What to Do When You Discover Your Husband’s Having an Affair

Discovering Your Husband is Having an Affair: Your Next Steps
If you’ve landed at this post, it’s likely because you just discovered your husband is having an affair. I’m so, so sorry.

It’s a cliche to say “it could happen to anyone”, but I do believe that’s true. While affairs may be more likely to happen in relationships that are distant, that have unresolved conflict, or that have tension sexually, they’re not confined to those relationships. A while ago I wrote how emotional affairs especially can pop up at work, or anywhere men and women naturally spend extended time together. Sometimes people in even good marriages do terrible things.

I remember being stunned when a neighbour of mine announced that her husband was leaving her for another woman. This was a family that did everything together–skiing trips, volunteer work. They had even taken a sabbatical and taken their kids sailing around the world! They were “Family”. Yet the husband met somebody at work, and devastated his wife and his kids in the process.

I have seen affairs happen after couples have put a lot of work into their relationships, and I have seen affairs when the relationship was already a mess. It isn’t always straightforward.

And so today I’d like to talk to the women who find themselves devastated because they’ve discovered their husband’s infidelity (and even if you’re not there, please read along, because chances are all of us know someone who will walk through this one day).

1. Surround Yourself with Help

You’re going to be devastated when your husband confesses he’s having an affair. Sometimes we don’t want to tell anyone because we’re hoping it will all go away; he’ll wake up and realize what a mistake he’s making, and then we can just go forward like nothing happened. Don’t do that. You really need some help. You need someone to talk with, and someone to pray with, and someone who will support you in your feelings.

When you feel sad and betrayed, you tend to want to go to your husband with those feelings because he’s usually the one you talk to about important things. Find someone else. You need to get some perspective.

'worth a thousand words' photo (c) 2007, Jesslee Cuizon - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

2. Realize That Just Because Your Husband Is Having an Affair NOW, Your Marriage is Not Necessarily Over

Here’s the most important thing: while Jesus allowed divorce in the case of infidelity, he did not command it. And I know many couples who have survived affairs and emerged strong from it (I won’t say they’ve emerged better, because I don’t believe that; but I do think that God brought good out of the situation and helped them cling together).

One couple I know ended up separating for a year and a half. He needed some time to get his head on straight, and once he did, he realized he didn’t want to lose his family–he chose his wife over the “other woman”. It took several years for his wife to trust him again, but she was eventually able to. That was over fourteen years ago now, and they’re doing great.

Sometimes, too, affairs haven’t even been consummated. Maybe he’s announced that he’s “in love” with someone, and doesn’t know what to do. Physical affairs often begin as emotional affairs, and if he feels “in love”, he may think he needs to confess. But that doesn’t mean that he will necessarily act on it.

That’s why it’s important to look at the individual situation. Is your husband following Christ? Is he open to the Holy Spirit? Is this out of character for him, or is it another in a long line of affairs? Does he check out every woman and make comments about women’s appearance, or has he generally stayed faithful in mind and body beforehand?

Sometimes an affair will signal the end of the marriage, especially if a guy never really has been fully faithful. But other times it’s a mistake that he’s made, and he’s really confused, and really hurting, and it won’t mean that the marriage is over. So do not despair!



3. Take Stock of Your Anger

Now it’s time to deal with the anger that you’re feeling. In some cases, it’s not the affair that leads to the divorce; it’s the anger of the other partner. He confesses, and a big part of him wants the marriage to work, even if he can’t bring himself to say that because he’s so confused. But in her anger she pushes him away and decides that she can never trust him again.

Anger is real. Anger is even justified, I believe, when someone has betrayed you like that. But don’t make decisions in your anger, and, as much as possible, try not to push him away because of your anger. Talk to someone else about your anger. Try to work through it with a mentor. Anger is not a good partner for making decisions.

4. Focus on the Children

When you’re both confused and hurt, the thing that it’s easy to talk about is the affair itself. How could he do this? Why her? Is she better than me?

While there is a time and a place for that, it’s often better to work through the whys and the hows of the affair after you’ve made the decision whether or not you’re going to stay together.

So let’s talk about something on which you have common ground, and which can rescue the relationship: namely, the children. I wrote a post a while back on what to say to a friend who is contemplating leaving her husband. And I suggested that you steer clear of taking about the affair, because the unfaithful spouse can always justify that in his or her mind. So focus on the kids instead. Do we really want to do this to the kids? Do we want to put them through this?

Talk about what you’d like for the kids, and how you’d like them to grow up. And then perhaps it will be easier for him to choose to stay.

5. Don’t Be a Doormat


Finally, don’t be a doormat. While some women react in anger, others do the opposite, essentially saying, “I’ll do anything as long as you stay.” That’s not healthy for the relationship, and it’s likely to backfire, for one simple reason: you can’t respect a doormat. In order for him to stay, he has to want to be with you. He isn’t going to want to be with someone he can’t respect.

The best book I have ever read on this subject is Love Must Be Tough by James Dobson. It walks through how to save a marriage when only one partner wants it saved, usually because the other partner is having an affair. And he goes through the feelings that you’ll experience, shows you how to run to God with your issues, how to find your own pride and your own identity once again as you turn to God in prayer, and shows the most successful route for saving a marriage. He believes that entails allowing the wayward spouse to experience the full consequences of his actions. So rather than lying over and taking whatever he brings in his confusion, you draw clear boundaries. I highly recommend it.

I get emails every week from women who have discovered their husbands are having affairs. Some of these are online relationships; some are at work; some are at church. Some of the scenarios I read and think, “that doesn’t sound like there’s much hope (outside of a miracle)”. This is a pattern for him (and often extended even before the wedding). But others I read and think, “that could be rebuilt”.

If you ever hear that devastating news, I just pray that you will find yourself someone to talk to, read the book, and then pray about what course you will pursue. Reconciliation, if possible, is usually the best option, for you and your kids. But it is not always the best option. And whichever route God leads you through, He will always be there to carry you.

UPDATE: A reader rightly pointed out that I should have had a sixth point, namely, pray! Of course! So sorry. I assumed it throughout the points, but I should have been more up front. But prayer is so needful, especially in these hard times. This is one of those things that you can’t logically think through or logically figure out what to do, because there’s so much going on you can’t see. You need God to work–not just on your husband, but also on you to give you strength to do what’s necessary, in whatever direction. So pray! God will show up.

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  1. Excellent choice in books, Sheila! I read this book many years ago while separated from my own wife for almost a year. I put much of the advice into real-time practice and began to notice a distinct turn-around in the way things were going.

    The steps you’ve outlined are good, sound things… and the biggest is to find a GODLY person (of the same sex) who can walk with you through the whole thing.

    I TOTALLY agree that adultery does not have to be the end of the marriage… it IS a forgivable offense, and can be walked through. Yes, it is PAINFUL, and memories will haunt you. But my wife and I know that “through Christ, we can do ALL things.” (even walk out the other side of adultery.) If you want to read our story, I’ve tagged the relevant article to this comment.

    Thank you for posting this Sheila… SOMEONE out there needed this today. God Bless You!
    Jason recently posted…Inner Demons?My Profile

    • You should write a post on that and send it to me, Jason! I’d love to post it. I think it would be good to post on how to recover from infidelity and give people some hope.

  2. Momof3boys says:

    Thank you for this post. My husband and I are in the process of recovering from an affair that he had 2 years ago, but was confessed to me 8 months ago. He up and left our 2 year old son and me (5 months pregnant). He moved out for four months, said he wanted a divorce, and started sleeping with a woman he used to know in high school. He turned his back on God, and it was a dark, awful time in both our lives. I knew he was having an affair, if not physical, at least emotional. I spent two years trying to find proof, and this past October, I found it in an email. I confronted him, and this time, he did not deny it. My world felt like it was crumbling. Some days it felt like I was sinking. I surrounded myself with a few very close friends (this affair has never become public) and I made the decision to forgive him and to stay.

    I’d like to add one thing to your list of steps to recovery, and that is “pray, pray, pray”. I’ve found that when my relationship with the Lord is a priority, and I am relying solely on Him, it is easier to let go of bitter and angry feelings. I have spent countless times (especially my only quiet “mommy time” in the shower lol) praying for patience, understanding, strength, not to be bitter, for acceptance, and for the woman he had an affair with. I pray that our marriage will never have to come to this again, and that I will not use the affair against my husband when we argue. Every day is a struggle, but it does get easier. Without prayer, I do not believe the road to full recovery is possible. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to be intimate with my husband again, and I’d be lying if I said it has been easy. I find times when we are together that I wonder if what he is doing with me is how he was with her, and the images that can conjure in my head are nauseating at the least. I have learned to curb her presence in our bed, and find myself in prayer a lot when we are having sex. I thought regaining intimacy wouldn’t be possible, but we are both working very hard on this. Thank God for His infinite grace and wisdom, and His perfect plan for our lives.

