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Methods That Help to Regain Trust After Cheating in a Relationship - How to Recover After an Affair Print E-mail

 

Hi Maria,

I am in the Stage 3 of dealing with the cheating and this is definitely a rough one. I have to say that reading that page is actually what convinced me to buy your book. You really nailed it. Stage 2 was so much easier than this one is. I am a person that does not dwell on my issues if I can possibly avoid it but this one invades even my dreams or nightmares would be more accurate. This makes it so much harder to deal with, in fact I did go ahead and get medication to deal with the anxiety. I already had an anxiety disorder due to medical problems and till this refused to take meds for it since I firmly believe we all have anxiety. I felt I needed to learn to deal with it, but this one hit me so physically (I was having 24 hour a day panic attacks) that I felt it was just crazy to not get any help.

By far the hardest issue for me is to believe in him again. He says he loves me and I know he means this. He says he is sorry and I also know he means that as well. His attraction to the other woman was more of an ego stroke of being pursued. He is turning 50 this year and I think that played a part. He snapped out of it but only after he slept with her the one time (believe me I have confirmed this with the other woman). He told her after avoiding her calls and not answering her texts a few days later that it was over, wrong, should have never happened and he couldn’t have any further contact with her.

 

She retaliated by telling him when she told me I would then throw him out and he would come running to her then (all of this in her text message to him which he did show me when he finally was disclosing everything). She did in fact call me 2 days after and told me they slept together in very vulgar terms and without any regard whatsoever to how much it would hurt. Because of course she wanted to have it hurt as bad as possible. He at first denied it but then she is on the phone with me telling me the details. He did after I hung up on her, tell me the truth and then a few days later after I had stopped reeling from it gave me the whole story. I did text her and confirm what he told me because at that point I could believe nothing he said.

I have since been trying hard to deal with this. We both want to get through this. I am more of a reader than he is by far. He in fact hates to read so getting him to help me on that end is impossible. He was also laid off work right after so we are not able to go to marriage counseling either. We were doing ok at first. Both very committed, then as you say we started back in our routine. He has been doing all he can do as far as transparency. I also do not have the added worry of him continuing the affair.

For one he broke it off with her before I found out with the full knowledge that she would be telling me and he wasn’t even sure he would have his family after yet still ended it. Then there is the added knowledge that he is well aware that if he were to contact her again and resume she would make sure I found this out again in the hope I would throw him out. She is a very lonely woman and said it was his fault since he should have known what would happen if he got behind closed doors with a woman that hadn’t been with a man in over a year!

This is our oldest son’s girlfriends mother and has wreaked unbelievable hurt and havoc on our life. My emotions with her are sparkling clear! Lol… Him, more clouded. I love him very much and am dedicated to making our marriage work and get through this. However, it is lurking there always. I have only had 5 weeks to process all of it so still pretty early on in the recovery process, though he doesn’t realize how far I have come in a very short time. He thinks that I should just believe him that he loves me and will never do this again. While there is a huge part of me that does, I still have those doubts because I believe he loved me before too. How do you reconcile that?

I hope your book helps. I have lived with chronic pain for the last several years and have to use my mind a lot to deal with the pain. I use a lot of positive thinking in that area too. You know, on your worst day you take extra care with your make up, hair and clothes. You make a lot of jokes and try to be in the best mood possible. Laughter truly is the best medicine! This though has really done a number on my head. I already have abandonment issues as well as others so it really hit home. Plus I have tried to make him understand that I am certainly NOT choosing to feel this way.

There isn't a part of me that wouldn’t turn these feelings off if I could. I go along and then BAM it will hit me like a ton of bricks. Hurt, anger and all the dark emotions that come with it. So at this point any help I can find to be able to get this out of my head as soon as I can is what I am searching for. I know I cant fix our marriage by just turning off the emotions. But I can at least approach things with a calm manner and open mind.

 

___________

The goal of this website is to give support to people who are facing problems in their relationship related to cheating, abuse and narcissism. I am living in Europe and English is not my native language, I wish you will excuse me if I make some grammatical errors. I decided to write in English because I wish to reach as many people as I can around the world.

