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After infidelity - those who are still with their partners

(512 Posts)
Looksgoodingravy Mon 16-Jul-12 22:14:39

We are working through it, it's been four months, we have better days than bad, I know things will never be the same again and there are chinks of normality coming back into our lives again, I'm hoping we will be stronger than before, it will be different. I know my dp is deeply deeply sorry for the hurt he's caused, he's working hard to build those bridges.

My question I suppose is have you forgiven your partner? I know I'll never forget but I know I've got to forgive so that I can move on, I know I will forgive when I feel ready to but is it a necessary step to take...I'm just letting some sad feelings out tonight, I feel sad for the 17 years we had before I found out, seems a lovely carefree time now not one wrapped in pain and hurt.. time to move on and bring the good bits back into my life.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Tue 17-Jul-12 00:43:21

bumping this for you - can't help you much myself because I haven't been there, but hopefully someone who has will see this and respond. Four months sounds like early days...

lisaro Tue 17-Jul-12 00:52:06

Sorry cant tell you what to do. If it was me I couldn't go there again. Kissing knowing he'd done it to someone else with feelings. Sex? Urgh. No. If it'd been somewhere else since we got together? Sorry no. Not sharing that. Sorry, probably not what you wanted to hear but realistically-have you any self respect? Could you really go there again?

Pantone363 Tue 17-Jul-12 00:52:52

I can't answer that as after I found out I divorced him ASAP.

Just wanted to say I think you're very brave and that staying is much harder in my mind than leaving. The hurt really is something else no?

CuttedUpPear Tue 17-Jul-12 01:05:52

I tried and stayed for a year after but it never really went away. My fears were conformed when XP got together with the OW again three years after we had finally split (and when the relationship he'd started when he was still with me was over). They were together for 18 months before, I assume, she realised what a fatal error she'd made.

Sorry if this is not what you want to hear.

wheresmikeys Tue 17-Jul-12 01:40:07

Me. I am still with my partner after he cheated. He felt suicidal afterwards. We have a 6 yr old together and he has a 16 yr old from his previous mariage who I am very close to. After the fling he made changes that I can see are positive - he stopped drinking, cut off all contact with the other woman, spends more time as a family.

I think after about a year to 18 months I started to feel better. I have changed my attitude towards the relationship though. I've got my own savings now, I go out a LOT more than I used to and he stays at home a lot more than he used to. Some bits of the recovery (if you decide to stay) are your own responsibility and some are his. He can't rebuild your self esteem, you have to. You can't make him loyal, he has to reassess his own weaknesses and make himself less prone. Boundaries need setting and sticking to so that some trust can build - this for us was small promises to not break rather than unobtainable sweeping promises. We have counsellor to help work disagreements through. Four months on I think I was still in shock.

The love is still there for us both, the affair still raises its ugly head from time to time. I could plot it on a graph! Every day anger ...then once a week, once a will never be gone though. Sometimes I am thankful because he realised what he was sacrificing in the end. There will be no 'third chances' though. This has been a tough road for me and I often wonder if it would have been less painful to cut loose and start again. We've got the kids so I figured it harder to split as you are never free from them anyway....I will give it one more try.
I slipped into trying to control everything, they will always do what they want in the end so that is a waste of time and energy. I make sure I have lots of my own interests and connections now. A man can only destroy your entire life if he was everything to you. weirdly he seems to want me a bit more when now I am busy.

RightFedUp Tue 17-Jul-12 07:14:27

We are still together a year on. I have forgiven him recently but I will never forget. I forgave him because of the huge amount of genuine remorse he feels ( not of the 'showy off' kind) and the work he's done and is doing to sort himself out.

I knew I could forgive him because it wasn't dependent on whether we stayed together - I forgave him no matter what happens in the future, though he knows I will leave him if he chooses to cheat again. He knows forgiveness is not the same as being ok with it. He can't yet forgive himself though.

I understand the circumstances of his affair though he's in no doubt that I think he was a bastard. However, I think good people sometimes do very bad things. I think very bad things are forgivable and that our friendship, marriage and family are worth a second go - though they will never be the same again. Some things are much better and some things are sad.

I feel less of a victim having forgiven him - as if I'm more in charge of myself iyswim. It doesn't mean I don't have sad or horrible days though. Our therapist said that you can't change a single second of the past but you can choose how you respond to it. We have both benefitted from therapy and I will not let his horrible mistakes define my future, whether we are together or not.

