How Do Cheating Husbands Behave After Being Caught? What Should I Expect?

By: Katie Lersch: Some wives literally catch their husbands carrying out an affair. They catch him right in the act. But many are actually by themselves when they put two and two together or have indisputable proof. Many have their suspicions before they actually get confirmation. But once they have it, then they have to decide how, and when, they are going to confront him.

Part of answering these questions is anticipating how he is going to respond when he is confronted and presented with evidence. And many wives just aren’t sure about what to expect. This is not the weather that you’re going to be talking about. You’re not going to be confronting him about him forgetting to take out the trash. In fact, this is probably going to be one of the most painful confrontations in your marriage, if not in your life.

A wife might ask: “what might I expect when I confront my husband about cheating? I’ve not come right out and accused him before. But I have certainly hinted about it or asked him why he was out late. He always had a ready excuse. And he acted like I was a paranoid, crazy person for even asking. Well, now I have found emails that leave absolutely no doubt. I have actually known about this for a week. I intended to confront him, but I guess I just can’t bring myself to do it. I have a lot of hesitation about it. I guess I am just not sure how it is going to go. My husband is not one to get angry, but of course he’s going to be mad that I’ve been snooping through his personal things. However, it’s not like I don’t have a good reason. In the emails, he seems pretty serious about the other woman, so I guess a part of me might be afraid that he’s going to tell me that he wants to be with her once all of this is out in the open. At the same time, that doesn’t exactly make sense because this morning, he was totally affectionate to me and he was asking me where I wanted to go on vacation. Would he really be making plans with me if he thought that we wouldn’t be together because of her? I am seriously considering confronting him tonight and getting it over with. But I need to know how he is going to react. I am wondering if I should have my kids stay with friends. He doesn’t have a bad temper, but I’m so angry that, really, he needs to worry about me and not the other way around. Still, I am dreading it. How do men react when they are caught cheating? What can a wife expect?”

This is really hard to predict because there are so many factors that go into this. Some of it depends on how the wife delivers the message. If she is calm, he is more likely to be calm. But that’s a very tall order. And even when things start out calm, they can get emotional quite quickly on the part of either party.

Some men are not that surprised to be caught, while others are. Some men are immediately apologetic and proactive and others are immediately defensive. It really depends on many, many factors. Some men will act one way initially and then change their tune once they see how you react to them.

I certainly think it is a good idea to have the kids stay with friends, since this isn’t something that they should hear, (and even if everyone remains calm, they may sense that something is different.) If you are truly concerned about his reaction, you could always send him an email on that same account. That way, there is no question that the delivery would remain calm because you would not be speaking and there would not be interruptions.

I’m sorry that I can’t make a prediction. But there are so many variables. This is rarely a fun conversation. But most feel it is one that has to happen. It’s very difficult to have this knowledge and not to act on it. At least once it’s out in the open, a dialogue can begin and you can start a path toward a resolution. You get to decide what that resolution is going to be. You may not know the answer to that right now, and much may rest on your husband’s reaction.

But always remember that YOUR reaction – and your wishes and feelings – are every bit as important as his. I think we sometimes lose sight of that. We are so worried about what he is going to feel, act, or do, that forget that we have equal say in this. Never lose sight of that and keep asking yourself how you feel and you what you want. The answers to these questions may change as you go along. But keep asking.

I know that the confrontation is a difficult first step.  But it’s very hard to pretend that you don’t know.  Once it’s out in the open, that hurdle has been crossed.  It’s best to remain as calm as is possible and try not to say something that you can’t take back.  I know that’s easier said than done.  But I also know that things change during recovery, so it helps to be careful not to do, or say, things that are irrevocable.  If it helps, you can read more about some of the things that helped me during a similar time on my blog at

My Husband Says He Does Not Think About His Affair Anymore. How Is This Possible?

by: katie lersch: Many women who contact me confess that they often wonder just how much their husband thinks about the other woman once the affair is over.  Many husbands will downplay this or deny that he ever thinks about her.  And many of the wives have a very hard time believing this.

