I Was Unfaithful

    I have a long backstory but here’s the short version:

    We’ve been married 9 years with this being the first marriage for both of us. I’m a teacher and started being at home full-time and alone in March. My husband has continued to work 5-6 days a week (Incredibly blessed by the Lord and I recognize that). We have no children. I went on a chat site and met a man. We were not sexual at first but our relationship became an affair. I went and met him and we had two nights of being together. The conviction after the physical affair was something that I couldn’t handle. I confessed things to my husband 9 days after I left the 2nd night with the other man. My husband gave me grace, love, gentleness, correction, prayer, and forgiveness. I am so thankful for his leadership and Godly spirit even though I am undeserving.

    I feel as though I need to communicate to the other man that our relationship is over. Do I tell him that I’m sorry for what we did? Do I tell him that I confessed my sin to my husband? I am so lost in what to do with him but I feel like some type of closure/ending/repentance is necessary.

    Please be praying for us and our future if you do not have any wisdom or help for us. Thank you!

     

    Double bed Asked on July 3, 2020 in Infidelity .
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      Rescued, welcome aboard to the TMB. I’m saddened to hear about your situation and my wife’s and my heart breaks for your situation and for similar couples as both of us came from previous marriages where our spouses chose to be unfaithful (one or more times) and neither of us wanted our marriage to end.  We understand the pain, difficulties and issues that come with, lead up to and follow an unfaithful spouse and these are some of the thoughts that we discussed this morning together and how I/we would counsel you if you came to my office or our home.

      1) Why do you feel the need to have one last conversation with him? Really dig deep on that question. I’ll submit it’s because you are thinking about and have feelings for him. Cold turkey is the only way to end an affair. No contact! And that means NO texts, calls, email. etc. and if he tries to or you do, get a different phone number and email address. The only other option would be to have your husband actually do it. Again, I don’t see it as necessary. The fact that you’re thinking about this man and want to contact him indicates to me, you’re still thinking about and having feelings for him. You built a “love bank” with this man and it became equal to or greater than your husband’s account. With an affair, love banks typically don’t have withdrawals to them and that’s how a person can “love” two individuals. Your “love bank” and feelings for the other man will have to lessen over time and ultimately for your and your husband to remain married, your husband’s love bank will have to grow over time till it dwarfs your passion-filled affair love bank. 

      2) What is going on in your life and marriage that you allowed to foster and greenhouse an attraction to this man? In other words, what was so attractive to you about this that you decided to ignore your conscience, mind, religious teaching, relationship with Jesus and quite possibly, your marriage and allow and pursue this affair?   Most affairs are not unique, situational encounters. Something in your heart and in your marriage is off and you allowed a situation to develop into an emotional affair and then on to a physical one. What chat site? Why were you on a chat site?

      3) What boundaries and habits are you and your husband building and putting in place to build a healthy relationship and avoid this in the future? What are you doing to build trust?  What are you doing to do to get professional help as an individual and a couple to tear down the shaky foundation your marriage is on and build a completely healthy new one?

      Your husband may be a Godly man but that doesn’t mean he isn’t hurt, devastated, and that he trusts you again. If he says that, I don’t believe it one bit. He’s lying. Forgiveness and trust are not the same just like remorse and repentance are two different things and at this point, you’ve proven yourself untrustworthy. He may be numb from the pain and angst of your betrayal. He may be embarrassed and just want to sweep it under the rug and move on. It’s embarrassing with friends and family…spiritually…emotionally…physically having to go get tested for STDs…and there is so much more and some of these issues will continue to haunt both of you for years to come!!!  You feel guilty and undeserving of his love. Healing needs to take place. He feels anger, betrayal, inadequate, embarrassed. Healing needs to take place. Emotionally AND spiritually for both of you.  Again, this is why professional Christian counseling is a must for both of you to get to the bottom of what is/was happening in your marriage that allowed that situation to be attractive to you so you can both discover and work towards healing, restoration and wholeness.

      My dear wife and I came from former marriages of 15 and 16 yrs respectively with both of our spouses’ cheating for various reasons. Hers many times and his last was the final straw because he wouldn’t stop and lied and my ex-wife got caught and then she wanted out and wouldn’t repent.  (It still haunts my ex to this day 14 years later and she’s lied to the kids about the choices she made because she feels so guilty and hasn’t been able to humble herself and make peace with herself, I believe with God, and certainly with me.) I share that to encourage you to get professional Christian counseling together, and separately as individuals.

