How Can I Get Past The Tremendous Sadness?

Adobe stock Sad and upset woman deep in thoughtHow 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. Please, I don’t want this anymore. I can’t take this anymore. Really… I can’t Lord; I can’t. My heart is completely shattered.”

Will I Ever Be Happy Again?

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.

Feeling Unloved

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.

Start Anew?

“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?

But How Can I Get Past the Tremendous Sadness?

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.

Managing Pain

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.

Need to Laugh

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.

This 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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222 responses to “How Can I Get Past The Tremendous Sadness?

  1. I found out a couple months ago that my husband of 10 years and 4 children had been texting this coworker in the USAF reserves and then they spent UTA weekend together! Makes me sick! He lied when I discovered the cheating but finally admitted only to lie about the details. The other women filled me in! Sent me all their text messages! I got to see him planning a life with her! When I found out he immediately cut off communication with her and told her he didn’t want her contacting ever again said he needed his wife and of course she was pissed! He’s doing everything to try to show me he is sorry and loves me but I feel so betrayed! I have not had the best life and don’t trust anyone but I trusted him for the first time in 10 years. I didn’t check the phone records and sure enough he was cheating. He didn’t even use a condom as the other women had her tubes tied!😡 I don’t know if I can get past this! I love him and I hate him at the same time, I can barely sleep, I’m a wreck but have to keep going everyday!

    1. Shawna- I’m right with you, and I know exactly what you mean. I just found out my husband had an affair just after we were married and our daughter was born. He’s lied about it ever since and even accused me of cheating for months with reasoning that made absolutely no sense. The girl was almost half my age to make things worse. Then about a year later he had an emotional affair with another female co-worker that almost ended us. At the time, I had no clue he’d actually been unfaithful. I found out in bits and pieces, him lying about the rest each time from December until just last week. I’m not even sure what to believe anymore. And he knows how hard my life has been, and he was all I ever had…the only person I ever really loved or trusted. We had this amazing love and passion for each other, and I didn’t even know he’d had an actual affair or even suspect it at that point when we were still so blissful. I’m sorry to hear your pain but know you’re not alone…not by a long shot.

      1. I’m going through the same – his fourth affair! I’m devastated after 35 years together the last two have been girls younger than our daughters. I know I should leave but he’s broken me and I love him and hate him for what he’s done. I’ve never stopped him from doing anything; we never argued. Life was good. The latest girl rang me and said she was planning to move to my town to be with him! He ended it but I can’t come to terms with it. All this while grieving for my brother who just passed away :(

        1. Shawna, Krystal, Ruth… I’m with you as well. Especially you, Ruth. My brother killed himself six months ago and I became depressed. Four months later I found two months worth of messages between my husband and another woman. I have always felt unlovable and that people genuinely do not enjoy my company. Was cheated on in a prior relationship as well. NEVER thought my husband would have this in him in one single bone of his body. I think the thing that makes it the worst is the lying and denying. I believed him until I found the evidence myself. I’m starting to sleep and eat normally again, but still super depressed. Don’t know if I will ever feel happy again :(

  2. I need advice. My husband has been cheating on me with different women for over a year now. I have confronted him and he says he is changing but does it again. We have been married 8 years we have 1 child and another coming in a months time. I am a stay at home mum and I feel helpless…so please advise me. I have stopped sleeping with him coz I fear getting HIV or an STD. My son adores his dad. I don’t have the heart to take him away from him. I am so confused. What do I do? Is it possible to live as room mates? Will it work?

    1. Oh Sophy… how my heart goes out to you. We’ve heard this story so very many times. How I wish it never happened in any marriages. You ask some good questions. All I can give you is my prayerful opinion. What can you do? Honestly, I really can’t tell you. The reason is because it is different in each marriage. You ask if it is possible to live as roommates. I’ve seen it happen in a few marriages, but it sure isn’t a healthy thing for anyone involved –especially children who live in the household of that type of “marriage.” And you actually can’t even call it a marriage because you aren’t marrying your lives together, just living as roommates. How healthy is that? What does that teach the kids?

      You say that your son adores his dad. That is wonderful. I’m glad he loves him this much. But your husband needs to know that great responsibility comes with marriage. Your husband is teaching this boy how to interact with his future wife (if he marries). If he continues cheating he is teaching him that marriage vows are only words that you spit out at the wedding and then when marriage gets very daily, you throw them out and live the way you want to. You are teaching him that you can give into your impulses and do whatever you see fit, and whatever happens as a result… so be it. It gives the stamp of approval to cheat on your wife and children (they also get cheated upon when their father cheats on their mother — his wife) when you walk into temptation, or you walk towards temptation, and give into it.

      Your husband’s actions will speak into the lives of both of your children. Plus it breaks your heart — the woman he pledged to love and honor for the rest of his life. What will that tell your children of vows and promises?

