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. 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.

  • Joanne

    September 16th, 2019 at 9:03 AM

    How did you know he ended it with the other woman?

  • 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

    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

    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

    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?

  • Roger

    April 14th, 2020 at 11:12 PM

    Your response to Odaya was absoulute garbarge. It makes me question you abilities in this area. Some things are correct, “Sounds to me like it’s time to let go. Move on.”After this is where everything from you becomes trash. “Find someone who understands what love is really about, and allow yourself to be happy again.” Amazing that you make this comment without fully understanding the entire situation and not give the person SHE CHEATED ON the same benifits. You know zero about how the one cheated on came up, his circumstances any events in the marriage and totally not taking his trauma into consideration. “Fully understand love”, wow thats rich considering she was the one who had the affair & by the circumstance she states he is deeply hurt, betrayed and what ever else he is feeling, thinking etc… She made a conscious decesion to cheat, a choice. He doesn’t deserve either your poor choice of words, “what love is really about”, or you stupidity. The next part isn’t entirely correct either. “Apparently your ex thinks your affair was about him (which it wasn’t).” Yes it’s about her and her issues but to him it may also be about him and what he was or wasn’t doing or could do and or betrayal. She need to understand and acknowledge how HER ACTIONS made him feel, think act etc.. She should move on and maybe learn and address their mistakes, understand the underlying problems and discuss with the next individual when there are issues. That’s difficult and the other person may not want too or know how to. I’m sorry it seem callus, it’s not. But to say he doesn’t he doesn’t “know what love is”, that’s complete BS. He may, he may not, I don’t know. Your word choice sucks. It’s clear you are trying to be helpful and kind to her in your words to her. Show him the same consideration and compassion. That awful word choice makes him out to be the one who doesn’t understand love. Maybe it’s her that doesn’t, who knows. I don’t know if the marriage was ever good or not. I’m not saying punish her but she needs to also take into consideration how her actions will also affect others. You aren’t allowed to be selfish in a relationship and your words seem like your letting her off the hook. She needs to do the right thing for her, but she will also need to truly do right by the next person and take them in to consideration or there will be issues again.

  • 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

    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

  • shai

    September 8th, 2017 at 2:03 AM

    hi I’ve been into 3 yrs. relationship with my boyfriend…..pls. give me advice..
    though I forgive my boyfriend for cheating me and its almost a year the time it happen..but why do I experience pains and hurt aches and it sucks the most5.. though were happy but why is it I feel disturb …it just came automatically on my mind and it made me tear up :( :( pls advice me

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    September 8th, 2017 at 10:11 AM

    Typically, forgiveness is not enough to allow for the pain of an affair to subside. You did not describe how you and your boyfriend addressed the issues associated with the affair over the past year, so it is difficult for me to know exactly why the pain is re-surfacing. It may be that you and your boyfriend would benefit from some counseling to address this, if you have not done so following the affair.

  • 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.

    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.

  • Kat

    June 21st, 2019 at 10:55 AM

    Pain is not equal on both sides of the adultery equation. The one who chooses to cheat chooses to knowingly inflict just about the worst damage anyone can inflict on their spouse, presumably someone they care about. Wanting to punish the cheater is a way to try to get up off the floor when you’ve been knocked down by their behavior. Whether it is productive or not, it is completely understandable that someone wants to get some power back when the other person has taken all of it to cheat. Encouraging the innocent spouse to be “nice “ is traumatizing them again. They even have a name for that these days . It’s called treatment trauma and if someone tries to use that on you, you should leave and find someone else. As for cheaters, they choose the consequences when they choose the behavior. Many are just narcissistic big babies who want their way no matter who it hurts. Don’t let a therapist damage you more.

  • 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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?

  • Mia

    June 14th, 2018 at 2:02 PM

    Then divorce him. He seems to be making the changes. If you cannot get over it, and move on, let him go. Even a criminal will have an end to their sentence in most cases. No one deserves a life sentence for cheating. No matter what.

  • 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.

  • Jay C

    July 15th, 2017 at 2:36 PM

    I need advice…. My wife and I have been together for almost 10 years but only married for about 2. I recently found out the she has been spending time with another man, she was at his house for over 7 hours after texting him over 250 times in 2 days back and forth. The problem I am having is that I haven’t discussed this with her, she might suspect that I have figured out what’s going on but she hasn’t stopped talking to him. The problem is we have an expensive 2 week vacation planned that we’ve already paid for.

    Should I wait to talk to her about her affair or should I talk to her before we leave and try to get through the vacation as best as I can?


  • james hutt, ph.d.

    July 15th, 2017 at 7:58 PM

    Talk to her now–that is more important than the vacation. At least in my opinion it is.

  • Defeated

    April 2nd, 2019 at 9:32 PM

    I am the one being punished. We’ve talked and worked through so many things. Several, several, times. Each time I thought we were making progress then all of a sudden. BOOM! I used to want to do whatever it took. And I thought I did. The punishments didn’t stop. I have been humiliated, degraded, insulted, all in the name of love. I allowed it because I felt he needed it to help him deal with it. I am a shell. He has withheld sex for five years now. I don’t sleep. I am completely isolated from anyone. But this is what is deserved. I know our marriage won’t last and I’m waiting for him to realize it. Then we will part ways. I’ve lost all my self esteem and selfworth and my will to live. You’d think that would be enough. Oh well. The final straw will make him applaud, I’m sure

  • The Team

    April 3rd, 2019 at 7:42 AM

    Dear Defeated,

    If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, you can start finding therapists in your area by entering your city or ZIP code into the search field on this page:

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. You may click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. If you need help finding a therapist, you are welcome to call us. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time, and our phone number is 888-563-2112.

    Kind regards,
    The GoodTherapy Team

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    April 3rd, 2019 at 7:54 AM

    Dear Defeated,
    Time for you to be in therapy, if you’re not already. One question: You said you know the marriage won’t last, that you’re just waiting for him to realize it. Why wait for him to realize it? You already know it. I also disagree with your statement that you “deserved” all the punishment. Feeling guilty, which I presume you felt, does not mean you deserve to be punished. Besides, punishment typically isn’t a remedy for working through guilt. It means you need to earn back trust, and make amends through apology, repeatedly. I suspect there was, and is, a lot more going on in your marriage than the affair. As long as he keeps the spotlight on you, he won’t take responsibility for cleaning up his side of the street. You get to be blamed for everything. And that is not OK.

