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Healing After an Affair: How to Get Through the Pain of Infidelity

“I will breathe. I will think of solutions, I will not let my worry control me. I will not let my stress level break me. I will simply breathe. And it will be okay. Because I don’t quit.” ~Shayne McClendon

It was a Wednesday afternoon in late July, and I felt like my entire world was coming to an end. My husband of almost eleven years had become distant, and during a phone call on my lunch break he told me he couldn’t do this anymore. That evening he told me he no longer loved me and wanted a divorce.

It wasn’t until several weeks later that I learned about another woman and reached a low I never thought possible. What just happened to my life? Just a few short weeks ago I was laughing, smiling, and enjoying my life to the fullest. Now I could barely get out of bed.

I spent the next several months feeling like I had no control over my own emotions.

I’d see pictures in our home where he no longer lived and break down sobbing.

I’d hear songs while driving and literally have to pull over until I could pull myself together.

I’d hide in my room for hours at a time so our children didn’t see mommy crying.

I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t sleeping, my work was suffering, and I was barely making it through my day. I wanted to make this pain stop, to sleep until I figured out that this was all a bad dream. It never happened.

I had to face the fact no matter how much I wanted it to change, the facts were the facts: My husband was having an affair and I had no idea what to do.

I had spent my whole life saying if I were ever cheated on, I just kick him to the curb and never look back. So why was I feeling like I didn’t want my marriage to end? No one ever tells you that this conflict might come up, and no one tells you this is completely normal.

I began reading everything I could find. I was desperately trying to make sense of a situation that made absolutely no sense to me.

We were happy. We were the couple everyone wanted to be. I beat myself up wondering how I missed this coming. I wondered why I even cared, and why I would want to save a relationship that was causing me so much pain.

Was I so selfish that I never saw how unhappy he was? Could I have prevented it from happening? How was I going to become a single mom? How were our kids going to get through this? And the biggest question: Am I going to just give up without a fight?

That question changed everything for me. I decided, right then and there, that I would not just give up.

I was a fighter, and no matter the outcome, I would give my all. While I knew I couldn’t make any choices for him, I also knew I couldn’t live with just giving up on him and my family. This man I knew and loved for so long had to be hurting too.

The information about affairs online is absolutely overwhelming. My search engine became my best friend. As the questions came, I would type them in and search through the thousands of articles for hours and hours. Below are the top ten things that would ultimately give me back control over my own life.

1. Stop and breathe.

It sounds so simple, yet when you feel like you’ve just been punched in the gut, breathing can seem like the hardest thing in the world to do.

When strong emotions came up, I learned to count backwards from a hundred by threes. A hundred (big breath in through the nose), ninety-seven (exhale through the mouth), ninety-four (big breath in through the nose). Counting by threes forces your brain to focus on something other than the intruding thoughts and worries.

I did this a lot of this throughout the days to come. After a while, I finally felt as though I could control my own breathing no matter what was happening around me. At a time when I felt as if I had no control over anything, I finally discovered that I could control something: I could control myself.

2. Start writing.

Get a pen and paper, grab your computer, or put a journal app on your phone. Whatever works best for you, just start doing it. There is something about writing down whatever you are feeling that allows you to release some of the emotion behind it.

In the beginning I felt like I didn’t have the energy to do this. Once I started writing, I realized how much of my energy I could get back by releasing some of the pain I was feeling.

3. Eat.

I literally stopped eating. The thought of food made me sick to my stomach. I had no energy and dropped an entire pant size in two short weeks.

Eat anything. Soup and watermelon became my lifeline. Make it simple, make it nutritious, but make it happen.

You need your energy to get through this, and I promise, you will get through this. I began to notice that when my body was getting the nutrition it needed, I was able to think more clearly and sleep more soundly, which leads me to the next tip.

4. Sleep.

Maybe you’re like me. All you want to do is sleep, yet when it comes time to go to bed you are haunted by thoughts and emotions you never knew existed. For me, going to bed was just a reminder that my husband was not there. We used to cuddle every night before falling asleep, and suddenly I was left with an empty bed.

I learned about guided meditation and would use it to drift off to sleep. If I awoke in the middle of the night, I stopped fighting it, got up, and wrote, and allowed myself to cry. I would write and cry for hours until I had nothing left to say or feel and drifted back to sleep.