    Sheila, thank you for pointing out that divorce is optional, many jump to divorce before trying to find the root cause of the affair. My husband and I made the choice to work on our marriage, mostly because of our children in the beginning, but as He makes positive changes as a father and husband, it becomes much easier to want to make our marriage work because of the man he is striving to be. I want women out there who are facing the discovery of their husband’s affair to know that not all is lost. With God all things are possible. Your relationship is strained, and you feel tired, but don’t lose hope. Pray. Forgive. Take steps towards fixing the root cause of the affair. Your marriage is worth all of the work.

    My husband’s affair was both the best and worst thing that ever happened to our marriage.

    • Definitely pray! I’m sorry I didn’t list that; I sort of assumed it. And one more thing about prayer: I don’t think we can really know, on our own, what relationships are salvageable and what ones aren’t. We really need God’s wisdom for that. And another big reason to pray is that we need someone to talk to, and we can’t talk to our husband, who generally is the one that we unload on. It’s often in these darkest moments that God becomes most real to us, and that we can most feel Him. If anyone else is walking through this right now, I pray that you, too, will feel God’s arms around you.

      • Definitely! God directs our steps if we are willing to listen! God has told me to stay and that we will have victory over this, and it took YEARS, but it happened!

    • I am also going through the recovery proccess after infidelity. I appreciate your comment about praying during sex. I’ve found it hard to keep those nausiating images out of my mind and reconnect. I also have a hard time with my body image during those intimate times. Sometimes I feel so lost and it feels like God has left me alone. I know I need to trust God, but I’m having a hard time trusting him again. it feels like he didn’t protect me from this awful thing. I know these things sound ridiculous, I always trusted God before. I feel liek I am disappointing him in the midst of my pain. Any advice for trusting God again and regaining my self-worth and body image?

      • my husband is having an affair,just found out.We have a teenage daughter and a four month baby.I called the woman and she told me there is nothing I can do to stop them.She lets me know when he is at her house.I am so depressed

      • I am at such a loss for words. I know my husband is having an affair and I just don’t know what to do. This woman has been in my home while I was out of town …at my son’s football games and he is saying he is out of town and is with her. My husband goes to church every Sunday and leads the church in song and in prayer but treats me like a second class person on the street. How do I cope? I am floded with emotions and wondering how do I deal? we have been married for almost 9 years….I feel isolated and rejected…I’m trying to hold on but I feel so alone…..

        • April O'Brien says:

          Gosh I was right where you are just a few months ago. I know people will recommend this or that and you may agree or disagree… it’s what’s in your heart that matters. After all hope was lost, I recently learned that adultery DOES NOT mean your marriage is over!! I have been with my husband almost 10 years and went thru a similar ordeal with him- I’m APRIL from Post #36 above. We’ve now come out on the other side… happily married and very appreciative of one another. It’s as if my husband has fallen in love with me all over again! I took the advice of a lady on this same website and read a book called “Love Must Be Tough”…I promise this book will teach/show you how to take control of your marriage, win your husband back and KEEP HIM FOREVER!! I have never gone out of my way to advise someone I didn’t know personally, especially concerning such a serious situation, but THIS BOOK WILL SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE EVEN IF YOU WORRY IT’S TOO LATE! It’s unlike anything I’ve ever come across before…I suppose that’s why it’s still a popular book (1st Published in the 80’s) with the most OUTSTANDING reviews and stories I’ve ever read! Good luck dear friend, you’ll be so glad you didn’t give up.

          • Oh, April, I’m so happy for you! I recommend Love Must Be Tough all the time–It was probably me that you heard it from. I’m so glad you got that book!

          • April O'Brien says:

            Mrs. Sheila…As a matter of fact, it sure was you that recommended “Love Must Be Tough.” I read it cover to cover and did exactly what it advised. My marriage has survived the worst of our crisis and now we are in a good place. Not perfect, but each day is better than the day before. We will come out of this with a stronger, more solid marriage and appreciate the work it took for our relationship to survive such a blow. We both know we never want to experience it again, nor cause the other such pain and heartache. Mrs. Sheila, thank you for being a friend when I needed one the most. Your advice saved my marriage…I’m forever grateful. You are wonderful person and I applaud all that you do. -Mrs. April

          • Thank you so much for reaching out to me. This has been the lowest point in my life I have every experienced. I tend to wonder why do I stay? I look back and think about it…he has never been faithful our entire marriage. The only thing different is this time around he is thinking he is in love with this woman. He is distant, mean, and just downright disrespectful all the while playing the “christian role” to everyone around. I have sought out 3 different counselors and have gone to our pastor of our church and I don’t feel supported at all. I’m at a loss…. wondering what is so wrong with me?He won’t even hug me nor are we intimate. How can a person be so cold to the mother of their child and wife? I’m not arguing or fussing…I’m at the end my rope….

  3. Just the words “your husband’s having an affair” make me depressed. This is all good advice. I hope I never need it! Praying for those who do.
    Cindy recently posted…Why Are We Trying to Save Marriage?My Profile

  4. Great book! It turned things around for my marriage when I started living the truth that I deserved someone that loves me and not someone who was going to stay in the marriage because it was “right.” I was not a doormat and I got the respect and love back from my spouse.

    • That’s wonderful! I’d love to hear more about what happened, so if you happen to see this follow-up comment, and you want to elaborate, that would be wonderful. I know a lot of really hurting women are reading, and any hope we can give them is so important.

      • Oh, dear, long story! haha My husband has/had a sexual addiction, in the beginning it was all men, so he could feel like he wasn’t cheating. Obviously there was more to it than just feeling like not cheating, but that is an even longer story. He did end up with a woman at one point and was going to leave when I found out. He felt she was his soul mate. I told him I didn’t want to be around or have the kids around to see when God slaps him back to his senses. So he took us both to our pastor and we started some deep counselling with Rob Jackson from Colorado. He has ties with Focus on the Family, so he is easy to find for anyone who needs it. Because I chose to stay with my husband I was unable to really confide in anyone and get support, so my only support was the person who caused the pain and had no remorse and wasn’t even moved by my crying.
        I read the book about tough love and I wrote him a letter that I wanted him to leave because I deserved to be loved and respected by my spouse, not just tolerated because it was the right thing to do. I would not stay in a marriage if it wasn’t because of love. I don’t remember all the details now, it has been 8 years, but when I saw myself as valuable and portrayed that, he fell back in love with me. It really was like he turned into a puppy dog following me around for a long time. I don’t know why that worked, but it did.
        He did go on to cheat again, through emails, he did not ever physically cheat again. So we did go through another bad time about a year ago. But he has finally completely submitted to God and he is free of his addiction! 15 years of it, so was it worth it? Yes! I did not always feel like it was worth it, but it really was.
        What are you willing to go through for someone’s soul? There really isn’t anything that we can go through that is worse than Christ’s innocent death on the cross for US. I keep it in perspective by reminding myself that sin is sin, and there was not one drop of blood that cost more for his sins than mine. I am as guilty, and just as set free!

        • Qtpies, I think this is so important to understand:

          but when I saw myself as valuable and portrayed that, he fell back in love with me.

          that’s really what Dobson talks about. We have to treat ourselves with respect, and not let the other person treat us like dirt. When we do that, often the relationship is turned around. But even if it isn’t, and the relationship can’t be saved, you have still learned to see yourself as God sees you. You have learned to rely on God. You have learned that God really does treasure you and carry you. And then that will help you handle the aftermath.

          I’m glad that in your marriage that God brought victory! But I can also say that God brought victory in my mother’s life, even through a divorce she didn’t want because of my father’s infidelity. God brings victory when we learn to rely on Him. But I’m so glad that He restored your marriage, because restoration is always a beautiful thing.

  5. Anonymous says:

    How ironic that you posted this today, May 15th which is my 13 Wedding anniversary? I found out last December that my husband had been having an affair which allegedly ended in June of last year. I discovered emails between him and his affair partner. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I was a zombie for three days..didn’t sleep for two days…barely ate. I confronted my husband as he’d never admitted this to me. It took two full days for him to admit to me that he’d been sexually intimate with this person, a former high school classmate of his.

    Even though we are working on our marriage, I still am disgusted by what he did. I looked to my faith to carry me through…lost a few friends who think I am stupid for staying with this man, the father of my son. Sometimes I think I’m crazy for staying with my husband…We did go to counseling, which is currently on hold as I recover from having my kidney removed three weeks ago due to cancer. God surely has thrown some curveballs my way these last 5 months, that’s for sure! But HE has gotten me through these difficult times.

    I’ve read your posts over and over again regarding divorce and children. In the end, I know my son would be devastated if I chose to divorce my husband and in all honesty, I cannot do that to him. My husband has cut off ALL communication with his affair partner. As have I.

    She was a good friend to me at one point…all a ruse to keep me from suspecting her of having an affair with my husband, when she has a loving husband of her own. Whether her husband knows about this affair is unknown to me because she went to the local PD and filed a complaint against me and my husband saying we were harassing her through text and email. Of course I sent her an email and some texts asking her about the affair to which she denied it. I have copies of the emails between her and my husband and told her I was going to show them to her husband so she put a stop to that by contacting the local PD and now we are not allowed any contact and vice versa. I never threatened her just told her that I thought her husband ought to know about her extracurricular activities and I have proof. So…..she ends up coming out of this looking like a saint who’s a good mother and wife, volunteering at her DD’s schools…and there isn’t anything I can do.

