Marriage Missions International

How Can I Get Past The Tremendous Sadness?

Photo by A Patterson, courtesy of

Photo by A Patterson, courtesy of

How can I get past the tremendous sadness that my spouse’s extramarital affair has caused me?

“Impact! Dead on impact. Maybe I have confused separateness with the feeling of being dead. The tears fall like rain drops.”

“The pain is physically exhausting but I am still here.”

“Lord I give up. I am not even going to pretend to be brave because I am actually totally broken. I give up. I don’t want this anymore. I can’t take this anymore. I can’t Lord. I can’t Lord. I can’t Lord. My heart is completely shattered.”

These are the feelings of sadness expressed by those who have been betrayed. It is the feeling of death, except one is still alive and must continue to live. But how? When will it ever go away? Will I ever feel happy again? It seems impossible. And my family tells me to just ‘get over it!’ That hurts me even more. My friends don’t understand.

When I discovered my husband’s affair, I felt as if I had gained a new companion, a companion whom I didn’t want, who wasn’t welcome, who had not been invited and who would not go away.

That companion was pain. For me it was 2 ½ years until I felt happiness again, and I distinctly remember feeling it again, and I remember why.

The feeling of sadness for me was caused by thinking that I was unloved, perhaps even unlovable. Surely if I was a lovable person, the one I loved the most would not have hurt me so deeply with betrayal, abandonment, deceit and lies. The problem was that what I believed about myself, about my life and about the people around me was untrue. The truth is that I am lovable and therefore I will always have lots of love in my life.

I wanted a guarantee. I wanted to be guaranteed that I would never be betrayed by my husband again. He gave me his guarantee, yet I still didn’t feel guaranteed. After all, had I not been given a guarantee the day we exchanged our wedding vows? I thought what I needed was to throw away the old and start over with the new.

“Yes, that’s what I needed,” I thought to myself, “a new relationship with my very own husband of 18 years.” Yes, we should redo our wedding vows. Yet others have redone their wedding vows and been betrayed again! Wedding vows are no guarantee.

Then I realized that I can never be guaranteed what all of the future choices of another individual will be. Neither can anyone else on the planet be guaranteed that their spouse will never have an affair. There are no such guarantees in life. I wish it were different, but that is reality. One thing no person can take away from another is their own right to choose. And really…would we want to?

How loved would I feel if another was forced to love me?

Prior to our meeting this week, I put out an email to the Beyond Affairs Network asking other coordinators, how they got past the sadness. Here are their responses which I shared at our meeting:

“It was the hardest of emotions for me to overcome, but I finally accepted the fact that it happened and that I had no control over the actions of my spouse. I continually reminded myself that unless I controlled my own actions, I would be bound by my own stubbornness to remain in the anger and resentment stage. The constant dwelling on what happened is what keeps people stuck there. Again I had to control my own thoughts and move ahead. It’s not an easy thing to do, but it can be done especially if you choose to stay focused.”

Another wrote:

“I think, hard as it is to accept, that ‘tincture of time’ is the best way to get past both the hurt and the anger. I also know that it is possible to get stuck in either place. So what I did, instead of trying to rush the process, was to really LET myself be sad and then to LET myself be angry for a while. I had spent so much time and energy trying to move on, that I found I was denying myself the right to feel what I NEEDED to feel in order to heal.

Once I acknowledged my feelings and that I wasn’t crazy for feeling them, it was much easier to let them go. Now when negative feelings come, I can acknowledge them and put them away much faster. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It has been nearly 3 years for me and I’m finally getting there.”

Another affair survivor wrote: “For me, the greatest skill for dealing with sadness is gratitude. Define it. Practice it. It seems trite to say count your blessings when you’re in the midst of such pain, but there is no denying the practical benefits of just doing. It’s scriptural and I think it’s psychologically sound. This is NOT denial. It’s perspective and coping until time has had the chance to work its magic.”

Then I read Peggy Vaughan’s article “Moving from Pain to Recovery”, where she talks about the importance of controlling your thoughts. What we feed grows. If we allow ourselves to replay the pain over and over again in our minds, we don’t move forward, in fact, it can get worse with time, if time is spent nursing and rehearsing the wound over and over again. This is where it becomes so important in the healing process to educate ourselves and to share with others who understand, which is the purpose of, constructive ideas and efforts to get beyond the painful emotions.