  • Defeated

    April 3rd, 2019 at 12:27 PM

    According to EVERY page and article I’ve read, this is normal. We deserve it as we are no longer human. I’ll deal with it as I have for five years. Thank you

  • Defeated

    July 23rd, 2019 at 10:33 PM

    I haven’t been back since my last comments. I have an update. After posting this something changed. My husband came out of the dark cloud. Five years of living hell ended. We talked and that was it. We have been so strong. Things are different without the name calling. He also quit drinking. Refuses to touch a drop. I don’t know how this happened but we are back.

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    July 25th, 2019 at 5:48 AM

    Dear Defeated,

    Now that he is attempting recovery from alcoholism, it’s time for you to go to Alanon.

    Jim Hutt, Phd., MFT


    July 24th, 2017 at 10:30 AM

    I have been married for 8 years but have been with my husband for 10.. in the beginning of our relationship I sent a nude pic to a stranger, basically at home bored because my husband always worked night jobs. not to say this was right but its a fact and somehow my husband went through my phone because I forgot to delete the pic, so fast forward he wanted to leave me then and I convinced him to stay (plus we have a daughter that’s 9) and it was just a pic no relationship no sex no nothing and the for the last 9 years he has been cheating off and on. the first time he did it, I let it go on for a few months because I felt guilty of how bad I hurt him, it even had me hurt just to think about hurting him , so I confronted him about the first affair (months later) and made him call the girl the whole 9 yrds, mind u at this time my husband had purchased a second phone to do his dirt, so he supposedly ended it, needless to say he didn’t so I was furious the second time (same girl), so we fought about it over and over again and this time he says it’s done wont ever happen again, so on and so forth..I forgave him again, so a couple of years go by where everything was good and then I noticed things started to fall off track again after I met every demand he said he needed from me during that time. not only was my husband back cheating, but he was on dating sites, meeting up with women I mean actually turning into someone I didn’t even know existed. I put a GPS tracker on both phones (that’s right) he never got rid of it and the things, places I tracked him going was beyond devastating, the one that hurt me most was when I saw he was in a hotel room on a night he was suppose to be at work and I was out of town.. that hit me like a ton of bricks, so fast forward again, everything has come out because I got him to confess (not to all but most and certainly he did not agree with being at the hotel) but being he had become a compulsive liar I dont believe anything he says. This is the worst I have EVER felt. This is my second marriage-first ended in cheating and I was beyond faithful to this man and I married him for the wrong reasons A lot of pain was produced in my first marriage, this marriage I am in now I married this man because I loved him thought he was different, we all make mistakes and we all have flaws, but is it possible for everytime he has cheated he simply hadnt forgiven me or was he just using that as an excuse because every conversation we have always end up going back to what happend 9 years ago. If he felt like I feel then I dont even know why he stayed with me after all those years.. Is it really my fault? should I stay, should I go..Im just completely lost and hurt

  • Barney

    September 27th, 2017 at 6:29 AM

    I have been with my partner for 13 years. She had 4 children from a previous marriage. I have to from a previous marriage but they were mostly with their mother. Her oldest was already before the court system and not long after we got married we found out her best friend had molested her 3 daughters. I tried the best to be a good father in law to the kids. The son went off the rails and got involved in drugs, alcohol and after he smashed the house in drug n alcohol rage He was kicked out off the house. I did what I could to do What I Could. I tried to steer everyone to attend therapy but was told to mind my own business. The arguments began and then also began the withholding of affection and sex. It would last for weeks at a time. Fast forward 10yrs and the withholding continued. This time I was physically attacked by the middle daughter and I was left bloodied. Once again I was denied affection and love. This time it lasted 3 Weeks not to mention being blamed that the daughter left home. Feeling alone I went to talk to a female colleague for a coffee. We talked for hours and when we parted, she gave me a hug. That hug turned into a kiss. That was the last time I saw that colleague but I told my wife. She accused me of having an affair so really punished me. We managed to stay together but we continually argued over the kids as the son got involved in Crystal Meth and the youngest making my wife stress especially when we went away for some Us time and had a Facebook party. Anyway, 4 Weeks Ago, once again we argued over the kids. I apologised for my brain snap but 24hrs later I came home from work and she had removed all of her possessions and clothes to the spare room. For the next four weeks she withheld affection and touch. She would occasionally show affection only to go stone cold again.
    This time feeling totally alone after the 3rd week I signed up to sex site. I just wanted to at least talk dirty to someone to help me through this time. Well my wife found out and has accused me of having an affair. When I try an explain how devastated I had been feeling, all she could cared about was how she felt.. I’m just lost and alone.

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    September 27th, 2017 at 2:02 PM

    Lost & Alone,
    In order to break the powerful, long-standing pattern you describe, I strongly encourage both you and your wife to begin individual and marital therapy. Now.

  • sandra

    October 10th, 2017 at 1:14 PM

    Hello everyone,
    I made the worst choice ever and don’t know how I can make it better or if it will ever be the same. My bf and I have been dating for 6 1/2 years with the last two living together. During, our relationship I found out he chatted with a few girls and it was always he who initiated the conversation. He would reach out and ask how they were doing, maybe to meet up for coffee or to talk with a bit of flirting within the message. I don’t know if he ever met with any but he said they were all friends when I brought it up. During this time I also found out he created three dating profiles and when confronted he said it was because he liked to look at girls but never met any girls face-to-face. Long story short of course I was hurt because I couldn’t justify his actions but I moved forward. I knew I was a good woman and didn’t need to worry about nonsense like that. About, a year ago I finally, started changing my nice self to actually saying no once in a while. He took it as I was changing because I was cheating and didn’t care for him. The fact is that I was tired of staying quiet when arguing. So moving forward we had been arguing for quite some time. Where my mistake comes in is when I recently met with a hs friend who was my best buddy in hs. I will be honest and say he has always been interested in me but I not once have ever led him on. He reached out months ago saying hey I hope you’re well, etc…..but as soon as I noticed signs of him declaring he was still into me I stopped chatting with him. I didn’t tell my bf about this because I felt well I took care of it. However, a month ago my hs best friend reached out letting me know his mom had been diagnosed with colon cancer. I asked if he wanted to talk and he said yes. We did meet at the park and he sat on the passenger side of my car. We chatted for about 40 minutes. About his mom, my son and just parenting in general and during that conversation he did ask why i stopped talking to him. Well, on this specific day my boyfriend put a bug in my car to record everything in my car. He heard the conversation and this is where I find myself. He, of course, is accusing me of cheating and betraying him. I accept I lied and did talk to him. I know I hurt him by not telling him but I know myself and know that it wasn’t a hook-up as he is saying it is. I feel horrible because he said I let him down and that put our family (my son and his 2 kids -we have no children of our own) in jeopardy. He said I broke the trust and that the reason I was changing was due to this guy. I know I didn’t meet with him for a hook-up and regret ever meeting with him. It was a stupid choice but there is nothing I can do at this point to change the fact. He asked me to leave for 6 months and then we would reassess but then after talking, we were ok. We have a few days where he is fine then he throws the whole situation back at me. I know I don’t want to be with anyone else but him but he won’t see that. He won’t acknowledge that I did start changing in saying no and pushing back because I was tired of him not realizing that I am a good woman and that I had patience with him but everyone has a breaking point. Anyways…I’ve asked him if it’s better to leave since it seems like me staying is causing him more pain but he says I should be smarter and know what to do. Part of me wants to leave because I know I’ve been great and part of me wants to push forward and repair everything. Any advice would help.

