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One year ago, my life was shattered by something I never saw coming – infidelity. My loving wife of 8 years, the mother to my two beautiful children, my best friend and life companion for more than 15 years, ripped my heart out and turned my world upside down. I had never felt so alone and so vulnerable in my life. Everything I knew to be, wasn’t.

No, our life together hadn’t been perfect - we argued, the kids misbehaved, work stressed us out and we frequently took each other and our marriage for granted. But this? I never saw this coming.

At first there was so much anger. How could she do this to me? To our family? How could she be so selfish? So deceitful? How could I mean so little to her? Where was the woman I married? Why was this happening to me? I didn’t deserve this.

My initial reaction was to walk away, this isn’t what I had signed up for. It would just be easier to walk away from the whole thing and start over. I was 35 years old, funny, smart, had a great career and was a decent looking guy. I was a catch.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn’t want to make the “easier” decision, I wanted to make the right one.

My wife was genuinely sorry, and desperately wanted to try and work things out. Despite the selfish decisions, she still loved me and wanted to try and rebuild our relationship. And despite the betrayal, I still loved her as well.

At some point I will document the play by play, but not right now. A year later, I am actually really happy with how I handled things, considering we all tend to plow through the first days and weeks blind. After spending lots of time here, I am amazed at how many of the right things I did in the first 72 hours - confronted my wife as soon as I had proof, demanded NC notice be sent, demanded total disclosure, notified OMW etc. Sure, I made some mistakes, but on the more minor stuff. I was firm and stuck to my guns.

So we committed ourselves to working through the aftermath of the affair and set out to build a stronger marriage together. We began talking more, sharing our feelings more and we even started seeing a marriage counselor. We set aside more date nights, as well as some personal time for each of us, and we worked to ensure we were communicating openly.

And I am proud to say that a year later we are in a much better place! I feel confident that we made the right decision, and I see something that I could never have imagined in the initial weeks following D-Day – a bright future together! I am so proud of how far we have come, how much stronger our relationship and our love for each other is.

But while things are much better, they are forever different. I find myself more jaded to the world, more skeptical of people and their intentions. Trust is hard, really hard. I never thought of myself as the jealous type before, but now I find myself reacting to triggers by sneaking peeks at my wife’s phone and email. And I hate it! I hate that that’s what I’ve become.

The act of forgiving my wife means accepting a life and a reality that differs with my beliefs and dreams of what marriage, love and family represented. It means coming to grips with a relationship forever tainted and giving up on the idea of a "pure" marriage.

As you can see from the last two paragraphs, things are far from perfect. But what in life is? We still have a lot of work ahead, and who knows how it will ultimately end? I have my bad days, like all of us. Sometimes the anger sneaks up on me and boils over into rage, but less and less these days. I have my triggers, but fewer and fewer.

I just wanted to post as there are so many stories on here that end badly. I am hoping that we are headed down a different path than those. So here's to keeping the faith (and our eyes wide open)!
 

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Thanks mate for your story, mine is very similar although I'm only 5 months out from Dday. You put your story very well, in the days after Dday it's very difficult to think you will ever climb out of that hole. I'm interested to know how do you now view the years prior to the affair, do those special moments and memories now not mean as much, is it like your marriage prior to the affair now seems kind of false?
 

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Congrats on your progress! I'm glad it's working out for you
after putting in so much time and effort into rebuilding.

My only question is this:

Trust is hard, really hard. I never thought of myself as the jealous type before,
but now I find myself reacting to triggers by sneaking peeks at my wife’s
phone and email. And I hate it! I hate that that’s what I’ve become.


How does one rationalize dealing with triggers and snooping and equate
it to the type of marriage they'd like to have for themselves?

Also, how does this person come out the other side better off as a person,
while now knowing the kind of damage their WS is capable of?

Wondering what your opinion is on those....
 

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But while things are much better, they are forever different. I find myself more jaded to the world, more skeptical of people and their intentions. Trust is hard, really hard. I never thought of myself as the jealous type before, but now I find myself reacting to triggers by sneaking peeks at my wife’s phone and email. And I hate it! I hate that that’s what I’ve become.

