Will it ever be possible to fully trust again?

I just went through his email.

My husband was in a bad mood yesterday. He had the day off from work so it should have been a decent day. When I came home from work his mood was sour and he blamed it on a conversation he had with one of our children. He was being evasive about what he did during the day and I froze. I tried to control myself but I couldn’t not push to find out what he did all day. I could see from the state of our home that he had breakfast and then left for the day. His coffee mug and plate were still on the counter dirty. The laundry pretty much in the same state it had been in when I left for work. So what did he do?

I’m pretty sure he could see the stress and concern on my face so he quickly filled me on details. Ran to Store A, returned this at the mall for you, went into work because we were doing a photoshoot for a marketing piece, drove the kids to their after-school activities. During the drive with our middle child they butted heads and both walked away irritated.

I let it go. I kept telling myself not to jump to conclusions and ask for what you need.

Fast-forward to Friday evening and he calls to let me know he’s on his way home from work. He’s distracted and I try not to point out that he should have been home an hour ago. He says he had a meeting with his boss. On Friday night at 5 p.m.? It’s not improbable but still it makes my stomach drop.

So I open up his iPad and start going through his email. Sent email. Trash. All his folders. Everything.

I found nothing incriminating. Nothing out of the ordinary. Emails from all sorts of people. Nothing suspicous.

I check his cell phone usage. Calls, texts… no red flags.

And I sit wondering if I’ll ever trust him again? Will I always have this sinking feeling that he’s sneaking off? Why am I even feeling insecure about this now? After all we’ve been through I am still afraid that I’ll be able to trust again.

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64 thoughts on “Will it ever be possible to fully trust again?

  1. The feeling you describe here is exactly what has me asking every day “is it even worth it?”. I don’t have the energy to keep feeling like this, but not having the energy for it doesn’t make it go away. Ugh!

    • I have been going through this for what seems like an eternity. It might be.

      I have learned to live with it because it works for me.

      I used to feel the same way, but realized it to was just a fantasy. I didn’t have the perfect marriage that we all dream about, but had a marriage that was full of problems just like everyone elses. The real ones. The marriage I was trying to get back to was just a fantasy in my own mind. I could never go back to it because it never was.

      Now I live life and marriage for the best that I can make it for me, and I protect myself. I see nothing wrong with it. I think of it as being real.

  2. I made the decision that I will not allow this situation to poison my future. I cannot live my life worried about whether it will happen again. I made the choice not to live that way.

    In order to live peacefully, we have to make the decision to trust again. Yes, it is a risk. We can get hurt. But I would much rather take that risk and love my husband fully, than to live in fear with guarded emotions. I refuse to be a prisoner of my own mind. To be fearful and guarded is not love. Perfect love casts out fear. In order to love someone, you have to make yourself vulnerable. It is a chance we all take.

    I cannot prevent my husband from choosing to go astray. That is his choice. So why should I worry about it? When I get those fearful thoughts, I pray for clarity of mind. Then I tell my husband what I am thinking, and I ask him for reassurance. Of course, his actions after the affair help to build trust, and his reassuring words make me feel better. But ultimately, to trust or not to trust is a choice that the betrayed spouse makes. I tell myself that if he is “gonna do it, he is gonna do it.” My worrying will not prevent it.

    I focus on what is going right in our relationship. I focus on the progress that we have made, and I refuse to let the past contaminate my future.

    I am focused on giving my husband the attention that he needs. We do not take each other for granted. Our love is deeper now than it was before the affair. My taking him back was a demonstration of the way that God loves us. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That unconditional love changes lives. I am focused on showing my husband how much I love him on a daily basis.

    There is a saying that “love is blind,” and it really is. When we fall in love with our spouse, we don’t see their flaws. They seem perfect. This is actually a good thing because if we could see all their flaws at the beginning of the relationship, we probably would be hesitant to get married.

    It is common for us to put our spouse on a pedestal. Other marriages may be tarnished with infidelity, but not ours. This was my thought pattern, which is why it was such a huge disappointment when I discovered that my husband was capable of crossing that line.

    http://encouragementfromtheword.com

    • This is true, but so hard. I tell myself I am going to trust and have faith that he is being honest and sincere. Then he spends a day or two out away from me and it all goes away. He can account for his time, he isn’t anywhere he shouldn’t be, but I can’t stop the feelings that he could be doing anything he wants with anyone he wants, and there’s no way for me to know. I want to believe what he says, but this is a man who lied continuously to me with no remorse. He slept with someone and didn’t act any differently, show any signs of guilt at the time. His remorse came after being caught, not at the time he was deceiving me. I can’t help feeling that if I relearn to trust, if I have faith in him, all I’m doing is re-setting the stage for him. Or, I’m sticking my head in the sand so when it happens again I’ll be just as vulnerable as this time. I want so bad to get past this, but unfortunately my inner workings won’t let it go.

  3. I can tell you from first hand experience, that it may never end. There are reasons that make it worthwhile and reasons to stay in a marriage that you can NOT trust completely and you may have to check forever on the spouses honesty. Don’t take it as GOSPEL that a marriage can’t exist without TRUST. It is possible, you adjust.

  4. Only God can really see our heart. In the meantime, we never really know what someone is thinking or feeling, ever. We have to choose to believe them or not. Unfortunately, you now know that Satan is capable of tempting him and your reasons for questioning his whereabouts are completely valid and real. The bible says Satan tempts and if we resist he waits for a “more opportune time” meaning he will be back. Our job is to make sure Satan doesn’t get a foot hold so he can push that door open wider. We can help our husbands to ensure that doesn’t happen but in the end they are responsible for leaving themselves vulnerable or putting themselves in position where it could happen again. Although I didn’t give my husband a second chance I now have the same trust issues with people who have never betrayed me. I am just more cautious to make sure that if a betrayal happens that although the emotional pain will still be there I have to make sure that I am protected on other levels, like financial and that I have my own security–a place to live, etc. I wish you peace of mind.