5. Talk.

I never realized how creative my brain was and how many false ideas and images it could conjure up on its own. We want to believe we know what is happening, and when we don’t, our brains create some pretty convincing visuals.

Find someone, anyone that you can talk to. Make your intentions clear. I wanted to save my marriage. I didn’t want people telling me to forget about him, that I deserve better, to just move on. So I stopped talking to anyone.

When we only have our own voice, we have no choice but to believe all the lies we tell ourselves. I would tell myself I must not be good enough, I must have been doing something wrong, maybe I’m not pretty enough, smart enough. The list is endless. We need our people now more than ever.

I needed someone who could ground me when my brain was running wild. Whether that’s a friend, coach, therapist, or family member, just find someone you can talk openly with. Find someone who will listen without judgment.

6. Get active.

Maybe you already exercise daily, and that is great. I never exercised, ever. I hated it and I still do. But during this time I found the value in it.

Yoga was easy and relaxing, and so was walking. I realized that it gave me some me time. It allowed space to clear my head if only for a few minutes, and those minutes were glorious. It didn’t always work. Some days I just couldn’t clear my head, and I learned that is okay too.

I learned how to give myself grace. I learned that there is no perfect way to do or get through this. Just take one step at a time, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and don’t stop trying.

7. Know that whatever you are feeling is normal.

You will experience a rollercoaster of emotions that you never thought were possible. How can you possibly love and hate someone so much at the same time? How can you go from laughing to crying in a matter of seconds?

You may feel embarrassment, shame, guilt, love, hope, and everything in between. The rollercoaster is real, and you know what, it is completely normal. This realization was one of the most freeing.

No matter how you are feeling at this very moment, it will change, I promise. No matter what you are feeling, it’s normal. There is no right or wrong way to feel with this, it just is. It is just how you are feeling right now, and that’s okay.

8. Know that this has nothing to do with you.

It was all too easy for me to blame myself. It was my fault that he no longer loved me. I would learn that this never had anything to do with me.

I did not make these choices for him. I did not do anything to cause him to make these choices. He didn’t ask me ahead of time. He didn’t even tell me that he was unhappy. These were choices that he made completely on his own.

He was suffering, and when someone else boosted his self-esteem, he latched on as if it were his only lifeline. He didn’t realize how much he had been hurting over the years. All he knew was that he wanted to feel good, and because he didn’t know why hadn’t felt good before, he blamed me for his years of misery.

He eventually learned that it was never about me. He learned that no matter how far he ran, he couldn’t out run his own demons.

I later learned that while we can all work to improve how we show up in our relationships, nothing we are doing or not doing excuses an affair. However, since I wanted to save my marriage, I had to take a long hard look at myself and see where I could show up better in my marriage.

I learned how to be a better listener. I learned how to be more compassionate and understanding when my husband was going through a difficult time. I learned the art of patience. And I learned what unconditional love really means.

9. Make time for you.

What did you enjoy doing before you were a couple? What hobbies or activities do you have on your own? If you don’t have any now is a great time to find one.

Look at what is being offered in your community. Look at local schools. Did you always want to learn to cook? Take a cooking class. How about sewing, yoga, finances, painting, or computers? Take a class. Whatever it is for you, find something. Find something you can do at least one night a week and commit to it.

Sometimes in marriage we forget who we are as an individual. Now is the time to rediscover that person. The added bonus to this if you are looking to save your marriage is that your spouse fell in love with who you were as an individual. Bringing that person back can be eye opening for the one who left.

10. Give it time.

Last, but definitely not least, know that this will take time. Research shows it takes an average two years to heal from the pain of an affair. I hated this advice in the beginning because I wanted to feel better right then. But time has helped me realize that it really is the best medicine.

Right now all you can do is decide how you will spend that time. You can fight to find the blessings in disguise and learn and grow, or you can choose to become bitter and allow yourself to remain the victim of the cards that were dealt to you.

I choose to fight, I choose to learn, I choose to grow.

Change and healing didn’t happen overnight. Both my husband and I had to put in a lot of hard work. We read and listened to more information than I ever thought possible. We sought out therapy as a couple and as individuals to heal our past hurts and coaching to help move us in the direction we wanted to go.

Ultimately, we learned that our communication had to improve. He needed to be able to communicate when he was upset about things, and I needed to be able to receive this information without becoming confrontational or defensive. His openness and honesty allowed us to begin our healing process and start restoring trust in our relationship.

