Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Getting Over An Affair

Posted By Anonymous.

What is the statute of limitations on an affair? How long can the other spouse go on being distrustful of the cheater? When is the point that the cheater decides that enough is enough and if they don't have trust by now, they will never have it?

If it was a one time thing?
If they left the situation (job, class, drinking, friendship etc) that lured them down that path to begin with?
If they have really NEVER done it again, and have no intention to (it seems).
If they have gone to counseling?

What if it were your spouse that cheated? You? Your best friend's spouse? Your best friend?

Just want a perspective.


Anonymous said...

My husband didn't cheat, but there have been other types of betrayals, enough that if I see an unfamiliar email I still get some feelings very much like post-traumatic stress.
I would say that if the transgressor is showing some effort and the transgressee is determined to heal, it would probably take a year to really feel safe again. But in the meantime I wouldn't be surprised if every minor 'betrayal' felt really huge, and possibly reset the clock.
Just my experience!

Anonymous said...

Well I have been there -- and honestly someone who betrays someone else has to regain their trust. It doesn't happen overnight, sometimes it doesn't happen it all. The "guilty" party has to earn it - and it's hard work. At some point, if someone has really worked to regain trust and you want to be with them, you let go of the past and move forward and trust them. Easier said than done. Good luck.

Bea said...

My personal rule was that a one-time offense that was immediately confessed I could forgive, but a long-term affair with deception was crossing over the line. When my husband confessed to a two-lunch-stand about two years after the fact, I wasn't sure what I would do: the relationship had ended quickly and this person was no longer in his life, but those two years of silence had taken their toll on me: I knew something was wrong, but I never knew what it was. That was harder to forgive.

After a couple more conversations, though, it became clear that there had been a second affair, this one lasting six months, and that was enough to seal the deal for me - I left and never looked back.

In retrospect, though, I think my decision had a lot to do with the (lack of) quality of the relationship - the affair simply freed me to leave a marriage that my ex-husband had never put any effort into from the beginning.

I did feel at the time that I needed to make my mind up one way or the other - I couldn't just return to the relationship on a trial basis, reserving the right to leave anytime. For me to function in the relationship, I had to commit to it irrevocably, or else not.

Anonymous said...

I have long held that any affair, under any circumstances, would lead me to leave because I know how I am when my trust is betrayed. I know how hard it is for me to forgive or forget long after trust should have been regained.

I said I would do that because I believed that there was no way either of us would ever be happy again following that. I said all this before I had children and I've never had to face it, so I can't be sure. But I do think it comes down to what it's doing to your relationship and your own peace of mind.

Anonymous said...

What if your spouse cheats with your best friend? Could you ever forgive either of them?

Anonymous said...

Quite simply, there is no statute of limitations. The betrayed spouse may forgive the cheater, but there is not and will not be a 'forgive and forget'. It happened and it can't be erased. That isn't to say you can't get on with your life together. You can, but the betrayal and the associated trust issues will only mellow with time, not disappear.

Anonymous said...

I second the above comment. Betrayal changes your understanding of the person you thought you knew.
It takes time to learn to love this person again when he or she is someone different now. The cheater isn't doing him or herself any favours by pushing for quicker resolution, either.

Anonymous said...

i don't think there are simple answers to your questions. maybe you should figure out why the cheating happened to begin with. are you happy in this relationship? or was this simply a sign of a crumbling relationship? i guess ultimately you will have to learn to "get over" the affair, but whether or not you do it with you partner is up to you. best wishes to you. take care of yourself.

ewe are here said...

I don't have any personal experience with this question, but I've always felt that if my husband cheated on me there would probably be no way back to 'us'. The betrayal would be too much. But, like someone said above, now that I have children, I'm not sure if it's so black and white. It would probably depend on a lot of things, first and foremost an 'immediate' confession (like B&P says above) and absolute remorse, followed by absolute transparency for as long as 'I' need it.

