Infidelity: Consequences of Punishing the Offending Partner

elder-couple-woman-in-focusIn this article I want to focus on one particular aspect of recovering from an affair: punishing the offending partner.

I am frequently asked, “How long is this pain going to last?!” That’s impossible to answer, but I do know one way to shorten the life span of your pain, and perhaps shorten the recovery process. What’s my secret? If you’re punishing your partner, stop. Why? Because punishment can slow the recovery process, thereby extending the pain you are working so hard to reduce.

In my office, I frequently hear the injured party telling their partner, “I want you to hurt for as long as possible, just like I do. You’re just going to have to take this punishment and deal with it!” The punishment begins in a wide variety of forms that ultimately prolong the injured party’s pain. In the early stages of recovery, dishing out punishment seems to provide the injured party a semblance of control after feeling profoundly powerless, helpless, and deeply wounded.

The Downsides to Punishment

First of all, punishment can lead to bitterness in one or both partners. Bitterness is swallowing a poison pill hoping the other party will die.

Second, it delays recovery due to the need for more repair. Punishment causes additional pain to a relationship already suffering on several levels. More pain means more recovery work. More recovery work takes more time. Inflicting emotional pain in someone else seldom leads to relief from our own pain because our brains are simply not wired to do that.

Punishing the offending partner means the injured party is working at cross purposes. For example, let’s pretend you are the injured party. Part of you wants to stop feeling so terrible and get your life back, perhaps save the relationship, or try to figure out whether or not the relationship even can be saved. Another part of you wants your partner to suffer, so you punish them. But punishing your partner, although understandable, only adds more pain to the relationship. The pain you feel as a result of the affair is real, deep, and pervasive. Adding pain to one side of the relationship while simultaneously trying to reduce it on the other side simply will not work. It is impossible to repair something that is simultaneously being damaged.

Alternatives to Punishment

  1. Realize that your desire to punish is normal, but it’s the consequence of your own pain.
  2. Understand that purposely causing pain for pain’s sake in your partner will not relieve your pain in the long run, even if it seems to provide a short-lived sense of satisfaction.
  3. Talk with your partner in detail about your pain! Expressing your pain gives you a greater likelihood of being heard and understood. It also provides an opportunity for your partner to experience their own pain derived from losing your trust, damaging their credibility, and losing their integrity, not to mention the realization that the relationship is in jeopardy. Punishment may divert them from facing those important issues and emotions.
  4. Remember, bitterness and punishment are damaging.

Think about it: If punishing the offending party must play a role, try to make it short-lived and limited. For when it persists, bitterness may take over, individual- and couple-healing is stalled, and your pain and recovery will be prolonged. Recovery from an affair is a long, arduous process, but the recovery process can be shortened if punishment stops. If need be, find a good counselor to help out.

How do you find a counselor who has an understanding of infidelity recovery? Ask if they have read Peggy Vaughan’s book, The Monogamy Myth. If not, look until you find a counselor who has. And if you haven’t read it, do so.

If you and your partner really want to do yourselves a favor, attend one of Brian and Anne Bercht’s workshops for couples recovering from an affair.

Limit the punishment, reduce your pain, and shorten the recovery process.

© Copyright 2010 by Jim Hutt, PhD, therapist in Menlo Park, California. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • sandra c

    March 11th, 2010 at 9:24 AM

    When I discovered that my husband had had an affair in the past I punished him for months even though the affair had ended almost a year ago and he was definitely doing what it took to rebuild our marriage. I had to get that anger out but what I thought was all anger was even more than that pain. It hurt to know that he had betrayed me in that way and had risked everything that we had worked on together in our relationship for sex with another woman. After I was through with the raging we were finally able to get it all together but it is not an easy task to forgive it and move on to something like that. I know that it is essential to get past the anger but that does not need to be rushed. You have to take the time that you need to recover and come to that place where you are ready to move forward.

  • A petersen

    March 11th, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    If you really love you partner and are keen on keeping him/her even after the infidelity,you should understand that both of you,and not just your partner,need to work very hard to make the relationship work again.This includes you refraining from inflicting pain onto your partner and from doing others things that will increase the problem rather than solving it.

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.d

    Jim Hutt, Ph.d

    April 1st, 2010 at 12:49 PM


    Your point is well taken, and also I applaud you and your husband for sticking to it and being able to work things out!

    Your experience highlights the difference between the anger or rage someone in your shoes feels, vs the the motive to punish the offending partner. In other words, expressing your anger/rage, pain, is not the same a punishing. However, many offending partners feel punished when they hear the power of expressed anger.

    Punishment is what an injured party does exclusively for the purposes of causing pain to the offending partner: pain for pain sake. Such as, passively doing or not doing something simply to irritate him/her. Or, actively doing something that is not in any way connected to a healthy healing process. Any behavior that might be considered ‘passive-aggressive.’

    The key distinction, again, is that the punishing behavior is not related to an effective, healthy healing process, and is produces strictly for the purpose of revenge, hurting or wounding the offending party.

    Honest expression of hurt, direct description pain, is NOT punishment. The problem is, many offending parties hear the former, and say, “when are you going to stop punishing me?” That, of course, has a way of derailing honest, appropriate expression of feelings.

    The moral of the story: Don’t define your expression of pain, hurt and feelings as punishment. Even if your partner says it is.

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.d

    Jim Hutt, Ph.d

    April 1st, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    To A. Petersen,

    You’re right–it is all about hard work. and when an affair becomes an issue to deal with, rebuilding the trust is something that cannot be over-emphasized.

  • Staying Sane

    August 13th, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    It is hard to define things….For example, I do know that my wife didn’t have sex with her partner. Instead, they had a long and deep relationship where they connected on multiple levels. Even when she was spending time with me she would keep in touch with him. He knew everything about us and she knew everything about him and his family. The first thing she would think in our bad was sometimes him. He and his message would make her day, not me who was actually there. Again, no sex, not even a kiss. Is this an affair??? It sure feels like it. As you can see, so many details of this affair, a constant source for pain…I could go for days about the pain. Should I look for all these details? Don’t you think that maybe even these expressions of pain have a limit?

  • Major Peters

    November 8th, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    I’m curious as to the projected time frame to finally be able to move forward. For us, it’s been years now, and the punishment is still being dished out like Milk Duds at Halloween.

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D

    Jim Hutt, Ph.D

    November 9th, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    Interesting metaphor–Milk Duds at Halloween. Candy at Halloween is usually asked for, so maybe your partner thinks you’re asking for punishment. Now, I realize you are not literally asking for it, but you might be metaphorically inviting it. If you have not made a conscious attempt to repair, if you have not sought counseling, if you have not taken direct steps to build trust, then the punishment continues. BUT, that doesn’t mean it’s right. In fact, it’s unhealthy, and will help nothing. I have a video about the subject at If possible, get in to counseling as a couple, but if not possible, go by yourself. If you don’t, I think it’s possible this seething stalemate will continue, and the results will not satisfy either one of you. Good luck and please keep me informed.

  • Windy Ridge Giant 44

    April 3rd, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    I guess I get your point. But I am still struggling terribly with my wife’s affair from last Fall.

    What makes it worse is her unwillingness to talk about it. I find that, more than anything else, spurs in me the urge to want to punish her.

    My biggest problem is trying to figure out how I would punish her, even if I wanted to – I am not a scheming, mean, manipulative or controlling person.

    For now, I am taking comfort that the affair is over, and all communication with the individual has stopped.

  • chaz

    April 26th, 2017 at 11:00 AM

    i am going threw the same, my wife said she had an emotional affair with a co worker but i don’t believe her,and if i ask her questions she get’s very upset and shut’s down and when she does speak it’s why can’t you just go forward and leave it in past and stop trying to dig it up and i can let go and go forward if she talks and answers my questions .

  • deep story

    January 10th, 2015 at 6:45 AM

    my partner was not loyal from the first day to the last day of our 8 year relationship. she maintained facebook and internet boyfriends that included texting sexting sending pictures etc. After finding this all out what I am left with is a deep story that i am not good at choosing partners and not worthy of loyalty. Pathetic I know and a story I know but it grabs me all the same. she lost almost 100 pounds while she was with me and my wish is that she gains it all back. She used my resources and generosity to get where she is now and it is just hard to stomach that she deserves that given she was with me in a way that was false and premeditated, I just feel done to. The advice in the article is sound though – there was pain and confusion and I say i want to move on from those two things in relationship to that relationship.

