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Can you get over an affair?(74 Posts)
Hi, three weeks ago I found out that my partner has had a 10 month affair. I had no idea, none. Such a shock, it's like dealing with a sudden death I imagine. We are going to move forward as a couple. However, the anxiety is overwhelming. I live & breathe it. I think of nothing else.
Will I ever get over it, is there a time frame?
You can but not if you rush into thinking everything will be normal.
The person who is guilty of the affair should ideally move out initially and then demonstrate to you how sorry they are and take steps to address why they did it in the first place. Even then it may not be enough and you can still decide that they are not for you.
Putting a sticking plaster on it, having lots of sex and hoping it will just magically get better won't work although I am sure that's what he would like! Make sure you read up
on hysterical bonding. A mistake many women make in these situations.
Do you have children?
For me it would depend on a few things e.g. who it was, the state of our relationship etc.
If it was someone we knew and they were normal in front of me but carried on having an affair that'd be worse to me than DH sleeping with someone over the course of 10 months who he saw every other month for work.
If i was aware we werent doing too well then i might forgive and seek couples therapy to see if theres a way forqard. But if life was brilliant and there were no issues then id struggle.
It sounds awful for you. You need good friends in times like this.
Sorry to hear this, OP.
My partner had an affair two years ago which was completely devistating. We somehow managed to get through it, but it was a long and painful road that we had to walk together. It was the hardest thing I have ever done.
Everyone is different but for us it was a year or so before being fully back on track. That said, I still think about it now and we discuss it regularly, knowing it's ok to be sad has really helped. His understanding, being genuinely remorseful and taking complete responsibility for his actions was a necessary part of the process.
We went to counselling but the biggest help for me was a book called How Can I Ever Trust You Again by Andrew Marshall. It took me through everything I was feeling about the affair, brought up a lot of difficult to hear things and rationalised my feelings and made me realise it is possible to move on. I thoroughly recommend it.
It can take ages upto about 3 years. Youll never fully get over it. You just have to ask yourself can i acceot that this is going to crop up for years and years and make me sad when i think about it if you can accept that and put it in to context then fine. If not then bail out now.
Would you delve deeper or believe his side of the story.
I would completely believe his side of the story and would never delve deeper.
Can you see how ridiculous this statement looks?
you need full disclosure if you even have a remote chance of moving on. Anything that comes to light later would be the absolute end.
No. Not personally. I 'moved on' once, but he'd been lying and he did it again. Different woman. Same circumstances - met at work.
It has taken me many years to get over it even partially. He thinks I'm a 'nutter'. Left me to bring up our children on my own, though. Career fucked. Friendships withered.
Be very careful.
You are not saying much. If you really want some useful advice it would be best to elaborate on the situation
I tried to move on but he did it again and eventually we split up. If I had it to do over - well I don't regret our son - so I'd probably do the same. But would have broken up sooner than we actually did.
We did but pre- kids and we lived apart for a year. That was 12 yrs ago.
You are setting yourself up for a life of misery.
Every time he isn't with you.
Every time he has a boys night out.
Every time he has a boys weekend.
Every time he glances at another woman.
Where will your mind be?
I was going to try but just knew it would never be the same again.
Many couples do though and can come out the other side stronger.
But it's very personal to you and how you think you will cope.
I was so so devastated and the hurt he caused he could never undo.
Plus he turned out to be a twat so it was the right decision for me.
10 months though is a lot of lying, deception and cheating.
I tried but couldn't.
He had cheated, he lied every day, every single day.
Shagged someone else!
For me, he showed himself to be a shit and I just couldn't live with it.
I hadn't done it, I'd stuck to my wedding vows.
Neven been happier since I left him.
10 months cannot be put down to a mistake; sorry but carrying on as normal won't fix it, not for you anyway.
There needs to be a consequence, and yes the offender should move out and you should spend time on your own, away from his influence so you can take your time to decide if you want to actually carry on; you've a lot more to lose than him, you could be here again if you just sweep it under the carpet, there's got to be serious issues in your relationship that surely needs sorting out first, but yes, show him you are not a pushover and tell him to give you space for at least a week or two.
Why would you believe his side of the story, when he lied for 10 months. The standard lies are the duration of the affair. It's usually been longer than they initially admit.
They also lie about how far it went and about their feelings for the other person.
How did you find out?
Has he gone no contact with her?
Do you know who the OW is?
Do they work together?
Is she married or have a boyfriend? If so, he should be told.
Cheaters never confess all, unless the evidence is is irrefutable. By believing what he says, the chances are, the affair will continue and be taken underground.
What are your reasons for giving him a second chance? And why do you think it won't happen again?
In other words, how remorseful is he? Is he blameshifting? Is he being open and transparent with his phone, emails etc?
Im finding it hard to forgive something from 11 years ago that I only recently found out and lasted about 10 months , still not sure if I want to as was clearly an "in love/obsession" kind of thing, if it had been last year I would have been out the door or he would , it makes you feel like crap and is very hard to get out your head, particularly if you see texts, emails, letters, poetry etc.
