How to Recover From Your Husband’s Long Term Affair

Here’s the perfect way to describe long term affairs with married men: “Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.” – Joan Crawford.

long term affairsWhether a long term affair warms your heart or burns everything down depends on many different things. But, chances are a long term affair with a married man will do more harm than good.

Why are you searching for long term affairs with married men? If you’re cheating with a married man, read What “Letting Go of Someone You Love” Means. If you want to save your marriage, I offer four tips for affair recovery below. At the end of this article are resources for everything from making a man fall in love with you to letting go of someone you love.

Here’s what one reader said:

“A woman called and told me that my husband of 34 years, was ‘hooking up’ with another woman,” says A. on How to Trust Your Husband After an Affair. “He regularly plays and sings music with a group of people, and I knew this woman was one of the singers, but didn’t think they were anything besides friends.”

Below, she describes how she found out about the affair – which was going on for three years. First, she has to decide if she wants to save her marriage, knowing that long term affairs are more difficult to recover from.

One of the bestselling resources for recovering from long term affairs is After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful.

Long Term Affairs With Married Men – 4 Steps to Recovery

“I went to his computer and found emails that indicate this affair has been going on for more than three years,” says A. “We live in a small town, so I wonder how many people saw them together and know about this affair.”

Her 60 year old husband is retired; the woman he had an affair with is 41, married and doesn’t work. He’d email her to meet right after A. left for work each day.

“He promised to stop seeing her, and swears that he hasn’t been in contact with her since I found out,” says A. “My husband wants to pretend that everything is okay, but I am devastated by this betrayal. He refuses counseling, since we both hold degrees in psychology and ‘know what they will say.’ I think he doesn’t want to face what he has done to us. I thought I would be feeling better by now, but I still cry each day and get nauseated when I leave the house each morning, thinking about all the times he was waiting for me to go to work so he could be with her. I have lost trust in him and don’t believe things he tells me. I worry about silly things now and never did before. How do I get past this?”

Accept the reality that long term affairs are more difficult to get over than a fling

Long term affairs with married men that go on for years contain more than a brief (stupid) moment of indiscretion or an impulsive (immoral) act. Affairs that last years indicate that a relationship is in place. Even though the cheaters don’t want to leave their spouses, they are emotionally and physically connected.

Relationship Help

Do you regret the breakup? Learn how to Text Your Ex Back

If you feel confused, find out what men secretly want

Long term affairs are deeper, more painful betrayals than short term affairs like one night stands or short flings. Both types of affairs are wrong and horrible betrayals, but a long term affairs mean the married man wasn’t getting what he needed from the marriage. His relationship with the other woman was fulfilling some need.

Read Why Men Cheat on Women to learn what he may have been missing.

Give yourself time to grieve the end of your marriage as you knew it

The grief you’re going through involves the same stages as grieving the death of a spouse. You can’t just shrug off long term affairs with married men, and resume your marriage! You have to mourn the end of one stage of your marriage so you can prepare for the next stage.

My friend’s husband cheated on her with her best friend, and it took her six years to recover. Of course she didn’t trust anything he said – he’d been lying to her for ages. So, don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll “get over it” anytime soon.

One way to grieve the end of your marriage is to talk to other wives who have survived long term affairs. If you don’t know how to connect with other women whose husbands cheated, write your thoughts in the comments section below. Other women who are coping with long term affairs with married men will read your thoughts, and hopefully respond.

Decide if you want to get past the affair

Do you want to stay married to a man who lied and cheated on you for years? Write down the pros and cons for recovering your marriage, for rebuilding and reconnecting. Be honest with yourself – maybe you’re scared to leave because you haven’t been on your own for years, you don’t know how to pay the household bills, your kids will freak out, your pastor will have a heart attack.

Spend a month weighing the pros and cons of trying to recover from a long-term affair. You don’t have to decide today or tomorrow…just envision your life on your own, and envision your life in a new stage of marriage.

You are free to create the life you want! Maybe that involves marriage; maybe it doesn’t. But you need to give yourself permission to take your life in the direction you want.

You also have to be aware of the signs your partner will cheat on you again.

Go for marriage counseling even if he doesn’t want to

Your husband lost the right to stomp his foot and say “but I don’t wanna to go to marriage counseling” the first time he considered cheating. After long term affairs, married men have absolutely no right to say whether or not marriage counseling is an option.

Your husband does not have the right to decide on marriage counseling.

