Forum Archives

Return to Forum List

For those who have a "stonger" marriage after infidelity

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

HoldOnHope posted 12/5/2013 08:11 AM

For anyone who feels they survived infidelity and came out with a stonger marriage/stronger relationship with their spouse.... how would you describe your marriage prior to the WS being unfaithful? Was it a relatively good, stable relationship, or did you both recognize that there were problems in the marriage (maybe problems that weren't addressed until after the infidelity was discovered)?

I ask because my fWH is clinging to the hope that we will have a stonger marriage once we R. This leaves me a bit confused because we actually did have a very good marriage. Prior to DDay, we communicated well (I thought), when we disagreed we handled it maturely and never with blow-out fights or hurtful name calling, we were very loving towards eachother, we were supportive and respectful toward eachtother (other than that whole cheating thing), etc etc. I can honsetly say I was GRATEFUL I had found this amazing man.

My husband now tells me every day how great our marriage was/is and what a wonderful wife I am . We had a strong relationship yet he started cheating on me just months after we got married and it continued for 3 years before I found out what he was doing from a complete stranger. Ok- so the one good thing going for us is that he has stopped cheating on me (Yaayyy <sarcasm>). But, I'm supposed to believe that our relationship is going to be "better" now that I KNOW that he has spent our entire marriage with complete disregard for how his actions would break my heart?!?! I'm sorry, but I don't see it.

We are only 4.5 months out from DDay so it's all still pretty new. I went through the month of shock, and a couple weeks of outrage and dispair, not sure where I am now other than still greiving the loss of the husband I thought I had. But I'm really struggling with how we can possibly have a stronger relationship. I want to punch him in the face when he focuses on the possible positive outcomes of this situation. What he did has shattered my view of what I thought was a strong, stable, and healthy relationship. I do believe that he will never cheat on me again, but the damage to "us" is already done. I'm not even sure that I love him anymore so how do I find the emotional drive to work toward a "stronger" marriage?

steadfast1973 posted 12/5/2013 08:42 AM

I am just coming out of the shock... I hope that our M will be stronger. My H was never an exceptionally loving man. He's a feelings hider. He's always been a little distant and cold. But had, the appearance of, a high moral compass. Thought cheating was the worst thing imaginable. So he said. But, spent MOST of our marriage trying to cheat. Lately, he's been very loving, very attentive, and remorseful. Like... Everything I've always wanted in him.

Crushed15Feb13 posted 12/5/2013 09:14 AM

I have the same question as HoldOnHope.

[This message edited by Crushed15Feb13 at 9:40 AM, December 5th (Thursday)]

sailorgirl posted 12/5/2013 09:25 AM


Your d-day is so recent in the big picture ((hugs)).

I went through the month of shock, and a couple weeks of outrage and dispair, not sure where I am now other than still greiving the loss of the husband I thought I had.

It would be very normal if you went through a lot more weeks of anger and hopelessness. Grieving is an appropriate reaction, too, and it's not quick or easy to wade through this kind of loss. You should feel whatever you feel and no one should rush you through it. If you have a happy, optimistic hour, day or eventually--week, enjoy it! But it doesn't mean the roller coaster of emotions is over. Even with a model WH, my roller coaster is still going at 11 months (gentler now, but still cycling up and down, and even still moments of anger).

As for the better marriage thing, yes, I think that's going to be our outcome. Our marriage rocked pre-A--caring, loving, patient, great sex-life, emotionally open, fair fighting, respect etc. BUT, H had hidden damage from FOO. He was suppressing it, and eventually it leaked out.

The reason our relationship is going to be better is that H is facing all his brokenness and fixing it. He's had 65+ hours of IC, read whatever I gave him, and taken full responsibility for changing his unhealthy coping mechanisms. He's built strong boundaries and practices them all the time, he is self-aware and self-critical--he's basically growing up all the way.

