The Cycle of Anger, Hate, and Forgiveness After the Affair

Recently I’ve experienced these surges of anger that take hold of my emotions. It’s almost like a visceral hatred rises out of nowhere and fills my brain. I was sitting on the couch saying good-bye to my husband as he left for work and as I watched him walk out the front door I was angry. But not just angry, I was vexed with idea of him having sex with Bat Shit. As I stared at my husband I was internally infuriated, but on the outside smiling and wishing him a good day at work. He closed the door and it took everything inside of me to breathe out the hatred and let go of the past. Two weeks later, that same feeling swelled inside me as I watched my husband getting ready to go to a meeting.

During the first two years of this blog I regularly received comments from women (some OWs) that pointed out that my anger was misdirected. I was seething with anger for Bat Shit and there was a huge part of me that wanted to prove that she was a horrible woman and my husband was a pawn in her game. While I think that my mindset during that time was essential in order to move forward and continue to care about my husband, I know Bat Shit is not part of my marriage. Her intentions and actions have nothing to do with my husband’s decision to cheat on me.


Is it possible that all of those emotions just caught up to me or is this just a normal part of forgiveness?

During the first few years it felt like it was up to me to forgive my husband. He apologized, showed his love for me, and met me more than halfway. He did everything I needed. He answered every question I asked. He was opening up and bringing me back into his world. I was falling apart and trying to find my balance in a world that seemed more foreign than I ever imagined. Loneliness took over after D-Day and I still have to remind myself not to completely disengage from the world. It’s easier to be sad when you are alone and sometimes I have just wanted to feel the pain.

I just read a quote that said:

Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself.

A few years ago, I might have pinned that quote on my Pinterest board and agreed. Forgiveness has been largely about me needing to make peace within myself and not continuing to fault my husband for his actions. It meant letting go of my hurt. But what if forgiving my husband for his actions is superficial serenity? Obviously, my anger means that I haven’t dealt with something.

cd04430dcf9befa46df1f3dad0d4727bBoth times I was able to let go of the anger and fill my mind with loving thoughts of my husband. I had to tell myself that I am happy with our life together. I focused on our future and thought about how much I love not just our life but the way he loves me. Maybe angry emotions are normal post-affair but I am not comfortable with them. Even in the beginning, I was uncomfortable hating or being angry at my husband. Is it possible I buried all these emotions so deep that they are now just surfacing? I know anger is a response to my problems. I just need to figure out where those problems are arising from and why am I still angry about the affair? I thought I was over that part.


122 thoughts on “The Cycle of Anger, Hate, and Forgiveness After the Affair

  1. Thank you for your blog. I am now coming up to one year out from DDay, and it’s good to find someone on the interwebs who chose to make it work, but also acknowledges the enormous amount of work it takes, and the painful process that it is, rather than take one of the two options of righteously leaving, or stuffing down all emotions immediately and deny things are anything but hearts and fluffies now. Your honesty has been a boon to my journey, and also serves as some markers on what to expect as I progress and time passes. I read one of your earlier posts, and then frantically searched for your five years on, to see if you had stuck it out. Full of admiration for you, both for your determination to make it work, but also your openess about the emotions that continue to come and go, and that this is a perfectly natural reaction to the enormity of what has happened. Best wishes to you.

  2. I feel so sad for young women going through the beginning months and years after husband’s affair. I’m sure there are women who forgive him and accept his remorseful promises it will never happen again. But most of us would have sworn that our husband would never cheat on us – that we had great marriage, communicated, were best friends, shared goals and interests, and husband was honest, trustworthy, etc. Until we discovered that they lied. That they could meet her for sex and then come home and say ‘I love you’.
    I refuse to accept the excuse “I made a mistake”. A mistake might be a drunken one night stand. Every time after that is a conscious decision to pursue personal pleasure.
    32 yrs after my husband’s almost 2 yr affair with co-worker I still have moments when something will trigger it and I am flooded with anger.
    We’ve been together 40 yrs. I still love him. But his affair taught that I can live without him and be fine. Before his affair I believed I wouldn’t survive if we weren’t together.