  5. I’m not sure trust is the issue.
    More his seeming distant, distracted, unloving. I feel that is the form of cheating in a relationship that has to stop.
    Someone that had an affair has proven that their judgement is skewed. Being aware of that is not lack of trust, just common sense.
    All they can hope to do is really make a huge effort to be closer, open and more considerate of your feelings – which they have have discounted before. They have been selfish, self absorbed and deceitful. Now is the time for them to be really awake and involved in your life. This attitude is the only area in which they can change if they want to.
    But of course they can fake it.
    Do you think you could say the distance and moodiness are negative and worrying?
    He might go ballistic at first, but shouldn’t he know how you feel? He ignored that before….
    It’s the general feeling of warmth that I need (how I long for a cosey feeling of camaraderie, not nervous explanations, when I feel wobbly) and I don’t need checking and fretting over time unexplained.
    I agree it is so important not to jump to conclusions. It’s important for him to get serious and talk straight.
    I’ve turned the corner about trying to be reasonable.
    I need to be honest now after 2 1/2 years of helping my husband explain himself. Sometimes I am unreasonable. I need to see a change.
    I need the freedom to say “I’m confused, worried”. There is no end to how suspicious you can become.
    No proof that can’t be overturned.
    I guess you can counterbalance by being independent and confident in your own happiness to feel that if he strays again it is his problem and let it go. He can be understanding and accept that he created this panic and has to face it.
    Now, every time my husband shows evidence of the faulty thinking that led to his affair, I jump on it and don’t care if it makes him want to leave. It could be the wrong thing to do.
    Go with your instincts.
    I did go through emails, everyday at first, as the AP works with him but I rarely do it now, knowing that nothing being there proves nothing. I do it now through boredom and curiosity as he still is not very entertaining or forthcoming about his life.
    And I can’t say I’m sure I will stay, but I will have come to a calm conclusion. I think the pain and shock is more or less behind me.
    I’m glad I tried to understand what happened. I don’t think leaving immediately would have been less painful, perhaps more dramatic and satisfying in a door slamming kind of way, but really not less painful because I did love one side of his personality if not his philosophy and lack of integrity.
    If I see a big change, it would be great.
    But your subject line was trust. No, I would never trust my husband. He has made a huge relationship mistake. Maybe he has learned something about what is important to him, and may learn how to keep it. I have learned how strange his ideas of topping up self esteem and marriage dynamics are.
    But I wouldn’t wear myself out checking and worrying. I still love my husband and would be more concerned about how the whole life style felt.
    On other days I think it would feel wonderful to be free.
    Gosh, this is badly written! X good luck.

  6. I still find myself doing that, I really don’t think it will ever completely go away that feeling of being betrayed again. You feel oh my he is doing it again. Maybe in 10 years or more it might not be happening, at least I hope so cause I hate that feeling of sadness and emptiness that I feel when I think of what he did even after several years that feeling still pops up.

    • Yes, maybe it’s just the fact of knowing the personality type now, and the normal sequence of reacting to betrayal. Shock, pain, anger, jealousy, more anger helping to cope with pain, then acceptance, then wham, sadness. So now independence and choices?,! Do want to live with such a person with different values and ethics? Has he been as shocked by the results of his actions? My husband seems to be really appalled by what he nonchalantly did and the fall out…..
      I’m sad and tired; hoping for my energy and compassion (for the ijeet ) to return! x

      • Hi Robin, what you say I can relate to. Coming up to my 5 year anniversary of the realisation of what was going on. Problem was he continued to lie me and counsellor and continued on with the affair for a further 10 months, gaslighting me in the process.we are still together partly for the kids but I continue to feel in limbo, wonder what it would be like to be free, wonder what it would be like to be in a relationship with a loving, caring man that my husband often lacks in. My self esteem was so low almost non existent that I have had to slowly try to get my confidence and myself back. Trying to do more things for myself and not fall into the trap of organising everything for him, I’m starting to organise outings and a holiday with girlfriends. One day I will wake up and know what to do I hope.

      • Hi Strongwoman,
        Ironic and tragic how the ego gets bashed, then you finally realise it was the WS and AP that have the genuine low ego; and how well deserved -as that great line in “Spanglish” to the WS “in your case, low self esteem is just good common sense.”
        Odd how one looks for reasons in and about oneself that caused or deserved the break. I guess In order to find control of a sort. If I were only etc…..We may have contributed to the marriage imperfections, ( or may not have) but no one deserves infidelity. It’s not about you. It’s his failure to seek a legitimate solution; lack of control., awareness, stupidity, inarticulacy, cowardice or arrogance.
        Yet you aren’t a victim either. They are their own victims. They did this. It’s up to you to be strong, as you say. My heart goes out to those that feel their wonderful ness has been stamped on.
        It’s so tragic. All you can do is let the WA now your pain and carry on being your wonderful self, deciding along the way if you feel like including him or not, as you have. All the best x

  7. I’ve had the same feelings. It’s been 3 years since D-Day and I still do not fully trust my husband. His was an emotional affair that lasted 9 years. You just don’t get over 9 years of lies and go back to trusting in 3 years. I doubt I will ever fully trust my husband again. How could I? For years he lied to me and the AP lied to me – went to great lengths to hide the affair. Never once thought about my feelings or our kids feelings or the consequences if/when he got caught. So, now he’s remorseful; tells me he’s changed and goes to great lengths to prove it. But I know in my mind and in my heart, I will never ever be able to fully trust again. This makes me sad. Someone earlier said, “Is it worth it?” And I ask myself that every single day. He has changed the happy-go-lucky person I used to be. Friends say I look tired and sad. It’s because I am. I even ask myself, do I even love him anymore or am I staying for the kids? But I push on, trying to get back what I “thought” I had before – a great marriage. But I know my marriage will probably never be great again. I’m just trying to make it the best it can be under the circumstances.