In your profile, you said that your H:

SWEARS he will never cheat in any form every again because he cant stand to think of life without me.

From my experience, that's not what keeps people from cheating. If your H has addiction issues (not sure, but sexting multiple OW could be a red flag), damage from FOO, unhealthy patterns of behavior, issues with impulse control, or low self-worth, those things need to be addressed in depth.

The threat of divorce is not an effective barrier. It didn't stop him before.

Instead of hoping for a better marriage, your H needs to become a better person. He needs to focus on understanding the severity what he did, and figuring out what is wrong with him that he would betray his wife and himself.

I'm not even sure that I love him anymore so how do I find the emotional drive to work toward a "stronger" marriage?

It's not your job to work on the marriage. It's enough to focus on keeping yourself healthy, expressing your feelings, dealing with reality and continuing to function! He needs to fix himself. No point in trying to have a stronger marriage until your H is a much stronger person. Then, the marriage will be better by definition because both spouses are whole, healthy adults.

[This message edited by sailorgirl at 9:29 AM, December 5th (Thursday)]

Bobbi_sue posted 12/5/2013 09:31 AM

Yes, we have a stronger marriage.
It is hard for me to answer whether we had a "good" marriage during the first 11 years of it, before the A. We did have some huge problems and fundamental disagreements about our blended family (his/her kids) and how money was to be spent, etc. But on the other hand, he was a very passionate loving husband and the good days far outnumbered the bad. I guess, overall I did not think we had a bad marriage, but there were times I almost left him during the first couple of years, and there were other times when I became extremely frustrated and raging mad at him.

The year of the A was the worst. His mother died on Christmas Day just before "that year" started and it started a spiral of horrible things, he was robbing Peter to pay Paul with matters related to the business we owned, making late payments, lying to me about finances and other things on a regular basis. That is not my idea of a good marriage. As far as my part, I still think that the only thing I did "wrong" was lash out at him because I didn't know what else to do, I guess. I did say some things that were verbally abusive and I am not defending that, and do believe it contributed to whatever was wrong between us, rather than helping anything. He would give me the "silent treatment" and after a few days of me trying to control myself and initiate peaceful convesation, or "discuss" things" and him remaining silent, I would eventually get boiling mad and every word I had ever held back would come out, and then some.

He used to defend his use of the silent treatment, sort of gave himself a gold star for being so "in control" and not yelling. Silence was so much better than yelling in his book. (I happen to disagree though maybe neither of them is a good thing).

All I can tell you is that in the past 7 years, he has not once used the silent treatment on me! And as a result, I have never had a verbal tirade at him either in this time! Amazing. I would not have predicted such a lasting and profound change could happen between us. We have talked a little about the silent treatment and he finally admitted he knew I was right; it was passive/agressive and he knew deep down eventually I would get boiling mad, and say things that would be so horrible that I would then be the "bad guy" who had to apologize. And he'd have nothing to apolgigize for because my actions were seemingly worse.

He is far from perfect about talking about issues but he is so much better. He can "take it" now if I raise my voice and raise issues. He will discuss it even if it is not a "feels good" topic for us to have to discuss. We work things out the way I believe couples should work things out, but honestly that didn't happen very effectively in those first 11 years.

Now if it would have been my FWS telling me he "expected" us to have a stronger M after his A, I would have been appalled. I'm glad it happened in our case, but it happened because he was remorseful and wanted to be a better person, not because he expect his A to be a catalyst to us having a better M.

tushnurse posted 12/5/2013 09:33 AM

Veteran here. 5+ years out.

My H and I always had a relatively good solid happy relationship. We started dating as teens, and we were very happy most of the time. Had a rough patch in college that resulted in us spending less time with each other for a month or so, we didn't "break up" we still were monogomous, but we also didn't eat our meals together, and didn't spend all our free time togehter.

