TimT

 Dealing with the affair is the hardest thing I've ever been through (Agree/Disagree) 39  votes

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Many people describe the tremendous difficulty and pain that is part of affair recovery. How would you compare it to other hardships in your life?
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surviving
It is harder than knee replacement surgery.  I should be good as rain in three months - no pain for me, YAY!  However, the affairs (yes, "s") won't be over and as good as rain in three months.  I'm not sure I will ever be over them.  It has been 22 months and it ain't over yet.
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Anna26
Definitely the hardest thing.  Harder even than an actual bereavement.  With some experiences, for example surgery and childbirth  it is worth going through all the pain.  You bear it because it is necessary and a means to an end.  An affair is not.  It's something that is foisted on the unsuspecting (and sometimes suspecting) who have no choice but to try and bear this pain and distress, sometimes with very little help and support.  I suppose some people might say that if you end up with a better and stronger marriage, then it IS worth it.  But what a way to find out...
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Unregistered
I think the effect of an affair depends somewhat on an individual's personality and past experience. For me it has been the most devastating thing that has ever happened. It has shaken me to my core and made me question everything I trusted, even my own inner voice and strong faith. I realize now that for most of the time we have been married, 25 years, I was being emotionally abused and manipulated. I am not a weak person and never have been. I have learned that there are people who get a thrill out of lying and getting one over on others (my husband). I was a very trusting person when it came to my close friends and family and my husband took advantage of that trust. I was raised in an environment where marriage is viewed as a lifelong commitment and thought I had married someone with the same view. My husband is the only one I have ever been intimate with. That isn't a popular way to live these days, but I am proud of it. Knowing that he gave to others what was supposed to be something for just my husband and I is beyond devastating. We are still together and he is working very hard to heal himself and our marriage, but the truth is it will never be the same. I won't let it be the same. I will no longer be disrespected, manipulated, taken for granted or sidelined. I have made it clear that if it does go back to that, I am done.

Soon after DDAY a friend of mine who lost her husband in death told me that the pain of losing a spouse in death is much worse than being cheated on. I absolutely wouldn't even begin to assume that I know all of her agony. I don't. I have seen how it affects her from day to day and the pain of heart and loss she must be feeling. Her comment did sting though. I felt that I would never diminish her feelings in her situation because I have never been in her situation. I felt that my feelings were being dismissed as so much less. I think that's unfair. She has warm memories of a fantastic and caring husband who adored her. She doesn't have the loss of self esteem, loss of trust, feelings of betrayal, watching your child lose respect for their parent to a certain degree, and so much more. Again, I wouldn't even dare to assume that I fully understand her pain. I wish I could have received the same empathy from her. I don't want pity. I won't be a victim. I just wanted understanding from the people I am close to. At the same time, I forgive her for that sting. She doesn't know what it is to be cheated on, lied to, treated as a burden instead of a treasure. I am glad she doesn't. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy......that's not entirely true....I wouldn't mind if it happened to the AP who helped turn my world upside down.
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Anna26
Unregistered wrote:
I think the effect of an affair depends somewhat on an individual's personality and past experience. For me it has been the most devastating thing that has ever happened. It has shaken me to my core and made me question everything I trusted, even my own inner voice and strong faith. I realize now that for most of the time we have been married, 25 years, I was being emotionally abused and manipulated. I am not a weak person and never have been. I have learned that there are people who get a thrill out of lying and getting one over on others (my husband). I was a very trusting person when it came to my close friends and family and my husband took advantage of that trust. I was raised in an environment where marriage is viewed as a lifelong commitment and thought I had married someone with the same view. My husband is the only one I have ever been intimate with. That isn't a popular way to live these days, but I am proud of it. Knowing that he gave to others what was supposed to be something for just my husband and I is beyond devastating. We are still together and he is working very hard to heal himself and our marriage, but the truth is it will never be the same. I won't let it be the same. I will no longer be disrespected, manipulated, taken for granted or sidelined. I have made it clear that if it does go back to that, I am done. Soon after DDAY a friend of mine who lost her husband in death told me that the pain of losing a spouse in death is much worse than being cheated on. I absolutely wouldn't even begin to assume that I know all of her agony. I don't. I have seen how it affects her from day to day and the pain of heart and loss she must be feeling. Her comment did sting though. I felt that I would never diminish her feelings in her situation because I have never been in her situation. I felt that my feelings were being dismissed as so much less. I think that's unfair. She has warm memories of a fantastic and caring husband who adored her. She doesn't have the loss of self esteem, loss of trust, feelings of betrayal, watching your child lose respect for their parent to a certain degree, and so much more. Again, I wouldn't even dare to assume that I fully understand her pain. I wish I could have received the same empathy from her. I don't want pity. I won't be a victim. I just wanted understanding from the people I am close to. At the same time, I forgive her for that sting. She doesn't know what it is to be cheated on, lied to, treated as a burden instead of a treasure. I am glad she doesn't. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy......that's not entirely true....I wouldn't mind if it happened to the AP who helped turn my world upside down.