One day it dawned on me that I hadn’t thought about the affair at all for several days. I wept as I realized I had my life back, only it wasn’t the life I had thought I wanted a few years ago. It was a life that had become better than anything I could have ever imagined.

Three short years later and both my husband and I will tell you we are happier than we have ever been. Our marriage is stronger than it ever was. Our connection is greater and our communication is better.

Looking back on that day when I thought my life was coming to an end I now smile, realizing that for us, it was the start of a new beginning. While I never wish the pain we endured on anyone, I have learned that sometimes the greatest pain brings us the greatest blessings.

About Kim Speer

Kim is currently studying to become a certified life coach. Through her business, Destiny by Design Life Coaching, she helps couples through the pain of infidelity and back into a fulfilling relationship. You can follow Kim on Facebook and Twitter @destinydesign28 for free tips and ideas to help you through this difficult time.

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  • Bullyinglte

    Hi Kim and thank you for being brave enough to share your story here. As I’m guessing you know by now, you were suffering with the classic case of depression after a traumatic experience. I know as I have been there as well, though not about an affair. Depression can come on suddenly and grip us, making us feel we have no control over our emotions. I know it robbed me of emotion, hunger, sleep, self-esteem, and motivation. I understood why people feel their lives are over while in a depression. Like you, I found out about the recovery outlets needed to break the cycle that depression puts you in. Writing, exercise, meditation, yoga, breathing, mindfulness activities, talk therapy, and a good dose of time and patience are the solutions I found. Seems you did too. It is so important that we believe that everything in life is temporary. “This too shall pass” always comes to mind to me. So many people misread this quote as only in negative situations, but it is for all situations. There is a Yin and Yang in life, and we only can find joy when we know sorrow. Learning to be content and get in the flow that life is can break the cycles of sadness and depression and allow us to realize that…this is just life. Enjoy the ride while you can.

  • Kimberly Speer

    Thank you for your kind words! And you are so right, even the good is temporary. Depression is so difficult to deal with and very few people who have never struggled with it truly get it. Thank you for sharing your story as well!

  • Kate Gwizdak Dardine

    Thank you. I found this helpful. My husband and I are currently trying to rebuild our marriage after his 2 year long affair. He has moved out but lives nearby. The hardest thing for me right now is dealing with distrust and anxiety. But breathing, guided meditation, yoga, painting…these all help.

  • Rennie

    I have never felt so much like I’m reading my own story than I did when I read this. Ever. And I’ve read everything I can find about this awful topic! It’s a complete mirror to what has happened to me. We are 6 months post separation, and slowly moving forward, then sliding back – your words give me the strength to hang in there and work towards a better future. My biggest regret is leaning on my family for support. I don’t think they will ever fully accept him again after the pain he caused me, and I know it is because they love me so fiercely. If only I hadn’t shared so much. I’m glad I had them or I wouldn’t still be here, I was that emotionally distraught, but now I feel we have to repair their relationship too. It’s more pressure on me, because I know that since they haven’t been in my situation they have a different view. Probably the same view I would have had if it was one of my sisters, and I understand that, but it saddens me. Trust is my biggest issue of course, and I’m struggling to drop the wall I’ve put up between my husband and me; I’m trying to allow him to connect with me and Lord knows he’s trying. I only pray that in time my story has the happy ending yours did! Thank you for giving me hope and a feeling that I need to keep going, despite wanting to pull the plug (that would be so much easier).

  • Eat A Peach

    Kim,
    I know that you meant well writing your article. And I know that you have to justify your decision to stick with someone who put his selfish need for a new lover over the welfare of you and your entire family.

    I would ask you to take a long look at what you are advising. Sexual betrayal is abuse. It is abuse of trust, finances, health and mental happiness. Your husband made a unilateral decision to physically abandon you, expose you to disease and possible harm (who knows what an affair partner is capable of) so he could get his freak on with a stranger.

    When someone has a problem in a relationship, the immediate response is not to cheat if there is any love at all in their heart. This would be the same as burning your house down because there is a blow fly in the kitchen.

    Unconditional love is for children and animals. Adult love comes with absolute conditions. You are inflicting tremendous harm (albeit not intentionally) by speaking about this topic without truly unpacking what the act of cheating in a committed relationship: physical and mental abuse.