I've always found it absolutely 'fascinating' when the cheating partner tries to act the aggrieved party, thinking their spouse should just 'get over it already'. Why should a spouse have to get over something on the cheater's schedule? If the cheater wants to end the marriage, then end it, but don't blame your spouse. It was the cheater's mistake that helped blow apart the marriage. If the cheater, otoh, is truly remorseful and wants to save the marriage, then s/he has to do it on the spouse's terms within reason. 'Reason' will often mean absolute transparency and openness for an indefinite period of time (until trust has been restored), as well as a willingness to 'work' on the marriage, often via counseling.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

There isn't a statute of limitations, and there is no clear cut amount of time to regain trust. If both parties want to make the relationship work, the cheater needs to work to prove his or her trustworthiness, and the cheated needs to be willing to trust again. Some people are prepared to do that, some are not.

All of the scenarios in the post make a difference. I betrayed my husband (not an affair, but a long period of hiding financial information and getting into some credit trouble). His love for me and his desire to keep the family together overrode his anger at being lied to. Sometimes things still happen that make him suspicious (e.g., wondering how I had the money to buy an mp3 player), but he speaks to me about it upfront to give me a chance to explain (showing him that I sold a bunch of stuff on eBay to get the money).

If my husband cheated with my best friend, I don't think I could forgive either of them. That's only based on who I see my husband as, who I see my friend as, and what kind of relationships I have with the two of them. It might be totally different for another person.

Anonymous said...

I believe you need to consider the size of the crime!

Cheating is one thing, keeping it a secret for some time is another and if your best friend is involved, well, you have your hands full.

Here is the deal: for a one-time affair my ex said that "it just happened".

Sleeping with someone who is not your partner, over and over again is not something that just happens! (falling in a ditch is what just happens).

And if the affair is with a best friend, trust me, there is intent involved.

When you get close to someone who is not your partner, you are supposed to feel guilty and assess the situation over and over again. If you repeat, there is intent.

Someone who didn't consider the damage that his affair with your best friend do to you, does not deserve a second chance.

eventually my ex cheated again!

Lizarita said...

There is never any going back to "us". It is always in the back of your mind no matter how hard you try to erase it. It is always there. The question is "Can you live with it?"

Liv said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

For me, there has not been any getting back to us. My husband (hopefully soon 'ex') cheated on me for 2 years, and still, 12 months after we separated, he won't admit it. Cheating is a deal breaker to me. I think it's because of the 80 million lies that accompany the cheating. It's never just one. And one would be enough anyway. My husband has cheated with a fellow parishioner, someone who I thought was at least a pleasant acquaintance, and all in a very small town. It has devastated me, and even if he wanted to get back together, it would be no go. Betrayal is betrayal. It makes the victim's heart feel foolish. And that is very hard to undo, even in future relationships.

Anonymous said...

As aggrieved party: It took about five years and that was five years of drama and incredible rage.

I would say it took him about three years, give or take. ?? Two? But then he had to get over the fact I kind of hated him for five years. That also took some time.

On occasion it comes back to haunt me but not for too long. But it's been 10 years and that's only happened a few times.

Most of the time I trust him completely. I would not say it is 'always there.' But of course, I never do forget. It affected our lives in huge ways--personally, professionally--so sometimes I have to say 'how did I end up here?' and that is the reason. It's a big moment in my life history.

If it were my best friend--it depends on the friend. Obviously, the friendship would be killed but I might forgive eventually if it were this one certain friend. Never be friends again, though. I don't know how it would affect the healing process with him.

People heal in such different ways so there's just no way to say how it will go...in my knowledge of other people who had this happen some people forgive and recover right away while others never do.

Anonymous said...

Well, I was the cheater. And I tried to make it right.

I made sure she always knew where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing. I accepted a pager, something I said I would never do, so that she could always find me and check on me. I gave her full access to my phone contacts list, my e-mail, and any other information resource she asks for. I figure I spent any right to privacy I might have had when I had my affair.

And I never, ever lie. Not for any reason.

My mistake was epic. I failed as a husdband, a man, and a human being. I was weak when I should have been strong, and selfish when I should have been giving.

That said, I've done all I can to make it right. She does NOT get to hold it over my head forever. She does not get to throw it in my face every time we have a difference of opionion.

If she has a concern about the female collegue I need to meet for lunch, she's welcome to come along and listen to us talk about sales predictions. She does not get to wig out, fling wild accusations, and generate epic levels of drama.