____________

 

Dear Friend,

Thank you for sending your story and for your positive comments regarding my book, I am very glad to hear that it has been helpful for you to in your situation (for more information about the book, see page Healing after Cheating and Narcissism). I know what you are going through. It is very hard to recover after experiencing cheating in a relationship, especially when you have to deal with chronic physical pain on top of emotional pain. It is good that you decided to seek medical help in your situation. I am sure it helps you to deal with the sharpest edge of the pain.

You said you found out about cheating only 5 weeks ago. You are still in the beginning of the recovery process. It is good to know what one should expect from next following weeks and months. To understand why you feel the way you do right now and what one needs to do in order learn to trust again, please read this article of mental tools that help to overcome emotional pain. Visitors who wish to read about psychological tools that one can use to positively influence the overall quality of one's relationship to prevent infidelity from occurring in a first place, please see page Using Psychological Tools to Improve Your Relationship - Tips and Information.

I wish to say something about the way the Other Woman approached you. This woman seems to be a cruel person who does not care about other people's emotions. With her behavior she has shown her true personality, which seems to be quite unpleasant, bitter, angry and self-centered. That woman was not thinking of you or your family when she decided to get involved with a married man, she was only thinking of herself and her own pleasure. When she did not get what she wanted (your husband), she started to act like an angry child, who does not get her way. She threatened to tell you about the affair, without giving a single thought to how much that would hurt you.

As amazing as it is, that woman truly seemed to feel she was entitled to have your husband. She simply did not see herself as the villain of this story, even though that clearly is her role. Instead she felt angry and hurt because she got rejected, and she became blind to everything else. The only thought in her mind was to get her revenge: Someone had to suffer, because she had suffered. Sad thing is that by now she has already realized that revenging has not brought her satisfaction. Getting a revenge is only a momentary relief. Afterward one feels lonely, empty and sad, in other words same as one would have felt anyhow, even without revenge. On top of these feelings one often regrets what one has done, especially if innocent people (like you) have gotten hurt in the process.

I do not know how that woman is now feeling, I can only wish she has realized that the fault was in her. Hopefully she has learned something in life and does not try to steal other people's husbands in the future. But whatever that woman is feeling, it is not your concern. Your concern is your own happiness. You have been deeply wounded by this woman. Of course your husband also played role, that woman did not start things on her own, however this woman acted in a cruel and heartless way when she called you and told you in a very brutal way all painful details regarding their short encounter. She did not have to do that. There was no reason to hurt you. You were innocent, you did nothing wrong to her or to your husband. Yet you are the one who has suffered the most. I wish one day that woman understands what she has done and feels sorry about it. Unfortunately there are many people out there like that woman, who only think about themselves and do not care about the happiness or well-being of others.

Dear Friend, you said you love your husband and you want to continue the marriage. You said you want to learn to trust your husband again and get over this together. The most important thing for you to remember when you are having a weak moment is this: Your husband chose you, not the other woman. It is clear that your husband wants to stay with you. He is in love with you, not with someone else. Actions speak. Your husband has not left you for another woman and has not indicated in any way he wishes to do so. This makes situation easier for you to handle. If you have read other stories on this website, you have seen that many people have to deal with a spouse who does not show signs of regret after cheating. In that situation healing is so much harder. In your case your husband is not hiding his feelings towards you. That will help you to heal faster. 

You wrote: "By far the hardest issue for me is to believe in him again". Dear Friend, I understand so well your feeling. Please trust me in this one: Trust will return in time. It has only been 5 weeks since you found out about cheating. It would be a miracle if you felt 100% comfortable in your marriage so soon after experiencing a trauma like this. You must be patient. You must think of yourself as a person who is now wounded. You must give your wounds time to heal. When a negative thought enters your mind, do not try to fight it, do not try to suppress it, simply let the thought come and say to yourself "ok, I have a wound in my mind and this piercing thought is pain caused by my wound, nothing more", and simply wait for the thought to pass (it always will eventually).

