About Me

ABOUT ME:  I’m Jack239003_b.  I’m a Floridian.  I’m a 47 year-old (at the time I wrote this), partially disabled Army veteran who works in financial services in the private sector now.  And yes,  I am a former cheater – a “recovering wayward spouse”.  I ended an almost 2 year affair  in 2011.

Sometimes I look back at those two years and it’s like watching a third person. I can’t believe it was me.  What was I thinking??  It went against who I really am!  Yet, I did it anyway.  I feel and probably always will carry an incredible amount of guilt, shame, anger at myself and a certain measure of inner bewilderment.

If you have come here to judge me and rail against me because I’m a former cheater, please don’t.   I created these blog entries because I think they are TRUTH, and will be helpful to people. Nothing I’ve written is a excuse for myself or my horrid behavior.

I assure you that I have been consistently and diligently self-critical throughout my journey.  The reality is that by the time my affair started in late 2009, I had long ago given up on my marriage, which had become not much more than a unemotional business partnership — to run a household and raise children.  Our passion, our emotions, our need for each other had largely disappeared.  Our connection was almost nonexistent.  The emotional chasm between us began to open when our first child was born and kept growing, slowly but surely, over more than a decade.  I was trapped by myriad responsibilities in a very unsatisfying existence and a disappointing marriage.  I felt unloved, misunderstood, unwanted and undesired, although my wife is a very good woman.  I felt like not much more than “finance and labor” in my own home.

I misunderstood her as well and did not send these affirmations back to her.  I didn’t realize until recently how unhappy she was either.  We didn’t fight, but there was no much going for us in our semi-happy marriage.  Looking back, our marriage was ripe for an explosion — an affair, a divorce, or both, or perhaps just a slow, inevitable death down the road.   We were both to blame for that.

But it wasn’t just her. It was also me. Deficits within myself.  My affair was not just the expression of a man trapped in an unsatisfying reality, but also a reaction to the many hurts and injuries done to me by my parents and others in my childhood. I was compensating for these things at some level, although this is definitely 20/20 hindsight. I didn’t realize it back then, and I’m still trying to work it all out on my head.

So for those out there who refuse to really delve very far into my blog so as to best understand my message of understanding, forgiveness, reconciliation and hope, please try and understand this blog entry is NOT an endorsement of cheating by any means.  Nor am I validating a set of “excuses” of why people cheat.   If you have read any of my blog, you would know that I think cheating is 100% wrong and there is no excuse for it .

So before you send me email or post nonsense on your blogs about me (and attempt to on mine), please re-read this again:   Affairs are 100% wrong and I was 100% wrong for the decisions I made to start and continue one, even if my marriage had become crap. 

My poor marriage, and my inner demons, were the “reasons” for my affair, but not an excuse.  There is none.  Many Betrayeds have a hard time grasping this concept, but it’s the truth for the majority of affairs.  Happy and content people in solid marriages rarely have them.  But that’s not an excuse either.

If you read my first version of this blog, I also wrote in detail the terrible things my ex-Other Woman did to me merely because I wanted out. It was ugly.  And here, as of March 2013 (when I last updated this entry), she’s still trying to contact me and/or take shots at me and my wife, although I haven’t responded to her in any way since September 2011.  I found out she wasn’t who she said she was.  She lied to me.  In big ways.  She did all she could to hurt me and my wife when I terminated things with her based on a D-day that she herself engineered.  But that’s not why I went back to my wife.  But she certainly has shown me that I made the right decision and averted a real disaster.

This blog, however, is not about me, my affair and my marriage. It once was, but now it is no longer. Instead, I have pared it down to the posts that are more generally about affairs, recovery and healing — posts that seemed during the first version of this to have resonated with people.

I truly believe there is hope out of the disaster and betrayal of infidelity — if you as a couple really want to rebuild and restore your marriage. An affair doesn’t have to mean the end! It takes strength, character, courage and the ability to REALLY look at yourselves and your marriage honestly.

YES, THERE IS HOPE.  My wife I have turned it around. I no longer feel the vague discontentment. How did WE do it? By ‘dating’ again.  By doing more things together. By being romantic.  By being very sexual again.  By opening up like we’ve never opened up before — Communication!! HELLO!! Something we never did very deeply.