      I read in my devotional book today of a cartoon where one spouse said to the other, “No matter what we teach our children, they insist on behaving just like us!” And then an expert points out, “‘We teach what we know, but we reproduce what we are.’ Your children may sometimes doubt what you SAY, but they will always believe what you DO.” I hope that somehow you can talk to your husband and help him to see that his giving himself permission to cheat has consequences that will be paid throughout generations. We NEED good men that will take stands like Joseph did in the Bible. They will flee temptation and will make positive stands no matter how uncomfortable. Those that give in to temptation contribute toxicity into their family and into society. Those who stand strong and flee contribute goodness, are good examples, and show that they are men of integrity. We NEED good men!

      Sophy, I told you I can’t tell you what to do. But I can tell you what I believe I would do. I would pray, much as Esther did when she had a huge issue she needed to talk to her husband about. He was a very ungodly man, but she knew she had an important message she needed to talk to him about so she prepared herself first for the task. I call it the “Queen Esther Approach.” If you recall, in the Bible, Queen Esther had a HUGE problem, which she needed to discuss with her husband. But she also knew that there was a right way, and a wrong way to approach him so the situation could be brought out into the light and taken care of. What you need are the right RESULTS — not to BE right.

      Queen Esther fasted and prepared her heart with God in prayer, and adjusted her countenance according to what God showed her so she could approach her husband the best way possible. God led her to be very respectful, cool and calm as she spoke. I truly believe, because she was bathed in prayer, He honored her by paving the way both before she approached her husband and then afterward as He spoke to her husband’s sense of reasoning. 

      But you need to realize that even if you use this approach, you may STILL not get the results you want –just as Queen Esther knew she was taking this risk. However, it would be better to do this God’s way than yours or mine. You have much more of a chance that you’ll get a better result.

      When I have a serious problem with my husband I spend time in prayer and ask the Lord to show me how and when to approach him in the way that has the potential to get the best results. It may not be in such a way that I think I should approach him –but more important than what I think, I want to do things the right and best way to get the right RESULTS –with God leading the way.

      I grew up in a home where it was almost torn apart by infidelity (on my dad’s part). My parents separated for a long period and it looked like it would end up in divorce. But eventually they reconciled and my dad stopped his cheating ways and led a faithful life with my mom for the rest of her life. I say that to say that sometimes adulterers CAN give up their cheating ways and change their lifestyles. This may or may not happen with your husband. I hope it will. Those children need him, you need him, and this world needs more good men of integrity.

      Pray that you can approach him in a loving, respectful way (despite what he has done in the past) and that you can talk to him in a way that will persuade him to turn his life around. I would not sleep with him again until he has shown you that he can be faithful. Also, I would insist that he has some tests for STD’s and AIDS first and that the results come up negative. You are wise to be cautious in this. There are too many orphaned children because of infidelity and taking foolish chances. You and your husband need to love your children enough to make sure this doesn’t happen. Your husband has to stop putting himself in places where he can be tempted to cheat. If the gals will not hold their knees tight, he needs to stay away from them… and he should do that anyway, one way or another. If he enters into a lion’s den, he can’t cry because a lion has eaten him. He has to change his behavior and the places he visits, and flee temptation.

      In the meantime, you may need to consider part time work at some point (after the baby is born) –something that could lead to full time work if you need for it to. I hate to say this because I was able to be a stay at home mom for most of our marriage and I value that time. But you need to be wise here considering the history of unfaithfulness that your husband has thrown upon you. We aren’t always given fair situations.

      If you live as roommates for a long period of time you have to know that he will most likely cheat and eventually he could tie his heart and soul in with someone else. He may also throw you out in the process. You will be taking that chance. Commit this all to God and do what you can to soften your approaches to your husband. Grow in the ways you need to, and see where that takes you. I pray God’s strength, insight, wisdom, discernment, love, and grace will be upon you. I pray for you and your entire household. To the best of your ability, concentrate on loving your son and lovingly welcoming this new child into your home. I pray for you as you do.

      No matter what, make sure you are doing the right thing. You aren’t accountable for your husband’s actions but you are accountable for your own. I love what is written at the end of my devotional reading (and I believe it applies here). The author writes, “Your example will have more impact than all your exhortations. Read these two Scriptures carefully. The first is found in the Old Testament: ‘He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father… had done’ (2 Kings 18:3). The second is found in the New Testament: ‘I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in your also’ (2 Timothy 1:5).” May this be true in your life, and may your husband find it in his heart to live out that testimony for the rest of his life too! My prayers are with you.

        1. Thank you Melanie. I pray it helped her in some way. May God continually guide her. She has some tough, tough decisions to make.

  3. I am crying reading through these comments. I never knew this world existed until last week. It is almost 10 years of our marriage and I find out my husband has been into porn for 7 years! I saw all of his accounts (over 10) and women he flirted, texted, and emailed with. He said he never met any of them and never physically cheated on me, but I don’t know what’s worse. To be cheated once with one woman or to watch all these women, want them, and come to me to get his needs met. It’s so disgusting. To add to that I am pregnant with our 4th child.