When you reach stage 4 of the recovery process, you have become strong enough to forgive your husband his betrayal. Only when you are able to forgive your husband, you can again feel unconditional love and trust towards him. You might never forget the cheating, but in time you will be able to forgive. Dear Friend, you must be patient. After only 5 weeks you are not yet ready to forgive your husband from all your heart. You need to give yourself more time. But you will get there, trust me.

It will help you to reach the stage 4 when you keep reminding yourself that we can all make mistakes. It is as you said, your husband is getting older and he gave in to temptation. Many factors played role in his failure to resist temptation. That can happen to many people. None of us is perfect. The nature of the mistakes we make can vary, but one thing is certain: We all make mistakes in our life.

You also wrote: "He thinks that I should just believe him that he loves me and will never do this again. While there is a huge part of me that does, I still have those doubts because I believe he loved me before too". It is important to understand that the fact that your husband had sex with that other woman does not mean he loved you less at that moment. It is often hard for women to understand that men are more capable of separating sex and love. For many women it is difficult to have sex with a person one does not love. Many men feel the same way, but we must be aware that there are also many men who have no emotional difficulty to have sex with a woman they do not love. If man belongs to latter category that does not make man any "worse" as a human being than those men who cannot enjoy sex with woman they do not love. We are all different in this aspect. We do not choose our genes. What matters are the actual actions of a person. Nothing justifies cheating.

When cheating occurs in a relationship, the most hurtful part for a woman is often the thought of one's husband being intimate with another woman. Intimacy to a woman means that there is also certain kind of emotional connection. But for men it can be a very different situation. There often does not have to be emotional connection with a person one has sex with.

Dear Friend, I am saying these things so that you understand that your husband has most likely always loved you the most, even when he had sex with that other woman. His feelings towards you had nothing to do with what happened. He realized he had made a mistake and because he loved you, he understood how badly his mistake would hurt you, so he ended the affair before it even started. He did that because he loves you. If your husband did not love you, he would most likely have allowed the affair to continue and go to see that woman whenever he wanted to have sex, since she offered herself to him. But because your husband loves you and does not want you to feel hurt, he is not doing such things (he made one mistake but regrets it and has learned from it). You are priority to your husband. Do not doubt his feelings. Allow yourself to believe in him. That will help you to heal faster.

In my book I talk about the difference between narcissistic cheater and a cheater who has no narcissistic tendencies. It seems to me that your husbands belongs to latter category. He did wrong but realized he made a mistake soon after and ended things with that other woman. He has seen the pain this has caused you. It is very likely that he will not do anything to cause you further pain.

Dear Friend, I know how hard it is to get over cheating. Remember the example of conditioning in the article of mental tools that help to overcome emotional pain. If you force yourself to do the things I described in my book in section "Survival package after cheating", you will help yourself to get over the negative memories sooner. The most important thing is to break the negative cycle.

Dear Friend, stay strong. My thoughts are with you. Trust me: You WILL get through this. You will reach state 4 of the recovery process and you will feel again happy and comfortable in your marriage (to read more about different stages of recovery process, see page How to get over cheating). If there is strong love between your husband and you, you will get through this. It seems clear to me based on your email that there is such love between the two of you. That is the most important thing. That love helps you to get through this hard time.

Dear Visitor, to read more about how to get over cheating and narcissism in a relationship, please visit page Recovery After Cheating and Narcissism.