    • I can relate to so much of what you wrote here. I love my husband. At the end of every day I am happy. When we are together we laugh, we share jokes, we are intimate, we love each other, and we love our children. But this affair broke something in me and I feel like ever since D-day I’ve been trying to fix something that cannot be completely fixed. So instead I accept the pain that I feel and now it’s normalized. I start to ask myself if staying was the right thing to do – if marrying him and choosing him was the right thing. Then I feel guilty for asking myself these questions. Because I love him. Is it possible I love him so much because we’ve been together for so many years that I cannot imagine my life without him? Am I here because of our children and the life I imagined for them. I don’t know anymore.

      • Oh my gosh, thank you for writing this. I have been asking myself, lately, who am I now? I use to be happy, content even. 2 year since D-day and I feel in limbo. I feel empty, like I don’t know myself. I am sorry so many of you are trying to find out who you are since your d-days, but your posts are encouraging. Even if it simply makes me feel less alone. Thanks ladies. 🙂

      • I am thankful I found your blog yesterday. I have not been able to stop reading it now going through the comments almost making me feel sane again. I recently found out after 8months of suspicion on August 16th of this year so still very new but with 3 small kids I e had to make a decision fast, right? If I stay I have to forgive him of his mistakes. This comment right here where you said at the end of the day you love your husband, you all laugh together, we enjoy each other’s time we are intimate…it’s the minute my anxiety takes over and my thoughts are swimming just as this blog, this one particularly about him having a bad day and things start to go crazy again. That’s when things get bad with us, my questioning and insecurities and that is what has led him to the cheating my insecurities from the beginning. Last night as I laid in bed and my thoughts were coming back of untrust I pulled your blog up to read to sooth my thoughts and it helped. So thank you

  8. You are almost 3 years since D-day. It is seriously time to stop snooping. It can backfire drastically. If 3 years later you still can’t trust him, instead of snooping, you needed an honest conversation as to why you can’t trust and what he can do to help rebuild it. But snooping? If my wife had been snooping on me 3 years later, I would seriously think that our marriage was never going to fully recover and I probably would’ve left her. Seriously. Life is too short to live like that. For either of you. Here’s what I wrote on the subject which has consistently been among my most viewed blog entries. I know many BS’s won’t agree, but I think you need to see it at least somewhat from his perspective. Now, if he’s given you unfettered access to his devices, and you’ve told him you’re still going through it, fine. Then my words aren’t relevant. But if you are and he doesn’t know it and wouldn’t like it, you need to heed some alternative thoughts on the subject. You want him to be 100% open and honest with you, right? You need to hold yourself to the same standard. Or your marriage frankly is doomed. https://affairadvice.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/spying-and-snooping-on-your-spouse/

    • Recovering WS, I (and probably all the other BS’s on here) get the logic of what you’re saying. What you may not understand, or even want to fully comprehend, is that it’s a compulsion. I can’t begin to describe what the last 2 years of my “life” have been like. I used to offhandedly comment that he’d probably cheat on me at some point because we were so young when we got together and had been together so long. Even then, as I was saying it, I had no idea pain like this existed. Torture that doesn’t seem to go away, ever. I can’t explain it to anyone who doesn’t already know what it does to every fiber of your being, and I can’t make it make sense even to me. It’s the worst thing I have ever been through and it has destroyed me as a human being. I can barely function in this life I have now, I am driving everyone away because of this inherent sadness in me that won’t subside. If all he has to deal with is me having full on access to every part of his life, including his gadgets, he’s getting off easy. You say the marriage is doomed if the BS can’t just let it go, well here’s my take on that… At this point, after living this way, in this much pain, for two years, I’m wondering if that might be the only cure anyway. Only, I doubt he would let me go. This is a man that selfishly thinks (as you probably did, too) that he should have anything he wants. He wanted other women… he should have them. Now he wants a fixed marriage … he should have one! Who gives a shit that I want to be whole again??!! Who gives a shit that letting go may be the only way back to any kind of happiness eventually??!! Not the WS that really only wants what he wants in this life. Snooping is not an OPTION for some of us, it’s either a way to stay sane or just another symptom of our insanity, I don’t know which… but it’s definitely not a CHOICE when something just doesn’t feel right and we don’t know if we are back on the roller coaster. (This is where you either become all self righteous or concede that the pain of adultery is bigger than the BS and we have to ride the wave with no control over the direction. Either way, I don’t care, I’m drowning in pain and your opinion of how I should handle my marriage isn’t going to matter one single iota in my world)

      • I could not agree more Once Whole. Thanks for that response. I literally hate myself everyday for NOT going through his messages and emails before D day. My best friend told me to get a private investigator because I just couldn’t find a time he could be cheating ( he was leaving early for work and driving an hour to see the AP at her house unknown to me) and I literally told my friend that level of invasion of privacy was just wrong. I beat myself up over it every day almost. My husband has been an open book making every device of his available, calling me when he leaves and staying on the phone the entire time, etc etc. however, I don’t know if I’ll ever trust him fully again but more than that, I don’t know if I’ll ever trust my own judgment again. I know though from experience that ” where there’s a will, there’s a way” and a smart guy can always hide what he wants to. What I beat myself up over the most is HER. I knew her, and every fiber of my being knew she wanted him, desired him, preened in front of him ( and me), and she would literally ignore me to be near him and talk to him, yet I TRUSTED HIM with her that he would not betray me. I was wrong. Even though I know I could never control his behavior, I blamecmyself for not shutting that inappropriate crap down

    • Recovering WS,
      If he were 100% open and honest an occasional breach of privacy driven by the paranoia and pain he caused, shouldn’t bother him. Eh?
      He should have volunteered access at the begining.
      It may be annoying and uncomfortable for him, but really, you think that is bad?
      As for holding the same standard, well, it is.
      I’m glad my husband is gentler, kinder and more human than the tit-for-tat righteousness you describe.
      No one likes to be driven to snooping, no one enjoys it, it is inconclusive and traumatising.
      Maybe one day you will have the heart pounding terror and guilt that snooping engenders. It’s no picnic.
      Why do it? Why not? Painful for you to be questioned? Pity.

