Trouble in Paradise
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If your spouse has had an affair...

I recently found out that my husband was having an affair with a "friend" of mine. Initially I ended up taking the kids and moved into my mom's house, but have since decided to give him another chance. I always thought cheating would be a deal breaker for me, but I am hopeful I can move past this.

We have two small children together. We married 3 years ago and had kids very soon after. Got caught up in life and forgot to nurture our relationship as husband and wife. No excuse, but I know that's what led us here. In an odd way I believe an affair may have saved our marriage. We are back to how we were years ago. Enjoying each others company, really talking... cuddling, kissing. Little things we were just forgetting to do. 

So my question is, do you have any tips for coping and moving on? This is all very fresh still. I know I can't be too hard on myself and it will take time and work on both our parts to heal. Anything I might not be thinking of that I/he should be doing?

 TIA

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Re: If your spouse has had an affair...

  • First, I am very sorry that you're going through this. Do not deny or try to hide your feelings from yourself or your H. Cheating is like a loss, you will grieve, and you will still think about it for some time to come. It can be a very big wake up call, but you also have to handle it the right way going forward. 

    Cut off all contact with this "friend", and make sure he does too.

    Complete transparency - on both your parts (FB/email/texts/etc) He should have no issue with you having access to everything. You have to start rebuilding trust.

    Don't stay together for the kids. Evaluate your relationship. Kids are happier when their parents are happier. 

    Cut back on drinking or cut it out completely if you are both drinkers. You need real, honest conversations right now.

    Don't be afraid to get the details if those questions are tearing you up. Get the when, how long, where, how did it start, what do you think made you do it, etc. Don't expect all the answers right away, but get to the root of the problem or this will never work.

    COUNSELING. Seriously. For both of you, together and individually. Don't put this off.  

    Best of luck to you. A lot of people will likely tell you to pack your bags and get out. From personal experience, I don't believe that should always be the case. But, don't get ahead of yourself. You both have years of healing and progress to be made in your relationship and individually. 

  • So, you just recently found out and things are just like they used to be already? yeah i dont buy it.

    Counseling for you solo is a must and as a couple as well...but make sure it is 2 different counselors.

    I have no other advice because i could never get past an affair.



  • Be prepared for this newness to wear off and for the resentment to set in.  I'll understand if his friends start looking pretty damn good to you.
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  • ralbro, thank you, seriously wonderful advice :)
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  • image notforever:
    ralbro, thank you, seriously wonderful advice :)

    You are very welcome. I do encourage you to try to maintain realistic expectations for the future of your marriage. This is not an easy road your are embarking on. I think that as long as you are both committed to making the relationship work, then you do stand a chance.

    Remember that this is all entirely up to you. He's the one who cheated, so the ball is totally in your court. Take some time to yourself and make sure you don't want to stay for the wrong reasons. Anyone can say they're sorry, but if there are any other red flags you need to take those kids and go back to your mom's house for their sake and your own. No one deserves to be cheated on. Take things slowly.  Please feel free to PM me if you want to chat. 

  • image ralbro:

    First, I am very sorry that you're going through this. Do not deny or try to hide your feelings from yourself or your H. Cheating is like a loss, you will grieve, and you will still think about it for some time to come. It can be a very big wake up call, but you also have to handle it the right way going forward. 

    Cut off all contact with this "friend", and make sure he does too.

    Complete transparency - on both your parts (FB/email/texts/etc) He should have no issue with you having access to everything. You have to start rebuilding trust.

    Don't stay together for the kids. Evaluate your relationship. Kids are happier when their parents are happier. 

    Cut back on drinking or cut it out completely if you are both drinkers. You need real, honest conversations right now.

    Don't be afraid to get the details if those questions are tearing you up. Get the when, how long, where, how did it start, what do you think made you do it, etc. Don't expect all the answers right away, but get to the root of the problem or this will never work.

    COUNSELING. Seriously. For both of you, together and individually. Don't put this off.  

    Best of luck to you. A lot of people will likely tell you to pack your bags and get out. From personal experience, I don't believe that should always be the case. But, don't get ahead of yourself. You both have years of healing and progress to be made in your relationship and individually. 

    I agree with all of this!  Also, it may take some time to have the courage to ask the questions you need the answers to.  It may feel like you're punishing yourself (and he may see it that way too) but you also may need those answers to be able to move on.  I used to think once a cheater always a cheater but I also think that sometimes people lose sight of what's important in their life.  I don't know the extent of the affair but as silly as it sounds he may have realized how big of a mistake it was once you were gone.  Don't stay just for the kids but definitely be sure to talk it out and work towards that trust again.  I really agree with having access to all accounts!  You're going to need it for those days when you are having trouble with trust.  Good luck!