The very best of luck to you in whatever you choose to do in your situation.

stargazy Tue 17-Jul-12 07:33:09

4 months is very early days sorry to tell you.2 years on here and things are good ,but I will never forget and echo Wheresmikey almost word for word re time scale,emotions and importance of raising your own self esteem and building a strong life for yourself even if you stay in the marriage.Which I did.

Briefly wasn't a physical affair I discovered,but still months of inappropriate behaviour and secrecy,and a massive betrayal that for months made me feel angry,sad,confused and grieving for the marriage I thought we had.Came so close to divorce,but can now say honestly so glad we didn't.

For me it got worse before it got better IYSWIM.Now I realize I was in shock first 3/4 months.Be prepared to have rough days for ages.But they get further apart and less extreme if he's 'got it' and doing everything he can to make amends.
It just feels so shitty when you're having one doesn't it?x

Looksgoodingravy Tue 17-Jul-12 11:15:17

Thanks for your replies, really appreciate you sharing your experiences, think I was feeling quite low last night whereas I've mostly been experiencing bouts of anger, it really is like a bereavement!

Wheresmikey, yes you're right I need to work on my own self esteem, I have been getting out more which has helped greatly, surrounding myself with family and great friends, just getting out of the house in itself away from the everyday routine puts my head in a better place. It's good you are at a better place now and I hope it all works out for you.

Rightfedup, I think if dp hadn't shown the level of remorse which he did we wouldn't be together now, it's only because he opened up completely that we are still together now trying to work through it. I want to believe so much that this will NEVER happen again but the trust has been shattered and that's one of the hardest things to deal with. It's so good to hear that you've managed to forgive and this has helped you and I agree sometimes good people do slip up, however dp knows that there will be no second chances. Hope the future is bright for you.

Stargazy, agree, shitty days are bad and it's like a whirlwind of emotions at times but it is definitely easier than the awful time at the beginning where I could hardly function and just felt numb. Glad things are working out 2 years on.

I never thought I would still be here with somebody who could lie and cheat but I am and it's only through dp's reaction to what he's done and him facing up to it that we are still together, he's proving that he can change and I've got to give him another chance, wish I could wave a magic wand and be two years down the line from where we are now.

brownchair Wed 18-Jul-12 01:45:00

looksgood. I too am 4 months on from devastation that I could never have imagined. We are staying together too.

DH was away in another country on a business trip in Feb when he caught up with a former work colleague. He ended up fucking her twice in his hotel room. The first time he was drunk the second time he wasn't. I found out after checking his Facebook messages and finding about 250+ messages between them. I just knew something wasnt right and went snooping. I didn't read them all but quickly realised what had happened and immediately confronted him. He confessed all and was very upset too. This all happened 2 weeks before I was due to give birth to DC4 and after 10 yrs of marriage!

The last few months have been so hard. I have cried so many times. I can't believe he could have betrayed me so badly. I honestly felt that he was one of the good guys who would never do anything like this. It is like he was someone else.

I have found it so difficult to function somedays, keeping it together for the kids and not telling anyone. It is slowly getting easier, I have less crying days but more angry days now. I have found that writing how I feel down is really helpful, I then show him these essays so he knows how I feel and then we talk about it. He has apologised so many times and cannot explain why he did it as he can't believe it was him.

I have read Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass which helped and he is reading it too. I have also just started seeing a counsellor which I have high hopes for too.

I chose to forgive him as I believe our marriage is worth fighting for, I love him and want to be with him. We have 4 children together and a lovely home which are definitely worth fighting for and working hard to keep together. I just can't imagine not having our life anymore. He does know that he doesn't have any more chances though. If it ever happens again I will leave and take the DC with me.

Amazingly we have been getting along really well lately and our sex life has vastly improved. It was awful living for those few months knowing that the last person my DH had sex with was not me! We both have a long way to go but I think we will make it...

Something I have had a lot of trouble with though is the evil thoughts i keep having about the OW. I blocked her on his FB account and deleted her details from all of his computers/mobile etc but kept them for myself. Having seen what she looks like is tough as she is very attractive and much younger than me. I want to say and do mean things to her but have not. I did contact her when I first found out to let her know I knew what had happened and to stay away, I didn't get a reply. She does live on the other side of the world so I guess she will be staying away!!

