Will the Unfaithful Spouse Always Feel This Way about the Affair Partner?

Samuel shares insight about how to break free of an affair partner and find freedom mentally and emotionally.

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Why should the betrayed want

Why should the betrayed want to stay with the spouse when they are grieving their a.p.? Too me, it is wounding, it feels like he is stabbing me a dozen times to look at him and to see him grieving her, and yet I want to throat punch him at the same time. He isn't "in love with me anymore and only wants to stay with me because of the kids, reputation, respect, money etc. and yet I don't want to share his heart. I want to feel special and cherished and I am not special or cherished in any sense of the word. Would a temporary separation be helpful? I just feel like I can't heal with him here, all I want to do is go into a small dark place where there isn't anything sensory an curl up and cry. I don't think I can take the 2 years that it takes for the limerence for his a.p. to fade. How do I not ask comparison questions about the a.p. when he feel in love with her and out of love with me? If he said that she was skinnier at least that would give me something concrete to work on, it would give me something to do.

tough questions...

hi shelby.... tough questions indeed, but normal.  fact is, it's not going to take two years for the limerance to fade. it will probably take a few months, and if you're able to get the right help, it won't take much longer than that depending on the severity of the affair and situation.  it's not a hard stop at a 'few months' but it's not going to be years, unless he continues talking to her refusing to stop.  it's normal to grieve your affair partner, and anyone that has an affair will have to grieve the loss of them if it was emotional and there was a bond created.  you'd want to stay with them as it's part of the process, if you're in it for the long haul.  he will need to process it with someone else, who is same sex and objective that can help be a place of safety and accountability.  getting the right help and committing to the process will help you with comparison questions, and concerns and all very normal but diffucult issues to walk through.  i would look at our ems weekend, ems online or harboring hope courses here on the site that can help you. 

I basically required an in

I basically required an in house separation until the grieving was over. I couldn't even stomach looking at him. I didn't eat meals with him, anything. I went into my room from the minute I got home from work until the minute I left work the next day. My kids visited in my room.

And at that time if I had the emotional strength to walk away, I would have.

I would also add that asking

I would also add that asking the betrayed spouse to help the unfaithful process feelings about the affair partner or be an accountability partner is exceptionally cruel to the betrayed. No betrayed should be put in that position; they have been put through enough.

And while we betrayed intuitively know that the unfaithful may need to grieve the AP, they should make every attempt to NOT do it around the betrayed. It's a supremely cruel thing to do.

thanks for adding those comments...

all good points my friend.  appreciate you sharing that. 

thanks for these videos.

thanks for these videos. They are a huge help! I still don't understand why the unfaithful isn't honest with the betrayed before even starting the affair. Why not ask for an open marriage, separation or even divorce. There are many options for someone who doesn't want to be monogamous. I don't understand the lying, sneaking, hiding? It doesn't make any sense.

My guess is they want to have

My guess is they want to have their cake and eat it too. Open marriage doesn't work -- they don't want to share, they want to BE shared. Divorce doesn't work -- they would have to give up something. Truth telling doesn't work -- if the betrayed is given an opportunity for informed consent, they aren't likely to consent.

The unfaithful, I think, build a world in their head where they are the only people in the whole world who count. Every one else in the world is just an object contributing to or getting in the way of their happiness. They will lie, cheat, steal, and betray to get what matters to them at as little a cost to them as possible.

That's how I see it anyway. They may not stay in that place if they pursue recovery, but that seems to be where they are at when they are doing it. Just my thoughts . . .

Grieving the loss of AP

I've been seeing a counselor and currently are working on my desire to stop thinking of AP and it's just so hard to do. It's been 5 months since D day and I have had zero communication with him. I feel so guilty that I still care for him. I don't want to be with him.. I just care for him and wish to know how he's doing. But how does greiving his loss look like? Ive been told to just switch my thoughts.. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough? When will I have days where I don't think of him?

takes time and work....

hi there.  it takes time for sure.  i would be patient with yourself and do what you can to get infidelity specifice help.  the hope for healing course is perfect for you:  https://www.affairrecovery.com/product/hope-for-healing   that's probably the best resource for you that's infidelity specific and can offer same sex support as well to help you walk through the different stages.  fact is, this takes up to a year or so to get beyond.  shifting focus is great for your thoughts as well, but also being able to move forward, though hurting and focus on your own healing and your spouse's healing.  it's not about trying harder as you're then fixating.  it's more about surrendering.  i would lookin into 12 step groups in your area as well and giving some thought to 12 step work as that will be very helpful for you. 