I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “the other day my husband had a far away look on his face.  He was distant and a million miles away.  I suspected that he was thinking about the woman with whom he recently had an affair.  But when I confronted him about this, he said that not only was he not thinking about her at that time, but that he never thinks about her anymore at all.  This just hit me the wrong way because I felt like he had to be lying.  And if he wasn’t lying, what does it say about him that he can have a physical relationship with someone and just walk away without a backward glance?  Is it even possible for a husband not to think about the other woman?  Because I have to admit that I still think about her quite a lot.  I can’t help it.  The thoughts and images just pop into my head, even when I don’t welcome them.  How is the same not true for him?”  I will address these concerns in the following article.

Is A Husband Lying When He Claims He Never Thinks About The Other Woman Or The Affair?  Is This Even Possible? These are difficult questions because it’s impossible for anyone to get inside the mind of the heart of another person.  I can tell you that some (but certainly not all) men will try to downplay the affair or the other person because they are trying to spare you pain and they truly do want to save their marriage.

So, they aren’t going to share any thoughts that they fear might make this less likely.  And, they know that if they admit to still thinking about the other woman or the relationship from time to time (even if it’s not even in a wistful or positive way,) this is going to hurt you or bring about more issues for you.  So, they figure it’s best to keep their thoughts to themselves, especially if those thoughts don’t really matter to them and aren’t going to help their cause.

With that said, many men will tell you that the affair was an impulsive act that truly didn’t have many emotional ramifications for them.  Even though literature and statistics will suggest that men cheat for at least partly emotional reasons (and I agree with this,) many of those same men will deny that this was the case for them.  They’ll tell you that this was just a short term thing that happened while they weren’t thinking clearly, that they now deeply regret it, and that they are perfectly willing and able to move on without a lot of emotional baggage or thought.

And although I am not and would never defend a man who cheats, I do believe that many men who make these declarations do believe what they say.  Because if you dig a little deeper and speak at length about this, it can become clear that, were it not for their wife constantly bringing the affair and the other woman up, they could merely walk away quite easily. They’ll tell you this is because they don’t forge the emotional attachments that wives fear the most.

I often hear comments like: “my wife is always asking me if I still think about the affair.  Honestly, if she wouldn’t constantly bring it up, I don’t think I’d ponder it much at all.  It’s in the past and I see no reason at all to keep dwelling on it all of the time.  But my wife can’t seem to let it go.  She’s constantly asking me about what I’m thinking and how I feel. She can’t or won’t just drop it.  How can we move on when she’s constantly picking at the scab that is trying to heal? She thinks I’m lying when I tell her I don’t think about it.  I guess that is not entirely untrue, but, if I think about it at all, it’s because she constantly brings it up.  It’s like she wants to think that this other person and I shared this great love affair that will never end when nothing is further from the truth.  I could go my entire life without needing to contact or think or this person again but my wife won’t let it rest.”

Now, whether comments like this are entirely true or not, these are the type of things that I often hear. The husband will insist that he rarely longs for (and much less thinks about) the other woman, but his wife just won’t let it rest and is constantly bringing the topic back to the affair so that it’s impossible not to think about it.

How To Handle It When You Wonder Whether Your Husband Continues To Think About The Affair: It’s totally natural and understandable to wonder where your husband’s thoughts and loyalties lie.  It’s challenging to save your marriage or to move on when you’re worried that he would rather be with someone else or that someone else has taken up residence in his mind. But, when you truly can’t know what he’s thinking or feeling, does it make sense to keep bringing his attention back to that person who you want him to completely distance himself and his thoughts from?

Often, without even realizing that we are doing it, we allow the fear inside us to drive our actions and our decisions.  The thing that we most fear is for our husbands to still think about (or long for) this other woman.  Yet, by continuing to bring her up, ask about her, or demand that our husband define exactly how much he is thinking about or feeling for her, we keep allowing her presence into our lives.  I know that you really want and need to know the truth about whether he continues to think about the affair, but sometimes if you back off of this topic and focus on your marriage and your healing instead, you will make it more likely that you will get the answer that you really want.

