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Wife had an affair but I still love her
Just wanted to see if anyone has experienced infidelity during their marriage and decide to stay with their wife. I caught my wife cheating six weeks ago and I still love her but I'm struggling to move forward as I still have images in my head of her and her lover. She developed an emotional and physical connection with him and it destroys me just thinking about it. She admitted that she loved him and that he was her best friend. But she also questioned herself if she knows the meaning of love.
We've been married for nine years and have two kids. She has ended her affair and has committed to work on our marriage. She says she loves me more than ever and is being very affectionate and loving towards me.
One day I feel ok, the next I feel depressed. I'm seeing counseling and it's helping a bit but I feel like I need to talk to someone who's experienced this to help me get through it. How do I stop these toxic images and thoughts and get back to normality? Or am I being dishonest to myself and making myself suffer depression?
Any help is much appreciated.
Welcome to beyondblue. Wow, that has got to hurt. Firstly, you really can't stop thoughts like those. There's a reason you are having them. If you try, they will be repressed and you'll suffer in other ways (irritability, insomnia, misplaced aggression to name a few). When bad things happen to us we need to process them in meaningful ways before we can move on. Normal is slow to return, and when it does it isn't the same normal as the old normal, it's a new normal.
If I were you, I'd be asking myself a few questions: (you can talk to your counsellor about them or come back here if you like, I'll keep checking if you do want to chat here)
(see next post, I ran out of room and had to split it)
-Do I trust her, can I imagine ever being able to trust her again, do I want to trust her again? (I'm not expecting you to trust her right now, but the second and third questions are more predictive of the outcome...)
-He's her best friend... does she want to break that off, if they stay friends can I handle it? (A good idea to work out how you would handle this, it's hard enough being around someone's ex in a mutual friend setting let alone it being someone they had an affair with. Forewarned is forearmed so preparation will ... prepare you.)
-Do the changes I'm seeing in her in her feelings and actions to me since she broke it off seem genuine and long lasting? (Some people can be very convincing and fool us all, and even if not so, I'd be worried about guilt motivating her to say things to make you feel better...)
-Is she willing to undertake therapy too? I recommend couples therapy for you because it seems that you both want to work through the problems and that will give you the chance to say what you need to say to each other in a mediated and non threatening situation, then you may be both able to move on. Basically, an affair is a problem with a relationship, not a problem with you in particular. That's why I think you both should be seeing someone together (NB It's important to continue with your individual sessions too as I think they will be able to help you, but at some point you may want answers from her and couples therapy is probably a good setting for that to occur in)
At the end of the day, it's not worth staying with her if the *staying* is also going to make you miserable... if this might be the case, it might be that you are more afraid of change than afraid of losing her. She can't take the kids away from you anyway, the courts will see to that if it comes to it.
Either way, she's done what she's done, you can't change it, so the best thing to do is exactly what you're already doing, trying to make a go of it the best way you can. The decision must be yours and yours alone (not even hers.).
Good luck and please stay in touch, love to hear how you are getting on.
Hi Lanson. I think I'd initially be just as suspicious as you if my spouse had cheated, been caught, then said the affair was over. I am sorry she hurt you, from the sounds of things, she is too. How long had she been seeing him before you found out? All sorts of questions go through your mind over something like this, the main one being 'why?' Trust takes a long time to build in any relationship, but when one partner has an affair, the trust disappears completely. You have two ways you can handle this. You can choose to accept her word the affair is over, and work with her to re-build the marriage, or you can hold it over her head. If you decide to accept her word that she is prepared to re-commit to the marriage, then basically you have to decide to let go of the past completely. The toxic images you speak of are yours, not hers. She probably feels really guilty and doesn't need the constant reminders of what she did wrong. I'm not taking sides, please don't think that. But judging her, watching every move, mulling over the past is counter-productive and not helping either of you. Each time she kisses or hugs you, she is kissing and hugging you, not him. Accept her affection for what it is, true and committed. I realize how hard it is, but if you don't meet her half way, you could lose her and I feel you want to re-commit as much as she does. Perhaps if you see a counsellor together, it could help also. Try suggesting this to her.