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D

    January 10th, 2015 at 3:32 PM

    Deep Story,

    Your story is a sad and powerful one. I don’t know if you are good at choosing partners or not. The sad part is that, indeed, it seems you were taken advantage of, and that can happen to any of us. The powerful part is your belief that you are not good at picking partners–because that might not be accurate. Here’s what I mean.

    In truth, ANYone can pick an inappropriate partner, and pay a stiff price as a result, if they don’t leave the relationship when they spot the warning signs.

    Is it possible there were signs of trouble that you ignored? Sometimes signs of trouble might be ignored because of a strong desire to avoid being alone, and/or fear of fighting if the trouble is pointed out. If this is the case, a more accurate belief might be that you are bad at ENDING relationships–not bad at picking a partner.

    But, if you believe you are “bad” at picking a partner (a very powerful and perhaps inaccurate belief), and also believe that you are not worthy of loyalty, the combination of those beliefs is likely to set you up emotionally to end up in a bad relationship because being in a bad relationship may unconsciously be what you think you deserve, and that may seem better than not being in one at all.

    Get in to counseling and discuss these ideas. You can figure this out. We all deserve to be loved, and that includes you.

  • Roger

    April 7th, 2015 at 7:57 PM

    Unless the offending partner feels the true consequences of their actions, it is highly likely the offenses will be repeated. Just human nature. Do not be a putz a second time.

  • Caz

    June 21st, 2015 at 6:52 PM

    I am a cheater. I am doing everything I possibly can to reconcile with my wife. However, I feel she mostly wants to punish me. I have said – countless times – that the damage and pain I have caused is entirely my fault – that I have put her in the position she is now in due to me having an affair – but every opportunity she gets – she will say things like – well its YOUR fault I’m here – It’s YOUR fault this… YOUR fault that etc…As if she thinks I have forgotten or will forget what I’ve done. How could I ever forget – I live with the pain and consequences of my actions for TWO people… her and me…. she also doesn’t seem to talk about her feelings as such – more about the affair only – and trying to make comparisons with other things in my past – which are not relevant – nor do they even correlate for comparison – so I’m not sure what is going on….
    I don’t want to hurt my partner – I’m doing everything I can possibly do to show my commitment to reconciliation – but I’m not so sure she is as committed as she says she is. Anyone have any suggestions for me please?

  • Jim Hutt

    June 22nd, 2015 at 4:29 PM

    Either get in to counseling with someone who understands affair recovery dynamics, or, attend a weekend workshop conducted by the Beyond Affairs Network. You can find them online.

  • Hazel

    July 28th, 2015 at 5:44 AM

    I got married in December 2015 and kept in touch via Skype with male acquaintances I had met on-line. One was an ex bf, and a few who had been friends for years, or males from chat/single sites. They all knew I had got married and I messaged them just to catchup. Unfortunately I had already had promised my husband 3 months earlier that I wouldn’t keep in touch with males, but failed to do so and thus respect his feelings. He was upset that I had been underhand and used skype to hide this behaviour seeing no-one had my number that I had changed a few months earlier, and understandably felt I was being duplicitous.
    He found out by going through my phone and was understandably extremely angry and upset with me. Note, I was not having an affair of any sort with any of them, and none of the convos were flirtatious. I acknowledged he was right to be hurt and angry and I would stop and make it up to him. He questioned me why, and I said it was just a bad habit, I was used to speaking to lots of people and since marriage had found no avenue for talking to people as we didn’t spend much time away from one another, except while I was at work, and was not accustomed to this. Even going to see my parents more than once a week was questioned, even though before marriage he had said twice a week sounds reasonable. So i needed an avenue to just rant sometimes, about the change and how it was a bit difficult, and i didn’t want to rant to friends and family as they might think i wasn’t happy, and i didn’t want to rant to him else he feel hurt.
    He decided to take my phone and ipad off me, and left me with my work phone. He took my passwords for my email accounts and facebook. He made me go through my bank accounts and promise I had no more accounts, to show him I didnt have another phone and nor was I sending gifts to other guys. He was annoyed at how much money I had spent the first few months of marriage which I put my hands up and agreed to and said I had a little crazy spell getting excited any buying lots of new things, and agreed I need to budget and calm down. Which I did, but later he would bring it up infront of people that I was a bad spender, and I would hurt that yes I was and I admitted it and I tried to correct it but you use it against me.
    He also told me to stop seeing friends, and for a period of 4 weeks the only outside people I met, were my family for 4hrs 1 day a week. I didn’t have a car so was going straight from work to home, where we lived with his parents. He would give me periods of access to my phone for an hr in the evenings. When I challenged this one night as I wanted to send a text at 11pm and he wouldn’t let me, he threw my phone out the window. He would read all my messages, be them from females or group conversations. When I asked him why he wouldn’t answer, later I would see screen shots of conversations he went back 2-3 months earlier where my friends has said something negative against me. Later when I asked why he went through female conversations he said it was to see if I had mentioned any males to them and they knew of anything else I had been upto. He deleted a female friends number from my phone because he didn’t like what she said in a message (she said if I needed a time out she could come boost me out of the house). He already had bad blood with another female friend of mines who I had stopped talking to, but told me to also stop going anywhere she might be with mutual friends, and remove me from a phone whatsapp group which included her – this meant losing access to a group friendship with friends of mine for 20 years. Which I did.
    I asked him to stop punishing me, as all these things were making me feel isolated and suffocated, and mentally I wasn’t sure how I could handle this long term. Bear in mind I had moved into his family home and it had only been 6 weeks, and was getting used to a new place, feeling uncomfortable in a new house with new rules/people and trying to fit in etc. When I complained he said I had said I would do what it takes, and I replied yes I will, within reason. But his and mines ‘reasonable’ were on opposite ends.
    He went into my skype ID and contacted males on it as me, telling them I was unhappy in my marriage and asking them to come see him, the males would then jump at booking a hotel and getting naughty with me and he held that against me. I said to him, but I wasn’t behaving that way to them, you were. But he judged me by the type of people I was talking to. I was like these are online guys, you talk to them like that, they are going to jump at the chance. One of them was an ex so he asked them when we were last together and got details of our relationship (NB I ended my relationship with him a couple of weeks into when I initially met my husband). Later on I relogged back in and seen the conversations he had been having as me with them, told them my account had been hacked and I deleted all the contacts and the account. He was then angry I still logged in and contacted these men and what they meant to me. I said nothing but you made them think I was unhappy and wanted an affair, thats not fair of you to demean me that way so I sent them that line and deleted it so he couldn’t do it again.
    He contacted my family and siblings to tell them what I had been up to, that I had been having an affair and for them to talk some sense into me. I asked him what was the point in doing that, especially when I was admitting to him what I did was wrong (chatting to guys – I did not have an affair) and I wouldn’t do it. He said they should know. He told my parents, and they reacted negatively to him, as in my culture this was a really bad thing for a woman to do, and they felt he should have hid this from them and dealt with it hisself. My mother told him off for going into my things and he got upset at them for being loyal to me and not telling me off the way he wanted them to. He deemed my parents unfit parents who had given me too much freedom and no wonder I was like this. All very hurtful things for me to hear, especially as he demeaned my parents by saying these things to them infront of them. It was my actions not theirs. Things I told him in confidence about my family set up he brought up and used in front of them saying that behaviour might be ok in their house but not his. He brought up my physical relations with the ex to my father and made me admit to it. My father is religious so it ashamed him and my dad went quiet. My husband was annoyed my father did not tell me off.
    His family kept telling me to listen to him. Just do as he says he will calm down.
    I tried. It came to a head when we one day he took me to work and we spoke about joint finances. I told him the way the trust was broken in our relationship I didn’t feel ready for it and we could talk about it another time. At this point he told me fine, to go into work and hand in my notice in and I wasn’t to work anymore. As he didnt trust I was at work and not out meeting guys, as I have a flexible office with remote login allowed etc. He based this on when we were dating and I would see him for long lunches and take my laptop with me and login on his phone. I said to him why would I cheat on you, I got married to you, and I wasnt having an affair or met anyone I shouldnt have, and that he was being unreasonable. He said he couldnt trust me so I had to do this. I owed my father money and he had been going on at me for 4 months to give it back to my father. I couldn’t understand why it was a problem. He felt I wasn’t respecting him and being disloyal to him. So that same day he made me take that money out of the bank. He took it saying he would give it to my dad when he picked me up that night from a friends. I was distraught at being told to hand my notice in that I went home to my parents. When I messaged him later to say I was there he told me not to bother coming back, and when my father phoned his parents to say he would be over with me the next day, he text me again to say my father was not welcome in his house.
    I ignored him and went round the next day. He wouldn’t let my father enter the house, my father got confused with this angry behaviour and panicked and phoned my older brother to come. In our community you arent rude to elders or disrespect them and generally keep quiet in front of them, so was a pretty bad thing that happened. I was upset and couldn’t believe this was my husband and how he was behaving. He said that because they had been rude last time they came, he didn’t want him in his house. When we got access in, and asked him about the money he proclaimed ‘what money’. Later on he admitted it was not there. Wierd since he had taken it from me the day before and I had messaged him then to say my father and I would be over the next day. I left his house that day with my father without the money. While we were outside he called the police on my brother saying he had threatened him. The police came and I told them he had my phone and money, they asked him and got my phone from him, and he again stated he didn’t know anything about the money.
    When I went home I realised he had changed my passwords on my email accounts so I started to change passwords, but he locked one down completely with 2 type authentication. Again I felt he was punishing me.
    I did go back again when some religious leaders got involved but the relationship was difficult, we went on holiday that he wanted to go to, but when it came to paying he expected me to pay for it all and said he didn’t have the money. I didn’t mind paying but i didn’t like the way he went about it. No transparency.
    He wanted apologies from my mum and dad to his parents, my brother and father to him, etc.
    I managed to get the money back via a cheque but it took 3 weeks. I asked him for cash (as thats how he took it) but he wouldnt – when I asked him later why, he said he was being obstinate.
    After all this I needed a break from him and decide what to do next as I felt our relationship was broken and went home to parents. While there when I stopped talking to him, as he wouldn’t call me himself and I got annoyed and stopped calling him too. After this he couldn’t handle that I was not talking to him, that after I had ‘cheated’ on him how dare I think I might not want to be in this marriage and got annoyed. He called me a tramp, accused my brother of slashing his tyres, blamed the breakdown of my marriage on my anger and my family and my dirty ways. Told my family he would be issuing me with divorce, but later on backtracked and wanted to try again.
    Unfortunately I have been married 7 months and I have more bitterness and punishment in this relationship than love. I have tried within reason to do what he wants but his demands escalate, without understanding the consequence of his words and actions. I told him I never wanted to be in a relationship where my husband doesn’t respect me and calls me names. No matter what I have done for you, you still see as I haven’t done enough and that I am disloyal to you and a disobedient wife. I told him I cut ties with friends, gave him access to my things, was transparent, went against family to marry him, but this wasn’t enough loyalty. But this is where I am, deciding if my actions were so bad that this behaviour on his part is ok, is it my punishment, should I repent more etc. So in conclusion, when punishing an offending partner, please think of the consequence and ensure those punishments are suitable, because all it does is push the partner away after a time when they see no matter what they do it isn’t helping.
    Sorry for the rant, once you start typing, you can’t stop :)