    So I’ve dropped it and am moving on. I can’t let the bitterness keep me from repairing my marriage.

    • That sounds like a very healthy course of action. I’m so sorry for your cancer, too. You have had so much to deal with. That’s wonderful that your husband has stopped the affair, but healing takes a long time, I know. I’ll pray that God will bring healing to both your body and your soul, and that He will surround you with good mentors who won’t just tell you to give up, but who will honestly seek God’s face about it.

    • Hello, I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer right after my spouse left me for another woman this year. He has broken up with her 4 times then keeps getting back together with her. He hasn’t supported me through the cancer but my family has been there. He lived with her twice then moved to a trailor park down the road but is still seeing her but doesn’t want to get divorced. I am patiently waiting as I want to work on the marriage. We have a 16 year old and an 18 year old. – Kathryn

  6. Allison Wilson says:

    I would add one addendum to the first suggestion “Surround yourself with help”. Be SURE that the people you put around you are going to BE a real help. Are they grounded in their faith, such that they won’t allow this to damage their own relationship with your spouse, holding grudges for “what you did to my friend”. Will they call you on the carpet for things that you have done/are doing that are against what Christ would want of you. In love, of course, but we all need someone to help hold us accountable. Don’t just tell everyone you know about it. Some may not be mature enough in their own faith to forgive that person, especially family members. You have to think about what that knowledge might do if you ARE able to put your marriage back together.

    As a friend to several who have gone through this devastation, I know that things CAN be put back together if Christ is the focus. Only He can build those bridges, and the trust, again.

    • So true, Allison. I’d recommend not telling very many, but identifying godly people to talk to–don’t just necessarily run to your best friends. In fact, be careful of best friends because they will tend to side with you automatically and want you to punish your husband, which isn’t always (or even usually) the right thing to do.

      I think we all need a mentor that we know won’t blab to everyone else under the sun what’s going on in our personal lives, but will help us, talk with us, and pray with us. Often we don’t even need someone to give us advice; we just need someone to listen, to hand us the Kleenex, and to pray. That can be more of a help than anything else. What I’m learning myself as I step into this situations to mentor is that often it’s best not to give advice at all, or only in vague terms, unless God has revealed something specific to you. Usually people just need someone to talk to and pray with, and that is often the best gift you can give someone in this situation.

  7. Hi Sheila.
    I would like to offer “our story” to those who have been through infidelity and to bring hope. Almost four years ago, I found out about my husband series of affairs. Devastated…does NOT even define what I felt… However, it got worse, as I went down the abyss and then found myself getting revenge by having my own affair. I know right? The things fiction books are written about.
    However God had different plans….he literallly resurrected our marriage.
    We renewed our vows on our 20year anniversary last September.
    And out of our greatest and deepest hurts, God brought forth our greatest passions.

    You can read our story in its entirety here:

    I pray it blesses someone and brings them hope.

    • Hi Lesley,

      Beautiful story! Such a testimony to how it really is the Holy Spirit who works in a person’s heart to bring them back to Him. So glad your marriage is strong now, and that you’re telling others what God can do.

  8. Sheila –
    So glad you are talking about this! Of course my husband and I know first hand the devastation that an affair can create but also that God is bigger and can rebuild it back up to be more beautiful and healthy than it was before the affair.
    I would add a couple things: While I liked #4, I also would say that it is so important that you focus on you. That makes #5 a whole lot easier to accomplish. My husband and I like to tell people that when you hear of your husband’s affair and he’s in a dark place that’s not the time to “work” on HIM and try and change and control him (though we’d like to when we see the destruction they are creating) but it is a great time to work on YOU! To be the best you you can be, to be the best mom and friend you can be. To recognize the issues in your life that contributed to the affair (yes, in most cases, both parties contribute to an atmosphere that makes a marriage ripe for an affair).
    The other thing I would add is we have to be careful how we see being a doormat. Tons of women thought of me as a doormat because I simply chose to stay. I understand what you were saying – its in the way we carry ourselves and respect ourselves, but culturally we see the act of forgiveness and restoration as something that only a doormat would do. As if to say that because I stay or forgive I’m telling my husband that what he did was okay. That’s not the case at all! We need to combat that cultural lie with truth – staying doesn’t make you a doormat!
    People can check out my husband and my story at http://www.marriagelifeministries.org. We are also on Facebook and Twitter!
    Alecia recently posted…MT Project: Trust Requires My TransparencyMy Profile

    • Very true, Alecia. It is not being a doormat to decide to stay (well, not necessarily, anyway :) ). Dobson gives some examples in his book, for instance, of men who carried on affairs in their own home, while his wife was in the living room, because the wife wouldn’t set boundaries. Or women who basically said, “you can do whatever you want, and I’ll stay, but please, please don’t leave me.” That kind of thing does not rescue a marriage. Understanding how valuable you are to Christ, and working through His strength and His dignity, however, can go a long way.

    • I should have clarified my point #4, so thank you for bringing it up. What I meant is that it usually isn’t helpful at the early stages to try to talk through the affair, as if you can make him decide to stay by arguing that he doesn’t really love her, or he really loves you, or it’s just infatuation, etc. You aren’t going to make headway that way. But if you talk about the kids, you may be able to get on the same page (we need to work this out). Then you can talk together about the affair, after you’ve committed to working it out.

      I’d agree, though, that in those early days you need to work on YOU and care for YOU as well. But that can’t be done with your husband. It needs to be done with someone else.

      I’m glad your marriage came through this so well! Thanks for giving hope to many of our readers.

      • I agree Sheila. Your husband can’t be your go-to in these situations. You need a trusted friend or a professional counselor. I also wanted to add a book that was extremely helpful for both me, and my husband, by authors Harley and Chalmers, called Surviving an Affair. A must read in figuring out how to handle yourself as your cheating spouse is navigating through the “fog” and also gives great insights into all the NEEDS that may have been going unmet by you and your spouse that could have played a part in triggering the affair.
        Alecia recently posted…MT Project: Trust Requires My TransparencyMy Profile

  9. Charity says:

    I thought I would share my story. My husband had been pretty angry with me for a long time over little things like my weight and my nagging him for treating me like dirt during my pregnancy (he doesn’t like fat people so he didn’t want anything to do with me while I was pregnant which in turn made me depressed and I gained a lot of weight). He’s also pretty passive aggressive and keeps his feelings bottled up. Things just kept going down hill until the day before our 4th anniversary he told me he wanted a divorce. I begged and begged him not to leave me and he said he would think about it. I found out that he was having an emotional affair with my then best friend. I was so angry I packed my bags and prepared to leave him. Then my mom told me she would recieve me with open arms but I should pray first and really weigh what I want to do. So I prayed and the Lord told me to stay. I prayed through the book The Power of Prayer to Change Your Marriage by Stormie Omartian. This helped me a lot. My husband said he would work on our marriage with me but he still kept his emotional affair going with the other woman and would deny it when I would say anything. He wasn’t really commited to me and I became his doormat because I was afraid he would leave me. This went on for four months. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I even prayed that God would have something bad happen to the other woman so that my husband would lose interest in her. Have her get in a car wreck and be paralized anything I don’t care just have vengence on my enemy. I love God and his patience and mercy with me. He rebuked me and told me that instead I should pray for her. So I started praying that she would fall in love with someone else maybe even her own husband anything to stay away from mine. One day I just happened to be watching Matthew Hagee preaching on fasting so I decided I would go on a week long fast of plain food and fruits and veggies. A short time later my husbands affair came to an end (the other woman fell in love with another guy) and he repented. I became a doormat to my husband because for the time being it was neccessary. I have the book Love Must Be Tough and it’s a great book. My season of doormat is ending but during that time I learned a lot. I learned not to nag, I learned to present my opinions and ideas and then leave it to my husband to decide. If I don’t like his decision I pray that either God change his mind or my heart concerning the issue. I’ve learned to rely on God. Today my husband has a lot more respect for me and I’m finally feeling like I can be myself again. I just keep relying on God to get me through the hard times and He has been so good to me.

  10. I have to say this is really good advise. I just want to touch on one thing. Women cheat too. I did.
    My marriage was saved and like Shelia says, God can take it and use it for the good.
    I have blogged about my story, but I just wanted to tell you all that if you were the one who cheated and you do not know how to get back to a healthy and happy marriage there is a way.

    Quickly the points are this:
    1. Repent
    2. Pray
    3. Communicate
    4. Trust God and trust your husband

    I am not telling you to tell or not tell your husband. That is between you, him, and God. I can tell you that I went 7 years without telling mine and when God directed me to share with my husband the truth, God proved yet again how faithful He really is. Now what Satan meant for evil, God turned into my testimony.

    My hope is that if you are the one that missed the mark, that you not beat yourself up. That you truly return wholeheartedly to God and let Him heal your brokenness. There is a way to have a whole and happy relationship once more.
    Dayna Bickham recently posted…The 4 Laws of a Happy MarriageMy Profile

  11. Thank you for addressing this issue on your blog. As you know, talking about sex, especially sexual sin can be difficult for people. For anyone who has had to deal with the pain of adultery, finding resources, encouragement, and knowing someone out there understands can be huge!