Is she able to love 2 people in the same way that a married couple love each other, or is one love a pretend love just to keep the peace.
Countless times I have dreams of my ex having an affair which I mentioned to my eldest son, and he too thought she was doing this while we were married, as I caught her twice ringing from a public phone booth twice, but also found out she did it while we were on holidays, and as soon as we were divorced it didn't take long for her to live with another person, so my trust for her had gone, and I never believed her when she said she was working if she was home late.
I will continue this on as there is much more to say as I have to go, but I hope that you can reply back in the meantime. Geoff.
Everyone is different on this topic.
But before my wife and I were married 5 years ago we talked and we both agreed our marriage would be over if one of us had an affair. We are older than you though.
However, two kids involved and loving feelings and it becomes a tough decision. Does one forgive, try to move on and live on hope?. It a subjective question. Its a tough one.
If younger, I would, if given sincere reassurance, give it another go. But, as Geoff mentioned re: not trusting their account for them missing for hours here and there...I would set down some rules. It wasn't you that breached the trust so whatever her protest, she has to wear it.
These days of mobile phones, she should for some time keep contact when working extra hours etc. This might mean you don't fully trust her...but how could you anyway. ?
For many of us once trust is broken its gone forever. But you have to weigh it up. Moving back in for a 6 month trial wouldn't hurt on the understanding you could leave again permanently if you are not convinced her commitment is there.
She might realise her action was stupid and not in the interests of everyone involved including the kids.
When you said that when bad things happen, we need to process them in meaningful ways. I believe in this theory very much as I feel that if I don't process it now I may have a delayed reaction down the track that may cause more harm.
As for your questions, I can imagine trusting her again and I want to. And to do this I understand that my wife and I will have to agree on setting some things in place to help build that trust.
Her and the other guy were not literally best friends as they only met late February. She saw him as a best friend as she felt comfortable talking to him about anything. Similar to when her and I started dating, we could talk for hours about anything.
Her actions towards me since she broke off her affair I feel are very genuine. Although iniatlly I was unsure if she wanted to be me for the right reasons as her affair ended in bad terms and felt that she's with me for only that reason.
We're seeing marriage counseling at the moment which we both are willing to do. It does help but I still find myself asking her about her affair. I know that knowing the details of her affair may hurt me but my curiosity eats me up inside.
We're still not back to normality mainly due to my mood swings. One minute I'm happy and feeling loved, the next my head starts pondering about her and him and the things they did and said to eachother. Sometimes I feel that everything we share as a couple are not so special anymore. Sometimes I question her as a person and her morals.
Why do I still love her after all this? Why do I still want to be with her? Why should I take her back after she hurt me so much? How long should I endure this whole healing process? Am I better off leaving now and try to heal by myself?
All I know is that I genuinely love her and I really want to be with her. Sometimes I wish it was just a nightmare and wish that I could wake up and everything would be back to how it was.
Hi Lanson. You are on the right track as far as re-building your marriage. Yes, curiosity will 'eat' you. It's rather like a toothache. The tooth has been pulled, but the memory of the pain is still there. You are fighting an internal battle of wanting to know, but wishing she wouldn't tell you. Unfortunately, you can't have it both ways. If you insist on asking, then you have to be prepared for her to tell you, or you simply don't ask, and when the curiosity factor starts overwhelming you, try giving her a hug or kiss. It is an emotional nightmare and you're the only one who can control how often you dwell on it. The things you shared before, you can share again, if you want it. Your special love will return, but again, it depends on you. I know she betrayed you, but you are still allowing the memory of the betrayal to come between you. If she is doing nothing to cause you not to trust her, and from the sounds of it she isn't, start re-building with her. She has told you she loves you, she is trying to prove it, accept her love and trust. Tony suggested a six month trial, talk to her about this, see how she feels.
I endorse what Lynda just said.
These sort of decisions aren't easy but many decisions in life aren't easy.
Reading your last post....try not allowing your mind run away with imagination. Some of us are married to a partner that has had previous partners yet I don't imagine those men with my wife. It is different of course but I'm using that as an example of where you need to erase thoughts.