How many times do I have to answer that question?

“How many times will I have to answer the same questions about my affair?” This was the thought I had as my wife asked me once again, “Why did you have the affair?”

It had been many months since she had learned of my yearlong affair. Immediately we got into counseling, and within weeks we attended an Emergency Marital Seminar Weekend with Affair Recovery (AR). From the early days of discovery, she asked this question – along with a myriad of others.

At first I was resistant to come completely clean. But after a while, with good coaching from AR, I chose to be as honest as possible. Lying had gotten me into the hell I had created. I figured I would give the truth a chance. And it was a much better way. I am not saying that telling the truth was pain-free. Oh no – there was a lot of pain in the truth. But it was a whole lot better, and ultimately was necessary for healing to take place.

So my wife asked the same question again. And again. And again. And I answered again. And again. And again. There were times when my answers were absolutely the same as before. But there were also times, due to my own personal work and self-discovery, that I was able to give greater clarity to a previous question. It was not that I had been withholding (like I did during the affair), but I had learned some thing new. So I could see the benefit of kicking that apparently dead horse one more time (Where did that expression come from, anyway?).

And yet, most of the time the answer was the same. Nothing had changed since she had asked the question the day before. The week before. The month before. I wished that I could just tell her to refer to the page 22 of “Answers About My Affair.” But that would not have been profitable (FYI: I did not write such a document).

I have learned that I need to answer her questions as many times as she asks them. It is all part of the process. It is all part of the journey. It is all part of rebuilding.

And by the way, over time the questions do subside.

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trying to get it

I hope you don't mind me asking questions.  It was my husband who cheated on me.  With an ex-girlfriend, high school sweetheart -- for over a year.  He's jobless, and it sucks, and I know even though he's still living in our house -- I long for him to love ME again and not her.  So I have to ask you to answer honestly -- how long does it take to get over the affair partner?  Is it possible?  Does it just take time?  I long for the day when he can look me in the eye again when we are intimate.  Any advice would be appreciated.

Is it possible?

I certainly don't mind, I am happy to answer as best I can. I believe that it is possible to "get over" the affair partner, if he wants to. But certain things need to happen. It is not just a matter of time - but doing the right things over time. Such as: 1. He needs to want to. Even though he may have feelings for her, he needs to want restore his relationship with you and be married to you. 2. He needs to agree with you to cut things off with her. That means no texting, no emails, no phone calls, no contact. Any contact with her only fuels a false sense of romance and intimacy. 3. You both need to invest in your relationship. That means going to counseling, reading books together, spending time together. There are always underlying issues when someone has an affair and it takes work to get to those. 4. Recognize that love is a choice. We all get to choose. He gets to choose and you get to choose. I believe that he can "get over" his affair partner, but he needs to choose to do so and then act on it. And it does require action. And you need to get support to be able to do what is right and healthy. If he is not willing to try to change and commit to you (in time), then you need to be willing to walk away. I strongly suggest you and your husband going to an EMS weekend if you haven't already done so. Or Harboring Hope class. These are both excellent in giving you support and tools to work through the issues of infidelity.

stuck in the pain

Ok, he's definately not in love with HER anymore.  In fact, he says he never used the word love with her -- I have a hard time believing that.  In fact, I have a hard time believing anything he says because there were so many lies and so much deception.  I just want him to be able to look me in the eye again.  I chose to stay in this marriage and work it out.  I choose him - despite the hurt.  I know we can get through it - but I'm losing my patience, I'm losing my desire to fight.  Maybe I don't want to be in this marriage anymore if I can't work past the hurt and pain.  I want him to still be sorry, and he can't voice his emotions.  It's like he doesn't have any.  He was sorry when he was caught, when the affair was revealed - but since then it's like he's stuck.  I don't believe he has any contact with her, and he says if it was serious and something he still wanted he wouldn't be living in the house with me -- but how long does a wounded wife keep waiting for her husband who she has loved for so long to love her back after an affair?  I believe his affair was so much worse because it was someone he loved so long ago and for so long.  They already had that amazing connection, and as long as he can't love me back - I seem unable to move forward.