    My husband confessed a sexual affair 7 years ago. God has faithfully been walking us through a journey of healing. It has not been easy and it’s a path we continue to walk, together.

    In the last few years, out of a desire to see Romans 8:28 worked out in our lives, I started a blog called, “Light in the Darkness: Hope for a marriage damaged by childhood sexual abuse, pornography, adultery…” The blog is based on conversations, questions, and advice given to a few betrayed women God brought into my life recently. And a desire to share my experiences and let others know they are not alone.

    I have shared your post (and your emotional affair post) on my blog as a resource. I hope others will find it encouraging, as well.

    Thank you!
    Light in the Darkness
    Light in the Darkness recently posted…Sharing Ideas: When Your Husband’s Having An AffairMy Profile

  12. Heather says:

    I am so glad to hear of so many marriages being saved after infidelity. However, mine is/was not so fortunate. There are factors others than those presented here; none-the-less, it is sad for both me and my children. Thanks for talking about this, Sheila.

    • I’m so, so sorry, Heather. I know you’ve been struggling for a while; I’m sorry that things haven’t worked out. Just be reassured that while I would have much preferred to have grown up in a 2-parent family, God was still with me as a child, and in some ways I think my marriage is now stronger for it. God will be with your kids, too, and with you as well. I pray that you will have lots of support.

    • There is a life after divorce and I have seen that over and over again. I have written about that too, but I will share that another day. Know I will be praying for you and the kids.

      In His blessings and love,
      Dayna Bickham recently posted…LIVE WITHOUT FEARMy Profile

  13. As someone who has been there, done that with this topic, I know it was important for me to surround myself with other Christian women for support. They gave me guidance and were very honest with me about taking responsibility for my life and relationship with Christ, regardless of my husband’s choices. At first, you just need support and encouragement. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I made the decision to separate for my husband for several months before deciding to stay in the marriage. That being said, I would not have stayed if he had not repented and made huge steps (such as going through a twelve step study, becoming a man of God, agreeing to go to counseling, etc.) to recover. Affairs happen for different reasons. It’s easy to focus on how much our spouse hurt us and their sins, but we also have to look at any ways we have contributed to the failure of the marriage. If your husband is willing to get help, you can take things slowly, trust God to help him become the man of God he should be and stop having the affair/cheating, and work on your own relationship with Christ. It’s a hard lesson, but eventually you have to realize you cannot control your husband or be his Holy Spirit. Trust can be rebuilt, but it takes time and effort on both parts. It is hard work for a marriage to be restored from an affair. It doesn’t always happen, but if anyone out there is going through this please know God will never leave your side…he will carry you! Also know restoration can happen. If anyone wants further resources, I have some great ones I can share. Shoot me an email and God bless!
    Melissa Titus recently posted…Frivolous Friday: Letters to LorneMy Profile

    • I forgot to add that I was pressured by friends and family to get a divorce immediately. They thought he would never change. Their view was “once a cheater, always a cheater.” That’s a myth. God can and does change people who never thought they would change. He is the ultimate Healer. I had to go with what God was telling me to do, not what everyone else thought. It was tough. For awhile, some of my family stopped contacting me and told me they had disowned me for not divorcing him.
      Melissa Titus recently posted…Frivolous Friday: Letters to LorneMy Profile

    • Heather says:

      Melissa, I think you hit the nail on the head – he has to want to work, to become a man of God. That was part of our problem. He didn’t think what he did was completely wrong. He would say he was wrong to hurt me; but he never really apologized. He would always say he had his own personal relationship with God. Now I know it’s not my place to judge that (that’s between him and God), but I do believe that actions speak louder than words, and his actions to not indicate such a good relationship. He was not willing to entertain the idea of transparency at all. He said I needed to trust him until he proved untrustworthy. Funny, I thought having the affair in the first place was untrustworthy. I am so grateful for my relationship Christ. If not for that, I would not have been able to handle this; and I know that He will help me get through this next period in my life as well.

  14. Anonymous says:

    A year and a half ago, I discovered my husband was having an affair. It was devastating, awful and took me to the depths of depression/PTSD like I’d never known.

    In your blogpost, you said this “And I know many couples who have survived affairs and emerged strong from it (I won’t say they’ve emerged better, because I don’t believe that; but I do think that God brought good out of the situation and helped them cling together).”

    Honestly, if I had read that a year and a half ago I wouldn’t have been very encouraged to stick it out in my marriage.

    You may personally be unable to imagine that couples will emerge better. But we serve a God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20).

    And, I can tell you from my experience that my marriage IS indeed BETTER. God has done more than I could have ever imagined a year and a half ago. He has turned ashes into beauty.

    In Isaiah 1:22, God says through Isaiah that Israel’s “silver has become dross.” But just three verses later (v.25), God promises that He will refine, as with a cleansing agent, the dross, and will remove all the base metal. The silver had actually become dross. But the Lord’s hand would turn the dross back into silver. In the same way, God has the power to undo what sin has achieved.

    God can do immeasurably more than we could imagine. Including making a marriage better than it was before an affair. He is the God of hope. He says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9). It may be beyond our comprehension, but His ways and thoughts are higher than ours and He can make any marriage better if He chooses. Even though that may seem impossible to our human brains. And it leaves us with nothing left to say except “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21)

    • Thank you for posting this, I noticed this line too. God doesn’t do things half-way. He always does them better than we can imagine. I’m waiting on my marriage miracle right now. It’s been 4 years since my husband left home & me & our 3 kids. I had no place to turn, my dreams were crushed, my heart broken. He swore there was no one else. I let Jesus rescue me. My life changed for the better, no doubt. During this waiting season, God has told me to “get myself right, because when I {GOD} get him {my husband} back, it will be good.” So, I wait, I trust God, and I believe it will be good. It’s depressing and out of God’s character to make something less than good.

      • Hello Anonymous, Wow I have been “waiting” 7 months for my spouse and keep wondering if it has been too long of a wait. I know God is still working on him and is not done with him yet. Glad to know you have waited this long as I keep thinking mine is an eternity. A week and a half ago he said he doesn’t want to divorce so I guess there is still a small speck we might be able to stay together.

  15. Sorry I missed this first time round, Sheila.

    You are so right about support, and it is vital that it is the right kind of support. If you think that there is even a smidgeon of a chance of saving your marriage, you need to keep clear of those whose advice is “Dump him!” like the colleagues of Katharine in Fireproof. If you don’t they will keep telling you that their friend/sister/cousin/neighbour had a situation just like yours and they were much better after divorce.

    I think, too, that there is more chance of a wife restoring a marriage after adultery than there is for a man, because before the woman gets into a sexual relationship, she has almost certainly emotionally left the marriage.

    That is why the christian Men’s Defense Network suggests tht a man in this position needs to get himself prepared in three ways, Spritually, Psychologically and Physically, as well as get himself “lawyered up”

    I think that the spiritual preparation is really important, whether you are aiming to restore the marriage or not, and that involves reading Psalms, where there is so much of despair being turned to praise, Proverbs, where there is much to say about life and marriage, and Paul, who offers so much insight into living in community as the body of Christ.

  16. Thank you so much for posting this, Sheila. I just found out my husband had an affair while I was pregnant with our second child. I’m thankful he finally confessed (after much prompting on my part) but he has no desire to work on things. I am completely broken and feel so helpless. My heart breaks for our 3 year old son and 3 mos old daughter. Ive already ordered Love Must be Tough and have an appt for marriage counseling. You blog has helped provide me with a place to start. The reminder to reach out to trustworthy friends/ family and to keep praying has been invaluable. Thank you!

    • Oh, Emily, I’m so sorry! I’m sure even getting out of bed everyday is a struggle. Let me just reassure you that no matter what happens with your marriage, God is big enough to carry you and He’s big enough to carry your children. My dad left when I was your children’s ages, and God has always been faithful to me. I have a wonderful relationship with my mother, and I have a wonderful family today, and it’s because of God’s grace.

      Still, I pray that your marriage will be restored, because restoration is always the most beautiful thing.

    • Emily – If you are looking for more encouragement, head over to thenatos.blogspot.com. Jami Nato, who writes the blog, was exactly where you are now. She had a 2 year old and a 3 month old and discovered her husband’s affair. Her story is beautiful and clearly reveals God’s glory and an amazing Gospel-centered approach to the position where you find yourself. She acknowledges the heart break exactly as she lived it and has experienced it first-hand. God restored their marriage, and she had thought it was hopeless. She encouraged my heart SO much on my darkest days. She has an amazing gift for writing about what the Lord has done in her marriage and in her own heart through all of it. I’ll be praying for you!

      • Thank you so much Jocelyn. I will definitely check out Jami’s blog. Your support – and prayers -mean so much to me.

    • Emily, please continue to pray for him. And DO read the book… then quickly put the things you learn into practice. It is an excellent book, and helped me many years ago when my wife and I spent almost a year apart. She had NO desire to reconcile with me, but as I put what I’d learned into practice, things began to turn around. And we were even living on opposite coasts from each other. God CAN work no matter where the two of you are. The book doesn’t have any “magic secrets” in it… it’s just Godly wisdom. God Himself is ultimately the one who you need to lean on and trust to do the miracles.