By making “us” a priority again.  By no longer taking each other for granted any more.  By not getting overly focused on operating a home and family.  By rediscovering what we once saw in each other — when we first met.   We again feed the relationship.  We are maturing and changing together and within its boundaries.  And liking it. Our satisfaction grows. I’m no longer semi-happy.  I’m very happy.  PERFECTLY happy?  Hardly.  But I feel content in my marriage. Optimistic.  Happy.  Looking forward to whatever years we have left together.  I feel like part of a ‘couple’ again.  I don’t feel like the guy I used to be any more.  But 2 years ago, I certainly did feel like a man trapped in a low-conflict, but dull, existence.  It was a big reason for why I ended up where I did.

I am not here seeking the forgiveness of readers — the only person I have sought forgiveness with is my wife.  And she and I are healing and remaking our marriage into something stronger, more satisfying, honest and resilient.  Something different and better than it was before. And we are on this journey together and privately.

So if you wish to judge me, this is not the place for you.  Or at least judge me silently.  I hope however that what is posted provides a perspective to a lot of different people who have been involved with or touched by infidelity in some way.

29 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Your posts have a lot of information that can help people avoid and/or wade through the land mine of infidelity. I truly admire your honesty as well as the fact that you and your wife have committed to making your marriage work in spite of the past…..may God strengthen and guide you both in the journey…….Shalom!…Kim

  2. I thought I would come over and see who you really are. I think you and I apple and orange a lot. It may be that I somehow misrepresent my intent or my heart with what I write or it may just be I am more liberal in my views in some areas. For some reason, we SEEM to be going at it. That is my take as of now. If we are not clashing and it is ONLY a perception, therein lie the apple and orange. When I said “as intractable as I FEEL you are”, that’s how I meant it. I was trying to tell you it was a perception in which I was willing to be proven wrong, thus the word “feel”. I came here be proven wrong. I think we have at least some commonality as to our views on affairs and that I may discover more. At DOAWP I felt like the our comments were going in an adversarial direction which wasn’t my intent. I really hate to throw out the baby with the bath water so I thought I would come here and give it another chance. I am always willing to agree to disagree in a learning situation as long as the involved parties respect one another’s humanity. The history of my paradigm gives me my sense of “rightness”, just as your’s does for you. In the process of a dialogue, you become part of my history and my sense of rightness my be modified. For me, it is unreasonable to argue from my position of rightness until I hear the other person’s. I sometimes find when I listen that what we really are doing is showing both sides of the same coin. At other times, we are holding differing coins. So, in the interest of finding consensus about affairs and other matters of the heart, here I am. I’m going to spend some time looking into who you are. In the end, I may have to settle for us being two ships that will always pass in the night, but first I am going to do some island hopping in the light.

    • Fair enough. I created and maintain this blog as a resource for people who have been involved in an affair on any sides of the equation. You can take the advice or conclusions or not as you wish. Not everyone will agree and that’s their right, although I’m not really using this blog to “debate” anyone either. Disagreements are best dealt with on the person’s own blogs, not mine. I had one of those blogs before and it detracted from the messages here and reason why I started the blog. I’m not going down that road again.

      Others find my existence is grotesque and incomprehensible — that a former cheater dares to blog on the subject, and *gasp*, sometimes even support the POV of the former cheater (where appropriate) and go against “prevailing wisdom” (though often questionably so) found on other blogs and message boards. To those I say, feel free to judge me, but do so silently. I am not going to engage in debates about my existence in blog-world. It’s a free world. But this is MY world. That aside, feel free to read away.

  3. I am so glad I found your site! My husband and I are working on saving our marriage after his second affair. Both were brief, and after the first one 5 years ago he swore to me that he could never do it again, until he did. I KNOW he is a good man. I KNOW he has remorse. I KNOW he wants to rebuild our marriage and family. This time around he is in individual counseling in addition to marriage counseling. I am struggling right now (4 months after DD) because I don’t understand how he can say and do things that seem to contradict what I know is in his heart. Your blog is helping me understand it from his perspective which incorporates the male ego in a way that isn’t justifying the behavior. I feel much better about my decision to stay in the marriage. We have a long road ahead of us, and a lot of healing, and now I have a few more tools to work with. Thank you!

    • Great. It’s why I post this stuff — that hopefully others will find assistance out of the wreckage that I created. Welcome and thanks for the input and encouragement.