  3. Its been 10 months since I first discovered my husband’s 10 month affair. It was with a woman 14 years younger than him (9 years younger than me) and I go through angry tantrums (only way I can describe it) every couple weeks or so. I literally go through feelings of rage where I yell and then I am okay for a good week or week and a half until I blow up again. If this is what life is like after an affair (especially seeing where she is going through it five years after), I am not sure I even want to work it out. But then again, it could be that I am still in the beginning stages of healing. Today is a particularly rough day, but I compare what I have now with my husband to what this little pop tart got from him in the past. And even though she got stolen moments here and there, he wanted to spend those moments with her, and not me. She inspired him to tap into his creativity and he designed her a $350 ring, I got diamonds that were worth more but don’t have the same meaning behind them. He has had the last 2 weeks off for vacation, and not once did he ask me to have lunch with him. Yet I think to myself how he would have off a Thursday (where I worked and our child was in school) and he’d coordinate a lie to tell me so he could go see a movie with her, or have lunch with her. Maybe I am looking at this in a negative light, but those things make me feel like maybe fighting for our marriage is not worth it. He should be going out of his way to prove to me that he loves me. Going out of his way to show me how bad of a mistake he made. How can someone really truly love you and do this to you? I might be the wife and the one he choose in the end, but she got to be the one he desired. What wife wants to be a choice to begin with? And to not feel like my husband desires me like he did his new piece of tail? I am gutted.

    • It breaks my heart that all of us should feel these things! It has been 16 months for me and this blog is where I feel most connected. So thank you for making an entry today!
      You describe my thoughts and feelings so well. I see beauty but thru the ashes so it takes on a different hue!
      There really is nothing worse than betrayal except a death of a child…. it rocks all that you believed was true and it changes everything you see and experience from that day forward!
      As I said, it breaks my heart that we, who chose to love, made excuses for bizarre behavior, who chose to believe in the best of someone we loved will feel this for the rest of our lives AND no one will quite get it except for “us”.
      I am sorry but so grateful I am not alone!
      Here is to 2018…. and oh maybe, so peace!

    • Oh Loyalty how I understand your feelings. My significant other and I (we have never married for complicated religious reasons) have been together for 9 years and he cheated for 4 months while I was away on a remote work assignment with a co-worker who is also his friend’s wife (who is also a co-worker) so they had to do some super-sneaking around in order to see each other as they all 3 work together yet he managed to make that happen day in and day out, multiple times a week and sometimes multiple times a day.

      I too have the moments where I scream to myself in my car and am filled with anger and where I play the comparison game. I too wonder why he professed his love for her after only a few weeks when with us it was a year in the making. I too wonder why he was so open about sex with her but yet has never said more than a few words about our entire sex life to me. He talked to her about sex in a very personal way (she had recently had a baby – barf – and he bought her kegel balls as she was allegedly feeling self-conscious about that post-birth) but will not even talk to me about what he likes or doens’t like except in very vague terms (e.g. “our sex is great” and “everything is fine, we just weren’t doing it enough”). Somehow he didn’t feel the need to talk to me about our lack of sex then (true – we were having basically none and it was my doing) but now still won’t talk about sex in any kind of way that is more than vague. Recently (we are 6 months from my knowing and 3 months from his confession of the affair) I have tried to talk to him about lingerie (which I know he likes), sex toys, games…and I get nothing in response. She got all kinds of response after chatting and f___ing for less than 3 weeks.

      I too wonder if fighting for my relationship is worth it – especially when I feel like I’m doing most of the work and did so little of the actual damage. I too wonder how he can possibly get frustrated when I have a moment of anger about his affair and pull away from me instead of hold me tight and say how sorry he is. I don’t grasp how he could think I should just get over this – if the shoe was on the other foot I’d been kissing his feet and begging for his forgiveness forever, yet 3 months later I’m supposed to smile and forget that he shared things with her that he still won’t share with me.

    • How are you now?
      I can’t comprehend how many people are in as much pain as this- as I am. I, too, am in a similar cycle and time line- and age difference but different story. And he too, just presses me to just let it disappear and does so little- not at all what I ask for and not really what I need, to help me over come.