  • Evelyn

    August 24th, 2015 at 12:44 PM

    I have been with my boyfriend for a year, and he cheated on me twice with two different girls. I discovered the facts two months ago and he apologized and has shown true change and effort to save our relationship. What I’m struggling with is with pain and the urge to control him. Know where he is, what he is doing, and always wondering if he’s chatting with other women, since this was one of the ways in which he cheated on me. He has started to feel sad and angry due to my controlling behavior and says I’m being violent for not respecting his privacy and showing him that I don’t trust him. I really want to relax, trust him and stop feeling so anxious when we are not together. What can I do?

  • jim hutt, Ph.D.

    August 25th, 2015 at 10:05 AM

    As a couple you are in the very early stages of recovering from the infidelity. Evelyn, your anxiety is high, and your trust is low, both understandable. Your boyfriend sounds like he is responding negatively to your attempts to reduce your anxiety through control, and you both end up spinning your wheels. This is a very complicated and complex set of issues, and requires you to get counseling from a seasoned therapist who understands all the complexities. In the meantime, you can each begin by considering two things, one for each of you: Evelyn, trying to control his behavior will not serve to reduce your anxiety, it will actually increase it. Your boyfriend–he would do well to offer complete transparency, rather than have you drag it out of him. That might help reduce your attempts to control. In the long and short term, building trust is a painstaking undertaking, but is required for the two of you to arrive at a more comfortable, intimate place, and you both will have to participate in building that trust. He hinders the building of trust by not being transparent, and you hinder it by being controlling. That’s an over-simplified way of describing it, as there is much that goes in to building trust. And, of course, being able to talk about all this stuff in a way that leads to each of you understanding each other’s experience is crucial. If talking about it is typically unproductive, again, counseling can help. Good luck going forward, as I understand how painful and frustrating this recovery process is.

  • Kaya50

    November 20th, 2015 at 5:10 PM

    As the former wife of a cheater I would like to comment on this subject. I think the only way to go on with your life after being lied to, cheated on and betrayed, is to divorce this person and remove yourself out of a toxic situation.
    After being for 20 years I discovered my ex husbands affair with a young co worker. He blamed me for being crazy, too old, too far, too boring etc. My entire world shattered. If he was so unhappy with me or the family he should have asked for a divorce instead of bringing a third person into our marriage. He left one night with a few bags and told me “I am not in love with you anymore”. Translation “I am having an affair with my co worker.”
    I was devastated. I cried, I grieved , I begged. Until I found a great divorce attorney and filed for divorce. I had it. I will never be someone’s choice especially not the person I am married to. I took him to court and hurt him financially like he never imagined. Emotionally I was not able to get revenge. But financially I came out the winner. I stopped all contact with him.
    Now, almost 3 years later. I have a great life, peaceful and happy. I can now wake up without a liar next to me. His only adult son hates him. My ex lost everything. His house. His family. His money , his integrity . What an idiot.

  • Kaya50

    November 20th, 2015 at 5:22 PM

    As the faithful spouse you can never recover from the pain you experienced. The pain and hurt my ex husband inflicted on me was the most difficult time in my life. You will never be able to forget or forgive. Deep inside you will always want to inflict punishment on the cheating spouse. I truly hate divorce but it’s the only one option when it comes to adultery. I now have my self respect and my self worth back . Before I was pathetic and weak to be putting up with his crap.

  • Mrs. Devastated

    January 12th, 2016 at 3:03 AM

    Hi,my question is for Sandra c. How did u get over the hurt and anger. I really need advise as I am not able to forgive my husband for cheating 6 months ago. Pls advise? Thank you

  • The Team

    The Team

    January 12th, 2016 at 8:41 AM

    Dear Mrs. Devastated,

    Thank you for your comment. The Team is not qualified to offer professional advice, but if you are experiencing hurt, anger, or other distress, we encourage you to reach out. A therapist or counselor may be able to offer support and guidance.

    You can locate a mental health professional in your area by entering your ZIP code here:

    Please know you are not alone. Help is available, and we wish you the best of luck in your search.

    Kind regards,
    The Team

  • Kaya50

    January 12th, 2016 at 8:44 AM

    In my case I was not able to forgive my husband for he has done to me and his family. The only solution was to divorce him and cut of all contact. Not communicating with him in any way helped me over the pain and hurt he inflicted. It was his choice to step outside the marriage and have an affair with a co worker. It had nothing to do with me even though he shifted all blame on me. And this why I cut if all contact and went ahead with the divorce. I remember the minute he was served divorce papers he texted me “if you think I am coming home by you filing for divorce you are wrong”. He was that arrogant, that pompous to think I wanted him back. You have to let go of the past, take one day at a time. Now 3 years after this nightmare I am ok. I am happy with myself , I feel victorious that I stood up for myself and let him know being an inappropriate spouse has consequences. Cheating is a choice. And when people make this choice it will have repercussions. As for him. My lawyer said he is not happy. He was in a midlife crisis and could not get out. But that’s not my problem anymore. He has his freedom now to have sex with all these young minions. I will not subject myself to catching some disease because he could not be faithful. Life is better now. It is difficult ,it is painful and it was the worst experience of my life. But you will survive. You will be stronger and more resilient and most importantly you will have your self worth and self respect back. No one treats me as an option. Especially not the person I am married to. Stay strong. Let go of the past. And just take care of YOURSELF. don’t worry about him. My ex never asked for forgiveness which is not my place anyhow. He will have to answer to God one day and we won’t be pretty.