I know that dealing with these doubts can be very challenging and painful, but plowing through can truly be worth it. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, I did eventually truly get over the affair. My marriage is stronger than ever. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is in tact. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. If it helps, you can read more of that story on my blog at

Do Men Really Feel Guilty After Having An Affair? Or Do They Just Pretend?

By: Katie Lersch:  I sometimes hear from women who are having a hard time believing that a man feels guilty for cheating or having an affair. Often, it is the wife who had her doubts. But other times, it is the other woman who eventually can’t help but notice that the husband seems to think he’s entitled to his behavior.

Common comments from wives are things like: “my husband claims that he is sorry and guilty about having an affair, but I have my doubts. He cheated on me with a much younger woman from his job. He made her all sorts of promises and gave her money in order to cover her living expenses. And he lied to both of us. He told her that our marriage was in name only. And he told me that she had left the job to go back to school while that most certainly was not true. When we both caught him in his lies, he supposedly broke off the affair. He promised me that he would go to counseling and that he would prove to me that he could be a good husband. He hasn’t done any of this. He says he’s sorry, but his life hasn’t changed any, really. I asked him if he feels guilty and he says that he does. But his actions don’t really indicate that he is telling me the truth.”

In contrast the other woman might say something like: “the guy that I ended up having an affair with told me that he wasn’t married. He told me that he had just gone through a nasty divorce. Imagine my shock and horror when his wife saw my information on his phone and called me. She had no idea and she seems like a really sweet woman. I broke it off with this man and I told him that he should be completely ashamed of his behavior. He apologized and said he does feel guilty, but part of me wonders if he will just do this to someone else. Do men really feel guilty when they behave this way?”

Well, I have to disclose that I’m not a man who has cheated. But I have spoken with many men who meet this description and some of them leave comments on my blog. Granted, my focus is on saving your marriage after infidelity so it’s probably fair to say that only a certain type of man is going to be willing to dialog with me about this. With that said, I can tell you that many men do feel guilty but they keep this to be almost a closely guarded secret. I’ll tell you why below.

Many Men Don’t Want You To Know How Guilty They Feel Because They’re Afraid You Will Use This Against Them: Men who are caught in an affair will often feel a bit defensive. They know that they are in the wrong and they know that they are deserving of whatever reaction you might have. But at the same time, they are embarassed and ashamed. And they don’t want to continue to have to keep talking about this. They don’t want you to keep picking at the scab. So they will appear to be distant or cold, all in the hopes of keeping you at arm’s length.

Because they are concerned that if they show you any weakness like guilt, you are going to pounce on it and then dig to determine what exactly they have to feel guilty about.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that they get a pass. You need to see their guilt and feel confident that they actually feel it. Because feeling guilt shows you that they know that what they did was wrong, which is one thing that might ensure that this doesn’t happen again. It also typically means that they still care enough about you to feel remorse that they have hurt you.

With all of this said, I will say that repeat cheaters are often less guilty. Because they have cheated more than once, they have found various ways to justify their cheating, which means that they are less likely to feel remorse. But men who have never cheated before are, at least in my opinion and experience, likely to feel some guilt.

How To Get Him To Open Up About His Guilt: It’s very understandable that you want to believe that he feels genuine guilt. But at the same time, it’s also understandable that he might not want to bear his soul on a daily basis. So you might just want to have an open conversation about this by saying something like: “I just need to believe that you truly feel remorse and guilt. And I don’t want this because I want to hurt or shame you. I want to see this because it helps me to know that you still care enough to feel these things and it helps me to feel confident that you know what you did was wrong. Because if both of these things are present, I know that you are less likely to cheat again. I don’t expect for you to fall to your knees and declare your guilt, but I’d just like to see your remorse in the way that you treat me and in the way that you approach our marriage.”

Hopefully, this will clear the way for him to be more transparent about his feelings. But to answer the question posed, yes, many first time cheaters do feel a great deal of guilt about their actions.