It is so fucking hard!

RightFedUp Wed 18-Jul-12 07:44:34

Brownchair - it's vile isn't it.

I think it's true that for a relationship to survive in the long term HE needs to be working really hard to sort himself out and there isn't a sense of that in your post. He needs to look at why he gave himself permission to fuck this woman and it should be him deleting her from Facebook etc. I understand why you both feel like he was a person you don't recognise when he did this but he wasn't someone else - and he needs to sort that out. It seems like you are making most of the effort here.

MadAboutHotChoc Wed 18-Jul-12 08:09:14

Brownchair - having been there, I know how it feels to have been betrayed in this way by the man you thought was your best friend and soul mate.

I agree that your husband needs to work on himself to find out what was in him that justified the infidelity e.g personal issues and personality flaws (selfishness is nearly always one of these).

This is the one of the hardest things my H went through - it was like looking into a mirror but he is now a much better person as a result.

stargazy Wed 18-Jul-12 08:26:45

I'm so sorry Brownchair.Dont mean to be a pessimist but be prepared for a slump several months in.That intense period of hot sex and lots of talking is called hysterical bonding and emotionally charged,adrenaline fuelled and keeps you fighting for your marriage.
What I experienced several months on, and believe is pretty common was a numbness,detachment and almost depression when everything seemed to settle back to normal.I also resented my DH because he seemed so happy and relieved he hadn't lost me / us but inside I felt lost ,grieving and unbearably sad.That period for me was the worst.
But it did pass eventually.Only now 2 years on can I recently say I feel really good about us and totally confident forgiving him and holding on was the right thing to do.But I'm a changed person forever.
Rightfedup is bang in saying he's the one who should be working hardest of all to working out why he behaved the way he did.Sorry as my DH was I wouldn't accept 'but it just happened',particularly as although he had and OW didn't have sex it was inappropriate behaviour over several weeks ,with a build up of several months so he has plenty of time day to day to consider how things were heading the wrong way IYSWIM.
As for OW don't get me started!Unfortunately for various reasons our
paths cross from time to time.I know it's not popular on here to lay blame at her door,but from what I learned retrospectively I firmly do.I have zero respect for her and try not to allow her any space in my head.
Just keep,going.It can be worth it.x

brownchair Wed 18-Jul-12 09:43:07

right & mad Thank you for your replies. And yes it does seem like I am doing all of the fixing at the moment. It feels like it to me too.

My DH is a pretty messed up character. He suffers from depression, has in the past cut himself. He saw a doctor and a therapist and was on anti d for a couple of years. He had a pretty shitty childhood, losing his father when he was a toddler, his mother remarried an alcoholic tyrant who terrorised them all for a few years before they managed to escape but were homeless. His teenage years were more settled but I think the damage had been done. He has very low self worth and hates himself. He told me after I confronted him with my evidence of his cheating that he had always thought he was a piece of shit and now he has proven that he is! Now I am not making excuses for him but thought this may explain his character/demons/behaviours...

I guess the OW made him feel good about himself and in his drunken state he gave himself permission to fuck her. He said that on t hat business trip he had been away from us for too long and got too used to living the single life. He said that it was only about sex and nothing more. What really gets me is that he fucked her the following night while sober and then sent about 250 messages to her in the following 2weeks until I discovered all!

He insists that he still loves me and always has. He wants to stay married to me for the rest of his life. I honestly do believe him. I just worry that as I have told him that he is forgiven t hat he will feel like he got off lightly and cheat on me again.

I have told him that I want him to see a counsellor and that I think he would benefit most from cbt. He's not done anything about arranging any yet.

I hate that punch in the stomach feeling I get every time I think about it!

Abitwobblynow Wed 18-Jul-12 09:45:27

Hi Gravy, you are being too hard on yourself because 4 months is nothing in the time line you need. 4 months is flashbacks, imagining them together, feeling the pain over and over again.

Depending on what he does [and I am going to hold thumbs that he does the right things, ie looks at himself, examines himself openly in front of you, apologises x 1000],

and despite what he does, you need about 2 years to process the upheaval to your life. You go through the flashbacks, asking him for details - this is all normal, and is how you process trauma - as you work on this new reality which will eventually become part of your history. This is hard, and it hurts. But after a time, you will incorporate it and you will eventually get bored of it!