Of course he doesn’t want to face the music, own up to his actions, and explain himself. It’s hard to accept the consequences of immoral, disgusting, lying, cheating behavior! Are you going to let him off the hook? The painful truth is that if he was really sorry and remorseful about his years of infidelity, he’d do anything he could to win you back. He’d lead the way to marriage counseling if he thought it would help you recover from his long-term affair.

Leave him at home if he doesn’t want to go. You need to go for counseling on your own, whether or not he does. You need tools to survive the betrayal, and to cope with the fact that others knew about the affair long before you did.

For more tips on long term affairs with married men, 8 Secrets About Fixing Unhealthy Relationships.

What do you think about long term affairs with married men? Comments welcome below…I can’t offer advice, but you may find it helpful to share your thoughts.

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35 thoughts on “How to Recover From Your Husband’s Long Term Affair

  • QC

    Yes. You have said what so many don’t understand. your past changes. You look at photos, wondering if he was thinking about her. You relive moments knowing now what you thought was true never really was. The violation is so much more, so many more layers than anyone who hasn’t been through it can imagine. For me forgiveness is so much easier than knowing I cannot erase this from my life. Find peace friend

  • Devastated spouse

    My husband and I dated 4 years before getting married and we lived together about 3 and half of those years. We’ve been married 6 years. And we had our first child in December of 2014. We’ve always been very close and done everything together. We moved in with my mom to help her financially and a month before our daugher was born she decided to sell the house leaving us in search of a new plan last minute. It was very challenging we couldnt find a place in the 10 days she gave us. We had to move to a friends temporarily. Which was a 2 hour drive from my job in traffic 8 months pregnant. And alot of moving at the wrong time. The funds we saved up for maternity leave was half spent on the move. My mom was catfished into seling her house and all her money was stolen by this man she “fell in love with” which was the reason she sold the house so quickly. (I warned her but she ignored me) I lost my mom and was extreely depressed bc i was so hurt she would do this in such an important time in our lives. My husband was also hurt bc he had helped her and she pt him in an unstable situation with his family. Our daughter was 9 months old, when he started to have an affair with a co-worker (this was sep 2015 and I didn’t confirm til nov 2016). A month later we moved to another city 5 hrs away were his family lives. And things just didnt feel right he was withdrawn and going to run errands without me. In may 2016 she moved there also. Which on mothers day someone sent me a message teling me he was cheating on me with this person. She was in a 10 yr relationship as well (not married) and left him. I was suspicious and he kept denying everything. So I hured a PI and I confirmed she lived here and the rest was obvious. He said he had work but i know his company was closed for the holiday. We paid 3,000 to go to marriage intensive, he said he wanted to fix things. I cought him still lieing multiple times lieing from nov til recent. She text me one night bc she was outside my inlaws and asked him if he was leaving me and our daughter. Correct question wiuld be me not our daughter! So much has happened trying to be concise.We moved to another city, which I know won’t fix things but it will help me start a new life where I can see a future with our without him. A city were all I have are his family is difficult for me. They are wonderful but at the end of the day thats his family. He has hurt me so much that I don’t see I can ever trust him but its so hard to picture our family apart and broken. And not being able to share every momment of our kids with each other bc we’ll be living seperate lives. I am so numb I don’t even know what I feel for him anymore. I wish this would’ve happened before we had kids. I am pregnant. Also, I am financially independant, i have a masters degree and my own business I don’t need him but would love to see us getting past this. I just don’t see it yo be possible to much damage and not enough effort on his part.

  • Someone please help me

    I found out last Sunday (July 2, 2017) that my husband has been carrying on an affair for 10 years. We have been together for 16.5 years and got married January 2017. I don’t know how to describe how I feel – just that there feels like there is a heavy rock constantly weighing on my chest and it feels hard to breathe. I break down whenever I think about the betrayal. He lied to my face. And my family and friends. I don’t know what to do. I feel so very lost.

    • Laurie Post author

      I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s affair – I can only imagine how devastated you must feel. It’s so painful to find out your husband was cheating for that long, especially after you and he married after such a long time of being together! I really am sorry for the loss of your relationship with him, as well as your hopes and dreams.

      How are you holding up? Are things starting to get better — can you breathe easier now? It can take a long, long time to recover after finding out about a partner’s affair…so give yourself time to heal. You’re still in full-on grief mode, and it’ll take time to work your way through.

      How are you doing today?

