I Can’t Forget My Husband’s Affair And I Feel Tormented

can't forget my husband's affair

“I can’t forget my husband’s affair. I can’t forget my husband cheated on me. This reality has been tormenting me since the time I discovered it,” revealed a friend.

How long has this been going on? You told me it was just casual friendship and I believed you. I am a fool!

How many times did you f*** her? Five, ten…more? I need to know the exact number!

Is she very good in bed?

Where did the two of you even meet? A random hotel? At Vivek’s place? Did you ever bring her here? Did you use our bed?

Do you love her? Is she prettier than me?

How many texts do the two of you exchange everyday? What do you talk about?

Did you tell her that you love her? Did you use the ‘L’ word with her!

Related Reading: 20 Warning Signs of a Cheating Husband Which Defines an Extra Marital Affair

Discovery Of An Affair Is Painful

Discovery of sexual infidelity in a partner is often accompanied by a strong need to know every detail – motivational, logistical, and sexual – of the extramarital relationship.

To know every nuance of the exchanges – of conversations, gifts, intimacies…the wronged spouse cannot help but demand that the details be revealed, the what/when/how of the affair laid bare. It seems to be the only beginning point if any communication has to happen in the accepting/healing process for the one wronged! You actually don’t know how to react to your partner’s extramarital affair. 

I can’t forget my husband cheated on me

Like my friend M said to me, “I had to know it all, every little inch where she had touched him, physically and emotionally. I had to know exactly how he was with her, the clothes he wore when he went to see her, if she was behind his new salt and pepper beard.

“I had to know was it because of her that he had shaved his chest! I had to know what he thought of when he thought of her! It was unrelenting you know, this need to know. I can’t forget my husband’s affair. ”

Her pain was visible in the taut nerves of her forehead. Not for a day, a week but for months.

This made me wonder why do we dig for information which we know will hurt. And yet I know if ever it came to me, I would do the same too!

There’s a need to know the details of infidelity

Psychotherapist Dr Neeru Kanwar (PhD Psy) has been dealing with this for 18 years, specialising in issues of couples’ interactional difficulties. I asked her if this compelling need to know was indeed common, and if this kind of sharing helped in the recovery process (given that the couple wants to work through it). Dr Kanwar explained the psychology behind this unsettling but inevitable urge.

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“This is one way,” she said, “That the betrayed spouse makes sense of how it happened, as they trace the relationship step by step. For the betrayed woman it is about enormous loss – loss of security, loss of image that she had of her husband, loss of her dream that they are exclusive.

“Like this client once said, ‘From childhood, I had cherished this ideal that we would be completely into each other… a unit away from the others, that ideal is gone forever. I can’t get over my husband’s infidelity.'”

“Once infidelity is discovered, in the process of trying to make sense of it, the wronged spouse feels the need to revisit the transgression again and again to understand its beginning, how it became intense…etc. But this is extremely hurtful and in the process she tortures herself terribly, and repeatedly.

Related Reading: 8 Steps To Deal With Your Spouse’s Emotional Affair

Breach of trust is hurtful

“I can’t forget my husband cheated on me. I can’t forget my husband’s affair,” this is what my friend kept saying. She just could not get over this breach of trust and maybe she felt that if her husband told her all details of the affair she would be able to rebuild trust.

Dr Kanwar said, “The other reason for her need to know is linked to the breach of trust. There is a loss of closeness between husband and wife, the husband has been sharing time and things with another woman, and the wife has been an outsider.”

“So the wife wants to recover that sense of feeling close with her husband. And for that, he has to share everything with her.”

“Does this reveal-all help in moving on?” I asked Dr Kanwar. She doesn’t recommend it. “Not only is it torture for the wronged person but also puts the offending partner in a defensive mode to see his spouse in so much pain. Most of the time the details don’t help.”

Husband cheated
Husband cheated

The detailed knowledge keeps tormenting

Coming back to my friend, more than two years have passed since the D-day. They have been to counsellors, fought, tasted poison in each other but they are together. I asked her, if, in retrospect, she would have done anything differently.

M was candid. “The more I dug and the more he shared, the more visuals got recorded in my hard drive and I couldn’t forget my husband’s affair. Now there was a place associated with each transgression. I have not been able to step into hotels he went for…” she trailed off.

“I have thrown the shirts away that he wore with her, but can I erase the pictures in which he is wearing them? Jacob’s Creek was our thing, but he drank that with her too. Now we have moved to whiskey.”

“At that time it seemed imperative, to know it all. Now I want to forget it, but you can’t not know once you know, can you?”

Related Reading: Can You Forgive Your Husband For Having An Affair?

What happens when you know

Several academic and expert opinions seem to conclude that:

– The hurt caused by the discovery of infidelity impels the wronged person to dig deep for every bit of information

– The highly emotive environment leads to all this unearthed information being firmly cemented in memory

– Now the wronged one has actual mental images with which to brood and virtually relive the affair

– This means it’s very difficult to progress to any kind of forgiveness

But then as M said, can we not know once we know? And once we know can we forget it? Forgiveness is a complicated process.

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Readers Comments On “I Can’t Forget My Husband’s Affair And I Feel Tormented”

  1. When a person gets married, person invest all their emotions, trust, dependability, love etc everything. When one come to know about cheating, every thing crash, heart will smash into millions of pieces. It is always better to live with dignity, self respect and a fresh life rather than with being a crook /cheater in a marriage. Why one need to stay in that shambles and re-work on the marriage. Every second, u watch ur partner, person heart will be pinched. Why loyal spouse has to undergo shame, hurt & insult for life? better move out, it is better to have a pet home than a cheater at home for pet even though animal will be faithful to it last unlike cheater. Every one says save marriage, who needs marriage with a cheater? Whether marriage exists for people or people exists for marriage? Atleast work on fresh relationships rather than burning emotionally & working on worn out relationship? Even if one is disgusted, can remain single also? Cheater came in one’s life after 25 years, but person has not born along with cheater?
    Problems in a marriage are not license for cheating. Cowards who can’t rectify issues within marriaage, shameless, characterless, selfish crooks whether male or female does’t deserve in one’s life. Life is more precious and God’s gift & divine not to be wasted on crooks & one can do wonders.

    1. Damn if we do, damned if we don’t. when it comes to infidelity, everything is complicated. The aggrieved party wants a closure and there is a strong urge to know everything. Yet, it can never be easy as we keep discovering new angles into what happened between them. It’s impossible to get a proper burial. If you continue to live with your partner, One small incident or situation again opens up all the wounds. I speak from experience. Even after 5 years, it is still raw. The pain never goes away completely.

  2. This is the case of cheating but in my case even the affair was before marriage and it was found and confronted later, the feeling of betryal doesnt subside. The ghost of her intimate past still haunts and make me curious to dig in deep by asking situational questions again and again.

    1. Raksha Bharadia

      i know it hurts like hell but i think you should investigate what is the situation now? Is your spouse emotionally involved still? The thing is we take our time to get over past relationships and as mature partner’s maybe we should allow that time ti our partners. I know it hurts…yet maybe this is the wiser thing to do!

  3. I feel digging information should not just for transgression and pinpointing the moment such thought got conceived, it is important to take guilt out of the system during the retrospecting process, from the betrayed spouse. Its definitely a difficult situation and leaves a crack in relation which is never filled.

  4. I can empathise and relate to each and every word of this article. It’s a torture yet it has to be done by the wronged party. But howsoever information one gleans from the spouse, there is always that feeling of something has not been shared. And it adds to bitterness for the rest of the life. Not an easy situation to come to terms with!

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