Surviving Infidelity: Charging Neutral

I’m in the process of completing a study on how people best survive infidelity.

Surviving infidelity depends on the type of affair facing you as well as a myriad of other factors.

In my research I asked my readers to describe as best as they could, the key factors enabling them to survive the affair.

In this case study the woman points to charging neutral – a skill I teach in Break Free From the Affair – and her commitment to her daughter who was triangulated with the affair.

After reading, please bookmark and/or leave a comment. Others will appreciate your effort.

Here are comments from a wounded wife surviving the affair:

My sorrow was intensified by the fact that my 19 yr. old daughter was the one who discovered her father’s adultery with another married woman. In a brave effort to shelter me, she did not disclose the information for 2 years. Meanwhile her father knew that she knew, but he continued to live in what I can best describe as a narcissistic bubble of denial. She believed that if she kept quiet, he would eventually tell me the truth, but after 2 years of avoiding each others glances, she finally confronted him and told me. This man, who had been impotent for 9 years, had been given a handful of Viagra from a friend, and had behaved like a high school boy with his first six pack of beer, starting to date the “first one he could get.” He said that it was not adultery because “it happened on a golf trip.” He said that the only way to deal with problems like these are to repress them. At the time, I did not know it , but I began “charging neutral.” I felt I had to provide my daughter with at least one rational parent, so my behavior was directed primarily at helping her. I gradually got my husband to say that he was wrong and that he was sorry we got hurt. He to this day will never say that he was sorry for what he had actually done, only that we got hurt. Any attempts at discussion leads to him holding his hand over his face and walking away. I decided that he had no concept of how deeply he had hurt his daughter, so I knew that I would be the one to help her heal. I have told her that she must respect her father because he is her father, but he must earn respect as a person from her by his future actions. My daughter is now able to be cordial with my husband three years later, but I doubt they will ever be close. I can see that we have both gone through the stages of grief in our different ways. I was told that trauma like this can take 5 years to resolve and I believe it. I have frequent flashbacks to my husband’s actions. I know that my daughter will always have trust issues. I have tried to put her emotional health ahead of my own. By doing so, my daughter is now also my friend, and I am a stronger, wiser person. My message I guess is to step up, have the guts to accept what happened, because if you have children of any age, they need something in this world to respect, or they will never be able to see the difference between right and wrong. I continue to pray daily that my husband can look in the mirror and see himself as others see him. It is always possible to retrace your steps and make things right. I am grateful for your continued information on charging neutral. It truly works. The progress is gradual. I understand that you can never fix another person, only lead.

This entry was posted in Charging Neutral, Emotional Distance, Emotional Infidelity, Infidelity Coaching, Infidelity Marriage, Infidelity Pain, Learn How to Confront the Other Person, Marital Crisis and Self Esteem, Real Life Infidelity Stories, Surviving Infidelity, Types of Affairs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Surviving Infidelity: Charging Neutral

  1. Geanie says:

    I can feel this woman’s pain. I know how much that kind of thing hurts. Our daughter discovered my husband’s porn addiction and had to tell me too. Even though my husband did realize the amount of pain he caused both in me and our daugher, because I refused to hide my emotions, I suspect that she will have great difficulty trusting any man now. My husband’s continued use of porn must be a can’t say no type of adultry. I would normally be quiet and absorb the pain without much interaction other than rage, or I would just leave and say nothing at all. I didn’t do either. I finally let all the years of pain, 28 of them, out and let him experience the results of his behavior. I let him know that he had distanced me each time I knew of his behavior and that the love I felt for him was constantly diminishing…and that if he continued I would cease to love him in any way and just want to never see him again. I know this is true of me. He has drastically changed. He quit the porn. He quit the “all about me” behavior. And, for the first time in our 28 years together deserves at least some respect. I hate that it damaged our daughter though…and I’m not sure what I can do to help that other than to let her know that all men are not like he was.

  2. Kerry Allen says:

    I have found Dr Huizenga’s books are very helpful for self analysis, in the event that I am still waiting for my husband of 23 years to return back to the marriage. He is still living with the other woman, but I am quitly utilising the time to work on myself. I am feeling that I am actually the lucky one because I am getting time to find me without another person requiring my attention.

  3. Debbie says:

    I know what you and your daughter are going through. I have tried to explain how much hurt my husbands affair is causing our children and not just my hurt. He says the kids are number 1 and that they are fine. He has no clue to what the effects of this affair have on all of us. It is still going on and I don’t know if it will ever end. He admits he has feelings for her and say’s “how can it be wrong to love someone and care about some one!”

