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Can a marriage survive an affair?

(57 Posts)
LetsGoToTheHills Sun 10-Mar-13 09:33:20

Does anyone have any stories of working things out after their partner had an affair? What happened and how did you go about it? Things seem so much less black and white than I ever would have thought (children, history, over a decade of real love and affection, genuine remorse on his part) and I don't know what to think. I have no idea how I feel right now (said affair is over) and will just sit with it for some time, but it would be nice to hear if a positive outcome is possible!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 10-Mar-13 09:39:59

'Survival' is relative. Having tried to forgive an affair at one time my experience was that we briefly survived but that the relationship was fundamentally damaged in the process. The betrayal, hurt and subsequent lack of trust soured years of love and eventually turned into resentment. Also, the process of forgiveness did nothing except shatter what was left of my self-esteem. Sorry to disappoint. Sitting with the truth (if that's what you've had) for a time isn't a bad plan ... but would suggest you remove your partner from the frame for a while so that you can think clearly rather than feeling pressured by the 'genuine remorse'.

LetsGoToTheHills Sun 10-Mar-13 09:45:19

That is helpful, thank you. I just left to tidy up a bit and was thinking that I might ask him to go a live at his parents' for a bit (maybe a month or so) so we can have a bit of distance and see how it feels.

Anifrangapani Sun 10-Mar-13 09:49:19

Yes- it took time. A lot of time.

You are right it is shades of grey. My husband was unfaithful but he is a great dad(better patent than me), even in the depths of awfulness we still made each other laughand enjoyed each others company. I couldn' t imagine my life without him. He was very contrite. He had slept with other girls prior to me. It didn't feel right to split up. It made me sit up and notice me.

I can't advise on how you go about fixing your relationship, but it is possible.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 10-Mar-13 09:52:22

A month apart considering your next move achieves at least a couple of things. First, it lets him know that what has happened is very serious, makes his life uncomfortable and shows him what he stands to lose. Second, it allows you the chance to properly experience independence, gather your thoughts and work out - in an unrushed way - whether you actually want this person back in your life and, if so, on what terms.

LetsGoToTheHills Sun 10-Mar-13 09:54:52

Thank you. Now that he's being honest, he is more relaxed and kind (no longer carrying the guilt which turned him into a horrible person) and like you said we are laughing together at things and enjoying parenting together. It's very surreal and not shouting and throwing things you see on TV. I have only just found out though, so maybe the rage will come. For now it's sort of relief that everything that's been happening makes sense and it wasn't me after all!

Tommychoochoo Sun 10-Mar-13 09:55:14

My dh and I are still together 6 years after his affair. Forgiving him was so hard and I'm not sure if we have the same relationship as we did before but with 3dc I felt I had to give a 2nd chance. He is a wonderful dad and he really regretted his affair, he is a better husband than before and will do everything possible to be kind to me i.e weekends away, presents etc. he never did this before. But I do look at him differently and I love him but not as much as I did before. I don't think I would have taken him back if we didn't have children together. He moved in with his mum for 6 weeks so I had space and this definitely helped. It's a crappy time i know, hope you have lots of family & friend support.

LetsGoToTheHills Sun 10-Mar-13 09:56:25

Cogito, I agree entirely.

Anifrangapani Sun 10-Mar-13 09:57:47

I found the anger came in waves. Even now I can feel anger about it.

LetsGoToTheHills Sun 10-Mar-13 09:58:04

Thank you Tommy, I'm worried about telling too many people in case it works out and they hate him forever

Mosman Sun 10-Mar-13 09:58:29

I guess it depends how you feel about it, for me finding out 5-6 weeks ago was all about anger, betrayal, humiliation.
I don't see any way back from that, he lied better than I had ever thought him capable of, looked me in the eye and lied repeatedly, how do you ever get over that ?