One woman shared how taking anti depressants (only for 6 months) had helped her to cope with life at somewhat of a normal level during the initial discovery period. Others managed their pain, and often depression that accompanies discovering marital infidelity, through cognitive therapy (which is learning to understand, recognize and control your thoughts).

During our meeting, one individual brought to our attention the value of a good comedy!!! What a great, but often overlooked point! Sometimes you’ve just been dealing with the darn stuff too long.

You need to go out and have a good laugh. Give all those serious, deep thinking, tragedy moments a rest. Search for things that make you laugh. A good laugh is medicine for the soul.

Getting past the sadness, it’s a choice. We choose whether we will read books, educate ourselves, increase our understanding, learn from others and most of all whether or not WE will control our thoughts. Can you get past the sadness? Absolutely! But it takes time and it is YOUR choice.

The above article was written by Anne Bercht and is featured on the web site for PassionateLife Seminars, which is a dedicated to helping others survive marriage affairs, infidelity, adultery and betrayal. Anne’s book, My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me is an inspiring true story of one family’s courage and recovery after a devastating affair.

This particular article is one of many they have posted on the subject of surviving infidelity and healthy recovery from extra marital affairs. You may want to visit their web site to see what else they offer which might further help you in some way with this issue. You can visit their web site by going to


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79 Responses to “How Can I Get Past The Tremendous Sadness?”
  1. Sly from Canada says:

    (Canada) Its been about a week since my husband walked out on me and my daughter. As far as I know there was no other woman. My story is very strange and haven’t found any like it, so finding sites has been a struggle. Friday was like any other day, woke up together, had breakfast, lunch, dinner, but my husband works away from home and sometimes he needs to go on Saturdays, which is fine.

    So he was gone all day Saturday, but he was supposed to come home for his firefighters Christmas party. He didn’t come home, and he had turned off his phone. I couldn’t reach him until Sunday morning. Not going to sugar coat anything, but I was a little angry that he couldn’t call, and tell me he was staying in the city. But he wouldn’t pick up his phone until Sunday afternoon, when he said to me, I’m moving out, I’m busy right now getting furniture from a friend, I’ll call you back later. Then he hung up on me and turned his phone off.

    Picture the kid from home alone, but with a silent scream splashed on my face. Seriously who does that?!! There were no fights or arguments that lead up to him moving out! Nothing!!! So yes, I was in a state of shock and couldn’t understand how one minute he’s fine and we’re fine then the next he’s picking up furniture to move out?

    So after that week, as I like to call it, “hell week,” he and I fought over the phone, not long calls, he usually would end up hanging up on me or saying nasty things so I would end up hanging up. His reasoning was he has been depressed for 6 months now and he can’t live like that anymore. Lets fast forward shall we? This is the next Saturday, and he phones me. After a week of threats and talking about divorce he phones me when he’s driving to see his sister and her new baby, which is a good 3 hours away so he has time, probably the best conversation we’ve ever had!

    Then Sunday, he drops by to see his daughter, we sit down and have a decent talk again. Monday, same thing, but by Monday we’re talking about moving and finding a place closer to his work. We’re talking about getting back together, seeking counseling to help us become a family again. It’s now Tuesday, “hell week” is in the past and we’re keeping it there. But now I’m feeling this anger kick in and frustration along with hurt! I just don’t understand how I can honestly live with someone who found it so easy to up and abandon me! I feel like the other shoe is about to drop any minute now and I’m anxious about that. I’m scared of being abandoned again. I don’t know if I could ever trust him or feel confident he’ll never do that. I know there are no guarantees and that’s terrifying to me, to put my trust, my love my all back into someone who could just leave, with no word, no signs, no remorse!

    How can I trust again? I know I don’t want to live in the past and relive “hell week” ever again. I’m not sure if wife abandonment syndrome is real or not but I feel like I have it, and I feel like if I go back to him or let him back in I’m just setting myself up for disappointment, to constantly walk around on eggshells, asking myself “is he going to leave me this weekend?” or “is he having a good day, so he won’t leave me?”