      I know from experience that God is capable of healing the most wretched of situations. Give HIM your heart… The entirety of Psalm 37 is good to meditate on for someone in your situation, but specifically Psalm 37:4 says: “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”

      Rest in HIM. I will pray for you too.
      Jason recently posted…Inner Demons?My Profile

      • Thank you Jason – your words are very encouraging. I pray my husband and I can find our way back to each other. As I flew home from my parents today, I kept reciting Psalm 37:4 in my head over and over again. Thank you so much for your prayers and words of wisdom.

  17. Emily, I am in a similar situation and share your pain. In my case, my husband says he wants to work on our marriage, but he is still “in love” with the other woman, which he never was with me. This is a really difficult thing to walk out, and I dread the thought of YEARS of more pain in the process of healing and reconciliation. But I am nonetheless determined to try. I am finding a new and deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father and Bridegroom in the process, and getting healing in my own soul in broken places I never knew were there. A great encouragement and help to me has been the work of the Holy Spirit through the ministry of Dr. Grant Mullen, author of “Emotionally Free”. There is a wealth of help freely available at http://www.drgrantmullen.com. Thank you for commenting – it helps to know I’m not the only one. Let’s keep each other in prayer!
    P.S. Tackling marital issues while trying to cope with a new baby and demanding young children is exhausting. Do ask for help, and try to make the most of any time you can get to yourself! That is helping me get through each week. <3

    • Sarah, great suggestions! I’m so glad that your husband has chosen to work on the marriage. I also wouldn’t give a lot of credence to the “in love” thing. What your husband likely felt was a very deep infatuation and connection, the depth of which he may not have felt before. But that’s not the same as love. It’s actually quite easy to feel that heady feeling with someone, especially if you can’t get married and the relationship is out of bounds. But real love is what comes day after day of spending your life together.

      It sounds like you’ve got a good support system and you’re really leaning on God, which is great. I do believe that He can bring reconciliation out of this–in fact, in almost all cases where both partners want to work on the marriage, that’s what does happen. And a few years from now you may look back and see how far you’ve come. So I would just encourage you to keep plodding away, and have hope, because God can rescue this–and it looks like that’s what He’s doing, too.

    • Sarah,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is SO helpful to know I’m not alone. I just wish he would be more adult about the whole situation – it makes it so much harder. We have our first counseling session tonight (fingers crossed he shows up) and I meet with my pastor next week. I am not sure what will happen but I pray that I find some guidance and hope. How do you make the decision to keep trying when it hurts so deeply? You mentioned that you dread the thought of more pain in the process of healing… That’s my biggest fear. There is a part of me that is so angry and hurt that I just want out, I just want to start over. I was well aware that we had problems – I tried to talk to him about things so many times but he never spoke up and now he’s saying that it is those very problems that “pushed” him into an affair AND now it’s too late to recover. We have so much invested in our relationship – which includes our two beautiful children-and that is the reason is why I want to fight for us. It’s just so hard to fight when his heart is not in it. He’s completely emotionally checked out. Thank you again for sharing. I never thought I would find encouragement – and strength- from complete strangers. I will be sure to check out the website you mentioned.

  18. Gabrielle, I understand how you’re feeling. Initially, discovering my husband’s affair sent me running into God’s arms, and I developed an intimacy with God I never had before. Now that the dust has settled and my husband has returned to tending his family as he should, I feel further from God than ever. I feel so angry that He could have let my perfect life get so out of control – my control. I have a hard time believing God cares about my happiness at all, so I don’t want to trust Him with my future. Actually I don’t want to have a future… I wish I could just cease to exist. Talking with my husband helps us realize we are both struggling with clinical depression, and this also impacts our children. I know it is important to assess whether your natural angst over an affair has developed into clinical depression, and if so, seek treatment! Depression (being unable to adequately control one’s thoughts) can make it do hard to seek God at a time when we need Him the most!

    • Thanks, Sarah. I’ve decided to set aside time every day to read my Bible. If I don’t “feel” close to God now, I can after spending time in His Word :). My husband and I had a great talk about it last night and I’m feeling better about it today.

  19. anonymous says:

    Found out a week ago that my husband of 7 years had a 2 month affair. He says that he is sorry and that he will never do it again. He has also been doing a lot of crying. I want to believe him but its so hard. We have 3 kids together. Our marriage has not been the best in quite some time. It seems like we are just two people living together. He has been very understanding about my feelings and over affectionate. I would like to make this work just don’t know if it’s the right thing to do.

    • I’m so sorry about this! I can just imagine how devastated you must feel.

      My quick thoughts are that you can’t do this alone. And this is too big a thing for him to say, “I’m sorry” and you to say “that’s okay”. I think it’s vital that you talk to a third party, like a pastor or a counselor, who can help you work through your feelings, figure out the root cause of some of your distance, and help put boundaries and accountability in place so he doesn’t slip into this again, and so that you don’t grow apart in the first place.

      And you also need someone that you can pour your heart out to and cry to and pray with. So find someone in real life. We aren’t supposed to go through this alone, and it’s perfectly natural to feel confused and scared.

  20. My spouse is in a ‘secret’ special relationship with his ex girlfriend (among others?) and while he hasn’t admitted it he won’t deny that it may be true. I didn’t confront him I simply told him that I forgive him regardless what he decides to do. His body language is nervous and I am pregnant with our first child. I honestly am relieved that I’m not crazy after all. I had the worst nerves trying to figure out if I was imagining things or not, but a friend confirmed my train I thought. I pray for their souls.

  21. I knew my husband 5 years even before we got married. For all those years, he was making moves towards me but I never gave us a chance because he was a super lover/ playboy jumping from woman to woman. Later on he landed on my best friend whom at the end broke up with him and having separated me from her, he could come easily to cry up and I would nurse his so called broken wounds. In the process, we stated dated (I want to state clear here that I felt in love with him from the first time I saw him but due to his nature of life I kept away in order not to get hurt). We dated for three years after his episodes with other women and later got married. However, he kept contacts with the ex-girlfriends and I would confess I dont know if he ever cheated on me while we were dating but he kept flurting with them on fone and emails. Bearly a year after our marriage, I got posted for a job in the US and left him in Europe. Due to the distant, we never saw each other for just 4 months thereafter he joined me in the US permanently.
    Just last week, I revieved an email from a woman, telling me that she was one of his ex and that he contacted her a month ago claiming that he still loves her. She also says that she had no idea that he was married and he never mentioned that to her. So she said that they started seeing each other and were even involved intimately, he even promised to marry her and all that staff. The lady said that even a day before he anounced to her that he is travelling for bussiness reasons, they were together as couple and even had sex. My man arrived and having been long from each other, ofcourse we had sex but I knew that first moment that something was wrong.
    To cut my story short, I just havent confronted him because I am pregnant, I feel so used and disrespected. I am in a new country with less to no friends I can confide in and im hurt so much because the woman abused me and him. She actually ended up learning that he was married and that was how she got my contacts.
    What should I do?
    To be sure this woman wasnt faking all this, I went through my husbands emails and found out the many lies he was teling her of his return to Europe nothing erotic though. I also read one email from her pleading with him to do something if he truely loves her as he claimed.
    All in all, now that I have proof to bring to the table, what should I do? I know he will deny it, and this will hurt the most, and I know he will change his password once he learns that I went through his emails. I love him so much, I married him because he changed, I was completly sure he was changed but now ive lost all hope. This lady he cheated on me with told me that if he could go about and sleep and sneak away with it in less than a year of our marriage what will happen in the future?
    That is the same question I am asking myself with no answer and nowhere to turn to…
    Christie recently posted…Wifey Wednesday: Divorce Proof Your MarriageMy Profile

  22. Anonymous says:

    I found out my husband was having an affair exactly seven weeks ago. It was mainly an emotional affair that led to kissing and touching. I am devastated. He lost his job because of it, and told me of his being fired and of his affair with a coworker the same night. He has asked me for a second chance, and I decided to give it to him. I do believe he is truly sorry for what he has done, but it does not erase the damage that this has done. I feel like the rug has been pulled out underneath me. Sometimes I still feel shock, and just cannot wrap my mind around what has happened. We are seeing a marriage counselor, and he has started meeting with our pastor on a regular basis (he knows). I go through so many emotions. Sometimes days go by and I am miserable. Other times, days will go by and I feel hopeful and almost normal.
    God has most certainly been helping me through this. I have a great support system of good, loving Christian friends. I have God’s Word, and I pray a lot. Also, He has been answering the prayers of my friends. I am thankful for the recommendation of this book. I have went out to look for a book to help me with this, but none of them seemed right. Not sure even if I am ready to read a book on this topic at the moment, but perhaps in the near future.
    Please, if you are reading this, could you pray for myself, my husband, and our three children? We desperately need them.

