones was actual pictures of the acts and let me tell you it was never anything she did with me. The acts straight out of the fifty shades of grey movie with multiple men and couples. i was floored it has only been less than a month right now and feel like I'm going to be stuck feeling like this forever we are getting a divorce . Any advice would be greatly appreciated i have my first therapy session coming up soon...

Unsure how to even begin recovery

With the first affair occurring 6 years ago, we divorced... We later reconciled, and I never realized I hadn't forgiven him for the first time. I believed I had, but hadn't. The same female who was more relevant to him than a faithful wife and family has became an issue yet again.... I always swore that I'd never feel this way again... Yet here I sit. I don't think a second Chance means anything if you didn't learn from your mistakes.... I feel like a fool, and want nothing more than to end this pain. We have 3 sons together and that is my main reason for seeking any and all help I can get.... Any advice would be greatly appreciated...

Timeline & Achieving Ground Zero

In my experience, I believe the timeline is relevant to ground zero. Every couple is unique, so recovery times vary based disclosing everything the faithful spouse needs to know (with discernment and the right counselors). Some couples hit ground zero early, seeking sufficient guidance. Other's wait years to start the process. My husband and I began at ground zero barely 8 months ago, although it had been 1 and 7 months since D-day. It also depends on the willingness of the unfaithful spouse to seek help in no longer contacting the AP and his true understanding of covenant marriage.

Difference between a Contractual and Covenant Marriage

Contract: I take thee for me.
Covenant: I give myself to thee.

Contract: You had better do it!
Covenant: How may I serve you?

Contract: What do I get?
Covenant: What can I give?

Contract: I’ll meet you halfway.
Covenant: I’ll give you 100% plus.

Contract: I have to
Covenant: I want to

If it is your true desire to remain with this man, it is possible. It is not an easy path, but it is possible, despite all the challenges that you may be currently experiencing. Continue staying connected, getting your support through the forums, small groups, counseling, trusted friends and pastors. As long as you continue to surround yourself with others who are or have experienced similar circumstances within this blog and Rick's other resources, you'll be able to find yourself again and build up the confidence in yourself to know what path you want to take.

Don't feel like a fool. A

Don't feel like a fool. A fool is someone who does not seek wisdom. You are seeking wisdom, asking for help and advice.

I would suggest having a phone call or meeting in person with Rick of AR. He was unfaithful 4 times and now leads AR. If you want to understand a pirate its a good idea to consult with a former master pirate. His wife has had to forgive him of 4 affairs. So he can share what works and doesn't work.

It is important to forgive. But don't make that your first priority. I would recommend making your relationship to God your #1 place right now. And that your husband behaves safely (whatever that looks like to you) while you think about your next step.

I'm sorry there are 3 sons in the picture to muddy it for you. But really I don't see anywhere in the bible where it says children are an excuse for infidelity, or Trust God with your sons, not your husband. God will care for them. They were made by him, he knows how many hairs on each of their heads. Its important that your life is not ransomed for the raising of your sons with an unfaithful husband. God ransomed his only son for you, for your life, not for your situation. Do what is right as a steward of God's image in you, that does not mean become a 2nd wife to your husband.

I know its conventional to tell people to fight for the marriage. But I don't believe that. I believe you fight for your relationship with God.

Also its very important to get personal help. Call AR and speak to a counselor there. You need a specialist. Second its important that you have some personal help like a dear friend, parents, sibling, someone you know who will be there for you. Don't try to work this alone, it doesn't happen. God is not in favor of us hiding our needs from the community of believers and our circle of society. They can help you.

Discovery after stroke

I accidentally found out about my husband's long term affair after he had a stroke.
I 'could not' act out/grieve because I had to take care of him. It's been 10 months but
I still feel very sad and overwhelmed at times. God spared him and he is doing quite
well although a little slow with his speech. Has anyone else experienced this type of
situation? I could really use the support.

Recovery Timeline

I am assuming this timeline is for the couple that didn't separate and the "why" of what happened has been addressed and fixed quickly. My husband and I separated and didn't decide to work on us till 4 months after D day. Then I found out what happened over time and even up to a couple of months ago. And now the "why" of the affair isn't easily fixed by my husband. How does a timeline look then? What if the "why" can't be fixed because it is so ingrained in his being? I feel so discouraged looking at this timeline.