We had our kids, and H really had that "mid life crisis" "is this really is as good as it gets" thing happen to him around 39 years. Now he was prone to episodes of depression, and being down, but this was different. This was a whole new level of unhappy, unhappy with me, with the kids, with the house, with what we had financially, and what we didn't have as far as toys, and other tangible things. during this time he found his dream job, and that's when he had the A. He lost weight, bought himself a few toys (boat/motorcycle) with little to no dicussion with me. So he has a massive heart attack 2 weeks after his 40th bday, and of course in the town where he was having his A, so I fly down, and nurse him well, and spend every possible moment with him to only be met with anger, frustration, and meanness....Of course he was worried about AP coming to see him, but I was clueless that he was really having an A at this point.
He then lost his job, and things fell apart. Shortly after him loosing his job I finally got the proof I needed to get him to fess up... At this point We both had really decided if given the opportunity we would try to make it work. That's when R started, and it took a solid 2 years of both of us working hard on us, and ourselves to get us strong, and healed again.
He did the work and figured out what was broken in himself, I did the work to be less codependent, and we did the work to make our M rock solid. I can honestly say now that our M is better than ever. We are happy, he hates his job, makes way less money, we struggle monthly to meet expenses, we have 2 teens that challenge us more than not, and life is not easy. BUT at the end of the day we are happy. We are satisfied with our lives. Because we have each other, and support and respect, and love deeply.

So YAH it can be better, and it can be happy again, but it takes hard hard work, and a little luck, and patience. But know this it won't be the same, the old M you knew is gone. This new one may look quite different in dynamics of how you communicate and who is willing to give and take, and that is ok. It will be different but it can be oh so much better.

(((and strength)))

numb&dumb posted 12/5/2013 10:41 AM

Was it a relatively good, stable relationship, or did you both recognize that there were problems in the marriage (maybe problems that weren't addressed until after the infidelity was discovered)?

I am not as far out as some, but I think I can add some insight that has helped me. I did not read the other responses so apologize if this redundant.

First to answer the question. My W and I would have said we had a great M before Dday (there was a three year gap in between when it occurred and when I found out, so keep that in mind). We did not argue, we had fun, had an active intimate love life.

I was raised in dysfunction so anything better than that to me was great. My W had baggage from her FOO that required everyone to hold their demons in with a "quiet" dignity.

So there were a lot of problems, but not having a different frame of reference, we concluded it was "great."

In reality our M was co-dependent, KISA dynamic. My W was depressed all the time and therefore had to force herself to engage with the family. Since that sapped her energy. Despite working 50 hours a week (sometimes more) at a demanding white collar job, I did most of the housework, yardwork and handled the vehicles. I figured I was not being yelled at all the time or hit so I concluded this is what normal looks like. In reality I was exhausted all the time and really had little time for myself. I was on a path to an early grave and I was nowhere near fulfilled or happy. However, I sucked it up and carried on. Again, I had no frame of reference to show me otherwise.

After Dday this fragile peace blew up. I lost it and was so close to getting a D. My W was so depressed she spent 12 hours a day sleeping and add in a case of acute postpartum, was contemplating suicide regularly. In other words, in a "normal" standard it was no where near good because it was a fragile facade that was ready to crumble with any of the challenges life throws at you.

Today I am much happier. My W is too. We share responsibility, I have a life outside of work and home. I no longer have to "fix" all of my W issues. She feels empower to solve her own problems and not run to me every time something happens. You know she grew up and I no longer have to treat her like one of the children. I don't compromise on my needs anymore and I will never again sacrifice myself on the altar of "staying Md'd." My M might seem the same, but the people involved in it are much happier, healthier and can address problems in life head on knowing that we have survived much worse.

Happy is a broad term. Individually you can always be a better you. Everyone/thing else is your life benefits from that. Including your M.

I recently responded to a post in wayward asking BH for input. Feel free to read my responses there as I speak to the middle part a lot better. I don't want to be accused of being too "wordy," or sounding like a broken record

karmahappens posted 12/5/2013 17:23 PM

We are years out.