  • Manda

    April 1st, 2016 at 9:44 AM

    Hi Mrs Devastated, I am sorry to tell you your pain is only beginning. 6 months on is no time. It will hurt for a long time. You will find you will end up doing most of the repair work. You will constantly ask yourself why can’t I forget this, what’s wrong with me, why can’t I forgive etc.. They will feel guilt for hurting you.. then forget it and get on with their day. Believe me you have to really want this person to stay. Just when you think you are coping, some reminder comes, a flashback, another revelation you didn’t know about and so it goes on.. We are nearly 3 years on, he hasn’t been upfront, he apologised when I asked him to, he feels guilty, terribly, but that’s all. No pain. No flashbacks, no deep hurt, no confidence knock, no rejection.. You will carry all of that deep in your heart. That special exclusive feeling you once shared is gone forever. I’m still hanging on because we have been together 12 years, he was faithful, I used to know exactly where I was with him, he felt special, I felt special, I love him.. Nothing changed for me.. my feelings remained the same, unquestioning, unconditional love, but the truth is its broken. It can never ever be what it was. My partners circumstances changed and he chatted to someone at work about it.. They got close and he convinced himself she was the answer to his dreams. The reality was.. she didn’t want him, she is a collector of men friends.. he couldn’t give her up though and he lied and lied to hide his little meetings with her.. The lies are still coming undone, he is afraid I’ll leave him, I’m exhausted. There is no escape. Other people who leave seem to heal better, the event still is as painful as does its damage, but they are not there as a constant reminder.. they can’t lie anymore. But I’m still here. I wish you all the best and I’m sorry for your pain. XxxK

  • Jim Hutt, PhD

    Jim Hutt, PhD

    January 12th, 2016 at 9:54 AM

    Hi, Mrs. Devastated,
    Typically, a person injured by the impact of an affair doesn’t “get over” the hurt, per se, but works their way through it. The team is right–find a therapist you can work with, and take the time to understand all the aspects of your pain. Yes, that takes what ever time it takes, but relying on the “time heals all wounds” approach (which I’m not saying your are doing) tends not to be all that effective. Find a therapist who understands infidelity dynamics, who can help you deal with your devastation.

  • Mrs. Devastated

    April 3rd, 2016 at 7:27 AM

    Hi Manda, thank you for your comment. I’m trying to get over the hurt. Sometimes it works and other times not. My husband is doing his best to prove to me how much he loves me and how he made a mistake. I just can’t seem to trust him or believe a word he says. I’m scared that he will cheat again as they had contact again after they so called ended things. I also found a miscall on his phone from her number. This s*** won’t leave him alone. I don’t know what to do and he refuses to leave.

  • Tania 59

    April 3rd, 2016 at 11:57 AM

    Mrs devastated
    Your husband has probably not ended things with the affair partner. I used to blame the other woman but he is the one who took the marriage vows. You say, he does not leave. Well, if I was you I would serve him with divorce papers. He clearly disrespects you and by breaking and destroying your trust , he is not worth fighting for. After I found out about my ex husbands affairs I was fighting for my “marriage” until I realized there is nothing to fight for. I would never be able to trust him again. Instead I got my strength from a lawyer who promised me to get victory for me. Which he did. Thinking back I would have filed for divorce the minute I found out about his affair. I understand people make mistakes but breaking your marriage vows is not mistake. It was his choice to cheat , his choice to break up the family , his choice to lie to me and betray me. Cheating and lying go hand in hand. Do you really want to be married to a liar ? We all make mistakes in life and sometimes there will be consequences. I stopped communicating g with my husband the day I filed for divorce 3 years ago. It was an ugly battle in court , but at the same time I came out a strong woman. No one betrays me. Especially not the one who promised to love and cherish me until I die. He never deserved my love and the love of his child. He can now have his freedom and all the whores he wishes to have. So glad I am not a part of this drama anymore. Divorce was my only option and the best option. Never regretted it once. Good luck , stay strong and secure yourself financially. You never know because one day he might just leave for the whore. Like in my case I was left with nothing. Until I won in divorce court. They say no one wins in a divorce. But I sure did. I won my peace, freedom and self respect back. And that’s s big win. What I lost is that loser.

  • Mrs. Devastated

    April 4th, 2016 at 12:17 AM

    Good Morning Tania

    Hi, thank you so much for your advise, the one minute I feel like ending things and the next I don’t and want to work on my marrage, but if he keeps stuff from me then surely it would upset me if it does come out and believe me it always does. How can can I believe him if he lies to me and the sad part is, he believes there’s nothing wrong with keeping it from me. He says that’s not lying. So now I wonder if they still have contact. I can’t take this anymore. I just wanna move on with my life.

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    April 3rd, 2016 at 1:25 PM

    Hi, Mrs. Devastated,
    I cannot tell if you’ve gotten into counseling either with your husband, or by yourself individually. If not, please find a therapist asap. Your pain is real, and it will take some work to alleviate it. Many offending partners try to prove their love, or show awareness of their mistake. That’s all well and fine, but often inadequate. At then end of the day, one of the most powerful and necessary things your husband can do is earn your trust. He can do that by becoming completely transparent in any way you want him to be. Here is one example of transparency: Let’s say he gets a miscall from the affair person. One, he should tell you he got the call, rather than having your find it. Two, he should ask you if, in your presence, you would like him to call her so that you can hear him in real time tell her directly to stop calling. (Some injured parties want that, some do not). Love is a nice idea, but showing you in every way possible that he is doing everything possible to EARN your trust is powerful medicine.

  • Tania 59

    April 4th, 2016 at 9:02 AM

    Mrs devastated
    I know exactly how you feel. I first gave my ex husband another chance. We were married for over 20 years. It’s not easy just to give up. Like yours, my ex thought there is nothing wrong with him exchanging nude pictures with the young co worker. They were on the same nightshift as police officers. Every night he went to work my thoughts raced around them. And no, they did not break of contact like he had promised. They carried on with their affair behind my back. The hardest part for me was when he said ,” I love you”. I knew it was a lie. My world shattered into pieces when he left one evening. His reason was that I was a”crazy wife”. I questioned myself what I don’t have, how she can be superior to me. You know she was or nothing special she was just available. In therapy I learned that fear of the unknown kept me in this illusion of a marriage. And to be honest I never trusted one word he said. At one point you will have to make a decision. Believe me it is not easy. I also learned that he took all my self respect and self worth away. I had to slowly build it up again. And the only way for me to do so was to divorce him. We do not have minor children so it was a little easier. Sometimes divorce is the best answer to show them that we are in control , we have the power now. And that’s exactly what I did. I wanted to show my college age son that it is not ok to cheat and lie and get away with it. You need look out for yourself. Don’t worry about him. He did not care one bit about you when he made the choice to cheat.

  • Tania 59

    April 4th, 2016 at 9:30 AM

    I also found out that s lot of therapists are not trained or knowledgable at all when it comes to affairs. I once went to marriage counseling to be told “it takes 2 to destroy a marriage “. No it does not. When one spouse steps outside the marriage and brings in a third person , yes there is definitely something wrong with the marriage. But that unfaithful spouse can ask for a divorce before engaging in an affair. In my case , I think that the so called midlife crisis played a huge role. Here was an almost 50 year old man who was treated like a god, nicknamed cpt America , told he was hot and sexy by a 20 something year old. He could not resist. But at the same time , I had to look out for my welfare , for my financial security and for my son . And this is when I got therapy for myself , not the marriage. This when I retained a good attorney. The poet and control shifted to me. I would not let my ex make a fool out of me one day longer. Enough was enough. We all make choices in life. And cheating on your spouse is the worst choice you can make. It inflicts unbearable pain onto the faithful spouse. The person who cheats can emotionally prepare himself for the exit out of the marriage. The unsuspecting spouse had no idea and is taken by surprise. And this why it so painful. Did I want to continue this pain and misery ? No, I decided that he did not matter to me anymore. I trained myself to think with my brain and not my heart. And slowly I felt better. Over months and months I recovered , I healed and went on with my life. I wish I would have put an end to this nightmare the minute I found out he was cheating. There are no second chances when it comes to betrayal.