The act of forgiving my wife means accepting a life and a reality that differs with my beliefs and dreams of what marriage, love and family represented. It means coming to grips with a relationship forever tainted and giving up on the idea of a "pure" marriage.
You hate what you've been MADE. You didn't pee in the pool.

But that being said, one action can not necessarily define a person forever (unless it's shooting a President or giving accordion lessons). People can change. After all, she changed into an adulteress. She can certainly change back into a worthwhile (but flawed) person (who bears watching.) It's been a YEAR. Don't feel bad for keeping an eye on her. If she's been trustworthy, you wouldn't be here.
 

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Congrats on your progress! I'm glad it's working out for you
after putting in so much time and effort into rebuilding.

My only question is this:

Trust is hard, really hard. I never thought of myself as the jealous type before,
but now I find myself reacting to triggers by sneaking peeks at my wife’s
phone and email. And I hate it! I hate that that’s what I’ve become.


How does one rationalize dealing with triggers and snooping and equate
it to the type of marriage they'd like to have for themselves?

Also, how does this person come out the other side better off as a person,
while now knowing the kind of damage their WS is capable of?

Wondering what your opinion is on those....
You take solace in the fact that you are not a cheater.

The people who cheat, no matter what they do, no matter how hard they try to rectify things, the plain and simple fact is they can't. They can try. They can spend the rest of their lives trying to but it simply can't happen- that's why infidelity is so horrible. It is not a debt that can be recompensed.

For the people who cheat- that is their legacy. That is who they are.

So take comfort in knowing that you are not that thing. Your legacy is that you were faithful to your wife.

And when you lie down on your death bed many years from now, you will close your eyes and smile because you get to be the one who did the right thing. No matter what happens between now and then, she has to go to sleep every single night for the rest of her life knowing that she's a twisted, gnarled doppelganger.
 
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By Never Happened 2 me
The act of forgiving my wife means accepting a life and a reality that differs with my beliefs and dreams of what marriage, love and family represented. It means coming to grips with a relationship forever tainted and giving up on the idea of a "pure" marriage.
Forgiving is not always without permanent consequences.\
Keep gaining on accepting a life that reflects reality more than idealism.
You will have to live in a reality 95% of your life.
You may not b get back to 100% in some areas but you can also go from `10% to 90% in a lot of other areas. You actually could wind up better overall than when you were before.




By Never Happened 2 me
I just wanted to post as there are so many stories on here that end badly. I am hoping that we are headed down a different path than those. So here's to keeping the faith (and our eyes wide open)!
So far you really way ahead of the game. If you continue with faith, forgiveness, and the commitment to the right actions you have a LOT of hope
 

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Thanks for your honesty and insight. We are 9 months out from D-day, you have described it perfectly.

At this moment in time I am struggling with an awful feeling of hopelessness, and wanting to jack it all in. I know these feelings come and go but when they do come it feels like they never will. Thank you for helping me realise it can get better.
 

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Forgiving is not always without permanent consequences.\
Keep gaining on accepting a life that reflects reality more than idealism.
You will have to live in a reality 95% of your life.
You may not b get back to 100% in some areas but you can also go from `10% to 90% in a lot of other areas. You actually could wind up better overall than when you were before.






So far you really way ahead of the game. If you continue with faith, forgiveness, and the commitment to the right actions you have a LOT of hope
You keep saying this without defining a damned thing.


HOW does it 'get better'? I don't mean bearable. That isn't what you are suggesting (almost promising)

You are saying that the rosy, clean, bright and pure marriage will 'get EVEN BETTER' after the wife throws it into against a sharp rock covered in manure.

So please, relate HOW it gets better in precise terms.
 
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Very happy for you :) I made the same choice - to work through it - we still have a long way to go but each day gets better and I am totally comfortable in my decision to deal with the bad to get the good. 7 months out and way more good than bad. Today is a great day!
 