  • The Team

    October 10th, 2017 at 2:02 PM

    Hi Sandra,

    If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage,, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area.

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    Kind regards,
    The Team

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    October 10th, 2017 at 2:51 PM

    You and your boyfriend have both participated in trust-reducing behaviors. There is no benefit trying to determine who is more or less responsible for damaging the trust. It’s time for each of you to sit with a seasoned relationship therapist who can facilitate ways to rebuild the trust, or at least help you determine whether or not it’s possible. Going forward there is no utility for blame , but there is plenty of room for each of you take responsibility for your own behavior. What you describe sounds extremely painful, and fraught with destructive patterns. Take the time to discover the roles you each play in repeating the patterns so that you can break them.
    Hope this helps–good luck going forward.

  • Rov

    November 12th, 2017 at 5:48 PM

    I’m ashamed …I can’t believe after 15yrs,2 beautiful girls, he went there! I thought we were in love and possibly having a tire one. I supported this men through his depression in the past, I forgave his drinking and even everything that comes with having a drunk in the house, if you know what I mean… I almost left him, but stayed to save what I could. I supported the family financially for years and still do. We patched it up, because there was love. Now I just found out he was seeing his friends girlfriend. How could he? I went to a lawyer right away , I told him it takes a better person then me to forgive his actions this time. I am enraged, sad, disapointed and could go on. If it wasn’t for the kids he would never get in touch with me again. It’s a nightmare and I’m out! He needs to grow up and deal with his demons by himself. I can’t get sick for him, my babies need me. Thanks for your advice or encouragement.

  • MollyM

    November 18th, 2017 at 6:33 PM

    How about the concept that it FEELS like our cheating spouse punished us through having an affair. Was the marriage perfect? No. Is any marriage perfect? Were mistakes made and lack of communication existing? Sure. But I feel punished by my husband, through his affair, by focusing on our disabled child and a child fighting cancer – yes, both before, during and after his affair came out. Isn’t that punishing us – the loyal spouse? I sure seems that way. Thoughts? I’d love your input this way. The bottom line is, you don’t go outside your marriage to someone else, to fix problems in the marriage w/a new partner. That’s like having your Ford breakdown on the side of road and going to a used car lot to get a new one and leaving the other one to rot and rust w/no ability to drive away. He could have asked for divorce and left me w/some sense of respect and dignity. He acted on his own ego and wants and needs and didn’t take me or our children into consideration. I think that’s the worst form of punishment… punishing my loyalty. Thanks, MM

  • ZRS

    January 3rd, 2018 at 1:53 PM

    I’ve cheated and I regret every last minute of it. I only happened once and my Significant other has been punishing me four years now and I’ve changed completely and he too acknowledges it but still punishes me. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m angry and bitter but I keep calm as possible but I think its destroying me mentally. I suggest we end things is he doesn’t want to be here anymore but then he says he wants to and he loves me but always neglect me I’ll treat me insult me and I break down cause I don’t attack back verbally I just take it and blame it on m infidelity four years ago. Please help me!

  • Theo

    February 6th, 2018 at 10:46 AM

    About a year ago, my wife was on a bachelorette party bus about a year ago and agreed to let some guy feel her tits for $10. As my wife explained it to me, it was her thought that the guy would feel her up without going beneath her bra, but, after he gave her the $10, she allowed him to stick his hands down her shirt and beneath her bra and feel around for several seconds.
    I am nauseated just typing that first paragraph. Like I said, this happened a year ago, and I am still in a lot of emotional turmoil. I have recurring nightmares where this event plays itself out. When the nightmares happen, my wife notices that I am upset, but I hold back from telling her what my nightmare was about. I just say that I had a bad dream and leave it at that.
    I feel like I am repressing my anger and hiding the pain that I still feel. It’s tearing me up inside and I don’t know what to do. Part of me wants to get a divorce, but we have two kids, ages 12 and 9, and I fear for their futures if I was to go down that road. We’ve been married nearly 16 years, but I am miserable.
    What are your suggestions?

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    February 6th, 2018 at 1:41 PM

    The event did not happen all that long ago, but no doubt it seems like an eternity to you. Healing from an affair often takes longer than one would think. That you are struggling the way you are tells me you and your wife may not have yet embarked on an effective recovery process. Creating that process is usually best facilitated with some counseling. I cannot tell from your post if you and your wife sought counseling after the event.
    I’m wondering why you don’t tell her the content of you nightmares, and that you are miserable–are you worried about her response? Will it likely lead to a fight?
    I can understand that a part of you considers a divorce, as you desperately want relief. But, I’m guessing another part of you is in conflict with that idea because there are satisfying elements of the marriage. However, the relief one imagines will come from a divorce often does not happen–sometimes a divorce only leads to more pain.
    I encourage you tell your wife the difficulty you are having, and suggest counseling, even if you had previous counseling. If she is unwilling to participate, then go by yourself. At the end of the day, this is your pain, and you must find effective ways of managing and reducing it. Your wife also needs to participate in earning your trust, and repairing the damage for which she is responsible. Therapy helps couples determine who is responsible for what, and to rebuild as a team. it is difficult work, but can be profoundly rewarding.
    I encourage you both to read The State of Affairs, by Esther Perel.

    Hope this helps.

    Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

  • Anon

    February 23rd, 2018 at 1:52 PM

    Hi, long story short, my ex partner and I have been together for four years, we have a family together. 7 weeks ago I cheated on him and am remorsefully sorry for the betrayal towards him and our family. however when I did this, for 6 months our private life had been nothing, we lacked communication, intimacy, priorities and just everything that comes with a family and relationship. He devoted himself as a father but not as a partner. He used codine and another substance in the 6 months, to numb everything apparently because he said I caused him the stress ect. He moved out of our family home the morning of the incident and is refusing to come home to work it out, I have explained to him why this happened and that I’m genuinely sorry in which he knows I am, I don’t expect him to forgive me or everything to go back to the way it was bit I’m trying to show him a change within myself and to let him know that it was a mistake and also that I want things to work but I just feel like he is punishing me. He doesn’t have any time for his son and has it seen him twice since leaving, he is constantly being hot and cold towards me, he keeps saying that he needs time to think if he want to be with me or not. I have also questioned things in our relationship about what his done but he has stated ghat he never went as far as me eat, not that I ever meant for this to happen but I just felt vulnerable and confused. I love him so much and just want him be in our lives. I would never hurt him again and he knows that. What can I do ?

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    February 23rd, 2018 at 4:13 PM

    Hi, Anon, (ymous?)

    I guess he’s not your “ex?” It’s not clear to me if you two are together or not.
    Regardless, neither of you appear to be living with a solid commitment to each other. I suggest you each get in to individual counseling, and decide exactly what it is you each want. Certainly you can continue to love him, and he can be in yours and the kids lives, but, by your description of things it is not clear to me that either of you are ready to do the work necessary for building trust and commitment.

  • SLH

    March 8th, 2018 at 12:13 PM

    My husband and I have been married almost 40 years. We have many children and even more grandchildren. If a few words could describe my husband over the decades up until now it would be dependable, responsible, a steady rock for everyone to lean on and just always there. He is quiet except when he’s not but 90% of the time he is quiet, a home body, not physically demonstrative, doesn’t buy gifts usually, doesn’t acknowledge birthdays or anniversaries or holidays for the most part but is just always there if you need him for anything and DEPENDABLE. He is a great father and grandfather, a good provider, a hard worker and always before now at least….. and I repeat….. dependable. One day recently going through pictures on the computer (for my father’s obituary if you can believe it) I came across naked pictures of him and his private parts he had obviously taken to send to someone else and thought he had deleted. I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE STUNNED! When confronted he admitted to going online to a porn hook up site about a year ago looking for someone other than me to have sex with. He was mad at me at the time he said, thought he wasn’t getting enough sex etc he said. Tried to blame me of which I was having no part of. It took him a while (almost a year of researching….so it started TWO YEARS ago) to find a hook up site he wanted but when he did he fiercely protected his anonymity he says with headless shots and fake names and fake emails and took the plunge and signed up for a free month trial. He spent a long time trying to get someone to answer him but sat in nasty chat rooms reading what people posted and says he was bowled over by the things people felt comfortable saying in those anonymous chat rooms but was somewhat excited by the possibility of finding a woman he could say ANYTHING TO and ASK ANYTHING and possibly hook up with for anonymous sex. It took him a long time to find someone that would answer him back like I said because the women are outnumbered like 1000 to one on those sites but he finally got someone to take his bait. They sent naked pictures back and forth and talked nasty for a bit and even sent face shots and eventually switched to another drug/sex secret encrypted texting site that didn’t require you to be online at the time of texting (and let you be anonymous) which was enormously more convenient for them because he did not have a cell phone (at least at first) and could only do this AT HOME on WIFI on his IPAD. But when it came down to it and she asked him when he was going to ask her to meet up he “said” he couldn’t go through with it and he finally told her he was married. She was mad I guess and stopped talking to him for a while. At some point though he texted her and she answered him and eventually their relationship just turned into a “friendship” he says where they texted now and then (for over a year) through their encrypted anonymous texing site that if you log out everything is erased. So he kept it open I assume FOR A YEAR on his phone. She told him about her “dates” with the skeezy guys she met on the site and lamented the shallowness of it all and he gave her advice to get off the hook up site and to stop sleeping with all of these men because they were only interested in sex and she’d get a disease and he told her if she really wanted to meet someone of quality etc she should think of some other way, because she, not surprisingly, couldn’t find anyone that she considered a “good guy” like she said he was on the hook up site. When I found the naked **** pictures and whatnot and told him we were divorcing he was stunned. He said he never ever thought he was jeopardizing his family at all and never thought of this as betrayal because of the anonymity and because he never met her in person and he, at first anyway, said he couldn’t understand my feelings of betrayal. I on the other hand feel fiercely betrayed by the “friendship”, by the pictures, by the fact that he didn’t delete the texting app until the day I confronted him and by every single tiny bit of this. Again… 40 years…. children and grandchildren etc. At first I wanted every detail, every word exchanged. He knows a LOT about her so I know their texting was intense and long. He claims he went into it to dial up the excitement in his life but that it did not do that. He was disappointed that he didn’t find it more exciting. The anticipation of it was more exciting. During this time that he was doing this online stuff that I knew nothing about, he was having difficulty with ED and ejaculating. I DID know about that of course and he now says it only got worse the more he was online trying to find someone to have sex with. So because of that I guess I believe him that he never met her in person and possibly his desire to even do this in the first place could have been to try and make himself work again….. but… the lies… the hiding……. the asking for a cell phone after he met her and saying he just finally decided he wanted a cell phone when really… he just needed one for the freedom it would give him to do this porn hook up site or the texting site some place other than home. Some of these lies and sneaky things actually caught my attention as being odd for him during this time, but I discounted them and let them slip away because I never in my wildest dreams thought he would cheat are on me. Other things I remembered in hindsight….like the timing of the cell phone. My problem now is that I just can not get past all of this in my head. I am constantly thinking about the ease with which he lied and covered up stuff. I have decided that I don’t want a divorce. I don’t want my children to ever know any of this about their father. I don’t want their view of their steadfast and always dependable father to be ruined. I can’t even imagine how the knowledge of this would shatter their worlds. He seems apologetic but also oblivious to the fact that this pain I am now forced to carry completely alone is going to take a long time to get over and how deep it is. He thinks after two months I should be over this. Just stop thinking about it he says. He says he is the same person he always was and that this was just a huge mistake that he realized and quit long before I “caught” him. In fact he says he doesn’t consider himself being “caught” because he had quit long before and that to him, it was no worse than looking at porn that answers you back. But he told her things because he felt safe… because of the anonymity, and he disclosed so many things to her even about us once she knew he was married, some of which I probably don’t even know according to him. It just feels like a HUGE HUGE BETRAYAL. And I don’t know. But this is the hardest thing I have ever done because usually the way I process difficult things is talking it over with him (which I have tried to do but now he thinks we have talked about it enough…because he is NOT a talker….and I should be over it all by now) but also I would process with my friends but in this case I have to hold this all inside because anyone I can think of to tell to process it all with would only cause the “pebble in a still pond effect” and eventually it would come out somehow and ruin my family. It’s seriously so completely out of character for him that him doing this is too big of a shocking secret for anyone I can think of to keep. And I wouldn’t blame them. I am as shocked to my core as they would be. Probably more so. He will not go to counseling and doesn’t want to PAY for me to go to counseling. He says it’s over. He says it was over long long ago. He promises he will never ever do anything like this again because he didn’t like it he says. He says it wasn’t exciting and he realized that it just wasn’t him. He says he is not the kind of person that does this kind of thing. He said he thought the people on the hook up sites were disgusting and felt horrible about it because he thought how badly he would be disappointing his father et al, but apparently wasn’t so horrified that he didn’t cut off texting to this women until I caught him… (because he said she was the only one with any humanity at all and he was trying to HELP HER). He even offered to contact her and have HER TELL ME that they never met and then thought better of that because he realized it disclosed that they were still in contact. She is TEN YEARS younger than I am etc etc. I don’t know how to move on. I don’t know what to do. I want to punish him but I know that is counter-productive. I try to act normal and we talk about starting our relationship from square one and getting things back to how they were 40 years ago and he HAS been much nicer and seems sincere in wanting the marriage to be good. But along with those things….after two months of this… he has slipped back into his non talkative self that ignores me a lot, never acknowledges birthdays or holidays again and I just don’t know what to do. I look in the mirror and feel ugly and old. He at first blamed the whole thing on not enough sex and tried to blame ME for that. I was livid because it’s not like we weren’t having sex. He was having ED problems. So I say that it’s a character flaw coupled with the anonymity and his belief he could totally get away with it and possibly his ED that kick-started this whole thing and it has nothing to do with me. He wanted to see if more excitement would FIX HIM. At best it was a horrible choice that he somehow thought was his only option when really he could have tried to start the relationship over before all of this or any number of other options other than this if he was feeling upset about something. I sit and cry during the day. The betrayal. The lying. The sneaking. The “friendship” he had where he told her all kinds of things. THE PICTURES HE TOOK! What 60 year old takes pictures like that? Sometimes I feel like I don’t even know him anymore. And…. I feel like a totally different person. I feel like my relationship with others has changed even though they don’t know it. I feel like I am a lie hiding this from everyone even though I know I have to. I have always been a totally open book to everyone and now I’m not. I feel old and fat and ugly when I look in the mirror. This girl was a decade younger and he complained about all the girls on the hook up site being fat and I’ve looked at the site.. or one just like it…. and they are NOT FAT. Then I get angry that I feel like I should try to please him somehow when he did this horrible thing to me. I’m no doormat. Let him go find one of them to move in with I say. Let him blow up his life and his family and see how happy he is then! Take that. Then I know I can’t act like that or it will be MY LIFE and MY FAMILY that is also blown up. And we have soooo much history and family we share. So.. I want to make this work but I can’t get my brain over it all. Help.