I think the state of your marriage pre A isn't the issue.

I believe it is more the state of the people in the marriage.

You can have 2 people co-existing well. Going through life unknowing of the other persons inside dialog. That inside dialog, how they view their life, their world is different than how you view yours.

If you have a broken person, going through life carrying FOO issues, childhood trauma, emotional scars then their internal dialog will not reflect the outward happy you see.

They do not always find unhappiness in their marriage as much as unhappiness within themselves. Making a truly happy marriage impossible. True connection to another person has to be faked.

When an A happens and brings all the truth of a persons insides out it is a chance to recreate a marriage. A marriage based on healthy points of views, honest communication and teamwork, unity.

So I would be asking myself if after the healing can you have 2 healthy, emotionally available people leading a truth in life marriage.

In the end, the result is a happier marriage because you have true, in your soul, happiness and so does your spouse.

If this makes any sense to anyone but me...god bless you lol

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.

― Anas Nin

[This message edited by karmahappens at 5:24 PM, December 5th (Thursday)]

unfound posted 12/5/2013 17:36 PM

made perfect sense to me karmahappens, and I agree wholeheartedly.

If you have a broken person, going through life carrying FOO issues, childhood trauma, emotional scars then their internal dialog will not reflect the outward happy you see.

to add to that from my own experience... pre A, I based, in part, the state of my M on the person Mr Unfound presented to me. It was good, comfortable, not without troubles, but nothing major. After dday, when he could no longer deny that he was not that person he was presenting to me and the world, he eventually "fixed" himself and his inside matched his outside (both healthy now), our M was stronger, because HE was stronger.

plainpain posted 12/5/2013 19:24 PM

For me, it's very difficult to answer this question. I THOUGHT I was happily married. Everyone thought we were. I didn't know who my H was, really. I didn't know his struggles. He never shared them with me.

It isn't that we are stronger now since the A - it's that he has finally started telling me the truth. He lied to me our entire marriage. Little lies, to protect himself from discomfort or accountability. 18 years of that adds up in a person. Our marriage is better, because he is healthy (healthier?) now. We have honesty, we have vulnerability, we have real opportunities to change and do differently, because we are communicating what is inside of us.

He's a 'better' husband, and I am a 'better' wife. The problem was really never our marriage - it was him trying blindly to overcome FOO issues, 43 years of personal brokenness, and me being a devoted, unwitting enabler.

Personally, the only way I have been able to deal with the deception and the lies is to write off the last 18-20 years of my life. That marriage is dead and gone. I wasn't married to who I thought I was - our marriage was never what I thought it was.

I told my H the other night that it made me angry sometimes to think that his A was the reason our marriage was better. He responded very clearly, 'Our marriage is not better because I had an A. It's better because I'm telling the truth now.'

steadfast1973 posted 12/5/2013 19:32 PM

Plainpain, your story is what I needed to hear.

bobf posted 12/5/2013 20:15 PM


I feel so bad for you. Your marriage sounded solid and loving it boggles my mind why a man would cheat on you. I really do not think if my marriage was really good and my wife then cheated on me, that I could forgive her. I hope your heart is bigger than mine and that you R and find peace if that is your desire.

My marriage was not good before my wife's affair. It's complicated, I posted a rather long background about my marriage in my profile because I accept responsibility for some of the problems we had pre-OEA. I was an abused child and had a rather tramatic ending to my first real relationship. Not making huge excuses here, but I was a mess our whole marriage up to her OEA.

My wife is 100% responsible for the OEA, she should of divorced me, but she didn't.

Now, post-OEA I have gone from a quiet, emotionally-repressed individual to one that is incredibly emotional and talkative. A lot of the problems I experienced in my childhood and youth I am now dealing with through IC. My wife also had pre-OEA issues from her childhood and is dealing with them in IC as well. I expect we will do MC soon after some of the old baggage is dealt with.