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Five years post D-Day here. Me wife and I have moved on from the pain of the past and doing great. As hard as it was to move through, the marriage is stronger for it. It will take time but it can be done. Good luck and commit to the recovery.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks to all for the positive feedback, this site has been an incredible resource for me. I know I didn't post until recently, but I have been lurking for the past 9 months or so.

I have found solace in so many of the stories and honest emotions, can't thank everyone enough for the generosity. It was comforting beyond words to know I wasn't alone, especially considering how incredibly alone you feel initially. How much does it suck that the one person you would normally turn to is the source of all the pain, anger, fear, confusion etc? Total mindf#ck! (sorry for anyone offended)

I wanted to follow up on a couple of the posts above:

Lmodel:
I'm interested to know how do you now view the years prior to the affair, do those special moments and memories now not mean as much, is it like your marriage prior to the affair now seems kind of false?

That's a tough one indeed. Last weekend, we attended our first wedding since D-day. It was really hard to sit in the ceremony and listen to the exchange of vows, etc. I found myself feeling really cynical about the whole thing. I was able to avoid rolling my eyes or muttering "yeah right" under my breath, which I'm guessing might have been viewed as inappropriate. :p

But my wife was really supportive through it. And I could tell she was struggling a bit too. Afterword, we talked about it - why it was hard, how we were feeling/reacting.

Really, I have started to think about our relationship as BTA (before the affair) and ATA (after the affair). Because, let's be honest, the during is crap. Everything that happened during was a lie and isn't real. But I know my wife truly loved me before and after. Not saying I block out the during, I don't think any of us have the ability to do that if we wanted. But I don't think of the affair period as "us". There was no "us" in her behavior at that time.

But I almost view it as BTA and ATA as two different relationships. In many ways the BTA affair was a simple love, idealistic, untested and often complacent. The ATA relationship is different. It's rougher around the edges, requires more work and smacks you in the face with uncertainty at times. But in some weird ways, it is almost better? Don't get me wrong, my wife screwed up huge, and I'm not implying the affair was a good thing in ANY way. But sometimes growth happens as a result of a really crappy event. I think we have both had our eyes opened and realize that complacency is our enemy. That's a good thing.

So I still struggle with our wedding day, as the promises made were indeed broken. We have discussed renewing our vows someday, but that will need to be a couple more years down the road. I like the idea of starting again that way, but we need to continue working towards that.
 

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OP, glad that things are working out for you so far. Regarding your guilt at checking up on your wife, I wouldn't feel any of that at all. From my upbringing in a family that practiced Christianity (RCC, specifically), I've been taught that marriage is a sacrament of love and unity, where as St Paul wrote in his epistles that a man and a woman leaves their parents and the two join to make one flesh. With this in mind plus my strong belief that I had to marry my best friend or it wouldn't work out (which I did), I think its healthy for husbands and wives to check up on each other. I don't do it in secret, but my wife is aware that I'll check out her facebook account or her e-mail accounts. My wife probably does the same because I don't hide my passwords to facebook or any other e-mail accounts. Having the ability to freely look into each others things does not mean that you lose your individuality as a number of people think that without privacy I'm not my own person. In a marriage, there is no privacy IMO. That's why you're married - to give of yourself to another and that other person gives herself to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
cantthinkstraight

How does one rationalize dealing with triggers and snooping and equate it to the type of marriage they'd like to have for themselves?

Also, how does this person come out the other side better off as a person, while now knowing the kind of damage their WS is capable of?


Been following your posts on these boards, BTW. Is it weird to say "big fan"? :scratchhead: Seriously, really appreciate a lot of things you have posted, and admire the attitude you have approached this whole nightmare with. Keep your chin up!

Triggers suck! Guessing they will happen for the rest of my life. That blows big time! But I am trying to use them to my advantage, if that's possible. When I get triggered, I allow myself a moment to think about it, but then I ask myself some questions:

- Do I really have a reason to think something is happening again? (answer has always been no, which reminds me that these are triggering bad memories not actually raising doubts about the current situation).