  4. My husband feels the same way you do. Had an affair and regrets with every fibre of his being. He even gets physically sick when he thinks of the other woman, doesn’t want to see her pictures, can’t believe he even had a relationship with her. It is fresh for me and I’m having a lot of trouble getting over it and letting it go. We were together for 8 years are a young couple with a small child. The affair started when our child was just 8 months old. The other woman claimed to be 45 but we later discovered she was over 50. She stated she had a three year old child and right away got my husband involved with the child. Well it turns out the three year old was her granddaughter, and her “sister” who watched her baby for her was in fact her adult daughter and mother of the child. These two women (mother and daughter) actively conspired to wreck my marriage. The other women went out of her way to cause friction.

    After 3 months of treating me like crap he moved in with her, lasted 4 days before he came home on his knees begging for forgiveness. BUT after that first night he had a month of time where he just blamed me for the affair saying I didn’t make time for him after the baby was born. Our child had feeding issues and needed more attention than most infants. The issues were resolved but not before he embarked on the affair. After counselling he again feels sorry, guilty etc. But now I’m wondering if he is putting on a show for me, so how do I let go? I feel like he’ll do it again because he did at one point blame me for it and even our infant son!

  5. Well,i found this site,glad i did,my situation has been ongoing for awhile and could use some advice of what to do or what to stop doing,my husband left year ago,blames me for everything,i do believe there is someone else,but he wont admit to it,everyday he texts me he loves me and tell me he is coming home…i get so excited to see the texts,but he still hasnt returned home…i tried screaming,i cried until my eyes hurt,he can go from angry oneday to loving another,and lately his messages have been very positive..please someone,i need help,saving my marriage and bringing him home…

  6. I just wanted to say something to Angela, because you sound like you’re in so much pain, and my heart goes out to you. All I can really offer is that if you feel there’s something need to say to him, but are at a loss for words, just try to let him know that you’re willing to do your best to work things out, but he needs to come home & start. Whether there is/was someone else or not, I truly do believe that leaving – creating more distance in the marriage – is unlikely to do much in the way of saving it. Certainly, you can attend counseling together while living apart, but restoring intimacy and communication is a big part of marital reconciliation. I think it’s one thing if you’re dating or engaged, and you’re trying to work things out not living under the same roof, but when you’re married, sharing space, along with your daily lives, is part of the commitment and the bond you have with each other.

    My husband and I seemed to be merely surviving through the first week (after D-day) until we had our first visit with a counselor, and one of the first things my husband wanted to address was whether or not we should separate while we worked things out. The counselor (a very straightforward, no-nonsense gentleman of my husband’s approximate age) looked over his glasses at him and asked very directly “Why would you need to do that?”. He had no reply.
    The counselor finally told him that whatever problems we had at home would still be there waiting for him when he came back, and would in fact, be exacerbated by my feelings of being abandoned by him during such a critical time in our marriage. He said that if he REALLY wanted to try to save our marriage, then he should stay in it and try to do just that. He made no reference to the affair, and no judgments. He just very simply pointed out to him that in order to save a marriage, you have to make a commitment to be present and actively working on it, even if you still feel a little on the fence about how successful you will be.

    If I were you, I would tell him that, and just be as honest and direct as I could, without being manipulative – i.e. issuing ultimatums, threats, etc – and say that not being there “working it out” is to you, an indication that he doesn’t want to save your marriage. Let him know that telling you he loves you while he remains separated from you, is not helping you, is only making you more confused, and is doing nothing to move you forward as a couple. I would ask him one last time to come home, go to counseling, and try to work things out, and if he doesn’t, I would start doing what I had to do to move on without him – as painful as that may be. A marriage without sharing and commitment is no marriage at all, and nobody should settle for that. I know that I shouldn’t have settled for an unhappy marriage even before my husband had an affair. And even though he made a terrible choice in dealing with his unhappiness, I am not angry with him for being unhappy and wanting to have that kind of emotional bond in his life. It is a basic human need, but he needs to empathize with YOUR needs as well, put “blame” away, until you are both more able to ask and answer questions about what you can both do to make each other happy, and focus on healing. There is always enough blame to go around – nobody is perfect, and I’m sure he has made his own share of mistakes.