    I feel so betrayed, dirty and broken. I always felt so sorry for people that were going through things like this but could never think I would be one of them. This pain is terrible. I wish I had no heart and felt nothing. This life doesn’t matter to me anymore. Even though he seemed to be very sorry and promised with God’s help to stop it all I don’t believe him. He lied for so many years and I can’t pretend everything is fine.

    I cry all day long everyday. I stopped caring about children, their grades; I don’t care about my pregnancy. I feel like I am in a terrible dream but can’t wake up. If I could only die but I am so weak that I can’t even do that. I wish I was never born to his lying and dirty world. How is it that all of you hurt people keep going? How? I don’t understand. You are in as much pain as I am or even more…

    1. I’m in a similar situation. I’ve been married for thirty years and just found out that my husband has been watching porn for the last four years (but I think its probably a lot longer than that). We went to see a marriage counsellor who gave us some advice and husband promised to stop watching the porn. It went fine for a few months and then, a couple of weeks ago, I found he searched porn on his cellphone again.

      It’s heart-breaking when someone you trusted for so long lies to you, not just once but twice. It’s damaged my self-esteem and has made me feel worthless. My husband distanced himself away from me (emotionally and physically) for the last 10 years so I expect the signs were there but I was just living in a fools paradise I suppose. I didn’t think I would be one of those people it happened to either because he has always told me he was not that interested in porn, maybe as a teenager but not as an adult.

      I have no love for him now, just resentment that I’ve put 30 years nurturing this marriage and for what? An habitual liar. I feel for you, I really do.

    2. I was addicted to porn. I felt my wife was cold towards me. Then I did not want to “bother” her with sex and be rejected. It was embarrassing. It felt like every time I wanted to make love to her, she would deny me or would just lay there. I felt lonely afterwards for imposing myself or mad for having to beg for sex. I felt rejected. I grew resentment.

      So I turned to porn instead. I thought it was not as bad as getting a lover… I know now that I should have tried to seduce her and connect with her emotionally (understand that sometimes she was just tired). There is no excuse for your husband’s actions but this is a sign that he feels lonely. I wish you well.

  4. Hi there, I am so thrilled to find out that there’s nothing wrong with me. I stumbled onto this site, searching for answers as to why I am still devastated after two years have passed since I found a text message to the woman he cheated on me with. In this message, he is telling her that doing the deed with her has ‘SET HIM FREE’ from our marriage. I still do not understand that because I gave him ALL the freedom he wanted, supported him through 6 years of law school, sometimes paying the bills on my own, having two babies while working full time, keeping our house from being foreclosed on, you name it. I was there, when he was tired; I would rub his back, give him pedicures, etc.

    He started drinking heavily, and it all went down hill. He quit two good paying jobs, to go into business for himself, all the while I carried the bag for dealing with finances. My job wasn’t paying enough so we went into default on our property tax, etc. It’s like this whole 10 year journey has been one struggle after another and it feels like I have tried to be there for him through everything. Two years ago, Valentine’s Day, he cheated on me, he tells her I found out and she thinks its FUNNY!! Then there’s my friends who are torn but at least the ladies try to keep communication with me. Anyways, there’s so much more. I want to write a book because theres so much that has happened and I think many women would relate. Thank you!

  5. This article has been so helpful. The pain of the betrayal is consistently rearing its head. I am find out things that were stolen from my house, like the pool pump. He deserted my son and I and I am angry that my 13 year doesn’t express his frustration with his father. It is tough for me to get out of bed; I feel lonely and ashamed. I am moving forward trying to get my career jumpstarted and I own the fact that I trusted too much.

    1. Thank you Cacina for sharing this. I’m so very sad for you, that you find yourself in this place. I will never, ever understand why a spouse feels it is okay to act this way. I’ll be praying for you, and encourage you to post a prayer on the Prayer Wall on this web site. A lot of people will see it there (more so than here) and will also pray for you.

      Whatever you do though, ease up on your son. He is trying to figure this out in his own head. He needs support and grace to express his feelings the way that he feels is best. Make sure you are careful of what you tell your son. Rage, extra anger and info that he doesn’t need to know will add to his confusion. Just tell him what he needs to know –that, which affects his life, but tell the rest to God and those that are safe to confide in.

      My mom told me and my siblings more than we should have known. It broke my brother… he was a changed boy, more than he would have been if he hadn’t known as much of the nasty details that he did. He turned to alcohol and drugs, which eventually took his life. My mom didn’t realize the impact of what she was telling and yelling at us. She was just grieving in the only way she knew to do it. My dad emptied their checking and savings accounts and left my mom and us four kids penniless after he ran off with another woman. It was a horrible time. So I know how bad it can get–watching my mom go through the torture of the unfaithfulness and financial strains and such. But again, my mom didn’t filter anything and she gave us many details that we never needed to know, and shouldn’t have known. I hope you will find the strength to be careful with your son. You can’t hide everything from him, nor should you. But be careful of what you share.