      Even though our ex’s hurt us, DW & I still have ghosts from the past haunt us. If your marriage is to remain intact, and I pray that it will, your “old marriage” is dead. It clearly didn’t appear to work for at least one of you. HOWEVER, there is hope if you both will commit to a “NEW marriage”…a new start…new ways of relating…new ways of connecting…and build a new foundation and ways of connecting spiritually, emotionally and physically.  Jesus said you can’t put new wine in an old wine skin or it’ll burst and it’s the same with your current marriage. You need new wineskins for your “new marriage’. If you and your husband try to go back they way it was, you both are only putting off the inevitable. I’ve sadly seen it happen too many times over the years. However, I promise you, I’ve also seen where a couple has come back from adultery and pornography addictions and other things and thrived and yours can to IF you and your husband will address the issues that fostered this situation and build a new foundation which will encourage you both to grow. It will be painful dredging up the past and facing issues but there is hope with Jesus and professional Christian counseling. I’ve seen it happen and it can be the same for you.

      Finally, God’s grace is big enough to handle this sin. You do not need to live in guilt if you have confessed and are truly repentant. (Again, just being sorry, remorseful, isn’t the same thing.) It’s important to understand this AND to have healing for you and your husband because forgiveness doesn’t equal trust, freedom from consequences, or automatic healing. That takes deliberate effort and time along the Holy Spirit’s actions in our life and relationships. (And no, I’m not equating our effort to focus on healing and restoration as required be we can receive God’s grace. Ephesians 2 is clear about that.)  You don’t wander out of sin and addiction, it takes work and effort but God’s grace and sacrifice for our sin is free to us.

      This is a long post and there’s so much more that could be said. If DW & I can be of more help, feel free to ask.

      Under the stars Answered on July 4, 2020.
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        If you have to send a final message (while in the presence of your husband) letting the other man know in no uncertain terms that your affair is over and to not contact you again. If he persists in trying to contact you change your phone number and email address.

        One final note on your last post. You stated,

        “I am simply thinking of him as another human who deserves some type of definite ending to the relationship (a sinful, wrong relationship but a relationship nonetheless) and an apology for my causing him to stumble and sin.”

        You are not responsible for his sin, only your own. He made a free choice to engage in infidelity. You owe him no apology. Cut off all contact and focus on healing your marriage. Focus on embracing God’s forgiveness and redemptive power.

        On the floor Answered on July 5, 2020.
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          @Rescued:

          There is no way I can cover all I’d like to with the amount of time I have right now (and I won’t have much time, if any, for TMB tonight), so this will just be a partial answer covering select topics.

          I will start by saying I struggled whether to answer this post at all. Part of that was a bit of doubt this was a real post, though I now think it is. Some of it was anger at what you’ve done (one of my greatest fears, and one that I’ve had nightmares about, is my wife doing this to me). More of it was how I read what you’ve written–which I see as remorseful but not truly/fully repentant and willing to do whatever it takes. And of course a lot of it was just sadness, as I strongly grieve for your marriage, your husband, and you. But the final piece of my struggle is that I am you–a was unfaithful to my wife via a pornography addiction that lasted roughly a decade in my marriage. I hid it from her, received sexual pleasure elsewhere, robbed her of true intimacy, and stole part of our marriage that we can never get back. I’ve never engaged in an EA (emotional affair) or PA (physical affair), but in the end my unfaithfulness is similar and really only differs in that I didn’t make a one-flesh union with another person.

          In the end, my prayers on this kept leading to the same point–the woman at the well. Jesus spoke truth but treated her kindly. He had the advantage of knowing her heart, which I nor the others at TMB can ever know for you…so we’ll just have to follow His lead and trust that it helps you.

          My own unfaithfulness combined with my huge phobia in this arena has lead me to spend a lot of time on infidelity forums (mostly secular), so I’ve read about and thought about these issues quite a bit, usually from the betrayed spouse’s point of view. I don’t have the understanding of this topic that @NWNL does (or his wife for that matter), but honestly I never hope to understand it from their perspective. You would do very well to consider all that he has written here. I’ll start going through issues I’ve seen here and drop my thoughts–take them or leave them, but please realize that the people here at TMB are trying to help you.