    The pain that you described is a CHOICE your husband made. The pain a cheater causes family units is similar to an act of violence.

    Having spent time in a Buddhist convent in Cambodia, one of the tenets we mediated on (especially for a fixer like me is)
    You can’t make it all right. You can’t fix everything. Let broken things go. Detach.

    As much new age glitter as you want to sparkle on your marriage, you were catastrophically wronged. To state it is now better is very sad. Is your marriage better when your husband was exploring another woman’s body? Telling you hundreds of lies to effect his affair logistics? Not caring as your mental health collapsed?

    You should not have “fight” for someone to love or value you. You should not have to go therapy for your husband to understand that lying to you is wrong. That is the opposite of any concept of finding happiness in the now, and letting go of the past. It is an act of desperately clinging to an illusion that will harm you again.

    Your husband showed you boldly who he is. Believe him.

  • Eat A Peach

    Kate,
    What is the upshot of staying with someone you cannot trust? I hope your healing continues. No Contact with the cheater is one of the fastest ways to get better and “see the truth” of their actions. I am sorry this happened to you. It is absolutely one of the worst experiences in life.

  • Heather Parker Nollez

    Wow I am so happy I read this! This article made me feel horrible for sticking up for myself during my husbands affair and the horrific aftermath that followed. I actually just second guessed myself for a second thinking should I have tried?

  • Eat A Peach

    Hi Heather,
    That is why I felt so compelled to write. I have never posted anything on any website before. The author, while well intentioned, is giving life ruining advice.

    Cheating is an act that destroys your soul. And, 99% of cheaters will do it again. I was cheated on, and I embarked on an obsessive research project about fidelity.

    Cheating is just a symptom of a rotten person. Think of the thousands of lies and manipulations that a cheater must plan to carry out their betrayal.

    I have literally spent thousands of hours analyzing this topic, I am a lawyer (that means nothing but I look at both sides of an issue) and I cannot cite one good reason to stay with someone who can look you in the eye and blow up your life.

    It is so sad. It is life destroying. But, you have to let that person go. They never valued you, especially with an affair. A one night stand…..I lean toward no but that *might* be salvageable if the person immediately confesses and takes it upon HIMSELF to make the therapy appointments and is heart sick over hurting you.

    Heather, never doubt you did the right thing. People who cheat are selfish and entitled and jeopardize our health and sanity. It is heartbreaking. I loved my fiancee from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. I miss him everyday. But I will never subject myself to that cruelty again.

    Heather, no contact will get you there. It will help you see that someone who cheats does not value you. Why would you stay with someone who does not feel lucky to have you?

    (HUGS)

  • Heather Parker Nollez

    I am with you 100% this affair has nearly ruined my life! I am in therapy for the damage it has caused! My husband cheated with a co worker, lost his job, we tried therapy and he kept seeing her, he moved out and came back 6 times which was torture until I finally had enough. He’s been gone since August and now I am trying to repair my life and my self worth!
    To read this article just saddens me.
    The lies, games and manipulation was heartbreaking and damaging to my soul!

  • Eat A Peach

    Yes. I lost a federal attorney job because I was so broken by the cheating. If I did not have savings, I would have been in “dire straits.” For the whole summer, I stared at the ceiling and looked for ways to self medicate from the agony. I have intrusive thoughts that go between crying because I miss him and extreme hatred and thoughts of revenge (not very Tiny Buddha). The Americanized version of Buddhism is not realistic (at times) about the nature of evil. Eastern Buddhism is honest about the FACT that some people bring a dangerous energy to our life. We have to let them go because they will destroy any hope of happiness we have. They can proceed on their journey. I cannot wish my cheater well. I can *only know I cannot control him. But I can control and you can control your destiny.

    This jumped out at me when you wrote: “he kept seeing her.” That is what I read over and over as I researched this miserable club that no one wants to be a member of, ever. They never stop. And, here is the better point…who wants to play marriage police? To wonder about a call taken outside? To be frantic about texts? It is utter misery.

    That is why I wrote: What is the upshot of being with someone you cannot trust?

    Answer: There is none. It is scary to think that people would advise someone to give someone who had an affair…a long and sustained pattern of deceit and abuse….another chance. Cheaters don’t change. They find better ways of hiding it. They go deeper underground.