      • Please help

        It still feels like there is a constant weight on my chest. And I break down anytime anywhere … often. I feel like the biggest moron on Earth … too stupid to live. I keep asking “Why?” and “How did I not know?” I don’t know how to even think of healing.

    • E

      I’ve been there…. my story is complicated messy and crazy. I’m not going to go into all the details because of everything. I’ve been lost before and that was the first 6 months after the truth comes out. My husband cheated for 17 years with someone and the lies are the hardest part to get over. I see a personal therapist weekly because I have deep issues grasping reality of this situation and have for over 6 months. I’m sure without therapy I would have killed myself because the affair literally took my past away because 17 of our 20 years of marriage the affair was happening… affairs are destructive, damaging and hurt many more people. It’s selfish and stupid. Best advice my friend see a personal therapist. I’m still married and am seeing a therapist with him…. I’m sure it will be another 20 years before my trust is there… it’s not just trusting him, it’s trusting myself more.

  • Madre Sangregario

    My entire atmosphere became toxic when I read a message on messenger this past mid-March from a stranger, boasting to me that MY husband (my High School Sweet Heart since October1973, “whom I joined in marriage – until eternity” back in Oct. 1979) had been cheating on me for over 5 years with HER. That my husband proudly introduced HER to our son, and his friends, and boldly asked, “Havent any of them told you about ME? Dont be stupid!” Directing me: ” You should leave him! He is a liar and a cheat!” I re-read the two entries from this stranger and realized: my own husband is a STRANGER now! I came from a strict catholic family, where family was the epic reason for life.
    Now, when I look back to the early day of teen-age youth where he & I said we will face all odds together until we die… I realized on that life changing evening, reading that unbelievable message from “HER” that “we” as I lived it, had just died! I could not move, I could not breath, I became “a decaying corpse above ground” and had no where to turn and “sound off”. My parents and brother were deceased, my sister was estranged since she buried my my with out including me in the funerary events, my daughter lived far from Michigan, in Colorado, my son ( in town) had actually met this stranger on multiple occasions according to facebook entires, years back. my next support system in-state were 2 sister-in-laws, one being my husband’s sister who has been ” the other woman” to a married man since long before I started dating my husband ( her little brother) & the other sister in law, was the cause of breaking up the marriage of my husband’s older brother, and eventually whom married upon proper divorce. requirements.
    In summary, my ” support system ” is null! That could be even scarier that this entire affair revelation! How foolish was I to believe in our marriage vows? How crazy was I to think my husband & I were ” meant” to spend our lives ” TOGETHER” until death do us part? Well, I feel DEAD now! So do we part? He says now he wants to re-build our marriage. That comes only AFTER “she” dumped HIM cuz he would not leave me. On occasion, he is remorseful, but in general, he is defendant to what ” I didnt do, causing his unhappiness, which resulted in this 5 plus year long affair!
    A side note; I am a Medical Technologist who has viewed zillions of positive STD slides in the lab on a daily basis, this was always my fear- mixed with religious beliefs, that kept me to be a loving one man lady!

  • B

    So I find myself searching again for answers and perhaps support of others who unwittingly share in this pain. Found out in October that husband of 35 years was having 10 year affair. Still together but struggling. He is sorry. Very sorry. Been to counseling. And now we have a new normal. But normal is a hard place to be. For me anyway. For him, he seems good. My heart and head are never in the same place. so very sad. It has not gotten easier for me yet. Different but not easier.

    • B.B.

      Thank you for your comment. I found out my husband’s online affair – lasting +6 years in random encounters but swears no physical contact just a day ago. He is so remorseful; reset his phone and laptop to the warranty settings, wants to go to therapy, and willing to sleep on the floor if it makes me feel better, but it doesn’t. Now I know we, if that’s what I want again, need to find a new normal.

  • Sarah McLan

    What is considered a ‘long term affair’ ? I just found out that my husband has been in an affair for what he said has been ‘just over a year, and that they met on weekends’. I know that he was not with her every weekend, because he was with me ——— so I am not sure how much time he has actually spent with her. I am not trying to justify what he has done, it is horrible and painful. I just am trying to sort it all out.