    Maybe we’re better off alone, maybe we’d make better friends. I’m so confused right now and whenever I talk about us or how I’m feeling I can feel the tension on his end of the phone. It’s almost like he’s saying “ah she’s griping again” when really I just need for him to listen and not resent me for feeling this way, the way that he made me feel in the first place!

    • Lee from United States says:

      I know what you are going thru. My husband was my soul mate, my one true love. We had a good sex life, a comfortable life, I thought we had everything. Then one day he comes home from work and he’s yelling. He’s saying he doesn’t love me and that I’m incapable of loving him; that he isn’t happy. I have a shopping bag in my hand and I’m saying something and he runs toward me and kicks that bag and it shreds on the floor.

      I cannot believe what is happening, I don’t believe what is happening. I’m feeling kicked in the gut because I never saw this coming. It’s like this for about a year, him threatening to leave and divorce me. I finally say go if you want, I don’t care anymore. He doesn’t leave. Fast forward to 7 years later. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. We still are not back like it used to be. I don’t talk much anymore and I still don’t know where we went wrong. Every day I expect that he’ll come home like that. I have a plan to leave, I just need three more years and then I’m leaving. I know that I can’t stay like this because it still breaks my heart and I still don’t know the why of it. I’m pretty sure he has had/is having an affair so maybe that’s it. I don’t know and I can’t care any more.

  2. Jennifer from United States says:

    I found out my husband cheated on me with who I considered my best friend back in July. After that I decided to snoop through his phone and discovered he had been texting multiple other women telling them inappropriate things. It has been 6 months now and I feel that I’m just getting worse. I’ve tried leaving him numerous times (kicking him out of the house) and he just keeps begging me back. Part of me wants to work it out but I know I can’t if I can’t overcome my feelings of anger and hurt. It’s so hard on my health.

    I still love him to a degree, but the trust is not there and am not sure if it will ever be again. I can’t go through this again if he’s unfaithful in the future. We’ve been married for over a year. We’ve both been married in the past. Why do men have to be so dang weak? All I’ve done today is lay on the couch and watch tv. I’m sad and have no ambition or strength. I really want my happy self back. I wish all of you, who have also been hurt in this way, the best. You’re not alone.

    • Bex from South Africa says:

      I am in a similar position. I’m missing the me I used to know. I’m missing the husband I trusted and I’m missing the sense of surety I had in our relationship. I feel so lost and I have moments where I imagine killing myself just so that I can stop feeling all this excruciating emotional, physical, spiritual and mental pain and anguish. I imagine that this is what torture feels like.

      I’m wasting away inside and out since my husband admitted to a one night stand with an old friend a year into our relationship. He kept this secret for 14 years. In the last 6 months he has been developing a friendship with a woman through work, deleting their messages so that I never see them. He swears there was nothing more, and the messages were only friendly, to over friendly, and mostly about work. I discovered that he has been watching porn for the last 3 years, from around the time that my mother became incurably ill.

      I’ve been so sick with worry about it that I actually became ill myself each year over winter for 3 to 4 months at a time. This last year I ended up in hospital unable to get enough air. It was the same month he had drinks with her at a work function, after which they started messaging each other. I just don’t know what to believe.

    • Dee from United States says:

      I’m still bitter and heartbroken. I’m writing this because I feel this is my therapy. When I found out my husband was secretly meeting someone, I was devasted. I can still remember my heart hurt so bad. The room was spinning and my hearing decreased. My stomach was tied up in knots! After that I did everything I could to learn about what he was up to. I’ve become a very good detective. When I approached my husband about his cheating, he looked straight at me an lied! He lies very well. He knows what I want to hear, so he acts so sincere and says he “would never cheat on me” and that I’m “insecure.”

