I Just Found Out My Husband is Having an Affair!
You are Not Alone - Unfortunately Extramarital Affairs are Common
Dear Fellow Affair Survivors,
Last night was quite different than all the other meetings that we have had, simply due to the group being so much larger. We were glad to have a number of men present (30%), and it is interesting to see that the feelings one goes through are the same regardless of gender. All in all, what a beautiful group of people! What beautiful hearts! And it confirms to me that this has not happened to us, because we weren’t good enough. None of us deserve what has happened to us. Although all of us could probably have been better spouses in some way (as can every other married person existing on the planet), we are not to blame, the one who made a choice to have an affair is.
With so many people being new to the group, we spent the evening sharing our stories. We all agreed that discovering a spouse’s betrayal is much more painful than if they had actually died. This is confirmed by one of our members who lost her first husband to death. At the time she was sure that was the most painful thing she would ever have to go through. However, after almost 30 years in her second marriage for her husband to now after all these years turn around and say “I don’t love you any more,” she confirms betrayal is far more painful than death. It’s the thought of knowing they made a conscious choice to hurt us. (Of course the reality is that they didn’t make a conscious choice to hurt us – they made a conscious choice to act selfishly, not thinking about how they were hurting us.) In fact, I would question whether those who have affairs are thinking at all. I have found rational reasoning returns to them slowly a month or two after ALL ties with the 3rd party have been severed. If these ties are not broken, I’m not sure that they do come around.
One commonality I noticed last night was how many of us were losing so much more than the trust of the spouse we loved. Two of the men present had lost their credibility and business or profession as a result of their spouse’s affair. It is so unfair. Others have lost friendships (like with a close friend who is the one their spouse had the affair with), many of us have lost family in essence as well, because they do not support our decision sometimes to ‘end’ the relationship, or sometimes because it is the spouses family who have also been our family sometimes for 25 – 30 years, if the marriage has been long term. After all this time, we have grown to love these people and the cold shoulder they turn towards us is just another loss.
I think one of the biggest things we all got out of last night is just to realize after hearing so many share that - no, we are not going crazy, neither are we stupid. What we are feeling is normal considering what we are going through, and we are not alone.
Everyone did a good job of respecting individual choices. It seemed that about half of us were still in our marriages and half of us were separated or divorced. Of the latter category, many of those would have liked to have reconciled the relationship, but found it impossible because the spouse was unwilling or unwilling to do their part in changing. It is however a good idea to put effort into rebuilding for a year or two. Many times the relationship can be salvaged and even become much stronger on the other side. If not, then at least one doesn’t need to live forever with all the “what if’s”. What if I had tried to work it out?
At the end I shared how I have discovered through my research that the way to healing is through reading, through discussing our situation (talking about it rather than burying it under a rug so to speak) and in some cases through counseling provided one finds a good counselor (they are not all the same). It takes time. We all have a painful reality to live with and it cannot be changed, but we can have happy lives on the other side. Many times healing can also be enhanced by helping others who must walk through similar pain, when we are able to do so.
Next week we will discuss how do we get passed the constant sadness we feel. If we have time we may also discuss how to deal with our anger. A lot of us are REALLY MAD, and justifiably so, but how do we handle our anger in a responsible way?
Sincerely – Anne
If you would like to share a success story, helpful insight or comment on this article we welcome your remarks. Email your questions or comments to Brian and/or Anne firstname.lastname@example.org