- Are things better now than they were?

- Are we both continuing to work on "us"?

In other words, I try to use the triggers as a reminder to evaluate things, think about the progress that has been made and about the new future we are working hard together to build. It's not perfect, but I have found this approach to help. It helps me shift from the initial negative, unproductive reaction to a more positive and productive thought process. Doesn't always work yet, but it gets better each week!

On your second question, I think I am coming out of this a better person because I now know that I am stronger than I knew. You hit rock bottom on D-day. Your world crumbles around you, as we all know. I went from furious anger at my initial discovery, to tremendous fear and anxiety of losing the life I had built.

But I took time to step away and process my emotions over the course of a few weeks and ultimately realized I could handle this. If I needed to get divorced, I would be ok. The kids would be ok. I realized that the only thing I needed to figure out was what I wanted next. Fortunately, my wife and I wanted the same thing. We wanted to try the virtually impossible task of starting over.

So I now have better perspective on things. I know that you have to work on your marriage, invest the time and effort. You also need to ensure that you are thinking about what you need and want, and that you are getting it. If you aren't, you need to speak up. And you need to listen too, when your partner speaks up.

I take less for granted these days. Even just those moments as a family. They don't slide past anymore without full appreciation. That's good.
 

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I almost view it as BTA and ATA as two different relationships. In many ways the BTA affair was a simple love, idealistic, untested and often complacent. The ATA relationship is different. It's rougher around the edges, requires more work and smacks you in the face with uncertainty at times. ...I think we have both had our eyes opened and realize that complacency is our enemy. That's a good thing.
hi never:

i lurked for a long time too before posting, and many of your other comments are true for me as well.

one difference is that i would say that our BTA was worse than complacent. my WH and i had really drifted apart and begun to live almost separate lives.

and yes, my eyes are opened to that now. that new awareness is a positive and growthful aspect of this crisis -- which is also accompanied by so many losses. like you, i now bring some cynicism to things like marriage vows.

other small beautiful moments of life seem tinged with sadness too. sometimes i find myself in tears about music or children playing, and it seems connected to a loss of something that was innocent and hopeful in me.

nevertheless, i was taking a lot for granted and i was naive and self-involved and disconnected before the A. i was hurting and i hurt my H a lot. i know that now.

is this a justification for his A? of course not. it's kind of paradoxical: in no way would i have ever wanted to learn these lessons because of an A (and i'm sure that goes without saying). nor am i grateful for the A as an eye-opener.

at the same time, it's just a fact that i did learn some things, and that those things are relevant to building a better marriage. and i want to be part of building a better marriage.

we have a long road ahead of us but we are working hard. i hope to be where you are at one year out from d-day.
 

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my wife and i are 3 yrs plus out I had an affair and she had a revenge affair, anyway we decided to reconcile similar to your story, and we went to MC etc i think the first 6 months was the hardest for me or the first year however i am happier today than i have ever been and our marriage is wonderful i am so happy that we both decided to hang on

Good Luck
 

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You keep saying this without defining a damned thing.


HOW does it 'get better'? I don't mean bearable. That isn't what you are suggesting (almost promising)

You are saying that the rosy, clean, bright and pure marriage will 'get EVEN BETTER' after the wife throws it into against a sharp rock covered in manure.

So please, relate HOW it gets better in precise terms.
Thank you, JCD for saying exactly what I was thinking.

A marriage can SURVIVE infidelity, but the cheating NEVER makes the marriage better.

All the excuses the cheaters used to cheat could, if not outright fabrications, could have been solved in Marriage counseling.

Now the marriage will forever be tainted by distrust and suspicion. That is not an improved marriage.

Usually, too, it's the BS who improves themselves to bend to the complaints of the cheater, and the cheaters life likely does improve.

They actually get rewarded for cheating. :scratchhead:
 

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The trust will come back but you'll never blindly trust ever again. Even the smallest trigger will send you to checking her phone/e-mail/fb, etc....