    If he actually has been having an affair, that is a whole other set of struggles in itself – not the least of which, is whether he wants to come clean, ask forgiveness, and you wish to forgive him. But I am of the firm opinion that there is no saving of a marriage until both partners start making the effort and the commitment to being together, and living as a married couple.

    Best wishes to you, Angela, and a belated Merry Christmas.

  7. I applaude you dear sir; as I would hope anyone who reads your words will do. I only a short while ago found your blog and read EVERY word of it all. My husband is still so within himself (even though we are together and both working on our marriage) that I would wish I could understand him better. Your writing allows me into the perspective of a Wayward spouse and has helped me get to a place within myself that I could accept and offer forgiveness to my spouse. I had to find the strength to do this because i’m married to a narcissist and for any chance of recovery for marriage in this situation is to find forgiveness for myself so I can then share the healing powers of forgiveness with spouse. I thank-you for have the strength to take this journey. I’m sure you have helped MANY- I share about your site in my blog as a valuable resource that is available, in a sea of many, many crazy ideas to survive infidelity. BRAVO TO YOU I SAY!! Keep writing! chely5150


  8. Thank you for this; I just ended an affair with a man 16 years my junior. It only ended because my husband found out last week and I have been miserable.. Reading your posts gives me hope that maybe I can move on past this and learn to love my husband again…

  9. I wish I had found your blog before I destroyed my marriage because of an affair. The pain I feel as the guilty one, it’s all I think about and I can only imagine the amount of pain I caused my wife. I can only imagine that it was 100 times worse than what I feel. I just wish I had realised all of this before doing what I did, found this blog on the 2nd of November and never done what I did to her, to my family, to myself. That is now my definition, it will live with me forever and I honestly don’t know how I will ever be able to forgive myself or look at myself in the mirror without feeling the disgust that I feel.

    There is no hope of reconciliation, the pain I caused is too deep and the walls that have been built by my wife, built from the courage she was able to find after everything was exposed, from broken love, dreams, and trust are too high and thick. I can understand why. I don’t blame her. How could she risk being hurt again?

    I hope people who find this blog realise that the pain of an affair is a pain that is incomparable to anything you will ever experience. I hope that if you’re reading this blog, take heed, listen to the advice and know that it is wrong. 100% wrong. It’s not real. If you are not happy in marriage, fix it.

    Don’t be all about ‘Me’. Don’t be weak. Don’t be selfish. Don’t lie. Turn that ‘Me’ into ‘We’ and seek help. You married your wife or husband because you loved them, it is never too late to build the love life you want. If you find this blog it’s because you know that what you’re doing or want to do is not right! Listen to that voice in your head, I wish I had. I wake up, go through my day, and fall asleep wishing I had not done what I did; I don’t think it will ever stop.

    Be thankful for what you do have and do everything in your power to salvage it, to make it new. Don’t give up and go down this long road to Hell because honestly, that is exactly what it is. Hell.

  10. Divorced Papa – just remember that you can still seek forgiveness from her, even if it is without reconciliation, and even if you have to give it some time. It’s never too late to ask someone to forgive you for the wrongs you have done them in the past. Many times we are too overcome with guilt to try to redress our wrongs in life, and it seems impossible – the wrongs too great – to try anyway. Many times it is just our pride that prevents us from asking, out of fear that we will have our contrition & humility thrown back in our faces. But just remember that most people do understand the nature of forgiveness, that it is as much something that you do for yourself as it is something you grant to someone else. Not everyone is able to grant it, and even if they are, it doesn’t mean that they will want to have much to do with the person who hurt them, but that doesn’t relieve the injuring party of the responsibility to seek it. It’s not just “the right thing” to do, it’s also a step toward healing and being at peace within yourself. You may walk away frustrated if you seek it and don’t get it, but you can at least be at peace with the idea that you tried.

  11. Hi!

    I’ve been a BAN coordinator (Beyond Affairs Network) for almost a year and a half now and I’ve so far not managed to get a group together. I did get several requests from people in other parts of the UK over the last few weeks.

    I’ve also been in touch with Andrew G Marshall, a writer/therapist. He’s put something on his website about maybe setting up support groups in the UK!

    This is the link http://www.andrewgmarshall.com/2014/03/12/support-groups-for-surviving-an-affair/

    I was wondering if you could maybe post about this and ask people to comment or share it, as I’m sure you’ve got a lot of followers from the UK.