My husband cheated while at work

My husband is a police officer and he found his side piece while he was working. He visited her at her home during his working hours, I also believe now that he went over there on his off days that he told me he was working and supposedly over time hours. He wanted to end the affair and she threatened to tell me. He continued the relationship, him telling me. She reached out to me on fb messenger, sending me numerous pictures of them, text messages, videos and she iniated a call through messenger. When I got the first message I was actually driving and saw the notification and didn’t know who it was from so I opted to read it later, glad I did. After I got home I forgot about it until someone else send me a message through messenger. When I opened up the message it stated this is what your husband has been doing with me. And I almost fainted. So I saw a miss call, so I returned the call, no answer. She texted back stating she would call me back when she got off work at specified time. Well the time came and went so I called her back. I had decided that I would not go off but allow her to talk so I could get as much information as possible from her and she began to talk and told me she had been seeing my husband for almost a year. How he visited her often, paid bills, got her car fixed, gave her money, how they had sex. She laughed at how my husband told her I suspected another person but it was actually her. I stayed quiet but cried silently. She also said how my husband told her that he would rather have sex with her than me, he did get distant sexually. That conversation lasted about 45 until I heard enough and I asked all the questions I wanted to ask her. After I got off the phone with her, I called him, he was still at work. All he could say was how sorry he was and how stupid he was and that it would never happen again. So now I’m mad because all this new information is processing in my brain. I wanted by the door when I heard his car pull up. I called her back on messenger. And I asked her to say everything she told me again because he was standing there. She did and he was quiet, I wanted him to defend himself and he didn’t. I felt like my soul died. Anger had taken over me. After my anger passed I’m now dealing with trust and pain. After 15 years of being together and 9 years of marriage I never stepped out. I thought the man I had was different and I realized he is human. I am dealing with this pain daily and it will take time. The female has not contacted me anymore since that day, I didn’t block her. I wanted to see if she would continue or stop. We have decide to start over and be stronger than before. I know we will ok. I have to learn to trust my Superman again.

My husband cheated while at work

Your story sounds very similar to mine.....i just found out not even a month ago....i'm so torn i can barely work, eat or do daily task that i once did with out even thinking about....this has really taken a toll on me....I believe he's sorry and he has broken all contact but the thoughts continuously run threw my mind and every time i look at him i see her on top of him....i hope this ends soon. We start marriage counseling next week.

Don’t marry a police officer

I know it’s been two years since this comment. I am actually 6 years out- still not healed. I think this timeline just feels depressing. My husband is also a police officer and also unfaithful. He had an affair over six years ago. He had to tell me because his side piece was pregnant and he was in love. She ended up miscarrying (not upset by this- was actually relieved- she was also married). I just don’t feel the same about him. I have tried!! I have really, really tried!! How do ALL of you forgive? I love him, we have returned to a fairly normal state. He’s hard to live with and makes life more stressful than enjoyable. I know police have their own demons. Admirable profession with real fallout. We have kids and I didn’t want to miss a single second with them. Now they are older and I am still riding the waves. I fantasize about living alone, dating, falling in love. At the same time, I enjoy having my family intact, holidays, family friends, evenings out, etc. Does anyone else feel like they are STILL in limbo? After six years, I still wonder, almost daily, what it would be like to have left him. We never went to counseling (I did individually), he “overslept” for our couples counseling and I quit trying. The affair occurred in my own house. I also “befriended” his AP. She shared everything. So hurtful to read in print his feelings. We rarely argue or fight- I just don’t engage. I am a genuinely happy person and have found ways to satisfy the various elements in my life. I know a second marriage has a low probability of success. I also know that children of divorce have lower self esteem, more likely to engage in drugs, etc. Realistically, this may be the best it gets. I hope people who engage in affairs realize that you have more to lose than you can even imagine. I will NEVER love him with that young, “we will conquer the world together” type feeling. It so now a very methodical, grown up reality (have been married for over 20 years and this “us” mentality ended with his affair). The fantasy of “us” changed and that can NEVER be recaptured, even with all the counseling. We are now “survivors.” Who signs up for that? I know couples rebuild and move on- I haven’t. I don’t know if I’m part of the few who just can’t. I still feel so much shame for being a women who would put up with this. This timeline doesn’t represent me or mine.

Wife won't admit affair

So my wife and I separated February 10 so we could work on somethings and have space, we've been together for 17 years and married for 10. She fed me a bunch of stuff about how it will make us stronger as a couple and as a family, that we would go on atleast 2 dates a month, atleast 2. I find out 2 months after we split from a secret credit card that she rented airbnbs 2 weeks after we separated. 4 in total to my knowledge every weekend in march when she blew me off and I had our kids for our current custody. How do I heal myself when she won't admit the affair, says they just met during our separation. Her story changed 5 times now on when they met. It dates back to the middle of last year sometime I think. Everything makes perfect sense. I know, my kids know, her family knows, her friends all see it. She has blameshifted and gas lighting me and told hundreds of lies. Says everything is my fault, I know it isn't.But she still will not admit anything to me. How do I heal if she won't admit?

are marriages more at risk to dissolve in the first 6 weeks?

I am a newly betrayed, having been told by my wife that she's been seeing another man for the past several months. She told me this 6 days ago. I have read several articles on this website (thank you, I'm learning so much and it has kept me sane during this incredibly painful time). One of the articles spoke to the roles of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in keeping the unfaithful in the relationship with the AP. So, I know that she's "high" and "addicted" to this person right now, and I'm not desirable at all. Given that, isn't she (or any other newly unfaithful) more likely to leave there marriage and be less interested in progressing to any recovery, since they think they are happy with the AP?


