FAQ

Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Announcement Icon
You can win one of three $200 gift cards. Complete our survey by 5pm, 30 June 2024 AEST to enter the draw. Your response will be anonymous so you can't be identified.

Struggling after affair.

Bushboy2016
Community Member

Hi. I'm a divorced father after my own doing. I was married for 10 years with 2 children and had an affair with a work colleague almost 6 years ago. I couldn't handle the guilt and told my wife about the affair at the time.

initially she wanted to try and work it out which we tried but things didn't work out. I ended up leaving the relationship and am now married to the lady from the affair. Since then we have had 2 children.

About 18 months ago I discovered that my current wife was having an affair. She wasn't happy with how the relationship was going and sort another man. At the time we'd only be married for about 14 months but had a 2 year old child.

For many years I have been struggling with clinical depression and aniexty. And had been going through a really bad down time leading up to he affair. I acknowledged this and promised to try harder in controlling my depression and being more open about it.

I asked her to stay and promised to work on the relationship. Since then for the last 18 months I have struggled nearly everyday to come to terms with the affair. Both with trust issues and regrets.

I suppose it could be said it's just karma coming back to bite me after I left the previous marriage in the same circumstances. However one of the reasons I left was that I knew the trust issues would be hard to over come and they were for my ex wife , just like they are now for me.

I struggled with the speratiom from the kids with my separation and admit a huge reason I begged my current wife to stay was because of the kids. I suppose what I'm asking is has anyone been through a similar situation and how long am I going to feel this void from the affair. I know it's double standards since I had an affair and basically treated my ex wife the same way I've been treated now. I don't know if I should just leave and start again. I can't help how my depression and medication makes me feel sometimes.

11 Replies 11

BballJ
Community Member

Hi Bushboy2016,

Firstly, welcome to the forums.

I don't have any experiance in this particular situation you are talking about, but I just wanted to reach out because I can see the pain you are in and how this is so messy. Just wanted to reach out and say you are not alone and hopefully someone can come up with timely advice for you.

My only question is, are you seeing a psychologist for your depression/anxiety? Maybe a counsellor for both of you and your wife is needed?

My best for you and your family,

Jay

Hi jay. Yes I've been seeing a psychologist on and off for about 10 years. I've had a stint in hospital and been medicated for most of that time. I'm sure a lot of my issues are created from the depression and aneixty but I just don't seem to be getting past the affair.

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Bushboy, can I firstly say that it is impossible to 'try harder' once you have depression, the only way is to pretend, but by doing this isn't helping you, although it may seem to helping your spouse, but only under pretence.
I have to be honest here, as I always have to be, and you could say that karma has come back to bite you, because your current wife can not be trusted, she will hook up with someone else when she becomes tired of this new fellow, so it will always be an ongoing problem, having babies to different men, and making a mess of it.
All of what has happened is not going to do your depression or anxiety any better, because now you will be sad about losing 2 wives and missing your kids and then contribute all of this back to be your problem, because the trust issues are going to be overpowering.
Let's not look at this that way, because no one is ever sure what their spouse will do in the future, we automically expect that once you are married there will never be any trust issues to worry about, but unfortunately circumstances change unexpectedly which are unforeseeable.
Now you have kids from two marriages, something you probably had never wished you had, but now you have to organise meetings with them, but please don't go back to this present marriage, you will be upset even more than you are now.
You have to touch base with your doctor and hopefully you are seeing a psychologist, and if not then ask your doctor about the mental health plan, whicch entitles you to 10 free visits per year. Geoff.

Hi Geoff. First. Thanks for your reply. The problem I've got at the moment is im still in this relationship. I've been trying for 18 months now to come to terms with the affair but keep going backwards. And now we have the 2nd child makes it's even harder as you can imagine the pressures of having a new born don't exactly allow for people to get closer and work on problems. Yes it was silly of me to think that maybe another child could help the situation but at that time I really thought we were making progress and things would be good.