    So, here is what I have found that helped me. No contact. Do not romanticize the good times. No contact. (So critical) Realize that if he had loved you, he would have never started an affair with a coworker. Staying busy with fun activities. (Remember fun?) Join meet ups or some other group. Do not isolate. It can make you long for the cheaters company. But the most critical think is to move completely away from their dark and dangerous energy that is life destroying.

    KNOW that you will find someone who values you and will be better than someone who caused you soul damage.

    I am sending you positive vibes and energy and know that I understand what you went through. We will make it through this.

  • Heather Parker Nollez

    You are amazing! Your words are helping m so much. My husband, who I have known since i was 15 (best friends in HS) and together for the past 8 years, cheated 4 months after our wedding. I was having a hard time with my son at the time, there were issues, but I thought we were a team. The husband of the woman he was sleeping with told me at 5:30 am on March 8, 2015. That is my D day. As i stated we tried counseling, he just couldn’t give her up. He lied, so much, manipulated me so much. I kicked him out, he would come back but never with much remorse. Then one day in June he left for 8 weeks, told me crap about where he stayed and what did did with his time. Months later I found receipts for dry cleaning, in the town that SHE lives in. The Universe does tell us things when we want to hear them. All summer he spent away from home, but would always reappear with some story about where he was (hotel, air b&b room, crags list room, camp ground, slept in his car). He would text me about being suicidal, miserable, anxious wanting to die. He would send me emails about reconciliation. But when he came home, he never stayed long. As I said in August I finally kicked him out for good. Although his stuff is still here, he has all his clothes. He told me he was living close to his new job, but I had an aching feeling he wasn’t. So I called his mistress’ husband and low and behold, THIS WHOLE TIME he was living with his mistress and her parents. So all the stories of camp grounds, sleeping in car, rooms, hotels were all lies. Stories. Games. How does one ever look at someone in the eye after all that? And why so many lies, especially after they have been caught from the affair, why pretend it ended? why keep lying, why manipulate? why? the truth is already out. why keep torturing someone? makes no sense.
    So now, this man that once had a beautiful wife, amazing home, great support system, friends, etc. now has ONE person in his life, his mistress and at 44 years old they are living with HER PARENTS. How insulting….how painful….how do you think that makes me feel? I am so shitty that he would rather live with a hideous creature of a woman and her parents than me. Imagine how that feels.
    The trauma I have experienced is SO real.

  • Eat A Peach

    Heather,
    This is kismet. My fiancee, a millionaire from a trust fund, cheated on me with a:
    homeless, meth addict married woman, 27 or so, who lost her children when she allowed a random man to beat them viciously. You can’t make this stuff up. She also used to be huge, and had rapid weight loss due to smoking meth. She now wears skimpy clothing on FB to show off her meth created figure. She poses wearing no clothes, and throwing gang signs. I have no idea why as she is Caucasian and lives in the boondocks, but that is the level of idiocy my cheater blew up our lives for….it is cringe inducing.

    I am an attractive attorney who WORSHIPED him, never cheated, sorted out all his problems and cooked for him all of his favorites. I own two homes, several pieces of land, and have never had a speeding ticket. I smell and look great. I stuck little notes in his jacket pocket saying “I love you so much.” *We were 5th grade sweethearts. Just like you being high school sweethearts.

    All the hours I spent analyzing this have left me this to help you. There is a certain type of cheater (like ours) that are close to sociopaths. (Cheating after 4 months? Mine was about the same).

    They have no inner resources or empathy. They get “bored.” They are never satisfied with what they have. They constantly need new stimulation in their empty souls.

    When I tell people what my cheater chose, I can tell two things happen
    1) They don’t believe me that she is that bad
    2) They look at me like I did something wrong.

    Why did your cheater tell you all those lies? (He is a pathological liar).
    To preserve his options. To have you to come back to after he got fill of new sex. My X and I had AMAZING sex. This always stuns me too.

    When you think of cheating, you think of a nag, withholding sex and shrill, demanding that he scrub the oven or something. I would of had sex with my X on demand.

    Your cheater lied because he wanted to have you as his safety net. He wanted to keep doing both, having the stability of your love and hers. My X admitted to me in one of our last conversations: “I guess I wanted to have my cake and eat it, too.”

    It is entitlement. They want some strange. They want strange because they are just “hungry ghosts” (google this brilliant Buddhist concept) who can never be fulfilled.