Warm hug,

Maria

If you wish to submit your own story and get feedback and support for your situation or if you wish to contact me for any other reason, send me email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Comments (8)
  • tori  - Cheated on while pregnant
    Well I have been in a relationship with this guy for a while and we decided to start a family together so i moved in and everything gelled well in the beginning,he we were both happy about the pregnancy and then i noticed that he became distant and i questioned why and was always give some excuse, until last week he left his account open where i found out that he was no only cheating on me and with someone who knew about me, but she had gotten pregnant for him. when confronted i was blamed n was told it was my faut because of conversations i had with friends which i found 2 be bull. i am now confused on what to do
  • Sue  - Living with the lies
    What I've discovered about NPD and my husband, truth and honour do not exist, but he believes he is truthful and honourable. His mother has no concept of honesty and he has learnt how to lie with a straight face from her. An essential skill when cheating on the partner.
    He has strayed. Each time was when his ego has taken a hit. He sends out signals he's available and interested. The problem for him is I now know the subtle signs, plus he makes mistakes, an he can't control the other person who crosses the boundaries and I get to find out. Being NPD he isn't capable of separating genuine interest in him for flattery to gain something from him. Twice he's been taken for a ride by scheming woman who used his needs to further their own plans.
    The most complicated situation was when he crossed the boundaries with a single female friend of mine. She was not coping well with ageing and when he showed an interest in her, she threw herself at him, literally. She became really nasty towards me, treated me as if I was an intruder.
    I confronted her, she didn't deny her feelings but told a pack of lies. She stalked him, rang him on his works mobile begging him to see her. Rang my phone and left abuse.
    It ended up with me refusing to see or speak to her ever again but I know he would if he got the chance. NPD has no concept of truth, faithful, honour. He exists to meet his own needs. He doesn't value the women he has used, they are objects to him. He cries and begs for forgiveness when I find him out. Not because he's sorry for hurting me, but very sorry for himself.
    I manage to coexist here because financially I can't afford to leave. I do not look to him for any support emotionally because he's incapable of giving it.
    If someone else came along and we found we were compatible, would I leave my husband. Yes. I used to be committed to my side of the vows even when he wasn't. Why should I stay in a one sided relationship. If that day comes, I won't cheat on him as he has on me.
  • Caroline  - Stabbed in the heart
    Hi,

    I must confess I have been the other woman to a man for about 5 years, I want no part of his relationship and would not jeopardise that as there are reasons behind it. Now however the boot is on the other foot and I am looking at things differently.

    I met a wonderful man a year ago, things were fantastic, I ended seeing the married man and cut ties with him, he was very gracious and said if i ever needed him he would be there, we did genuinely love each other but knew we would never be together.

    Everything in my new realtionship was perfect we rang each other endlessley and spent time together as much as possible went on holiday together then in October 2011 we moved in together. In January 2012 I found emails and tracked his phone as he was acting wierd to find he had met and slept once with a woman from the internet. This being a man who claimed to have been cheated on by his Ex-Wife twice before leaving her.

    I spoke to the woman hold no malice towards her as she was strung along where I have read all the emails etc. I feel quite sorry for her in a way as he really wounded her having been alone for 5 years since her husband died the attention he paid to her was what she craved but didnt want a relationship. Now she says she will not entertain talking to other men in that way ever again.

    I confronted him he admitted it and told me he had started talking to her and things just got out of hand to the point he made it difficult for him to refuse seeing her? I dont believe this as anyone can say No if they really want to. I said to him what is good for the goose is good for the gander and if he wants a relationship like that I would go out and have liaisons with other men and find it a damn sight easier than he had. He cried told me it was a mistake, he thought we were growing apart, we have both been working so hard and changes at my work have made things for me a little stressful but instead of asking me he thought I was going to ask him to leave???? god knows where that came from. Had he bothered to ask me if i was ok and talk to me about it then maybe this would not have happened.

    He wants to be with me loves me eternally doesnt want anyone else never really has and its just me and him together forever. He has deleted his email account (so he says, anyone can open an email account on the sly been there done that) I can him all the time which I do as I dont trust him and he picks up, shows me where he is going all the time and makes sure I know where he is at any minute as I have told him I will find it hard to trust him.

    We are working things through but it is so difficult being on the other end of things and I am usually pretty strong and having found out would ordinarily have kicked him out, but for some reason and from him begging and crying and telling me how much of a mistake it really was and us putting more effort in and making things better at home me not so sressful him trying to earn my trust and the sex life being a bit more frequent I hope it will be ok in the end, however I am mortally aware once a cheater always a cheater and if it happens again then he gets the red card and is out on his ear immediately and he knows that.

