A letter of comfort and understanding for those betrayed

You’ve just discovered your husband has been unfaithful.  I want to wrap my arms around you and tell you that I understand, that I know how badly you hurt right now, how hopeless you feel.  What you are going through is arguably one of the hardest things to endure.  Unlike a death which has some finality to it, the loss of a spouse is one that permeates your life, and feels as though it extends forever.  Let me tell you now that it won’t.  You WILL heal.  You WILL get through.  I will not sugar coat the facts, and tell you that the road ahead of you will be easy, or that healing will come with little effort and perseverance on your part.  This next year will be one of the most confusing, painful, emotionally charged, and physically draining times you ever spend.

You are likely experiencing a whirlwind of emotions.  You are angry and you have every right to be.  The one in whom you have placed all of your trust has betrayed you.  The sexual intimacy which was so important to you has been stolen by another.  Whether your partner’s mistress was aware of you and your marriage won’t change the fact that you were sharing your husband with another woman, and the reality of that is excruciating.  You likely want to know every single detail of the affair.  When, where, who, how and most importantly of all WHY?  You may never get a satisfying answer to that last on.  If you have asked him why and he says he doesn’t know, please be patient – he may not yet be aware of why.  The reasons why men cheat varies., and he will need to do some introspective self-evaluation of the time preceding and during the affair to learn more about what was going on inside his mind at the time, and the constellation of factors that came together to cause that outcome.  It isn’t as simple as we women like to believe it to be, so let me get this out of the way for you now: It isn’t because you aren’t beautiful.  It isn’t because you aren’t thin enough.  It isn’t because you aren’t smart enough.  It isn’t because you aren’t satisfying in bed.  It isn’t because you’re old, because of your crow’s feet, or because sometimes you order dinner in.  In fact, the reason that he cheated has more to do with HIM than it does with YOU.  He chose his mistress not because she is prettier than you, because if statistics mean anything, she isn’t.  You feel picked over, but you need to realize that she wasn’t picked because she holds any distinct advantage over you.  She was successful in attracting your husband because of what was going on in HIS mind at the time, his own personal difficulties and how she made him FEEL.  She may have stroked his ego, made him feel important, distinguished, powerful, intelligent, successful.  Regardless of how it came to be, chances are that it had very little to do with you.

Whether the affair was unearthed because of a disclosure from your spouse or because you discovered it, my hope for you is that your husband is prepared for what lies ahead.  I hope that he has laid all of his cards on the table, been completely honest, and that he is answering all of your questions openly and with honesty.

You will have to decide whether you want to know all of the intimate details of the affair, or whether a vague glossing over will satsify you.  Perhaps you want to know how many times they were sexually intimate and in what settings.  If that doesn’t satisfy you, perhaps you also want to know how they had sex, what kinds of sex they had, whether he enjoyed it, whether she did.  Both options have consequences that you need to be able to foresee before you walk down that path.  Finding out the skeleton details might leave you always wondering what else there was.  It may lead you to finding out the details in a slower, more drawn-out way that sucks the life out of you each time a new detail is revealed.  You will also know that there are details and events in the affair that are still unknown to you, leaving you feeling as though you are still “in the dark”.  You might fill in the missing details with inaccurate ones, possibly causing yourself more grief when you think about painful events that never took place.  On the other hand, finding out all of the nitty gritty details will give you the peace of mind of knowing that you know as much about the affair as he does, putting you on, what feels like, more even ground.  The consequence to this choice is that with all of this information, you will now create visual movies of the events, as they played out, and they will play in looped-mode over and over again in your mind.  They are hard to erase.

You will need to decide whether this is a deal-breaker to your marriage, or whether you are strong enough to weather the storms that lie ahead.  Are you willing to fight for your marriage?  Do you want to get down to the core of why and how this happened, and walk away with a better understanding of yourself and your partner?  Would you and your partner consider marital therapy?

You will want to gather a support system around you of people you trust with the delicate issues you are facing.  No matter how tempting it feels to want to drag your husband’s name through the mud, it will not serve you well to tell more people than is necessary.  Tell only those people who are, as Shirley Glass calls them in her book “Not Just Friends”, “friends of the marriage”.  Glass defines ‘friends of the marriage’ as those who wish your marriage to succeed.  They are those who will support you non-judgmentally without trying to bias your decisions due to their own issues.  If you are ready, seek out a marital therapist who has a special interest in affair recovery.  If approved by your marital therapist, seek out an individual therapist to work on the issues that face you.  If there is a support group in your area, consider joining one to tell your story.  If no such support group exists, write a blog, keep a journal, share that journal with your husband.  Let him read it and respond.

