Hello all. I'm hoping that this post isn't misplaced. I've

Hello all. I'm hoping that this post isn't misplaced. I've read some posts from both the betrayed and the betrayer. Please advise if this is out of line. I'm looking for support and suggestion from others who have dealt with infidelity.

Background: I am married to a wonderful woman and have two kids under 10. We've generally always been happy. But I am a betrayer. I was a betrayer. About two years ago, I began an emotional affair with a close married friend. She was in my circle of influence, involved in similar groups, and looked up to for her opinion. One late night, she said she had feelings for me. I didn't go looking for that or expect it. I initially brushed it off and didn't think anything more. It slowly decayed into flirting and private conversation. Overtime it became more personal and intimate until one night I kissed her. As the weeks and months went on we began manipulating time and others to find those kisses more regularly. Eventually her husband recorded a conversation and it came out.
My wife was crushed. She is still crushed. I am crushed. 18 months after the affair was brought to light we still struggle often. I have great remorse and went through months of shame and feelings unworthy of love and forgiveness over my decisions. I and we've done counseling and communication journals and all kinds of different books / podcasts / journals, etc. She has asked me to step up and see her and romance her. I have to win her back in some ways.
My question to you, those who have been in either situation, what helps? What things have worked to help build trust and regain some of the spark that you once had? What has helped you to feel safe again? Dates? Gifts? Marriage and relationship building courses / topics / books?
I am forever regretful of my choices. They cost me my marriage as I knew it, friends, groups, church, and not to mention the constant triggers. I have committed to my wife and she wants this to work and repair.
I'm sorry that so many of you are going through this pain. It is real and wish that none of you who were betrayed and none of us who were betrayers had this in our lives. Any input would be welcomed. Again, I apologize if this post is misplaced.

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JP1313's picture
(1465)
Nov 24

How did you win her over when you first met? Who were you, and how did you carry yourself back then? She 100% has to feel safe again, and constantly reassured. Actions speak louder than words. You have to start simple. Just go for walks, away from the kids, etc. Go get ice cream, sit and hangout. See a movie and take her to dinner. I'm sure gifts are nice, but you can't buy her. You need to build her back up, and yourself for that matter. Go watch a sunrise or sunset. Grab a blanket and have a simple picnic. You need to date her and win her all over again. First you need to be a friend. I recommend never talking about the affair in your bedroom. Let that be the safe place where it won't be brought up. Only time will take the sting away.

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EvanM08's picture
(335)
Dec 4

I've never been in this specific situation, either side of it. So I don't completely relate to the things here. Although, I have been both been betrayed and others have felt betrayed by me in the past, which is a bit more broad but might be able to help give some different perspective here as this is what I've learned.

First, if you are genuinely sorry for what you did, and honestly expressed it to the other person, that means you have made reasonable effort to acknowledge their feelings, how it hurt them, that you care for them and don't want to put them through the same kind of pain again. Afterall, who knowingly wants to hurt the ones they love? That is, so long as the love isn't already lost.

For them: Any time someone is betrayed, the trust for that person has been greatly wounded, and sometimes, can't be restored (ultimately, it's up to them). However, the feelings they have for you don't just magically go away because you hurt them. It's one of the reasons betrayals are so difficult to deal with. If they decide to put their faith in you again, they themselves are "trying" to trust you again, and usually it's because you've acknowledged their feelings and shown them it truly wasn't your intention to hurt them. However, that trust was already shattered once, it doesn't just magically go back to where it was before. Doubts will remain and they may reasonably stay sensitive towards the issue for awhile. Ultimately, "time" and showing that you do care and don't hurt them like that again, will make it easier to accept and believe how genuine you are being.

Lastly, I want to say just in case: You ultimately made a mistake. A mistake which, importantly, if you truly and genuinely acknowledge, you work hard towards not repeating. We all make mistakes and we ideally grow and become better for it. Use it to improve yourself and become a better you, not to put yourself down. And similarly, it's not good reason for the person to put you down either. The person will be understandably sensitive for some time. While it's important to be understanding, it doesn't justify abuse or retaliative behavior. Sometimes and sadly, betrayals can destroy relationships as even if the person is trying, they may still not be able to truly forgive you and act in hurtful ways towards you. If you're genuine, learn from it, but don't let it or others using it destroy you either. Again, just saying in case.

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devastatedinptbo's picture
(91140)
Dec 4

Maybe you could try enrolling in a recovery program of some sort with your wife. I know I still struggle, 4 years post d-day, with intrusive thoughts about the betrayal and just a general feeling of disappointment in my husband’s choices which has extended to people in general to some degree. I work a lot harder now than I used to have to to find genuine happiness and fulfillment each day. Focusing on small things to feel grateful for each day is helpful. But what I really would have liked was for my husband to just say that he sees me struggling with some depression that has resulted from his affair and that he has looked into some things that we could do together to help. Like participating in a structured Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program, or something like that. Where he took the reins to help me instead of just asking what I wanted him to do. When you’re feeling depressed finding the motivation to help yourself is very difficult. And when you feel like you shouldn’t have to work so hard because you feel this way due to someone else’s actions, then you can also feel resentful towards them for this work. If the person who caused the trauma took your hand and did the work with you because they wanted you to feel better, in my opinion that is huge. And really demonstrates that they have changed and actually do care.

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