TimT
If a couple has any hope for saving their marriage/relationship on the other side of an affair, I generally encourage them to stay together, even if they need to create space by sleeping in separate rooms for a while. Here are reasons NOT to separate:
  1. Statistically, we know that separation tends to have more of a negative effect on a relationship.
  2. If there are children in the home, then attempting to keep their lives as stabilized as possible should be a primary concern. 
  3. Even if the affair has ended, separation tends to make the unfaithful partner more vulnerable to repeated affair behavior, and increases anxiety in the betrayed partner when they become more removed from the daily behaviors/choices being made by their spouse/partner.
But there are some circumstances in which I encourage separation, despite these risks. 
  1. If either partner has made a firm determination to leave the marriage, they should move toward separation.
  2. If the unfaithful partner continues to be actively involved with the other man/women, the betrayed spouse should separate.
  3. If the couple is caught up in a cycle of ongoing conflict that has lasted more than a couple weeks, they should consider a period of separation.
  4. If there is abusive behavior, the couple should separate.
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Branded
My wife kicked me out of the house soon after finding out about the affair. I'm not blaming her and I'm not saying she didn't have the right to do it, but when she kicked me out I had honestly broken off all contact with the OW, even though I still had feelings for her. Being out of the house without accountability made it way too easy to reconnect with the OW.

Again, I know I'm responsible. I'm just saying that I don't think anyone who was emotionally connected with their affair partner would be able to NOT reach out to them again in circumstances like that. I wish I hadn't, but I did.
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HonestWife
Do you have specific recommendations for a separation that has goal of reconciliation???



TimT wrote:
If a couple has any hope for saving their marriage/relationship on the other side of an affair, I generally encourage them to stay together, even if they need to create space by sleeping in separate rooms for a while. Here are reasons NOT to separate:
  1. Statistically, we know that separation tends to have more of a negative effect on a relationship.
  2. If there are children in the home, then attempting to keep their lives as stabilized as possible should be a primary concern. 
  3. Even if the affair has ended, separation tends to make the unfaithful partner more vulnerable to repeated affair behavior, and increases anxiety in the betrayed partner when they become more removed from the daily behaviors/choices being made by their spouse/partner.
But there are some circumstances in which I encourage separation, despite these risks. 
  1. If either partner has made a firm determination to leave the marriage, they should move toward separation.
  2. If the unfaithful partner continues to be actively involved with the other man/women, the betrayed spouse should separate.
  3. If the couple is caught up in a cycle of ongoing conflict that has lasted more than a couple weeks, they should consider a period of separation.
  4. If there is abusive behavior, the couple should separate.
Trying to make marriage work after my husband's 15 years of affairs. Just found out. Currently in house separation.
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TimT
HonestWife wrote:
Do you have specific recommendations for a separation that has goal of reconciliation?


Just a few initial thoughts...
  1. Make sure boundaries & expectations have been clearly defined and agreed to. Separation can cause anxiety in the betrayed spouse, so every effort should be made to assure "safe behavior" during separation.
  2. Get help TOGETHER. Some couples go to individual counselors during separation, but I believe strongly that if you are both in agreement that reconciliation is the goal, you should be involved in couples counseling. Any individual counseling should be in addition to that.
  3. Each of you get a copy of the same affair recover resource book: Not Just Friends, or one of the other top suggestions on the Recovery Books recommendation post. This is not a book that you necessarily have to read from front-to-back; you can jump around between chapters. But having a common source will help facilitate discussion and either one of you can direct your partner to pages/chapters that you believe would be helpful for them to understand what you're going through.
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HonestWife

Thank you Tim, and btw, thank you for staring this forum. I'm glad I joined. I'm not usually a forum poster but the pace feels just right on here.

We did read not just friends together, early on. Also read "how to help your spouse heal" and another book, I can't remember , which really confuses me WHY he doesn't get that hiding his phone and deleting his history sets us back farther.

We are in house separation. I am trying to have zero expectations and not to talk to him about anything other than small talk or kids. He has to figure out what he wants. Well I know what he wants, other women AND me , but that's not ok w me. Ack. This is so stressful but I have lots of work to do on myself. Thanks again.

TimT wrote:
HonestWife wrote:
Do you have specific recommendations for a separation that has goal of reconciliation?


