Infidelity ruined my marriage


I wanted to get some advice about trying to repair damage I have done to the marriage and try to get back together. We have children together and I have been working very hard to make her know that I am committed to them. Tonight I found out that she is not ready and will probably never trust me again. How do I make her understand that I can’t prove it to her unless we try. She told me tonight that the only hope she has in regards to “us” is that she never gets hurt like that again.


Unfortunately for you Mark, there is nothing that you are going to be able to do except allow time and your actions to speak for you. There is no quick fix available. You did not wreck the car or lose something that you can go to the store and replace.

The fact that you say you are working hard to show that you are committed to your children sounds a bit like you didn’t do that before and now you want recognition. If you approach whatever you are doing with a reward of your family getting back together, then I think you will be disappointed.

To do all of the things you are doing without any hope of getting them back but just because they are the right things to do–that is Love. Pray for Love.

All you can do is love your children and love your wife. Pray that you will be able to be the best person you can be. Go to confession if you haven’t already. Apologize to your wife for what you have done to her and to your family. And go to counseling because your infidelity is a symptom that something is not right somewhere in your life or in your thinking. You need to work that out before you can offer anyone anything more or you may end up repeating your past behavior.

May God bless you and guide you.


Hi Mark. I think in order to give any real advice, you need to give more details, like how long ago did your wife find out? Was it the first time, or is it a recurring problem? Have you suggested counseling? Is she willing?

As much as you want her to “give you a chance,” you have to respect her wishes and let her take the lead on this. I think you should ask her what she needs. Does she want you to move out? Is she wanting to think about things for a while before making a decision? You can’t rush her.

Most importantly, I think you should not make any excuses for yourself, be contrite and 100% accountable for your actions.

I also think you should be willing to open up 100% to her about where you are, with whom, show her your phone, your emails, etc. If you are living in the home, you should come home straight from work, etc. And you have to be willing to live like this indefinitely, until she feels she can trust you again.


to rebuild trust you begin by being trustworthy in all areas where you still have a relationship with your wife and children. Child support on time is a biggie, and not just the court ordered amount, stepping up to the plate and providing for your children, and making sure she has the support financial and otherwise she needs. Pick up the kids on time, keep your promises to them, don’t make promises you can’t keep, be part of their lives, dedicate time and space to them, she will use that more than anything else in judging you and the honesty of your intentions. Be trustworthy, ethical and moral in all other areas of life, Church, spirituality, work, friendships, commitments. The character played by Matthew Modine in Bye Bye Love illustrates this so well. Fractured societal view of marriage and divorce, but cute movie which contains a lot of truth if expressed rather tritely.

I am assuming naturally that whatever the misbehavior was is over and done with and will never happen again that goes without saying, and that you have dealt with whatever underlying attitudes and dispostions led you in that way to begin with.


I think step one would be to change your title from “Infidelity ruined my marriage” to “I ruined my marriage.” Honestly, you bear the full repsonsibility for this, not some abstract concept of “infidelity.” You. Your actions.

So, own it.

Then, you have to rebuild trust the hard way. One day at a time. There is no silver bullet. Going to a Retrouvaille retreat if she will go would be helpful. Don’t push, but do continue to tell her that you do not want divorce and want to get back together.

Remember there is tremendous pressure on her here. Society tells her to get rid of the cheater, make a new life, and she is “better off without him.” She has divorced you. She will look weak if she takes you back, out there swimming among all the feminist sharks.

So, I am sure she is very conflicted between what the Church teaches and what society is telling her.

Do you have a good and holy priest that can counsel you two?

Have you gone to counseling on your own and of course Confession?


Go on a Retrouvaille retreat.


You need to win her back. Not only must you prove trustworthiness again, as noted above, you must do things to prove that you love her more than yourself.

Examine your life honestly and look for places you put yourself above her. Look for big an obvious places where you put yourself first and SLASH. Maybe that means giving up golf or fishing to enable you to adjust your work hours and pick kids up at school more often. Get a porn filter on your computer. Maybe you sell the motorcycle or boat. Maybe you need to job hunt for something that allows you to travel out of town less.

Don’t get hung up on my examples. Just look for the places where you’ve failed her in the past. It’s never “just” the infidelity. It starts elsewhere.


What she said. :thumbsup:

Own it. Live everyday owning it. Humbly accept that it will likely take years to repair the sacred trust you broke and take responsibility for trying to fix it. If your wife does not, at first, accept your attempts or is unable to bring herself to trust you again, realize that even that is your responsibility and work harder.