I can see how your friend might think that her pain was far worse than yours, and I agree, unless she could compare her bereavement to the experience of going through an affair, she has no real way of knowing.  And  reversing it, some people can only compare the experience of family bereavements to the affair pain. I can only say that all grief of this type is similar as are the stages you go through.  As you say, the bereaved partner does have the good and happy memories and the feeling that they were cherished always.  The betrayed spouse has everything you mentioned and more.  Everything is spoilt and sullied and empty, and to me that is far worse.
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TimeToFly
This is by far the hardest thing I have ever gone through. My parents have passed away & it was very difficult watching my mom lose her battle to ovarian cancer, my step-father lose his battle to bone cancer & my dad to lung cancer. I endured a difficult pregnancy with my only child as well. However, this has been worse than all of that combined. 

My aunt lost her husband unexpectedly many years ago & she had two boys (17 & 13 at the time) to continue raising without a dad. She recently said to me that she feels my situation was much harder than hers if for no other reason than at least she always knew her husband loved her & didn't do anything to compromise their marriage. Although his death was a shock to all of them & life was very difficult for a long time, she knew in her heart that he loved & cared about her & he never did anything to intentionally hurt her. 

An affair is full of lies, betrayal, hurt, pain & so much more. It is all those feelings that have been mentioned (loss of trust, loss of self-esteem, etc) that are so incredibly painful & it's very hard to recover from all of that no matter how strong you are. In the end, we are human & these things affect so many aspects of our lives.

So yes, this is the hardest thing by far & I'm not sure when things will ever really begin to feel better. I've tried very hard lately to do a lot of things that are supposed to help one "move forward" but the pain still runs so deep.
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Intuition77
Prior to the affair the most devastating event id experienced in my adult life had been a miscarriage. And I honestly wouldn't have thought my spouse straying (first was even a possibility) but that it couldn't compare to losing a baby. I almost felt like a horrible mother after the affair when I realized this was more devastating. I've had some perspective and time and realized that the affair was more devastating because it was done with Intent. He chose to hurt me and betray me. My miscarriage, while awful painful and devastating, wasn't a result of anyone choosing to do that to me. It wasn't an attack against me from someone close to me.

And if I can say for any BS or WS this is why I think the cliche time heals all wounds is a bit simplified. I knew time wouldn't heal this alone because I had already experienced one loss and knew that time didn't heal it. It gave me distance but even then I had to choose to go on living and choose to heal from it. Time will not heal a affair either. So all the rug sweeping, the just let it go forget it's- all that does is make it a wound that festers. You have to choose to deal with the pain and face it to get through it. And even then the scar still remains.

Weirdly for me when I had the miscarriage I lost my faith completely in every sense. I believed in nothing. I searched for
Meaning. I asked for help. Just something to comfort my pain and make me feel less alone in my pain. And there was nothing. I felt nothing. No comfort. No peace. Just emptiness.

In the years since that I struggled to get my faith back and I couldn't. I could t feel anything or believe in anything in that regard. It just felt empty. I was never super religious but spiritual and did believe in a higher power prior. And after dday I found my faith again. I don't know if it was desperation or the depth of my pain and suffering but I did find it again. I felt comforted at times. I felt less alone. I found Meaning instead of emptiness. So the universe works in strange ways.
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daisy
By far the worst experience of my life. Far worse than: financial hardship, losing my home, struggling with infertility and several miscarriages, dealing with chronic medical conditions, hating my job, leaving it, and starting a new (unknown career), losing loved ones.