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    March 9th, 2018 at 8:48 AM

    Your post was remarkably lengthy, which tells me you need to talk to a professional therapist who understands the sort of betrayal you have experienced . Not because there is something wrong with you, but because you are filled with intense feelings and overwhelming thoughts, and don’t believe you have any other outlet. It ‘s unfortunate your husband, as many men do, thinks you should just “get over it.” People usually have a very difficult time getting over it, and they find they have to recover from it. That often, if not usually, requires the help of a knowledgeable, compassionate therapist. I realize you said your husband does not want to pay for you to go to counseling, but that is not his call–it’s now up to you to stand up to him, and go to counseling. I am making the assumption that you have a say on how money is spent in your marriage.

    Good luck going forward.

  • SLH

    April 12th, 2018 at 11:23 AM

    Hi. I did go to counseling. Once. My husband went with me. It was not all that helpful because mostly they just sit and listen, but it did feel good to get some of the story out and to feel some validation. I felt a need during the session to protect my husband with compliments however because he was so uncomfortable sharing his story in what he considered such a public way. At the end the therapist called me a good mother and I got the feeling he was referring to me protecting my husband even though I was the hurt party. Regardless, I was feeling somewhat better about all of this a month down the line from the session when it was brought to my attention from my daughter in law that my son had accidentally come upon the same naked pictures my husband had taken a full month before I did in much the same way I did while innocently using the computer. He told his sisters about them and together they determined that the pictures must have been mine and obviously my husband and I have some great secret sex life where he was sending ME the naked pictures which I stupidly saved on the laptop because I am not technically savvy. It makes me feel foolish to know they knew about the pictures a month before I did and it bugs the LIFE out of me that now I assume my children think that I and my husband are some perverts sending naked pictures to each other because I would NEVER be a part of sharing naked gross porn pictures. But I feel like have to live with them thinking that because I can’t go to them and tell them the truth because that would devastate them to learn about their father’s betrayal and other actions. So… how do I now live with THIS on top of my husband’s betrayal when it all has to be some big dark secret I carry forever forward????

  • Steve

    March 10th, 2018 at 11:14 AM

    I was willing to pursue forgiveness when I first found out about my wife (of 30 years)’s affair with her boss, despite it having gone on longer than I suspected (2 years) and longer than she admitted to (4 years). However, I’ve since found out that she is also sleeping with (at least) a couple of others at her work (she neglected to mention that to me). She barely acknowledged that she was having an affair (it is just harmless fun, like going to a movie), showed little remorse (she wants to continue it), and didn’t really seem to think about any impact on my health (tests fortunately came back negative). I suppose she wants me to end the marriage then she can delude herself that she was not the relationship- breaker. She has no desire to see a couples’ therapist (not that I’m interested in it any longer) and hopes that my therapist can help me get over it (after all, she says, there are two sides to every story and I just really don’t understand the reality of her situation). At this point, punishment is looking like an attractive alternative since the affair partners are all getting their cake and eating it to while I am the only one that’s suffering.