Hi Bushboy. Your current wife is what I would term as an habitual cheater. She is not a long-term type person. Seeing your Dr for a mental health assessment is a great place to start your recovery. Perhaps asking her straight out what her intentions are concerning you, the marriage and the children. Her answer will no doubt hurt, but I would rather know than try to guess. If she is going to keep seeing other men, you need to decide how you feel and what your options are. If you are happy (which I doubt), you will have to learn to 'look the other way'. If you are unable to accept her constant need for affairs, she needs to be told. Counseling won't really make much difference as she may promise to stop seeing other men, but her inability to remain faithful will always be in question. I would usually agree to a second chance as I believe everyone is entitled to this, but if my hubby constantly had affairs, then it would be 'curtains'.

Lynda

Hi Lynda. First thankyou for your reply. I think now my biggest problem is how much I struggled with the first divorce and thought this relationship was going to be it. And how can I possibly go through all that again and also put the kids back through it and know also with two kids from this relationship. I've been lucky with the first wife the kids have been around and we've finally come to mutual ground and understanding. But I think this time the current wife would move away with the kids and I find that the hardest to deal with.

Hi Bushboy. I totally appreciate how uncertain this thing is. Have a talk with your now wife and see if you can come to a mutual agreement where the kids are concerned. They should be your first priority. I know these days shared custody is often agreed on as kids need both parents. If your wife refuses to come to a suitable agreement, you could apply through the family court for shared custody or total custody if your wife refuses to work in with you. Try discussing it with your wife first, if she is unwilling to negotiate, then you may have to apply through the family court. Let your wife know your kids are your first priority.

Lynda

Sally1974
Community Member

Hi bushboy,

really sorry to hear how difficult things are for you at the moment. I think it can be really tough to try and make big decisions when you are not feeling great mentally.

my husband had an affair 8 years ago. I won't lie it has been the greatest challenge for me to overcome the breach of trust. It has taken years but I have been able to overcome those very raw feelings. They have lessoned with time. I think the key for me was knowing how regretful my husband was, we did counselling and learnt a lot from it.

We still have issues at times but they aren't related to his affair. I read a really good book that helped me to understand why affairs happen http://www.shirleyglass.com/book.htm

Be really gentle with yourself and if you want to stay in the relationship then from my experience that pain did lesson with each year. But it has taken me years to recover but I am glad that I stayed in the relationship.

take care and no that you are not alone at this very difficult time.

warmest wishes

sally

Dude, I know it sounds hard but try not to let too much from your past influence current matters.

I can tell you from experience that getting involved with an affair partner usually ends in the toilet. Its just does. But what is done is done and you need to plan for the future. If I were you I would try my best to try and cease all self flagellation. It's not helping. All it's doing is giving her the green light to continue her crappy behaviour. What you need to ask yourself is whether or not you're willing to forgive her and try and repair you're relationship, and separate that out from the flawed perspective of keeping the ship afloat for the kids benefit. Yes the kids are top priority, but they can't thrive if their parents are living in long term turmoil.

In other "forums" they talk about the "go plan being the same as the stay plan". Which basically means the best course of action is to intensively work on sorting your own stuff out regardless of the outcome. Whether or not she stays or goes, or you go, or stay, or whatever - you are working on yourself to become the best man you can be. And that's not too difficult. I get people can be depressed but regardless you've got to drag your ass out of bed every morning and work on your plan - to be a good man, a good dad, a good partner, whatever.

I get that you're worried about depression, medication, side effects, losing your family, your sanity, everything. But I don't think you're addressing the root of the problem. You're likely in this relationship due to your guilt and shame about your original infidelity. You're fearful about doing something like that again, betraying the woman you're currently with. But what you've done is to further nerf your personality and give up your own happiness. You've gone out of the frying pan and into the fire. Look I could be totally wrong but I feel exactly the same way. I cheated, married the one I cheated with and it all went crap after 7 or 8 years.

You haven't really said why your current wife wasn't happy, but you know what, it doesn't matter now. She went and had an affair. It's a really lousy thing to do to someone, as we all know. Just because it's part of your past doesn't excuse it. What you need to do is decide whether or not you're willing to change. Change to become a better person, regardless of the odds, regardless of depression, feeling crap, being treated like crap, etc. Whether or not you're willing to start creating boundaries.....