      • Really? So you’d be ok with someone “occasionally” violating YOUR privacy? I think if you want to recover you have to hold yourself to the same standards you are holding your spouse to. We’re not talking about a month after D-day. Or six. Or a year. We’re talking about almost 3 years later. Maybe some people are ok with being humiliated and disrespected in that way, but others aren’t. I’m merely pointing out not only the hypocrisy of doing this but the pitfalls. You can do what you wish. At your own peril. *shrugs*

      • I was showing sympathy for those in this situation.
        I was describing how, even with permission, it is a traumatic and futile place to find yourself in.
        On the nastier side, just how is an inconclusive and pathetic attempt to be involved in a marriage of two be considered a different “standard” to the lying and deceiving of an affair persons actions?
        Haven’t they proved they have great difficulty with intimacy and honesty?
        I find the faulty non involved attitude of a betrayer needs care, encouragement and forced involvement if necessary, if there is to be change. He didn’t do too well on his own, obviously.
        If one finds total involvement and free access to ones life humiliating and degrading perhaps romantic involvement is repugnant.
        Shrugs.

      • This is actually in reply to WSs reply to this comment… I know a lot of you are going to think I’m certifiable after this, but, in answer to how I would feel about a violation of my privacy by my spouse, here is a real life response to that.

        A year or more before D-Day (when life was still grand), my husband installed the Find My iPhone app on all of our business phones. At the time I though, “Great! Now if my phone goes missing I can find it.” End of thought on that. Fast forward, I was on a business trip, called in the morning to let them know I was heading home and about when I would be home. Later in the day my daughter asked H what time dinner would be and he said “I don’t know, let’s see…” and picked up his phone. She thought he was going to call me, but instead he opened the app and looked at the little dot on the map showing my exact location. He told her “well, she’s still about 2 hours out, so plan on dinner being at least that late”. She was shocked by that, but didn’t say anything to me right away.

        A few days, maybe weeks, later I was trying to plan for dinner at home, H was at our offices. I pulled up the feed for our camera system and saw he was still at the office so I knew I had time and didn’t need to get dinner started right away. My daughter looked at my and said “you two are crazy! He checks on you through Find My iPhone, you check on him through the cameras… you’re nuts!!” Then she proceeded to tell me about that day I was coming home from the trip.

        I never thought the Find My iPhone app could show him on a map everywhere I am at any given time, but at the same time, I couldn’t have cared less. I laughed when she told me, thought that’s pretty ingenious of him, and told her “well, if you’re where you are supposed to be, doing what you should be doing, it doesn’t matter who can see you.”

        A lot of people feel violated by modern technology… we have never been those people. I have said many times about NSA, if they want to listen to me whine about my sister and her continuously changing love life, or my best friend’s pity party because she feels left out of something, so be it! More power to them. I have nothing to hide. Likewise, except for a short moment in time my husband didn’t care (and thank God, now, doesn’t care) if I watched every single blink or sneeze. It’s not a violation, it’s just modern times and modern measures. If he EVER starts to feel this is a violation… the violation will be that our marriage is over. I HAVE to feel safe in this marriage. I HAVE to have that assurance he has nothing to hide from me. Anything that makes me feel like he has something to hide, even just a resistance to me having full access to his life, is him signing his own walking papers. No questions asked. But, I can assure you, for no reason other than fairness, he has that same access to everything in my life. Always has.

    • I told my husband that I went through his email as a security and he was not upset. He does not feel this is a broach in his privacy because he knows this is a reaction to his behavior that has deeply wounded me. Honesty is the best policy but there is often not complete security in someone’s word.

      • as long as YOUR spouse is ok with it, then it’s ok. Then it’s not really a breech. As I said, if he knows about it, then my point is moot. Its for those people who are snooping without evidence that I was warning. And those that are doing it on the sly, even on a Wayward Spouse. To me it’s a bad bad idea. If my wife was snooping on me now (4 years later, almost), I would assume she would never trust me again. And walk. Because life is too short to live this way. Just saying. But as you said, your snooping has his apparent ok. So have at it.

      • Recovering WS. you lose that ” right” to privacy the day you betray your wife. Sorry , but that’s the way it is. And I can tell you anyone TRULY repentant would have no problem being transparent. Guys like you reassure me that I made a good choice staying with my husband because he would never have a problem with me checking on anything he does. He’s fine with it because, like he says, I’ve been at my lowest and I literally have nothing to hide anymore.

    • I let go, I stopped snooping, I believed he wouldn’t do it to me again, and then four years later he had an affair, and I knew almost instantly he was seeing someone else. I cannot begin to tell you the grief I feel.
      I told him I couldn’t go through anymore, that it was over this time for good. We have a 9 year old daughter and she is my world.

  9. Of course, of course this is going to be your response NOW! Go back a few years and his behaviour would not have triggered this. It’s exhausting! Stomach lurching! Can you let him know how just one hour late, one minor confusion, one misinterpretation can catapult you back in your healing? If he knows he can appreciate what he might need to do to prevent this happening – let him know what would have prevented the angst you felt.
    I’m Mrs suspicious now – Never knew this could be in my character but there you go 😦 Trust? Maybe in time. But trust yourself – if you don’t like the feel of something – communicate with husband about it.