    Mara xx

  12. I have had to deal with a man, that I love dearlt, who has “cheated” by texting multiple women in sexual nature and doing the same on private message social media. I have recently started to drive him away because my constant fear it will still happen or suspecting he is still doing it. Anyway I am so happy you visited my blog and left a remark. It guided me to your blog which is teaching me so much.

  13. Thank you for your incredible honesty.
    We appreciate that you make a distinction between personal recovery and marital recovery.
    Personal recovery is definitely possible, whether the marriage ends or mends…we know from experience, because we are on the other end of this experience, providing free, confidential, telephone peer counseling TO women healing from their husband’s/partner’s affair, BY women who have been through it.

    Laura S.

    • This appears to be spam. I never made such a distinction in the blog entry. Moreover, I don’t accept comments that are meant to generate business for others. I don’t ask for money here. And I’m not here to promote one counselor or over another. Sorry, but I can’t have this on my blog. Accordingly, while I kept your comment, I deleted all contact information. Sorry.

  14. I have devoured all of the information on your blog! I can not tell you how much your honesty and insight have helped me.
    My husband and I are rebuilding our marriage after his affair. I discovered proof of his affair January of this year (2014). He had been having an affair with a high school acquaintance for almost a year and a half before I figured it out! I knew something was very wrong and that he was distant and mean, but I just couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t reach him. He sent me a text that was ment for her and D Day was upon us. He ended the affair that day. I also told her I would tell her biker husband in a flash, so she better stay away! It was rough going at first, but we are rebuilding and dating again just like you have suggested. We are reconnecting and trying new fun sexual things. We are not taking each other for granted and making sure to express appreciation to each other daily. This has been the most painful thing I have ever endured. I am healing, we are healing. It is a process that takes hard work and determination. We are both working hard and seeing a very skilled therapist. As you mentioned, we both have issues from our pasts that caused issues in our marriage and contributed to the breakdown. We are honestly delving in to these issues and finding ways to communicate and resolve many conflicts because we are aware.
    Thank you so much for this blog. I read the new entries daily and they help me move forward and gain understanding and clarity. I’m glad you don’t let the negative people get you down because you are helping so many people with your work. Your are a blessing! I am so grateful for this blog.

  15. Hi Jack,

    Your blog has been a great help, though I found it both what feels like too late in my own marriage as well as being able to ask you for some direct advice.

    In case you see these comments still, I was just wondering if you had any more advice for wives that may be facing an exit affair. I love my husband very much, but I owned the mistakes that I was making. He asked me to move out to “recover” in May, with me “moving out” temporarily, including with my things, until we recovered our marriage; however, he ultimately admitted that he had started dating (a month after I had left, which he finally admitted started with a coffee as soon as I left), but I discovered this wasn’t just coincidental to the start of our separation as either the OW was pursuing him for over a year and consistently attending everything that he organized since January or in fact, they had already been fully been having an affair since then.

    I am still not sure which, but what I am sure of is that I love my husband very much and I know he was unhappy. I was as well, but we were struggling with how to get back on track before I left. It’s only been through the reflections of this summer and truthfully coming across your blog that has helped me figure out the small to big things that were wrong and where I could have done better.

    I’ve been trying to talk to him, but he’s started saying things like he’s told her that he loves her and that he cares about her a great deal. He’s started to make his affair slowly more and more public, almost strategically as he’s introducing her to our friends two months after he announced that we had separated. And now, he barely responds to my emails anymore, he’s blocked all communication between us almost and I don’t go home, because I am trying to respect his space. I want him to come back on his own terms and not because I’ve badgered him or I’ve insisted on being home. I don’t know if this is the right thing to do or not, but I am trying my best.

    I’ve communicated to him and genuinely want him to know everything you’ve suggested about having a secure, forgiving and loving home that he can return to. And I mean it as well… if he’d come home, I understand why things happened, what the OW is giving him more or less and why he slipped away so quickly.

    Both of us are at fault and I have read your posts where you advise to just accept that you’ve done your best, but is there anything else short of just giving up and walking away that you could suggest?

    I’ve been writing nearly daily out of fear that if I stop emailing, that that will be last of our marriage.

    He hasn’t filed for divorce yet, but it’s almost as if all that he’s left of us in his life are that legal document and my emails.