  • Hurt spouse

    My husbund had affair for 6 years I fought out 6months ago .he told me he was over and I tried to rebuild only to find out that they still kept seeing each other…I received a message of mitress telling me that my husbund needs to sort his head out as he messing with both of us and she as had enough …when I confronted my husbund with this he didn’t denied it he said that she had been asking him to move in with her and he want that he realised he was doing wrong he said he don’t love her she like a addiction nothing else. He also told me she had texted him that day telling him she was leaving the area because she didn’t get the answer she wanted . .she decided to spill everything to me …to which I now know is true …my husbund cliams he feels ashamed for what he as done and feels really bad for how he’s treated me ..but how due i get through this I love him we have been together 17 years am heart broken ..

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Blopez,

    I don’t know what to say. I’m so sorry about your marriage, and that your husband’s affairs have been so long-lasting and destructive. I can’t imagine how low you must feel, and how you just must want this stage of your life to be over.

    It sounds like you’re grieving the end of your marriage as you knew it. It also sounds like you know what you need – for instance, your husband did agree to go to counseling based on your wishes. This is good… But I understand that it’s just the start of a long road to rebuilding your marriage, forgiving your husband, and creating a new life together.

    I encourage you to keep writing about how you feel. Not necessarily here – unless you want to. It’s just that the more you write about what you’ve experienced and how you feel, the better able you’ll be to work through your thoughts and feelings. If you can process how you feel and what you think in writing, you may find that the pain will lift and the grief will lighten.

    May you find healing and wisdom as you and your husband embark on a new stage of life. May you recover from his affairs, and may your marriage be blessed with healing, love, grace, and forgiveness. And may your children learn what it means for parents to go through a heartbreaking situation and come out on the other side stronger and more united than ever.



  • Blopez

    My husband of 7 years has been playing around with another woman for 4 years. Throughout both of my pregnancies. He tried to make it sound like a booty call thing, like they would meet up every couple of months. He claims they only had sex 4 times. Considering how long it took me to extract that, I can safely multiply that by 3. He was also romantically texting a woman in his home country for a year. That’s how I caught him. I caught that relationship and threatened either lie detector test or divorce. He has agreed to go to counseling. We were going to purchase a home together this year, but I refuse to be stuck with a home in a city I barely like just so he can go wet his willy when I get boring again. He said he understands and has even agreed to move back to my hometown once I get my teachers certification. He seems to be genuinely apologetic and remorseful for having ripped my heart out and using it for toilet paper. It’s like he didn’t realize how hurtful his actions were. Like a drunk driver in shell shock after having killed a family. “I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.” I have never been this hurt, been this angry or felt so low or ugly in my entire life. Everything else about him is perfect, except for that. I am still in shell shock and find myself randomly bursting into tears, my stomach is in knots. I’m soooo tired and just want my life back. He claims to still love me and claims that he always has, but I think he is in love with our life, not me. I feel like I am floating in an ocean with no drinking water in no land in site. I’ll take anything at this point. I just need the pain to stop.

  • Tracy

    My husbund had affair 6 years ago I’ve since fought out it never stopped I confronted the mitress to whom shown me texes my husbund sent her I was heart broken and still am my husbund choose me in front of the mitress there were exchanges of tex messages between me and the mitress and I then learnt the mitress contacted my husbund by tex telling him I had tex her my husbund wouldnt off told me if I hadn’t fought it in his phone I rang the mitress she denied texing him my heads all over the place my husbund swears it over but I don’t know what’s true any more

  • Laurie Post author

    Good question – can a man just walk away from a long term affair? I suppose it depends on the relationship he had with her, where she is now, and how committed your husband or fiance is to your relationship.

    Speaking of commitment….why have you been engaged for 15 years?

    Your answer might give you a clue as to how you’ll recover from this long term affair. What do you know about your fiance that you don’t want to admit, even to yourself?

  • Jo

    My fiance of 15 years was caught having an affair with his co worker. A girl 10yrs younger then us. He admitted to seeing her for almost 2 years. He said it was more emotional but they did have sexual encounters when he invited her to our home. Once confronted he promised me he would never talk to her and he was over her and he loves me and isnt happy with her but didnt know how to end it with her(does all this sound familiar?) well i belive him and told him i will try to forgive him because i am only 2 months pregnant. Everyone is telling me to leave now and he will never stop seeing her. I asked my fiance and he dis admit to caring for her aot but it is only cause they shared a bond at work and see each other daily. But its not love for her! I cant stop thinking about how he betrayed me. Do the men stop seeing the mistress that quickly? I dont know if i believe him.