  10. It is SUPER crazy, I’ve been having the same thoughts.

    More along the line of: I trust him with our finances & children, however, I may Never fully trust him again from cheating.

    It’s wild. I balance protecting myself with moving forward. SUPER tricky.

    Again, thank you for sharing.

  11. I honestly love your posts. It makes me feel like I’m not going through his alone and that I am not crazy. I too struggle with trusting the most important person in my life. I often wonder if it will take a long time or if it will never happen. I found this link so insightful. http://www.ted.com/talks/esther_perel_rethinking_infidelity_a_talk_for_anyone_who_has_ever_loved . In fact I had my husband watch it and it spurned some great conversation and a lot more questions were answered. We are doing amazing but I seriously hate the fear that lingers. I hate it.

  12. Such a painful, honest and profoundly scary question. Will I ever trust again? The next question is, if the answer is no, can I live with that? Wish I knew. I’m one year and one week past D-Day. Trust is a process and we’re at the beginning. Time passes…we’ll see.

  13. Rebuilding trust after infidelity is such a complicated thing but I hope you are willing to share all of your feelings with your husband when you feel unsteady – thus giving him the chance to support you and to witness the results of his past actions.

    I have redeveloped amazing trust with my husband (a sex addict with a long history of lies and cheating). It must have started with both of us being WILLING to work for our relationship. We knew there was something worth fighting for. Giving up on one another without trying to sort it out would have left us both with regrets and “what if’s”. He is the one who made the mistakes and lied – but we took equal responsibility in fixing the problem which went deeper than the symptom. We both agreed to put the relationship – the coupleship – the union – whatever you call it – we were putting US first. Being “in it” together was comforting for us both. It allowed him to feel like a man rather than a little boy who was in trouble and on probation. It allowed me to feel like I had some sense of control over the end result instead of someone waiting for a magical cure to take hold.

    The first thing we did was to disclose to each other EVERY dishonest thing that we had kept from one another. That was the hardest day. After that ,the work we did was individual, but was done simultaneously. I started therapy, met and shared with other women in similar situations and read books on the subject of sex addiction to better understand his disease. He was already in therapy and attending SAA but he started to take it seriously but first coming clean to everyone about the lie he had been living, he started to really focus on completing the 12 steps. We both brought what we learned to the relationship and practiced honesty, empathy and understanding. It was an amazing time of growth for us as individuals and as a couple.

    Many women run for the hills when they discover an infidelity or a lie within their marriage. For me, the biggest gift I have ever given myself was to stay and discover and grow with the man I love. I hope you can get to the point that you recognize that gift as well.

  14. We cannot fully love what we cannot fully trust….and we owe it to ourselves to live life and love our lives to the fullest. Which means if we’ve chosen to stay with our husbands, we owe it to ourselves to make the choice to trust our imperfect husbands despite past infidelity and future what ifs.

    As betrayed wives, we’ve experienced the nuclear blast of infidelity but WE SURVIVED. Rebuilding our marriages in the aftermath of the explosion is the most difficult challenge of our lives.

    When I am grieving or despairing over what was lost, it soothes me to remember that although the blast was triggered by his affair, my husband is a victim of this tragedy as well. He lost my respect, he lost my admiration, he lost my faith and he lost himself. He had to look in the mirror every morning and see a man who cheated on his wife. He saw a man who was weak, deceitful, and without honor or integrity. It took him quite a while to reconcile himself to the fact that for a brief period of time, he WAS that man in the mirror. But he isn’t that man any longer because he faced some very ugly truths about himself. He found the courage to stand before me, admit that he was a liar, a cheater and an imposter and asked me to forgive him. And of course, I did. Or at least I thought I did….

    Several months into our recovery, I began to understand I couldn’t truly forgive him or trust him until I let go of trying to control the ‘what ifs.’ I had to consciously make the choice to release my fears and allow myself to love him unconditionally once again. I honestly didn’t want to because that meant I had to let my guard down and dismantle the walls I had subconsciously built to protect myself from future hurt and pain. Admittedly, it’s a work in progress. We have our emotional setbacks and I still have occasional sobbing meltdowns because I get overcome by sadness that the affair happened.
    But in my heart, I trust him because I choose to trust him. During the tough times, always on the horizon is our commitment to stay together and my belief that he will stay true to me til death do us part.

    Trust is a choice fueled by authentic and real forgiveness. One of my favorite quotes is, “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could’ve been any different.” If you can release the hope of rewriting the past or controlling the future, you can truly trust again.

    Be brave. Give it a try…..

    • Dear half of a hole,
      I love this post and am keeping it, it is how o feel but clearly put.
      Except I really believe you have to fully understand the past to let it go and I think trust isn’t as necessary as a leap of faith is and belief that it’s better to go for it than hold back. No guareentees.
      Thanks and all the best X

      • Half of a whole–I read your reply while weeping…..it is such a grieving process and im so tired. your quote about forgiveness makes me realize that unfortunately I haven’t completely let it go because I still struggle with how the past could have been different. If only id done this…or that…if only he hadn’t been under such stress from his job…if they both hadn’t been so selfish.I love him so much—always have and always will. I knew all the time I was in denial about what was going on that deep down he would somehow find his way back. I just hoped and literally prayed that it would be before all the damage was done. Robin, I agree with you that you DO have to understand the past to fully let it go because only then can you reconcile your fears. I want so much to let it go, and I truly try so hard and continue to work through it. i covet your prayers