    And to give you the grounds for why we got here – basically both of us fell into the negativity trap you wrote about in your first blog about the four horsemen. I am an entrepreneur and around the time my company began to fail, which was sadly around the time we had gotten married (though we had been together for two years before), I started to project my stress. He was trying to help me in my company and I was so worried about everything that I became very critical, which he did his best to be understanding of, but then it just spiraled out into nearly all aspects of our life. I started blaming him for my company’s failure, though it had nothing to do with him in reality.

    I did my best over the years to recover from it, but everything seemed to happen all at once. The company ultimately failed. I had legal wars for about a year because of it. I’d made the mistake of putting a company expense on a joint credit card, which he decided he’d file for bankruptcy and then he of course began to resent me and then ultimately he started stonewalling me this last year, which cycled the 4 major mistakes over and over again until we had small windows of happiness. Of course our sex life suffered and we both started neglecting everything. I above all started even neglecting myself as I was constantly working only on recovering the debt and legal issues of the company.

    I’ve apologized profusely. I started therapy, then stopped to reflect on myself and sort of just be able to get up from the blow of finding out that he’s involved with another woman. I restarted it again with another therapist who has more experience in couple’s and marriage counseling as well as works with high-stress business clients, but though I’ve asked my husband to come, he says that he won’t.

    We have a last chance meeting on October 1 scheduled, which is the anniversary of our first date. It’s 16 days away… I’ve gotten most of what he had asked me to do in order, followed your advice, let him know that if he comes back, I won’t hold the affair against him, but instead that I hope he will open up so that we can be stronger and learn from it. I am trying to not beg, but I don’t know if I’ve done a good job of that… I tried to write a letter along the terms of what you had suggested about staying business like.

    I want to give him the space to think about it without writing to him, but he’s got so many events scheduled and now even a parade the weekend after our meeting, that I don’t know if that’s the best thing to do, since the OW is very much his life.

    I’ve tried to tell him that if I things with my business had been different and I had been able to handle the stress better, or really I had been better prepared to help both of us to be better partners, I would have.

    He’s a really good man. He always was.

    I just don’t know how to reach him anymore, but I don’t want to give up and lose him either.

    So on the odd chance that you do get a notice from this blog, any chance you can give a girl who truly misses and loves her husband any advice on how to possibly have some hope.

    I know you don’t have all of the answers, but you’ve been an incredible help sharing your own story, so I was just hoping maybe you might be able to help one last reader.

    If you can, I’d be sincerely grateful.


    • I’m sorry that this reply is a a year late, but I walked away from things. but you’ve put in so much detail, I think you deserved a reply. Hope you still see it.

      I don’t know if there’s hope here or not. I don’t know him at all, and the situation only through you, and I don’t know you. Sometimes yes, people have an affair as the final act in terms of getting out of a marriage/relationship they no longer want. It’s not the best way to do it, of course, but people do it. They finally find someone who makes them realize that perhaps, maybe, there IS something better out there for them. They may be wrong, and they may not be having an affair with the person they do end up with, but this is the thinking of some. I AM happier this way. And now that I’ve had an affair, I will never be acceptable to my spouse ever again, so I might as well take the leap anyway.

      Something like that.

      Clearly the OW is still in his life. The affair is still going on (or was when you wrote your question).

      Yes, I think I sorta did blog on your question at one point. My advice is found here:

      Here’s most of it:

      The best way to end the affair and get your spouse back is a strategy designed both to entice your spouse “back to the table” (“the carrot”) while at the same time showing them the consequences of not coming “back to the table” — what life would be like without you! This is “the stick”.

      The following steps aren’t necessary sequential. Most are simulataneous, but represent both carrot and stick as a strategy.

      1. Expose the Affair to End the Affair. (Stick) First, you have to end the affair if you can. It’s much easier if your spouse’s Affair Partner is married. While I’m not an advocate of exposure of the affair for reasons born out of anger and a need for revenge, I am an advocate when it comes to ending an affair that’s still going on if a marriage has any chance of true reconciliation.

      So if the lover is married, you need to contact their spouse. If your spouse and their Affair Partner works together, you need to expose to the employer as a way to pressure the affair and end it. However, I would be careful doing this. Realize you might get your spouse fired and that could have huge implications both for their motivation to come back to you and your financial future. I would caution strongly on taking this step. Don’t take steps that will increase your spouse’s resentment!!