  • Jane

    We have been school lovers married for28 years. In 2012 just before our 25 wedding anniversary I find out that my husband was in a long term affair for 9 years. It’s almost 4 years since I found out. I am a living hell till today. We are together but live separately without any relation. Fights have never stopped, we get into physical fights. I am still full of anger and still cannot believe how he betrayed me for 9 years. I am so lonely. I have gone through counselling, it never worked. I work with Psychologists and have even done a few sessions

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Jules,

    I’m sorry you’re going through this — and especially that you feel so alone! It’s difficult enough to struggle with the idea of your husband having a long term affair…but being isolated makes it a bit more lonely.

    Who do you trust to talk to about your marriage? That really is the first step in recovering and deciding what to do next. The problems, suspicions, fears, insecurities are going around and around in your head…you need to get them out of your head so they don’t drive you mad!

    Talking to a counselor might be helpful, especially if you don’t have a friend or family member you can trust. You need to sort through everything with someone who is objective, and who can help you figure out what to do.

    Reading books about being emotionally healthy and strong would also help. The stronger you get, the better able you’ll be to deal with your husband’s long term affair (if he’s actually having one, that is).

    What else can you do, to help yourself cope? Who or what can help you get through this?

    • Jules

      Hi Laurie – thank you for your reply. I have been talking to a few good friends as well as a counselor. It has helped some…and you are right I need to work on me to get myself stronger, better able to cope so I can deal with this long term affair, if he is having one. I believe it is a long term emotional affair – they are most definitely “connected” – is it physical? I don’t know – but I’m not sure it matters. It is a long term relationship that I have issue wtih – that I cannot get him to admit is a problem for our marriage. I’m just trying to figure out what I want to do – and not put pressure on myself. It’s just so hard when so many parts of our marriage are “normal” – the day to day life, even our sex life some and then I wonder – should I be intimate with him? What should I do? What will push him away more – me not doing things, or keeping on bringing it up? What do I do next? He is a teacher, so I also put pressure on myself about their job – I really don’t want them working together or being friends any more – but the timing is a concern as you really shouldn’t leave in the middle of a year or who will move or what would that look like? I worry about things I really can’t control. I swirl in my head a lot – less than I used to – but still a lot. Thanks for listening.


  • Jules

    My husband and I are high school sweethearts and have been married 18 years. I suspect my husband has been having an affair with his co-worker for the last few years. They have been friends about 6 and a half years and 6 years ago was the first I questioned him about her.

    For years any time I have brought it up he gets defensive and swears they are just friends. Once I questioned him about less sex between us and he said it was due to getting older. He also told me one time that they were just friends and he wasn’t going to give her up if that was what I was asking. I have checked phone records and he says that makes him feel like I am checking up on him – but it shows me how much they talk and text without me knowing. I have checked his e-mails before and in December, I overheard him talking to her about coming over “like last time” when I was going to out of town with our kids. THey talked about what she would tell her husband – I was just sick. I sat on this information for a week and was planning to try to get more evidence and it was right before Christmas, so I was wanting to keep things calm for the kids – but he walked in on me reading an article about husbands who cheat. We talked, of course he denied it. Has denied it every time we talked. Swears they are just friends, that he loves me, that he doesn’t plan to ever leave me, we have too much history, blah blah blah.

    Since then, I have done some snooping I am not proud of, mainly because I can’t use any of it on him yet because nothing is “definite”. I haven’t heard him say anything about having had sex, or being intimate, but the way they talk and things they say tell me I am right. I feel I need more definite proof so he can’t lie his way out of it and blame me.

    I am torn…at this point I still feel like I want to do all I can to save our marriage and the love I have for him. But as the days go on, I feel less hope and wonder how we will ever recover from this – if I can even get him to admit it.

    The fear…the pain…the torture is awful. And I feel like I am taking all the blame when we talk for having a lower sex driving when the kids were young, for being wrapped up with them and not meeting his needs, for being short with him, for gaining weight after kids and through cancer treatments, for all these things while he just gets off like he didn’t do anything wrong. When he is the one deciding to cheat! To go outside our marriage instead of working on things with me and being honest with me. I feel like I am crazy trying to deal with this all alone.