Do something that nourishes your soul.  Run. join an exercise program, perhaps arrange for a weekly coffee meet-up with other women.  Try to do at least one thing every week that forces you to think and talk about something OTHER than the affair.  It will allow you to feel a sense of the lost normalcy you once had before the affair permeated your life.  Don’t isolate yourself.  Recovering from an affair can be a very isolating experience, especially if you haven’t found a local support group, if friends live far away, or if you’ve chosen to keep this private.

Finally, know that you are not alone.  Statistics, unfortunately, reveal that infidelity is very common. You have joined an elite club of women where none of us sought membership,  but we are all joined.  We feel, we hurt, we grapple, and we understand.  I am here to tell you that you WILL get through this, you will wake up one morning without the immediate desire to cry, you will find yourself and your partner again.  Do your best, don’t set your expectations for healing, and know that you will arrive when you arrive.  It isn’t a race, and there aren’t any winners.  When you get there, you will have gained a perspective that at this moment, you cannot fathom. Do the best that you can, and remember that there is always someone that cares about you, will listen to you, and wants the best for you.  I am one of them.



  1. That is a wonderful open letter to those out there who had been betrayed. It is great to see that you are showing others they are not the only ones out there. By the way, you should also write an open letter to those who steal husbands and wives off innocent spouses.

  2. Whatsaysyou, thank you for your comment! In my early research into infidelity, what I found was missing was any kind of support for me as a betrayed spouse. I saw the stats, but without a support group of other women close to me, I had no way of knowing what was normal, what I could expect, and a supportive ear. I wanted other betrayed spouses to know that someone gets it….someone else has been there, and understands. Thank you for reading!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for trying to give me hope. But I’ll NEVER get my head around what has happened. We’ve been together for 32 years. I was a teenager still and barely remember not being with him. He says he loves me and is working hard to keep our marriage, but I’m not sure I can do this anymore.
    When I die I want to be cremated so my corpse isn’t slowly rotting in the ground, no longer alive, but not quite gone. That’s how I feel about my marriage. Finish it off properly, instead of allowing it to rot under all the pain. It would still hurt, but at least I’d be the one being pro-active in ending it, instead of a pathetic victim.
    God I sound like an old sad-sack, but it’s how I feel at this moment

    • Jennifer I don’t think you sound like an old sad sack at all. You sound like a woman who has given her life and love entirely to someone who betrayed your trust, and who now feels foolish for not having known, for having trusted, and now for staying. I’ve felt that way too. I often still do. My therapist often remind me that it is the strongest to stay. It is easy to walk away, to abandon, to try and forget. What’s difficult is trying to rebuild in the face of the pain every single day. It takes tenacity, it takes strength, it takes perseverance, it takes everything you have. I have often thought as well and I look foolish and weak for staying. I’m sure my friends and family feel that I am week for staying. I am, however, committed to my children, and to my family. I often think that if there were no children involved, I would have left. But then, in the face of this affair, my husband has truly stepped up. He admitted the affair, I didn’t find out. He sought out counseling with me, and attended every session. He dug deep, seeking introspection, and understanding about why he committed this heinous act. He suffers every day, alongside me, and try as we might to share our struggles, we also don’t want this to be our lives. Unfortunately, over the last couple of years, this has been our life. Our discussions revolve around us, our thoughts consumed by this. This is a hell that I would not wish on any living human being. Those who have not been through it, simply do not understand. They can say “that must be very difficult”, but they will never truly understand.

      Your marriage has been a very long one. It sounds like you’ve been together for very long time. I don’t know the reason for your husband’s affair, and I don’t need to. What I do know is that you were a woman who has been hurt horribly. You have every right to feel the way that you do. It is heart wrenching. It is heartbreaking. It is life-changing.

      You are not weak for staying. You are not weak for trying to see the best in a difficult situation. You’re not weak for pulling yourself up in the face of immense pain, and releasing the demons had on. You are not we were facing this every single day, and trying to make it better. If anything, that makes you and I warriors. And I don’t feel that anyone can tell you, me, or any other woman who has chosen to stay and fight for her relationship, that she is weak.

  4. Struggling with this says:

    Thank you so much for this comment and your blog. I have been so scattered, scared, and franly exhausted at this discovery. It has rocked me to my core, taken me to the depths of despair. I did not know it was even possible to feel this kind of pain and anguish. I keep thinking what is so wrong with me… You have helped so much in the past 3 days since the confession that has tone apart my whole world.

  5. I would like to thank you for opening up ang sharing your blogs to women like me who is undergoing such a hard time over cheating and betrayal. Every word you said is so helpful…thank you so much.. we will all be healed and get better in God’s perfect time.