      The idea behind exposure is not to drag your disloyal spouse’s name and reputation through the mud but rather to refuse to keep the affair a “secret” and to bring the ugly truth of the unfaithfulness to the light of day. The focus and main concern here is to contact those who may be harmed by the affair (especially the spouse of the Affair Partner), give the facts, and ask them either to support the loyal or talk to the disloyal and tell them to return to the marriage. Yes, in this case, you contact the other person’s spouse and ask, “Are you aware that my spouse is having an affair with your spouse? I have evidence…” Nothing ends an affair faster than the Affair Partner’s spouse screaming and putting their foot down and forcing their spouse out of the affair!

      2. Be the Steady and Stable Partner. (Carrot) Affairs thrive on drama. Do not get caught up in the situation. Be the steady, secure partner. Eventually the drama surrounding the affair will get old and your spouse will long for the normalcy of their marriage.

      3. Be Agreeable and not Argumentative. (Carrot) Try to find the nugget of truth in what your spouse is saying and agree with it whenever possible. Don’t fight. Don’t badger them. Don’t beat them so into a pulp verbally that you push them into the arms of the Affair Partner further. Listen to what they are saying. Acknowledge it. Acknowledge their feelings. Their grievances. Their confusion in this mess. For instance, if he/she says, “I don’t love you anymore.” Then you would respond with something like, “It certainly seems that way. Thank you for being honest.” Or, if he/she says, “I’m not sure what I want.” Then you would respond, “I’m sure it must be confusing for you.” If he/she says, “I’m thinking of moving out.” Then your response would be something like, “Do you have an idea of when you’re going to do that? Knowing would help me plan for my activities.”

      By agreeing, or not telling your spouse how he/she should feel, you are putting your relationship on even ground. Your spouse will not feel threatened by your responses therefore would be more open to listen to what you have to say. It is similar to dealing with a teenager; the more you tell them not to do something the more inclined they are to do it anyways.

      4. Make Yourself and the Marriage Enticing Again to Your Spouse. (Carrot) Work on yourself by eliminating the things that extinguished love between you two (like judging, lack of affection, angry explosions, indifference, neglect, or abuse of any kind) and by re-starting the things that kindled love between you two (the romantic, fun things. Treating each other like they were the only person on earth, etc). Improve your wardrobe. Get back in shape. Be HAPPY, like you were when you were dating. Be as cheerful as possible. Be positive. Put on this behavior when you have contact with your spouse. Prepare yourself to act this way. Practice if need be. Be an actor/actress if need be. Fake it, if you must. Fake it until you truly do get to the point where you experience your life as positive.

      You need to do BOTH (positive love steps and eliminating love extinguishers), but eliminating love extinguishers is the most important of the two. You should know that this step is not “long term” because no one can give and give and give forever when an affair is being rubbed in their face. Eventually the time would come for you to say, “I’ve done what I could to win you over and now I need to move to the next step before I lose all love for you.”

      Yes, absolutely, invite them to return. Periodically let your Wayward Spouse know that you would love to have them back to work on the marriage. Then create an environment where they will feel loved and wanted, and where honesty, forgiveness and reconciliation is possible!! Sometimes a spouse will not want to return because they feel they will be punished too much and for too long. That you will never forgive them. That you will hold this over their heads forever. They may love you and not want to face the consequences — so give them a reason not fear coming back. Become their “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” again. Although this step is predicated on them ending the affair completely and permanently (see below).

      But do not beg!! Don’t become their doormat. Their back-up option. If you call or write, pleading with them to come home, they will see you as a doormat. Easily manipulated. And may use your desperation to control the situation. Yes, entice them, but keep your dignity. Show them what their life could be like without you without resorting to high drama.

      5. Show Them What Life Would be Like Without You – Consequences!! (Stick) While leaving the door open, it’s also important that you take a stand and let him or her know that what he is doing is unacceptable and that the marriage is not something to be taken lightly or something that he can slip in and out of at his leisure. In this step, some suggest that you write your spouse a letter and explain that you love them, admit the things you did to contribute to the affair, indicate what you’re doing to end those things, and then say that unless they end ALL contact with the OP and never, EVER contacts the OP again, you need to end all contact with them. The idea behind this step is to give them a more realistic taste of what divorce could be like–to not have you in their life to meet ANY needs! They also can no longer depend on you for those little household chores, blame you for the day’s events, nothing.