    • andi

      Boy do I know what you are going through!
      My husband had a long term affair (over 5 years!!) and I never left him.
      We have 5 kids and I know at least our youngest would have been devastated..but had things not improved, had we not gone to counseling, had he not given up every log in to EVERYTHING, she’d have to get through it.
      My husband denied it for years. She was a co-worker that was in “love” with him. But where you have more evidence, I could NEVER find anything and believe me I combed through everything! Clothing, phone, emails, you name it. It was so frustrating because the feeling would not escape. I think there is truth behind woman’s intuition. One clue as I look back however, was the “over the top” defensiveness. Finally, one summer day in May, 2010, it happened. A private message to me by the other woman. Under a bogus name no less. This was the worst day of my life. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. Everything was serial, I couldn’t function. I called my husband who was coaching my son’s baseball team at our church and told him if he didn’t come home that very moment, I was going to go there and embarrass the hell out of him. He was home in a flash (later he told me he knew in his gut that I must have been contacted by her. Apparently, that was her threat last time they met). So be it.
      If you can handle it, keep looking for evidence. Ask questions and pay attention to his physical demeanor. Is he acting too defensive, twitching, looking away, voice getting louder.. all those things.
      we are still working on it, but I am still suffering immensely. Our marriage is changed forever.

      One thing I suggest to ANYONE who finally get’s their spouse to leave their lover, to break up with them in your presence. That is the biggest regret I have. I believe that would have helped with closure for me to HEAR him break her stupid heart.
      Good luck and I’d love to hear how you are doing and what you find out.

      • Jules

        Hi Andi,
        Thank you for your reply. I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. It gives me hope to know I am not alone and to hear another story similar to mine. I just get so stuck in what to do. While yes, I do have some more “evidence” – a lot of it is flirting and some could be taken different ways. My issue is I’m not proud of the snooping I have done – he doesn’t know I can look at his e-mail, and I have done some secret recording of him talking to her – where I can only hear his side – and I haven’t told him any of that. I’m embarrassed by what I have done, and I don’t know that he would come clean if I told what I heard, what I know. Their relationship is too close, it makes me uncomfortable but right now – as always – he doesn’t seem to care. However, I will say that in the past when she has come up, he had always been over the top defensive like you describe. Lately, he only got really upset the last time I accused him of being physical with her at their school the day before – that got him really mad but he immediately said he would no longer go to school on weekends because that is a time I can’t trust him. His defensiveness has been down and he has been more willing to listen, to make subtle changes things like that. I worry, though, that he is “playing” me so to speak. Now – that being said – they still work together daily and have plenty of time to talk throughout the day – which I hate. The talking is the basis of their friendship/relationship and I don’t like it. I just don’t know what to do. Right now – since I don’t know that I trust his reaction if I tell my truths of what I have heard – I don’t trust our “love” that we do still have for him to tell me his truths and to stay with me. So I feel like you said – I’m trying to live our life, work on our relationship and let go of those things I have heard. I’m trying to learn to love him again, trying to look at the positives…all while trying to gather more evidence. I know that sounds bad, and I know my conversations with him have likely forced them to be more careful – but I want to protect my boys as long as I can from a possible separation or divorce. I still love him – am I in love with him? No. I see him as a different person when I look at him and am trying to figure out what I really want. But there is still love there.
        Is it wrong to still be intimate with him? Is it wrong to keep working on us while he is still friends/co-workers/in a relationship with her? I just feel like I don’t know what is right – but I also know there is no right or wrong. We are all just trying to do the best we can with what we know. I probably read too much because I read some things that say kick him out, don’t sleep with him, don’t talk to him, don’t mention her…other that say keep talking, work on you, love him, be with him….I get so confused!
        Thanks for your support and listening. I am sorry you are still suffering all these years later. Like you – no matter what happens – I know our marriage is changed forever. Some of what used to be will never be the same again. And I don’t think my husband really gets that. It hurts.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Beth, you’re clearly unhappy. You’re having a long term affair with a married man, you had an abortion, he won’t leave his wife, and you’re torn up about this relationship.

    I understand that you love him (though I believe love is actually a commitment, a choice to be together, and a decision to encourage our partner to always be his or her best self)….but your “love” is causing far more pain than good.

    My advice is to let him go. The pain of ending this relationship will end….but the pain of staying in it will go on forever.