Professional help question

Samuel, in one of your responses you mention "he will need to process it with someone else, who is same sex and objective that can help be a place of safety and accountability." My husband has been seeing a therapist for over 2 years who is opposite sex (d-day almost 3 years ago) . She was also our marriage counselor for awhile and I went to her for 1:1 sessions a few times. Personally, I found her ineffective, coddling, and wishy-washy so I found someone else to go to. I insisted on changing our marriage counselor also, which my husband agrees has been more effective. Your comment on having a same sex therapist I find very concerning. My main concern is that I don't think my husband is being guided to be fully accountable for his decisions. He did go to a male therapist once and didn't like it. Why do you think same sex therapists are the better choice? Maybe he'd listen to your reasoning and try a male therapist again.

still here.....a few reasons...

hi there.  thanks for your comment.  a few reasons, that i suggest same sex therapists as it creates a great chance at vulnerability without being judged or looked down upon by opposite sex.   especially when you're dealing with infidelity and lust and etc etc. i find that many men find it very challenging to talk to female therapists and be absolutely honest and vulnerable about some of the things they need to discuss.  also, often times if their struggling with sex addiction, many female spouses feel very awkward having their husband talk to a female therapist.  also, if a female has been unfaithul, it can be very challenging to have a male therapist talking to an unfaithful female who is struggling with issues that can be difficult to discuss with a  male.  i'm sorry you found my comment concerning, but I do my best to be real, honest and up front about the challenges couples face in recovery.  finally, in dealing with a same sex therapist, there is a level playihng field at some level, as you can relate to them much easier than the opposite sex.  just my take on it.  thank you.


Still Makes Me Angry

D-Day was Jan. 1, 2014, she never left her affair partner, and lives with him now.

Are there any groups here that work with betrayed whose spouses left them for their affair partners? I would like to heal from this and know there are others who have experienced this. It is very difficult to meet people in the same circumstance. Imagine, "Hey, my wife left me for her affair partner, who was also married, now divorced and now the two of them live together and are celebrated as a strong, happy couple. Know anybody with a similar life experience?"

My wife left me for her affair partner. He was married, now divorced, and the two of them (ex-wife and affair partner) are living in the affair partner's home where his wife used to live. It's mind boggling to me, and I can't get over how the two of them seem to be celebrated as a great couple by their friends and her family. They are active participants in my adult children's lives even. I don't get what seems to me to be their total lack of shame and the support they receive from others.

I took the Harboring Hope course after my divorce was final. I met a widower, and we married in May 2017. I know, probably too soon. I thought I was over all this, but events occur that trigger me. I have talked about this with my current wife, she knows my full past and is supportive. I just am looking for a process that will help me make sense of what seems to me is an upside down world.

correction: I took the Hope

correction: I took the Hope for Healing course for betrayed spouses.

hh would have been my best suggestion...

hi edward, my best suggestion would have been hh, but since you've completed it, i would suggest some trauma care.  have you considered something like EMDR?  it's all about healing trauma of any and all sorts and would be a great next step to take.  i've done it and it's wonderful.  it could probably help with the deep seated trauma you've been subjected to.  i hope that helps. 


i'm sorry brother.  that's a lot to take and process for you I know.  if you've taken harboring hope, then there's not much else on our site that will help in terms of getting help through that medium.  are you seeing a therapist?  i would recommend you seeing someone who is a specialist.  I can recommend a couple who would help you in the processing you're working through if you like.  have you been reading many books on trauma or studying much about trauma at all?  it's clear you've been traumatized for sure.  

