Finding Gratitude After an Affair

Gratitude can seem like a superpower in the wake of a discovered affair. It can feel like a superpower that is not only unattainable, but undesirable. When your morning begins with tears and pain it can be difficult to see any silver linings or good in your life. But there is goodness buried deep in the pain, there are smiles that emerge when you least expect them, and there is laughter that can fill your heart with joy even in the bleakest and darkest moments on your journey.

cebhnrfvaaatdyuMy family has a tradition of going around our Thanksgiving table and each person sharing what they are thankful for in their lives. My first Thanksgiving after D-Day my chest tightened and my throat tensed as the tradition of sharing gratitude began at our Thanksgiving table. I can’t recall all the thoughts that went through my head but I know I held back tears and I felt more resentment than gratitude. I resented my husband for cheating on me and I resented my family members around the table that were easily sharing their happiness. My pain was trapped inside me while my mother-in-law smiled looking over her family. There was also a part of me that wondered if this was my last Thanksgiving Day celebration with my husband’s family.

During our darkest hours where can we find happiness this Thanksgiving?

It is important to remember not to compare yourself or your life to the people that surround you. It’s hard to see people happy and, seemingly, on top of the world when you feel like your life is at its lowest point. Stop looking at your life through the lens of other people and focus more on the moments that surround you right now. I have found that even in my darkest times if I focus on the present I can find perfect moments surrounding me. Even when I felt like I might be swallowed up by the pain of my husband’s affair – I could still feel love and I could still choose hope over fear.

c2255add0872a22723e2f7843f4aa6e0Sometimes you need to press the reset button on life just like we do on our phones when they are malfunctioning. There is no shame in getting away from everything and clearing your mind. Following my D-Day I began practicing yoga on a regular basis. It was my place to get away from everything that was causing me pain and (try) to empty the thoughts in my brain for an hour. I found my yoga mat became an oasis for me – a place for me to grow stronger and heal my wounds. That doesn’t mean my practice is perfect because there are times I’ve laid in savasana and wept. But I left those emotions on my mat – in my safe space. Yoga is a practice that tested my strength, my ability to flex and flow through movement, and forgive myself when my body would not do what it could do yesterday. I urge everyone to find a place where they can focus on their inner being, away from everything that has caused you pain, and begin to bring the happiness and light back into your life.

Remember that fate is not in control of your life. I asked my husband hundreds of times: Why? Why did he cheat? Why did he do this to me? There is really no good answer to these questions. There is no answer that would satisfy or heal my pain quicker or easier. My desire for the facts and tangible answers did not heal me faster. I think the most impactful choice I made was to take control of my life – be the one to make decisions for me and not allow external factors to influence my happiness. I choose to be happy with my life every day. It took time to get to a place where I could accept this is part of my life story, but I know that I am stronger now.

I can’t remember what I said I was thankful for that first year after D-Day.

Reflecting back upon that day I think it may have been easier to name my blessings because in darkness the light shines much brighter. My children would be the brightest light of all. Through everything that has happened in the last five years, my children have been a beacon of light. In my worst, darkest, and the most difficult days of my life they kept me moving, going, smiling, and caring. I had to love even as my heart felt like it was contracting. My children were my key source of happiness and they remain my primary source to this day.

I am thankful for everyone that has read this blog throughout my journey because you have made me stronger and let me know in my darkest moments that I was not alone.

I wish you happiness today. I hope you find a peace and joy.

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40 thoughts on “Finding Gratitude After an Affair

  1. I had forgotten I signed up for this and was surprised to see it in my inbox. What a beautiful, hopeful message and much needed this morning. Thank you for being here for us strangers. You’ve made a difference.

    • I too needed that message this morning after a night full of tears. It made me smile and gave me hope. We go on though I am less and less sure as time goes on , if this will be with my husband. However, the message is that there is always something to be grateful for. You need to look for it. Take care
      Kate

      • I am three months into the Hell that is infidelity. I don’t think I can stay but leaving is so finite. I just want to feel happiness again and care about all the things that I was once driven by. I am grateful for my children every day and so many blessings. I would love to have someone in my situation to share thoughts and this process with.