My husband didn’t show his guilt at first.  But once it became obvious that I wasn’t interested in using his guilt against him, he became more willing to let it show and this truly helped in our recovery.  If it helps, you can read more on my blog

My Husband Blames Porn For His Affair. Can We Overcome This?

By: Katie Lersch: If a man was caught cheating a hundred years ago, he might tell you that the devil made him cheat.  Today, men still use the same type of excuses, but their excuses take on a new tone that fits with the time in which we live.  They will use terms like “sex addiction” or tell you that regularly using porn contributed to their cheating.  Many people think that this is one way that men don’t take responsibility for their cheating.  But many of these men completely believe that they are telling the truth when they make their claims.  This leaves their wives trying to untangle the knots in order to determine how to handle this excuse.

A wife might say: “I caught my husband watching and interacting with porn long before I caught him physically cheating.  Catching him in porn chat rooms happened years ago.  We would have a huge fight about it.  He would say that all men do it, but he would promise to stop out of respect for me.  I do believe that he would sometimes stop for a while. But after a certain amount of time went by, I would catch him at it again.  And every time, we would get into a huge fight.  He would reassure me that he would stop, but he would also say that it was harmless.  He said he was looking, but not touching. And he said that this would never lead to physical contact with anyone.  Well I suppose that, in a sense, it hasn’t. I found out that he has been having an affair.  But the affair was not with some stranger that he’s been ‘chatting’ with online – (although it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that this has happened before.)  No, he’s been cheating with a woman at work.  Of course, my first inclination was to ask him why on earth he would do this to us.  At first he said that he didn’t know.  But I told him that this answer wasn’t even close to good enough.  A couple of days later, he told me that he had been thinking about this and that he had determined that it was probably the porn that made him have an affair.  He said that he thinks that the porn gave him unrealistic expectations of how sex should be.  And he was probably frustrated that I did not have sex with him like the people on porn had sex.  But that “the other woman” came closer to his expectations in that regard.  Honestly, this makes me stomach roll.  It makes me think that my husband is absolutely disgusting, as is the other woman.  I have no intention of having sex like the people on those videos have it.  I’d really like to save my marriage, but I’m certainly not willing to stoop to this level.  My husband says he doesn’t expect me to.  He says that he will stop watching porn and he will break the hold that it has over him.  Is this even possible?”

Examining His Motivations: I think that porn being a contributing factor is ultimately possible, but I also think that sometimes men will use the “porn” or the “sex addiction” excuse in order to not take accountability for their actions.  I once watched a discussion where the expert speaking pretty much summed up this issue perfectly, at least in my opinion.  The moderator asked him if there were such a thing as “sex addiction” and if it was a valid excuse.  The expert basically shook his head and said, “You don’t see all these men seeking treatment for sex addiction when they haven’t been caught, do you?  It’s only when they are caught that they suddenly go to seek treatment.”

What Statistics Tell Us: With the above said, I DO think that men who seek out porn are more likely to cheat.  I hear about this topic too frequently to think that there isn’t any connection. While statistics show that only 33 percent of men who engage in cybersex go on to have affairs,  statistics also show that pornography increases the rate of infidelity by 300 percent.  The reason for this might be that increased porn contributes to someone being less sexually satisfied with their spouse and also being less emotionally connected.  Neither of these things are great for your marriage and both could certainly be a contributing factor to an affair.

Overcoming This: Yes, people do, with determination and hard work, overcome all sorts of addictions – pornography included.  But it is not easy.  Often, they require both a willingness to overcome this, plus support, and professional help.  The thing about porn is that it’s so easy. It’s readily available and people can easily access it in private on their phones.  So they have to REALLY want to stop.

Your husband likely wasn’t lying to you when he told you that porn played into the affair.  As you’ve seen from the statistics, it may well have been a contributing factor.  But that doesn’t negate the fact that HE needs to take responsibility for his actions and that HE needs to take the initiative to put an end to WHATEVER contributed to the affair – whether that was porn or something else.

It’s good that he clearly sees what needs to be changed.  Not all men do.  Some will pretend that they have no idea why they cheated.  So him being able to identify the problem and show a willingness to eradicate it is a good sign.  But it can’t stop with just these initial steps.  This can be overcome, but it often takes help, determination, and patience.