Because it is part of your history, it will be like you have a bunion: you wish you didn't, but that is just how it is.

So don't hurry the process, don't sweep it under the carpet, embrace the lessons to be learned. You will probably find that he is quite selfish, and that his feelings and his needs have always been considered more important than you own. So now is the time to change all that! The rules have changed because he changed them.

It is REALLY important to have your own money. As a rule of thumb any woman should have about 3 months of rent/mortgage and bills as savings. Develop your job and your friends, and becoming more autonomous.

brownchair Wed 18-Jul-12 09:55:33

Thanks stargazy. My last post took so long to write I missed your message.

I also resented my DH because he seemed so happy and relieved he hadn't lost me / us but inside I felt lost ,grieving and unbearably sad.That period for me was the worst.
God I so relate to this already. I feel exhausted keeping it together all day, looking after the kids, running the house and pretending everything is just fine to everyone else. I spend too much time keeping tabs on him and wondering about where he is, what he s doing and who he is with. He travels a lot with work as his job is at an international level. I was an investigator in my job before I became a sahm. I can and will find out everything!! I have complete access to his computers/phone and he tells me where he is, who he is meeting with and what his schedule is.

It is tiring...

Lovemy3kids Wed 18-Jul-12 09:59:33

I thought I had forgiven my DH for his 2 affairs, but I knew that I would never forget about them. His 2nd affair was 5 months after our daughter was born. After his second affair, we did try Relate, but he refused to open up and talk, so we didn't make much headway there, and he also wouldn't take any responsibility for his infedelities, and always blamed ME. We could never broach the subject of why he did what he did, and this was always pushed under the carpet, until we had a difference of opinion and I would find myself bringing it up time and time again. We did remain together for 5 years after his 2nd affair, but when i found out about his 3rd affair, I realised he would never change, and I left him and also took our 3 DC with me. Since we seperated, he got together with another woman from our DC's school, and he cheated on her twice that i know of. He has now got with another woman, who is fully aware of his past and says that it doesn't bother her and that she trusts him, though she is monitoring every text, phone call, email and letter!

Some men do want to change, and can change, but others will go through life wanting their cake and eating it. Only you can decide when the cake runs out. Good luck xx

Ormiriathomimus Wed 18-Jul-12 10:09:23

I'll let you know.

Only 2 (or is it 3) weeks in. I am exhausted atm. Just a wreck. But to be fair so is he. I was amazingly calm to start with, then very loving and needy, then very very angry, now I'm calmer but I can feel the stress building up again. We've had lots of that 'hysterical bonding' that someone mentioned earlier but there are times even when we are really close that I think of him telling her he loved her and I want to stab him with something. My anger and fear frightens me.

I can see that he is fed up and my old habits kick in and I want to help him. And then it strikes me that he might be sad because of her and I want to kill him again and firebomb her house! (not really).

Such a weird contradictory time.

At times I feel like I've won. At times I feel like our marriage has been kicked out of a rut. At times I feel so angry that I am having to feel like I had to win - there shouldn't have been a competition.

My intention is to make it work. His intention is to make it work. But I am calling the shots and I will call time when I can't face any more of it.

Kids are really unhappy too. They know something is up beacuse I keep crying. I'm afraid they heard a dreadful row on Sunday - well I was rowing not DH and DS2 came to my crying later upset about 'you and Dad'. sad Bastard!

And breathe....

Sorry that was a stream of consciousness rant rather than helpful advice smile but if it helps to know someone is going through the earlier stages and trying to make it work, please take that small consolation xx


MadAboutHotChoc Wed 18-Jul-12 10:21:37

orm - it is a real rollercoaster ride, never knew I could experience so many emotions in a short space of time.

There will come a time when things are much calmer but you feel sad so be prepared for this stage as its often when people then tip over into full blown depression.

brownchair - it sounds like your H really needs to go to individual counselling. Sorry to go on about it, but he is more likely to repeat the cheating unless he addresses these issues.

And you should not need to keep tabs on him - its pointless and a waste of your precious energy. If he really wants to cheat he will and there is nothing you can do about it as the affair was all about him and his issues - not you or the marriage.

BelieveInPink Wed 18-Jul-12 10:37:57

"have you any self respect?"