      Please know that my heart cries out to you and your son. I will be praying for both of you.

  6. I teared up reading comments because I thought I am the only one feeling so broken over my decade long relationship with my husband. Since my firstborn, he got emotionally involved with a very young girl at his workplace who he claims makes him feel young again :( I found out after a year of their dark secrets and he cajoled me not to give up the marriage, which I believe is for the sake of his beloved kid. He cannot bear to see her growing up in an incomplete family. I agreed to give it another chance and it has been 3 months since, but I feel very broken and depressed over it. The trust is no longer there and I keep suppressing my sadness because to this date the trust is broken and I am not assured of whatever he told me. The young girl is still working with him under the same roof and his job is paying him too good for him to leave.

    I felt worse when he made plans for a family short getaway because when it is over, I felt bittersweet as I question the genuineness of the intention and I have so many silent tears in isolation because I felt just so broken feeling stuck in a moment of uncertainty.

  7. Its been almost three months now since I found out about my husband’s 2-year affair. The pain and devastation I have felt since finding out has been so overwhelming. We have 3 beautiful children and I was looking forward to celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary later this year. Instead of looking up websites for ideas on how to celebrate our anniversary I’m now looking up how to deal with the pain of infidelity and how to love and trust my husband again.

    My husband has been showing so much sincere remorse and has been doing everything he can possibly think of to try and repair the damage the affair has caused to our relationship. We are going to counseling (but I’m not finding it all that helpful), and he is going to his own therapist for help with depression and anxiety. It seems that the main cause of the affair was his undiagnosed depression and him feeling so weak and low at the time he met her – she apparently paid him a few compliments and it just went from there. It seems that she is quite a manipulative and over-powering woman (a predator you might say), and my husband tells me he doesn’t understand how he ended up in an affair with her when he never loved her and didn’t even find her attractive! We’ve been talking a lot about the affair and us, and his primary concern is me and helping me deal with the pain and sadness. In turn, I am worried about him never forgiving himself and how he now has to cope with severe guilt, shame, and regret on top of his depression.

    I am looking for advice from other people in my situation because I have been thinking a lot about writing to the other woman to tell her all about how much pain and devastation she has caused me, my children (my two oldest children know about the affair), and also my husband. I feel that she came into my safe secure and happy marriage and destroyed it without a second thought for anyone else she may be hurting. My husband accepts his full responsibility for the choices he made that led to the affair and regrets all of them, but I think she is oblivious to the trail of devastation she has left behind – I just want her to know how her actions have affected other people in the hope she will never choose to have another affair with a married man again.

    Does anyone have any advice as to whether or not this is a wise choice? Thanks.

    1. Hi Megs, I was about 3 weeks behind you in finding out about my husband. Write to her if it will give you a sense of control, I did that to the woman my husband was with. It helped me. Remember though, she didn’t care then and she won’t care now. Her side of the story could be anything your husband said. Hashing that over won’t fix anything.
      It’s a terrible position to be in. Sometimes I can’t help but cry for the deep hurt for everything I am and did. I never thought my husband would do that too.

    2. My husband was caught in a 3 year affair with a co worker. We were married for 32 years and she was married for 30. I was constantly confronting him and he was denied it. She on the other hand would call him when we were on vacations and leave him msg. She had a lot of nerve since she was sleeping with him. No respect for me at all. No respect for my family and 3 grown children. And I have grand children. She got a few letters from me. I was straight forward but not nasty. She was and is a women that doesn’t have a moral compass. She is selfish and only cares about herself. She is not right in the head.

      Any woman who sleeps around with a married man is a horrible person. They deserve to have it done to them 7x what they put out so they can feel the pain 7x greater than pain they caused. I also contacted her husband to get the whole truth and he wasn’t a happy camper but he was on to the affair, and she did nothing but lie to him. My husband is more than welcome to go; he can have her.

    3. I know this has been since 2018, I have a similar situation and would love to chat with you. Married 14 years, together almost 19 years. My husband’s Dad passed unexpectantly 2 years ago. He never fully accepted it and then in June of this year he stopped an anxiety medicine after 20 years, cold turkey. He went into the most severe depression.

      He and a co-worker chose to flirt around and then decided to proceed further. Neither of them were able to completely go through with it. They stopped themselves but not before engaging in a few sexual penetrations. They both felt an immense of guilt and said they knew immediately it was a mistake. He said he felt beside himself the entire time and then was like “what did I just do?” …In the 19 years we have been together he has never let me down and we have had a great relationship.

      A part of him died when his Daddy did and I just want to be sure we help each other get past this. I worry because like your hubby he is severely remorseful and this has only made his depression that much more worse only it is plagued with shame and confusion as to why he even did anything.