The upshot of all of this, is that I am hopeful, very hopeful, that our marriage will be reforged infinitely stronger than before.

catlover50 posted 12/5/2013 21:31 PM

I didn't realize my experience was so common.

Both my H and I described ourselves as happily married. I realize now that I didn't really know him deeply, and he didn't know himself. I settled for a selfish, at times withdrawn, and I now know, a H who was not well attached to me, or to anyone. He had everything he could desire in me but could not fully appreciate or embrace it due to CSA, etc. I did try to reach him but he would only withdraw further.

The devastation of the A aftermath forced him, finally, to admit that he wasn't "fine". Admit, in fact, that he was completely fucked up and needed help. Finally share the CSA and finally be honest with himself and me.

And wow. What a difference. If I had the choice between never having the betrayal and having the old marriage I would not. I realize what we were missing, and that the love of my life was hiding behind thick walls and would never have been truly happy or at peace. My pain is subsiding and our joy is continuing.

StillGoing posted 12/5/2013 22:01 PM

I don't care about the strength of the marriage anymore, I care about the strength of her (and my) character.

To that end, my wife says she does not want to cheat again because she does not want to be that person.

This doesn't make marriages stronger. It destroys them. I don't want to be with anyone other than my wife, and I am glad we are where we are - but this is the kind of strength gained from loss, like understanding the value of life through death. We come through stronger for it, but the irrevocable loss comes at personal cost.

heforgotme posted 12/5/2013 22:36 PM

I ask because my fWH is clinging to the hope that we will have a stonger marriage once we R.

If he started this just months after the wedding, your marriage hadn't even had TIME to deteriorate yet. So, I really don't get his point.

I would be very concerned with the timing of this. I'm a big R proponent, but I would be very nervous with a person who could do this so soon.

I think it's pretty critical that he uncover his whys and shares them with you. This is not about your marriage, it's about him and his terrible choices. He needs to focus on how he allowed that to happen and work on himself.

R is a hard, hard road. And you don't want to be on it with someone who doesn't fully understand the sacrifice you are making to even try. Or who doesn't grasp the true atrocity of the situation he has created.

Good luck.

Dare2Trust posted 12/6/2013 01:04 AM


I agree with "HeForMe"....Your WS cheated throughout your marriage. IF he feels/felt you had such a great marriage - then he firmly needs to UNDERSTAND why his made the destructive CHOICE to engage in adulterous behaviors/actions throughout your marriage!

Can I ask:
Was your husband's 3 years of cheating ONE Long-term Affair...or did he engage in infidelity with various diffferent women?

The critcal thing is: Your husband did not come to you and "confess" out of guilt, right? His affair was "outed to you" by a complete stranger. How does your husband explain this? Did he have any intentions to end this affair...if it had not been disclosed to you?

What exactly is your WH doing to FIX THIS HUGE MESS he's made of your marriage?
---Did he send the OW (Other Woman) a NO CONTACT LETTER telling her this affair is over -and she's never to contact him again by phone, text, email or in person?
---Is he willing to be totally transparent; and give you access to his phones and computers; SO you can verify that ALL CONTACT REMAINS STOPPED?
---Is he willing to seek counseling/therapy to address WHY he cheated in the first place?

It's really your husband's JOB to FIX what he's broken in this marriage. DOES HE have the emotional drive to do all of this HARD WORK?