    I wish you both well and hope you can continue to heal. I know without my spiritual beliefs and the help of many others like Bob, I wouldn’t be able to make it through the day.

    Love and happiness to all!
    Debbie

  4. Vanessa says:

    My husband cheated on me with a young coworker who was 20. He was 32 & I was 30. We have two young children, but one of them was old enough to understand that his father did something terrible with another woman. We are togther but it has been 18months since I found out & Iam far from over the nightmare memory. I continue to work hard at trying to forgive him especially for the sake of my children. They need a father figure as much as they need a mother figure. Sometimes I want to leave and escape the conflict of losing my mind from the pain I endure. Other times, I want to work hard at making this a refurbished family. When I see that my children are happy together as a family & tell me they love us staying together “one big happy family”, my heart skips a beat for them.
    I too have terrible flashbacks of all of the events that took place during those cold hearted three months of his infidelity, but I try to keep moving forward. The blogs & articles from Break Free From The Affair truly help me understand that I am not alone. I hope everyone who has experienced horrific pain from any type of infidelity keep their chin up. Good things come to those who have faith.

    Vanessa

  5. Jan says:

    I wish each and everyone of you “happiness” someday you will find it. My husband of 25 years, is living with our daughter’s Mother in law. It has been sheer pain for me, our children and our grand children. Pull yourself up and out of the dark hole. Dr Bob’s books have been a blessing. I have been charging netural for several months. Taking care of me..

  6. Jane says:

    My husband doesn’t think he did anything wrong. He refers to his out of wedlock child and the mother in Asia as “awkward.” It’s been almost ten months since he told me what should have been obvious though I never suspected. Fortunately he’s not a politician as he’s made a bigger ass of himself than Sanford and Edwards. He did have a fantasy he could somehow keep up his US life and our adult son will be okay with this but they have always had little communication. I don’t want him back and am happier and having more fun than I have had in many years with new friends and even fit into my 20 year old thin clothes. He’s still dependent on me in many ways but I am tired of being a “fixer” and “mama”. He’s not happy with his concubine nor she with him but that is his problem until this second child grows up. The charging neutral is interesting, talking to him about the mess he has made of his life; glad it isn’t mine, at least not for much longer!

  7. chrisssy says:

    Please talk to your daughter and let her know that her silents for 2 years would not have changed anything. Her father made choices, not her, not you. Put yourself first and tell her to put herself first, believe in yourself. If he did not want this to happen it would not have.

  8. Mollie says:

    Yes, our husbands who decide to leave our marriage make have made that choice on their own. We did not decide to leave the marriage, they have to take ownership for their behavior. It is very hard to charge neutral for myself as I am very emotional and can easily get tangled in my feelings. Charging neutral though has helped my husband step back and realize what he really has done. On the other hand, if I get upset rather than charge neutral he reminds himself in his head that he had alot of fun in his infidelity, because it was a fantasy and not real life with a wife of 10 years.

    Every day is hard, but I believe that Dr. Huizenga’s book is a savior, already have read it one time and can not wait to re-read it as soon as possible. A true life saver and a taste of sanity in such an insane time.

  9. Denise says:

    I am in a similar situation to Jane. Husband of 33 years had an affair with a young Asian woman resulting in the birth of a child. We have adult children and grand children. We are still living together. He will not talk about it, and gets highly defensive when I ask questions as to the status of his relationship with her. We are in a different country so the affair, if it continues, is an emotional one. It is like living in the eye of a storm. I try charging neutral but somehow I always seem to lose my way. Very frustrated with myself. I applaud the behaviour and attitudes of the previous writers. Keep strong.

  10. Karen says:

    My husband of 20 years already had a gambling problem when he began an affair with a co-worker. I forgave him, took him back as we had 3 young children, and 4 months later he was still seeing her and gambling again. I then told him he had to leave for ever. He was engaged 12 weeks later to this woman who had 2 young sons and was also married. They married 3 weeks after our divorce was finalised. So they put their own happiness above 2 spouses and 5 children under 13.

    I think what has helped me the most is reading sites like this one and all Bob’s articles. Also books by Frank Pittman on infidelity.

    I became a lot more spiritual and have been determined to show my children the importance of doing the right thing, having strong morals and values, no matter what life throws at you.

    I have forgiven their father, for my own sake, not for his and I think we co-parent very well together. We communicate regularly about the children and I have moved to the same beachside suburb as him so the children can see him any time they wish. We both attend all their sporting and school events. Putting the children first is the best thing I can do for them. Their father is a good father, despite some terrible things he has done. My children need him in their lives and he needs them.