  • Beth

    I feel in love with another man 7 years ago, I knew he was married but also new he wasn’t happy. I was in a bad situation with my husband who was unstable and has bipolar and valent! I worked with this man I feel in love with and we started talking. I confidential told him my situation and that’s how it started. I know he wanted to get to know me better to. I adored him we started getting a room at least 2 times a week I thought because of his age being so much older than I am we wouldn’t get pregnant ! I was wrong I did . I think this is when our problems started because I wanted to have our baby, but he didn’t because of his age and said it wouldn’t be fair to our child. He paid to help me end the pregnancy! I just couldn’t let go of what I did, I hated myself and healed it against him but loved him to much to end it ! We started fighting after that and I would go off on him and he would always calm me down and we would go get a room . I finally told him I deserved better and he wasn’t leaving his wife and I wasn’t going through it any longer. He said let’s make the most of the situation and be together when we can. I loved him so much I’ve done this for 7 years . I end it but one of us always comes back crying telling each other how bad it feels being apart . I stopped going out of my way for him but it hurts worse than ever the thought of not seeing or hearing from him. I need advice ?

  • isabel

    my husband had a 4 year affair with someone he deals with at work it was almost 20 years ago when it started and i had a 3 year old at home and in the middle of the affair i got pregnant with my son. they continued to see each other for 4 years.! i asked him over and over if it was Carol and he said no that i was out of my mind. it ended b/c i contracted herpes. yep! he begged me forgiveness and from that time on we had a decent marriage. I alway had the affair int the back of my mind and help a lot of emotions back from him. i lost my sole mate. we met when i was 17!. recently i found a couple of flirtatious emails between them that they missed their sundays together thats when the met. I wrote anonymous letters to her and told her what i thought and the truth came out. he said he has to kiss her ass bc of business. i want her husband to know what happened b/c he said he doesnt care because she wasn’t married to him at the time. he should know all of the flirting i’m trying to get through this a 2nd time. not sure if i should throw his sorry little ass out or let him stay. i just want peace

  • Pam

    We are high school sweethearts–he did cheat in high school which we did break up and later got back together. Now 11 years later, married Aug 2012, 1 year after, I find out my husband was cheating on me. We are both young 25 and 27. We have been having problems regarding religion for approx 6 months of our marriage. It was very intense–so much that I left home for week to my parents home. While checking cell phone records a couple days ago, I found very long phone convos with the same number over the span of many months.

    • Laurie Post author

      Thank you for sharing about your husband’s long term affair, Pam – I’m so sorry to hear about his cheating. It’s a devastating betrayal, and so difficult to recover from.

      I wish you all the best as you decide what to do and how to proceed with your marriage.


  • Marie

    Where do I start…..I find myself still struggling to cope with my husbands long-term affair and I’ve known for 7-years. One would think that after marriage counseling and shear time, i could put this all in perspecitve and move on. I don’t dwell on the affair, but I certainingly think about it often and try to coach myself through those moments. Obviously I’ve decided the marriage is worth saving and I’m happy in my decision most of the time. However, I must say that knowledge of his long-term committment to another woman while he was supposed to be raising our family and focusing on us is hard to swollow. The story, I’ve been married to him for 34 years, not blissful but happy enough. We have two grown children, 33 and 30, each has children of their own. This is important because it lays out the timeline. While I was pregnant with our 30 year old, my husband got a new job after we relocated to a new area, we were so excited to finally be heading toward stability, or so I thought! His new job had him sharing an office with a woman, she too was married with 6 children, most of them grown as she is 18 years older than me. In retrospect I should have been watchful of the situation particularly since they began to “ride to work” together shortly after meeting one another. I never occured to me that he would cheat and yet here he was with a perfect opportunity, She and I became fast friends and we spent every weekend having dinner parties and planning fantastic vacations as two married couples often do. To sum it up, their affair started when our son was 6 weeks old and did not end until he graduated from high school! 18-years, are you kidding me, that’s not an affair it’s a full on relationship. I found out through a note sent to me by her husband and for 2 years he denied it saying he would never touch her as she was old and I (at the time) was young and beautiful, so I believed him, for a time. Although somewhere in the back of my mind the fact that they never called or came over anymore really tipped the scales for me. How could a best friend of mine suddenly fall off the face of the earth at the very same time her husband told me. The answer is, it was all true and it took me 2 years to confront the issue. I know I will never be the same, I try to move on with my life, but I’ve got to say I question my decision often. Not because I don’t still love him, yes unbelievable as it may sound I do love him, but rather can I continue to struggle for something out of my control? I find myself in a battle of my resolve to stay and sorrow as a result of staying. The pain runs very deep and recovery to this point has been unbelievably hard. I thought perhaps writting my story could, in some small measure, help me continue to cope.

