Monday, June 23, 2014


Someone asked for an update. There really isn't one. We are still together. We do great some days, and some days we don't. Some days -- the good ones -- I'm so glad I made the decision to stay in the marriage. Some days I think it was a mistake.

That's after 12 years. Someone posted a comment recently that 5 months after learning about the affair, he had days when he thought he should give up. Which seems very normal to me after only 5 months. Is it normal to still have days like that after 12 years? Yes, I think so. The difference, though, is how frequently those days come, and how intense the feeling is.

The bad days are much more rare now, and the feeling much less intense. Now when I feel like giving up, I recognize the leftover scars for what they are and remind myself of my commitments. I remind myself that I blame things on the affair that really aren't the affair's fault. Because heck, even couples who haven't dealt with infidelity have problems and feel like giving up sometimes. Even when no one has cheated, people think they made a mistake when they married his or her spouse.

The truth of the matter is, some things would have been easier, and still would be, if I had divorced my wife. Some things would be a whole lot worse, but not everything.

Anyway, comments sometimes get lost in the shuffle, so I'm going to repeat here what I said to the guy who was having bad days after 5 months:


To the guy 5 months in:

I hear you. You want to know when you will stop having days when you feel like giving up? I'm 12 years in. I'll let you know when I stop having days like that.

I don't say that to depress you or to make you want to give up. It is just realistic (at least for me personally).

To this day, things come up that remind me of my wife's affair. Every time I become angry with her (like happens with any couple ever, whether there has been an affair or not), I'm tempted to blame things on the affair.

If you stick with it, and if you are BOTH committed to making things work, those days will become more rare. In my humble opinion, I don't thing those days ever go away completely.

That's why I'm not crazy about the language some people use about becoming "healed" from the affair. I don't think you heal from something like this, in the sense of getting back to the way you were before. It changes you. Some of it is for the better, some isn't.

Imagine that someone negligently causes an accident, and as a result you lose a leg. You can forgive that person, but the leg is still gone. Sometimes you will wish you could run again. You're body will heal, in the sense that the wound closes, but your leg is still gone. You can still have a great life full of promise and achieve many of your dreams, but your leg is still gone.

And it always will be.

So for me -- and everything on this blog is describing my own personal experience, not to tell other people what they should do -- I decided that having days when I felt like giving up wouldn't make me give up. Just because I have days like that does not mean that I made a mistake. And even if I DID make a mistake, it is made. I promised to stick around and do my best to make things work, and that is a promise I am going to keep unless she gives me Biblical grounds for divorce, such as another affair. It is a vow I take as sacred as my original marriage vows.

One day at a time, friend. Your difficulty of dealing with it personally will diminish. Time will tell if you have a partner in recovery or not. If you do -- if you are both determined to save the marriage --

God will give you the strength to do so.

But it won't always be easy, and your leg is still gone.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

And there are still days ...

... when I want to give up.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday blessings to you all

Every year it is the same. Occasionally I review reports of how many visitors I have to the blog. The number is generally steady. I do not update frequently -- hardly at all, in fact -- because the meat of this blog is about what happens in the 2-3 years after a person finds out that his or her spouse had an affair.  Although the story is never "over" for a betrayed spouse, if you have made it that far, you pretty much know whether the affair is going to end the marriage and whether it is going to make you a paranoid bitter person (that is not a judgment, by the way -- "there but for the grace of God," and all.)

So, because this blog is essentially static, the number of visitors and comments remain steady, generally consisting of the new people who, every day, learn that their world has been turned upside down, that reality itself has shifted, and that the things they firmly believed to be true simply aren't.

Except at Christmas. Every single year, there is a huge spike of visitors around the holidays. I don't think more people cheat around Christmas, but it does seem that more people find out around Christmas.

I don't know why. Maybe that's when we can tell that something is off, that someone isn't fully with us at a family gathering. Maybe that's when we notice excessive texting, or unexplained absences, or a look off into the distance during sex. I just don't know.