            1. First, the issue I already brought up involving if there is an OBS…there is one. I don’t think the Bible directly speaks to this, but regardless I think it is clear what needs to be done. Just look at the Second Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:39). There is a reason you were scared to answer that question when it was posited. Your AP needs to be stopped before his home (wife and maybe children too?) is wrecked any further. Even the secular world would say this. See this link to the thoughts of a betrayed spouse on the subject: https://www.reddit.com/r/survivinginfidelity/comments/96vq37/advice_contacting_ap_versus_aps_spouse/e45pr4r/?context=3  I have no idea if that man is a Christian, but he makes very clear arguments why the OBS should be notified, especially his third argument…wow. (Note that I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says there, so please don’t nitpick a few extreme things to try to avoid doing the right thing.) A very valid argument he didn’t make is that informing the OBS is a great way to completely terminate the affair, as your AP will be doing damage control after that. Look, I’m sure it will be awful telling her, but confronting your sin in that way will help you get over the affair fog sooner and move onto doing what you need in your own marriage.
            2. Both you and your husband need dedicated counseling/therapy for this. Individual, couples, pastoral, non-pastoral, all of the above. Your counselor for fertility issues is likely not enough and/or not qualified. Other posters have already stated the need for counseling, so I don’t need to say more.
            3. Regarding STD testing, you said “I’m going to have to talk with my doctor to see what steps need to be taken next as far as testing for sexual diseases. (This is extremely embarrassing because my doctor is close with us and attends our church.)” Here’s the thing–unless you specifically tell your doctor that you were the adulteress, there’s a good chance the doctor will assume that your husband cheated. Despite plenty of statistics showing otherwise, many people seem to believe cheating is a man’s thing. That stigma may stick with him in any situation where people directly or indirectly find/figure out the basics of what happened but don’t know any details. As for the STD testing itself, I’m sure best practices can be found with online searching. On the forums I’ve read, the general rule is a round of STD tests ASAP after the affair, followed by another full round of tests 6 months after last sexual contact with the AP (some diseases, specifically HIV, may not show up in tests until that amount of time has passed). Hopefully your doctor is versed in this area and can get you the proper care. That means no unprotected sex, and potentially no sex at all, between you and your husband until you’re all clear. And as I said before, do not assume the AP was honest with you at all about other partners or anything else he said that might make you feel ok in the STD realm. He betrayed/lied to his wife concerning you…why would he tell you the truth and not her? Although data on the subject aren’t the greatest, the average number of affair partners is in the 5-6 range. You should assume the worst–that he’s had plenty of other partners and that many of them were promiscuous as well.
            4. You cannot underestimate the amount of damage you’ve done to your husband. The description of your husband’s response is odd to me. I don’t know if he’s in shock, in denial, was already just checked out of your marriage, or if you just don’t understand him. (Oh, and you should watch out for “hysterical bonding” covering up pain early on.) Because of the uncertainty there, I’ll just speak in generalities. By taking you back, he will be killing any remaining pieces of his pride and ego, and his self-esteem and sense of self worth are probably in tatters. He’ll be full of insecurities on how the woman who had only ever kissed him and never been with another man would so easily give herself to some [expletive] who probably only wanted to [not going to type the rest of this sentence, but it’s ugly]. He will think “what is so wrong with me?” If he hasn’t already, he may want details about the experience. That may include how much you enjoyed it, what sexual acts you performed with him and how eagerly, and (yes) how big the AP’s penis was. Are you willing/ready to look your husband in the eye and tell him it was the most exciting sex of your life and something that he won’t be able to ever match? The sad truth is that is often the case for the phenylethylamine-driven affair sex that people have even though it has nothing to do with the (in)adequacy of their spouse (note that this is a major factor in why most affair couples don’t make it…as soon as the affair is gone, so is the hyper neurotransmitter concoction, and one or both leave once reality sets in). Are you willing to tell your husband the AP’s penis was bigger than his (50% statistical chance there, higher probability if you separate length and girth)? That may not matter to you, but it definitely matters to many men. And sexual acts, wow. It is common for women unwilling to do OS, AS, doggy style, swallowing, facials, etc with their husbands to not only do but eagerly request such activities with their AP. Hopefully that’s not you, but are you prepared to discuss it with your husband? I apologize if any of that is graphic, but I’m trying to get the point across that you have done permanent damage to him, and it may be years/decades before he can get thoughts of you having sex with another man out of his head.
            5. At the start of this, I referenced getting the vibe that you’re remorseful but not repentant, so lets touch on that. Look, none of us know your heart. Presumably you are truly ashamed, embarrassed, and hurting. You outed yourself seemingly completely of your own volition to your husband, which is a great sign. However, some of your responses, and even your original question (mostly focused on contacting AP and not on fixing your marriage), just don’t come across as repentant/completely crushed by your own sin. Frankly, if you posted what you had to some secular infidelity forums I have seen, you’d have been roasted.  When I outed my porn problem to my DW, I was crushed and I felt (at the time) it came across in my words and typing. I confessed to the men in my small group for extra accountability. I confessed online in spots and sought help and listened to it. I went in completely broken and unguarded to these people for help. Maybe it’s just the words you use or how you phrase things, but I sense a lot of defensiveness and excuses coming from you. The biggest thing is multiple wise people here have told you to figure out the reason you did this, throwing out some very reasonable suggestions, but I’m not seeing you do a deep dive. Instead, you brush aside even the possibility that your miscarriages could play into it. Trust me, the fallout from miscarriages can be deep and extensive. When we had ours, that may have been the most emotionally disconnected DW and I have ever been (including even more than the porn problem). I was grieving, but not in the same way she was, and there was some serious friction and discontentment there since we couldn’t see/understand the way the other was hurting. To this day, almost 11 yr later, we haven’t talked much about it. I see you say that the affair was “just sex” and not emotional, but that really doesn’t jive with your story (starting out as just talking online) or why the statistical bulk of women cheat (for emotional reasons). This is backed by your reluctance to terminate contact with AP and avoid telling his wife. And the very fact that someone married 9 yr with no other kissing/sex partner ever can even say the words “just sex” baffles me (not to mention it goes against the science of oxytocin or other neurotransmitters). If you wanted “just sex”, then why didn’t you just masturbate? A hand, Magic Wand, Satisfyer, or even a Sybian would be far less expensive than this (please note this is coming from one of the most conservative people on TMB with respect to masturbation). Look, I understand that figuring out why can be difficult, multifaceted, etc. I still don’t fully understand why I have this desire to lust and see women other than my DW naked and performing sexual acts (porn)…and it’s something I’ve thought a lot about. My suggestion is to not rule out anything at this point, but what I see is you trying to avoid discussion of all of the most common and obvious options here.
          1.  