  • Beth

    I have just discoverd accidentally that my husband of 15 years has had an affair with someone he met on line for the last 18 months. He has spoken to her everyday up to the point I found out and met 2/3 times a month. I have a 7 year old and a 10 year old daughter. He is begging and pleading for my forgiveness but I don’t know what to do. Also my dad has just been diagnosed with liver cancer. I am a wreck

  • Michelle

    My husband has had a on and off affair for 4 years.
    We had a child and for a few years after my libido was so low..
    I do take responsibility for this… not dealing with this in a logical way..

    i put off sex.. or wasnt into it..
    I told my best friend,she was there at my son’s birth-always there for us.


    for four years , she has been having sex with my husband.

    now that I know.. My husband seems remorseful and says it is over.
    I want to believe him so bad, because I hae neer loved someone this much..

    We are trying to repair… only time will tell.

    Sidenote.. Ihad found out later, this “friend” had also slept with my previous boyfriend. ((GAH!))

    Also, apart that really hurts.. my husband had made a comment defending her early on, that she was “damaged” meaning…nobody understands her..she was sexually assaulted when she was young..

    This makes me upset because .. so was I. Just no one cared to ask- and I never offered the information.

    However, the guy who rapped me in a parking garage stairwell.. didnt hurt me as much as my husband and O.W did.

  • Laurie Post author

    Thank you for your comments – I think part of the process of recovering from an affair is being honest about it. Write about it, talk about it — but try not to drown in it! There’s a balance between healthy grieving, and getting lost in a sea of regret, bitterness, and even hatred.

    I think recovering from an affair that lasted a long time is more difficult than a one night stand, but others say a betrayal is a betrayal.

  • Heath

    It is not just men who do this; my wife did it to me for 2.5 years. I swallowed it whole for 13 years from when she told me because my children were young but am now ready to face and deal with it.

  • Elizabeth Sentell

    Hi. I will be married to my husband (2nd) 24 years this August. But it hasn’t been a “real marriage” for maybe 4 years, probably more than that.
    About a year and a half ago my husband’s long term affair blew wide open. I had suspicions, but he lied, called me crazy, jealous etc. When he refused to sleep with me and was out till all hours of the night, I begged him to go to counseling with me. He refused saying he was perfectly happy.
    Bottom line, his mistress(married herself for 28 years) called me and told me he bought a gun to kill me and her husband because they were so in love! Police involved, my mother in law knew about the affair and became “buddies” with his mistress! I was so depressed and distraught I had a suicide attempt. The man I gave all my love, 16 yrs of my life, the man who swore I was the love of my life didn’t exist.
    Ps- while I was in the hospital he went to court to fight a restraining order she and her husband put on him.
    So now, after marriage counseling, personal therapy and a clearer mind, I am still here. We do not sleep together, we are separate people who used to have a marriage or maybe I was fooled.
    At the beginning he asked for forgiveness maybe twice. Refused to do any work to help me thru this pain. So after me trying on my own, I withdrew all my emotions towards him.
    He still thinks I’m staying but he won’t accept I’m done! I have a move out date set for six months. I’m moving to California from NJ. The further away from his lies and betrayal the better!
    I’m not even filing for divorce(he never keeps a job) because he says he wi sue me for alimony! What a loser!
    Just so you know, I am beautiful, smart, have a great career (I’m a nurse) and I would rather be alone then be with a narcissist, user!

    So my answer is no, I will not forgive a long term affair! It’s pathetic when he says it was a mistake! A mistake is an oops, not almost two years of planning and deceiptfulness! I’m not even angry anymore, he is pathetic. By the way, his mistress is very wealthy. I guess he thought he found a bigger, better, gravy train!
    Good luck to him. The older he gets, his charm is wearing away with his age!

  • Dee

    My husband had an affair nearly 6 years ago that I forgave him for. But more recently, I found them together & he confessed that he had never stopped seeing her all of these years. I agree that a long term affair is so much harder to overcome. They actually have a better relationship than we do because she was all fun, while I lived with him & dealt with real life. He ended up leaving me & moved in with her for about a month. Then realized after he was living with her, that he wanted to be with me. So stupid me is giving him another chance. In that month he was gone, I realized that I don’t want to be alone & have to take care of myself. I was happy that he came home. But now I have to deal with overcoming this horrible nightmare. We are in marriage counseling & I’m hoping I can eventually get through this. It seems the lesser of two evils.