  • Kris Z

    May 30th, 2016 at 1:42 AM

    I’ve been with my husband for 21 years. We’ve been together since we were 16 yrs old. Our life was always up and down but we always worked things out. About 3 years ago things were really tough. With a 60 hr workweek work, 3 kids, trying to cope with depression , our marriage was truly on separate paths. A few months ago I found out he was having a sexual affair with a coworker. Around that same time his family member (cousin) started making himself more available to me by simply listening and advising me while going through this rough time. Needless to say we started to have an emotional affair. Only seeing each other about 5 times at family events but communicating through texts and hours upon hours of phone calls. It was such a great feeling having someone who listened to me, had the same interests as me but most importantly never judged me. I knew talking to him was wrong but I was finally alive again. When I was having thoughts of regret and shame he always told me we weren’t doing anything wrong, we’re only talking. He said it so often I truly believed it. This lasted about 3 months because my husband pulled phone records and confronted me about it. I came clean because I felt it was finally a weight lifted off my shoulders. My husband was completely devestated because it was so out of character for me. Come to find out my husband disclosed his affair to his cousin 1 month prior to when he started initiating communication with me. The cousin played his cards and began to reel me in his plan to eventually sleep with me. I felt humiliated, betrayed, played. My husband was so enraged at both his cousin and I he became emotionally abusive. He had always been somewhat emotionally powerful over me but not to this extreme. He began drinking all the time, took up smoking and became an abnoxious interrogating belittling king who was gonna make my life miserable. He threatened to use my mental health against me to take my kids. He broke my car windows while I was still inside. He took my car battery and Debit Card when he went to work. He made me feel like the most disgusting person in the world. He hacked into my phone which he later broke into pieces. He downloaded numerous software and paid a lot for it, to get any all info he could get. He never found anything because we mostly on spoke on the phone. I have him as much information as I could remember about our conversations but of course he felt I was downplaying it. So he says he doesn’t know if he could ever forgive me because I’m not being truthful with the content of our conversations and without me telling him what he believes the conversations entailed he will never get passed it, he basically wants me to tell him lies so that he can believe what he created in his mind is the truth. It’s been about 4 months since D day. I’ve since sought help and am now on a happy road to healing my depression. Bravest thing I have ever done for myself. However, the depression has since shifted into my husbands life. He started drinking a lot and very often . His drinking makes him emotionally violent towards me. He’s punching holes in walls, knocking down doors, throwing things. The next day he apologizes for his actions and says he doesn’t care about anything or anyone anymore. He wants to speed up his death by drinking and smoking. In my healing I was taught coping skills which help me to not believe I am who he says I am. But even with all those skills I’ve obtained it still hurts. He’s told me that he doesn’t think he will ever forgive me, he will never let go of the images he created in his mind and that it disgusts him when he sees me dressed up. He says he still loves me and I’m the only thing he’s ever loved. So I know his actions are what stem from the pain I’ve caused him. Now for the past 2 months he comes home for 3-4 days doesn’t speak to me or the kids. He’s always upset at everyone and then decides he’s having a bad day so he gets up and leaves for 3-4 days no contact. He ignores all my calls and texts. I just ask for a simple reply to know he is ok. When he returns we all get hugs and kisses then back to the whole not talking mopping around until his next bad day. Bank records show he’s either at bars or liquor stores. But today i was at my witts end. He’s not helping me at home. He’s always angry with the kids, he expects everyone to follow his rules and for me to tend to him when he decides to show up after his break time. He stood me up for a date night we planned and stood my kids and I up for a Bbq park family day we planned. He believes that what I did to him was the worst thing an human can do to another human. And that his affair should be void because he had sex with someone outside our circle. I agree my actions were worse but I’ve done everything for this man I’m on my hands and needs to show him I’m gonna treat him like he should’ve always been treated. But I have yet to here a thank you for anything I’ve done. No acknowledgement. Like its owed to him . How long do I have to endure this punishment and resentment. I’m getting so tired. I guess the answer is I refuse to accept this treatment any longer. My kids are used to him not being home. They don’t even ask for him. So I packed a suitcase and when he came home ( obviously a little drunk or a major hangover) I told him I packed his things and I needed him to leave. He said ok and left. Did not say goodbye to our kids and didn’t look back. I know it says everywhere that I need to be patient, understanding and compassionate towards the betrayed spouse but how much and how long must I endure the punishment and ridicule of the betrayed spouse. He refuses any type of therapy so I don’t believe we can be helped. Am I a bad person for asking the hurt betrayed spouse to leave causing him more grief. I am also a betrayed spouse that has not been given the chance to heal from the grief of his infidelity — desperately seeking advice

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    May 30th, 2016 at 10:11 AM

    Hi, Kris Z,

    Wow, your narrative describes a very painful period of time you and your husband
    have gone through and continue to experience.

    I do not have any advice per se, but here are some things to think about:

    1. You are correct, both of you have experienced betrayal.

    2. At the end of the day neither betrayal is worse than the other—I encourage you to stop believing what you did was worse than what he did. In my opinion that is simply inaccurate.

    3. In order to heal from your respective betrayals, each of you needs to take responsibility for your behavior, and take
    responsibility for your healing.

    4. In order to take responsibility, all the blame and accusation must stop. Blame and accusation will only serve to reinforce the helplessness you each feel.

    5. It also sounds like there is a fair amount of gaslighting going on, and it’s leaving you feeling crazy. (If you send me your direct email I can send you some info about gaslighting you might find helpful)

    6. Continue your therapy, and give yourself permission to be happy.

    7. Neither you, nor your husband, are responsible for the each others happiness, nor for how, or whether, you each heal from these wounds.
    I wish you well going forward.

  • Teresa M

    August 4th, 2016 at 1:06 AM

    Something”s telling me to post here. Something else is telling me not to.

  • SR

    August 4th, 2016 at 12:52 PM

    I was with my ex boyfriend for over 3 years of time. Through thick and thin we were together. I loved him and still love him so much, there’s no one else I care more about then him. From the very first year that we became exclusive, it was agreed mutually that we will get married during end of the year and start a life together. due to his health conditions this was agreed by both of us. Anyway for whenever he planned the marriage it becomes delayed. We were very happy together, I cared for him so much. But eventually I don’t know why I started believing that he’s never gonna tie the knot. Things got worse and worse, even our communications. I ended up cheating on him. I regret it so much, he found out and things ended from there. It’s been over 1 years and still he’s punishing me in so many ways; by recalling things and saying bad stuff to me, calling me names. The thing is we work in the same office now and it’s hard to be away with having a connection in the past. We do get together now and then, but in the end he will end up saying things to me and getting upset.
    I don’t know what to do. I regret it.. And I love him.. I know I can’t be with him anymore but I don’t know what to do now.
    Can u please give me some advice.


  • Kaya51

    August 4th, 2016 at 3:27 PM

    You are asking your boy friend to trust you again. That’s something you need to earn with a lot of compassion, empathy and in my opinion with some good therapy. You betrayed his trust. You probably lied to him. You probably were sneaky and deceitful. Overcoming being cheated on is difficult and sometimes impossible. As the betrayed spouse I was not able to just go on, forgive and forget. I was not able to trust my ex husband again , and honestly I was not able to look at him the same way again. I stopped loving him the day I found out about his affair. I filed for divorce and never looked back or regretted this decision. I was married for over 20 years. Not to be cruel, but you made your bed , you are livibg the consequences of your selfish actions. I wish people who want to cheat would realize how evil and destructive their actions are. My ex now lives the results of his affair. He lost everything. His money , his house , his family , his integrity. I hope you will learn from your mistake and not repeat. If your boy friend cannot forgive you, you need to let him go so he can find a partner who will live him and be faithful. Sorry , you are the loser in this equation. I wish you the best.

  • SR

    August 4th, 2016 at 9:39 PM

    Forgot to add this, it’s a polygamy case.. He’s married and has children.

  • Kaya51

    August 5th, 2016 at 12:14 PM

    this sounds like a truly toxic situation to me. I would remove myself out of it and try to straighten out my life. How can this be healthy ? How can you live with someone who is married and has kids? Believe me I have done things I am not proud of. I have learned that being in a toxic relationship is ever good. I have learned to love myself and to be content with what I have whether I have a partner in my life or not. Loving the wrong man gets us no where. In my 20 years marriage to a cheater I forgot about ME. 3 years past divorce and no contact I can finally feel strong and happy again. I pray for you to find love that does not drama has an ingredient. Good luck and stay strong.