Whatever the reason, for all of you who are new to the blog, let me say that I am so sorry. I was in your shoes, and lots and lots of other people were too. We know how much it hurts, and we're sorry that it's your turn. Please know that it will get better. You may not be perfect, but it wasn't your fault.

You can know love again. Maybe it will be with the person who is hurting you now, or maybe not, but the day can come when you can love, and trust, and be loved again.

My personal belief is that this comes from God. Eventually you can forgive -- which is something you do for you, not for him or her -- and then there is a new day.

For now, though, I know that seems like a fairy tale. It did to me too. We understand. Please, please, just know that when it feels like life is over, it isn't, and thousands of us stand by you as witnesses of the fact that morning will come.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Still Here . . .

I'm continually amazed at the number of people who stumble across this blog, although I have not updated it in a long time.  You should see the stats.  Most hits come in the wee hours of the morning as some heart-broken person who just discovered his wife, or her husband, had an affair, and they are looking for something -- anything -- to help them understand what they are feeling.  They want to know they are not alone.

They are not alone.  You are not alone.  No, I don't update, because I really have no more to say.  But I do try to keep up with comments, and I sporadically check the email address associated with this blog.

So if you are staring at your laptop at 3:00 a.m., unable to sleep because you're hurting more than you have ever hurt in your life, wondering how you are ever going to make it through work tomorrow, much less the the next year . . . That was me once.  It was about 12 years ago I think.  I don't even remember anymore.

But it does get better.  And you are not alone.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It has been nearly 10 years now since I discovered my wife's affair, which she ended immediately. I've tried to be an ambassador for hope and what God can do in the direst of circumstances. I remain glad that we decided not to divorce after the affair, and that God helped us follow through on that commitment.

Honestly, though, sometimes I think it would have been easier if we had not stayed together. Not better, mind you, but easier. The affair still rears its ugly head on occasion. I still, after this much time, bear the scars. I have friends who split up after an affair and moved on to new marriages. I'm not saying that the affairs were not tough on them, but I have a feeling that it may be easier for those guys to put it behind them, as much as is possible. When both parties choose to salvage the marriage, the affair just doesn't go away. Something triggers a memory. A minor slight has greater significance. No matter how much time has passed, you know she has done it once and could do it again. Of course, anyone is capable of cheating, but going through it once provides irrefutable proof.

I don't know -- recent spats that ought to be forgotten as quickly as they come up seem to have bothered me more than they should. I still struggle with insecurity, with trust, with daily forgiveness. At the moment, I am a little depressed that a ten-year-old affair is still such a part of our lives. It is only a small fraction of what it once was, but still there nonetheless.

I just have to remind myself that I made a commitment -- not only when we first married, but again when we decided to stick together after the affair. It was the right decision for us, and I'm glad we made it. Of course it's hard -- marriage is hard, period, even without contending with an affair. If I thought that surviving an affair would bring us so close that we would never have problems, that I could develop selective amnesia, that she would be so greatful for my forgiveness that she would never disrespect me, or that all our problems (including those unrelated to the affair) would suddenly be over . . . well, that was rather deluded of me.

You go to school when your partner has an affair. You learn a lot, but you never, ever graduate.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Wow. It's been almost 3 years since I blogged, 8 years since the affair.

Every once in a while, a link gets passed along, and lots of new folks read the blog. It breaks my heart to think of all the people learning every day that their world has been turned upside down by infidelity.

I'm just checking back in to say, all is well. We have problems, but they are the same problems everyone has. I still have an occasional nightmare, and maybe I will until I die. I still cringe when I see a movie or hear a song that centers around a cheating spouse. I would not say it is over, because I don't think things like this are ever completely over, but now we are only dealing with scar tissue and not open wounds.