HoldOnHope posted 12/6/2013 21:54 PM

Wow, everyone, thank you so much for the responses. This response will be lengthy, but you all gave me a lot of food for thought. Hopefully this remains coherent... Big thank you to anyone who reads the whole post

First, to answer Dare2Trust:
--It started with sexting with 1 OW and eventually sexting with a total of 5 OW, kissing 2 and a BJ from 1. Sailor girl mentioned possibly of addiction issues and yes, sex addict has been considered by all therapists involved.
--This was H explanations for why he didn't confess (copied, verbatim from an e-mail he sent me)"I also recognize that the second part of this, in that I didn't tell you about it or stop on my own, is nearly as if not more important than why it happened. Part of the reason I didn't tell you is because couldn't bear to lay my flaws that openly at your feet despite what I KNEW, in that you needed to know and it be from me... I was ashamed of my actions, still am, but could not bear to have you, the most important person in my life, see me as anything like the evil man I thought I saw in the mirror. The guilt, the desire to tell you, and the crushing shame have been there all along, although at times when I was texting I would compartmentalize and no t focus on it. I started to tell you so many times, and yet couldn't. I knew that it would hurt you, but that is NOT what I wanted. It was, as you mentioned, one of the most selfish parts of what I have done."
I honestly think he never would have stopped had I not found out. Sexting is his main coping mechanism for stress. It just so happens that life is just one stressor after another
--H has done several things to start to fix this mess. He was the one to set up IC and MC for both of us. Changed his phone number so none of the OW could contact him. Deleted his Facebook account. Was open to answer any questions I have. He is willing to be completely transparent. BUT, I don't think he is REALLY putting in 100% to address WHY he allowed himself to behave in such a despicable manner.

There were a couple recurring themes in the responses to my original post. I agree COMPLETELY that the only way we could possibly make this marriage work is if he faces all of his problems/reasons for the infidelity AND works to fix them. I have verbalized to him on several occasions that I feel like he is more concerned with fixing me (i.e. trying to make me the happy person I was before D-Day) rather than putting in the effort to fix himself. Yes, he goes to IC and he goes to MC. With his IC, he has addressed several "reasons" for why he cheated but I am concerned that he has been fed some of these reasons by the therapist and I fear that he doesn't do enough soul searching other than that one hour each week.

The reasons for WHY that he has shared with me thus far: Low self-esteem, he liked the thrill of something forbidden, immature thought process, and poor coping mechanism. I now know that lack of appropriate coping mechanisms played a big role in WH allowing the cheating to occur. Like plainpain, my husband did not share his struggles with me and he was blindly trying to overcome FOO issues. However, my gut tells me there is still a deeper reason why he cheated than what he has shared with me or his IC.

Another recurring theme was the acknowledgement that, after DDay, the BS felt that the "old" marriage ended and they had to start anew, with both partners finding a happier, healthier place. Here's my big hang-up... I have always had trust issues with men (thanks mostly to my father and a couple ex-bfs). One of the MAIN reasons I married my H was because I judged him to be an open and honest man. I was wrong and with the loss of that trust, I struggle to find value in this marriage. Had he had a ONS and told me about it himself, I would have forgave. I can accept an imperfect person, but I don't think I can accept a liar. He just might put his all into fixing himself and become a better(healthier) person. But I'm worried that I am now the one who is too broken and we will still have a dysfunctional marriage. I know everyone has room for improvement. I know I have room for improvement. For instance, the only way I know how to cope with people who deeply hurt me is to shut them out of my life and move on. For the sake of my 2 year old son I'm willing to "consider" R rather than running from the problem. But it really leaves a sour taste in my mouth to say "The first person that I will learn to forgive and accept and love unconditionally will be the man who never gave me a chance in our marriage until he was outed by a stranger".

A couple posts also spoke to the fact that a WS cannot rush a BS. My husband does not get this. I have verbalized this concern to him multiple times. I almost filed for a D in August because H would follow me around like a lost puppy dog and constantly ask how I was. OMG I was being smothered. He has backed off a lot since that low point, but he still doesn't see how his occasional pleading, unnecessary increase in compliments, insisting that we kiss goodnight, claims that we WILL get to a place of happiness together are pushing me away.

AHHHHHHHH it feels better to get that all out!!!

Return to Forum List

© 2002-2018 ®. All Rights Reserved.