I'm not sure why, but your

I'm not sure why, but your blog simply makes me angry.  This "dead horse" is obviously not dead to your wife, the one you so maliciously betrayed.  YOU may want it to be dead, but the pain lasts so much longer for HER than you can ever understand.  She won't tell you even 10% of what she is really feeling and how much she is really hurting.  She will hide it, in order to reconcile and she will suffer mostly in silence.

The tone of your post sounds like you just wish she would stop asking, but you dutifully have to deal with it. It's that ego of yours that comes through with your writing. Your wife may not say it, but I gladly will....

How dare you betray such a beautiful person.  Instead of cowering from your own insecurities/issues and then running to some woman for the satisfaction of your own ego, you should have been a man and been honest with your wife.  You should have been strong enough to just tell her the truth and work through any issues or let her go to live in peace.  Instead, you took a path that will permanently scar your marriage and your wife's heart, mind and soul.  You hurt this woman.  You owe her your very soul, in order to make it up to her.

 

You owe it to her.. to answer that question every time ahe asks.  Answer it with compassion for her feelings, an understanding of her need to ask, and remorse for the actions you've taken.   Answer it as a man who understands what he has done to his wife.  Your only job should be to help her heal.  Anything short of that is failure on your part. 

 

I am sorry

I am so sorry that my blog post angered you. You are right that I was weak and self-centered and did not act like a man. I was reckless and pre-occupied with getting my desires met. I was a human wrecking ball. And if not for the grace of Jesus, I would still be. I am fully aware of my capacity for sin. I hurt my wife deeply - to the very core of her heart. And for that I have incredible regret. A day doesn't go by that I am not reminded of what I have done and I am saddened. I don't deserve my wife's love and forgiveness. And yet, out of grace, she has chosen to forgive me. God has done an amazing work in her heart and in me as well. And I know he is not done with either of us. A day doesn't go by that I am not reminded of God's amazing grace. It is out of love for God and for my wife that I answered her questions. And I continue to answer her questions. I agree with you that I owe her answers - no matter how many times she asks. And I do it joyfully knowing that this is part of the process that is necessary for recovery.

You need to answer her

You need to answer her questions again, and again, and again, and again because she has to think about what you did again, and again, and again, and again. I don't think the pain will ever completely go away for her, and you need to help HER heal. It's not all about you anymore. Also, did you tell her everything upfront on D-Day, or did your story keep changing? That's another reason to ask over and over. She may want to see if the story keeps changing. She wants to know she has the truth, and all of it. But mostly, she is probably trying to process the most painful experience of her life. If I were you, I would help her without complaining. It's nothing compared to what she is going through.

Until she is satisfied

I agree with you - I need to answer her questions as long as she has them. That really was the point of my blog. It is my responsibility to answer, no matter how long it takes. I do this out of love for my wife. How long do I need to answer? As long as she has questions. Until she is satisfied. Regarding your question: I did reveal all within a week after "D" Day. And my story never changed. But she did need to check it out as trust was rebuilt. And that takes time - as long as she needs.

It sounds like you are doing

It sounds like you are doing the right things. Telling all within a week was definitely a good move. Sorry if I sounded harsh. You do sound like you are doing everything you can to make it up to your wife. My husband held back on telling me everything. He even lied about the things I figured out and asked him about. Hence, I kept asking, sensing that he was lying, but then questioning my instincts. It took a year until I had all the answers, even though the affair was over by the original D-Day. He was trying to do "damage control" by controlling the flow of information, but it made things even more of a living hell. I came very close to filing for divorce. He was, however, telling me the truth about all encounters that have taken place since D-Day, and he is very remorseful. He checks in a few times a day. (Unfortunately, she is a co-worker) At first, it was to be accountable and check in on me to see how I am doing (I had PTS symptoms) Now, however, we actually look forward to talking and seeing how each other's days are going. LIke you, he is trying to do everything he can. He did, however, have the additional mistake of thinking the more information about the depth of their involvement would hurt me more than lying. He has learned his lesson on that as well. Good luck as you continue to rebuild your marriage.

T, What a tough situation you

T, What a tough situation you are in with your husband working with the affair partner. You may want to have a frank discussion about the job situation. I've seen many cases of couples who end up not recovering due to the continued immersion in the addiction of the affair partner. Zero contact of any kind forever is the best situation. An alcoholic can no longer work in a bar. Even if he is the best bartender in the world.