Good luck to you all, and God bless.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Chapter 23 - Pop-up Ads

Here we are, nearly 6 years into recovery. It is rare that I think about the affair. Somethimes, though, something happens or comes up and it is a real struggle to take control of my thoughts, even this far into the battle.

Sometimes it is good to think about the affair. Say you find yourself in a situation where a person of the opposite sex is flirting with you, and you are married and have survived an affair. That would be a very good time to remember the affair as a reminder that no good, and a lot of pain, can result from a bad decision.

Or, like something we are going through right now, when you have friends who are going through marriage problems and you can see the train wreck coming. Someone says they just aren't happy with their spouse, he/she loves her/him but is not "in love" anymore (what the heck does that mean, anyway?), and so forth. That's a good time to think about the affair, because our experience can help someone. We can tell them that we've been there; they aren't alone; they are in a very dangerous spot and need to pay attention to the warning signs; but that with hard work, counseling, and faith, they can get back on track.

But most of the time, it just isn't helpful to think about the affair. It robs you of your joy and keeps you from seeing the good things about your wife, your marriage, your life.

When those thoughts come up, I call them "pop-up ads." Those blasted ads come up all the time on my computer. Buy this; get a loan; find your classmates. Is anything more annoying? When those pop-up adds come up, I immediately close them. Click - no thank you. Click - no thank you. Click - no thank you.

I do the same thing when thoughts of the affair come up. "She's going back to work -- she'll cheat again." Click - no thank you. I don't need that. "Your bad day at work happened because you aren't good enough - you're worthless and that's why she cheated." Click - no thank you.

You get the picture. With unwanted thoughts, like unwanted ads, it takes an act of the will to say, "That's not true - I don't need that thought and I'm not going to feed it or let it in." It is so much easier now than it was at first, and to this day some unwanted thoughts are stubborn and persistent.

I had what you might call a setback this week. My wife is late, as in she might be pregnant. We've sort of let nature take its course, not really trying to get pregnant and not really trying not to get pregnant. We have one child, and my wife's post-partem depression after his birth was a key event that led up to our marriage problems and the affair (that wasn't the only reason, mind you, and I contributed mightily to the marriage problems that made it too easy for one of us to decide to have an affair).

When she told me that she was late, I felt panicky inside. It was a "here we go again" feeling, and I'm having trouble shaking it. It may be more accurate to say that I became aware of my feelings, but they've actually been lingering for a while. They were lingering to the point, I realize now, that I was probably avoiding sex -- not completely, obviously, but I think part of me has been pulling away because (1) no sex means no pregnancy, and in my unacknowledged, flawed logic, no pregnancy meant no affair; and (2) if you put walls around your heart, you don't get hurt.

Once I became aware of these feelings, I could begin knocking them down. I knock them down by reminding myself of the truth: We want another baby. If she gets pregnant again, that does not mean she will have an affair. We're stronger now, and history is not going to repeat itself. And avoiding intimacy, and putting up the walls, is not the way to avoid pain. It causes its own kind of pain and cheats you of the joy of a good relationship. I repeat these truths to myself, sometimes even writing them down, and fight my bad logic with good logic. Fight lies with truth. Click, no thank you.

I'll keep at it for a while, making these unwanted thoughts a matter of prayer. If the pop-up ads just won't go away, I'll make an appointment with our counselor (the equivalent of running a virus scan?).

The point is this: Even after a long time, and even when things are going really well, I still have to be vigilant against hurt, anger, and resentment. I have to remind myself occasionally that I have forgiven my wife, and certain thoughts are no longer welcome. Over time, I have learned to deal with these in what I think is a healthy way, but it is a skill that I had to develop. You can control your thoughts and you can choose not to be weighed down by the past.

Soon it will be time to take a pregnancy test. Those pop-ups may come up again, but I choose not to let the distant past rob me of happiness today. Maybe, just maybe, we are about to enter another great chapter of our lives, and I absolutely refuse to miss it.

EDIT: Nope, not pregnant. Maybe next time.