This list comes from a writer who wishes to remain anonymous  and was accompanied by an email that said: Just read your latest post about going to therapy.  I totally applaud you for being so honest and open.  Marriage IS hard work and no-one tells you that.  I think people always think you need to have one foot in a divorce court before you even consider therapy. My husband and I had personal and joint therapy for a few years as a result of him having an affair (so I did feel I was on the path to divorce at that time!).   Never would I think I would stay with someone who had an affair nor at the time would I think it possible to even get through it and end up back together but it was only with the help of our therapist…”

  • Never in a million years could I ever have imagined that this would happen to me.   We had just celebrated our second wedding anniversary, had an 18 month-old and I was planning my 40th birthday party.

  • It felt as though some terrible sitcom was taking over my life…….husband leaves wife telling her he no longer loves her; wife finds a message from 23-year-old girl in his office; 23-year-old phones wife telling her all the details including how it is the wife’s own fault that the husband doesn’t love her.’

  • How could I not have known?   But then all those business trips suddenly made sense.

  • I chucked him out and he went to live with his parents. I felt shame, stupidity and guilt.  

  • I thought I knew heartache until this happened.   I felt constant pain in my chest, my whole body in fact.  The air was literally knocked out of me.   

  • I was consumed with wanting to know every single detail.  I was obsessed with piecing together exactly what I was doing when they were together, frantically trying to remember where he told me he was.   Googling the hotels, they had stayed at.   Asking him endless questions.   

  • It took months, but eventually,  I reached a point where I decided to stop as all it was doing was making me feel even worse and sink lower into depths of despair.   I realised in the grand scheme of things that those details didn’t matter.

  • It was a cliché, but I cut up his suits and cut holes in the crotches in all of his jeans.  It made me feel better for about 3 minutes and at that time, it was worth it, just for those 3 minutes of relief.

  • Friends and family rallied round.   I survived on Marlboro lights and coffee for a few months.  I lost 2 stone in 2 months.   

  • I worried about how much my toddler was watching me lying wailing on the floor, but he saved me and gave me a reason to get up and keep going every day.

  • I kept wondering why me?  But when I spoke in-depth about my life to my counsellor she told me that as I’d reached 40 and this was the first trauma I’d been through, in that respect I was lucky.   At the time I felt like punching her, but in hindsight, it really put things in perspective. 

  • I was in a constant state of despair, but it also brought trauma to our whole family.  My mum was in pieces worrying about me, my dad busied himself sorting out the legal side of where I stood, and his parents were incensed and ashamed.

  • I was desperate to speak to someone who knew what I was going through. I joined online forums. I bought every book I could find on affairs.   I nearly went to see a clairvoyant.  I was searching for answers on what to do but deep down I knew I was the only person who could answer that.

  • I’ve never wished time would move fast so much in my life.  I desperately wanted to know where I would be in one month, six months, a year….I just couldn’t imagine what was going to happen.   I wanted the world to stop and I wanted to get off.  

  • Six months after finding out, I agreed to go to marriage counselling with him after he begged me to.  This was only once he had started his own counselling and I had started mine.  

  • I didn’t go to counselling hoping for a particular outcome.  I thought at that point I definitely wanted a divorce, but I wanted to go so I knew that I’d tried everything before I signed on the dotted line.

  • He had to prove to me that he would do whatever it took to save our marriage.  I needed to see actions not words.   Trust takes a long time to rebuild when it has been so shattered.

  • It took just over a year of counselling – mine, his and our joint sessions, just over a year of talking, shouting, crying, before I felt like I was ready for us to move back in together. We were separated for just over a year but for nearly three years it was non-stop counselling every week.  

  • We would not be here without counselling.  I used to be sceptical of it and now I’m an advocate. We still see our marriage counsellor from time to time.

  • When he moved back in, we were restarting our marriage and saying goodbye the old one, even if it was only short.  

  • It was the first time in my life I’d ever felt like a victim.  A victim of betrayal and a victim of constant judgement. When I was trying to decide what to do, I was also exhausted trying to make sense of my own feelings but also manage everyone else’s.

  • It feels like some friendships aren’t the same because people can’t fully accept my decision. It used to make me angry and sad – if I can accept it, why can’t they?   It’s my life that was shattered not theirs.  But I’ve learnt to let it go.   

  • Everyone thinks they know what they would do if their husband had an affair.  I was definitely in the ‘get divorced’ camp.   But now I understand that you never really truly know what you would do in any situation until it happens to you. 

  • To anyone in this position I would say what my parents said to me – listen to yourself, not anyone else.   Don’t live your life to please other people.

  • It’s a long road to recovery. Unbelievably it now feels like a distant memory, like it never even happened. Sometimes it rears its head, but we both know how to tackle it. We have a different relationship now.  

  • I would have said our communication was good but it clearly wasn’t.   Communication is key.

  • I would never have thought that recovery from an affair was possible. Most people would say you can’t go back after betrayal and I would have been one of those people, but not all affairs are as simple as they seem.  My husband had underlying mental health issues that cumulated in an affair and was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  He would never use that as an excuse, but the reasons it happened weren’t as cut and dry as I initially thought. But if he had spoken to me, then it might all have never happened.

  • It’s made me less judgemental of people.  I think we all judge, whether we like to admit it or not.  But we all have one life to live, so make decisions for yourself and what makes you happy, not because of what other people think.

  • Everyone is different, everyone makes different choices.  Some people will say I’m stupid for going back but no-one is me.

  • I could never have imagined I could talk lightheartedly about my husband’s affair, but 5 years later, I can now.   It certainly wasn’t a joke and still isn’t, but time is a healer.   I used to want to punch people in the face when they said ‘time is a healer’ but it’s true.

  • We have a stronger, new marriage and a new baby.   I now know nothing in life is a given but so far so good.

  • When it happened, I could never have imagined that I’d be where I am now.

  • Forgiveness is possible. Forgiveness is powerful and amazing.

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1 Comment

  • Reply RS August 9, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    My husband had an affair too, and I have decided to stay. A lot if what’s here resonated with me – thank you. It’s hard to find people who stayed.

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