  8. I feel so low, I just don’t know what to do with myself. Another night spent with no sleep. I feel ridiculous as my husband had his affair over 30 years ago. I recently opened a letter that was from this woman, who was trying to get in touch with my husband. To give him his due he did tear the letter up, but then had the compunction to tell me details of the affair, which he didn’t do at the time of the affair. I now feel sick most days, can’t eat, can’t sleep–I think I am going mad. My husband has done nothing wrong–it’s not his fault. She has chosen to write this letter, but I just can’t get this stuff out of my head. I know I am being pathetic, but if anything it feels worse than it did 30 years ago.

    1. I’m so sorry that you are going through this horrible pain. There is nothing that can shred a spouse’s heart like unfaithfulness. My heart goes out to you. Val, I encourage you to fall upon the mercy of the Lord. Our Heavenly Father knows what it is like to be betrayed. His bride turns her back on Him continually and run towards that, which causes Him to feel betrayed. God understands your pain and will comfort you as you look to Him. He can’t take your pain away, but He can comfort you and guide you to peace, despite this horrible storm that your husband brought upon you and upon your marriage in the past. Here is a prayer to stand upon, claim and lean into: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Isaiah 26:3) There are others, but that is a good start.

      Something you may consider doing is (if you have this person’s address)… write her (possibly) two letters telling her to leave your family alone. Tell her that you and your husband are happy and do not want her to approach either one of you. The first letter would be a long one. Pour out your emotions… state everything you feel in your heart. It can be part of the healing process for you. If you want to share this with your husband… prayerfully consider whether or not you should do that. And then pray over the letter, committing those emotions and all of this to the Lord. Ask Him to help you to release the hurt that you don’t deserve. And then burn the letter. You can even bury the ashes and put a cross over its grave. Do this in a symbolic move to completely let this pain go. From that day forward, every time you think about the pain of what happened, shove it away from you… you have already given it to God to carry. It is no longer yours to grab onto… don’t let the enemy of your faith try to convince you otherwise.

      And if you feel so impressed write a second letter (before you burn the first one… but this one would be shorter and more in control). We are told in the Bible that the meek will inherit the earth and will be blessed. Meekness is defined as “strength under control.” So, in meekness, and in grace, strongly write this person telling them to leave your family alone and to never contact anyone in your family again. Tell her that you and your husband are happy and you don’t want her to pour toxicity upon your relationship again. And if you can, tell her that you have prayed for her (make sure you do so) and pray she can build a life apart from being involved in your marriage again, or anyone else’s. And then mail it and be done with it. (If you don’t think this will be a good thing to do, burn it with the other one and bury this one, as well.) If she writes back, burn it and bury it with the other letter(s) that you burned. You are done with all of it.

      And then, I recommend that you and your husband find some ways to build your marriage all the stronger. Romance each other (we have a “Romantic Ideas” topic that can give you many, many ideas), flirt with each other, and find ways to laugh together. Build some good memories apart from the past pain. Make it your mission to show love to each other beyond anything you have ever done before. Find little and big ways to bless each other. Joy CAN rise out of ashes. I’ve seen this work many, many times before and pray this will help you too. May God bless you and your husband! I’m praying for you.

      1. Cindy, I like your advice. Anyone with advice to reply with is appreciated! My husband of 33 years had a 3.5 year all encompassing love affair. It ended last fall when she gave him ultimatum to choose her or me. He told me about 5 months later when he fell apart to the point of being sent home from work for crying. He chose to stay with me, although I can’t be sure if he stayed with me because he is in love with me, or out of duty and obligation as I am disabled. (My disability caused our sex life to be lacking, which is what led him to get it somewhere else) I have reason to believe he at least told HER that it was his duty to stay with me, and that she found that quality in him to be admirable and was one of the things she liked about him in the first place.

        He tells me, of course that he only ever told her he wouldn’t leave me because he loved me and wanted me and I was a good woman. (I think that is all he chooses to remember telling her, but I have reason to believe he told her that and that it was his duty/obligation to stay with me. Before he broke down at work in early March, he acted as though he always did with me as if everything was great with us and we were happily married. I never had a clue.

        I can’t stop the obsessive thoughts, despite counseling, hypnosis, various other therapies, giving it to God, scripture, church, and tons of prayer. The sadness, utter depression and lack of life is overwhelming. I know part of the problem is that due to my disability, I had lost my job in 2003, had to stop my horse show life and other hobbies, fell out of touch with most all friends…my husband went from being the center of my world before my accident to being my ENTIRE world after the accident. He was it. My whole life was about him and us.

        We had a very good marriage/relationship.(Except for not enough sex after my injury, which by the way he never told me was a problem. He always reassured me that it was ok, that he understood, and its not a problem. I believed him, after all he’s in his 50’s now, with Low T, and has a lot of fatigue and body aches of his own that I would soothe for him as well.)