    Cheating is not about looks or sex. It is about entitlement and selfishness and a lack of empathy and non existent impulse control. And it is devastating. Life changing. Catastrophic.

    It is not that you are so shitty that he would rather live with this beast he has cheated with. It is that he probably does not know what else to do. Once the mask slips off, and we know who they are…..it is not fun to be given the stink eye all the time. Why, they don’t deserve it!

    Heather- they don’t TRULY think they did anything wrong. They are like a shark, constantly seeking fresh meat to satisfy their low impulse control brains. It is like trying to have a relationship with a baboon.

    This is what I know. I don’t know many things. In fact, the older I get (I am 40) the less I know.

    But I know this with all the certainty of the every fiber in my being, every droplet of water in the Pacific Ocean, every atom on this planet: You did the right thing. There is no hope for a life with someone who would treat you so horribly. Never fall for it.

    Your X and my X did not value being with us. So, guess what? They do not get to. Remember: there are no mixed messages in this universe . Watch what someone does……their actions and disregard their words.

    It is like a magic decoder ring: It shows you *exactly* who they are. It shows you their essence. Who is your X? A pathological liar. A person who abuses you and blew up your life, so he could have a ridiculous illusion with another liar. And remember this….a cheater will take you as low as you will let them.

    Just when you think: This cannot get worse, like your DDay on March 8…take him back, and there will be another DDay. But this time, he may be more cruel. Or give her money from the joint checking. Or try to kick you out of your house so she can live there.

    I am so happy I wrote and that it has helped you. As well meaning as the author is, her advice is: life ruining. It scares me that there are people out there peddling this poison. Don’t fall for it for a moment. That is her new business…helping people “reconcile” after cheating. If someone told the truth about it….there would not be any profit to be made.

  • Heather Parker Nollez

    Can you send me your contact information please somehow?

  • Eat A Peach

    APeachEat@aol.com
    We can help each other. I *know* how you feel down to the gut churning soul sickness.
    I almost lost my mind. (Not kidding).

  • Heather Parker Nollez

    I tried to contact you and the email bounced back. Please email me at hpsunshine2010@gmail.com

  • Heather Parker Nollez

    I tried to contact you and the email bounced back. Please email me at hpsunshine2010@gmail.com

  • Kathy

    This was a great post and very similar to what’s just happened to me. My husband didn’t tell me that he was unhappy yet had been cheating for years. Now, finally, he’s leaving me. Same thing – telling me he doesn’t love me and then it comes out that there’s someone else. Also because of unhappiness in his life. But I’m not fighting for my marriage because I know it’s over. I tried in the beginning, but he’s determined to have her and no one else. I can’t trust him again. And the words he’s spoken have hurt so much. I’m glad the author of this post has managed to bring healing into her marriage. I don’t think anyone should judge her because of it. It does happen successfully sometimes. Every situation is different.

  • Kimberly Speer

    I am so terribly sorry that either of you had to endure this pain. I agree that reconciliation is not meant for everyone. However, my article was written from my life experience and my own choices, because I believe that we are all capable of making the best choice for ourselves and our families. I also truly believe that no mistake is any better or worse than another. We all screw up and we all deserve forgiveness.

    I could have chosen to walk away, I could have chosen to not fight for my marriage, I could have done many things differently, but boy am I ever glad I didn’t! But with that said, I am in no way saying that this was the best choice for either of you, or anyone who chooses to leave. I actually applaud those who do it because it is the right decision for them.

    I do not feel like I am in an abusive relationship at all. Actually, I feel like I am married to an absolutely amazing man! That is not to say that there are not plenty of people in this world being abused by their spouse. I do not condone abuse in any way.

    I do appreciate you sharing your side and wish you both the best of luck!

  • Kimberly Speer

    Thank you so much for your kind words. This is such a difficult and emotional thing for you to be going through. Don’t second guess your decision to lean on your family, as you were doing exactly what was right for you in those moments. Family has a funny way of coming around once they feel you are once again safe. Part of the reason I chose to put this article out here was because of the secrecy surrounding infidelity. It is not something to hide or be ashamed of, it is just something that happened, yet we are afraid to speak of it for fear of being judged. In no way am I making light of an affair, it’s just that we shouldn’t feel like we have to hide it. At a time when your world is flipped upside down, you are free to speak about how you are feeling. Congratulations for making the right decision for you, and not one to please others.