Yes, we all hear these apocryphal tales of couples 'getting through it'. Often on websites where they're selling something.
Getting through this, one way or another, is in fact your only option. Even if you split up with him, you're still going to have to get through it. In many ways, what you do if you're trying to stay or if you're going is just the same. If you leave, you may think you don't have to deal with it - but you do. Your only way supposedly not to deal with it is to demonise him - he was just a shit, he might have seemed good in some ways and you might have thought you loved him, but how could you love such a bastard? He's worthless.
And yet, under all that, your deep feelings are not that. Just because you found out he betrayed you doesn't make your love go away. Just because you know he behaved unkindly and badly doesn't erase that whole world of love and closeness that was yours (plural). It doesn't make that go away. That's still there. And what is so horrendous is the co-existence of the feelings of love and of his importance and of him being yours, and the knowledge that he has betrayed that. That he has touched another woman. That he has lain in her arms. That he has kissed her. Looked in her eyes with desire. That he has held her. That he has fucked her. And that it has been so exciting and intoxicating for him that he's done anything he could to protect that new paradise he and she created for themselves.
And, if it was such a delicious thing that he had to hide it and carry on for 10 months+, how can he leave it now? How can those tracks be erased? How can that world disappear?
Well, simple answer is that it can, and it might, but only under certain conditions.
It had to be mainly just lust. The chase. Mostly sexual infatuation. Not much of a fit in other ways and not much of a life-fit.
And she has to have let it go. Lost interest. Moved on. Decided, for whatever reason, that fun as it was, it's not for her.
And he has to feel like shit. Really bad. Inconsolably bad about how he could have lost his head like that. And really really desperate not to lose you over it.
And you have to have had a really good fit, in all ways. You have to have been genuinely good and compatible.
If those factors are ticked, then there is a small chance. But the last bit is down to you.
I don't know the details of what he did, but it's usually fairly standard. The issue is whether you manage to forgive him in the first instance, and forget in the long term. I'm not sure whether this is possible. You might just have to live with the wound, and for it to fade over time. You have to actively work on healing it, with him.
The last problem (and this is a big one) is:
Will he do it again?
Once he's learnt how to do it, will he be tempted again? Because this time it would be a hell of a lot easier for him.
As for your feelings now, yes, shock, losing days, reeling, panic, genuine madness - that's the first 10 days or so I think. Then disorientation, redefining yourself, redefining him, not wanting to. Details? I'm not sure. The instinct is to want to know everything, but of course any detail becomes etched in your brain and will torment you. I suspect that it is actually better not to know. As others have said, he will probably not tell the full truth anyhow. Probably good to know about a few really monstrous lies - eg, that you were working and being good and worrying about dinner and being nice to his mum/kids/grandma while he was supposedly honestly engaged in some commendable task somewhere, but was in fact reassuring you on the phone while fucking this woman in some car or hotel room or wherever. You need a few solid examples of that, so you get a sense of the extent of his lying and selfishness.
It's down to him, her, the detail and - ultimately - you. You have the last say here.
If you (plural) do get over it, you will not be the same again, anyhow - nothing will ever be the same. It's a different world now. Like after someone important has died. This is grief you are feeling, as much as anything. It will take about 2 years to start to feel you're pulling out of it. Possibly quicker if he behaves properly.
But 10 months is quite a long time. This isn't a drunken misdemeanour. This was a campaign. A habit. An intimacy.
Wanting to make him 'pay' isn't the answer. Wanting to understand why might help. If he will share with you, it could help.
Good luck and just remember - you've been in an emotional car crash. A horrible shock. Everything feels weird. But you will get over it. You will.
And the thing about car crashes is - maybe someone was at fault, but maybe it was just bad luck. An unfortunate collision. Of people.
You need to work out if he's a really bad driver, or was in the wrong place at the wrong time. You will want to believe the latter, but ...
... and that's one of the worst problems: the doubt. That wasn't there before.
You always gave him the benefit of the doubt. Now you will feel panicky about doing that. You won't have peace of mind.
Unless he really is a good guy, and has come to his senses. The odd one does. I imagine.
beautifully put WingsofDesire. In my case I actually found out because I was snooping whilst he was away because of him over texting/over whatsapping our current assistant. To be honest in her case from what I did see it was "all crap" she just overdoes it and he didnt stop her, but the fact he only stopped when I pulled him up on it-- to me , after the other thing, just smacks of liking the attention when he feels a bit down. This isnt a horrible guy, its a bit of a lonely guy in many ways, but for me it was one step too far and although he accepts he was in the wrong both times, I dont feel he is particularly remorseful or desparate to make me feel safe, when i have felt off my head with anxiety I think he thinks I will just accept it and move on , as his parents did and a few nice breaks will make it ok .
WingsofDesire, you write so well about it. Very astute, very poignant. My ExH never wanted to really accept the effect it had on me. And that added to the surreal awfulness of it. That sounds melodramatic, but it was fucking horrendous - with the children being so young, as well.
When I see people on here telling women to 'get over it', it's just horrible.
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