Infidelity and Discovery: Does It Matter If the Unfaithful Spouse Came Clean on Their Own or Was Caught?

Samuel answers a question many betrayed spouse have asked themselves regarding the future of their relationship after infidelity is discovered.

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How it played out after discovery

What I have found to be the most insurmountable factor to overcome was how the post-discovery played out. That, for me, was where the most damage was done. My husband had multiple affairs about eight years ago. Some were online conversations and photo exchanges, one was a one night stand and one was a several weeks long relationship. I caught him while the relationship was going on. The short story was he got caught, ended it and we sought help from professionals. Two years later, the cycle began again. That time there were two relationships basically going on simultaneously and he was caught in the midst of those. The second time, we separated for several months and also sought professional help. When both occasions were discovered, it was just a gut feeling I had that something wasn’t right. The first time, he left his email open on my computer. I had never spied his email or computer history before but I just had a feeling something was off with us and all my attempts to discuss or even get validation that things weren’t “going well” or “quite right” were rebuffed and dismissed. I looked at his email, thinking I would see correspondence with a friend? That’s what I was actively thinking in that moment when he said, for the second night in a row that made an excuse that he was going to sleep on the sofa because he wasn’t comfortable in our bed and didn’t want to disrupt my sleep. I truly did not expect to see what I saw. The second occasion, again, I just felt like something was off. Again, the gaslighting began and I believed him at first...for 2-3 months. When he was in the bathroom, I checked his phone and found the truth. He had been home sick for a couple days and I was on bereavement leave from work after my father passed away. While those betrayals, by themselves, broke me apart, what caused the most profound damage was the lies he told about all of it. The denials, changing stories, flat out lies, gaslighting...I would ask a question, he would lie or deny, I would provide the proof and, only then, when he had no choice, he would reluctantly come clean. I know shame plays such a big role in these situations and can imagine shame is so much more amplified when you had no intention of having to tell the truth. That being said, I am now 8 years out from the first discovery and 5 years out from the second discovery and our marriage is approaching its 21st year and I am still reeling and impacted by the lack of integrity and the cowardice shown during the discovery process. My husband has been relatively patient with my work to heal from the betrayal. He has done his own work and recognizes and acknowledges his lack of character during that time. He has worked to prove himself worthy of trust. Funny enough, I actually feel like I am failing him because my trust is so terribly fragile and I am still so guarded. I feel like I am so stuck on that time where I had to prove the truth to him to get him to be honest about it. I’m horribly stuck because of that and it’s a terrible place to be.

I had no idea he was. Cheating until I read his text

its been 13 months since my husband came home and told Me he loved me, but wasn't in love with me anymore. I cried like a baby and begged him to go to counseling. We had just had our 20th anniversary. He agreed to try. 1 week later, I looked at his phone and see a nasty little text he had sent to a girl at work that day. Apparently they had been just friends and everybody was doing it.....i was crushed. I can't tell you how deep my depression has gotten. I asked him if he would of ever told me and he said he'll no. Nothing ever happened. I never slept with her. I don't know if he actually did or not. I only seen a couple of text because he had been deleting them. We wound up divorced this past September, but he moved back home in December. He took a job in Texas, but nothing feels the same to me anymore. I'm just lost and broken and need all the help I can get. Please keep me in mind for the drawing.thank you. Sylvia

Guest Request for Blog

I would love to the hear from betrayed spouses that found out about the affair years after the unfaithful ended the affair. My unfaithful claims his affair had nothing to do with our unhappiness in our marriage because I was not aware of the affair. My unfaithful did not come clean, his secrets were found out about 4 years after from another source. What does the remorse and empathy look like from the unfaithful? Especially since (in my case) he claims he processed his actions and handled it all himself.

Team Awesome

This might sound like a crazy title for a comment on such an aching thought, but it is well earned. I have been wondering this for quite some time and this answer is exactly right.
What we do with our mistakes is what matters.
I know this but, it’s easy to forget this concept when living in such agonizing pain.
This helps. Thank you.
You really are team awesome.

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-D, Texas