  • Kimberly Speer

    Thank you for your kindness and acknowledgement that every situation is different. Congratulations on making the best decision for you! Not all marriages are meant to be saved and that too is ok! I wish you all the best as you begin this journey of healing and self discovery! You have a whole new adventure waiting for you to discover.

  • Kimberly Speer

    Kate,
    Those all helped me as well, especially discovering how much I love painting! It was not anything I had ever done before, but now love how relaxing it is. The distrust and anxiety are so real and difficult to navigate. It is all a normal part of the process. It sounds as though you have found some activities to help you through this tremendously difficult time. Thank you for sharing and please feel free to reach out at anytime!

  • Heather Parker Nollez

    My husband is also a narcissist, or is that the common theme? he was diagnosed with bi polar disorder as well while we were in counseling after the affair. I have to say, i may have been able to forgive the affair, maybe, but it was the aftermath that shook me to the core and that I am actually working on with two therapists to get over. He would leave and re appear into my life repeatedly and as I said, telling me crazy stories of where he was. Renting rooms, camp grounds, cabins, his car, whatever the story of the week was, he would tell it to me. He would tell me he was suicidal. He would tell me he was physically ill being away from me. But the minute he would come back, he would run away again. He was addicted to some strange cycle. He would write me email upon email of how much he loved me, how much he was struggling, etc. all BS.
    He gave up everything to go live with this hideous creature and HER PARENTS, cries to me that he has no other options. Hmmmm…how do 1.5 million other people survive on their own, but he can’t?
    How does he not look at the creature that ruined his life and despise her. If I were him, i would see her as the thing that put him exactly where he is…a sad, broken, dependent mess of a man.
    Sometimes I wish i did things differently, wish i could be like this woman who “breathed” her way to forgiveness and now she is living the perfect life. I tried to forgive quickly, but every time I would see him I would picture him naked with this hideous beast doing the nasty in my car. How do you look the other way and think, oh well, that was then. LOL FUCK THAT!
    My anger was so fresh and so real that even though I wanted to forgive him, i couldn’t. To be honest, he didn’t seem that remorseful to begin with. He kind of had a “it was a few minutes in the car with a friend” type attitude. Like it was, no big deal. Are you KIDDING ME. Screw that. Not sure how this author can look at her husband, who slept with another woman and wanted a divorce. Did she think no one would ever love her again so she figured hanging on to someone who didn’t want to be married to her would be better. How does she touch him knowing he was intimate and probably in love with another woman. I did it and it made me so incredibly sad.
    I have questioned monogamy, relationships, marriage, singleness, people in general. I don’t know what i believe anymore.
    Are people REALLY meant to be locked down with only one person FOREVER. Is it in our nature to be monogamous?
    Maybe if you marry at 55….

  • Kathy

    Thank you.

  • Kim, Thanks for your bravery in writing this post. Your list of the ten things you did to get back to normal is a great list. In my life as a Navy Chaplain, I work with many folks in broken relationships. Thanks for a great post that helped to inform me in my work with people who are experiencing the tragedy that you have navigated through.

  • Wonderful post Kimberly! Sometimes after a period of suffering, we turn around and wonder why we suffered so badly in the past. The biggest key is in realizing that we put our self-worth and identity into another person or concept, and when it shatters, it feels as if we’re losing part of ourselves.

  • Kimberly Speer

    Thank you! It sounds like wonderful work you are doing and I am grateful to be able to help you help others!

  • Angela Lam

    Unconditional love us for EVERYONE! NOT just children and animals. We are human animals, after all, and deserve to be forgiven.

  • Kimberly Speer

    Well said! Thank you!

  • Kimberly Speer

    Thank you! Well said!

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  • LovenoLimit

    “Depression after a traumatic experience”….I guess that’s what I’ve been suffering from after a very unexpected break up a year ago. Yes…a year ago to date. Even though I now know and feels like it was the right decision, it still have a hold over me. I didn’t expect to still be on this emotional roller coaster after all this time. I feel stuck!!! Reading this blogs does indeed help. Hopefully more time passes and it all goes away

  • Eat A Peach

    Angela-
    Have you ever been methodically conned by someone in an adult relationship? Gotten STDs, lost income, had mental and physical health problems after discovering that your partner was a pathological liar?

    I hope not. If this every happens to you, I am sadly certain you would not be so glib about “unconditional” love with an adult male who tells thousands of lies to effect an affair.

