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Forgiving an affair

(65 Posts)
brontolo Tue 30-Dec-14 23:49:22

Is it possible? I found out today my H of 10 years has had an on/off affair with someone at work. The vindictive little bitch emailed to tell me - H confirmed it.

He is desperate to do anything to make our relationship work. I just don't know if it's even possible, never mind if I want to do it.

I'd be very grateful for similar experiences of it being possible or not. I'm a total loss of what to be thinking or doing.

We have 2 children, ages 3 and 5.


AuntieStella Tue 30-Dec-14 23:59:12

Anything is possible, but don't rush to decide what you really want.

It's OK To hate the OW as much as you like, but remember that your H carries the greater responsibility here.

You've only just found out and the first shock of discovery is simply not the time to be taking far reaching decisions about your future. You need time and space to really think about what his infidelity really means. Do not cling to disproved ideas of what kind of man he is. Can you arrange time and space away from him to really process your new reality?

You don't have to make any decisions about whether you want to even attempt a reconciliation. There is no timetable to this. Take as much time as you need, and away from him might be the best in the long run, whatever the future holds.

Dowser Tue 30-Dec-14 23:59:13

Well you are in shock right now so what you need is time to reflect and think and the best way as I see it is for him to leave. That way he's not fudging the issue and you can concentrate on you and what you want.

Sounds like he's ended with her and she's gone for revenge.

Onyour own you'll be able to mull over the lies he's told you and if you think he can ever regain your trust again.

That's the big ask.

I'm so sorry. It's such an awful thing. It happened to me too but he didn't even want to reconcile.

CogitOIOIO Wed 31-Dec-14 00:00:22

It's a lot easier said than done. Once this kind of information is out there and the trust has been compromised, it never really goes away no matter how much everyone wants it. Knee jerk reaction is often to want to keep the family together at all costs. There's the phenomenon known as 'hysterical bonding' which you might experience. But it's what's left after you've finished sobing, calling the OW names, attending counseling and listening to his apparent remorse that.... IME ... is the really horrible part to live with.

Sorry you've had such a nasty shock. Would tell him to step out for a while and give yourself chance to think.

Dowser Wed 31-Dec-14 00:03:10

That's three of us of the same opinion.

You need some time and space without him in your face for a couple of days ....I'd say a week.

It also sends a clear message to him that you mean business.

siblingrevelryagain Wed 31-Dec-14 00:23:32

I was where you are at the start of the year, and have just had my first xmas alone (although with the children) since meeting my husband 18 years ago. He had an emotional (he insists) affair with a colleague, I found out - kicked him out but let him back after a week.

Unfoturnately, whilst we were 'trying' to move on he wasn't (trying, that is). He wanted it forgotten and didn't allow me to talk through and ask questions, which is what I needed.

I'm now sadly of the opinion that you can't get back from it. I have a friend who has 'forgiven' but it has seriously clouded her marriage and she will never be the same again.

The love and trust you had has been thrown out. And he's royally shat on your children too, which with me was ultimately the unforgivable bit.

For you it depends on what occurred. But I'd be questioning the fact that she had to tell you - he didn't come clean; would he have ever told you?

brontolo Wed 31-Dec-14 01:13:58

Thanks all for replying.

I've come to a friend's tonight and have already decided to ask him to go away for at least a few days. My head is all over the place. I know sensibly I shouldn't make any decisions now but that doesn't stop my head questioning every possibility. I can't imagine it being possible to move on to be honest. But I also can't imagine this being the end.

It's such a horrible mess.

He admitted he probably wouldn't have come clean - he wanted it ended and forgotten. She had other plans it seems.

FoolishFay Wed 31-Dec-14 01:23:09

It's not impossible to move on but it's hard work and you both have to be committed to it.

My marriage is different - yes, there will always be doubts that weren't there before but in ways it's better. I am a much stronger person because I know I can cope on my own and I don't put myself at the bottom of the pile all the time like I was prone to. My DH is very aware that few women in the same situation would have been able or wanted to try again. It's also a slow process, it's taken a good year to feel fairly settled.

I'm pretty optimistic about the future but not wearing full on rose tinted specs either. He's also very aware that I wouldn't put myself through this a second time.

Anacoreta Wed 31-Dec-14 01:27:08

Take your time to decide what you want, don't try to fix or abandon the marriage until you can decide, with a cool head, what you want for times ahead.

sykadelic Wed 31-Dec-14 03:30:28

Not that it matters, and maybe I'm wrong because you didn't say what she said, perhaps the lies your H fed her are what caused her to tell you. Maybe he promised her the world. Maybe she thought you deserved better and that she would want to know and assumed you had a right to know. Her whys don't matter, she doesn't matter.

I know you're blaming her for telling you, it seems you would have preferred to no know. I think that's a natural reaction to news that turns your world upside down... but not knowing something happened doesn't mean it didn't happen... so either way your husband still cheated on you and planned to never tell you.

