Ask SAHM is a place where you can ask our staff & community a question safely & anonymously. Please read our disclaimer.

What are the lessons you have learned from an affair, if you were the wayward or the betrayed?


Got an Answer?

Answers (24)

That sometime people make really poor choices and sometimes they are capable of change.

My husband cheated 6 years ago.
I suspect it was once or twice more than being caught.

But he is a different person/partner now.
He put in every bit of work you'd hope someone would....

Also Iv learnt you probably can never build the trust back 100%... but you can get it to like 98% if both parties work hard. And you have to accept that that's ok. It's always going to be a scar. And that's ok too.

It taught me we are all human.
It taught me my husband is a good man because he is always always a better person than he was yesterday and that's an admirable quality.

God his cheating taught a million this I could write a book.
I think it is a great opportunity for both parties to make them better people unfortunately a lot of cheaters remain the same and don't consider partners the way they should.... and a lot of people who been cheated on allow themselves to sit in the bitterness and hurt and use it to excuse any of their ownbehaviour thereafter.

 This response is perfect and i completely agree with everything you have said! I wrote one of the other responses (18 months on from his 3 year affair). Im so glad things have/are working out for you. I completely agree that cheaters are capable of change - if its truely what they want. I think it has made us better, stronger, more aware of eachother couple than ever before. You cant go through something like this and not have it change you, but it can be for the better.
helpful (3) 
 I completely 100% agree with this.

Now 5 years on from his and 4 from mine. We are both better more mature people, perfectly happy and much better for it. We were very young and now we are a team, raising beautiful kids in a happy family. But it takes hard work and honesty from both

helpful (3) 
 This is the perfect response.
helpful (0) 

I learnt as the betrayed person is that you don't ever really get over it, and the trust just goes and doesn't fully come back, no matter how much you try. Before they cheat you already fully trust them and think they would never do it to you, then they cheat and your whole idea of what your relationship was comes tumbling down. Then you are supposed to build back up to that level of trust and security again? No way. My ex cheated on me when I was pregnant with my first and we stayed together for another 13 years. We shouldn't have. I didn't trust him, he didn't trust me in return and it was just a horrible, pointless relationship. Sure you can think you're happy and get along for the kids sakes, but everyone is mentally better off to end it as soon as one has cheated. Don't waste your time.

I was the woman who is single and having an affair with a married man. I learnt that he said what he thought I wanted to hear. He got emotional and said the he loved me. I never wanted that and I never wanted him to leave his wife for me. I just wanted sex with someone who I thought wouldn't have any emotions.
I was getting messages first thing in the morning, last thing at night. When he'd offer to go get his wife something from the shops, when he would organise a girls night out for his wife. It was too much!
Ladies be careful, if you think he's cheating he probably is. He had my name saved under one if his business associates so if his wife went through his phone she wouldn't think anything of it. He would text me "ok" when it was good for me to reply to his messages without being caught and would sometimes ask me to send messages of a business nature and he'd leave them for his wife to see so she would never be suspicious.
We'd meet up before work when he was in the area and tell her he had an early start when really he was at my place.
When I ended it he got really angry at me and then played the victim saying he loved me bla bla bla. I ended up having to block him from everything so he couldn't contact me anymore.
The only victim here was his wife who had no idea. I was a bitch to do what I did and it's made me more suspicious of men in general because I saw how easy it was for him to lie to his wife and cover up his tracks. I stupidly thought that it was sex with no strings attached but ending it was as bad as ending a full blown relationship which I steer clear of for my own reasons.
I won't ever do it again. The three years it went on for left me even less trusting of men and ashamed of my own behaviour.

 You should be ashamed
helpful (4) 
 I have been the other woman for 6 years.
He has been cheating on his wife since before they got married so 20 years. She knows about us. Why they are still together is beyond me.
I dont want him for myself. The sex is amazing and we enjoy what we have with no commitments. Time will tell how long it goes on for..

helpful (1) 
 Did you for one moment consider the wife’s feelings? You must of known her fairly closely to of been so involved. Karma my love will sort you. One day... if you ever find the love of your life remember... when your laying in his arms, he will be thinking of someone else...
helpful (5) 

I cheated on my husband and i don't regret it. It was fun and exciting. We are divorced now even though he never found out i cheated. I eventually learned that my marriage was over (as far as i was concerned) from the moment i slept with another man even though i didn't leave my husband until a couple of years later and long after the affair ended.