Also, surviving my husband's affair has made me stronger. Things that would have affected/depressed me before, now roll off my back. Problems don't weigh on me as heavily. I feel that if I was able to make it through that, I can make it through anything.
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awaggoner1999
TimT wrote:
Many people describe the tremendous difficulty and pain that is part of affair recovery. How would you compare it to other hardships in your life?


Its been the hardest thing thus far. I discovered that I am pretty resilient though, and this has knocked me fully on my a--. I had to get up slowly and I am still very wobbly but I am making progress. My WS has no idea the strength it took to look at him and afford him the grace and the genuine love to try and understand his predicament, his confusion, his brokenness, while I suffered with the deepest betrayal imaginable. 

My courage and strength is something that my WS will never fully understand about me. And it was those 2 qualities about me that kept our lives balanced, when he chose to do otherwise many times, before the dreaded D-Day. Yes this has been hard, but I can imagine a few tougher things, and I don't want any of that. So I pray we all mend from these events and make the best of the new lives set before us.
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Searching4
One of my original thoughts after DDay was that it would have been easier if he had died. I still believe that. Death is a natural part of life. Most of us have had some experience with death, have seen others deal with it, have supported and have support when it happens in our lives.

By no means it is easy. I have watched my mother mourn the early death of my father for over forty years. Although heartbroken, she was able to somehow rationalize that as terrible and devastating that is was, and could call upon many happy memories of their life together and be comforted that theirs' was a deep and authentic love.

Having been betrayed for over half of our marriage, there are no memories to recall that comfort me. All my memories include the shadow of the OW. Even in the years prior to the affair, she was there in the wings. Even memories of my children growing up are tainted, because they too, were betrayed. My family's past has been sorted into 'before' and 'after' and unfortunately, the 'after' is the larger part.

Death is cruel but it is honest. It may sneak up and surprise you, but it doesn't fool you into believing it is something different. It is a harsh reality but it never lies. Infidelity kills slowly, over time, all the while telling you that everything is alright. It robs you of truth, choice and respect. And it leaves you questioning why, what went wrong, what could I have done to prevent it? What was real?


Death is impersonal and random whereas infidelity is personal and intentional. Above all, the pain is caused by the person who we believed loved us most, and who we loved most. It shatters your world, past, present and future. It is the most cruel, traumatic and belief-altering event I have ever experienced. And I am trying to love the one who didn't care enough about me to protect me from this pain.

It would have been easier if he had just died.
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flight
I don't believe anything could be worse than this. And I am saying this after 8 months to start healing. I agree their death would be easier to deal with. Perhaps the death of a child would compare, but I haven't experienced that except to imagine it.
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Merry
Deaths have closure; affair/affair healing does not...because you have the power to think and to remember and to relive the pain.  With surgery there is healing.  Severe bodily injury remains an open wound that brings daily suffering.  An affair is also a traumatic injury you live with.   

After three years, this remembrance can still bring me to tears.  It is the most devastating event of my 70 years and, though I do forgive him because we all make mistakes, Alzheimer's will be that which makes me forget.  True love is no longer a part of our marriage; it has been tainted.  Where I was confident before, I now feel somewhat estranged.  I feel that our marriage vows are less relevant and less binding.  I have always felt that he was the only one for me, that there was no other man that I had a desire to kiss or be with, but now I know that I am not so important in his life that I can't be replaced.  It makes me feel like I am not good enough, and there is something wrong with me.  Passion is no longer a part of our relationship; intimacy is different, somehow there's a lost connection.  There is no "wanting me" so much that there is any spontaneity. When he's late, can I trust that it's nothing.  The affair impacts every facet of our lives.   I'm not sure my thoughts can be changed.  I am sure I will never forget.
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Anna26
Merry wrote:
Deaths have closure; affair/affair healing does not...because you have the power to think and to remember and to relive the pain.  With surgery there is healing.  Severe bodily injury remains an open wound that brings daily suffering.  An affair is also a traumatic injury you live with.   