      • 5 years ago I didn’t think I was staying either, I was looking at apartments at this time. But it was almost like something evil was trying to tear us apart that I didn’t understand and kept me curious about what would happen if I stayed and why should I be the one leaving, he wasn’t leaving. I hope you’ll stay until you are really sure its the right thing to do. There are days I wonder what would have happened if I left and I think we wouldn’t have made it, that would have been a breaking point for us.

  2. Thank you, waking up this morning I needed to read this. May love fill your family home as I will be sure it does mine today.

  3. Thanksgiving will always be my d-day. This is 5 years, shortly before we celebrated our 20th anniversary. It cuts the same scars. This year we are alone but it feels like a relief that I don’t have to fake a smile for family or friends. I just heard this week that heartbreak is a strange healer of our soul, it opens us to empathy and sympathy, it brings you back to source, which is you and your relationship with spirit. My thoughts are with with all of you on this life path of learning all we need to know. Stay strong, one day at a time. You’ve come this far, let’s see where else we go together.

  4. Last year the Friday after Thanksgiving is the day my husband realized he needed to end his affair and start the journey of getting his family back. We had spent an amazing spontaneous day out with our one year old and it brought him back down to earth and made him realize what he was going to lose.

    The following friday was my D-day. He ended the affair, I received a Facebook message from someone I didn’t know that said “I have a secret”. I never responded because I already knew. I confronted my husband who at first tried to play dumb but finally came clean. My whole world came crashing down around me.

    This year I am thankful for how had we have both worked this year, how much we have both grown and changed. In so many ways this has brought us closer together and we can talk more openly about our hopes and fears. I still have many days where I wonder if I should have left and I don’t know if that will ever go away. But I will continue to take the bad days along with good.

  5. I only realised now that I can comment on your blog!!! I found your blogs almost 4 years ago this coming February. We are childhood sweethearts together for 15 years. I was pregnant with our 2nd child and found my husband had been having at least 5 different affairs over 2 years while working away from home. He was leading a double life. To say I was distraught is an understatement. You’re blogs almost saved me, I had never been so low in my life and with the due date of my child only 2 months away my hormones ran wild. I still struggle to move on from that event & now it’s me who thinks about leaving him as I know I deserve better but for some reason I can’t find the strength to do it. I wish I didn’t love him. Thank you for writing these, I love it when they pop up in my inbox, they help me find strength x

  6. Thank you for your messages along the way as you are able to put into words which I am unable. It is still a painful journey at times but find alot more space of peace in between, just as in my daughters passing I know it will never be the same. I am stronger now and as another wound has opened allowing for more love, kindness and empathy of others. Love and thoughts to all

  7. I am choking back as I read your message determined not to allow myself cry for the umpteenth time, as you are right my son kept me going through day by day after I found out about his affair.
    He was my light through all the darkness all the anger I was feeling and kept me going. God knows what I would have done if I did not have him In my life, as by far through everything, he is the best thing I have ever done in my life & I was determined even more not to let him down after his father had let us down so terribly.

    I wish you all peace and love this website is a source of comfort and was even more so following my discovery and endless hours of staying up unable to sleep. So I thank you for that and you are so right I feel too that this will not define us….. MP x

  8. This week I saw my therapist to prepare for dinner with my family and closest confidants. It’s hard moving on when you have been through the girl talk “You don’t have to take that let him go” speeches. After you have decided to stay. My therapist helped me to see that as long as I have expectations going forward I was not being weak or a doormat but a fighter. And if we were doing the work together to build a better marriage then it was worth it. It still bothers me that I can’t parade around anymore like I have the perfect marriage. Although I knew we were in trouble years ago. In many ways our marriage has improved so much since D-Day and lots of therapy. I have just begun acknowledging this. I keep saying but he didn’t have to do this…. rehashing the past over and over. I found some positive affirmation books on audible pertaining to marriage self esteem and many more topics I play them and repeat them aloud when I start going through my own negative feedback loop. Then I start to regain control of my thoughts and reactions. I am also learning to control my own happiness and not let it be dictated by what my husband did or didn’t do for me that day. (That was a major issue for me.)