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  • My ex husband had an affair with his co-worker. We have a 3 year old son together and although I thought we could MAYBE move past it, I could not get over the loss of trust.  The constant wonder of what he's up to, seeing this woman everyday at his job was hard for me to take.  For me, once the trust was broken so was the marriage.  Never in a million years did I think I would ever be divorced as I'm sure everyone thinks but the best decision for me was to move on and now I am married to the most wonderful man ever and I'm much happier and so is my son.  As the other posters said, do NOT stay in a marriage just for the kids if this is at all what you are thinking.  I know it's hard when you have kids and believe me, I still have a hard time not seeing my son everyday (50/50 custody) but in the end everyone is much happier and it was the best decision for me.  I personally do not feel that ANYONE should cheat on their spouse and it is immediate grounds for divorce in my opinion.  It doesn't matter how crazy your life got and how you "lost sight" of your relationship...you don't cheat. period.  That is the ultimate betrayel and something I could never forgive.  Good luck to you, I know people that moved past an affair in their marriage...definitely was not easy for them and I wish you a lot of luck.  Like the other poster said, be prepared for the newness to fade b/c it will not last.  Be prepared that this will not be a walk in the park.   
  • Please visit www.survivinginfidelity.com/ I cannot tell you how important it is, how supportive. No one there will jump to tell you to leave, and all the people there know how you are feeling.

    This is a long road you are about to walk down. Some of it is good, some of it is bad. But it's long. If your H is willing to do the work, it can make a stronger marriage. But if he's not, you have to be prepared for that. Remember that while 50% of the failure of your marriage might be on you, he owns 100% of the affair. You were in the same relationship he was in, and chose not to cheat.

    I am so sorry this is a question you even have to ask. I am sorry you are dealing with it. Surviving Infidelity can give you tools to deal with the betrayal, and tools to move forward, no matter what path you end up taking. There is even a place for your H to post if he wants.

  • Thank you everyone, from the bottom of my heart. Annplus, I'm going to check that out right now!
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  • So YOUR husband was:

    1. Too Lazy to address the issues within the marriage before he put his penis in someone elses vagina
    2. Too Hunerschisse to deal with whatever fallout there might be from leaving the marriage before he put his penis in someone elses vagina
    3. Too SelfCentered to realize that putting his penis in someone else's vagina might cause some irreperable damage to everyone else around him; not just you or the kids, but his extended family, his inlaws (do you honestly think your family will ever forget and forgive this?) and friends?
    4. Too Selfish to not want to put his penis in other people's vagina's all the while getting to keep your vagina AND his happy slappy family.

    And somehow this is YOUR fault? 

    Look every single marriage out there has rough patches, great moments and those tapioca parts, but given only 15%-18% of spouses cheat while married (using 2006 research numbers) its not like cheating is the NORMAL response to tough times.

    You do know that if your husband can get Lazy/Chicken/SelfCentered/Selfish before (in a EH part of your marriage, I might add) that he can do it again.  It may not manifest in cheating again, because he could have enough self control knowing how a second episode of cheating will cost him, but it will show up somewhere else.

    Any man who could break vows and put the woman they used to love/the mother of his children & children through this to begin has a serious character flaw.

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  • image Ilumine:

    So YOUR husband was:

    1. Too Lazy to address the issues within the marriage before he put his penis in someone elses vagina
    2. Too Hunerschisse to deal with whatever fallout there might be from leaving the marriage before he put his penis in someone elses vagina
    3. Too SelfCentered to realize that putting his penis in someone else's vagina might cause some irreperable damage to everyone else around him; not just you or the kids, but his extended family, his inlaws (do you honestly think your family will ever forget and forgive this?) and friends?
    4. Too Selfish to not want to put his penis in other people's vagina's all the while getting to keep your vagina AND his happy slappy family.

    And somehow this is YOUR fault? 

    Look every single marriage out there has rough patches, great moments and those tapioca parts, but given only 15%-18% of spouses cheat while married (using 2006 research numbers) its not like cheating is the NORMAL response to tough times.

    You do know that if your husband can get Lazy/Chicken/SelfCentered/Selfish before (in a EH part of your marriage, I might add) that he can do it again.  It may not manifest in cheating again, because he could have enough self control knowing how a second episode of cheating will cost him, but it will show up somewhere else.

    Any man who could break vows and put the woman they used to love/the mother of his children & children through this to begin has a serious character flaw.