It lasts forever the checking up once in a while. My wife has access to all my crap because I have nothing to hide so I don't care if she looks whenever she wants to.

She always makes an excuse about updating the phone or sending something to my e-mail and she needs to get it, but I know.

Life can still be good but it will never be the same. That undying love, the kind that you gave to your parents when you were small and gave to your wife before she cheated is gone and will never come back.

Instead it's a new kind of love that takes it place, one of understanding and forgiveness but you will always hold a little piece of yourself back just in case she decides to bend you over and screw you again. That way if it happens (not saying it will) you can walk away with almost no guilt.

It's a very long road with alot of different paths to take after an affair. To make it to the end together will take both of you taking the same paths together be it good or bad and being there for each other.

Wish the both of you the best.
 

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Originally Posted by Mr Blunt
Forgiving is not always without permanent consequences.\
Keep gaining on accepting a life that reflects reality more than idealism.
You will have to live in a reality 95% of your life.
You may not b get back to 100% in some areas but you can also go from `10% to 90% in a lot of other areas. You actually could wind up better overall than when you were before.





So far you really way ahead of the game. If you continue with faith, forgiveness, and the commitment to the right actions you have a LOT of hope

REPLY BY JCD
You keep saying this without defining a damned thing.


HOW does it 'get better'? I don't mean bearable. That isn't what you are suggesting (almost promising)

You are saying that the rosy, clean, bright and pure marriage will 'get EVEN BETTER' after the wife throws it into against a sharp rock covered in manure.

So please, relate HOW it gets better in precise terms.


A “rosy, clean, bright and pure marriage” is a temporary state (sometimes a idealistic fantasy) that does not hold up in a long term marriage.
How it can get better in some areas is the way I worded it.

First, after the affair you can do some very introspective evaluation of yourself. Evaluating the cheating spouse is natural but you can only change you.

Once you find areas in your life that YOU need improving then you use the strong emotions that you are feeling to drive you to IMPROVE YOURSELF.

It is always tempting to keep pointing the finger at the cheater that has inflicted such huge pain on you and that is going to happen from time to time. However, be conscience of the fact that you are in this mess and it is a matter of emotional life or death. You have two choices, you can concentrate on condemning the cheater and expecting them to fix you or you can start getting you better. It is a choice of choosing getting better or bitter.


Stop and think about it. How is hating, holding on to resentments, thinking about how unjust you have been done, how you want the other person to hurt is going to benefit you in the long haul?


When you work on yourself and get better you can wind up overall with this:

1 You will become more self sufficient in whom (YOU) controls your emotional health to a higher level.

2 You realize that you can survive the most devastating hit any marriage action could do to you

3 You can find out that your faith is real and stronger because it has been tested by fire and you have gotten stronger faith.

4 Whatever degree of forgiveness you accomplish will be the forgiveness that you can apply to yourself, now and in the future.

5 You see humanity in a more clear way and not in idealism and come to accept that and make decisions on that new awareness.

6 You become stronger with your gains in self sufficiency which drives out fears.

7 When you are stringer you can be more of a giver than a taker.

8 You come to depend on yourself and God for some of the biggest fears and blessings in life rather than on a man or woman that are so fickle.

The ones above are just off the top of my head; I am sure there are more.

I have said it before in another thread but I will say it again. Forgiveness is a great self improvement action. My approach to dealing with infidelity has a lot to do with using these crises TO IMPROVE YOURSELF!

If you improve yourself and your cheating spouse does the same thing then in time (Years) your marriage overall can wind up being better than before. Some things will not have the potential to be 100%, like blind trust, and the specialness of 100% faithfulness but if you have other areas that have been neglected and need improving and improve them then your total overall score in life can be better than before.

Even if your spouse does not get better then you will still be better off than if you did not improve yourself because you will be more self sufficient.

A spouse can fulfill an important role in your life but they are not your whole life.


I am not sugar coating infidelity; it is the biggest marriage killer of all time. However, Infidelity does not have to control your life and emotions for years and years. YOU can make choices that substantially diminish the negative consequences of a cheating spouse
 

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Ah. So this is just a less pithy version of Nietzsche: That which does not kill you makes you stronger.