  9. This is my first Thanksgiving since D-day 5 months ago. Even though we had a houseful of family here and I was busy I still couldn’t help but thinking back to how clueless I was last Thanksgiving when this “friendship” was gearing up to an affair and where would we be today if I had not discovered what was going on. A shadow over the day for sure! But reading your post is proof that life does go on! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  10. I just thank you so much for putting my hearts feelings into words all this time. It’s been six years exactly since my husband’s affair–15 months sexually and then continued contact for another 18 months after that. I found out about it as she began to come around me more, just watching her react with him, in the summer of 2013. I have been completely devastated– breakdown and all– but I’ve been consoled by your words and others from your blog. Thanks for your honesty. It’s helped me so much these past three years

  11. Yesterday was my d-day 4 years ago. I am so thankful for all that everyone shares…I’m so glad that I’m not the only one that still struggles years later. The only thing I can liken it to is PTSD. It does get better as time goes on, but so slowly, and you’ll never be fully ever to forget it…but at the same time it has shown me how strong I really am, and how much I love my children to be able to give their father another chance, when in all honesty, he didn’t deserve it. Cheers to all you fellow strong women!

  12. 3 months out from from my DDay and just celebrated our 39 th anniversary. I still have so many emotions. The piercing pain is less but their is always an ache…. but I do find beauty from these ashes. We have 6 amazing kids and 7 grand kids. Mourning the loss of what I thought we had. Once an avid reader but now this blog and a couple others have been all I read. I am finding this holiday season is not going to be easy. Forgive my rant… thank you all for sharing, God, I wish I never had to read your blog but I am so grateful for you. This shattered healing heart hangs on your wise words.

    • Beth for a moment I thought I had written this a while back as I have your same name. My heart breaks for you as you walk through this, but you WILL make it thru. We were married 33 years when my D day occurred. It’s been 3 1/2 years since. Some days I welcomed death I hurt so much. Today, it still hurts, and there are some days I cry, but for the most part I’m ok. Was I changed forever? Unfortunately, yes Thankfully, my husband has been so wonderful and understanding– gong to a lot of therapy, reading books I asked him to, spending inordinate amounts of time consoling me– he is very contrite. Do not blame yourself as I did– he made this decision, not you. As my therapist used this analogy I understood, but the disappointment in his faithfulness still hurt: you thought he was this huge steady boat like a pontoon holding a precious load of valuable China, but he was only a canoe. Be kind to yourself throughout this healing

      • Beth and Bethey,
        It has taken me a while to be brave enough to reply to this blog. My D-Day was almost 6 months ago. After 40 years of marriage I found out (through cruel texts from his former AP) that he had a 6 1/2 year affair. He had ended it 4 months prior to the my receiving the texts. Reading this blog and the comments makes me both hopeful and fearful. Hopeful that we can survive and fearful that I will still be grieving for the rest of my life.
        My husband has become the textbook example of what you should do to repair yourself and your marriage. I know he loves me. His affair not only has come close to destroying me but him as well. He is doing everything possible to not only repair us but himself as well. We are both in individual counseling and couples counseling. He is loving, patient, remorseful, compassionate and doing everything possible to atone for the choices he made and the devastation he caused. He is being the man I had always prayed he would be.

        But I am still broken and am not sure I can fix me and still be with him. This is so difficult to wrap my head around. I love him. I have always loved him even when he could not love himself. But is that enough?

        Sharing your journeys makes a difference. Reading them helps me make it through the day.

        Thank you.

      • Please don’t give up Kelaine! Take one day at a time. Find the magical moments and goodness. Don’t let the enemy win this one. Your husband loves you and you know this. But also let him date you! Let him do some doing and giving, it will allow you both to feel better. Lucky you to get this chance to have an even deeper and better love. You have every thing to gain if you give it a chance. You can always change your mind another day.

      • Thank you for your very encouraging words. I am working very hard to look at each day from a hopeful place. Triggers are hard to deal with but my husband remains steadfast and supportive. He has his own demons that he is working on but there is a new level of honesty between us that has not existing in many years, if ever. Hoping that Christmas will bring new memories that I want to keep and help edge out the bad ones.