    I understand the point you are trying to make, but you should try to be more tactful. OP doesn't want to visualize her H having sex with that woman and you just threw it out there like 5 times. You can say he has no character without bringing the OP any more pain. It's like you're punishing her or something. Yeesh.

  • image Ilumine:

    So YOUR husband was:

    1. Too Lazy to address the issues within the marriage before he put his penis in someone elses vagina
    2. Too Hunerschisse to deal with whatever fallout there might be from leaving the marriage before he put his penis in someone elses vagina
    3. Too SelfCentered to realize that putting his penis in someone else's vagina might cause some irreperable damage to everyone else around him; not just you or the kids, but his extended family, his inlaws (do you honestly think your family will ever forget and forgive this?) and friends?
    4. Too Selfish to not want to put his penis in other people's vagina's all the while getting to keep your vagina AND his happy slappy family.

    And somehow this is YOUR fault? 

    Look every single marriage out there has rough patches, great moments and those tapioca parts, but given only 15%-18% of spouses cheat while married (using 2006 research numbers) its not like cheating is the NORMAL response to tough times.

    You do know that if your husband can get Lazy/Chicken/SelfCentered/Selfish before (in a EH part of your marriage, I might add) that he can do it again.  It may not manifest in cheating again, because he could have enough self control knowing how a second episode of cheating will cost him, but it will show up somewhere else.

    Any man who could break vows and put the woman they used to love/the mother of his children & children through this to begin has a serious character flaw.

    Honestly, like the other PP said, your choice of wording and tact are not the most helpful.

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  • I am going to refrain from the typical "Your husband is a jerk" and "Why would you take him back?" type comments because it sounds like you have made your decision and I want to respect that.

    I would like to instead say kudos to you on trying to make a relationship work after the pain of infidelity. It takes great courage and maturity to try to rebuild a relationship after something like that. 

    I agree with the first poster and many of the others, and I believe personally that long-term counseling can/does truly change people. I hope you and your husband will come out of this stronger and better than you were before, but it's going to take lots of time, openness, and patience. Good luck!

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  • Thank you again for the responses.I am taking every single one to heart. Ilumine, while that does seem harsh, believe me, I have the exact same things going through my head daily. I don't really know how things will turn out but I do feel like I need to give my H a chance.
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  • image littlemisswitness:

    I understand the point you are trying to make, but you should try to be more tactful. OP doesn't want to visualize her H having sex with that woman and you just threw it out there like 5 times. You can say he has no character without bringing the OP any more pain. It's like you're punishing her or something. Yeesh.

    I disagree with this. Ilumine was right on target, IMO.

    The thing is, the OP is already picturing all of this. The thoughts, images, and questions floating around in her mind are torturous (if she is like me when I went through this).

    Ilumine is NOT bringing her pain or punishing her. I think she is trying to give her a reality check--don't minimize the selfishness and the huge character flaw that your H is displaying, OP. 

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  • Thanks sapphireblue. It's true, the images and "movies" keep me awake at night and I think about all of this almost every second of the day. It's absolute torture but nothing Ilumine said hurt me anymore, so no worries there. Like I said, I am hopeful for things to work, but not being naive at this point.
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  • image notforever:
    Thanks sapphireblue. It's true, the images and "movies" keep me awake at night and I think about all of this almost every second of the day. It's absolute torture but nothing Ilumine said hurt me anymore, so no worries there. Like I said, I am hopeful for things to work, but not being naive at this point.

    I am so sorry for your pain. It is a devastating blow.

    I do know of people that have managed to get through this. The ones I knew had very good therapists and took a LOT of time.

     I tried to work through it with my H but I just couldn't. Something had changed and we could not get past it. We'll be divorced soon. 

    OP, there is no wrong way for you to react to this. All of the questions and images you have are valid. And if you will always wonder if you could have worked through it had you stayed, you should try. But please don't lull yourself into a false sense of security. 

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  • So, he needed to have sex with another woman to remember that he loved you?

    What's to say that the next time that you get busy with life, he won't go have sex with some other woman?  Because newsflash - life is busy, and with 2 kids so close together your life is going to continue to be busy and hectic and you might not have the time to cuddle on the couch every single day. 

    So how many days of cuddling can you miss before he has sex with someone else? 

    I don't know how you cope with such a betrayal.  And I can't understand why you're being hard on yourself - you're not the one that went out and boinked someone else, and unless you held a gun to his head while he did, you didn't force him to either.  But you can't move forward until you both completely accept what happened, and he needs to be truly and utterly remorseful and willing to do whatever it takes to win back your trust.

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  • Great advice! This helps me as well. Yes
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