          I have to stop there. I realize much of the above may come across as overly harsh, maybe even hateful. I apologize if that is the case (and anyone, please rebuke me if I have crossed lines). You should get counseling, seek pastoral help, get accountability partners, confess to close friends/family that can help, relinquish all digital privacy you previously had to your husband, and do whatever it takes to get on a path to mend this as best as can possibly be done. I fully encourage you to stay here at TMB and (a) get additional help from us, but also (b) participate to help think of your husband and what you had/can have more often while (c) realizing that we are NOT part of the above list (counselors, pastors, etc). I would welcome you here with open arms and I’m sure others would too. We are all sinners, and this place can be an anonymous location to share our happiness and our sorrows.

          -Scott

          Under the stars Answered on July 7, 2020.

          Well said Scott and correct on so many accounts!  DW & I were both been thinking the same things you mentioned in  #4 and #5 because I keep coming back to what’s been said. It’s not normal. His described responses are bizarre by the standard & behavior of a majority of people in the United States and from my own experience as a male, betrayed spouse, my wife’s experience, and literally, so many others I’ve helped, listened to and counseled over many years.

          He is in shock and denial…apathetic…doesn’t care…he is simmering inside…or something else is wrong that he just wants to gloss over from embarrassment and not deal with some of the emotional baggage. The first stage of grief and loss is denial and his actions are off from what a majority of the population does when a choice of this magnitude occurs. To top it off, they’ve experience an immense amount of loss over their marriage and things like this do not start overnight. Rescue’s decision was made over time for various reasons in her life and/or their marriage. It wasn’t an affair out of convenience. We all have issues in our marriages, habits, ways of relating that can encourage, enable, even greenhouse poor choices so when stressed and given the opportunity to start what seems like an innocent way of distressing or venting.

          Yes, Scott, I guess if Rescued wants her AP to know it’s over (why are she thinking about the AP and his feelings? Unless there are still feelings there. The most important is and should be her husband!!), she should go find his wife and tell her directly and therefore, in talking to the betrayed wife, you do not need to have ANY contact with the AP.  Explain to her how sorry one is for stealing her spouse’s heart away.  I would suspect the betrayed spouse will make sure the AP will know that Rescued wants to convey it’s over.  Her concern for him is wacked and not for her husband and his seemingly, unorthodox way of dealing with such a betrayal.

          There is hope but it starts with God, her husband and a qualified Christian counselor (him, her and them) and not a conversation with the AP.

          on July 7, 2020.

          Agreed – well stated! What I sense Scott from you is speaking the truth in love.

           

          on July 8, 2020.