Just a few initial thoughts...
  1. Make sure boundaries & expectations have been clearly defined and agreed to. Separation can cause anxiety in the betrayed spouse, so every effort should be made to assure "safe behavior" during separation.
  2. Get help TOGETHER. Some couples go to individual counselors during separation, but I believe strongly that if you are both in agreement that reconciliation is the goal, you should be involved in couples counseling. Any individual counseling should be in addition to that.
  3. Each of you get a copy of the same affair recover resource book: Not Just Friends, or one of the other top suggestions on the Recovery Books recommendation post. This is not a book that you necessarily have to read from front-to-back; you can jump around between chapters. But having a common source will help facilitate discussion and either one of you can direct your partner to pages/chapters that you believe would be helpful for them to understand what you're going through.
Trying to make marriage work after my husband's 15 years of affairs. Just found out. Currently in house separation.
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Robin1971
So here I am. AP has been gone since DD exactly 3 months ago and WH still insisted on leaving on Sunday saying that he couldn't take my attacking him over his affair and I needed to figure out if I wanted this marriage to work???? Really if I wanted? I'm still here , why is it in my lap now, I didn't leave. He says I need time to think. I feel with him leaving its like he is giving up but he doesn't see it this way. I'm so mad and this is making me not want to try. How can I try now? I'm not begging for him to come home. He has more to prove to me now that he chose to leave. Does that make sense? He couldn't stick around when it got tough to prove his sorrow and empathy for what he did so now he made it worse by leaving.
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TimT
Robin1971 wrote:
So here I am. AP has been gone since DD exactly 3 months ago and WH still insisted on leaving on Sunday saying that he couldn't take my attacking him over his affair and I needed to figure out if I wanted this marriage to work???? Really if I wanted? I'm still here , why is it in my lap now, I didn't leave...
Well, you're right, it shouldn't be your responsibility to fix this. And this "you need to get over it" perspective usually comes from someone not really committed to change. They're idea of recovery is avoiding divorce for now, not regaining trust or moving toward real connection in the marriage. You're going to have to decide what is right for you to expect from someone who betrayed you if they want to win back trust. And if you don't get it, it will little good to try to force him into the right behavior. Rather, you will need to decide what choice YOU will make in a marriage that is not safe.

But let me say one other thing... I don't know your story, but if you and I were talking I'd want to ask you about how your pain is being expressed. You should absolutely feel the freedom to be honest about the deep hurt in all this. That's going to take a while to heal. But if it's still coming out as a lot of anger after 3 months, then I think you might need to give attention to that.

I observe many betrayed spouses who are extremely frustrated with the lack of effort being made by the WS. But instead of being able to express this as honest pain and disappointment, it sometimes comes out in a fairly steady stream of anger because that is often the only thing that gets a reaction! But, in the long run, that won't be good for either of you.

Anger is going to pop out at times. After 3 months, that's still normal and sometimes necessary. All you can do is state clearly what you need from him, give him time (if you're willing to do so) to see if he will respond to those needs, and decide what you will do if he does not.
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Anna26
Robin1971 wrote:
So here I am. AP has been gone since DD exactly 3 months ago and WH still insisted on leaving on Sunday saying that he couldn't take my attacking him over his affair and I needed to figure out if I wanted this marriage to work???? Really if I wanted? I'm still here , why is it in my lap now, I didn't leave. He says I need time to think. I feel with him leaving its like he is giving up but he doesn't see it this way. I'm so mad and this is making me not want to try. How can I try now? I'm not begging for him to come home. He has more to prove to me now that he chose to leave. Does that make sense? He couldn't stick around when it got tough to prove his sorrow and empathy for what he did so now he made it worse by leaving.



Your WS is the one who has created the problem, therefore, in my eyes, he is the one who should be figuring out if he needs the marriage to work.  He's the one who left, thereby choosing to bury his head in the sand and hiding from the mess he's made.  He seems to be using your 'attacking him over the affair' as an excuse to hide instead of acknowledging why you are angry and upset. 
You are entitled to your feelings just as he is allowed to be, (and should be) feeling ashamed, guilty and mortified by what he's done. 

By comparison, mine has been moved out for four months now,(my DDay was 9 months ago) because I eventually asked him to. And that was because I knew it was still going on. If it hadn't, we could have been working on things sooner, and I know I could have been empathic and understanding to the pain he is going through too.  Instead, I am spending my time waiting...for what..till he comes to his senses perhaps? It's hard when all you want to do is talk and sort the problems out. My problem is that I do not definitely know that he is not still seeing her anyway. I am in a bit of a dark place right now, but that's how it goes isn't it. 