Thanks for your reply,

Thanks for your reply, Erick. I agree with you that the work situation has been tough on me. Initially, I wanted him to look for other work, but the economy stinks, and it is a very specialized field. I think if he landed in a job less stable that didn't work out, I would be even more resentful of the damage his affair has caused. Lately, however, I have concluded that her behavior there has made him all the more sure he has done the right thing. She is extremely volatile at times, seems sort of "bi-polar" about the whole thing. He has switched departments, and work schedules to avoid her. His desk is in a somewhat public area, which she and all employees must walk by to get to the restroom and lunchroom, though. That, and the monthly meeting are about all the contact. He changed his cell phone number, too, although, at one point she told him she would "get it" from another source since he has refused to give it to her. He is very turned off by her at this point. Had he left immediately after D-Day, it seems he would still be remembering the good stuff, and maybe be more at risk if running into her? Or am I dreaming? At any rate, her behavior has been described by our counselor as "passive-aggressive." My husband is by no means innocent, but this was so out-of-character for him after 18-years together. She was very aggressive (I learned by playing her messages-ouch!) If ever there was harrassment coming from a female, this would be it. I don't think it ever goes that way. Yes, I wish they didn't work together, but I'm slowly thinking she has buried any option of things starting up again. Hope I am making sense.

co-worker affairs

This is a very risky situation & while your husband might have the best intentions in the world, while he might adhere to the zero contact concept, you cannot count on her to comply. This is exactly what happened in my marriage - we did the weekend with Rick (awesome) & it really seemed we were about to turn things around. She, who I have labeled the *!#t - filled truffle, contacted him, he told her he wanted no further contact - per Rick's suggestion - she agreed but tried again. Rick had warned it would happen and that I should respond to a second breach, which I did (with glee & great pleasure). Couldn't control that "chance" meeting at work though, where she came & asked how he was doing, to which he responded "fine" then she asked how the family was doing (like she really cared!!!) wasn't that sweet of her, he chirped! Just like that, one brief moment & it was off to the races again! Drawing & maintaining the line is hard enough in any situation & I believe your husband may be sincere in his resolve but having that temptation dangled in front of him daily stresses him & the marriage. Perhaps you could send her a few job apps - anonymously!

Thank you for your

Thank you for your feedback. I am so sorry your husband is "back to the races." I take it that means he is fully involved with her again? Are you staying in your marriage? I know how awful it feels. It's been 1-1/2 years since I first found out about the affair. I did so by playing his messages. (Something I had never done before in our 18 years together, but I "knew" for to long that she wasn't just a friend. I needed proof) The messages were horrific. I hit 8 on his cell phone to return her call, let her know that I knew, and told her I'd call her husband if she didn't tell him herself. I am all for calling the other woman, if you haven't already. We were out of town, and her behavior was like a roller coaster upon his return to work. Almost a year ago, my husband changed his number. She didn't call much anymore, but when she did, my heart would pound trough my chest with anger. He was good about disclosing it to me. She asked for his new number when she discovered it had changed. He refused to give it to her. She told him she'd find a way to get it. (Talk about harassment...too bad women are never successfully accused of it) Sure enough, it took awhile, but she called him last month. But it was to scream at him for not telling him about our vacation, and other things that are none of her business. He let her have it, and was furious that she obtained his number from a supervisor's list posted in a fairly obscure (but not obscure enough) place. He told her (again) that they no longer share personal info or a friendship. I think her behavior has been crazy enough that he has no desire to start things up again. Our counselor admits that she cannot diagnose someone she hasn't met with, but the behavior my husband reports of her leads her to think she has a type of personality disorder (Borderline personality, passive aggressive, or who knows?) She is simply not a normal, healthy individual) She has also gained about 40 lbs since D-day. I think had my husband quit immediately after D-Day, he would not have seen all the ugliness she has inside her, and would miss who he thought she was. He knew she was on husband #3, and had a very troubled background, but he really needed to see just how crazy her crazy side is. I hope I am right about this. Please feel free to stay in touch with me for support. I am so sorry for your situation.

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