A bonus in his favor is that he admitted it when faced with it. What has been his reaction otherwise?

Personally I couldn't forgive an affair. It's not the actual affair itself, it's what that affair means for our relationship and his opinion about it. Words cannot undo actions so all the "I'm sorry" and "it'll never happen again" wouldn't undo the fact it should never have happened in the first place, and that you and your children's emotional well-being were were the furtherest things from his mind for an extended period of time.

I've read enough on MN though to know that for some people, they come back from it. Some come back stronger but others don't. What you do is up to you, his feelings on it are as irrelevant as yours were to him.

JimmyChoosChimichanga Wed 31-Dec-14 07:00:40

No way would I forgive. He would not have told you unless she had so that speaks volumes. Get rid.

nooka Wed 31-Dec-14 07:20:38

It's been almost ten years since dh had his affair and we have been able to work through it and have a good relationship and a solid family now. But it was incredibly hard and it's relatively unusual to be able to make it work.

You need to be able to take things at your own pace and you may need a fair bit of time on your own to rebuild (should you choose to do so).

Good luck with the journey ahead, whether together or separately. It's a devastating thing to discover, rocks your world in so many ways and I think takes a very very long time to recover (I'd expect at least two years whatever you choose).

nooka Wed 31-Dec-14 07:23:01

Oh and I'm not sure it's possible, or even right to forgive, only to rebuild should you choose to do to. I'd say that I have chosen to move on rather than forgive, because that implies I'm now OK with dh's choice to have an affair, and obviously I'm not! I accept that it happened, and chose to be with him despite it. We have a new relationship now, and the affair is part of our history.

Joysmum Wed 31-Dec-14 07:46:19

Personally I couldn't forgive an affair, I'm not so sure about a one night stand though as that would be a one off mistake. I suspect not for that too as my trust is fragile anyway and I'm easily hurt but I couldn't be certain.

I was cheated on by a previous partner.

When dh and I got together he was my best friend and knew if my past. I told him its normal for people to have relationship problems or fall out of love and that's understandable. What's not understandable is a complete lack of respect for your partner by going with others before you've broken up, or thinking you could have 2 people on the go because it suits you.

TheyThinkImCool Wed 31-Dec-14 08:12:17

I couldn't and wouldn't forgive him, and don't just stay with him for the sake of the kids as he wasn't thinking about them when he was with the other woman.

mslizzy Wed 31-Dec-14 08:30:32

We came back from an affair. It was a short lived affair (maybe 3 months). We had just had our first baby. It's hard to explain but I knew it was just a stupid mistake of DH. I believed he regretted it, not only for me but for the OW, who was young and infatuated. She was very hurt by it all sad. I kicked him out for a few days but knew I would let him come home. We have 3 children now, 6 yrs on. I never think about it really and my trust wasn't shattered or anything.

My friend said at the time "don't worry. It happens. If it happens again get rid. If it doesn't, forget it happened at all". Mumsnet will balk at that!!!! But it's the best advice I ever had smile

WellAsCanBe Wed 31-Dec-14 08:43:29

I think what msizzy states is worthy of consideration.

<<runs away>>

WellAsCanBe Wed 31-Dec-14 08:43:56

mslizzy even

Vivacia Wed 31-Dec-14 08:46:09

he wanted it ended and forgotten Yeah, I bet he did. Every time he decided to meet up with her, I guess?

don't try to fix or abandon the marriage I think that this language is misleading and unhelpful.

JonesTheSteam Wed 31-Dec-14 08:47:08

11 months on from finding out about DH's affair and I could have written FoolishFay's post word for word.

Take your time, and do what is right for you, OP.

Vivacia Wed 31-Dec-14 08:47:11

And have you forgotten it happened at all mslizzy?

mslizzy Wed 31-Dec-14 08:55:42

No vivacia, not forgotten completely. It was v traumatic at the time!! I would say though, hand on heart, it's forgiven completely.

Axioda Wed 31-Dec-14 08:56:02

Difficult to give an answer without facing the problem yourself, but I have always felt that if you have self respect you should split. As individuals we are worth more than that. Having said that, my mother in law left her husband when he cheated and she never had another relationship, he got married again and she has spent life alone.

JonesTheSteam Wed 31-Dec-14 08:57:43

Just because I chose to stay doesn't mean I don't have any self respect.

I have plenty, thanks.

Unescorted Wed 31-Dec-14 08:58:34

Yes it is possible to forgive and for the marriage and you to come out stronger. It is not easy, but it can be done. It will take both of you to be really honest (difficult when one of you has lied on such a scale) with what your marriage will look like in the future and how you will both contribute to it.

Take time to decide what you want and give him time to decide what he wants. If it is to stay together then start looking forward and try not to look back. Looking back will eat you up. mslizzy friend has a good point.... I wish she had been around to give me advice.

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