      • Kelaine, I’ve come to realize there will always be a hole in my heart. I’ll never again be able to boast of my husbands infinite faithfulness or our togetherness. Yes, we all have reasons to leave, but let it be for a better reason than HER– someone who can gain attention only by spreading her legs. I’ve realized that’s all she is and lacks the character and integrity to even feel contrite over what she’s done– just blames it all on him. He loves YOU, he chose YOU. There are so many flashbacks, dates on the calendar, places, etc, to that time when I didn’t know. Those hurt me so much. I fight those feelings many days and have to count my blessings I do have. I realize too that most people have been divorced at least once, and that could be us, but I just look at it like we are in a second marriage together with a beautiful future ahead and so many memories to make together. Like I said the hurt will always remain, but there is a pure news and a transparency to our love now that is so precious. Stay strong

    • I am just over three years for my Dday! My husband and I had been married just over 40 years. We have 3 grown children and 8 grandchildren. Never would I have imagined that he was having an affair. After I discovered it, we work hard on our marriage by reading self help books and open commutation and a new found commitment. He changed jobs, changed cars. It is still hard but I just keep busy and keep smiling, and yes, there is always something to be grateful for. I am grateful not many know about this. I made that decision because he is good man that made a horrible mistake that is going to be with us forever.

      • We have been married 42 years (3 grown children, 5 grandchildren) when my husband decided to have his affair beginning this time last year. As devastating as it was it has forced is to work on our marriage. And I have not told anyone about this…pretty sure he hasn’t either. It is hard but we do have a lot to be thankful for so that helps me to move forward. It also helps to know I am not alone in this!

  13. I am 2 years out from D-day. I feel so empty inside sometimes that I wonder if I’ll ever heal. I feel so much anger and resentment still. I have let these feelings just settle in to me and I don’t know what to do anymore. My marriage has suffered greatly. I know our family has been the glue to hold it together. I thank you for your blog because I don’t feel so lonely. I don’t have anyone to talk to about my feelings so this says to me that there are women in my shoes who know what it’s like as sad as that may be. I’m so sorry that you and others have had to have these feelings. This Thanksgiving has been like the others just had to get through it. Life moves forward. It always has and always will. I wish you nothing but joy in this holiday season.

  14. I am thankful for this post. I am thankful that I have a place to turn where other know my exact pain and struggles. I need to ask you a question… advice… I am three years in after d day, there are still times that I want to talk about the affair and try to understand the why and how it happened but I’m always afraid to bring it up. Do you have the same struggle? Any advice would be so helpful. Hate just living everyday pretending like I’m not thinking and wondering about it. Is it best to let laying dogs lie…. no pun intended ladies 🙂

    • Everyone handles it differently according to their own personality, confidence, and self-esteem.
      I feared losing what I had. Then it occurred to me that I didn’t HAVE much.
      It wasn’t till I gained confidence in myself, took charge of everything, and said I can do this on my own and be happy, IF I want too. I did. I became the master of my own life, and I do it with confidence.
      Take charge of your life. 🙂

    • Even after 5 years, I struggle with this broken heart. I haven’t asked about things related to the affair, sometimes I want to, like about if he’s over her, or did he remember what it was like then, since I’ve relived it every day since. But I don’t want to give the past that kind of power. I want to savor what we have today. Does what you question really matter in the scheme of things today? Maybe it does for you. Every day is a new day of learning to let go as it was ruining my health and life. I am truly thankful for this blog to know I’m not alone too. Thank you!

  15. Thanks for this. I appreciate these popping up in my email at just the right time. Hoping everyone going through this finds peace and joy eventually.

  16. I read the wonderful words in my inbox today. I am 3 mo since my d-day. It will be our 37th anniversary this December. This is the second time he’s done this to me. I heard all the” I love you” and I’d never do this again etc back when we celebrated our 10th anniversary, now 27 years later reliving the nightmare again. I pray for God to help me with all of this, again. No one should ever have to feel this way, and to think that for me its the second time its unthinkable. Im working on focusing on what makes me happy to get me thru the days. You can find things in a day to smile about. God bless you all and keep you happy.

  17. Thank you for the reminder that our lives are so much bigger and more important than our husbands and their affairs. It is such a long, slow and tedious process digging up from under the pile of hurt and mess but we keep digging, we make progress and the light does get in more and more.