  23. My husband and I are expecting our first baby and about a week ago, he fell asleep while we were watching a movie on his phone, and I wanted to see a picture he took of me earlier that day so I was looking for the photo center but found a kik app instead. I had messed around with that app a few times before we were together so I know exactly how it works. Its an annonimous chat and picture exchange app, but most of the time its just young horny people looking for attention and nude pictures.i didnt want to but I clicked on it and saw that there were many conversations with lots of girls. All I saw was his comment saying “hey beautiful” but I couldnt bring myself to snoop any more. After getting sick and over thinking everything I woke him up and tried to get an explanation out of him. He said someone had told him there were some famous people on that app and he was just curing but I found that very unlikely. While crying this whole time, he stayed on his side of the bed silent, except for the occasional “do you want ne to leave?” And”well what do you want?” I kept telling him I want to understand and feel better but he still just layed there angry. He made me feel like I did something wrong. Finally I moved over to him and asked if he could hold me, and we exchanged I love yous. I forced myself to get over it the next day because it was his birthday and I didnt want to ruin it, but it still eats at my heart. I cant help but wonder if he still talks to girls when he keeps his phone with him at ALL times. He will be up late and get up early if I am in bed and sit in the living room or on the porch on his phone. He also tries to go to his neighbor/ male friends house as much as possible. love him more than anything and I just want some advisebon how to handle this, especially with our baby due in a few weeks

  24. Susan Jones says:

    Hi ladies,

    I’m praying for all of you! You all deserve so much better! I know you want to save your marriage for your children or because you are a Christian and don’t believe in divorce, but rarely will your husband stop the lying and cheating. He will make the promises he needs to make to keep the marriage going and then go back to the bad behavior. You will have to make the choice to put your foot down and draw boundaries. There are second chances at marriage, and there are many wonderful men out there that have been cheated on too that would not treat you like this in a hundred years. Your situation may require you stay financial or until the kids get older, but make a plan and eventually get out. If you husband completely repents and cuts contact and loves you completely and you can trust, then great….but this seems to be the exception.

    Here is my story:

    I was married for 10 years and had 3 beautiful children. I adored my husband and treated him like a king. He worked long hours, traveled tons and got addicted to adderall (has ADD). We had some really good times, but he was very controlling and emotionally abusive, and my needs were def. not being met, but like a loyal Christian wife I stayed and tried my best to make him happy. I did ask for a divorce on a couple of occasions, and he begged me to stay. I didn’t understand why someone who claimed to want a marriage so bad could be so emotionally distant and checked out. He grew up in a bad family situation. Something that I overlooked but shouldn’t have. I worked until we had the kids, and then after the 2nd decided to stay home full time. Something that he agreed with at the time, but later he said I should have never stayed home. He doesn’t respect stay at home Moms but yet didn’t help with chores when I worked leaving me working non-stop with very little time to have fun. However, I always gave him affection, sex and listened to his problems at work.

    He left a company after 15 years for a new one, and we sold our home and moved. His Mom also died in the same year, and we had our 3rd child. He went ahead and started working in the new city while we stayed back to sell the house and pack and move. My oldest was in school , and I didn’t want to pull her out until mid year. He went back and forth for 2 months and then we moved down. While we were apart, he met a woman on a plane, and they started an affair. She knew he was married and had 3 very young kids (including a baby), but she took the opportunity that we were packing up in another city to see him as much as possible (she lived in the city we were in, but was working in the city that we were moving to…where my husband was at). After we bought a house and moved down and were all back together, they kept seeing each other. He would travel to India for work and stop by and see her on his way there or way back home. They had all these great trips together and spent lots of money. In the mean time, I was at home with the three kids creating a new home, nursing, dishes, laundry, making new friends and alone. My husband used the new job as an excuse and worked late almost every night….really talking to her or having sex in a hotel. He missed Easter to spend a weekend with her. I finally confronted him, and he led me to believe I was crazy for ever questioning him. So I trusted him and believe he was just working many hours like he always has. She became pregnant but I never knew and had a miscarriage. This brought them closer. Then a year rolls around, and I woke up and started looking for proof….I knew something was very wrong as he because more and more distant. I found tons of phone calls to the same number on our phone bill (which I never checked) and tons of charges on his company card. I finally confronted him with the proof and called her…..she said that they were in love. When I asked her how she could do this to a wife and 3 small kids….she just kept saying that they were in love…soul mates. I told her that I loved my husband, would forgive him and to leave us alone. When I confronted him with the evidence he begged me to say and said he would cut contact. About a month later, he went on a business trip and saw her again and then about six weeks later (after he said he had shut things down), she sent him an ultrasound picture. She was pregnant again with his baby. This time it stuck. She started travelling down to see him again and I told him he would have to leave our house if he was going to see her. He wanted me to become friends with her, and she ask me to take the baby and raise it. I started having conversations with her as she called our house non-stop and was threatening an abortion. I wanted to do the best thing for the child so I tried to reason with her. There is no reasoning with a mistress. She kept the baby but they continued to see each other. She would fly down and come to our house with her pregnant belly. I cried and cried. I was scared….I had not worked in 5 years and had small children. I started looking for a job so I could leave with the kids and take back power. My husband was trying to have us both. At this point I could see that she was not going to let him go and just be a father to the kid. The kid was a pawn and trap so she could take him away from me and our three children. Things died down for a while and then he went to be with her when the baby was born…stayed for two weeks….asked me to go with him, and I refused. He sent pictures, and we argued when he called because I kept telling him to just stay there and not come home. He came home against my wishes…..I had nowhere to go. Things got really bad after that. She called daily several times a day about every little issue with the baby. She brought the baby down to our house. Wanted us all to be a family. I finally landed a job and kicked my husband out of the house. I also filed for divorce. He finally got an apartment after much pleading. He lost his job and our finances tanked. She came down with the baby and stayed with him often. He would come by our house and cause trouble…..threatening this and that when I just wanted to be left alone to work and raise our kids. I let him see the kids here and there but I told him that they would not be going to his apt with the mistress there. She eventually lost her job and moved down and got an apt near my house and got another job. I finally let him move back in because he kept saying he would change, and we were spending so much money to uphold two households and he was only making money here and there and years of a stable career. The child comes over for visitation. It hurts my children and I, but we have always been very loving and kind to him….it’s not his fault. His mother calls my husband and text constantly and says that they were meant to be and she will not stop. My parents hate my husband and are ashamed of the whole situation and beg me to get out. I recently changed jobs and will be selling my house and moving to another city with my kids. This is the only way I can get out of this big mess. My husband and his mistress have ruined all of our lives. I must move on and start over. My youngest who was a baby when this started is now almost 4 and the other two are in school. It has been a long haul. There are days I don’t know how much longer I can make it. Please pray for me as I pray for you for strength to leave and start over. You all deserve so much better. Love always, Susan

    • Hello, your situation does sound extremely difficult and definitely worse than mine. People say God won’t give us more than we can handle but sometimes I wonder how much we will have to go through! My kids are teenagers and one is in college. I have been married 24 years and my husband started seeing another woman last January (10 years younger than me). She has 3 kids but had them all taken away and is a Meth addict and doesn’t work. He broke up with her 4 times and came back twice but keeps going back to her. Now he is living in our camper in a trailer park as he refuses to stop seeing her. I am staying at our 10 acre ranch with the kids and my sister in law and brother are staying on the property. I guess I should count my blessings but have been waiting for him to possibly go to counseling but I probably have false hopes. I handle our private business and all the money and actually pay my husband money every week. We have started selling a lot of our stuff on the property in case of a move, etc. He said he doesn’t want a divorce but has made no effort to reconcile. He might be taking Meth also. I just finished treatment for Stage III breast cancer and he actually just had heart surgery. Right now I’m reading books but crying a lot. I’ve learned not to be a doormat and have locked the house and he is not allowed in. I also gave him all his clothes. We have to be strong so our kids and spouse can respect us. God Bless.

  25. I know this post went up awhile ago, but my very good friend Erin just shared on Live In The Round about how she is processing her believing husband’s affair. She had trouble finding much about her specific situation and has felt God call her to share how she is healing from her husband’s adultery. The series of The Un-Canonized Psalms of Erin are going up each Friday on the blog for the next few months. Here is the first one! http://www.liveintheround.com/blog/2014/4/16/an-un-canonized-psalm-of-adultery

  26. Hi, my husband of 23 years is having an ongoing affair with a woman 20 years younger and who gave him a young son for the past 8 years in another country. (I found out about it a year ago). After the confrontation, he tells me he wants 2 wives and if I cannot accept it, it’s my problem. I’ve prayed and prayed and still not sure what God what me to do. We have 2 teenage children together. Please advise. Thank you and God Bless.

    • Grace, I know another woman who faced the same question. You need to tell your husband that he has to choose. The book Love Must Be Tough by James Dobson is great for this. He needs to understand the consequences of what he is doing.

      I’m so, so sorry. You do not deserve this.