I think this is an awful thing to say to somebody who has chosen to stay in a marriage after infidelity. It's like the only acceptable step to take after an affair is split up, and many don't.

Looksgood, in time you will forgive, but you will never forget. But it will take a long time, years in fact. I had a massive blow in my marriage (not infidelity) and I thought I'd never forgive or forget. I think it was three years when all of a sudden I thought "you know what? He's suffered enough, we both have. He's made no mistakes in all this time and I need to forgive." So I did. But I will never, ever forget.

Ormiriathomimus Wed 18-Jul-12 10:43:05

beleive - it is an awful thing to say. I've had response on my thread of that sort and a previously close friend has said the same and I will struggle to see her in the same light now. It dents my already damaged self-esteem and makes me feel like I am in the wrong.

maandpa Wed 18-Jul-12 13:49:25

I too was still in shock after 4 months. Two years on, and we are still together. He made massive changes. Less drinking. No going out with work colleagues on nights out together. Spending more time with family, and appreciating the dcs.

It is so horrible, but gets better and better as time goes on. I do not get upset anymore.

The hardest thing was having to be emotionally intelligent and savvy, whilst he fell apart. He was frozen with fear at being found out and pined for the OW when the relationship finished. And at that time I was fuming, devastated and an emotional wreck.

During the affair he said some dreadful things to me, because I and the kids were the reason he couldn't feel he could e with her. And when I found out he said some truly foul things to me. All because, of course he had been comparing us.

We worked through a lot, and with the help of family and Relate and Shirley Glass we are still going, stronger than ever.

He had to learn about firm boundaries and not crossing them.

I hope it works out for you. The main thing with my dh was stopping drinking every night. Which was making him grumpy, and meant he was not at all helpful during the night or early morning either.

I asked him to leave for a while, and I think he came back home (after a month) feeling more appreciative of family life. If he hadn't left I would have murdered him :-/

HectorBrocklebank Wed 18-Jul-12 14:30:45

It's been just over 8 weeks since I discovered DH's emotional affair. Most of the time I think I'm dealing with this well and we've both made a lot of positive changes. But I think of it in detail every day and sometimes the crap feelings are overwhelming and all the doubts I have resurface.

The affair went on for about 6 months. He met her on a business trip and swapped numbers. He swears nothing physical happened and I believe him. They never met up again but she sent explicit photos of herself. He said he spoke to her every 2-3 days.

As soon as I found out, he deleted all her contact details. He said it all started off as someone to talk to and who listened to him. But he also admitted that he regularly looked at the photos of her splayed genitals and encouraged her. This from a man who said he thought porn was wrong and demeaning to women!

We've had loads of conversations. He's in no doubt how this has devastated me and totally knocked my trust in him. For him he says it was all a fantasy, that it was happening in a bubble, an escape from real life. And that until I found out he hadn't really thought about where it would lead as he knew he would never meet up with her. He says he can't understand how he did this, that it's totally against all his principles and the morals he feels strongly about.

He says he cannot explain just how remorseful he feels and the deep shame and guilt at how he behaved and at how he treated me. Swears that nothing like this will ever happen again blah blah blah.

I want this (my 2nd) marriage to work. But I'm realistic and right now don't know if I am able to overcome feelings of 'what's the point now?' and also the at times constant going over what happened and how he lied to me.

I know the marriage will never be the same again. Instead of assuming we're together for life, as I had before, I'm looking at the options if I decide to call it a day. When he's with me it's all good but when I'm on my own it's a different matter.

Early days still. I know there will be good days and bad days to come but feel I'm in control now.

Ormiriathomimus Wed 18-Jul-12 14:37:00

hector - your situation sounds very similar to mine.

Helltotheno Wed 18-Jul-12 15:01:13

I can and will find out everything!! I have complete access to his computers/phone and he tells me where he is, who he is meeting with and what his schedule is.

See, I just don't get how anyone can live like that. To me, there's just no future at all in trying to or having to second guess someone's every move. Tbh if I was the person who had the affair and my partner wanted access to everything private that I had, I'd leave of my own accord rather than go through that. I just don't think that's sustainable for either of you...

OP sorry about the way things worked out. The rights and wrongs would be different for everyone. If you feel the marriage is worth saving, you've got to go with your instincts, even if it's not going to be easy.

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