      Say or write something like the following to them:

      “I love you and I don’t want a divorce. I’m not sure if I can forgive what you’ve done but I’m willing to try if you end the relationship. But if you do not, you have got to move out or I am leaving until you tell me that you have ended the relationship. You’re going to have to choose. you’re not going to get the lover and me. This is going to cause you some pain. There’s going to be a price. You’re going to have people find out. You’re going to lose your marriage. If you have children, you’re going to be separated from those kids at least part of the time. We’re going to split assets. We are going to go through divorce. And I can live without you. I prefer to be with you, but if that doesn’t happen, I will make it without you. Either way, I want you to know that I will make it. Once the affair is completely over and you have cut off all contact with her (or him), then we can talk about our marriage. But until then, I just can’t engage with you in that way. Once you’ve decided that you want to participate in our marriage completely faithfully again, then we can discuss this further. It’s now up to you.”

      Keep your conversations with them brief. To the point. Business-like. Talk only about the solutions to specific problems that need to be addressed, such as bills, household or other family issues. Let silence prevail if he/she sucks you into his/her melodrama. Politely but firmly end such conversations. If they wish to discuss coming back, tell you them you are open to it, but the affair must end first. Tell them you are hurt beyond words, but you are willing to forgive and improve your marriage. But keep it unemotional. Not nasty. No threats. Just to the point.

      6. Legal Separation. (Stick). The above steps are not soon bearing fruit, it’s time to serve them with papers. One final step before divorce – Legal Separation. Again, this is more “stick” but necessary. Thus, as a tactic that will both stall the legal process of divorce and protect both the family assets and the loyal spouse and children, and again make the consequences of them being in the affair more real to them. Many recommend a minimum of one year legal separation. This make shake them back to reality of what divorce will be like.

      7. Move On Yourself (Neither Carrot nor Stick). You need to disengage somewhat from the situation, not as Carrot or Stick, but to improve your mental health. Expand your social relationships (NOT dating…and revenge affairs are about the worst thing you can do). Expand your hobbies. Show yourself (and him or her) that you can live without them. And thrive. Happily.

      Conclusion: a mixture of carrot and stick is necessary, all the while making it clear you cannot continue to have a marital relationship with your spouse while they have an affair. Because that is allowing him or her to pursue two relationships while you turn a blind eye to the situation. I have to wonder what incentive he has to end the affair while you sit by and allow it to happen, even if the situation certainly isn’t your fault.

      That’s why I think that if you’re going to take this approach, you have to make it very clear that you are out of the romantic picture while he’s continuing on with the affair. In other words, if he chooses to pursue that, then he can’t continue to pursue your marriage (or you) at the same time. So, you’re allowing the affair to run its course (because he hasn’t given you much choice,) but you are setting very clear boundaries. And because of these boundaries, he or she may well have an incentive to end the affair sooner rather than later. And all the while making yourself and your marriage seem enticing. Keeping the door open while showing tough love.

      But I caution you: Don’t beg. Don’t plead and don’t waiver from your stance. Don’t make him any promises about what was going to happen if he or she comes home (this is not a free pass – there will be significant work to be done by both parties, but especially by the Cheater). But be direct and clear: If he or she is going to go ahead and continue on with the affair, then he or she cannot have the marriage at the same time. In this way, you are giving him a little space and a little (but not indefinite) to end the affair, but until the affair does in fact end, he or she is not going to have the benefit of the marriage either. And then increasingly show them what life will be like without you.

      It’s my belief that your husband or wife has to have some incentive to choose fidelity and rehabilitation. And it’s unacceptable to continue an affair if you want to save your marriage. As long as they have both of you, your spouse is not very motivated to do much about the situation. They are having their cake, and keeping you as a “back-up plan.” Why should they end either? If you are allowing him or her to have the affair and the marriage at the same time, then he or she really does not have that incentive.

      In the end, it may still not work. Some people have “exit affairs” — they have already given up on their marriage and the affair was the last act in their marital drama. They are gone and nothing you do will make any difference. But I do believe taking these steps will give you the best chance you can to make a marital reconciliation possible.

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