  27. i saw a conversation between a lady and my husband in his phone he was addressing her as SWEET
    i was shock and confuse after some mins he deleted the conversation . and this lady he told me he met her through the husband and its about work stuff and all dat .since i saw the conversation i ve bn so sad and devasteted my husband is a christain a bible study leader i ve not confronted him bcos am scared . i need help

  28. I am writing this because I need advice to help my daughter. Her husband (40) and her (39) have been married 17 years now. They have 4 children. He is (was) a corporate lawyer. He quit his job in March 2014, because he said he hated it and was having trouble focusing on his work and accounts. He started going to a psychiatrist, who told him he was ADHD and gave him some medicine and some books to read to help him. He later (April 2014) left my daughter and children to move into an hoiuse, because he said he needed time to read the books and think and couldn’t do it at home. My daughter soon found out that he had been looking at porn on the computer, gambling, spending their savings, and lastly, he met a young girl. He told us that he was going to kill himself one night and cried out to God and this girl showed up and stopped him from doing it. He ended up sleeping with her that night. He then told my daughter and my husband and I that God had brought this girl to him and that he wanted this girl to become part of their family. That she would be an asset to their family, to help our daughter with housework, the kids, etc. My daughter would have none of it. He then stated that he believed he was called by God to get polygamy legalized, that our daughter was “called”, too. And that this girl would become a part of their lives. He believes that since this young girl saved his life, and she has had a horrible life, (abuse by parents and became a stripper to support herself-she is 19) that he owes her and he needs to take care of her. Again, my daughter refused any part of it. Since then, he has gotten an apartment, moved the girl into it and has moved in with her. He sometimes stays at the home, too. He keeps telling our daughter that he loves her and will always take care of her and the kids. In August our daughter gave him an ultimatum, that the girl needed to go. So he told her he moved the girl back to her home with her mother. But two weeks ago, our daughter was at the apartment and found the girls underwear, She confronted him about it, and he gave her several different answers. In the end, he said that he was still seeing the girl. He also blames our daughter for the affair saying that when he was depressed, she didn’t give him the attention he needed. Our daughter is trying her best to keep the family held together. We (my husband and I) went up to help her at one point earlier in the summer, and he came and called the police on us and had us removed from his house, even though he wasn’t living there, and so we had to leave. He is still not working at this point in time, as he paid into some kind of disability at his work, so he is getting money from that. We need to know how to help her. We have talked to her about his manipulating her and all, but she seems to only listen to him. Please, do you have any insight into this? I have prayed and prayed….I have prayer teams praying…..I am trying to be patient. There is a lot more in regards to things he has done these past 7 months, but just way too much to write. (He also has been now diagnosed as bi-polar.)

  29. I am in a similar situation. I found out through texts and emails that my husband had an affair. There were thousands of emails. I was so disgusted I couldn’t even read through them all and I panicked. He deleted them and changed his password. He claims that nothing sexual happened and it ended about three months ago. They did go out on several occasions and work together. I don’t believe him and I’ve lost all trust in him. We’ve been married for 16 years and I thought I was in a good, loving relationship. I feel slapped in the face an am emotionally falling apart. I have been praying and journaling about it because I have absolutely no one to talk to. My choice is to stay or leave. Daily I go back and forth in what to do. I’m scared to leave and tear my family and my home apart. I’m scared to stay because I don’t know if I have it in me to forget and forgive and move on. I keep reading comments of women that say God told them what to do and which path to take. How can I hear him? How can I know what to choose? I am still so hurt that I can’t envision a better time or a better place and I have no answers to why this happened. I am devastated and feel so alone.

    • It’s a Sunday afternoon, waking up from a nap, I notice an email from this site. I left a comment in March 2013. Your post stirs up my heart, because I know that pain you are in. I hate that you are experiencing it.

      You are off to a good start with journaling and taking this to God. Keep doing it and don’t stop.

      There are many factors on deciding whether to stay or leave in a marriage after the discovery of adultery. It is different for everyone and the outcomes vary. I will only tell you what I would do if in your situation. Again, I know nothing of you, your life, husband, and marriage. This is my opinion with an outside view based off the few words you have written.
      I would try to find out more about this affair. I know that is easier said than done in your case. I would probably set up a marriage counseling appointment and tell him if he wants any chance of salvaging this marriage he will go to the appointment. I honestly don’t think I could move forward with a marriage if my husband wasn’t willing to fess up to what had happened.
      For me, I would not be able to continue in my marriage if (A) my husband was still involved in the affair (B) He did not seem to be genuinely sorry.
      I would tell a few close friends. I told 4 friends and my husbands sister and her husband knew. They all proved to be a tremendous support for me. On some of my really bad days I would send out a mass text asking them to pray for me. My sister in law would send me online devotions, my friends would send quotes, or bible verses, or texts letting me know they were thinking of me. I am grateful to all of them!
      I would also tell you to get some counseling for yourself and strongly encourage your husband to so the same. I saw a counselor 6 times, about 6 months after the affair. I was able to convince my husband to see a counselor about 9 months after I saw my counselor. He was in very, very rough shape emotionally.
      I suggest the two of you do a marriage book together. I also suggest finding a free online mentor through family life today website. I have had one for the last six months. Another idea is to go to your church for counseling. If you don’t want your pastor knowing you could ask him to reccomend a person outside of your local church.
      These are just suggestions. These are things I have done but not necessarily in that order. Life post affair feels chaotic and messy. It’s really hard. Very painful. But you can work through it. No matter what you decide, God is with you, and He will take care of you and your family. You can and will still be able to experience joy. You can still see and appreciate beauty, get together with friends and have a good laugh. Spend time with family and play games. Good things are still to be had in your life.
      It has nearly 2 years since my husband ended his affair and told me. A solid year and then some was absolute hell for me. But then the tide began to change. I felt myself beginning to move forward. I started to realize how God had used this awful event in my life to shape me to be a better person, a more compassionate person. I was able to look back on that year of sheer misery and see the ways God was in fact helping me along the way. My marriage is in a better state than it ever has been. Though far from perfect. My husband began to see me with a different view. He is more appreciative of me as a person, and he has witnessed my fierce loyalness to God and our marriage. I witnessed my husband willing to be next to me and own up to his wrongdoing every time I had a sobbing episode. And there were many, many of those. It still hurts me, I still deal with issues pertaining to it and so does my husband. But I am better. I truly feel like I am a better wife, mother, friend, and Christian for what I have gone through.
      I am praying for you. You are not alone.

  30. I found out last month my husband has an issue with porn and has been involved in an affair for 2 and a half years on and off with the same person. The hurt I’m feeling feels so unbearable at times. I read my Bible and pray to God every day several times a day . The images that keep surfacing make me sick . The fact that I trusted my husband for the last 20 years and now it’s all gone . He seems to be remorseful . I’m not sure if it’s because I caught him or if he truly is . I am currently reading the book Unfaithful. I think it has lots of good things in it. I just pray for the day when I can forgive .

  31. My Husband Had An Emotional Affair With My Best Friend…She Was Living With Us At The Time

    And I Confronted Him…With An Email To Her Calling Her My Love…etc

    Fast Forward…We Worked Things Out And We Are Closer Now

    However…She Has Stayed In Our Life, and I am So Trying to always Be cool, but honestly I don’t want her apart of our lives…

    I don’t want him to text her ever again…I want HIM TO STOP ALL COMMUNICATION WITH HER…

    Am I Wrong?

    • No, you’re not wrong. I think that’s entirely appropriate. Sometimes setting boundaries like this is easier if you have a mentor couple that you can bounce things off of and talk to openly. Can you and your husband find someone like that?

  32. I found out my husband has been having online affairs last night, oh and an emotional relationship that was more sexual than emotional. All while our son was being diagnosed, diagnosed and began treatment for a rare cancer. Apparently it is all my fault for not supporting him enough, I was the one working and taking our son to all appointments.
    He claims it is over and he realised he doesn’t want to loose us. That’s why he lied and denied it for the past month. It has taken 14years for him to decide this. While I was in hospital with our son undergoing treatment he wa happily meeting up with this other woman and even paying for relations with other women.
    We have 4 children and the whole Cancer thing is big and scary and they find that hard enough to deal with. So I have decided we will live together, pretend to be a family but that is as far as it goes for our children. I wish I could forgive him but i do not think I will ever be able too, he has caused so much hurt over the years, being violent, nearly killing me and our unborn child in a car accident and I stupidly told him it was ok and now this when our family needed him the most.
    I hope one day i can forgive him but at present I find it hard to believe. I am still unsure if I am doing the right thing even being in the house with him, I am moving into the library as I do not want to be near him.
    Please am I doing the right thing?

    • Oh, Lea, I’m so, so sorry. That’s unbelievably awful with all the things on your plate. I can’t tell you what to do, but I will say you desperately need some help and support. You can’t do this alone. You can’t be there with your son and help him deal with the treatments while also trying to deal with your marriage all by yourself. Ask friends for help. Find a supportive church. Pray a lot; God does want to be there, and He will be your strength. But I think right now you have to focus on your son, and then deal with the marriage when the crisis is over. Tell your husband that what he is doing is not acceptable, but you can’t do anything about it now. But do ask for help and reach out to a church so you can get the support you need. I’m so sorry, and prayers for your son!

  33. Please don.t use my name or email publicly. I am at a point of wanting to literally die. My husband has been in two affairs I know of and many more he threatened me with. He left me and our five kids almost four years ago. I have begged to be the doormat bc I feel like something that is beyond comprehension.I don’t know what to do where to turn. I am a Christian, my husband was suppose to be. My kids are against me bc I want him back in our lives. He has no interest in me, nor some of them. please help as I have to listen to them singing and humming and laughing bc this is what they have determined is best for me. Please please please help me……..