      When I started pointing things out to make my point, he started yelling at me before I could get everything off my chest. Then I realized it was his tactic to yell at me an shut me down before I could expose him. So then I knew I had to take a different approach. When he was at work, I took pics of all he evidence I had, then sent him a text with everything. He didn’t respond. How could he? His lies wouldn’t work or couldn’t explain the pics of his text mgs and other things! I felt better to get everything off my chest through my text msgs without any interruptions. It was truly healing for me. I was very naive and unsuspecting for a long time. I’m tired of being sad, bitter and resentful. I ate and ate to fill the pain in my gut and I became overweight. I hated myself for not seeing the cheating signs. It’s ALL not healthy. I’ve become very controlling and obsessive. It’s like I tried to build a wall in all dimensions of my life to limit the chances my husband could cheat, but couldn’t build one high enough.

      One day, I was reflecting on the many things my dad told me…how I was special, dutiful, faithful, a loving and helpful daughter, a sweetheart…my daddy cherished me. Then I thought, “Dad and Mom would be heartbroken if they saw just how much of a mess I’ve become!” Then one morning I said to myself, “If I can’t do it for myself, I’ll do it for my parents!” I deserve to be happy and healthy. The next morning I woke up, made myself a very nice cup of coffee and sat outside to enjoy the beautiful morning! I enjoyed the soft sunshine, the birds were actually chirping…maybe singing and the fresh air and breeze just brightened me up. I breathed in the beautiful morning sunshine, air and life! I said to myself, “I’ve been sad and in pain for too long.”

      I made another enjoyable cup of coffee and made a healthy list of all the healthy things I enjoyed. I started walking early in the mornings and eating healthy! I’m still overweight, but I love myself again. I realized that I can’t ever control what my husband does, but I can control my actions or reactions. His cheating was never about my lack of beauty or capability or anything else. It’s ALL about his lack of integrity, loyalty and selfishness.

      My husband is still in my life, but I don’t hate him anymore. The bitterness and heartbreak is decreasing. I forgive him, but I mostly forgive myself for all of my actions and thoughts. Through all your pain and agony, love yourself and do what you need to do to take one step (sometimes a half step) forward toward healing and loving your life. Be healthy. Peace to your heart :)

  3. Pamperedjane from United States says:

    My life has gone from being a fairy tale to a nightmare in one fell swoop. Autumn 2012, my husband (married in 1999) was in the throughs of an extremely ANGRY, mid-life crisis in which every terrible thing wrong in his ENTIRE life (even prior to when we met) was somehow MY fault. He shockingly left me & the 5 kids & moved in w/a (cop) co-worker. In a last-ditch effort to persuade him to come home, I PRIDE-lessly begged him to go on a Royal Caribbean Cruise that I’d desperately purchased for us, December 14th-17th, 2012, – “the Honeymoon we’d never had.” This would surely fix everything, I thought.

    Miraculously, it DID! Or so it seemed. We had the most wonderful time we’d ever had together. We reconnected, communicated and he agreed to return home.

    Upon our return to port, he informed me he would drop me off at home and stay the night at his coworker’s, where he’d been staying -despite the fact that I’d returned home ill. He’d left his uniform at his friend’s house & since the house was just around the corner from his work, he would return home the following night, December 18th, 2012, after his shift, which he did. We enjoyed Christmas, 2012.

    New Year’s 2013, January 31st, I innocently looked at his open laptop on the coffee table on Facebook to see if there were any new family photos. There in black and white was the most profane exchange between he and a nurse from work. It dated back to Early October, 2012 – a time I was away for the first time EVER, celebrating my mother’s 75th birthday out-of-state. At his insistence, I stayed for a whole week, rather than a few days as I’d initially planned. Now I knew why.

    He denied, denied, denied then finally, little-by-little, would admit a little “snippet.” So Cowardly and Childish – it was literally like talking to a CHILD. In other words, if I didn’t ASK, he wasn’t TELLING. He admitted to being “with her” ONCE – which I knew from the start was a lie.

    From that day forward, I asked him EVERY day to tell me the WHOLE TRUTH. He swore on MY LIFE, OUR CHILDREN, TO GOD, that he had been with her ONCE. From January, 2013 to June, 2013, I wasted away before him. I couldn’t eat – I lost 75 pounds from my already-fit frame… still, he stuck to his story.