    So I suppose I would recommend holding your head high. Just keep doing the right thing even when you feel it is unfair. I trust that God or karma or the universe will eventually catch up with my exhusband and his new wife, but it is not my place to seek revenge. I know his new wife will end up dealing with his gambling addiction. Just because one changes partners doesn’t take care of addictions for long.

    I am enjoying my new found freedom and I have taken the time to heal over the past 3 years and find out who I am and what I am capable of. I am so much more confident in my abilities to deal with anything and anyone. So I suppose you have to focus on the lessons to be learned and the positives. The new doors that open. Now the house has been sold I am doing a few holidays with the kids and having fun with them.

    I wish everyone here all the best. It is not an easy road but I’m sure we all go through this for a reason and one day that reason will be obvious to us.
    God bless.
    Karen

  11. Pat says:

    I am confused about the word ‘affair’. This woman’s husband doesn’t seem to have had an emotional attachment to the other woman and appears to show how ashamed he is by covering his face in his hands. Sounds more like sex than an affair and his impotence must have exerted a lot of strain both on his self-esteem and the needs of his wife. I am not condoning what he’s done, far from it, but there are always reasons for a person’s actions. I have recently been told by my best friend of 30 years or more that she had sex with my husband. When I confronted him he dissolved and told me he was sexually abused as a child and had reacted to my friends overtures. It is all very complicated but after reading a lot about sexual abuse in males in particular I understand – as much as anyone can who hasn’t been victimised in such a way – to some extent the dynamics of the situation. Affairs/sex with another person is rarely as cut and dried as it appears. We are in counselling together and finding our way back to each other slowly. Our relationship will definately be different, maybe with a better understanding of each other. The hurt this woman feels I have felt and still do at times. At the same time my heart goes out to my husband and I am hopeful that this catalyst in our marriage will help him face his demons of the abuse he experienced as a little boy, helpless and manipulated. He is deeply ashamed of what happened with my ‘friend’ and has been suicidal since the abuse came to light. How can I hold him accountable when I know he is in much greater pain than I am? Yet I am also grieving and finding my way painfully forward. I know it will not be an easy journey for either of us.

  12. Susan Finlay says:

    I really feel for this woman. My kids were also older, but that just made them understand everything and they lost all respect for their father. They actually told me that even though they have lost respect he is still there father and its our problem to sort out. I know the affair is over, well there is no sex – but emotionally he is still involved as they stil work together every day and this is what kills me. I admire this woman for what she has done for her daughter, but she seems to be ignoring herself in the process. My husband says he is not involved emotionally but when they start telling each other private matters then in my eyes he is still involved. I tried charging neutral and it worked for a while, but am now having real difficulties carrying on and start to pick a fight whenever I think they have crossed the border line again, and I confront her all the time and get these answers back that she is not doing anything wrong. But after 2 years I still hope that all will be sorted as we have been married for 25yrs. Good luck to all who is going through this as I think it must be the most painfull experience that anyone will ever have.
    Susan

  13. Liz says:

    As I read DR. Bob’s blogs, his daily e-mail messages, and all those that reply, I can’t believe how so many of us have had to deal with the trauma of infidelity. I, too, continue to follow the advice of Dr. Bob and am trying to break free from my husband’s ongoing affair. However, I continue to struggle with the “waiting”. I feel so isolated sometimes as I realize it is important to STUFF my real feeling and “charge neutral”. It is so, so difficult. I also believe my children no the pain I feel inside, which makes it even harder and more isolating. My husband and I continue to have a great life together..we just can’t seem to get rid of the silent elephant. It is up to him to realize what he is doing is wrong..I just don’t know when or if this will happen. I want his affair to be over! I want proof that it is over, too. How long do I have to wait? Can anyone help?
    I continue to pray for all of you. The pain and confusion is unbearable at times and I don’t believe anyone…not anyone…should have to go through this. I’m sorry to realize so many of us do. (I guess this is all part of growing to be better people!?!)
    Thanks for all your support.

  14. Roland Barkans says:

    Hello,
    I read your article with interest and empathy. I also believe now that part of the healing comes from within yourself. It is indeed a time to look inside ones self and kind of re-evaluate the inner me. I discovered my wife had been writing a diary of how she felt with her bondage lover. We had been married 13 years and have a lovely 13 year old daughter. revealing that fact and what horrendous events happened afterwards, also has told me a lot about myself and my faults. I believe a difficulty i had was unable to “listen” what she had to say. To me it had often sounded that she spoke at me rather than to me. A distinct perception. How i am able to mentally handle this situation, i sincerely would love to know. If anything, i would dearly love to work at my marriage and bring her back to a far better relationship. With heartbreak, we will be divorced in a few weeks and our home is about to go on the market. Its a nightmare and tradgedy all round. I have gently told my daughter that i am not angry with my “wife”, but broken inside and simply cant talk to her. The words simply do not come out. Please send me an email, i am seeing a councilor, but further views are most very welcome.