 Funny how men don't realise this too...or leave their wives. So many men just lead secret lives...too lazy and scared to be alone. I don't think I could continue if my partner cheated, I just couldn't stand to live my life chkg his phone, emails, whereabouts all the time...thats not living. I'm also a believer of if you're not happy say something, either work it out together or both move on.
helpful (2) 

Im about 18 months down the track from finding out my husband was having a long term affair. We are working through it and doing well (touch wood). Ive learnt it is possible to survive affairs if both people are completly committed. It's not easy. I agree with other posters about the trust never getting back to how it was and that i will probably never trust him 100% again. In saying that, my husband is very aware of what things may be triggers, make me uncomfortable etc (without me having to say it) and does everything he can to reassure me and prove everything is above board without making an obvious big deal of it. Eg - music was a big thing for him and his skank. I know certain bands/songs etc that were a thing for them so he always changes the music if someone puts one of those songs on. When he's away for work he facetimes me and shows me around his hotel room. He forwards work emails of who is invited to dinners/meetings/work trips so i have the details but mainly so i can see she isn't on the list (has recently changed jobs so not an issue anymore). Lots of stuff like that. Yes we still fight. Yes i still have major insecurities. Ive also learnt that i would NEVER go through it again. I wouldn't stay and stick it out for even a day. I went through hell those 3 years and im still recovering. I've learnt how strong i actually am and know i would be ok on my own - its not what i want but I'm not scared of it. Ive learnt that i have some very supportive people in my life that i can rely on. I've learnt (and said this to my husband) despite how great our life is now and how happy we are and looking forward to our future, what i went through isn't worth it (the 3 years was hell and i knew but he denied and i thought i was seriously going crazy. His admission was no shock more vindication). I wouldn't go through it again even knowing how good the outcome was/is. Ive learnt a lot about my husband and we've talked about and dealt with a lot of things a lot of people probably never do. Ive learnt how amazing my family is for respecting my decision not to end my marriage and accept my husband back into their lives as well. I've learnt the least amount of people who know all the details the better. Ive learnt how many people actually cheat or have been cheated on (very sad). Ive learnt many, many things. Ive also learnt - DONT CHEAT! If you arent happy in your marriage fix it or end it before you do anything with anyone else. For everyone's sake. Yours, your wife/husband, your kids, the person you are cheating with, your friends and family.

 My husband cheated on me two years ago. Forgiveness and rebuilding your relationship is a long continous journey.
Reading your post made me so emotional, your story is just like mine. I think our choice to work on our relationship is a brave one, but its not for everyone. Both parties need to want the relationship to continue. I hope that all the ladies in our predicament find happiness xx

helpful (2) 
 Big hugs xxx i wish you all the best. Definately not easy but neither is the alternative. Where there is hope and possibility i had to take thst chance. I hope hubby is doing everything he can to help you feel secure and has patience and understanding for what you are going through. I still can't say 'i love you' to him. Not sure why. Im not ready. I feel like its something that i hold the power/control of (as bad as that may sound). If i say it it makes me vunlerable and i cant make myself vunlerable yet. He said it to me a couple of times about a year ago, when i didnt say it back (i knew he really wanted me to) he stopped saying it. I think he knew it made me uncomfortable and he said he felt stupid saying it when i didnt feel the same way. Sometimes i feel its a bit of a thing and is now such a big deal it makes it even harder to say. I know we have to go there at some point but i just cant move to that level yet. Been thinking i should go back to my counselor to discuss it.
helpful (2) 