    June 20th, 2013 3:00am – the day after our wedding anniversary, something made me spring from bed to pour over the filthy photos his concubine had sent him during their “relationship” – only this time, a crucial detail leapt out at me – THE DATE – the JPEG date stamped on each and every photo, ONE in particular – The one dated “December 18th, 2012.” Yes, he had returned to port after our “Dream Cruise, left me at our home, ILL in bed, returned to his coworker’s house and was with her AGAIN THAT NIGHT.

    Everything I’ve ever dreamed and hoped for is gone. My life remains shattered. I see no end to this nightmare, aside from the sweet embrace of death. I don’t want to kill myself, I simply have no joy in living. Despite every measure I have taken, nothing has lifted me from the depths of my despair.

  4. Millitary Wife from South Africa says:

    My story isn’t much different from all the others I’ve read on here. Mine started a week ago. My husband is in a position where he works away from home on a regular basis.

    A week ago he showed me a message on his phone from a co-worker, I had the phone in hand and he swiped to the previous screen where messages from other contacts was listed. My eye caught a woman’s name, not a problem, the content of her message made me enter their chat. What a shock! In there was emotionally loaded messages, love names and wishes from him to ” be there” for her.

    He wanted to take the phone from me, I refused and continued browsing through the messages. It felt as if my world’s bottom fell out. I could see on his face he’d been caught.

    His explanation: She’s a colleague he had known for over 20 years; she is in a abusive marriage, her children are troubled and a whole lot of other negatives. He doesn’t love her, he cares for her as a friend. He loves me and doesn’t want to lose me, our marriage and what we have. Question is: WHAT do we have?

    To me this didn’t make sense, still doesn’t. Here I am alone at home most of the time, having to juggle everything when he isn’t around, having to make many a decisions on my own and he tells another woman he wants to be there for her.

    The emotions boiled over, anger & disappointment, hurt and dismay. He insisted she’s just a friend, my intuition tells me otherwise.

    Then this week I became a paranoid, needy, clingy person. I’m constantly checking up on him, I can’t eat, sleep or function properly. And he goes on as if this is of little significance. All these questions keep on going around in my head.

    Where did we go wrong? Am I woman enough for him? Will the trust ever be regained? Why? So on and so on.

    I’m not sure of anything at the moment, while he continues as if nothing happened. He told this woman he loves her. Where does this leave us?

    I realise this is going to be a long hard journey to recovery. The only constant now is my love for him. As for the rest, I am taking it from one moment to the next.

  5. Yvonne from Kenya says:

    My husband’s habits changed all of a sudden. His attention for me decreased suddenly and I knew something was wrong. On one occasion he was texting another woman explicit messages when I was right next to him. He tried to say ‘it was a joke’ but I didn’t believe him. He continued with it months later and my distrust grew. He then became violent when I confronted him. I had to separate from him. I was full of anger and bitterness and nobody around me felt my pain. They tried to tell me to ‘hang in there’. I felt like I was on death row. I have now found some peace and still pray for him and trust God will show me the way to go. I have learnt man can betray you but God will never forsake you.

  6. Monica from United States says:

    My husband’s infidelity is breaking my marriage.

  7. Amber from United Kingdom says:

    My husband of 5 years left me and my two children 6 weeks ago. He left me for my best friend who lives two minutes down the road. Me and my children feel heartbroken. I don’t know how to stop the pain and the constant sadness. How could they do this to us?

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      I will never, ever, ever understand how any spouse and parent can do this to their family. It’s as if promises and vows and the feelings of those they leave behind in utter life-shattering, life-changing grief means little to nothing to them. How could they justify doing this to ANYONE… ESPECIALLY children? Selfish… so, so selfish. I pray for you Amber, and pray for your children –that God will minister to your heart and your needs as you lean upon Him. He will never leave, nor forsake you.

      I also pray for your husband and this “friend” –that they wake up and turn and reject their sinful actions and emotions that are deceitful. Those emotions are driven by hormones, and chemicals inside… they aren’t sustainable. To give up a good family for a stolen one? … So wrong… so very wrong. No matter what was going on between you and your husband, or what was going on in his head… it never, EVER justifies cheating. And your “friend?” What a piece of work. My heart goes out to you, Amber. Do what you can to take care of yourself and your children during this horrible time. Look for ways to bring smiles, and peace, whenever possible. I pray the Lord helps you in this.

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