But while you are on your own, look after yourself, show him that you can be by yourself and can cope without him.   I found, most of the tension and uncertainty seemed to lift, leaving me much calmer and less anxious.  Both of you will have time to think your feelings through, and you will have a certain dignity and respect for yourself that will help you to be strong.
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Robin1971
TimT wrote:
Robin1971 wrote:
So here I am. AP has been gone since DD exactly 3 months ago and WH still insisted on leaving on Sunday saying that he couldn't take my attacking him over his affair and I needed to figure out if I wanted this marriage to work???? Really if I wanted? I'm still here , why is it in my lap now, I didn't leave...
Well, you're right, it shouldn't be your responsibility to fix this. And this "you need to get over it" perspective usually comes from someone not really committed to change. They're idea of recovery is avoiding divorce for now, not regaining trust or moving toward real connection in the marriage. You're going to have to decide what is right for you to expect from someone who betrayed you if they want to win back trust. And if you don't get it, it will little good to try to force him into the right behavior. Rather, you will need to decide what choice YOU will make in a marriage that is not safe.

But let me say one other thing... I don't know your story, but if you and I were talking I'd want to ask you about how your pain is being expressed. You should absolutely feel the freedom to be honest about the deep hurt in all this. That's going to take a while to heal. But if it's still coming out as a lot of anger after 3 months, then I think you might need to give attention to that.

I observe many betrayed spouses who are extremely frustrated with the lack of effort being made by the WS. But instead of being able to express this as honest pain and disappointment, it sometimes comes out in a fairly steady stream of anger because that is often the only thing that gets a reaction! But, in the long run, that won't be good for either of you.

Anger is going to pop out at times. After 3 months, that's still normal and sometimes necessary. All you can do is state clearly what you need from him, give him time (if you're willing to do so) to see if he will respond to those needs, and decide what you will do if he does not.
I'm shocked that you say 3 months is too long to still show anger, but who am I so I will take what you say a try to work with it! I cry all the time, feel worthless, but have to hold it together for my kids, I pour my feelings and heart out to him. If I hurt someone I'd bend over backwards to make it up to them. Not meesly trying. But huge efforts, like if 1 time I get mad stand there and take it. You were man enough to hide your affair for a year, be man enough to take my anger/frustration after 90 days. Show me I'm worth more than your affair!
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awaggoner1999
Robin1971 - I agree I battle with crying and pleading, to have him face his misdeeds. But I have discovered a weakness in my WH that I only vaguely glimpsed tidbits of throughout our 16 year marriage. He is terrified of failure. Yet he created this vacuous failure...and so I watch him crippled by this debilitating fear of further failure...and my marriage and myself have been victims to his failures...
He does nothing...I agree I would apologize and make every effort to make amends as often as possible...yet he does nothing...I feel you on this.
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TimT
Robin1971 wrote:
I'm shocked that you say 3 months is too long to still show anger...
No, I actually said that you will still be (and should be) angry after 3 months, and for much longer than that. When I wrote "if it's still coming out as a lot of anger" the emphasis was on LOT. After 3 months, I would be encouraging you to consider taking a kind of control that channels emotions in a different way, even if your anger is being triggered by your spouse's lack of response.

By the way, at 3 months I would never say this to a betrayed spouse in front of the unfaithful spouse. Your husband should still be willing to put up with anger.

But for your sake, the anger should be diminishing even if he is not changing. The emotions behind the anger need to be attended to in a way that either (1) invites him to respond with attempts to bring relief and comfort, or (2) allows you to gain control by establishing healthy boundaries until he gets to the place he needs to be, or until you decide to separate.

There was no intent on my part to criticize you for getting angry. I see a LOT of anger expressed in my office each week. It's normal. It will last for a long time. My intent was to encourage you in a direction that will be better for you IF your anger isn't diminishing.

In the beginning of a affair, anger can hardly be controlled. It's an explosive reaction to strong emotions brought on by trauma.  But as time goes on, you regain the capacity to control it--not by stuffing it down, but by using the feeling of anger as a trigger to be attentive to what's really going on underneath. I call it ANGER FISHing because the stuff underneath the anger is almost always one or more emotions from these 4 categories (spelling "fish"):
F - Fear (afraid of something, or of not getting something)
I - Inhibition (something or someone getting in the way of what you want)
S - Shame (guilt, embarrassment, sense of failure)
H - Hurt (emotional or physical pain)

When you can attend to your FISH more than to the anger, you'll be moving in a much better direction. And a spouse who genuinely wants to invest in change will more likely be moved to bring relief to an area of need rather than defending themselves from an attack. (I'm going to write an eBook about that some day!)

Hope that makes a bit more sense than the way I wrote it last time.
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