There were certainly some behaviors (on the part of both my husband and myself) that contributed to the affair.  These were habits that had to be identified and then broken.  I believe that any habit can be broken.  But it takes a high degree of determination and a desire to change. You can read more about my own struggles on my blog at

Why Would My Husband Cheat But Then Want To Stay In The Marriage?

by: katie lersch:  I’ve had people tell me that there are two camps of cheaters, as follows:

1. those who want out of their relationship (or are not fully invested in it) and therefore don’t care if they get caught; and

2. those who hope and pray that they never get caught because they are still very much invested in their relationship or marriage and in love with their spouse or partner.

Many people have a very hard time understanding why anyone would cheat or have an affair when they are still invested in their marriage.  It just seems to be a silly and risky thing to do.

I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “I found out three days ago that my husband has been cheating and having an affair with one of our neighbors.  When he confessed to me, I fully expected him to tell me that he wanted a divorce and was getting ready to pack his bags.  But this isn’t what happened.  Instead, he said that he wanted to be honest with me because he wanted to save our marriage.  This just makes no sense to me.  Why would you cheat on someone to whom you wanted to remain married? My husband knows me pretty well.  He has watched me support many friends whose marriages were destroyed by infidelity and he knows that I have no tolerance for it.  So, when he was cheating, he must have known that once I found out, there was a chance that I would leave him.  And yet, here he is confessing but telling me that he wants to stay in the marriage rather than leave it.  Can you explain the thinking behind this?  Because I just don’t understand why a person who wants to stay in the marriage would risk that same marriage by cheating.”

In the following article, I’m going to try to explain what might motivate a person to cheat even when they fully intend to remain married.

Many People Who Cheat Never Intend To Get Caught And Intend For The Unplanned Cheating To Be A Very Short Lived Affair: Before I get into the reasons for cheating and then wanting to stay married, I have to tell you that you may not fully buy what I’m about to tell you.  I completely understand that because, as a woman who has been cheated on,  I don’t always buy what men tell me either.  It is very hard for to understand a thought process that would never be mine.

With that said, many people who cheat will tell you that they didn’t go into it with any intention of being unfaithful.  You will often first hear about a friendship developing and then you’ll hear phrases like “it just happened.”  Whether this is true or not, most people overwhelmingly make this claim.  And then they will say that once the unintentional cheating happened, they told themselves that it was a one time or short term thing.  They planned to stop it before any one was hurt.  Of course, sometimes it ends up lasting for longer than they originally anticipated.

Still, many people end up realizing that they have made a very huge mistake about which they feel an awful lot of guilt.  They often realize that they have taken a huge risk with the relationship that is most important to them.  This is why many of them confess or at least own up to what they’ve done once they have been caught. They suddenly realize that they don’t want to surrender their marriage and they are hoping that either their confession or their remorse is going to at least give them a chance to maintain or save their marriage.

Suspicions You Might Have About Their Claim That They Want To Stay In The Marriage: Many faithful spouses meet the cheating spouse’s claims with a good deal of suspicion.  People often tell me they fear that their spouse is just claiming that he wants to save the marriage because he knows that a divorce would end up costing him a lot of money or would risk him loosing some access to his children.

I also hear from a lot of doubtful but faithful spouses who suspect that their spouse just doesn’t have the courage or integrity to tell the truth about his feelings.  Or, they worry that he wants to keep the cheating or the affair hidden from his extended friends or family and hopes that by staying in the marriage, his secret won’t get out.  These are absolutely valid concerns.  Dealing with the cheating is very painful.  But dealing with the cheating while trying to save your marriage only to find out later it was all for nothing is nearly unbearable.

However, the problem often is that there is no way to know what is actually true until you see it through.  You can’t read your spouses thoughts.  You can’t possibly know exactly what they are feeling.  So the only way to truly know their real intentions is to wait it out and see if their actions confirm their words.  Because if he’s not being truthful about his commitment to the marriage, then that will become apparent soon enough.   It’s very unlikely that he can keep up the facade for long if his heart isn’t truly in it.