  15. Friends, I am full of hope for all of us.

    I agree…we have to examine the past so the same mistakes and bad choices aren’t repeated. It takes time and tears. But somewhere along the line during the past year, I began to realize there are portions of the past I am NEVER going to understand. Just like I can’t comprehend the miracle of conception or why someone passes away, it will remain a mystery to me how my husband was able to cheat on me. I can look at it sixteen ways to Sunday, but I’ll just never know…..
    I do know, however, that the ghost of infidelity past wants to destroy my marriage in the present. Infidelity is my enemy, not my husband. Infidelity knew I could not be conquered, so it sought my spouse because he was weaker and had a chink in his marital armor. Infidelity hates that I am piecing my heart back together. Infidelity inhales to suck the life breath out of me because it delights in leaving me gasping and writhing. Infidelity preys on my insecurities and waits for me to give up.
    Recently infidelity began to realize it met its match when it decided to interfere with MY marriage. And yes, it has taken much effort for me to get where I am. Today, for every negative thought infidelity throws my way, I strike back with three positive thoughts. For each cloud of darkness it sends to hover over me, I catapult five servings of gratitude that I still have a husband to dispel those clouds. And for every single second of faithfulness the coward of infidelity stole from me, I damn it back to the hell it crawled out of.
    Half of this journey belongs to rebuilding our relationships with our husbands. The other half of the journey belongs just to us. We can take back what is rightfully ours. We can be kick-a** warriors who defeat the foe of infidelity. We may not win every battle, but with faith and perseverance, we WILL win the war.

    • You are a badass, halfofawholenowhalfofahole. I love this!

      Thank you to all who share their comments and stories here. You are all so amazing and courageous!

    • Thank you for this post. I admire your positive and fierce attitude. Infidelity did not break me, and yet I still have much to be grateful for. I am grateful that I’ve taken the high road (imperfectly) and maintained my dignity. We sometimes need to be reminded that we are kick a** warriors doing battle.

  16. You have truly helped me, and I really appreciate your words. I really do want to move on, it’s just some days I don’t know how to pull myself out of the mire. Your suggestions may seem simple to you, but to someone like me they are instructions on how to live. Thanks

  17. Robin, please excuse me — I’m honestly not trying to highjack your blog….You were the one person in all my online searching whose heart spoke to mine. You gave me my first ounce of courage to take the first steps towards healing. And I hope to pay forward that gift a hundred times over.

    Beth — Nothing about recovery is simple.

    We are just past a year since DDay. (And do you know, I still don’t know what that stands for…Discovery Day? Devastation Day?) I’ve been up and I’ve been down and everything in between. Typically, I am a loving, generous, intelligent, independent woman. But my husband’s affair turned ME into a creature I didn’t recognize. And I will share with our friends here some secrets we don’t usually share because we’re ashamed of the depths to which we sink.

    For the first time in my life, I struck out in rage and anger. I slapped my husband’s face on more than one occasion. I pummeled him in the middle of the night when I woke up weeping over what he did with her, to us and to our marriage. I threw things and broke them into pieces. I began to drink wine. And I drank a few glasses every night for months. Sometimes, I threw glasses of wine at him. I ruined my new wallpaper in the living room with red wine stains. I took a kitchen counter stool and smashed the sheetrock wall in my kitchen to smithereens. I kicked him out of the house a few times, only to call him two hours later and plead with him to come home. At my office, I would lock the door and cry for hours on the phone to him….not saying anything — just weeping with grief. And many times I lay a sobbing mess on my living room floor with no energy to face life again. Dishes in the sink piled up. Laundry went undone for a couple weeks at a time. I shut myself off from my friends and family. I couldn’t remember anything. I barely kept it together at work. I secretly burned myself with an iron to redirect the pain. I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. I felt like I was going crazy. And, well, I guess maybe I WAS temporarily insane….but I’m not anymore.

    My go-to healing tool is remembering the distinction between the past and the present. And on my good days, I can even think of the future. I refer to infidelity as a ‘ghost ‘ because my husband’s acts of infidelity ARE dead and in the past. While he was stepping out of our marriage, infidelity controlled him. But when he ceased that behavior, the infidelity became a thing of the past. Even though I couldn’t accept the notion at the time, the moment he stopped cheating was the moment he started being faithful. To his credit, my husband has done an incredible amount of work and soul-searching to become the man he is today. ( But it sure didn’t happen overnight.) He has become the spiritual leader of our family and has proven many times over that the “Old” Andy shed the ugly skin of selfishness, disengagement and entitlement. Not once in all my many meltdowns has he ever given up or reproached me or told me to get over it. He’s stood there and taken whatever vile, hurtful words or objects I threw at him because he knew I was lashing out at the “Old” Andy, and THAT Andy deserved it. The “New” Andy understood it was the only way he could earn back my respect. I despise the man who cheated on me in the past, but I can honestly say I admire the man he is today.

    Truly, I still have a ways to go. But like my husband, I had to let go of the “Old” Annie so the “New” Annie could open her arms and her heart and be grateful to God that despite the rocky road ahead, we have a future together.