My husband And I we’re highschool sweethearts. After 18 years of marriages and 4 children. We ran into each other. We have not been apart since.
His ex cheated on him. As a devout catholic and was hurt by his ex wife’s actions. he preached fidelity. I had rough marriages prior to John.
I still opened my heart and gave him all my trust. We do a lot of charity work through costuming. We had a new seamstress. I had no issues with this. I was sure he was a true man. I went to visit family one weekend. When I got home. I asked him a simple question about a costume. His answer or more the feeling I got from his normal answers struck me the wrong way. I started thinking questionable thoughts. I started to feel uncomfortable with this woman. I let John know. For the next 6 to 8 months he proceeded to tell me I was going crazy. That I needed medication. He went as far a getting the children to be angry at me for thinking that a man who loves us would do anything to hurt us.
He left me standing in the kitchen crying as he said he will not give her up, she was the best seamstress. Left and went there.
I would talk to him about it and eventually he started to let things slip. I would catch it. He was telling her how I felt. I was so embarrassed.
So. I decided that maybe he is right. I told him I was going there with him next time to be fitted for my own outfit. That I will meet her and see for myself. He was nervous but arrogant. What I saw was 2 people who were close. Little actions here and there. I told her that I knew about John confiding to her how I was feeling. She was nervous.
That coming weekend John was working. I decided to go have a fitting by myself. He was aware. He was fine with it. I was there for over 2 hours. This woman told me everything. Like it was nothing. Stating that she told John to tell me. That it was a mistake. The nicer I was to her the more she opened up.
I went home and messaged John asking him to come home early if he could. I needed to speak to him. He asked what was going on and that was confused? I said “ No you are not”
He was confident that she wouldn’t tell me. He was shocked. Then went ahead to tell me it was just a kiss, a mistake that he was embarrassed and that’s why he didn’t want me to know. I can not for a moment believe that it was a one time accident. He said he thought that if he just pretended that it didn’t happen it would be fine.
I’m sorry I know this is long winded. I haven’t gotten these words out like this to anyone. He will not disclose information that I feel that I need to heal. No trust. Little more information gets trickled out here and there. That shows me there’s more. The most horrible thing is, since the day of discovery, 6 months later we lost our son. I’m dying inside. He states that a horrible thing has happened to ur family so I should put his indiscretions in the past. To forget it because something worse has happened. I need help. Please.

But what happens when.....

But what happens to the timeline when you have no real answers? My husband started taking drugs 6 months before the biggest D Day (yes, I've had many D-Days) and can't remember much. I found out 4 months ago that he'd had sex with two prostitutes when I went to pay the bills and there was no money left. That's when I learned about the drugs too, given to him by a "friend". He's 46, he'd never touched a drug before in his life. But suddenly ended up working away with a group of woman objectifying, drug taking, horrible people. That was the major D-Day. Since then it's been wave after wave of "discoveries" from phone records, discoveries while changing email addresses and bills coming in. Tons of hookup sites, flirty texts with other women, other failed attempts to hire prostitutes, secret "friends", Tinder, Facebook, Kik and an ocean of porn. My last discovery was a week and a half ago that he had subscribed to and paid for a Dutch Ashley Madison style site for married people to cheat and had been sexting with a woman in our home on Christmas eve while I was in bed. Every time I try to move forward I get hit with something new and end up back at square one. He can't tell me anything and looks shocked at whatever new horror I present to him. But I will never get full disclosure from a black out husband. I just keep finding things when I least expect it. I feel like my life now mostly exists of me being in a state of shock. It should be our 10 year anniversary in 2 weeks. I had been planning a huge party and fun things all while this was going on behind my back. He was home 3.5 days a week and away the other 3.5. (He's now commuting long distances to be home ever night) We always had an amazing marriage, were best friends and had a fantastic sex life until October last year when it was like he dropped off the face of the planet. We'd still have sex at home but suddenly when he was away he lost all interest in phone sex, sending pictures, everything. And when he was home he was mostly asleep or glued to texting on his phone. We went from total connection to zero. When he was away it felt like he was just trying to get rid of me on the phone every evening. And I later discovered he really was trying to get rid of me so he could flirt with other women and pursue prostitutes. I feel like I'm going crazy. That is not the guy I married. He's acting normal again now but all the trust is gone. I don't look at him the same way even though he says he feels normal again. What we had is gone. I discovered the first wave of dodgy messages to other women (groupies, he works in entertainment) on 2nd February (7 months ago). I freaked out then and he looked me in the eye and promised he'd never hurt me again. And then for the next two months continued contacting these women and escalating to prostitutes. I don't know how to trust again after that. It doesn't help that we have been through two marriage councillors both who tried to press hard for details about the show and the people involved like they were more interested in juicy gossip about famous people rather than helping. The next closest therapist is 2.5 hours away from us and not available for 6 months. So I'm stuck and losing my reason.


This looks like it was written by a wayward spouse. This is not been my experience in any of the groups I’ve been in. Timeline is more like 2 to 5 years, and that’s with people in recovery with therapy.


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