And, his is not the only opinion that matters.  You also will need to decide if you want to stay in the marriage.  The decisions about your marriage are not his alone to make.  You have a say.  And you have your own set of wishes and intentions.  Sometimes, his wanting to stay in the marriage is not going to be enough.  You have to want it too.  And you both have to be willing to do the work to repair the marriage and to restore the trust.   Both of these things truly are possible.  But in order for that to happen both people need to be absolutely sincere about their feelings and intentions.

If you had told me that I would ultimately save my marriage after my husband’s affair, I might have laughed at that notion at the time.  But that is exactly what ended up happening.  I had my doubts about my husband’s sincerity when he claimed he wanted to stay in the marriage, but his actions proved my doubts were unfounded.  And today, I’m glad I gave him the opportunity to prove to me that his claims were true.  If it helps, you can read more about my recovery process on my blog at


To Save My Marriage, I Have To End The Affair. What Do I Say To My Affair Partner? That It’s Over?

By: Katie Lersch:  Many people start an affair knowing that it is one day going to end.  I know that some people become “serious” about their affair partner and want for the affair to turn into a lasting relationship.  But from my observation, this thinking is in the minority.  Most people don’t intend to end their marriage.  And even those that do sometimes change their minds about this once their spouse discovers the affair.

Interestingly, even though most people know that the affair is going to end, few people give any thought as to HOW it is going to end.  Some have no choice but to end it because their spouse finds out.  Others find that it has just run its course and there is no reason to continue on with it.  Regardless of the reason, there is often a dilemma as to what to say or do in order to break it off.

Someone might say: “my wife isn’t completely sure that I’m having an affair, but she strongly suspects it.  She confronted me last night and although I denied it, I know that she’s going to be snooping and trying to find out.  So I know that I need to break it off in order to give her nothing to find.  I worry about how the other woman is going to take it.  Because there’s not going to be any warning.  I just need to end it quickly and then move on.  I know that this isn’t necessarily fair to her.  And I feel very guilty about that.  I never made her any promises, really.  But I still feel that perhaps she got her hopes up that there eventually might be something more.  So how do people end an affair?  Do they just say that it’s over?  I admit that other than my marriage, I don’t have much experience with relationships, so I’m not sure what is the best way to do this.  I don’t want to make the other woman mad so that she’ll go searching out my wife.”

Your Spouse Is Your First Priority: I admit that breaking it off can be tricky.  But it absolutely must be done. And although it’s admirable and understandable to not want to hurt anyone in this scenario, I think that your ultimate responsibility and consideration should be to your spouse.  Whether you made promises to the other woman or not, if she knew that she was dating a married man, then she had to know that there was a risk that this whole thing would one day be over with some pain involved.

You Can Be Gentle.  But Also Be Clear, Final, And Decisive: I think that most of all, you want to be clear.  You do not want to give the other person hope that you might change your mind.  If you do that, then you’ll have more than ever to deal with because they will be bothering you, still in your life, and trying to get you to change your mind.  They may even try to blackmail you to stay in the relationship, threatening to tell your spouse.

You know the other woman and I do not.  You know her personality and how she might react.  Still, I think direct and to the point is best.  I think something like: “I made a mistake in starting this relationship and I”m very sorry.  My decision to end the relationship is not about anything that you did or could do now.  This just me realizing that I did something that I should not have.  And the only way to fix this is to stop doing what I know is wrong and to try to make this right.  I know that you got caught in the middle of this and for that, I am deeply sorry. But I have to end this immediately and irrevocably.”

You might be surprised to find that they don’t really argue with you and that they accept it, or tell you that they were expecting this all along.  Some will even say that they were considering ending things themselves because they agree with you that the relationship was wrong.