Well you are in quite a fix,

The first thing she has to do is forgive you. Until that happens nothing happens. Once she forgives you she will be able to let go of the pain you have caused her.

Next she has to come back to reality, you can never promise you that you will never hurt her again. No one can promise that. Now will you cheat on her again, only you can answer that and only you can control that.

For now the help from the Church can be a great start. It can bring God back to you both and you can both grow closer to God.

Will she ever trust you again, completely? I never would. But again we should never trust anyone completely but God. But I do feel trust is very important in a marriage and you messed up. Big time.

Pray alot, and ask God to help you deal with what is comming your way.

Will keep you in my prayers.


You need to be an honorable, chaste, committed, self-sacrificial, humble, patient man regardless of whether she would cross the street to save your life. She doesn’t need to be pressured. She has probably been lied to, manipulated, made a fool of enough already. The person who chose to do that to her and the kids is not an authority figure to her anymore and can’t tell her what she “needs to do.”

Willingly, without complaint, take the short end of the stick. For as long as it takes. However long your choice of infidelity happened times two. Good luck.


Reading your post, I can totally understand why she does not want to give you a chance. The only thing you seem to regret is not being able to be with your kids. Once the kids grow up and move out, it seems you will no longer have a reason to be with her.

You did not mention how you miss HER, You did not list any of her qualities that attracted you to her in the first place. You are asking her to ‘give you another chance’ when she is thinking all you care about is the kids !!! What she needs to know is you don’t care about the kids half as much as you care about her. (She obviously is totally OK with her kids being in a 1 parent family). She needs to know you lay awake at night thinking 'How could I have been so cruel to the best woman on the face of this earth)

Until you genuinly miss her, she will never give you a chance



I’m on the side of the wife, myself–except that perhaps the circumstances are even worse in my case because not only did my husband commit adultery (repeatedly, as he told one of his brothers who has been extremely supportive of me) but he also chose to rape another woman.

So, from my perspective: first, yes, you do have to take ownership of the fact that you, not some impersonal “force” called infidelity, ruined your marriage. You are the one who chose to find another person and trash your wedding vows. If she is willing to join you in marriage counseling, wonderful. If not, go to counseling alone. Do not make any excuses whatsoever for what you have done.

Furthermore, I’ll also say that from my perspective, your post sounds almost exactly like my husband when he was in jail–sorry to have been caught, not so sorry about the damage done. Sorry that there’s a penalty to be paid, but not so sorry about the harm that was done to the innocent parties here (your wife and children). Worried about how it affects you because you can no longer ‘have your cake and eat it too’ … not so worried about how** they** are affected. That is the attitude that must change.

So where do you go from here? Counseling and confession (both). Do the right thing at all times, not because you expect any recognition, kudos, or reconciliation with your wife–but because it is the right thing. You need to prove that you will do the right thing, not because there’s anything to gain by it but because it is the right thing to do. Live out your obligations (including chastity), but don’t expect any praise for doing what you should be doing all along.

If she has any requests of you, fulfill them with promptness and without complaint and without expecting to make counter-requests of her. You want to restore your relationship, you’re going to have to show it (without ever saying “see, I’m doing it”) because right now your word has less value than manure. She has every right to be hurt and mistrust you, because you have shown yourself to be untrustworthy and willing to hurt her for your own self-gratification.

And if the above sounds harsh–well, it’s actually the gentle version. You’re not the victim here, so don’t try to cast yourself in that role.


You need to be as transparent as glass. If she calls you 100 times a day to check up on you, you answer honestly and with enthusiasm. You are always where you say you are going to be and who you say you are going to be with. You go no where outside of work without your family. EVER. There should be not a hint of impropriety.


Being weak is a trait that many of us have and sin and temptation is EVERYWHERE. Make no mistake. I am not sure how to "make" anyone understand anything. It sounds like that slippery slope took you where you shouldn't be and your wife is understandably upset, hurt and questioning everything about you and your union. You must be patient with her - totally and absolutely. Much prayer and meeting with your priest or counselor is necessary. You must figure out why this happened and take all steps to insure it will NEVER happen again. Sadly, there is NO guarantee that she will ever bring you back in her life and trust you. But at this point, there is nothing else for you to do if you truly want to try and make a go of it - just wait. It is her call at this point and time will tell. God Bless and I pray things work out for you. I pray that your children are not affected in too much of a negative way, as well.


Dear Friend:

I am so sorry and grieved for you. I read your post, and hope one day my h feels the same as you. So far he has not. You are wonderful for repenting, seemingly.