Accountability for my UH

Hi ~
We have been married for 33 years. Our D-day is coming up on a year. After that day, we went through a month of deciding if we were going to stay together or not, but never actually separated. We started counseling right away, both as a couple & individually, and we still are going to this day. We decided to stay together but my UH was definitely visibly grieving the AP for a few months. 4 months after D-day, I found out he was still in contact with her, but the sex had stopped after the initial D-day, it was now just emotional. I threatened to leave him and he fell apart and promised that he would end it with the AP. After that time, he was still going to counseling but wasn't following through with the things our counselor wanted him to do. About 4 months ago, I started Harboring Hope and just finished. During HH, about 2 1/2 months ago, I caught him in a lie about where he was and found out that he never stopped communicating and having lunches with the AP, but they were "just friends"! I demanded a divorce at first and then agreed to a separation. He moved out and we agreed it would be a minimum of 2 months. He immediately cut off all communication with the AP, as he said he finally realized that they could no longer be friends! During our separation, he started doing the things that he should have been doing, like having accountability partners, went to a men's church retreat (which really changed him!!), reading books that our counselor recommended, and we dated during this time. It was great! I was seeing good changes in him so I asked him to move back home when the 2 months were up. Its been 2 weeks since he moved back in. He's still doing pretty good, but he has not continued meeting with the 2 accountability guys he was before. I feel like it is absolutely necessary for him to continue it, but he gets defensive when I ask him if he's met with them. Do I have a right to tell my UH that I want to see him continue with accountability? He has accused me of being controlling in the past and I've really been working on it, so I don't want this to be something he thinks I'm trying to control although its really something I need to see him do! I'd appreciate your input! Thank you!

hi there....

i think you have every right to tell your husband what you need to feel safe and to feel loved and to feel like he gets it.  if that's accountability partners and if that's things of that nature, for sure you have every right to ask that.  after what has transpired, two months isn't a long separation anyway and for him to come back and then refuse to meet with his accountability partners etc, is definitely concerning and a huge red flag. 

No Accountability Partner

What is your advice when the unfaithful watches one of your videos, things seem to click in his brain that maybe he truly isn't thinking clearly... so he, on his own, vows to watch more videos and look into recovery work ... but then, doesn't do any of that, instead tries to "white knuckle it," doesn't have an accountability partner and starts to backslide? And by backslide, I mean that he's not seen the AP in person but he has contacted her via text. When he watched the video, he was anxious to begin detox. But lack of recovery work since then, he's back to thinking that they could be friends if they only hang out in public places.

The problem is ... he doesn't have a ton of healthy friends. He's not a church goer. I wanted to join EMS online so we can meet others in our boat but he's not ready. How do we find him an accountability partner that is not me, the betrayed? Are there any volunteers out there that just want to be a non-judgmental friend? He's self sabotaging his life right now. He snapped and can't seem to grab hold of anything. I'm afraid for him. If we lose our marriage, I will survive. I don't think he will. I feel like he's falling back into listening to his own clouded feelings which is a recipe for disaster. He's isolating and in effect, forcing me to remain isolated in my pain. I'm going to therapy but it's not enough. I am so grateful for your videos.

he has to want it...

hi there.  thank you for the post.  he has to want it and you can't want it for him.  maybe it's time for some consequences to his behavior.  if he gets to do what he wants and there are no consequences what's to stop him from continuing to do it?  take a look/read of these two resources and let me know what you think:  https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founders/how-get-mate-cooperate   https://www.affairrecovery.com/survivors/samuel/they-get-say-no-life-going-change  

i would use those and help him understand inaction isn't an option right now.   


Samuel, We are 2 years 1 month from D-day 1 and 1 year and 7 months from D-day 3. We have done EMS weekend virtually and I am in Harboring Hope. When some other things slow down he wants to do H4H. Things are going very well but this is an issue that HAUNTS me. When he talks about AP 1 I see sadness in his eyes. When he talks of AP 2, whom he cheated on not only me but AP 1 with as well, he has disgust in his eyes. I struggle with my ability to "share" his heart with AP 1. I want.need him to come to a place of hate or disgust for her to feel completely safe in our relationship. Thanks so much for this video AND I admire SO much that when you guys talk about healing you are so willing to say get into something, if it isn't us here are some other great programs. Shows me that you all respect the PROCESS of getting help and recovering more than making a buck. WE LOVE AR! It saved us and we want to say THANKS!

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