  • kmoutje

    Hey Kimberly, what a beautiful, hopeful post. Six month ago I discovered my husband had a short affair. I knew very quickly and everything you described I went through. I realise we’ve already come a long way and I totally agree with your advise. I know really hope that in a few years I will be able to look back and smile, being and feeling stronger as a person and as a couple.

  • Kimberly Speer

    Thank you so very much! I wish the both of a future full of happiness!

  • Kimberly Speer

    It is true that it takes time. Part of the time though is how you spend it. Have you been getting any outside help to move through the pain? Traumatic experiences are sometimes best dealt with and worked through with an outsider who can help us get unstuck from our thought patterns.

  • sigorilla

    This is very good post…i read this and got some enlightment….
    I’m in 3 years relationship and we just break up about a month ago. But in this case, i am the bad guy here. I cheat from my spouse that (only) now i realize what i’m lost/ I can feel that she slowly move backwards. We’ve been long distance relationship and plan to get married next year. But she found out that i’ve been flirting with another woman and it happened months ago. We already argue about it and i’m on process to change…
    last month she suddenly (according to me) change, she want to broke up, and all mistakes on the past she dig it out and blame me. I’m so lost, it’s all so sudden and to make it short, i’m mentally break down. This happened when my business are bankrupt.
    Now i’m still on recovery mode. Still expecting to win her heart again eventho she said there’s no chance for us to make up. But i choose to fight again. From your quote, i choose to learn i choose to grow and therefore i choose to fight.
    I realize how much i lost her, i realize how much i love her. Flirting is very bad habit that i already change. There’s many thing that i want to change to be a better person.

  • ASavageSage

    Great Post! I know it will help a lot of people that are going through this type of situation.

  • cLCRHJzfNxX5ixw249w7HUa9lHuO0j

    My husband also had an affair with a co-worker 20 years younger than him, immediately after we got married. I actually befriended her because they had me convinced they were “just friends”. We were going through some issues and she tried to be in the middle – as a concerned friend – all the while knowing she was sleeping with him. That was in September. He moved out, got his own apartment and had a little love-nest, all the while leading me to believe that we were going to be working on things.

    He has now come to realize how truly screwed up it all is and what a hot mess she is, and that he truly loves me and wants our family and our home (we are a blended family – together 6 1/2 years). I’m torn. I’m not really sure he can change – or how badly he wants to – and not sure if I can go another round living on hope.

    I don’t know that he will ever understand the damage that has been done. The damage to our self worth, our confidence, our ability to see the best in people and to trust. Just know that you aren’t alone. Prayers.

  • newbeginningsbeliever

    This article helps me tremendously as my husband and I are in our 2 month of reconciliation. We’re going to counseling and working on our communication, which was the main part on why we both were unfaithful…one was way more extreme and longer than the other, but either way…we both poisoned our marriage and are now working on a better relationship and already feel a difference in our touch, looks, conversation and passion. It is a grueling process that has it’s days of pain, but Im working on it and the counseling definitely helps us both. Thank you for your words.

  • Anna Strong

    So great to hear your success. Do you find that you go even longer than a few days without thinking of the affair now? Have you gotten to the point where you rarely relive the events over in your head? It’s very inspiring to hear this success compared to the many other stories out there.

  • Kimberly Flotkoetter Speer

    Anna,

    I do give for very long periods without thinking about it at all and even when it comes up I no longer have much emotion attached to it. It’s more like something that just happened in my past. If you want to, you can learn how to control your thoughts instead of letting your thoughts control you!

  • Kimberly Flotkoetter Speer

    So glad to hear you are both willing to work through this!

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  • Colinda McCollum

    I find my strength through my spiritual walk with God. My husband and I are working on rebuilding our 11 year marriage after a 2 month affair. My life was turned upside down because I had no clue at the time he walked out on me until the day he asked to come back to me. The most devastating part is she was our grandsons other grandma. Yes!!! What a blow to the whole family with the exception of this other family. I found that praying for your spouse with the right prayers for what is going on and believing in the prayers you’ll see the results. He is now walking the spiritual walk and we are both on God’s journey that he has planned for the 2 of us. The pain is still fresh but I know in time it will be a faded flower

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  • anonymous

    This has helped me. My husband is having an affair. He has for 10 years

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