I agree with everything every poster has said here. Honey dear, you need to show by your transparency, trustworthy behavior, love, charity, devotion, commitment, everything showing your wife that you have changed. That you are a different man now than before, if you indeed are. Only You can answer this question.

It might be too late. I know, from my standpoint, 2 years later now with all I have been thru, it is too late for me. I gave my h 2 years and 20 years of chances. I reached my limit. Perhaps your wife’s limit was only once. I hope it was not, as I believe everyone deserves a few chances here. Like you do.

God Bless! I hope you have learned, and grown, and I sincerely hope you get your wife back and can be a family again. I hope your wife’s heart melts with your good behavior. How I wish I had a husband like you. God bless you for your repentent heart. Unfortunately some women, or men just cannot take even ONE incident of infidelity. This is life, and the chance one takes when they are unfaithful. Catholic or not.



Great advice has been given. In my own words, if you want your wife to love you again, you must become more virtuous. This work should be done without regard to whether she notices or not.

Then, you may have to man up. There are consequences for our actions. Your wife is within her rights to end the marriage and also receive an annulment.



I hope that you come back to this thread because there is a lot of good advice out there and I will do my best to not repeat what you have been told.

The other posters are right when they say that you have to “own” this and you have to take this one step at a time. You wife will not believe or trust you if you are not trustworthy. You have to make real visible changes to your life. You have to fix you BEFORE you can fix your marriage. You have to be willing to give 100% and expect NOTHING in return. Marriage is not 50-50, it is about giving all for your spouse.

I would also suggest reading “Be a Man” by Father Larry Richards. Spend time in adoration. Confession. Talk to a priest. Time to go back to square one with your wife after you have fixed yourself. Dates. Movies. Flowers. Again all of this cannot happen until you make yourself right with God and you are happy with who you are. You have to love yourself. You cannot give love if you do not have it.

Just my random thoughts.


[quote="DivorcedMark, post:1, topic:201870"]
I wanted to get some advice about trying to repair damage I have done to the marriage and try to get back together. We have children together and I have been working very hard to make her know that I am committed to them. Tonight I found out that she is not ready and will probably never trust me again. How do I make her understand that I can't prove it to her unless we try. She told me tonight that the only hope she has in regards to "us" is that she never gets hurt like that again.


Start by recognizing that if she ever trusts you again, it won't be any time soon. You are going to have to live with the fact that you deserve to be treated as if you cannot be trusted. You are the one who blew it. May the Lord forgive you and heal you both, but you are in a hole. You're going to have to be very open and responsive to grace if you're ever going to dig your way out of it.

She is going to forgive you on her own time line. That does not mean that she will ever excuse your offending behavior. Forgiving does not mean forgetting. Do not expect that. That wouldn't be appropriate. Forgiving you means letting let go of her ill will towards you over the ill way you treated her. That takes time. There are stages to it, like getting over a death. If it ever happens, it will be a great deal of work for her. That is work you put onto her shoulders.

Think of how you would feel and act if you had broken her arm through your carelessness and selfishness. It would take time for her to heal. You would not expect her to entrust her arm entirely to you again. Well, she trusted you, and you have broken her heart. Hearts aren't broken by accident. If you had broken her arm, you wouldn't expect her to use that arm to wait on you. You would do her work, until her arm healed. In the same way, the heart work of your marriage now falls on you.

I'm sure you understand this all intellectually, and I'm not suggesting that the way to fix your marriage is to beat yourself up. I do think you need to reflect often on how right she is to distrust you and how you have rewarded her initial trust with harm. If someone else had done that to her, how would you want them to make it up to her? It would not happen quickly.

Having said that, remember that she can only guess about what her emotions towards you will be in the future. She probabably knows very well what she is feeling now....or at least, she knows she is hurting in a way that she didn't deserve and never wants again. Nobody knows what she will feel in a year or in ten. In the meantime, though, her store of faith has been squandered. Expect no faith nor optimism from her. You're going to have to supply enough faith for everybody. Not blind optimism, but honest, realistic faith. You're going to have to supply the usual amount of fidelity, plus some extra in response to her reasonable doubts. And so on.

Try Retrouvaille. That may give the two of you the guidance to know how to proceed. But do not expect any magic bullets. Any idiot can ruin a marriage. It takes a great deal of love, courage and perseverance to rebuild one. You can do it, God can help you, but it will be a long road, and one without guarantees.

May you receive the great gift from your wife of a second chance. Remind yourself every hour of every day, though: you don't deserve a second chance, and you will not get a third one. No matter what happens, make sure that you can look back on your life and say with all honesty that you did everything possible to make this chance count.


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