I learnt good people cheat and sometimes there are very valued reasons for it. I also learnt that they may never cheat again. I learnt cheating is not as clear cut as people like to think it is. My hubby cheated on me very early on in our realtionship and now may have another child that was 17 years ago. He has never cheated again and we went on to get married 12 years ago and have three children now. Have a rock solid marriage and people tell us we are probably the happiest couple they know. At the time he cheated with his ex wife. All he could see at the time was his kids and a chance to have them back. He was a confused man and her games weren't helping. Most of all I learnt not to judge someone who has cheated or someone who stays with someone who has cheated. Thing just are never that clear cut

I emotionally cheated. I was forgiven and I would never ever do it again. People can change. Once a cheater always a cheater and leopards don't change their spots are sayings that don't apply to everyone. I hate what I did and I regret it every day.

In my situation I've learnt that I never looked deep into what I wanted in a man. A man that could become the father of my children. I feel that I didn't even really know myself or felt confident in myself and that a man would make me worth something. I fell in love quickly and married soon after meeting - believing in a fairytale love story.
I am recently divorced after my ex cheated on me many times. I forced myself to believe him when he said he was just with friends all night but really deep down I thought that said something about my worth instead of something about him.
I am worth it though and will take baby steps next time I meet someone I think is special.

I learned to trust my intuition more. Every time I suspected something, there was truth to it. Although my ex husband only admitted to having sex once with someone else, the truth is most likely that it was constantly happening through our whole relationship. I thought I needed concrete proof but I know that my lack of trust in him was more than enough. So really, the details aren't that important because at the end of the day he broke my trust and then didn't want to work to rebuild our relationship. He admitted to paying someone for sex once, and we stayed together for another 2 years but those years were a waste of time and energy.

 Absolutely agree - I learned that my gut instinct was right and I shouldn't have doubted myself so much :)

helpful (6) 
 Absolutely trust your gut! You know, you just do. I wrote another response on here. I knew who. I pretty much knew when. I would constantly grill my husband about his actions/whereabouts, i would tell him straight up i knew and say her name etc. He would deny and have an answer for everything and nade out like i was some psyco, crazy over the top, accusing bitch. After several years i honestly thought i was going crazy. When he finally told me i was received and vindicated. His actual words were "we need to talk. You were right about everything". Every acvusation I'd ever made was spot on. Id even asked him if he was having an affair - he denied "what? In my spare 5 minutes" was his usual response. He was always so busy at work how could he find time for that? - she was at his work.......
helpful (4) 

My now husband cheated on me almost 10 years ago. I hated him for it for the longest time.
From this awful thing we have both learnt important lessons that make us stronger.
Talking is vital, had we had actually known how to talk this would never have happened. Some men are just cheaters but alot cheat because they feel they are missing something from your relationship. This does not make it okay but if you keep the line of communication open these issues could be easily fixed.
I learnt that even though I was hurting I also needed to to take responsibility for myself- we both did.
Affair proof your marriage, sit down and discuss what is and isn't comfortable for you. Set clear boundaries -together.
Do not expect to bounce back- it's just not realistic, these things take time.
I was terrible for bringing it up in every fight-like a weapon. Please don't do this, if you both choose to work through it you need to keep it separate form other issues.
Take responsibility for your own hurt, your cheating spouse can not take away your hurt. Only you can do that. Be honest with yourself about what individual issues you now face. Work on them one at a time. Once you have your feeling sorted then discuss them one at a time with your spouse.
Let me be clear, it is not your fault at all. But until you have a handle on your feelings there is no way your spouse can understand them and help you.
Be kind to yourself, let your emotions be. There will be a whole rollercoaster of them. Don't fight it just acknowledge them and keep going. If you're mad be mad, if you're feeling lost let it be. It's like grief, it's a process.
Focus on yourself, you will be feeling insecure. Learn to love yourself, learn that your self-worth isn't tied up in your spouse. Your are beautiful, attractive, fun and perfect just the way you are.
Your relationship will never be what it was before. It will be different, no matter how much time passes it will never go back to how it was.
Talk to your spouse about what you need from them. It may be to call you when he is out or to not attend things the other person will be at. Be honest and clear about what is a no go for you.
I could go on forever.