  6. Christina says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this blog. I have been dealing with this affair of my husband’s for 6 months now and just stumbled onto your site today. I can’t tell you how inspiring it is or how touched I am to see that I am not alone in my feelings. While I have wonderful, supportive friends, not one of them really know the pain or confliction I am feeling. My husband is also having a child with the other woman. I am nothing short of devastated, I have wanted a child of my own for 7 years now. I really needed this blog today.

  7. You are an absolute Godsend!!! I can relate to just about everything you have written on your blog! It has given me a whole renewed sense of hope that I CAN overcome this pain and restore my marriage!!! I truly think you and I are a lot alike!

  8. Glad to know someone else out there understands. Hopefully we can help each other in this journey!!

  9. Hang in there everyone. The shock and agony take a while to subside but it does get better. It’s been over a year for me now and I can smile and laugh again (without forcing it or faking), look forward to things and not obsess or even think about it nearly as often… there IS life on the other side of Dday. Hold on tight and know you will be okay, one way or the other. Believe that.

  10. Anngrucritonymous says:

    In my most darkest hours, I stumbled upon your blog when I was searching something along the lines of “forgiveness, rescuing my marriage”. Your blog has been a great resource of insights on the paths, turmoils and roller-coaster rides on surviving infidelity, and some of your posts speak to me as if you had pulled the words right out of my heart and my head. By now, I think I have read almost every one of your posts in the last 5 days…and I can only imagine how strong you have to be have gone through the journey that you did. It is only the beginning for me. It seems that affairs are mostly either discovered or being fessed up on the spouses’ own accord. Mine was in between – the OW contacted me through my blog disguised as a fan, followed by a couple of email exchanges which she then said that the only reason she contacted me was because she found my husband very familiar. Her emails were cryptic, but odd. When I finally asked my husband if he has ever cheated on me a month later, he fessed up. It went on for 7-8 months but it was already over. And this is the guy who used to scoffed at infidelity and was so sure he could never be compromised! My world crumbled. I always thought I would be walking out. The next day, I emailed her to tell her to stop pretending because not only I knew, we actually knew each other and have hung out several times before (during their affair which I hadn’t a clue on). She then replied saying it wasn’t her who emailed me, but her “friend” while insinuated that I was rude to her “friend” (my words in the mail were not very kind!) She blatantly confessed about the affair, said some dubious things to plant more suspicious in my head, said she hates my husband, promised not to contact me again and apologised while reminding me that she is hurting too.(oh really! FO!) Meantime, she sent a text message to my husband daring me to confront her in her face.

    The vindictive OW apparently even told my husband that she was pregnant while they were still at it- an almost impossible thing to happen since he has the vasectomy. I guess she just had to try that trick, and probably got upset it did not work in her favour. (Stupid, stupid man!!). As I read some of your post on the OC, having to pay for child support AND having to deal with a psycho, I can appreciate how much more hell you have been through and I cannot imagine the kind of hell I would have to go through had the OWC been borned. It has only been slightly more than a month since the discovery. We have two young kids and we are trying to heal and rescue our marriage. My husband has severed all ties with her and she hasn’t contacted me again. I ignored her last email, although sometimes, I wonder if should reply to that to hear her side of the story. Just because she apologised doesn’t mean all is well again. How dare her!! Your “entitled” post comes to mind. Women can really be the most cruel creatures on earth sometimes.

    We are seeking counselling, and me some sort of therapy. I hope one of these days, I can join you on the side, stronger. Thank you for your blog and your honest postings – they give me hope.

  11. So hurt says:

    It has been almost 2 1/2 years since I found out about the affair. It was brief, with a client and all contact was cut off . We have done counseling and learned my husband has ADD , medication has 100% helped him focus on things when before I just thought our marriage was just falling apart because of us. I am really struggling with two things, first, my self esteem . I just lost all my confidence and feel so unloved by this betrayal. My husband has really hung in there but I am really struggling to move forward and I can get very mean , insecure and jealous. He is a contractor ( attractive and charismatic) and deals with many woman as clients ( the other woman was divorcing at the time) how do I put this behind me ? The other big issue is when I see movies or television shows and an affair is part of the script, it is such a huge trigger for me and everything just comes right back to when I found out. This is a second 10 year marriage for me , my late husband died from cancer after 10 years of marriage . I am really struggling with keeping my head above water with two very painful occurrences in my life. I am hanging in there for my children but I really need to know how to keep going because I am just hitting a wall over and over with this pain.

  12. This letter is like fresh air to me since I feel I am not alone. I believed my husband atleast in this respect more trust worthy even more than myself. But suddenly two days back he told that he wants separation as he is in true love with another women. And the cruel women also know the marital status of my husband. We have a 5 years son too. I am very much depressed.

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