    • Dear half of a whole,
      Robin here. This is not my blog, though I was attracted to Thiswillnotdefineus for the same reasons as yourself and she and I are at the same point in time from D day (landing assault on Normandy beaches?) She seems much nicer and well balanced than I.
      I went ballistic. mainly because my husband didn’t understand why I was upset.
      I had many pre existing issues to unravel at the same time in great quantities. Abandonment issues, jealously inclinations. I thought I wouldn’t have to concern myself with these in relation to my marriage, hence the devastation.
      My husband always admired my integrity, because he had none. I knew this before we married and thought it would be ok, I was intense for two. Mistake.He’s trying to understand now.
      I’m relinquishing control, effort and further condoning.
      I will tell you from my experience, things change radically from month to month and the craziness does seem to mellow. Best of luck x

  18. It has been 2 years since my D day.
    So many of your posts resonate with my roller coaster ride. We had a honeymoon period, but that was short lived.
    My husband had an affair for a year whilst living in another country due to financial reasons. In retrospect that was completely convenient for him , duh. During that time he would come home once a mth and treat me miserably whilst I looked after an enourmous house, 2 dogs 3 little boys and a business he started before he buggered off.
    I have since seen many emails with regard to meeting mates with a lady friend etc which he refutes to explain, saying I should not have read them ( on the laptop he gave me!) to begin with he lied about the length of the affair and many other details I asked him later turned out not to be true.
    We are at breaking point and I am exhausted from trying to navigate back to a healthy place. I really cannot see any more hiw it can be worth it.
    Oh, his mistress married one of his best mates 5 weeks after he stopped sleeping with her, I swear my life felt like a soap opera there for a bit.!! This guy too was in a long term(8 years) live in relationship …

    OPEN LETTER TO A MISTRESS.
    I have held my tongue for over 2 years.
    I wondered if I would ever write this to you. Meeting yet another woman who’s husband you slept with was the decider.
    Let me explain something to you.
    What you did with my husband caused a lot of damage. Whatever you tell yourself your role was, if not for women like you, who have no regard for the damage they help to cause, families like mine would not be damaged in the ways ours is.
    Whether our marriage survives or fails, there has been damage done that cannot be taken away, ever.
    My children have been damaged. Damaged because their Mother has had to use all her strength to get out of bed sometimes and use patience and understanding for her ashamed and embarrassed husband that should have been used for them.
    That’s how he described you, by the way, a huge embarrassing mistake.
    My husband is damaged because no matter how much he realises from your whole sordid event that he may love me he can never take it away.
    I am yet to find anyone who has met you or seen a picture that can imagine what was going through his head. Perhaps that is all over now that you have your Prince Charming.
    Water does find its own level.. Especially once it’s all filthy and swirling in the bottom of the gutter.
    I truly hope you stay together. That way neither of you can do any more damage, except to each other.

  19. It may be the hardest thing you ever do, but I believe you have to start trusting again because you want to be the compassionate, caring person you are. Start trusting yourself and your intuition. To still try to be hyper vigilant meant I was not being true to myself.

  20. I’m grateful to read that I’m not alone, three years out, and still fighting things. This is the time period in which WS did the deed and I’m awake at 1 in the morning. What has changed is that I don’t resent her sleeping soundly next to me and that’s pretty awesome. I haven’t gone through her email, we have mutual access and always have, in a while but I did find myself stalking the other party’s social media earlier and had to knock it off. Just wanted to let you know that your posts are helpful and made me feel like less a weirdo tonight.

  21. It takes a lot energy in any type of relationship rather it be the old one or even a new one. I do feel that once you have been cheated on you it is possible to experience happiness at 100 percent but trust is never achieved at a 100 percent. Its 2.5 years sense DDay and I’m still keeping one eye open, I should’ve done in the first place

    I dont think its a fear I think its a natural feeling you get because of the hurt you went through. I trust my husband again but sometimes my belly hurts if the norm changes. My husband cheated on me with the same womon for nearly 16 years, off and on.

  22. HI Everyone….I myself thought I had a half decent marriage until the mail confirmed otherwise. Rewind back to Jan 2014 all the way to March of 2015 I had the dreaded “FEELING” we all know that feeling, that our husbands are doing something but we just cant figure out what…..we cant accuse, we cant assume we can only “wonder” so for over a year of constant “business trips” unexpected overnight stays those suspicions began to take hold of my life…..I made it my mission to keep a closer eye on what he was doing…..My husband was being “nicer” than usual, he was going above and beyond to flatter me to make me feel special, but all the while I have that sinking feeling…something is wrong. Now my husband works weird hours but normally he’s 7-5 but was coming home 8,9 and 10pm sometimes….always blamed it on work, and how frustrated they were making him…and all he wants to do is come home and be with his family…but one night he walked in and there it was BOLD AS DAY…..what appeared to be lipstick on his collar……I asked “whats that on your shirt?” he goes nothing, goes downstairs….comes back later with the stain mysteriously whipped off…by this time….I know…..my worst feeling was confirmed my husband was having an affair…..and I fell for it all…..Feb 2015 a day or two before valentines day he tells me “you know the restaurants are busy want to go out on Sunday vs. Saturday…..my response…(more because i wanted to prove my theory) I said sure….low and behold he came up with a reason to get out of the house on valentines day and then didnt come home until 3am…..mind you I’m furious at this time and refused to go out with him that sunday…he accused me of being dramatic and played coy about where he had been the night before we fought and we fought and he goes on to say how he justs wants to spend time with his WIFE….OK….so a month goes on and March 12th was a thursday earlier that day my husband texted me and said he would be late tonight but he couldnt wait to get home to make love to me….we played and joked over text that day and left it at that….that he again would be late and I was helpless to know where he was going…….I had one child away on an overnight field trip, another visiting from college and one sleeping…it was “Scandal thursday” I go out to the mailbox to collect the mail for that day and saw an envelope from HD Supply….the envelope was addressed to another woman but had my address on it….puzzled I thought maybe it was a mistake then i thought back over the course of this year…..it was not a mistake…….this is the miracle I had asked God to give to me…Just give me proof that he’s being unfaithful…a prayer I had asked for on a regular basis but I needed closure because he was not going to give it to me willingly…….I took the letter, told my daughter to watch my sleeping son…..grabbed my cell phone with Mapquest in tow and left…set out to find out the truth for myself…….I’m driving….and I’m shaking, and my sweating and my heart is pounding…..as i rounded the very last street in the directions….there it was…..his car. Every ounce of blood i think rushed from my head and I felt dizzy…..looking at his car in disbelief…I had him….now what was I going to do?? I snapped a photo of his car……left, then decided…NO….i’m going back…I called his cell…DIDNT ANSWER OF COURSE, then returned my call minutes later and said “Hi Baby..” REALLY..???? REALLY??? HI BABY…he was already in his car when he called me back and pulled off while on the phone with me….telling me to just follow him….it was not what i thought…follow him….long story short that night and a few nights after that were awful….I wanted to die…but I had three little people who depend on me so that was not an option…my husband has apologized repeatedly however not giving out information…..said he only knew her a month, I find out later that was a lie….this had been going on for a year (or more) I found a necklace he bought her, I found a notice for flowers he bought her for her birthday and he even took my kids to a pro-football game where she was and introduced the kids to her……….all of this I had to find out on my own because he wouldnt tell me the truth…….He told me other the course of the year that I gave him such attitude and acted as if I didnt love him and that’s what sent him in her direction…..but he claims he doesnt love her, has no interest in being with her……he wants his family, he loves only me…etc….etc…we tried marriage counseling but how can i do the things this woman is asking if I dont trust him to tell me the truth? so that was short lived. We still continued on and in August of this year 2015…he sent me a text…however the name on the text was not mine…it was hers….he tried and tried to assure me that it was a terrible, terrible mistake, excuse me a typo and to not give up on us……..again we are still in it, Back in church…etc…but my trust for my husband is virtually gone…I dont even trust him when he says he’s going to the grocery store….How do i make it…I love him….I honestly do but I’m terrified to give him another chance….my heart cannot take it.