 Even more great advice and lessons learned that i completly agree with - from a fellow responder to this topic. Glad its all worked out well for you x
helpful (1) 

I am a husband and father of four wonderful kids aged 8 years to 2 years old. My wife and I are both very educated professionals with high incomes, a great home, in our 30s, and respected by our peers and colleagues. I was raised strictly by conservative immigrant parents and was a virgin until I got married and settled in the U.S. I love my wife! Very much. But recently, I began to stray, mostly while on work trips. Why? You've heard this one before, but don't judge yet.

My wife lost the desire to exercise, gained weight tremendously, and argues and talks over me when I try to get us to do workout activities together that we used to enjoy. I go to soccer or bike riding with the kids but her bike lies fallow and she won't join us. She'd rather sit nearby and watch like their grandma does, or gets on facebook. A once 120 lb woman is now close to 180 lb, doesn't care much for dressing to look good, and sees no danger in the gradual loss of attraction. Even her female friends tell her this is dangerous and amounts to letting herself go. I am in a running group with a couple of them and believe me, they are sympathetic towards me. When I try to lean in and talk about our day at work, she's watching a TV show and not listening to me. I love to talk and cuddle but I miss those things.

I'm not absolving myself of blame. But if you are a guy who stayed a virgin until marriage, have a raging sex drive and look fit and youthful, have a romantically apathetic wife who doesn't care for how she looks and whom you (and her friends) have tried to reason with, access to travel and tons of money, get hit on by women ten years younger, feel like at 37 you are too young to be 'married and celibate', but have strong family values passed down by your immigrant background (my wife is American and often feels entitled), WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

I don't like the subterfuge. I want romance and affection. My visual nature wants her take time to exercise, lose weight, dress like her educational and professional status deserves, and be attractive. But she refuses to. She yells and says it is her life to do whatever she pleases with. Oh well then, life is short and I need to live it.

Wives, PLEASE stay in shape, talk/listen to your husband, appreciate him, affair proof your marriages and don't take him for granted. There is only so much sperm a man makes daily and if you are milking it regularly enough, he would have none left over to expend on another woman. You'd be amazed how many young, attractive, single women would gladly give him what you starve him off. When you do lose him, often you go right back to working out and staying in shape to try to attract a new man, proving your he was right in the first place.

 Anyone in a marriage needs to take this advice. I didn’t realise when I got married but marriage is a commitment to meet eachother’s emotional needs. As you have stated for most men it’s sex and females it’s affection. If you neglect these needs don’t be shocked when your spouse strays.
helpful (4) 
 Absolute BS from the both of you ^^^. One long winded excuse and another sheep backing it up.
helpful (6) 
 While I think you should leave if you’re unhapppy relationships are NEVER that black and white.

I do agree in the same way women expect men to meet their emotional needs, women should work to meet his sexual needs. Both within reason.

Sex although the last thing I want to do these days is what sets my husband apart from my best friend. It’s important to him. So I make the effort to show up.

helpful (3) 
 Absolutely for sure, that is what relationship is all about, giving to the other person. I do, however feel it is absolutely that black and white. Cheating, like pushing someone down a flight of stairs, is wrong and there is no excuse.
helpful (2) 
 And you don't "leave" a marriage just because you are "unhappy". Such selfishness. You work through it.
helpful (1) 
 So op, here you are saying if your wife gets fat and argues with you, you go find someone else to ‘milk you’
What a long winded pathetic excuse. I hope your wife finds herself a decent loyal loving husband that wouldn’t stab her in the back

helpful (7) 
 No I interpreted that completely different. But anyway, unfortunately cultures differ in affection. My husband is European and tells me often that Australia’ns are colder and makes a fun joke of it. I do take him absolutely for granted it is sad. I can hear your pain op, but I feel you need to express at least some of these words to her. Perhaps she’s actually very depressed with life with you, nand life in general. Ask her, be open. It’s painful but life is tough and hard and you grow
helpful (2) 
 I meant you should leave but relationships are never that black and white

Cheating isn’t ok, but there’s a lot of reasons it happens and it’s never as simple as you should just leave.