        My question is, while I am trying to put the affair in the past and see if I can forgive him and rebuild a new marriage…how do I be? I’m an empty sack of misery, and sadness. Do I ‘fake it till I make it’ in his presence so as not to spend all our time together just always dealing with my sadness? Just showing that sadness like once a week, to kind of get it out but not allow myself to stay in that state the rest of the time? And ‘fake it till I make it’ to appear to be enjoying time and activities together in the meantime? I have ‘Anhedonia’ from this trauma, leaving me without the ability to actually feel any sort of enjoyment. Sorry for the lengthy post. Elizabeth

    2. Bless your heart. He reopened the already unhealed wound when he told you details. That was actually cruel. No wonder you feel so bad. I have been there myself and I hope you find peace. I was so traumatized that I went down and did not really get up for 18 years. I have a good therapist now who has helped me with the PTSD. Still I hurt every day.

      1. 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. Please, I don’t want this anymore. I can’t take this anymore. Really… I can’t Lord; I can’t. My heart is completely shattered.” I read this last paragraph, and I am in tears. I am ace out without support from family and barely any friends around. With a little girl. My husband cheated on me with what seems like two women. One I confronted them both about…the second one, he is lying to me that he cheated on me with her–but he currently is in a relationship with her. Worst yet, he declines our daughter to spend time with the woman.

        I am mad, angry…frustrated…tired, oh so tired. I need a break…but I don’t have that luxury. Some of these chats I was reading above…make me want to cry. And it seems, like I haven’t really cried about it since the first cheating session last year. My husband and I are over; I divorced him. But the hurt is still there…the pain of deception…the one person I placed my trust in, and he broke that.

        To him, he uses replacement therapy, break up only with current women when he finds a new one, otherwise he will fight tooth and nail to keep a woman in between relationships. What he did broke me into a million pieces. This was my second marriage. And I had started to hope and believe in love again, only to have him break that trust. And from what I read between him and the first woman he cheated on me with, they were both laughing at me whilst doing this. There is no remorse from him. He is ego filled. Self-centred and the most selfish person that I know, not even his kids come before his own needs.

        My mind is struggling with how can someone be this deceptive. I don’t have that capacity for deceit. I feel like I have been duped. How do I get back up again? I’m scrambling around reading for ideas. I want this pain to STOP!!! I have had ENOUGH …I feel stuck!!!

  9. Hi,I am struggling. In the past 10 days I found out my husband of 44 years cheated on me our entire 2 year courtship. I never had sex before marriage; he had sex with many while we dated and were engaged. I also found out he had 2 different one night stands at conventions when the kids were babies; and later when they were school age – a short (weeks- months) affair. I also found out he had a quick hook up with an old girlfriend (sex) then planned and carried through w/a trip out of the country to meet. He then called her months later for her BD and she told him she has a boyfriend who does not like her to talk to others.

    This happened 17 years ago in our 26th year of marriage. He swears nothing happened since. I knew about only 1 of the one night stands. Found out 1 1/2 years after it happened. It pierced my heart. He knew that and it took me years to trust him but I got there. Ten days ago I had a colposcopy for atypical cells. I have 2 different strains of HPV. I started really questioning my husband; he initially only said the one night stand I had knowledge of, but with more and more questions he finally admitted to the 6 month out of country affair. Denied all else. I finally got the Bible and put his hand on it and he confessed to the shorter affair and the other 1 nighter. Where do I go from here? We have adult daughters.

    1. Hi Suzanne, I don’t know if my hubby actually had a physical affair. I’m not really doubting it either, because he was lying to me for some time. I found Texts with him and another woman on an App. They exchanged pictures and he told her lies about being single. The pictures are in my head and what he said. I also found out he went somewhere without my knowledge when he was traveling for work. I want to scream, and sometimes I do When I am feeling sad, mad, and betrayed. I don’t trust him when he is on any device. I Hate Social Media, and really that subject is a “Home wrecker.” Anyone can have an affair or meet other people, as the internet helps with that subject. I am in Limbo…

      Most days I am sad. I pretend to be “normal”, but I have a lot of hate for hubby now. We have been married 24 years. I know I am not perfect, and I was lonely too. I didn’t look anywhere, I did the best I could in the marriage. He’s not perfect by any means either. Instead of really communicating with me, he ventured off with others. All this was found out in early March. I want to know how much he spent, and see his credit card statements from his trip in the fall. Is that wrong to ask? NOPE I don’t think so…
      anyone in that situation? Asking about Looking at the credit statements and the passwords on all the devices. I hate it, and that’s not how it should be. That’s when the “light bulb” went on in my head. I am not over all this by any means. How about the partner who did the lying and cheating? What do they need to do, to those they betrayed??