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    March 10th, 2018 at 3:54 PM


    It’s human to want to punish and seek revenge. The pain you feel is real, and severely intense.
    I wish I could tell you that punishing her would relieve your pain, but, we both know it won’t.
    Besides, given what you wrote, punishing her probably is not consistent with your integrity.

    Whether you understand her situation or not, and regardless of there being two sides to every story,
    her decision to embrace infidelity is hers alone. You are in no way responsible for her decision.
    It is she who needs to do the heavy lifting involved in earning your trust–demanding your trust never works. Whether or not that is possible only her hard work, motivation and time will tell.

    Likewise, you can ease your suffering through working a conscious, methodical recovery process with
    the guidance of a seasoned therapist who understands the complexities of the trauma of infidelity. Your
    wife need not be part of that.

    If it seems she, and her affair partners, are having their cake and eating it too, remember this: you are not
    obligated to stick around to watch her eat it.

    I wish you increasing peace and recovery going forward.

    Jim Hutt, Ph.D., MFT

  • Steve

    March 13th, 2018 at 9:21 PM

    If I had no kids, then I actually think that i would enjoy punishing them all (and I’m actually in a position to severely damage many of their careers), though it would be at the sacrifice of a lot of my core beliefs. However, because my cherished children are about all I have, I don’t want to be completely alone on the chance of alienating them. I would have lost everything then. It is just so, so perplexing… married that long and this woman claiming to be my wife is someone I’ve never met before (well, mostly never met… there is one persona that is somewhat recognizable… the other 4 that I’ve witnessed are not). These different personas started to become evident when she started with her boss… I had never seen any of them before that.
    I don’t think she is motivated, since she has not been working at all to improve our relationship this past year whereas I have been bending over backwards (since it’s I who is the root of the marital discord apparently). She gives more time and attention to her lovers in one day than I get in a couple of weeks (or months, if we’re talking about physical intimacy). I know I don’t have to stick around, but I tend to ruminate so physical presence does little to alleviate my experience. I’m slowly reconciling to the fact that this relationship has no future…. a hard thing because I was so looking forward to just the two of us doing things together as we got older.

  • R

    March 12th, 2018 at 12:21 PM

    I cheated on my wife, and she is extremely sensitive and emotional, and ill tempered as well. I know what I did, and what I thought I did, though nothing justifies me doing so. I am being punished everyday, by her and by myself. I can’t make her stop talking, can’t make her hurting me with worlds or even physically, can’t stop her once or twice a day anger episodes. I know I deserve all this, but I really can’t take this any longer.

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    March 12th, 2018 at 3:45 PM

    I’m thinking that if you cannot take it any more, you are now ready for counseling. Start therapy ASAP, and break the painful pattern(s) you are both involved in.

    Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

  • william

    April 12th, 2018 at 1:42 AM

    I have 2 kids with my ex fiancé and raised our daughter from a previous marriage. last spring she was arrested for neglect and cps took our kids into family care. during this time we fought and got our kids back because it was a fraudulent claim. when we had no kids she decided to kick me out and move in my employee. she broadcasted it all over facebook and did absolutely horrible things to make me not able to be with my kids. 3 months later all the bills I payed were out of funding so she got evicted no more utilities. almost lost her van I bought. which I did save for the kids. now she was pregnant by him and has had his child. he ran to Indiana for another girl which he was with the whole time. and of course he has 3 other children and women who receive nothing from him. meanwhile now she says that she made a mistake and loves me and will never do it again. i let her live with me because during the cps period she had complete control and could take my kids to a homeless shelter. which was going to happen because if i had custody at my place she was worried about looking bad in family court. but i have reluctantly tried to forgive and move on. i feel stupid. abused. i cant let it go. the things that were done is all over. how do you recover something from that. i just wanted my boys to have a family. but the new baby. i just don’t have a connection with him. i don’t blame the baby in any way and take care of him. he had nothing to do with it. but i couldn’t sit through the birth and the bond i had with my other boys isn’t there, all i do is look at her and the things she did are burned into my head.

  • Michelle

    May 7th, 2018 at 3:33 PM

    Hi there,
    I’m going through an issue with my boyfriend of 5 years. He’s been very slow to move the relationship forward to living together/engagement. In Dec. I made a guy friend and starting talking to him often. I never cheated or anything, but my BF just didn’t like me talking to him and sensed that the friend liked me. I cut the friend off after that point. 3 months later the friend texted me and asked me if I wanted to go to happy hour. I don’t drink hard liquor often and I got super drunk, showed up 3 hours late at my bf’s and lied about it. Long story short the whole happy hour night turned into a string of lies b/c I was scared to tell him my friend walked me home an came up to my apt, while I was getting my overnight bag to go to my bfs. Now my bf thinks the worst and keeps trying to get me to admit I was dating him behind his back for months when that wasn’t the case. I was really wrong for lying, but that same time we’re not married and I never cheated on him, and every time I would bring up marriage he would give me some dumb excuse. No wonder I got impatient after 5 years and sought other male attention as wrong as it was for me to lie about it. Anyway now its been back and forth and hell for 5 weeks. He wants to take it slow but he says he’s in no rush and conflicted, and he keeps telling me we will see the outcome of being together or not in time. Is 5 weeks not long enough? Do you think there is hope if I give him space and time to work out his anger? I really love him, and we have never had a big fight of any sort in 5 years. I feel like I’m doing all the work to reach out and all he wants to do is punish me by being cold and distant when I’m not seeing him, but when I reach out and see him we go out for dinner and spend multiple nights in a row together.