So, if I'm in a car wreck, with my spine severed, the bones in my leg gravel, and a detached retina, BOY can I look at some serious personal growth...unless, you know...I like WALKING.

But let's break this down piece by piece



A “rosy, clean, bright and pure marriage” is a temporary state (sometimes a idealistic fantasy) that does not hold up in a long term marriage.
I think there is a vast difference between finding out your spouse tipples at the sherry, expects you to loan her ne'er do well brother money, and has gas which can blister paint is the same sort of realization that she is also a round heeled slvt. Learning of imperfections is expected. Finding a staggering character flaw of this magnitude is rather more serious.


It is always tempting to keep pointing the finger at the cheater that has inflicted such huge pain on you and that is going to happen from time to time. However, be conscience of the fact that you are in this mess and it is a matter of emotional life or death.
Excuse me, but that glosses over quite a bit. If I'm running along a trail and I slip into the river, it's a matter of life and death as well. I have to suddenly learn to swim and face the rapids. If I survive, I can look at myself with some sense of pride.

But I am PUSHED into the river...by my spouse. Should I then thank her for this opportunity to 'grow'? Hmm.


You have two choices, you can concentrate on condemning the cheater and expecting them to fix you or you can start getting you better. It is a choice of choosing getting better or bitter.
False choice. I can certainly be 'bitter' at the person who pushed me off the cliff but still grow as a person...just without them. And why should I reach out for help from the person who pushed me off the cliff in the first place?


Stop and think about it. How is hating, holding on to resentments, thinking about how unjust you have been done, how you want the other person to hurt is going to benefit you in the long haul?
This has absolutely nothing to do about how my 'marriage' is better after I forgive my wayward spouse.



(Long list of things clipped)

1 So IF I don't become a needy crawler back to the person who wounded me (more common then I like)

2 IF I actually survive without becoming a basket case

3 IF I don't resent God or lose faith

4 IF I learn to forgive the person who destroyed me AND forgive myself for being such a sap

IF I...um...

5 You see humanity in a more clear way and not in idealism and come to accept that and make decisions on that new awareness.
Wow, you really ARE advocating people become cynics. Huh.

6 IF I don't become emotionally shattered and can actually control fears...or fall prey to them

7 If...WTF!

7 When you are stringer (sic) you can be more of a giver than a taker.
So I'm supposed to REWARD their lousy behavior? Are you frigging KIDDING ME?

And 8...oh...this was just proselytization. Oh...Okay.

My approach to dealing with infidelity has a lot to do with using these crises TO IMPROVE YOURSELF!
I can agree with that.

But that isn't what you promised. You promised that IF you forgive, the marriage will be better (caveat: in some ways)

So far, aside from some POTENTIAL gains in yourself, there is NOTHING said which indicates how the marriage will be better at ALL.

Oops, sorry. Jumped the gun

If you improve yourself and your cheating spouse does the same thing then in time (Years) your marriage overall can wind up being better than before. Some things will not have the potential to be 100%, like blind trust, and the specialness of 100% faithfulness but if you have other areas that have been neglected and need improving and improve them then your total overall score in life can be better than before.
BLIND trust. Like that little dig. Fidelity SHOULD be able to be taken for granted in a marriage. It's in the vows after all.

So IF you are in a rotten marriage and IF your selfish SELFISH spouse who just got finished sticking a knife in your back has a Saul of Tarsus moment and totally changes her spots, THEN (years down the road) you might have a marriage which, in totally, may surpass what you had before.

A spouse can fulfill an important role in your life but they are not your whole life.
If they aren't important, then why did you bother all the heavy lifting of reconciling?


I am not sugar coating infidelity; it is the biggest marriage killer of all time. However, Infidelity does not have to control your life and emotions for years and years. YOU can make choices that substantially diminish the negative consequences of a cheating spouse
Yes. It's called DIVORCE and leaving her behind.
 
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