          Very well said Scott, you spoke truthfully with love and care.  Having been through sexual betrayal myself, there were things mentioned that didn’t “feel” right to me but I was uncertain how to proceed.  Thanks for speaking the truth in love…refreshing.

          on July 8, 2020.
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            I think your primary concern should be for your husband with respect to repentance. However he may have handled it, this is a serious betrayal of trust and you should expect that it has caused deep wounds in your marriage. Is there a pastor who may be able to give you counselling as a couple? We may all have opinions but it’s no substitute for pastoral counselling. You need to cut off communication with the other man. I think you should be careful with how you may choose to do any type of further communication with him. You have confessed to your husband, now you can talk to him about your grief over your sin and your desire to ensure that this other relationship is closed and sealed shut. Any further secret communication seems like a bad idea to me.

            Fell out of ... Answered on July 4, 2020.
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              Thank you Rescued for being so vulnerable.  Praying that the Lord brings healing in you both and in your marriage.  I would also recommend pastoral counseling for sure and, as well, no contact with the other man. Pastoral counseling should also include your husband. If the other man tries to establish contact, simply explain that as a child of God, what you did was wrong, it has been confessed and you are committed to your husband and tell him its over. Change your number or contact information if necessary and avoid those kinds of chat rooms other similar social media platforms that may be a temptation. Psalm 51 is a great read. We have a God of grace and forgiveness. If it’s truly been confessed then don’t let guilt ride you – remember that there is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some consequences, but know for sure you have been forgiven. God is both faithful and just to forgive as we confess. Prayers for both you and your husband.

              On the floor Answered on July 4, 2020.
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                I actually am on the side of making a final contact and making it clear things are done, ONLY IF it’s not a secret from your husband AND he is in full knowledge and agreement of it and what is being said. I would even write out a draft and let your husband give his thoughts and edit it. If he is against you making any contact, even after you explain why you feel it is important, then it’s your husband you need to honor and submit to.

                If you are continuing to keep secrets around this relationship than there is still deception and betrayal going on.

                PS- if you did not select the “best answer”, you, as the OP can unselect it, and you are the only one who can. Although, NWNL shared a lot of good things, even if I disagree in this one area.

                Under the stars Answered on July 5, 2020.
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                  I am coming to this discussion quite late, but I have read it all and have a few thoughts. First of all, @Recued, I am so sorry you and your husband are hurting. I’m so sorry that the sin trap you stepped in is one with such huge and painful consequences. Each time you have made this confession:  to God, to your husband, to your counselor, to your couple close friends/family members (I forget how many you said) took enormous courage and humility. God is the only one who has ever promised grace and we have Satan whispering in our ear alongside our own convictions that we don’t deserve that, so it’s no wonder we feel leery of what others–who have known us as good, upstanding Christians–will think of us. Your status as a child of God saved by grace is completely independent of anyone else in your life, but the personality and lifestyle you have lived as a faithful Christian is part of your external identity by which you are known to those around you and you feel you have lost it. In one way, you are questioning the very essence of who you are. I get that you will have to work through that. I also grew up in church, always behaved, was always a “good girl” and married my one and only. It’s not part of my salvation, but it’s part of me. So cling fast to the knowledge that Christ’s blood has already covered your sin, and don’t feel bad that your view of yourself as a person is being shaken up like an etch-a-sketch. God is a master artist and he will make the new you beautiful.

                  I am concerned that you are dismissing your baby journey as a contributing cause for your behavior. You wrote:

                  My body hasn’t been able to do something that only women can do. It hurts and is a touchy subject that I don’t like to discuss because I don’t like to feel the pain, embarrassment, and grief. After my last miscarriage, I had feelings of not being good enough. I couldn’t give my husband a child and I was unable to fulfill that desire for him to be a father. He was grieving in his own way and my needs weren’t met. I’m not talking about just sexual needs. I’m a words of affirmation and quality time person and he was distanced from me. I felt like I wasn’t “woman enough” for him because I couldn’t have a child. I communicated with him that my needs weren’t being met and I was lonely in our marriage.

                  Can I just tell you, I know exactly how that feels? I mean, I could have written that. The only difference is that our loss was a failed adoption instead of a miscarriage. We’ve since had a successful adoption and our DD is fifteen and I still, to this day, have feelings of being a second class woman of some sort because I was never able to even conceive. (Yes, that means there were times I felt low enough to envy those who had had miscarriages because at least they had at least conceived. Not proud of that, but it’s true.)