  • Sara M

    September 13th, 2016 at 12:29 PM

    I discovered my husbands affairs, many through the years plus our two years of marriage. Both offline and on, with ex-girlfriends and new. Some were physical, some were emotional. Before I came across the sexual texts of what he was going to to to an ex-girlfriend, I was completely trusting, it never dawned on me, even though he hadn’t really touched me on a personal level for a long time. The beginning of my discovery was horrific, as he did not hing but lie to me and hide truths. It was very important for me to know EVERYTHING. We went to therapy and even they said I did not need to know everything, but I dssagree. Now 7 months later I am still angry and still arguing with him and doing whatever I can to make his life hell, as I am still finding out things he’s done, and hidden or deleted (I am quite computer savvy). He has surely done all he can to be a better husband, a super husband. there is no detail of his life that I do not have access to at any time. He pretty much worships me. However I am angry and I still want all the truth, which he refuses to give me, promising me there isn’t any (which I find little by little by rifiling through his stuff!) His lies upset me more than anything and I refuse to forgive, forget or accept that I shouldn’t know everything. I feel I desserve to know it all, and I hate him (yet love him so much) and i want him to suffer for not only what he did, but for prolonging my suffering and not giving me the answers I need to be in control of my own dignity. He used to guilt trip me into stopping my investigating, or to drop and argument, by telling me I am trying to make him suffer, or hes so sorry and a million excuses as to why hes like this ….but it is no longer working t his last month. I am getting more fierce, and want nothing more than for him to suffer, and I want to b e the one to make him suffer. It is almost feeling good to do so, since he refuses to let my suffering end. Yes I could divorce him, and eventually will, but not without getting the truth I so desperately desire. The more he makes me work to find it, the worse I admittedly become. Am I wrong?

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    September 13th, 2016 at 6:14 PM

    Hi, Sara M.,
    This is not so much whether or not you are “wrong,” but whether or not what you are doing will return you to emotional equilibrium, thereby bringing you the calm you desperately desire.

    In 37 years of experience sitting with people experiencing the injuries from an affair, I have learned that sometimes the desire to know all the details of the affair(s) often carries a price higher than the injured party bargained for. I suspect that may be happening in your case. I always explore both the conscious and unconscious motives for wanting to know any of the specifics. Frequently it turns out that “knowing everything” leads to more damage—an unexpected outcome (the law of unintended consequences).

    At the end of the day, some people confuse their DESIRE to know everything with a NEED to know everything. The injured one is vulnerable to that confusion because they are in dire need for their emotional pain to subside. Frequently, they erroneously conclude the pain will diminish if they have ALL the details. Unfortunately, it frequently increases the pain.

    Clearly, the trust has been shattered, the fantasy gone forever of a marriage never to be tainted by an affair. It sounds as though you experience his infidelities as having been done TO you, vs things he has done. If that is the case, and I don’t know that it is necessarily, it ends up making the affairs about you, and less about him.

    And they are about him—completely. They are about his throwing his integrity under the bus instead of coming to you to discuss whatever was going on with him that was propelling him to do something that had the potential to destroy the trust you had in him, and potentially destroy the marriage.

    The trust and the relationship can be rebuilt, but it is much more difficult with the element punishment talking priority. If you stop the punishment, you will, with professional counseling and guidance, regain your emotional equilibrium.

    Going forward your job is reduce and end the punishment, and his job is to make repair. Repair is hard work, and you are the one who decides if and when the repair is complete. Repair requires input from you, and a tremendous amount of work from him! And I do mean a lot of effort on his part, and patience with you in his quest to regain your trust. HE HAS TO EARN YOUR TRUST—your trusting him will not simply occur when or because your emotional reactivity has subsided.

    Are you wrong to punish? Not necessarily. However, punishment is not an effective strategy for infidelity recovery. Even if there is secondary gain in it for you, that gain comes at a very high price.

    I wish you both well going forward, and hope this helps.

  • Michelle51

    September 13th, 2016 at 9:59 PM

    I do not have a PH.D. I am not a counselor or a psychologist. What I am is a spouse who was cheated on and betrayed. I totally disagree with your advice. You comment sounds like the wife is to blame in some part. Cheating is a choice. Once the trust in a marriage is gone there is no way you can rebuilt it. It just does not work. Even with hard work on both sides. The only solution is to divorce this lying spouse and go on with your life. Our heart will heal. No one deserves the pain and tears that infidelity causes. No one. Including the children. When someone steps outside the marriage or is attracted to a person of the opposite sex it is a clear statement that the marriage is over. He does not respect you, value you, cherish you or love you anymore. Divorce is the only option to regain your self worth and self respect. Cheating is wrong and evil. Period. You cannot fix evil and you cannot fix stupid but you can divorce it. After being married for over 20 years I made the decision to divorce my husband. He does not deserve me or his son. You reap what you sow. What he regrets is my lawyer. He regrets being court ordered to pay alimony to me. He regrets nothing else. His affair came with a high price. Now he has to pay for a family who dies not include him anymore. Like I said. You cannot fix stupid. But you can divorce it. Thank god for good divorce attorneys and good alimony laws in this beautiful state of Florida.

  • Ashley

    November 16th, 2016 at 9:48 PM

    My husband cheated. Got divorced. Didn’t clean him out like most women wanted to do. Or find its funny. We have three children. We share them bi weekly. No child support. Because there relationship is important to my children. All I tell them is daddy loves you very much. But mommy and daddy are not healthy together. Affairs are a sign of a breakdown in the marriage. The affair just makes you realize there where previous problems.

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    September 14th, 2016 at 12:57 PM

    Hi, Michelle51,

    I hope that I did not transmit to Sara that she was responsible, or even partially responsible, for her husband’s affairs. If I did, I hope she will let me know. I do not believe ANY spouse is responsible for their spouse’s infidelity. I have sat with many couples who have been told directly or indirectly by some therapists or their friends that they are responsible for the affair their spouse/partner had. In my opinion, no spouse is ever responsible for the other spouse throwing their integrity under the bus via an affair.

    I also understand that you have chosen to go down your particular affair recovery road. Each individual has to manage their own situation in the way they see fit. What may be a perfect solution for you, may not work for someone else, and vice versa.

    Both you and Sara are experiencing profound pain, and I hope you both arrive in a place of restored happiness through your respective recovery processes.

  • Heartbroken59

    September 19th, 2016 at 1:37 PM

    My husband and I have been married for 40 years and 4 months ago after an argument about my best friend and him being too chummy he finally told me yes he had sex with her. I have always felt there was this attraction between them but every time I would get upset about something I would be see or a call I would be told no I’m not attracted to her, no there is nothing going on between us. I have known this person since we were 6 years old and we were each others Maid of Honor in our weddings. We camped together, went places together, played cards together, had our kids together, etc. After my husband and I had been married for 8 years she started flirting with him, playing footsies with him, etc. She had had a child a couple of years before that was blind and mentally handicapped and that along with hormone problems is what she blames the beginning of this on. My husband has no excuse. She came on to my husband several times and he gave in and started meeting her at first and then when we had been married about 9-1/2 years they started the sexual affair. They would meet about 5 times a year and it was an only for sex deal. She was oversexed and so was my husband and so they decided they weren’t getting enough at home so they would get it from each other. They would schedule the meeting the day ahead of time and meet the next day during the work day at a motel and smoke pot and have sex. About a 2 hr. time period and then they would just talk to each other on the phone about 2 to 3 times between sexual encounters. This continued for 5 years until her husband found out and then it stopped but I was never told. We had quit seeing them very often because of the attraction and problems it caused. I was always led to believe it was all in my head. I was just seeing things that weren’t there. Well 8 years after it stopped her husband called and said he wanted all three of them to get together because he thought it would make him feel better. My husband went right along with it for about 5 times a year again for 8 years. Finally he had started giving his heart to God and he realized how wrong what he did was to me and morally and he quit. We continued to see these people and he did not tell me about the whole affair until 4 months ago. Almost 10 years after he quit. He is very sorry and willing to do what ever it takes to make things work out. We immediately started seeing a counselor. He can’t tell me a lot of things about when, how he felt, if he was remorseful at all during the affair, what he thought when he came home to me after having sex with her, etc. I get very little info from him and the dates I have are from his partner and her husband. He is remorseful now but I am really having problems getting over the hurt I feel knowing he wanted this woman so bad he would risk our marriage over meaningless sex. I get really mad that I was worth both of them betraying me for sex 5 times a year. Sometimes I feel like I am going backwards and I don’t know how to get over the hurt and rage I feel so I can move forward. We quit seeing our counselor because she was young and had never seen anything like our case. We are going to see a new counselor this week but I feel like I am hindering our progress due to my rage and hurt. These people do not live in our town but I go to church with the parents and aunt, uncle and cousin. We have agreed not to tell anyone else but a couple of people and I am also having problems because I lack a person to confide in. How can I move forward?