  18. I have often said how so very helpful this blog is to me and all of you ladies-I read EVERY single comment to each post. I am over one year past Dday and I will tell you that the first major holiday that was very difficult for me was last Christmas. I was literally paralyzed and shell shocked. I will tell you, especially ones looking for peace and hope, that it really does get better. As long as you are BOTH committed to doing the work together, talking about everything from your feelings that pop up, to your fears. As well as the love and good things you are grateful for. I can relate to not being able to utter a positive/grateful word last Holiday season but the one thing I did say to my husband was that I was happy we are together. If both continue to do this, the healing begins. I do have bad dreams and nightmares periodically, that is difficult as it breaks my sleep but I do fell better after I come to of course! Whenever my husband happens to ask “how did you sleep?” I tell him if I have had a troubled night, sometimes he wants to know about it and sometimes he doesn’t prod further because he feels guilt and shame which he admits to me. That helps too. Stay strong ladies always. I wish there was a way for us all to meet each other………..what a hug fest that would be!

    • Thank you. I’m having the first Christmas. 7months. Just said to my husband…at least it’s better than last year. No more lies. No more crazy making. No more confusing tension. I’m free of all that….at least.

  19. 10 months post D Day…married 28 years. Talk about devastated!!
    But…..progressing as best we can. Fully repentant, remorseful husband, such a broken soul, my heart aches for his hurt…..my own is indescribable.
    Thankful for encouraging words, spoken in truth and love…..keep the faith.
    Esther 4: 14 “And who knows but that you were born for such a time as this”

  20. It’s Christmas. 7 months from D-Day. Married 32 years. Got an email at work in June from AP. told me my husband had a three year affair with her 16 years ago. She was married then, 30 and I was 46 with two teenage kids holding down the fort after numerous work related moves. Then he had contacted her recently…still “lonely” having never resolved any of his issues. Things in our marriage had escalated to really toxic. Still gaslighting me, why don’t you trust me. (Also, much to my shame, read books about “not telling me”. I asked him, did they also advise to never having sex with your wife. He self justified that I was happy with no sex….I didn’t want him!). So she dropped the bomb on him when he asked for sex “just one more time” after 13 years and her father just died.

    Anyways, so much of your blog could have been written by me. I am blown away by your honesty to share the internal struggle with al of this conflict. Was my husband a monster or a lost soul who’s one mistake spiralled into a rabbit hole. He boxed himself in good with his compartimentalization. He even spoke about not wanting to “hurt her feelings” by ending it. I gasped when I read your identical words.

    Well I have to go attend to my husband’s mother and his family for dinner.. no one knows. So I’m using this opportunity like journaling to keep my anger at bay. My choice.

  21. I am 6 months from D-Day, which happens to be my son’s birthday. I am also having a hard time letting go of what we had and trying to be ok with what we are building now. I never realized how fragile men’s egos are. Loving them isn’t enough to prevent infidelity. It is comforting to know that there are others struggling and it’s not my own weakness keeping me here. Thank you all for sharing.

  22. hello, i am thankful to have found your blog. i found comfort in reading them. its been 12 days since my husband confessed that he had been cheating on me since the beginning of 2016.. i know its a short period of time but the pain is unbearable. waking up feeling like my heart is ripped out, crying is exhausting. my story is, i’ve know my husband for 10 years and we’ve been married for 2 years.. and already he had cheated in the second year of our marriage. i was dumbfounded when those words came out from him. my heart stopped. my hand felt cold. i was devastated. i felt betrayed. how could he do this to me? now, i dont know what to do. his reasons were we didnt communicate but i feel like that is not a strong enough reason for him to cheat on me because things like that can be fixed. we still live together since he revealed his affair.. and decided to decide within this one month either to go into “trial relationship mode” and be together and fix things for another 4 months or to go our seperate ways by the end of this month. i’m not sure what to do.. but what i am sure is, i still do love him, and i do want to work things out, and i know that i will make an effort to make sure this marriage stays, but will he? will he commit? reading your blog gives me hope, that i can still be happy.. thank you. please keep writing❤

  23. I completely agree..the thing that has helped me the most was making the decision to be happy. To not wallow anymore. To take control of my life as you say.. and because of that I’m graduating college finally after 20+ years. I did it for me because I couldn’t control at the time what had happened to me or the roller coaster of emotions I was on but this I could control…what I did next. I also poured myself into exercising in the aftermath..it was a tremendous help to get the yuck out of me. If there is one thing I’ve learned I’m a hell of lot stronger than I thought I was and I will survive…because I’m choosing to ! Thank you for sharing your journey..it makes those of us ,who have the same secret, to not feel so alone because this can be very isolating..so thank you!

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