There’s kids, it’s messy.
I know I stayed when my kids were young cos I wasn’t ready to split my time with them so young.
Maybe they have scheduled that will make it hard to split and see the kids a lot. So they stay.
Maybe he knows the wife will be vengeful and hoard the kids, so he stays.
It’s never black and white.

Cheating, while not a great choice, is nothing like pushing someone down the stairs. That is physical violence that could potentially result in death or life long physical consequences.

helpful (2) 
 People cheat to stay or cheat to leave. I had an affair to stay, my children were young. It actually improved our marriage, my affair partner taught me so much. I have no regrets, we were headed for divorce anyway.
helpful (0) 
 ^ well then you made a good choice to cheat! Good on you 👍🏼
helpful (2) 
 OP, so many things going on here!

First, some empathy for you. Being in a relationship which does not meet your sexual and emotional needs is hard.

Secondly, some grace for your wife. She has carried 4 babies. Her body has done amazing things. The process of making humans is taxing but healing is possible.

Thirdly, her healing. I doubt very much that she is happy being overweight. More likely she feels stuck. Despite the fact that it is essential many women struggle to make time for their health and healing especially with an important career and busy family life. Once you are uncomfortable in your body running around playing soccer is honestly very unappealing. This also goes for dressing up, it is often harder to feel comfortable doing this when overweight.

Continued below...

helpful (2) 

I would encourage her to take time to focus on reconnecting with her body by going and getting massages, taking a regular yoga class (which you ensure it is easy for her to go to with regards to babysitting), meditation (maybe meditation together at bedtime). Once she starts to feel better she will naturally take enjoyment in taking better care of herself.

Fourthly, please do not get her friends to talk to her about this. This may be culturally more acceptable in the US but I would be mortified if I heard my husband had been having such conversations about me and would almost certainly not be receptive to the information being shared. Likewise if anyone tried to discuss my husbands appearance with me in anyway that was not complimentary to him I would make it abundantly clear that I was not interested in taking part in the discussion.

Sorry, continued again...

helpful (2) 
 Fifthly, the affection you are missing out on. This is hard. Have you read about the love languages, I wonder if this could have a positive impact in your relationship?

Wishing you and your family all the best. I can tell you have a genuine love for them and the life you and your wife have created.

helpful (3) 
 I agree with you all/both! Nothing is easy and nothing’s black or white.
It’s all blurred. How I feel about him after he cheated on me, violated and compromised and how he made me feel ‘special’ after I got the std and then the prick dropped the special act after I promised to stay and make it work. And now I’m confused, hurt, angry, and sad that I still love him and I’m still here trying to make it work while he’s a jerk towRd me and probably still cheating but hey, it’s soo confusing isn’t it.

helpful (1) 
 I don't think there's any reason to have an affair, just because your wife got fat and unromantic, you should have respect for her enough to end it before chasing something else. You didn't have to choose to sleep with someone else but you made that choice yourself.
helpful (7) 
 If someone loses weight after a relationship breakdown it's probably because they are finding themselves again not necessarily looking for a new man. I actually think your whole post is just excuses to cover your own a*s.

PS I got with my husband now and I weighed 120kgs. And he was a slim fit man. So not all people base they're attraction on looks. And is still no excuse to have an affair.

helpful (5) 
 To the person who says cheating is not like pushing someone down a flight of stairs, you obviously have never been betrayed in that way. In some ways, it is worse. Long term effects can take jyst as long to heal from.
helpful (3) 
 Betrayal trauma is a very real thing.
helpful (2) 

OP Why do you ask, what is your experience? Ive responded and would like to hear your story

I cheated on a boyfriend with his best mate. Wrong on all levels no matter how much of a jerk that bf was, I should have finished up with him first before using cheating as an exit tool

They'll never change (that's how it was for me personally). I wish I had have gotten out as soon as u found out about the very first lie because it got worse from there and I went from having a huge, secure nest egg to zilch. Like 500 that I could hide in socks.