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    September 20th, 2016 at 7:09 AM

    Hi, Heartbroken59,

    Your story is not as unusual as you might think. I am not surprised your former counselor didn’t
    know what to do, as many inexperienced therapists haven’t had much supervision or consultation
    helping couples navigate the difficult waters of infidelity recovery.

    You mentioned that your husband “is remorseful now,” but that you are “having trouble getting over the hurt.”
    On one hand, his remorse is a healthy response to his awareness of the chaotic and painful state into which
    he has thrown the marriage. On the other hand, his remorse will not reduce or alleviate your hurt, mistrust and rage.
    Your husband’s honest attempts to repair are directly connected to increasing trust. As trust increases
    rage and hurt tend to decrease.

    Infidelity recovery tends to be a protracted process that involves several elements. A significant contribution
    to the recovery journey will always include the offending party’s willingness to make repair. Recovery is not
    about you simply waiting for enough time to pass until ‘you get over it.’ Generally, the couple works through infidelity together.

    The length of recovery from an insult as complex and painful as an affair is impossible to predict. You mentioned that
    you believe you are “hindering our progress due to my rage and hurt.” Let me assure you that your rage and hurt are
    not hindering your progress. More likely, the lack of progress is allowing the hurt and rage to persist.

    A recovery process directed by a seasoned therapist will increase the odds of untangling the morass of emotion and
    confusion that is complicating your lives. It will also provide an opportunity for your husband to understand how to repair the damage.
    For now, it is important for you to remember a few very important things: you are not responsible for his infidelity in any way;
    you are not responsible for his need to repair the damage; any therapist or individual who tells you that an affair is the
    result of a bad or dysfunctional marriage is wrong. An affair is a decision, and a bad one at that—period.

    You can move forward by finding a therapist who understands affair recovery. Be thorough in your search. If you have not
    already found her material, go to Peggy Vaughan’s website and poke around.

    And remember—you are not to blame for the affair.

  • Matchow

    October 2nd, 2016 at 10:50 PM

    So, I found my wife had been sending pictures of herself since our first born son was a few months old maybe 6 or seven months. She told me an ex had contacted her and they got talking, discussing things,and then one thing led to another talking about their mojo especially her mojo not being so strong. He then started trying to bring it back….by sending pictures of himself and his muscular body… which eventually got the ball rolling for my wife and she started to return the favour… and led to cyber SEX where he bought lingerie and sent it over for her to wear… this happened a while and the next year when he was back in the country they met for drinks. Even to this day she can’t make the connection that cyber sex would lead to sex… And then after their drinking he somehow sweet talk her to go to a love hotel, saying he wanted to cuddle, he wanted to spend more time together. And ended up taking advantage of my wife/having sex together and she was in two frames of mind and then decided to go with it. After this night she stopped talking to him and blocked him and deleted his number… then he went and got another number and messaging her this I guess just made my wife more interested and more difficult to say no again. He started buying gifts for her and sending money for her dog charity she does. All the time acting like a real gentlemen (he’s also married with a little girl) then again one thing led to another. They started cybersexing again.. he would always ask her for pictures and she would always oblige sending pictures in her bra and knickers for him to fantasize about.

    THEN I found out she had messaged dj from a night out… And I also had a funny feeling something was going on… I checked her phone, somehow didn’t find anything between this guy and her but did find something with the dj… nothing major just a text to a public site on Instagram, I blew up because I had a gut feeling something had been going on… i told her, anything else going on needs to stop… which today she tells me she deleted his number and they didn’t speak…… for 2 months he chased her back. She asked him to bring over some make up when he comes over, he asked her to get him a gift. Then they met at a hotel to exchange gifts. She said he put it in a way that was to catch up and chill and talk and exchange gifts. She said she never thought about anything sexual… however he touched her innaproiatly and she refused… decided to go for a drink together. And then ended up going back to the hotel again where he made a love again. This time the same as before she ended up sleeping with him… BUT she has seemingly been super honest and said that half way through she stopped and was really ubcofrptable… since then she really deleted his number only he contacts her and they didn’t have cyber sex….. until I found all the pics she had been sending I also came across two videos of her playing herself in July that she had sent him.. that was the only time they played together online … but I’m struggling as to how the cyber sex went from pictures in underwear to fully naked vagina play even tho she claiming that it was fading out…

    As i told her it needs to stop before not k owing exactly what was going on… She listened but not really… And now I find all the details…

    She gave me but by but of the truth ubtill I just gave up and said I’ll take out son and leave this is when she broke and came out with everything. But, through this means of telling me the details I am now really in bad shape because I can’t trust anything she says..

    The story I typed is what I believe to have happened… I feel such hatred inside and anger … I always want to ask questions and ask why… I haven’t really been directly spiteful or hurtful, apart from a few instances I got really mad last night… And I regret it so bad. I said things that were not nice and I hate myself because of it… hate is not a word I use often… And i feel pushing her away and hurting her more. Part of me believes any approach to th subject matter is painful however she believes anything I say about it is attacking or punishing her… we are now seeing a counselor and have made progress with finding out bond and communication had improved.

    I just grown so impatient it’s only been 6 weeks since no found out. I want it to hurry up… I want to be with her and I am quite sure she wants to be with me too as she’s making adjustments and making the effort to do so.

    I’m just confused, lost And frustrated….feel dissapointed …

    Worst of all I can’t get my head around her willingly sending sexy pictures to a man to help him self over … I can’t get that out of my head..

    I seriously seriously need help… Any help any suggestion


    I begged and prayed to the lord for strength

    The counselor helps a little but find it super slow…
    I’m busy teaching and studying and being a father as well as a dad…

    Its so sad… our son was only few months old when it started… now every time I look at him I can’t help but cry on the inside. Ever since he was born up untill July this year…

    Any healing help is really appreciated


    Please help me

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    October 4th, 2016 at 6:20 AM


    Continue with your marital counseling and also start individual therapy with a therapist of your own. Affair recovery is a painful and often slow process, and rebuilding the trust is not easy, but can be done. Your wife must regain your trust–earn it back. Discuss with your marital therapist the specific steps your wife must take to regain your trust. If she cannot or will not take those steps, you may be faced with a decision about the viability of the marriage.

  • Maddy

    March 14th, 2017 at 10:10 PM

    If you don’t punish a partner who lies or deceives, how do you make them feel the consequences of their actions? Isn’t it making it just too easy for them to think they can do it again & get away with it? I’m a soft hearted person and a pushover, I avoid confrontation and just want an easy life. So I’m dealing with my pain quietly but in my mind all my thoughts are negative and suspicious. Because I feel why on earth would he change or be afraid to lie to me again when this time there was no drama, or screaming or storming off. There was just conversation and then we moved on. Like he got off scot free. He was so happy to have been given a second chance and is full of compliments and effort. And I just think this is nonsense, he’s saying this thinking it’s making me feel better but it’s just making him feel less guilty, like he’s making it up to me. But his words mean nothing to me. I’m thinking how come you’re fine and think we’re fine while I’m bitter, angry, hurting, worried as all I can see is potentially more of the same ahead. When he gets comforable and thinks I’ve lowered my guard and lessened my suspicions. Like how do I know he’s taking it seriously and really trying not to do it again?

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D., MFT

    Jim Hutt, Ph.D., MFT

    March 15th, 2017 at 3:56 PM


    Great question, thank you for the post. First, I distinguish between punishment and consequences. In my experience, punishment is mostly for the purposes of inflicting pain. While understandable, usually not particularly helpful in the long run. So, let’s look at the consequences of lying and deceitfulness.

    There is what I call a consequence chain reaction that the injuring party experiences. It often looks like this:

    Loss of your trust, you pull away affectionally and/or sexually, your hurt and anger linger like a river just under the surface and sometimes erupt, general avoidance, sadness and maybe depression.