    Our sex life did dwindle but not from myside I was always ready and there and made suggestions etc and he got crross as his sex drive is not like mine and felt i was pressuring him so i did stop and waited for him to approach me when he felt like it, but that never happened and then he went off to have sex with this other lady..... I think the trust issue and the other thing I cannot get my head around at the moment is, he says he thinks i am sexy and turn him on and he wants to take me to bed and make love or jsut have a good sex session, but then why go and have sex elsewhere when it is offered up to him by me on a plate at home and he is never ever pushed away....

    I am still quite raw about this as it only happened about 4 weeks ago but I am trying to look at things rationally and also stop myself from going out and having sex with someone to get him back but making sure he doesnt find out to try and make it even? Is this even the right thing to think of doing?

  • Unbelievable Advice  - Coming from an ex other woman
    I am in awe as to how much blame is placed on the woman this posters husband cheated with. This sounds as if some woman relentlessly pursued and seduced somebody elses husband with the intention of breaking up a relationship for the sake of her own selfishness, and this man had no control over himself when he indeed he did have sex with her. And then he is sorry after getting caught. Of course he is! It would have slid under the carpet and he would have admitted nothing had it not been for that mean old homewrecking other woman, right? Wrong! When a woman is this angry there is going to be more of a reason than what's being told here. If it were just a one time encounter without any strings whatsoever there would be no reason for him to tell her that "it's over". With a brief liasion of this sort there is no "it" to be "over". The only thing this achieves is a big ego(his) inflating itself at the cost of the other(hers). The translation for this falls along the lines of 'The sex was not all that so don't wait by the phone cos I won't be back for more'. That was rude and selfish on his part, she knows he's married and will be going home when this little romp of fun is over. If she's angry enough with him to out him to his wife, it's more likely that he fluffed her along with lies to see how far it would go...no ring on his finger, not getting sex at home, is thinking of leaving her, etc. He must've at least flirted with her to get to the point where they got naked together. It is not the job of other women to make a priority of the well being of someone elses family!! If your husband is not doing that then you have bigger problems in your marriage than some woman he 'accidentally' had sex with. If a wife feels like a victim, the fault lies with the husband that betrayed her trust as well as the vows he once made to her. Another woman made no promises to you whatsoever and if she is single, indeed she is out for herself as she should be.

    I know this firsthand as I was lied to, used, discarded and strung along by a wayward husband who was not wearing his wedding ring when I met him and claimed his marriage was over even though he was 'technically still living at home'. Once he was done with me all this changed into he was 'just out looking for some fun and excitement' so he could appear to have changed his mind about leaving her when in fact he never intended to at all. Similar to the OW in this article I lashed out and contacted his wife because I was angry at him for lying to me and giving me the impression that I had a real chance with him when in fact he was just messing around. I couldn't have cared less whether they stayed together or not, I just wanted her to have clarification of who she is married to. They did stay together and it's clear as to how they handled it that it's happened before, probably many times. And it will again. Once a cheater always a cheater. There's no reason for a man to change without consequences to his actions. Convince the wife he's willing to work on the marriage and tighten his game skills so he handles his next conquest differently, and figuring out the wife will tolerate the bad behavior as long as she thinks he loves her are the only lessons he will learn.

    Good luck, original poster because you're going to need it. There are attractive women everywhere and you won't be able to beat them all back with just one baseball bat no matter what stage of recovery you think you're in.
  • ilja  - unbelievable advice
    Everything you say is true, and duly noted. I think the reason we(the cheated) blame 'the other woman' is because to blame your cheating partner is to realize that there is no possibility of forgiveness, nevermind forgetting. Do i blame the woman my husband cheated me with? Hell yes. The one blatently lied in my face when i confronted her, and the other acted as if she was my friend (both employees of my husband at that time.