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    May 8th, 2018 at 9:23 AM

    Seems to me counseling as a couple is your next best step. Here are some issues I think would serve you both well to address in counseling:
    1. The meaning of your interaction with the other guy, the lying, etc., and the connection between all of that and your current relationship.
    2. Your hesitation about leaving the relationship in order to find a partner who is available for marriage. After all, if he does not want marriage, and you do, it’s up to you to decide how long you are willing to “wait” for him. No one is keeping you there but you.
    3. Your boyfriend’s lengthy hesitation about marriage.
    Hope this helps.
    Jim Hutt, Ph.D., MFT

  • Sara

    August 15th, 2018 at 9:34 AM

    I’m going through something similar but I’m not sure of how to deal with it. So he had many insecurities when we started the relationship to the point he didn’t treat me how I deserved so I broke up with him. For different reason we were still seeing each other but I made sure to tell him that we weren’t together and that he was single. One night I went out with my friends and he was there too, that night I ended up kissing a guy he kinda knew. He ended up being a jerk and told everyone about it, so my boyfriend found out. After this I decided to actually take time off and didn’t talk at all. After around 2 weeks we started talking again and decided to try again. We were still having problems but we were together. Then I went away and he started acting different, careless, like an asshole. I started going crazy because there was one night he didn’t answer the phone at all. The day after he was still acting like an asshole and I just kept asking about that night. I came back from my trip and asked him, every time I did he’d get mad, he always denied it until one day I was sleeping at his house and his iPad was next to the bed and vibrating so I opened it. He was talking to his friend about how bad he felt for cheating. I confronted him and he denied it, until he told me that it was just a kiss. I still didn’t believe this because he had lied so much plus he did not answer ALL NIGHT LONG. I bugged him about it, Tricked him a little and he finally admitted that they did have sex. It was such a relieve (kind of) to know I was right the whole time, but he slept with another woman and lied multiple times, and made me feel like I was the crazy one. When he finally admitted it, he cried and said he was sorry and then we kinda decided to keep trying. I want to forgive but it was so much dishonesty.

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    August 19th, 2018 at 7:20 AM

    Hi, Sara,
    Here are a few things to consider: The interactions you describe with him appear to be leaving you feeling gaslighted. It also seems, by your description of events, he would rather beg forgiveness for dishonest behavior than talk you openly and honestly about what he’s thinking and feeling prior to behaving in ways that damage what little trust exists between the two of you. BTW, it seems it has been difficult to trust him from the very beginning. Yes, you can forgive him, but forgiveness will not restore/build trust. Trust is restored when it is earned, and until he behaves in a manner that clearly earns your trust, you will live in doubt and anxiety.

  • Amy

    June 5th, 2019 at 1:28 PM

    This article is helpful. Currently I am going through the learning opportunity of infidelity in my marriage. I was blindsided when I found my husband’s account for a forum about restoring foreskin. He was exchanging dirty chats and porn with guys as well as video chatting while masturbating. I also found out he was talking to men on craigslist and actually met up with 2 men locally for sexual favors. We have been together 10 years and have a very close friendship and relationship. We rarely fight and have a huge amount of respect for each other (so I thought) and I was devastated to learn he met up with someone 2 months after our wedding and 1 month after my dad passed away. I was very hurt and felt so betrayed I felt as though this man I thought was perfect and my soulmate turned out to be a stranger. It was the worst pain I’ve ever gone through and was very worried we would not be able to heal. Mostly everything I’ve found out from snooping and he had several chances to tell me the entire truth but was afraid to speak up. He was understandably very ashamed of his same sex attraction and also not really a talker so I am trying my best to remain a friend and support him. The kicker is that I have always been vocal about sexuality being fluid and against labels, I’ve told him before that even if he was gay or transgender I would be his friend for life. Our wedding vows included things about growing as an individual and I regularly would say that we don’t own each other and its important for us to have our own identity. I thought I was cultivating a safe environment where he could share his thoughts and desires. We have been going to therapy and I feel us slowly getting to know each other better, sorting through problems we’ve never addressed, and being completely honest with each other. My worry is that we will not be able to heal and I will not be able to trust him ever again. In talking to him now i realize that we were sorely lacking in the sex department and I had some sexual abuse in my past that was preventing me from opening up to him completely. I feel like I have worked through that and for some reason finding out he cheated made me a sex fiend and we have been intimate like crazy over the past couple weeks. It’s great but we both know it’s not going to last forever. We have made goals on how often we should have sex and I feel good about having a plan in place. I just really don’t want to hold on to resentment and I want to give us the best chance to heal. I have no worries about his sexuality except for that fact that he is choosing to avoid porn 100% which I am worried is not sustainable and may have him wanting what he is denying himself. Also simply because I am not a man I cannot fulfill his desires for M2M experiences. He says the attraction is really just about masturbation and seeing penises “get off” and he has no desires to have a relationship with a man or even check out men. That’s fine but I don’t want to sweep anything under the rug and I want a realistic, sustainable way to move forward. Sorry for the rambling it’s just a lot to process. Any suggestions or advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    June 5th, 2019 at 5:14 PM


    Not really sure there is much I can offer you that you aren’t already doing, or don’t know about. It sounds like you are each taking responsibility for what’s on your side of the street, so to speak, and not blaming the other. That is crucial. Keep that up. He will have to earn your trust, and that takes effort on his part. At some point, the trust will reach its peak, and only you can determine where that is. At that point, you each will decide whether or not it’s the trust of a marriage, a friendship, etc. A word about the porn–Whether or not complete abstinence from porn is sustainable may be less of an issue. Often, it is not. Many couples I have worked with have negotiated in the following agreement: Rather than denying his desire to watch, hoping he won’t watch, instead he will report his desire to watch to you, and the desire will be discussed. A few things happen when it’s discussed as a desire: probably not going to be watching porn and talking about it simultaneously; and, the trust has not taken a hit; you each learn something previously you did not know. Talking about his desire to watch includes not asking WHY he wants to watch–that usually isn’t particularly helpful. Instead, exploring what seemed to trigger the desire; is that a recurring trigger; what is it like to not watch it; you might even explore, if you haven’t already, if he wants to watch it with you. That does not mean you should watch with him, unless you’re ok with that. It does mean what makes it important to him that you watch it is revealed. I could on and on, but I think you get the idea. I wish you both well–I can see there is a lot of love there
    between the two of.

    Jim Hutt, Ph.D., MFT

  • Odayna

    July 23rd, 2019 at 1:19 PM

    My story is pretty much traumatizing, but I was married for 10 years with my husband and we been together 15 years. I cheated on my husband and he found out. He filed for divorced and it’s now been 2 years and the divorce is still going. We have two kids (8 yr old son and 15 yr old daughter). I have been for two years trying to reconcile and begged, cry, and asked countless times for his forgiveness and another chance. His words are “We are dead, it will never be the same again and you and I are over”. I don’t know what to do anymore, should I continue to try or just let it go?

  • Jim Hutt, Ph.D.

    July 23rd, 2019 at 7:55 PM

    Sounds to me like it’s time to let go. Move on, and find someone who understands what love is really about, and allow yourself to be happy again. Apparently your ex thinks your affair was about him (which it wasn’t). Ironically, most couples are not the same again after an affair, but the ones who put the work in to create the marriage they want enjoy a relationship they cherish . If he does not want to do that, well, that’s on him, not you.