    • My lovely reader, please, please find someone to talk to and get some help. Your kids need you to be strong. I know it feels as if your life is over, and you have nothing to live for, but that’s a lie. You are worthwhile. Your kids are worthwhile. And if your kids believe that your husband is bad for the family, they may have a point. So please seek some outside help and some counselling. Go to your church and tell them you’re feeling suicidal and you don’t know where to turn and ask for some help. Please. We aren’t supposed to walk through this alone!

  34. Where do I begin. Just tonight I found out that my husband is having an affair. He sent her a picture of himself along with a secret code. She texted him back that she loves him & is so glad he is hers. I have not confronted him because I don’t know how to get the words out. We have 2 young ones with special needs & the thought of their father not being in the home with them daily has me terrified.
    I (we) love God and go to church often I wonder what he (husband) has been praying for?
    Since I found out today I don’t want to pray all I can seem to do is stare into space. I’m not in a good place right now. I have no family nearby so I will go through this alone. If you have some words to impart I would appreciate it.

    • Hi Nina,

      I’m so, so sorry! That’s just awful.

      Some really quick thoughts: Get a team around you that can support you–maybe a mentor couple, a pastor, whomever. Talk to them first before you confront your husband so that you’re calmed down, and have received some good advice. Take a screen shot of the phone or computer if you can so that he can’t deny it. And then when you confront him, be very firm: this has to stop. Tell him that you will tell his family, etc., and will ask for their help. Let him know he can’t live in this fantasy world. But do it with people around you! I’ve reviewed some good books on affairs here, and Surviving An Affair especially may be a good one for you to read.

      Prayers for you!

  35. inhisdwellingplace says:

    Happened to chance upon this website as I looking for help :( I’m not married yet. But I found out my fiancé has an affair with his high school friend about 2 months ago… Now he wants to break our engagement and decides to marry the high school friend, whom he says is his soul mate. He says he has never make any wrong decisions before. We have been together for five years, am I a wrong decision he has made? My fiancé is a leader at church, and people love and respect him, he has always been loving and following Christ. But things turn around when he got connected back with this high school friend (non-christian) by chance. I tried talking to him, but he rejected. He wants out. And I found out that the “friend” has been demanding my fiancé to break up with me and at the same time tries to help me and my fiance back together again. I trusted her initially as she sounded sincere to help. I felt manipulated by her. My fiancé has always been protecting me and loving me during these five years, and things just changed all of a sudden. I feel lost. Can God salvage this? Should I keep on waiting for him?

    • Sheila says:

      Wow. I can understand how devastated you are–to have a Christian you’ve been involved with for 5 years make such a horrible decision.
      However, he has made that decision, and honestly–you don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t cherish you and whom you can’t trust.

      I think you need to move on, and seek after God right now. Yes, God can salvage this–but that’s up to God, not you. So move on with your life, and continue to grow and meet other people, and if God does salvage this, you’ll be in a stronger place anyway.

      Again, I’m so sorry for your heartbreak.

  36. I came across this website today while trying to find answers what to do next. I just found out 2 days ago that my husband is having an affair that began some 5 months ago. Maybe more. I am so truely devastated. I married him when I was 20 years old and was so sure he was my soulmate. I had no doubt in my mind that I would have my fairytale marriage. Now 10 years later, I can hardly breathe when I think of our future. I am so broken. So lost. He has been talking to and texting this other woman every chance he can on his cell phone. He disguised her number under the name of his superintendent so that if I happen to look in his phone or over his shoulder, he would simply be texting his boss. This apparently worked for a while, as the affair has gone on right in front of me for this long. I even told him the day before I found out that I had a feeling something horrible was going to happen. I couldn’t explain it, but the feeling was definitely there and wasn’t going away. So I thought of a plan and I acted on it. I walked straight up to him after he had been on his phone a bit, and asked him if I could borrow it to call my mother for a few minutes. My phone happen to be broke at the time so I knew he wouldn’t ask why. Catching him off guard this way prompted him to hand his phone straight over to me, with no time allowed to delete messages…which he was very good at doing also. I took his phone upstairs and immediately opened his messages and noticed right off the bat that there were two conversations under his boss’s name, and one of them ended their comment with ;). I quickly jotted down the number and when I returned his phone I asked him about what I found. He tried to tell me that his 62 year old boss had sent it to him but he had no idea why. Mmmhmm. Right. I teared up and told him “If you’re having an affiar, just leave me. Don’t put me through this.” He swore that he would never do that to me and he was not being unfaithful. Oddly, he became agitated and left to stay in a hotel because he said he “couldn’t be accused of having an affair any longer.” And that it hurt him that I would even think such a thing of him. I felt so awful for making him feel like I didn’t trust him. But my suspisions were still there and were not satisfied. After he left to “spend the night clearing his mind” I decided to get real with myself. I had to either find answers or let it go and get off his back. And I had the phone number that would make that decision for me. My heart sank and my hands shook as I dialed the number and on the other line a woman answered “This is Rachel.”…………………………………………………………….. I stuttered and asked her to repeat herself and she did. I couldn’t believe it. A woman. A WOMAN. And this particular woman worked with my husband, but didn’t know me. I had even found pictures of her in his email a month before, to which he reasoned that they were his friend Andy’s and he only had them because Andy didn’t want to lose his photos when he transferred phones. It sounded legit. I tried to stay calm when I asked her if she had a few minutes to speak with me, to which she replied “Sure.” I took a deep breath and asked her if she knew **** ******, and as soon as she heard his name come out of my mouth she cut the call off. Everything immediately made sense. She knew exactly who I was and I knew she was his mistress. My horrible feeling. I’ve sobbed and cursed for 2 days straight now. I feel like my world has inverted itself and I don’t know where to begin to fix it. He’s been gone since that night, probably with her… and I’ve only received one message from him. Otherwise he won’t speak to me. AS IF I’M THE ONE THAT DESERVES NOT TO BE SPOKEN TO. My 3 kids cry for their daddy, and I don’t know what to say when they ask where he is. I don’t know how to begin to get past this. I don’t even know if he wants to be with us and work things out. He won’t talk to me, and I’m the one that is betrayed. Someone, please just tell me where I go from here. Is he not talking to me out of guilt? Or is this the behavior of a man wanting out of a marriage to be with his mistress? How do I get him to just speak to me? I have cried so much and I feel so broken. But still I know I don’t deserve this. Do I just sit patiently and wait for him to contact me? I don’t want to seem desperate to him, I just want him to want me back. Even though I don’t know yet if I can work through this. The betrayal is too severe I’m afraid. Please, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • April, I’m so, so sorry that you’re going through this. That’s awful, especially with 3 little kids. So awful.

      Do you have people you can talk to who can support you? A sister, some friends, some people from your church? You really need other people to unburden to right now and to let you know that you aren’t alone and that you are going to get through this.

      As for what to do right now, the books Love Must Be Tough and Surviving an Affair are both really good. What they say is that now is the time to be firm, not the time to be desperate. You say, “I want this marriage to work and I am willing to do whatever that takes. But I cannot and will not tolerate you being with another woman. So you need to decide. And know that if you choose her, you will be losing the respect of your children and your family, and your life will only get more complicated from here on out.”

      He needs to understand the consequences of his actions, because he’s been living in a fantasy world, not the real world. Now his worlds have collided and he’ll have to make a choice. But make it clear to him that he must choose; he can’t have both.

      And one last thing: my father did what your husband has done, and he chose the other woman. And you know what? God had his hand on my life and on my mom’s life and we’ve both done so well. I have a great marriage and great kids, and my mom has a really big life. My dad? Not so much.

      So while it seems overwhelming right now, know that no matter what happens, your kids really are in God’s hands, and they can be fine.

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  1. […] after my post about what to do when your husband announces he’s having an affair, a woman wrote and asked, “what do you do when your best friend is the one having the affair […]

  2. […] else. Do what is best for you!” That’s the kind of advice people crave when they’re trying to justify an affair, or a ridiculous purchase, or ignoring one’s family. It’s not the kind of advice, though, that […]

  3. […] in a very difficult position because how do you talk about this? It’s not like your spouse has had an affair (in most cases). They’ve just decided that they want the benefits of being married (living […]

  4. […] obviously there are exceptions to this. If your spouse is abusive, or is having an affair, or is addicted to pornography, simply believing “God loves marriage, and if I cling to that […]

  5. […] what if it’s something bigger than that? What if you discover your husband is having an affair, or gambling, or using pornography? Then how do you forgive your […]

  6. […] As a personal disclaimer, if you are living through the effects of an affair, please know that I am deeply sorry. I don’t have much wisdom to offer on my own, but I will pray for you and would love to suggest this article from my friend Sheila Wray Gregoire: “Discovering Your Husband is Having An Affair: Your Next Steps.” […]

  7. […] you caught your husband using porn, or caught him in an affair, or caught him texting someone else, the first step always is to run to God and put your trust […]

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