    Unfortunately for my husband i blame him more, because these affairs happened +-10 to 13 years ago. You might say, hell girl get over it. But i can't because he only confessed about them 3 years ago after blatently(and quite forcefully) denying these office affairs for years. lying in my face and calling me stupid and pathetic, just to get me off his back. For the first 2 years after his confessions i tried to forget, forgive, move on in my relationship for the sake of our 3 daughters. But the last year has been hell. It's like my rose coloured glasses has fallen off. And there aint putting them back on again. I want him to pay for my low self asteem. He is a narc, and i know the other women were probably victims to his charms, but they knew what they were doing. Excuse me for labeling them as office whores.
  • Kevin  - Miss my partner
    I have had the woman of my dream broken hearted the thing is that I make rational decisions there was the ex on video whom I had an affair with then there was my text mess she looked up when I talked to a third party adn now After my friend passing I kissed a girl hand on halloween when we left seperate ways that night and friend told her. That was bad we have been through this and she has forgiven me but now i really think its is over and we have an 8m son and he is the gold of my life I dont want another man to raise him, my thing is what can I do to prove that. the kissing of the hand bothered me and I wanted to tell her But I never thought of it as a threat. im wrong so now i am suffereing and alone. I try to stay busy but I miss so much and I will do whatever it takes to get her back looking for advice to anyone who has been done the road and spirtual support thanks
  • Anonymous
    It is very important to eat well, and to shave, shower, and take care of oneself during this experience.
    I stopped shaving, and had a lot to drink for a time, as a coping mechanism. But I did keep eating and I think this was very important.

    I wrote a letter to the person with whom she had an affair. Not with the intention of sending it to him. But as a way for me to express how I felt.
    I began the letter with his name: '*****', I am writing you this letter to begin the healing process. Then I burned the letter and released the emotions. I know the whole letter off by heart. Yet I have let go of the emotions it expressed.
    As a man I think the letter was an important part of my releasing the anger I felt towards him.

    I also felt that asking a higher power to give me strength, and perhaps even more so, to help me to forgive, was hugely beneficial.

    I find her wanting to continue a friendship with him very difficult at times. And when they are spending time in each other's presence I start to wonder whether I should move out of the relationship. But we still communicate very well. And I realize that my feelings are generated in my own mind.
    She says he needs her and she likes the feeling of being needed.
    At first I felt like I was being punished for being strong. But now I realize that she chose me because she wants someone strong to be there beside her.
    The changes in the relationship will never go away. But if he doesn't go away, I shall have to make my feelings and emotional reactions towards him go away.
    Read this book and use the tools you acquire to move on with your life. Whether you chose to stay in the relationship or not.
    I hope my story helps someone.
    *Bless*


  • Kym Layton  - Seeing someone that had a cheating wife
    Hi Maria,
    I need HELP, I have met the most wonderful man in the world. I am divorced, single mother of 2, my husband decided after many years in AA to do drugs and drinking thigs again. After 5 years of neglect, i left and never looked back. I have met the man of my dreams, but he I am having a really hard time understanding his signals. He and I share something I have never experienced, an emotional and magnetic pull to each other. His wife cheated on him numerous times, she also demeaned him and flat out refused intimacy with him. He is having alot of trouble commiting to me. He has committed and I believe he is seeing no one else, but he tends to be very hot and cold. When we are togather everything is wonderful. He makes many plans for us. Then as the days roll by he becomes silent, and finally not showing up for our intimate time togather. He feels terrible, he crys, he just cannot open up and he is scared to freaking death. He begs me not to give up on him. Generally, i would RUN the other way as i have my own issues with being hurt, but there is something undenible between us, esp when we are togather. I have never in 42 years felt like I feel for him. I feel uncomfortable suggesting he gets counceling, which is what he needs. What can I do to help him TRUST me? What can I do to get through his walls, just a little. i know he cares very deeply for me and does not want me to go, but sometimes, it is VERY difficult to stay. I have needs as well, I have insecurities and completely carrying him is not something I can do forever.
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