  23. HI Everyone….I myself thought I had a half decent marriage until the mail confirmed otherwise. Rewind back to Jan 2014 all the way to March of 2015 I had the dreaded “FEELING” we all know that feeling, that our husbands are doing something but we just cant figure out what…..we cant accuse, we cant assume we can only “wonder” so for over a year of constant “business trips” unexpected overnight stays those suspicions began to take hold of my life…..I made it my mission to keep a closer eye on what he was doing…..My husband was being “nicer” than usual, he was going above and beyond to flatter me to make me feel special, but all the while I have that sinking feeling…something is wrong. Now my husband works weird hours but normally he’s 7-5 but was coming home 8,9 and 10pm sometimes….always blamed it on work, and how frustrated they were making him…and all he wants to do is come home and be with his family…but one night he walked in and there it was BOLD AS DAY…..what appeared to be lipstick on his collar……I asked “whats that on your shirt?” he goes nothing, goes downstairs….comes back later with the stain mysteriously whipped off…by this time….I know…..my worst feeling was confirmed my husband was having an affair…..and I fell for it all…..Feb 2015 a day or two before valentines day he tells me “you know the restaurants are busy want to go out on Sunday vs. Saturday…..my response…(more because i wanted to prove my theory) I said sure….low and behold he came up with a reason to get out of the house on valentines day and then didnt come home until 3am…..mind you I’m furious at this time and refused to go out with him that sunday…he accused me of being dramatic and played coy about where he had been the night before we fought and we fought and he goes on to say how he justs wants to spend time with his WIFE….OK….so a month goes on and March 12th was a thursday earlier that day my husband texted me and said he would be late tonight but he couldnt wait to get home to make love to me….we played and joked over text that day and left it at that….that he again would be late and I was helpless to know where he was going…….I had one child away on an overnight field trip, another visiting from college and one sleeping…it was “Scandal thursday” I go out to the mailbox to collect the mail for that day and saw an envelope from HD Supply….the envelope was addressed to another woman but had my address on it….puzzled I thought maybe it was a mistake then i thought back over the course of this year…..it was not a mistake…….this is the miracle I had asked God to give to me…Just give me proof that he’s being unfaithful…a prayer I had asked for on a regular basis but I needed closure because he was not going to give it to me willingly…….I took the letter, told my daughter to watch my sleeping son…..grabbed my cell phone with Mapquest in tow and left…set out to find out the truth for myself…….I’m driving….and I’m shaking, and my sweating and my heart is pounding…..as i rounded the very last street in the directions….there it was…..his car. Every ounce of blood i think rushed from my head and I felt dizzy…..looking at his car in disbelief…I had him….now what was I going to do?? I snapped a photo of his car……left, then decided…NO….i’m going back…I called his cell…DIDNT ANSWER OF COURSE, then returned my call minutes later and said “Hi Baby..” REALLY..???? REALLY??? HI BABY…he was already in his car when he called me back and pulled off while on the phone with me….telling me to just follow him….it was not what i thought…follow him….long story short that night and a few nights after that were awful….I wanted to die…but I had three little people who depend on me so that was not an option…my husband has apologized repeatedly however not giving out information…..said he only knew her a month, I find out later that was a lie….this had been going on for a year (or more) I found a necklace he bought her, I found a notice for flowers he bought her for her birthday and he even took my kids to a pro-football game where she was and introduced the kids to her……….all of this I had to find out on my own because he wouldnt tell me the truth…….He told me other the course of the year that I gave him such attitude and acted as if I didnt love him and that’s what sent him in her direction…..but he claims he doesnt love her, has no interest in being with her……he wants his family, he loves only me…etc….etc…we tried marriage counseling but how can i do the things this woman is asking if I dont trust him to tell me the truth? so that was short lived. We still continued on and in August of this year 2015…he sent me a text…however the name on the text was not mine…it was hers….he tried and tried to assure me that it was a terrible, terrible mistake, excuse me a typo and to not give up on us……..again we are still in it, Back in church…etc…but my trust for my husband is virtually gone…I dont even trust him when he says he’s going to the grocery store….How do i make it…I love him….I honestly do but I’m terrified to give him another chance….my heart cannot take it

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