      I know it’s not easy, I care for him and we have a family as well. Wishing all those betrayed a more meaningful Life, and don’t let the person who betrayed you fool you more 🙁 Regards, Ms. H

  10. I can’t stop the tears. I’ve never been a crier. The last time I came close to this type of sadness is when I was 14 yrs old and my mother died. I feel stupid I didn’t see this coming. No, I feel stupid for I keeping blinders on too long. I’m going to do this alone like I’ve always done. Growing up with sexual and physical abuse I learned to cope alone. I’ll do it again. Truth is, you enter this world alone and you better not lean on anyone to really be there for you and show kindness.

    1. Tamyla, How my heart goes out to you! I can only imagine the depth of grief that you are experiencing. I saw my mom go through this grief, and my brother, other relatives, and several close friends. From what I have seen it’s like you have been stabbed in the heart by the one person you trusted most in the world. The grief is indescribable! I cry with you Tamyla, and cry and pray for you. I’m sure others, who read this, will be moved, as well. It’s also sad that you feel you must cry this out alone. Often times people just don’t know how to comfort us and help us to the point where we don’t feel so alone. I’m so sorry you are in this place.

      You don’t say anything about having a personal faith in God. I hope that you know the Lord in a personal way and can lean upon Him. I’ve seen SO MANY people do this, and they have said that if they hadn’t been able to cry out to God and lean into His comfort they would have gone crazy. He knows what it’s like to be betrayed by those He loves. Truly, He can bring comfort. Yes, we also need the comfort of people. God even said, “it is not good for people “to be alone.” He also refers to this in Ecclesiastes chapter 4 where he talks about the power of having someone else to help us get up. But there is comfort and insight to be gained by leaning upon the Lord. I hope you do. I pray God shows Himself real in your life and pray wisdom for you.

  11. Thank you your articles, they were very helpful. My husband had an emotional affair for 18 months with a woman 20 years younger. All I do is cry and get mad; it’s only been five weeks. I hope for the pain to go away soon, Lisa.

  12. 42 years we’ve been married. I was 19; he was 20 when we married in 1978. I’m 62 and the pain of his betrayal is indescribable. I was dealing with our son’s addiction and raising his 3 sons, our sweet grandchildren. The youngest is non-verbal autistic. We’ve had him since he was born. Then I got sick and was in the hospital for a while. Then my mother died. I was lucky to get a bath; I was so pulled in every direction.

    I gave my life to this man but I guess he felt neglected. pfft… His betrayal has probably taken years off of my life. It was cruel to do this to me. I thought we could survive it though. It was not to be. He kept seeing her. The text I found he told her how much he loved her. I’m divorcing him because he continues to lie and hurt me by gaslighting or stonewalling me.

    1. Oh Theresa… how my heart goes out to you! This type of betrayal inflicts the ultimate hurt upon the faithful spouse! I’m so sad for you that you are going through this. And I’m so sad for you that your husband doesn’t understand how wrong he has been, and see that he needs to totally repent, turn AWAY from this woman, and turn to you to help you in your journey to healing. This is absolutely inexcusable and wrong.

      I encourage you to post a prayer request upon the Marriage Missions Prayer Wall, which you will find on the Home Page of this web site. This way others will join us in praying for you. Also, read and/or listen to any healthy writing or teaching that you can so you have help in getting to a healthier place in your present and future life.

      Additionally, I came across the following prayer, written by Whitney Hopler, that would be a good one to use as an outline to pray for help in healing. I encourage you to use it. You may even want to print it up and use it as an outline when you feel weak again (which you will over and over again in the healing process). Unfortunately, you will not heal overnight. This will be a long journey. But you truly need to process the hurt, and lean into healing, rather than succumb to bitterness. I hope his prayer is a healthy beginning to that journey, as you seek God to help you. After all, He knows only too well what it is like to have those you love betray you. Please know that I am praying for you as you pray. Here is the prayer that Whitney wrote that you can use:

      “Here’s an example of how to pray for miraculous healing to recover after someone you’ve trusted [your husband] has betrayed you. This is an original prayer. You can use it to inspire you in your own prayers, modifying it as suits your situation. This prayer can help you avoid further emotional damage from bitterness and negative desires for revenge. It may seem like a miracle right now that you won’t suffer from these emotions forever:

      “Dear God, thank you for always being faithful to me. I can always count on you to love me completely and unconditionally. Thank you for being perfectly trustworthy. I can always rely on you to do what’s best for me and help me with whatever I need. Please help me remember that you are here for me even when others betray me.

      “You know all of the painful thoughts and feelings I’m dealing with after being betrayed by [mention your specific situation here]. I can’t believe this happened to me. It hurts so much to have someone I thought I could trust do this to me. God, I need a miracle to find peace after what I’ve been through. Please give me that peace so I can think about the betrayal from your perspective and control my emotions rather than having them control me.