  15. Anne says:

    It is so painful to have our children dragged into things between their parents that they should not have to be. It sounds as if this lady is doing all she can to help her daughter about this.

  16. JUne says:

    My husband started his affair 2 years ago….I confronted him and gave himan ultimatum. (had not read the book). After 3 months the affair continued. I asked him to leave. He drank and drank, still with OW. Was sent to jail for 1 year for drunk driving.
    My point, we are divorced now, he is out of jaila nd with OW. My daughter only wants a relationship with him…he is always with OW. My daughter refuses to take on this new woman, new family, new home, when she hasnt seen her dad for 1 year. I think men are selfish. My ex has forfeited his relationship with his now 14 year old daughter for a new life. How bad were we for him to just dipsose of us? My 7 year old son, who makes no judgements, and since daddy is the “fun uncle” on the weekends now, he goes with dad. I tell my ex he needs to earn her respect back, and he could care less. I have become such a cynic. She was daddys little girl and now i wonder if all that, 19 years of marriage and 2 kids, was a lie.

  17. cheryl says:

    It’s very hard to deal with a cheating spouse when there are children involved. You wish you could walk away, but you are forced to see your spouse and their new lover. It’s very hard to cope when you know your spouse is lying to your children. I am hoping that these blogs will give me strength and insight.

  18. Julie says:

    My husband also let my 14 year old daughter carry around the knowledge of his infidelity for at least a year without my knowledge. She has lost so much respect for him. She found out tgrough technology. His text messages were also going through to her phone. He can’t seem to face up to his shame.

  19. mike says:

    It’s funny how all the posts are women and the only male blames himself for “not listening”. It just shows men don’t like to talk about this stuff which makes us live in a personal hell. Well let me tell ya. My wife did the same exact thing..3 times. The older she gets the younger they get. The last one being 19…she’s 44, with 2 daughters. it’s an epidemic. All her friends are divorced or going to be very soon. The cheating partner acts like an entitled child who is out of their mind. Men you need to speak up more about your pain and expereinces. And everyone.. stop blaming yourself. It’s weak wimpy passive behavior and the furthest thing from the truth. I do have to say out of all the ridiculous nonsense I was told to try charging neutral is the only thing that works and it allows you to take back your power and truly live happily.. with it without them

  20. Sandra Munoz says:

    My son also discovered his father’s adultery with another married woman who use to work for him. But my husband was not the first time he mess with another woman. In an effort to protect my children I too was not able to leave my children. Although my son let me know about what his father was doing I try to contront him, but he was always in denial, never accept he was having an affair. My husband left home almost four years ago and is with the same other woman living in another place. I have not seeing him since the time he left. We still make contact for the sake of our adult children which were affected by this situation. My daughter does not trust men and have dificulty in finding someone to love, same for my oldest son who have had sweethearts, but does not seem to compromise with anyone. I started reading all the work Bob has done and I too begin to “charge neutral”. I am doing okey taking care of myself, keep myself pretty busy. Though my husband still put the fault on me a take it easy and do not fight with him anymore. I do know for sure , he has hurt the family badly, but we are working on keeping the family together.

  21. Pam says:

    This has been so heartbreaking. As a woman who has been married for 18 years and has what I thought was a terrific life all that was shattered 9 months ago after finding out about my husbands 2 year affair. Not only had it been going on for 2 years but, it has been 9 months and we are still in limbo. She is 20+ years younger and lives in another state. Talk about living in a fantasy world. She doesn’t have kids and certainly doesn’t understand the devistation she is causing by still trying to reel him in. I have been physically and mentally sick about all this and can’t wait for the day to start my healing process and possibly smile and laugh again as my kids have pointed out that they can’t remember the last time they saw me smile. Of course being the loyal wife that I am, I continue to keep my husbands secret from them and most of the world. He tells me he is still in love with me but also in love with this woman who he calls his “soulmate”. He fails to realize that a deep connection results from communication. Very hard to continue your deep connection to your wife when you have been lying and sneaking around for a few years. Thoughts and prayers are with you all as you deal in your own private hells. I hope for find the strength and courage to navigate through mine without hurting the children.

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