    Move on and find the love you want; never beg for the love someone is incapable of giving.

    Jim Hutt, Ph.D

  • Shay

    November 6th, 2019 at 8:15 AM

    “find someone who understands what love is really about” … THAT is what her husband is doing.

  • cedar

    December 8th, 2019 at 10:08 PM

    Cheating is of course a sin that is not excused. But cheating can be explained, and i believe it matters. Rare are the articles explaining how the cheating can be the consequence of a despicable partner. Lack of education and tolerance, lack of self esteem, troubled childhood, mental issues, alcoholism, apathy, selfishness, carelessness, emotional, financial and physical abuse, degrading and controlling behavior, lies and unmet promises, deliberate evil, and child neglect can sometimes all be combined in one person – a wife in my case. (Please refrain from advising why I did not step out, I just mentioned child neglect as an issue). Then, after years of endurance and agony, cheating happens. So then the wife, and allied society of feminists/CPS, wants to crucify the cheater. Of course, cheating “legalizes” further abuse. Kill the cheater?

  • Will J

    December 28th, 2019 at 8:20 AM

    My girlfriend of 4 years got black out drunk and slept with a guy. I believe her that she would not have done this knowingly, however she did make the decision to put herself in this situation by drinking too much. Its been 4 months and I just cant stop thinking about it. Every day there is something that reminds me of it. We agreed to try and work it out but if I bring it up she feels awful and breaks down. So while it sounds like punishment I am really just expressing my feelings. It’s gotten so I dont want to talk about it out of consideration to her as she seemed to get over it much better than I have. I feel like I am the problem now by not letting it go. It just feel like I am opening an old wound every time I bring it up since we agreed to put it behind us and move forward.

  • jim Ph.D.

    December 28th, 2019 at 9:16 AM

    What you describe is a common, and very painful experience. You two are at the point when you would benefit from couple counseling with someone who understands alcohol issues and couples’ issues. There is more going on here than meets the eye, I suspect, given what happened with her drinking.

  • Tracy

    September 24th, 2020 at 12:46 PM

    They get what they paid for. If they wanted to screw around with someone else they should’ve told their significant other in the first place. You reap what you sow if you don’t like it leave.

  • Anonymous

    September 28th, 2020 at 6:46 AM

    Most women as it is just sleep around with different guys all the time, instead of committing themselves to just only one guy. So many very trashy women everywhere these days unfortunately, unlike the old days when most women were very faithful back then. What in the world happened to these loser women today?

  • MB

    October 1st, 2021 at 12:00 PM

    Anonymous…I hear what you’re saying, but you can’t make this about gender. Both men AND women have affairs. Both men AND women can be unfaithful. It’s not a gender issue, it’s a character flaw. A lot of people don’t respect themselves or others, so this is why so many people seem to cheat.

    On another note, more on the subject of cheating…from what I have observed with many people, most cheaters aren’t actually sorry for cheating. They are “sorry” that they were caught and that their lies have been exposed. It takes a long time to rebuild trust after it’s been broken. The issue (to me) is not so much about forgiveness, but about earning trust again.
    When a betrayed spouse continues to lash out, the cheater needs to understand that it comes from a place of deep hurt. The relationship has been damaged by the infidelity, and healing will not happen overnight.

    Now, I’m not saying that the betrayed spouse should become abusive or anything because they are hurt…that’s not OK either. But the cheating partner needs to accept that they have hurt their spouse, and the effects of this will be felt for a long time. You can’t fix it with a simple “I’m sorry” and “please forgive me” and “it will never happen again”. You have to really own up to your bad choices, work on being a better person, and work on healing yourself so you don’t repeat the same mistakes. Show your spouse that you value them and that you want to commit yourself to earning back their faith in you. If both people are willing to listen and talk it out, no matter how hard it is, maybe the pain can eventually be overcome. But it takes time.

  • Anonymous

    October 5th, 2021 at 4:11 AM

    MB, I was married at one time and was a very happy man thinking that i had finally met the right good woman which wasn’t the case for me. We were together for 15 years since i was hoping to have children with her as well. At first everything was going very well until she started cheating on me, and she made a habit of coming home late since i knew something was up. She turned out to be a real low life loser that i never knew, and she even had the nerve to say to me that we should have an open marriage on top of it all. Well that certainly wasn’t going to happen since i was very lucky enough to find a good lawyer, and i was divorced in just 3 weeks. So it isn’t really easy at all finding love again for me since it has become very hard for most women to commit to only one man nowadays, and a lot of women today just like to party and sleep around with different men all the time unfortunately. Even when many of us single men will try to start a conversation with a woman that we would really like to meet, and most of the time for no reason at all they will be so very nasty to us too. And i know other single friends that had the very same thing happened to them as well, and there will be times when they will even Curse at us as well. So the women today are a lot different from the past unfortunately, and back then most women were the very complete opposite of today as well as real ladies which a great deal of women really were at that time. It is very obvious why our family members were very lucky and blessed back then when they met one another. What in the world happened to the women today?

  • James Hut, Ph.D.

    October 5th, 2021 at 9:17 PM


    I am unaware of which part of the article leaves you thinking I believe this issue is about gender.

    Dr. Hutt

  • MB

    October 18th, 2021 at 7:36 PM

    My comment was not aimed at you, Dr. Hutt. It was intended for the person who said that women of today are “losers”. Your reply to me is misplaced. I agree with your article.

  • MB

    October 18th, 2021 at 7:44 PM

    Anonymous…I’m truly sorry for what you’ve experienced. I hope you find the love you deserve. My point still stands, however. There are bad people of both genders. There are men AND women who are guilty of that behavior. While I agree that many women today are uncouth, they don’t represent all of us. I feel compelled to speak up when blanket statements are made. Not attacking you personally (please don’t take it that way!)
    Just saying that we can’t generalize because we’ve had bad experiences. Again, I hope you meet the right lady for you and I wish you happiness. I’m sure you’re a great guy. Don’t give up on love just yet.

  • Larry

    April 9th, 2023 at 8:24 PM

    Punishing the offending partner? Just bringing it up seems punishment enough to her. After 44 years we still have to work to discuss anything about it without pain to both of us. Perhaps a discussion about how to talk about it without descending into unproductive emotional outbursts would be helpful.

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