                  People who have never experienced infertility or pregnancy loss have no idea what that does to the core concept of sex in a marriage. For one thing, sex has now become less about connecting intimately and almost all about getting sperm A to egg B at just the right time and standing on your head and doing all kinds of other circus tricks until it “takes”. You wait two weeks and take the test, only to find out it’s negative, and then in your mind, the sex you had was pointless. And you unintentionally reinforce that message to yourself over and over again:  unless you get pregnant, the sex didn’t count. (I would imagine the effect of finally getting pregnant only to lose both the pregnancy and the baby—because those are two different things, emotionally—would be magnified exponentially.) There is no longer any real intimate connection. You feel like a failure as a wife because you know your husband would be just the best father in the world and you know that’s all he really wants and you wonder if he would have been better off marrying someone else so that he could be a father by now. Did that dark thought ever float through your mind, maybe to be batted away quickly before it could take hold because it was just too awful? It sure did mine!

                  Your infertility has now completely altered your view of sex with your husband:  it is less about pleasurable bonding and more about a procreative task; you associate it more and more with feelings of failure the longer it goes on; because you love your husband deeply and feel his disappointment as strongly as your own, your feelings of failure become feelings of guilt; because you are powerless to change the situation, feelings of guilt become feelings of inadequacy; feelings of inadequacy and powerlessness damage your feelings of femininity and sexuality, and because your husband is also withdrawn, you begin to feel undesirable and isolated. Sound familiar?

                  Sex with someone not your husband will never be more appealing than when you are feeling undesirable and isolated. You will never be as vulnerable to flirtation and flattery as when you feel that not only is your husband not particularly interested in you but that you don’t deserve for him to be (“I’m not good enough. “I’m not woman enough.”). Sex outside of marriage will never seem as exciting and satisfying as when sex at home is perceived as a guaranteed disappointment (“Not going to get pregnant; why bother?”).

                  I’m not discounting your own responsibility for your sin. But understanding that infertility and the loss of your preborn children, as well as the increasing fear that your life as you saw it in your dreams will never be, all must have had a very big part in your thoughts and emotions as you swerved off the path into the weeds and finally got snared in such a nasty sin trap. Incidentally, it’s connected in a big way to that view of yourself as the “good Christian girl” in that having children is actually commanded in the Bible and all the infertility stories end in successful birth. (“God, you have told me to have children. I’m sure trying! How about a little help here!”) There aren’t a lot of Christian ministries made up of couples who never did have children, so when you are thinking you might end up being one of them, what example are you supposed to follow? Maybe deep down there was even a little tiny dollop of thinking there was no use being the good Christian girl anymore if God wasn’t going to allow you to be the good Christian mom you were supposed to become. Could some tiny part of you wanted to rebel? (I have felt that way before.)

                  As to contacting the AP:  I totally get the idea of wanting that closure. I’ll bet you also are the first one to close the cabinet door someone left open, straighten the crooked picture on the wall, shift the hymnals so there are the same number in each pew…maybe you even line up your M&Ms by color to eat them. Order is good. I like order too. OTOH, maybe there’s a part of you that, in addition to being angry at yourself, at God, and at your husband (all perfectly natural and healthy to admit), is angry at the AP. Even if (and it’s a big if) he is as he presented himself to you, he still participated in your sin rather than stopping you. If God could have stopped you, (and I fully believe he does stop people from sinning sometimes) certainly the man who participated with you could have stopped you by saying, “Wait a minute! I have a wife! Let’s don’t do this!” But I would ask you: you said he is a Christian and loves God and also just made a mistake (paraphrased). Isn’t it more likely he watched your conversations with the women in the chat room, discovered what type of guy you were most likely to respond to, then tailored his description of himself to be as appealing to you as possible? If this suggestion isn’t a total shock to you, I would guess somewhere inside, you are furious at this man for taking advantage of your vulnerability when you were at your weakest. (And rightly so, even while accepting your own responsibility.)

                  I understand your desire to protect your husband from possible consequences to his actions, but I did keep wondering as the other members described all the feelings he is having and what this has done to his psyche whether the chance to very physically defend his territory and honor as a husband wouldn’t be cathartic for him. And if this guy is a repeat predator, he absolutely needs to be taken down. Do you know anyone in law that you could ask for options?

                  If you would like to speak further about the baby sorrows—which won’t go away, regardless of pausing, stopping, ignoring or any other –ing—please feel free to either PM me or continue conversation publicly. My DH is a member here and is free to read all my PMs. I am praying so many things for you and your husband right now this would be half again as long if I wrote them out, but suffice it to say you have my compassion and my hopes for your marriage to rise like the phoenix from the ashes.

                  Under the stars Answered on July 14, 2020.