It's been working for us for ten years. I give her any reassurances she needs, and she does not throw fits or use my mistakes as weapons in disagreements that are irrelevant.

You understand if I don't post my name.

Anonymous said...

Five years into my marriage with 2 young daughters my wife cheated on me. Thru that affair I learned she cheated on me the day before our wedding with someone else I knew. She saw him for the 1st two years of our marriage. She never admitted anything up front. The spouse of the man contacted me. I was devistated. But why do I have to lose my children and not be able to raise them and be with them everyday? I stayed with her as she swore it would never happen again. It took 5 years for me to finally let go. All the while privately dealing with the healing. Seven years and another child later, she did it again. I stayed ........ for my children. I did not bring them into this world to have them raised by another man. She swore with 6 months of counseling it will never happen again. Here I sit 12 years later and I just cant get over it. It has shaped my life. How I think, behave, live, dream. I honestly dont think she realizes the devistion she has left in the wake of her selfishness. She destroyed two marriages. I dont know if i'll ever truly heal from this. We are still together but my heart is as heavy as it was 12 years ago. From my experience, it never goes away. One might ask why I dont move on. The answer is simply...... My Children. They are innocent and have never known anything ever happened. I love them with all my heart.

Anonymous said...

I am soo sorry to hear that you are still in turmoil after all of these years. I understand how you feel I recently found out my husband had an affair after 13 years of marriage and a daughter. He had lied to me through three lots of councellors different stories and tells me how he has stopped talking to her but i dont believe he has stopped talking to her. I too am hesitant only because of my daughter. Until you have had this happen to you, people dont understand what this does to you. Its the most painful event anyone has to go through. He hasnt really made an effort to end the contact leave his job and i know he changed when he met her and is still not the man he used to be the husband i knew. I am scared beyond belief that if he were to still be lying i would loose it and i dont want to get to that point so i have decided i have to stop trying and give up. This is not a healthy relationship not what i would want for my child so why expect it of myself i hope you ask yourself this question and really consider leaving her. Your children want you to be happy and in time when they are older they will tell you this they dont want you to stay with your wife and continue to be miserable. It is unfair to put them through this but always remember that you are not and will never be blamed because your wife cannot become a descent human being or mother. I hope your okay!

Anonymous said...

I am 2 years past enduring a 3 year affair that my wife had with a coworker. I knew about it for about 2.5 years and "put up with it" first for my daughter and second because I was raised to honor my promises / commitments.

I still feel as heavy hearted as the day I saw the page that gave the affair away. I am on antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs to help cope with the pain. As not to add any more to it I started drinking and one night drank too much an got a DUI. I have the drinking under control now.

I have tried to reconcile / forgive my wife but am having a real hard time as I don’t perceive that she really gets how her actions prior to the affair snow balled, I know how my actions contributed but still can’t understand how a person who ever loved or loves a person can do this type of thing to another person.

At this point I am continuing the marriage for my daughter’s sake, she is everything to me although I may not be able to express it to her as well as I would like. I have made this choice and am in a living hell. The only bright spots in my day are my daughter, my dogs and martial arts. I dread the times that am expected to be intimate with my wife as all I see is his face when I close my eyes.

Sorry for the ramble but am not really in a position to talk to anyone about this….. reading self help books and trips to a counselor have netted expectations of my wife that she apparently can’t fulfill. When dose the hurt and pain go away? I don’t know but wish I did….

Anonymous said...

I cheated on my wife and it was the worst thing I have ever done!
It lasted a couple of months and I tried to stop it because it was wrong and I was so angry at myself. we never slept together....I did not want to. My wife of 13 yrs handled it well and has allowed me to stay and work on our marriage for we have two girls whom I love more than anything in the world! It gets hard for my wife sometimes, which I can understand even though its been a year. I just don't know what to do to make her forgive and forget. I swore to her that this will NEVER happen again because I realize what this has done to her. If I can pass on any words of wisdom to anybody is take a look at what you have around you and ask yourself, "do I want to risk losing the people I love ?" Communication is the key and thats where I failed!
We are still together and I love her so much....I just wish she realized it.