  4. I just found your blog and I have to say that I could have written this. You have written about all the things I have felt and boy have I felt alone through this mess. I’m two years out and have stayed with my husband. I too have put the blame on the other woman because we all worked together. She had planned the destruction of my marriage with the help of her friends. We hadn’t worked for them for very long only about 2 months and this happened so fast. This woman was planning her wedding to my husband and was trying to get pregnant. My husband had sleep deprivation and had mixed up his medication that he had been on for depression from an injury at work a year before, he worked in corrections at that time and we were helping out a restaurant that my husband worked at 20 years before. The Dr my husband had had just changed his medication 7 weeks before the affair happened. The affair was only 10 days long at the most. A week after finding out he tried to commit suicide. This is a very complicated story and what I wrote was just a little bit of what had happened there So I have a lot of blame for this woman and her friends along with my husband. I find it hard to let it go sometimes. The pain comes like a kick in the stomach. I’m so glad that I found this blog.

  5. I’m about 9 months in.
    I can’t think, still. I don’t hope or dream or look more than hours, maybe a few days at most, ahead. I mostly feel as though I can’t live, not to die, but just unable to live. I truly do not even know what I believe or feel and life is a physical and emotional mostly pain filled fog still. We have kids, so this is wrong of me, to struggle to smile and engage them ( I do but disappoint myself) and that guilt doesn’t help.
    I think of posts here, I listen to the songs, and t helps.
    I’m sorry, I had no ideas until now, what this could do. I suspected, it was all I ever asked, that he never do this. My childhood even caused my therapist to shake her head. She is highly recommended and has much experience. But, those experiences pale in how this has crushed me, his choices to hurt me, lie and hurt our children by default. He is not dumb and while he always wants to give a reason the little lies hurt so much more than the infidelity, the post d-day lies are where the pain exists. That and his denial to know how to clean the shattered mess he created. He says he doesn’t know but everytime I say – do for me everything you would have me do, if the roles were reversed. He never has a reply. And despite my adamance that I am moving on, I am still here and he still waits for it to just blow away in the wind- always leaving me feeling less than loved. I think he knows and doesn’t, both. I have told him.
    But, thank you. If you still come here or read these, thank you. I’m sorry for your loss and your suffering. I am sorry for everyone here, I can’t even fathom ever hurting a person who trusts me – my loved ones- with my selfish ideas and actions. But, I barely function some days, still yet, so, I suppose, when you don’t feel life and can’t practice reading with your kindergartener that is too, selfish- or self serving. Despite the intention, despite my wish, I still am drowning; lost at sea.
    I can not say enough how grateful I am you found the strength to type and that somehow I clicked on your blog past all the advertisements and gimmicks that bubble to the surface on google.
    I hope you continue to share, it is very comforting, the honesty and hope you have given so far.

    • The pain will swallow you if you let it. Don’t. This – his affair – is not the whole of your being and life. It is something he has done that has hurt you, perhaps, devastated you. It changes your beliefs in love/marriage and the way you trust, but it doesn’t define who you are and what you deserve. The pain you feel is real and it cannot be buried and shoved under the carpet. He needs to accept responsibility and *try* to understand – or empathize with your pain. That may be the hardest part for the cheating spouse – truly accepting that his (or her) actions have caused this devastation, doubt, uncertainty, and destruction of what was. Marriages can be rebuilt but it takes two people to build back the foundation after an affair. I hope that you can find the resolution you need to move forward. This does not define you. I promise you. You will be happy again.

  6. Today marks 3 years. He left me on December 16,but I found out about affair on January 1.

    I’ve been through counseling and have healed in some ways, but here I am today remembering all the hurt as if it were yesterday.

    I hope you all are finding ways to heal and recover.

    Yes we are still together and I still question myself with this choice. My son is 10 now and is my reason for holding it together.

    My heart has been pierced and that wound is never going to be healed completely. Time has helped, but devastation can come back as quickly as a fleeting thought or memory makes its way into my head.

    With the Holiday Season approaching I wish you all peace. I pray you heal and can find comfort.

    December will never quite be the same…

    • Let time be your friend. Time will help you heal this wound.

      Him being gone will make it all happen sooner, rather than later. You are lucky you don’t have him there to stick a dagger in your heart every time you see him.

      Give time………………….time.

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