Tommychoochoo Sun 10-Mar-13 10:01:01

My mum and sister knew and that helped for someone to talk to. You right though, I never told friends, i didn't want everyone to hate him.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 10-Mar-13 10:01:38

He's been 'a horrible person'... so he confesses to an affair, selfishly unburdens himself , he's a nice person again, all contrition, and the danger is that you are so relieved that he is back to being nice that you'll forgive him anything. I don't like the way that has played out at all. It sounds rather manipulative and calculated. A loving man would have ended the affair, sorted out his behaviour independently and treated you properly of his own volition... not shatter your marriage with confessions

LetsGoToTheHills Sun 10-Mar-13 10:02:48

I do get a bit angry about the fact that I was looking after his toddler and baby and hadn't slept properly for 15 months and was working part time and he was working away and staying in nice hotels and his head was turned by a woman in 'work mode' (which would certainly have been more attractive that my 'home mode' at that time). I do feel hard done by.

NormaStanleyFletcher Sun 10-Mar-13 10:03:28

If you want to work it out with him the Shirley Glass book "just good friends" comes highly recommended. For both if you to read. He needs to work out why he gave himself permission to stray, and that book will help.

You also need to realise that rushing to forgive can actually damage your relationship.

LetsGoToTheHills Sun 10-Mar-13 10:04:40

Cogito- I found out entirely by accident. He was never going to tell me. Is that better or worse??

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 10-Mar-13 10:04:48

By not telling anyone, you're protecting him and taking the responsibility/guilt on yourself. That is potentially very harmful to your self-worth... keeping secrets and suppressing truth to protect someone else's reputation will eat away at you and can be damaging. Every time someone compliments you on what a great guy he is you'll know it's a lie.... Please look out for #1 in this situation.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 10-Mar-13 10:07:01

It's equally bad that you found out by accident. A man confessing to an affair just to make himself feel a bit better is despicable. A man caught on the back foot will say anything to get himself out of trouble. Very convenient that he ended it....

Please send him away and properly locate your anger. It's missing at the moment and that's not going to do you any favours

LetsGoToTheHills Sun 10-Mar-13 10:08:41

Just found the book on Amazon, will bear in mind, thank you.

LetsGoToTheHills Sun 10-Mar-13 10:16:13

Cogito-she had ended it. He's not coming out of this very well sad

Mosman Sun 10-Mar-13 10:17:18

The only thing i'd be doing with that book is smacking myself up side the head with it to bring myself to my senses.

He'll do this again.

LetsGoToTheHills Sun 10-Mar-13 10:18:57

Mosman- I trusted him so completely! I never in a million years thought he was capable of doing something like that.

familyscapegoat Sun 10-Mar-13 10:33:10

My marriage not only survived an affair, it got better.

It provided the catalyst for substantial change in my husband that has been sustained for years now. He knew that there was no way I'd stay unless he faced up to the low-level selfishness that had been there for years previously. So he walked the talk, took himself off the counselling on his own while I had mine on my own.

I only stayed with him because I loved him. I wouldn't have stayed with him for any other reason.

I've noticed when I pop on to threads like these that you get different responses from posters who had a choice about saving their marriage, than you do from those who did not. It's easy to say you'd have ditched your marriage even if it had been your decision to make, but no-one can say what they would have done if the future hadn't been taken out of their hands and the husband had given up his relationship with the OW. Do bear that in mind.

Just like you need to be certain that if the OW hadn't ended the affair, your husband would have chosen life with you. Never be second-best.

A period of separation is a good idea, as is focusing on you and what you want.

TheBookofRuth Sun 10-Mar-13 10:41:01

Yes, but it takes a willingness on both sides to work at it. We spent months with a Relate counsellor talking it all through and had to make some major changes to our relationship, especially about how we communicate.

Three years we are stronger than ever, and happier than we've ever been.

Mosman Sun 10-Mar-13 10:49:22

I have the choice, it's still an option but tbh I choose a life without having to look over my shoulder all the time.
I think I'm worth more than that.

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