                  @Duchess – I was long hoping you would contribute to this thread. Your unique perspective on the fertility issue is of course extremely valuable, but your ability to communicate with words in a firm but loving way is amazing! I managed to hold back the tears, but as you can imagine, many of us who have participated on this thread have emotional ties to this topic, and at least I greatly appreciate what you wrote!

                  -Scott

                  on July 14, 2020.

                  Thank you Scott. What a kind encouragement!

                  on July 14, 2020.

                  @Duchess, thank you so very much for this. I can relate to all of what you wrote. Unlike @Scott, I wasn’t able to hold off the tears. I have questioned so much about who I am in the last few weeks and I’ve felt very alone in my thoughts. I’m sad that you have been through a journey that I can relate so well to, but God used you to help my heart in ways that I badly needed.

                  Everything you wrote about our struggles with infertility is so very accurate. I am learning just how much my ignoring that played into my unfaithfulness. I’ve never really been a failure in anything except giving my husband a child and being the wife he deserves. It’s very difficult and hurts deeply because there is nothing I can do about it. Yes, I have wondered if he would have been better off marrying someone else so that he could be a father by now. I’ve even wondered if he would leave me because of my inability to give him a child. All of the feelings you mentioned are very familiar.

                  “Maybe deep down there was even a little tiny dollop of thinking there was no use being the good Christian girl anymore if God wasn’t going to allow you to be the good Christian mom you were supposed to become. Could some tiny part of you wanted to rebel?” I’ve had thoughts of “why can I not have a child when I do the right things but so-and-so is having her third child out of wedlock?” and “I did everything right when it came to staying pure while she slept with a different guy every other night in college. Why would God allow her to have four children but not give me one?” It has definitely hurt me more than I realized.

                  You guessed so accurately about my personality type. I close all cabinets, straighten all the pictures, shift the hymnals (and make sure the offering envelopes are all facing the same way), and I do eat M&Ms by color. Everything has a place and an order. I laughed when I read how accurate you were!

                  Part of me is angry with my AP. Unfortunately, I know he didn’t tailor his description to be as appealing to me as possible. I don’t know the true condition of his heart, but I do know that he is an active member of his church and in a leadership position. I was vulnerable and I wish he had stopped our sin instead of leading it. I know I am just as guilty as he is in following through with things, but I also know that he took the first steps in being sexual. Part of me wants to see this man get punched in the face but I know that won’t solve anything. I know that my husband would thoroughly enjoy taking him down but I can’t let that happen.

                  Again, thank you so much for your post. I’m just now beginning to deal with the baby sorrows instead of ignoring them. As I continue to work through it, I’d love to talk with you. I am so grateful for your compassion, prayers, and hopes for my marriage.

                  on July 15, 2020.

                  I’m so glad I could help in some small way. That part about why them and not me…I thought that SO many times! We waited twelve years for our daughter (five after the failed adoption!) So I have plenty of experience working through these things over and over (and over!!) again.

                  I knew about the M&M’s because I do that too. 😉

                  I’m here for you any time, and I mean that. PM me if you feel comfortable and I’m happy to listen, share what I’ve learned, pray–whatever you need.

                  on July 15, 2020.
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                    @Rescued, we can feel like our sin has finished our usefulness for Christ’s kingdom. I have felt that at many times, and somehow He turns the script. There is nowhere else to turn but Jesus, where else can we go? You have what appears to be solid knowledge of the truth. His grace is evident in your conviction of sin and your repentant heart. I pray that you may continue to experience His grace in abundance, that your marriage will continue to bring God glory even as you work through this.

                    Fell out of ... Answered on July 5, 2020.
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                      Praying for you both. I recommend a Christian counselor.

                      Under the stars Answered on July 4, 2020.
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                        @LBD

                        I’ll be honest with you- your questioning post hurt me. I wanted to respond defensively and then I had the gut wrenching realization that you are absolutely in the right to question me. For the first time in my life my character, integrity, Christian walk, and trustworthiness are not what they should be. My actions will and should be questioned.

                        Yes, my husband does know I’m here. He has my username and password just like he did with my account on the previous TMB boards. He does not have his own account because he honestly doesn’t have the time or care to participate in the discussions. We have both benefited from posts here without feeling the need to comment or post our own questions. I consider chatting to be one-on-one, and the boards to be a forum for discussion. The only person I’ve had a one-on-one discussion with is SeekingChange and it was to ask her about the votes, points, and comments and to see if she knew if some people from the old boards were here who maybe had different usernames. I haven’t received or sent any other PMs.