      “My loving Father in heaven, I know you agree that betrayal is wrong and are just as upset as I am about what has happened to me. But I also know that you want me to forgive [name the person who betrayed you]. Honestly, I don’t want to forgive, but I don’t want to hurt myself more by holding onto bitterness or pursuing revenge. Empower me to forgive by letting go of the offense and trusting you to bring justice to the situation in the right ways and at the right times. Please free me from the burden of holding onto a grudge and help me move on with my life well.

      “God, I confess that this betrayal has damaged my confidence. I feel insecure and blame myself for mistakes I made in the relationship before I was betrayed. I wonder what I could have done differently to prevent this betrayal from happening. Please steer me away from wasting my time and energy living in the past, and help me focus now on how I can best move into a better future. Remind me of how valuable I am as a person, and let me sense your love for me in tangible ways, such as an encouraging message from a guardian angel that you have assigned to care for me.

      “As I move forward with the other relationships in my life, help me not to punish those who have goodwill toward me by assuming that they will betray me like [your spouse] did. Help me to trust the people I know who are treating me well. After I’ve worked through the forgiveness process with [the person who betrayed you], help me to rebuild trust gradually over time.

      “Show me people who can support me as I recover from this betrayal, such as a counselor, a clergy person, friends, and family members who are caring and trustworthy. Thank you for them; please bless them for their help.

      “My faithful God, I love you and look forward to enjoying your true love every day of my life. Amen.”

    2. Hi just call me Nicole. I have been married for 35 years and I’ve known my husband had 5 affairs. That’s sad 😞 4 grown children. I just want to know how someone can be so deceitful and manipulative. I have been faithful for 37 years to him; that’s 2 years before marriage. He seems to be remorseful but I can’t trust him at all. When I think about what he has done to me and my grown children and grandchildren I actually get sick. I lost 10 pounds going through this the last year.

      I just pray a lot, listen to Christian sermons, and ask God to please help me to not focus on him. I don’t want to become bitter. He’s always saying he wants his family back. How can a person do another human being like that who’s never done anything to them but love ❤️ them and be a good wife?

      Well I’m getting stronger by the day. Some days you will feel like you are going backwards but it’s ok 👌 you will be fine. I’m trying to just go with the pain. I’m glad God blesses me with a job with benefits so I can work. I do feel like it’s the worse pain a person can go through, betrayal. It is true; women 👩 do stay in unhealthy marriages because of the kids. I really did want them to have their father. I grew up with my dad. God knows my heart.

  13. How does one, with PTSD from past abusive relationships and Bipolar 1, Severe anxiety and ADHD Impulsive among many others, deal with this cyclical hell? It’s been 4 months since I learned my husband had 2 affairs. One was 3 months long and the second was 10. We have been married for 20 years and together for 23. I love my husband and despite evidence to the contrary, he is working very hard to earn back my love and respect one day at a time and we’re hoping for love to win out then hopefully, the trust will come.

    But I am in a downward spiral and my kids still aren’t speaking to him. I am extremely proud of how they have dealt with their emotions, making sure they know they always have a safe place to talk to someone other than me or dad. 15-year-old twins (boy and girl) and my 25-year-old daughter from another relationship who is newly married and my new son in law have all been extremely supportive but it’s not their job. I need serious suggestions on how to get out of bed some mornings. I’m just simply at the end of my rapidly fraying rope.

  14. I am writing this comment with tears of joy. My marriage fell apart after 6 months because my mother In-law asked my husband to divorce me and marry the woman she betrothed to him as his wife. All this drama started happening in our marriage and my husband left me and our one month old baby just so he could do as his mom wants him to.

    1. Oh, how my heart goes out to you! She had no right to say this to your husband. Yes, he is her son. But you, as his wife, are supposed to be his top human priority that takes place on the day that you both vow, “I do” to the promise to marry each other. She is to take a backseat to you, as his wife.

      I’m reminded of the quote from Jimmy Evans: “God’s first commandment related to marriage in Genesis 2:24 is that we must ‘leave’ our fathers and mothers. The word ‘leave’ doesn’t mean that we forsake or neglect our parents in favor of our spouses; it simply means that our marriage has priority above them. In fact, not only must we give our marriage priority above our parents, we must do the same in every area in life, with the exception of God.”

      Now, you are to still honor your husband’s love for his mother–knowing she is important to him, as his mother. But once he married you–all other promises (or betrothing) to any other person is no longer applicable. He was supposed to consider that before marriage. But because he didn’t, he needs to completely release it’s binding effect. And his mother is supposed to drop the matter in mind and action. And he is to man up and keep his promises to you, and show his love and honor to you for the rest of your lives. I’m so sad for you that he abandoned all of that.

      Again, my heart goes out to you over this broken vow and the loss of love and his honoring actions. I pray God binds up your wounds–comforting you and giving you hope of a day when you will be able to smile again. Love, love, love your baby, and look to God to help you work through this horrible situation. There is always hope. I pray God gives it to you as you look to Him.