After three years, this remembrance can still bring me to tears.  It is the most devastating event of my 70 years and, though I do forgive him because we all make mistakes, Alzheimer's will be that which makes me forget.  True love is no longer a part of our marriage; it has been tainted.  Where I was confident before, I now feel somewhat estranged.  I feel that our marriage vows are less relevant and less binding.  I have always felt that he was the only one for me, that there was no other man that I had a desire to kiss or be with, but now I know that I am not so important in his life that I can't be replaced.  It makes me feel like I am not good enough, and there is something wrong with me.  Passion is no longer a part of our relationship; intimacy is different, somehow there's a lost connection.  There is no "wanting me" so much that there is any spontaneity. When he's late, can I trust that it's nothing.  The affair impacts every facet of our lives.   I'm not sure my thoughts can be changed.  I am sure I will never forget.



Oh, Merry, I feel so so sad for you right now.  Somehow your words have come straight to my heart.  It seems no age group is safe from this horrible soured existence with which we are all afflicted. There is nothing wrong with you, or any BS, you ARE good enough and you are a very special person, just like you always were. Deep down you are still the same person, it's just that something like this makes us doubt everything we ever stood for and who we are.  I just wanted to tell you so...thinking of you.
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SuzieQ
My WH's infidelity is BY FAR the most difficult thing I have experienced, and I have dealt with very serious grief and betrayal before. I lost my mother very suddenly to a brain aneurysm when I was 16. She was my best friend and constant cheerleader. I and my two siblings were left with our raging alcoholic father, and no one helped us. I served as his main care taker from the day my mom died (I was 16) to the day he died (I was 31). He was very sickly the last few years of his life and was HORRIBLE to me my entire adult life. My husband stood up to him on my behalf one day when I just couldn't take it anymore - my hero. I always believed my husband loved me more than his own life. After that my relationship with my Dad changed as I took a step back, which made his death a year later even more difficult for me. Then, a month after his death, I received his will in the mail to find that he had written me out of it, and left everything to my two siblings...and they had known all along, and never told me. My husband and I have been together for almost 20 years, since we were 16 (he helped me through the death of my Mom) and have been married almost 11 years. He is the only man I have ever been with and (until his affairs) I was the only woman he had been with. I thought he was my bestfriend. I treasured our special relationship and cherished him, and believed our love to be the most beautiful and pure. He just "got me" and I "got him" and we were a team. I have always been there for him too, to hold his hand and run his back and tell him, "It'll be ok...let's look on the bright side" when things didn't go our way. This betrayal seems unmanageable. It calls into question everything I believed and the very core of who I am and what my story is. It hurts so much.
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Kalmarjan
SuzieQ wrote:
My WH's infidelity is BY FAR the most difficult thing I have experienced, and I have dealt with very serious grief and betrayal before. I lost my mother very suddenly to a brain aneurysm when I was 16. She was my best friend and constant cheerleader. I and my two siblings were left with our raging alcoholic father, and no one helped us. I served as his main care taker from the day my mom died (I was 16) to the day he died (I was 31). He was very sickly the last few years of his life and was HORRIBLE to me my entire adult life. My husband stood up to him on my behalf one day when I just couldn't take it anymore - my hero. I always believed my husband loved me more than his own life. After that my relationship with my Dad changed as I took a step back, which made his death a year later even more difficult for me. Then, a month after his death, I received his will in the mail to find that he had written me out of it, and left everything to my two siblings...and they had known all along, and never told me. My husband and I have been together for almost 20 years, since we were 16 (he helped me through the death of my Mom) and have been married almost 11 years. He is the only man I have ever been with and (until his affairs) I was the only woman he had been with. I thought he was my bestfriend. I treasured our special relationship and cherished him, and believed our love to be the most beautiful and pure. He just "got me" and I "got him" and we were a team. I have always been there for him too, to hold his hand and run his back and tell him, "It'll be ok...let's look on the bright side" when things didn't go our way. This betrayal seems unmanageable. It calls into question everything I believed and the very core of who I am and what my story is. It hurts so much.


SuzieQ I can totally read your pain in your words.

I was that same person to my wife. The problem was that I was too much in her corner, not being truthful to myself and my needs too. That's why I ended up doing what I did, because I couldn't make my needs known. Out counsellor says that I pulled the ultimate "I'll show you!" passive aggressive move and messed up my marriage.

The truth is, in some ways, I am still that same person. My wife tells me that I was going through a midlife crisis and that's why I was acting like I was. Perhaps.
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