                        Those being answered, the only question that I take issue/offense with: “Why not keep all these discussions and questions between you and your husband, and maybe a third party you both consult with?” Is TMB not a Christian forum to ask and discuss marriage with a specific category for Infidelity, which is indeed the category I posted in? Why does anyone on these boards not keep discussions and questions between just them and their spouse? The reason I’m not keeping the discussion and questions between just us and/or a third party is because I’d like to learn from people who have been unfaithful or experienced infidelity. That’s also why I posted in the infidelity section of the TMB forum. My husband was not thrilled that I told people who actually know us. Although I don’t deserve it, he wants to protect me and keep my reputation in tact.

                        As stated in a previous post, I didn’t know where to start to ask for help. My first post wasn’t the best way to open the discussion and I understand that. My final contact with the other man was never going to be hidden from my husband. I just wasn’t sure of the best way to finalize it. I have moved on from that question.

                        I’m not going to defend the other man or his actions. I don’t know what his initial intentions were but I know what my husband thinks. I wasn’t a sheep, though. As much as I hate it, I was in sin just as deep as my affair partner.

                        I absolutely know I have the best man for me in my husband. That’s why my heart is so broken and my soul has been so shaken by the weight of my sin. I can never apologize enough or take away his pain. I can never say that he is my one and only again (I cry every time I think about it). I can never gain his full trust again. I can never say that I haven’t turned on my relationship with Christ again. I can pray and hope for forgiveness, grace, and redemption. I can move forward with my desire to honor my husband and the Lord.

                        Double bed Answered on July 8, 2020.

                        ”I can pray and hope for forgiveness, grace, and redemption. I can move forward with my desire to honor my husband and the Lord.” – then you shall receive such and can accomplish such. God has redeemed sinners over and over – it’s kinda His “thing.”

                        I know betrayal and I have betrayed. I asked those hard questions for a reason, and you get it. If you can be honest with yourself,  that’s more than halfway. And the truth is, a LOT of the things talked about on these boards should be being talked about at home first instead. That goes for everyone here including myself. Yes, It is a supposed to be a Christian forum and there is some good things shared here, as I said. Proverbs 15:22 certainly applies. Just be careful, the old saying “too many cooks spoil the stew” persists for good reason as well. And remember – Proverbs 27:6. I, for one, would be a friend. I believe most all here are.

                        I will disagree with you on some points you made. Mainly, you CAN regain your husband’s trust. I was not trying to remove all responsibility from you for the act in what I was saying. I was trying to help you understand who I believe you’re dealing with. And that there is more than just your weakness at play. But that’s just my opinion and means nothing. Less than nothing compared to your husband’s.  I would also suggest there is only one way to regain DH’s full trust – absolute, unwavering integrity. And IMO, and in NWNL’s as well it seems, that first means never mentioning the other guys name or any wish to reconnect for any reason. To do otherwise is not only giving him power, but it is taking it directly away from your DH and rubbing salt in the wound. So I’m glad you’ve moved on from that. I was also trying to help you hate the sin, but not yourself. You are not the sin.

                        I hope your pain will lessen as soon as possible.

                        on July 8, 2020.

                        What kind of marriage is it if one can never speak of a certain area because it might cause a little pain? You will never find full healing if something is required to remain locked behind a closed door and never addressed. I totally disagree with that piece of advice…plainly, I think it is bad advice.

                        I know my situation is not exactly the same, but 2 1/2 years later, past total cut off, the OM’s name still comes up. Usually it’s my husband bringing it up. Within the past two weeks we had to have another discussion around the whole thing because of a trigger.
                        When one of us is struggling with thoughts or feelings, we have given the freedom and the grace to be open and work through it. We would much rather be honest about doubts and insecurities, so that they can be worked through and the other can be reassured, which brings greater intimacy to us.

                        on July 8, 2020.

                        SC – do YOU ever bring up his name first? And if so, how would you propose to do that without it being painful to husband and seeming purposefully so? Or why would you choose to? If he brings it up, then you are duty bound to discuss it to a point. On that I would agree. But only to a point, as your counselor suggested, and only if the betrayed spouse wished to discuss it first. The obvious exception being at the direction of counsel.

                        on July 8, 2020.

                        I have brought it up, it was more in the earlier months. If we want to work through something you have to talk about it. I have had no reason to bring it up for a year, but if I did, I would….I believe the last time was when there was a school shooting at his kids’ school. Not talking and not being open is what got us in that place to begin with….again, we both prefer opennes, which requires grace on both of our ends. I actually feel an obligation to share certain things when I face it, so that the trust and integrity can be built. If I am willing to go out of my comfort zone to walk into a tender subject, that shows him that I am not hiding anything.

                        on July 8, 2020.
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