By: Katie Lersch: Understandably, it is a common desire to want to share the hurt that you feel when your spouse cheats or has an affair. After all, how is it fair that you are the one going through all of the pain? Of course you want for the person who caused all of this in the first place to feel a fraction of the pain that you are feeling. And this is where the idea of trying to emotionally hurt your spouse can come in.
A wife might say: “it is bad enough that my husband had an affair. But he had it with a woman who was my friend. I loved both of them. And I feel like they are both laughing at me. I want him to feel my pain. I have said all sorts of mean and nasty things to him and none of them have seemed to hit their mark. I have told him that he is fat and bald and not a great lover. I have told him that he is not that bright. He just blinks at me, seemingly unfeeling about the whole thing. What can I say or do to really make him feel emotional pain? I wouldn’t physically hurt him of course, but I want to hurt his feelings badly. I want for him to feel unsure about himself. I want for him to be very sorry for what he has done. So what should I do or say?”
I understand this feeling and I’m not going to tell you that you are wrong to feel it. I felt it too and I suspect most wives have felt this. But here is what I know to be true. The more you fling about the bad feelings and try to hurt, the more the hurt just comes back to you. And the more you experience the painful feelings that you are trying to make go away.
Am I trying to tell you that your husband doesn’t deserve every bad and remorseful feeling that comes his way? Nope, I’d never attempt to do that because I generally do not have much sympathy for cheating husbands, considering my own experience with that.
But, much of the time, when you say or do things meant to “pay him back” or wound him, he is only going to build up his defenses against you so that your efforts affect him less and less. The result is that you feel a ton of frustration in addition to your pain. It’s just an entire loss with no upside.
So what do I suggest you do? Well quite frankly, your husband likely already feels pretty badly, even if he isn’t showing it to you. Deep down, people who cheat know that they are letting every one down. They know that they aren’t acting with integrity. They know that they are stooping to deplorable levels.
When you continue to drive the obvious point home, they actually become defensive. And this actually makes them feel somewhat justified, which means that they can feel less badly than they originally did. Honestly, your husband is more likely to feel hurt and remorse when he can feel empathy for you. And he is much more likely to feel empathy for you when you aren’t actively trying to hurt him.
I know that this all seems very counter to what your first inclinations are telling you. But a man is much more likely to regret cheating on a woman who has done nothing to deserve it and who is conducting herself with respect than a woman who is trying to hurt him. He’s likely going to eventually feel that the hurtful woman actually deserves it.
You have to remember what you really want. Ultimately, you want to feel better as soon as you can. And you want for him to be sorry for what he did to you. Taking the high road is the fastest, safest, and best way to get both objectives while not allowing him the luxury of thinking that your behavior now means that you deserved his actions.
This probably isn’t what you want to hear. But to answer the original question, the best words to say to get a reaction out of him are no words at all. Once you’ve said your peace, stop. He already knows how you feel. He knows what he has done. Don’t allow him to justify his actions. Don’t feed into the negative process.
I am not going to tell you that I never said hurtful things to my husband. I most definitely did. But I eventually realized that I was only keeping the hurt churning. So I stopped and this helped me turn the corner. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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