    Those are stiff consequences, and they real. His behavior triggered all that stuff, and for real repair to occur he has to make a concerted effort to EARN back your trust. Trust doesn’t just happen. Trust is not earned by insisting you just get over it, or by him being sweet and complimentary. As you say, “his words mean nothing to me”—that’s a pretty stiff consequence because it means you’ve lost respect for him, and feel distant from him. I hope you have told him how hollow his words sound to you. Telling him those things is much more productive than punishment.

    He also needs to provide you a heartfelt apology as often as you want one. Once is usually not enough. He needs to be patient with you, and not rush you to “get over it” while complaining, “you’re not perfect, either.” This is not about perfection—it is about integrity. And he put a big hit on his integrity, and only he can fix that.

    I think it is also in your best interest, regardless of your current situation with your partner, you put some effort in to understanding why you are a pushover and why you avoid confrontation. In this situation neither of those will help you heal. Those two attributes won’t serve you well in the long run. At the same time, those are not causes of him lying to you.

    If what you describe is a pattern, it’s probably time for you two to see a relationship counselor to try to break the pattern. Regardless, he needs to be told what you think, how you feel, and what you want.

    Hope this helps, and that you regain your equilibrium.

  • Calli

    April 19th, 2017 at 4:52 AM

    My husband punished me by making me watch as he destroyed the other man in a beating that left my AP transported to an ICU, My husband was transported the same evening to a stress center and put in a cool off room. The reason that the beating was so savage was My husband had me packed and ready to go with my AP. But since he was also married He was not taking me any where. Instead he sweept my husbands cane putting him on the floor asking me how on earth I ended up with this pathetic looser when that 4″4″ tall 13 pound cane whizzed past my face impacting my APs scull like a spear. My husband had recently like the day before returned from three hard years in Rehab relearning to use his hands and walk after MRSA formed an abcsess around his spine. HE then dragged himself over beside my friend and started beating on him and with every impact he was screaming who is the pathetic looser.

    MY husband was taken to a stress center in Cuffs, his father and me were called in to talk to the Case worker and director of the center and he slammed both of us with charges of long term abuse of an adult.

    The next week the center sent my husband home on the worst possible evening. I don’t drive due to the Tunnel vision that goes side by side with bI polar So they called his father for the pickup, I had my husbands wallet and car keys as well as his cane, The weather that day was a -40 and his father told the center we could not collect him and to build his character to shove him out the door and let him walk the 20 miles home, THey sent him home by insurance taxi.

    My first indication hew was in the house was the opening and closing of the door. I was getting ready to go to a Dinner event I had been invited to by his father six months before. I walked into the living room toi see who came in right into my husbands chest> UE knew that I was not ready to go out with him but he still was sarcastic when he stated good I was ready to go out. Let him finds a Set of clean jeans that fit and we would go. I was already crying when I said I had promised his father and mother six months before I would go as the fourth at the table with his fathers best friend to this event. We would be done in four hours and he could take the hundred I was holding out and pick a place to meet in four hours and I said I wld call everyone to be there to figure out how to start including him in baby steps into traditions, He could not just drop into the middle of everything after 31 years> I said I knew we had used some nasty methods to exclude him fro the life he had earned but it was time to Kill the resentment. HE blew up and told me that we had no say in what he was allowed now we all owed him the stolen life of 31 years, and Before I kept this one promise to his father I was keeping the hundreds I made him about sex and vacations as well as holidays and weekends the last 31 years. HE was not going to give us any time to work him in, He was the finale judge and arbiter from that second on as to who did what in our household. And before I went someplace on the arm of his fathers friend he would see me dead. I started to run for the door I was in heels an He just reached out and ripped my Coctail dress off. Leaving me in just Thigh highs and panties. I was crying hard by this point begging that this did not have to happen like this. I was desperate that he not have his way with me that evening now, I said I would cancel to just talk with him and try to come up with a way to get him a vacation immeadiatly. We could work out the sex in something besides this anger. but he still needed to try and keep things nice practice diplomacy wit6h his father and others, and we could return some of the time that was taken from him. WE did not ever think before the MRSA that something like that would ever happen so he could not hold that against us. I was wrong he held everything over our heads. From the reasons he worked 24 years with six days off. I even tried pointing out if he had been willing to work with everyone he would have had holidays and vacations, just not at the same time or way as other people did. There were just so many needs he helped with: with the time he had earned. It was not meant to go on as long as it did but with each defiance we felt it just needed a little longer to get him used to the ideas we wanted him to try.
    I guess I knew that that evening was done before it started and I should stay home with him. but I tried once more to deal with him begging that I could get ready again and go the four hours and come straight back home after the event. I would sit and make plans just for him the rest of the year. I said please cant we just reset to 1985 and work him in slowly and do it better and right this time just to let things settle, HE was not going to let any thing settle, HE advanced and said he was the only one that had any rights in our house that evening and I either submitted or he would toss me out I would be dead before I got next door in that wind chill. I was sobbing saying things did not have to be this way as he forced me into sex after 31 years with him, My hope at 48 to just grow old in peace was done, I got up off the floor hurt and bleeding from his forcing his way, My hands were bruised from hitting him. I went into the bedroom and put a dressing gown on when his fathers friend arrived insisting that he was going t talk to me about my indisposal. MY hiusband heard him say he was a mayoral aid and had the right to come in after IDing himself. MY husband just said badge and warrant or he could get off our porch, I heard get out of my way crip Then the scream of tires stopping fast and the terror in his fathers friends scream Then sudden silence. MY crying redoubled when my husbands mother sat beside me. Told me the evening was done. HIs father took his badly hurt friend to the hospital, She said she felt that if his father had not seen what was happening on our deck she and his father would have had his friend through the windshield. She looked around at the shredded cloths the blood on a towel. And she said that we finally forced him to take matters into his hands. She said He was never going to allow control again now like a wolf he tasted blood.
    Her and his father died in the last eight months. There were revelations to both of us about things his father and friends had done to him even before we married. Like tying him to a tree and whipping him until his ribs and spine were exposed in the fall of his senior year, For defying the Social order on the football team. Leading up to the Cancun Cruise in 2015 I tried one time for a compromise to get him to stay home. I was invited to a breakfast the next week to discuss any way to get him to stay away from the cruse, His father showed with two friends with poistols forcing my husband to stay home while we talked about him., My husband had recorded the whole thing on CCD cams, and showed up at out table swinging his cane four times leaving the two that had held guns on him laying with their faces open to the jawbone. His father he was going to impale with his cane. HE flew down with m to the opre boarding motel and even told the criuze lines if they bumped him off his vacation he would own the ship before it pulled back in. His father was trying to get a friends daughter on board for her honey moon and wedding I as usual would take a single berth and give up the berth my husband had made for a double. He would have had a first class ticket home. Instead he told us all he was not caring about what we wanted he was going, invited or not, His father got drunk and showed up at out room with a ball bat. He swung and my husband blocked then broke his fathers neck. The last four years has been no cooperation to any one from my husband, interference is usually acompanied by a hospital stay. My husband even Threatened to shoot several guests at Christmas in 2015, after all I did to keep things peacful was ask him to take his dinner to his workshop in the pole barn and eat it there> the plate ended upo ground into my face with the rant he was not some dam slave to come beg seconds at the back door from the massas wife It was his home. he had supplied the food and it was his table. After they threw him out telling him to come back with better manners He came back on horseback with a 30 30 breaking the front door. Its the first time in 33 years my guests left hungry alkl because my husband will have things his way.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of's Terms and Conditions of Use.

2 Z k A



* Indicates required field

Therapist   Treatment Center

Advanced Search

Search Our Blog

Title   Content   Author

Recent Comments

  • Elaine: I agree with you 100%, but how do you hang in there and try to fix things when only one of you is mature enough to realize that love is a...
  • Judith s: My horrible experience, my ex boyfriend, had bad behavior from the beginning, he was hitting on women in front of me, when I would say...
  • Irene Z: Yes! This exercise is exactly what I need. Thank you!
  • Georgia: Heck no, being bullied at work just makes me want to stand my ground and stay even more. I am stronger than what they believe that I am!
  • TY: Such a huge concern on so many college campuses these days. I certainly know that I was better than that and hope that I have taught my own...