However, some will debate with you and will try to get you to change your mind.  Some will tell you that they know that you will be back eventually.  In that case, I think it’s best to firmly and gently stand your ground.  The last thing that you want to do is to debate them or to argue into the future.  You might try: “no, I won’t change my mind.  I put a lot of thought into this and no matter how you slice it, I had a very serious lack of judgement and made a mistake.  No matter how I feel or what I think, there’s no denying that the right thing to do (and what I want to do now) is stop making a mistake and to do what what I know is right.  That’s why I won’t be changing my mind or coming back.  I’m very firm on this decision.  I truly am sorry.  But this is what I need to do and will do.”

Don’t Give In Or Give Them A Pay Off: Hopefully, it ends there.  If they refuse to take no for an answer or they keep trying to contact you, make sure that you don’t give them a pay off for doing so.  Don’t engage.  Don’t debate.  Don’t get angry.  Just ignore them.  You’ve made this clear so there is no reason to continue to discuss it.  If you ignore them and they still won’t stop trying to contact you, then you may need to change your phone number and shut them down on social media or however you have been communicating.

People who don’t get a pay off usually eventually stop trying.  And you just have to remember WHY you made the decision.  The affair is wrong.  It must end.  So you have to make this clear.  You can certainly try to be compassionate and apologetic while delivering the message, but the message still must be clear and final.  And after it is delivered all contact should be cut off and the attention should go to your spouse and to saving your marriage.

Try to remember that your spouse is very important in all of this.  They are your motivation to end it and they deserve your attention and concern more than anyone else.  So your goal is to deliver the message quickly and efficiently.  You can try to do it compassionately, but only if that’s not going to give the other person the wrong idea or any hope.  Because the goal is to turn your attention to where it belongs as quickly as possible – and that is on your spouse.  The sooner you do that, the sooner you can start to try to make this right again. I do know how tricky this can be. You can read more about what happened after this process in my own life at this at

For How Long Should I Remain Separated From My Husband After He Cheated And Had An Affair Before I Take Him Back?

By: Katie Lersch:  I often hear from wives who are trying to formulate a plan to make sure that their husband is so remorseful and so desperate to get back into their good graces and save the marriage after an affair, that he will never cheat again.  To that end, many feel like they should prolong a separation in order to allow him to see how it feels to be alone as well as to create some doubt and fear as to when (or if) he can return home.

I recently heard from a wife who asked, in part: ” for how long should we remain separated after my husband’s cheating and affair?  I found out he cheated about three months ago and I immediately kicked him out.  I could not stand to look at him or live with him after I found out that he betrayed me.  About a month ago, he started begging my forgiveness and asking when I was going to let him move back home and end the separation.  I’m not sure if I want to do that just yet.  Honestly, I’m becoming more receptive to him and to saving our marriage.  I do miss him.  But I want to make sure that he’s good and sorry for cheating.  I figure if I make him wait to come home a little while longer, he will appreciate me that much more.  How long do wives normally wait before they take their husband’s back, allow him to move back home, and end the separation?”

There really isn’t one definitive answer to this question.  Some wives use their own feelings and wishes as a guide, some wives are influenced by their husband’s wishes and feelings, and others want to hold out for as long as they can to make a dramatic and definite point.  However, I’ll offer some considerations and tips for making this decision in the following article.

It’s Usually Not The Best Idea To Allow Yourself To Be Pressured Into Something About Which You Have Doubts (Or Are Not Ready For) After A Husband’s Cheating Or Affair: Many wives in this situation are under a great deal of pressure from their husbands.  He will tell you that he misses you and possibly the kids.  He’ll say that he wants to come home and he will often tell you that he has more than learned his lesson.  He might tell you that the separation is killing him and he’s not sure if he can’t stand it for one more day.

And all of these things begin to whittle away at your resolve and make you feel guilty because your decisions are affecting and possibly hurting someone else.  But here’s what you have to remember.  You likely initiated this separation so you could have time to sort out your feelings in your own way.  You likely wanted to set things up so that, should you decide later that you want to save your marriage, you’d put yourself in the best position to do so.

What, if anything, has changed?  I am not asking you this to discourage you from allowing your husband to come back home.  I’m asking you this to give you perspective.  If you want him to come home and to end the separation every bit as badly as he does and you’re both willing to work very hard to begin the healing process, then I see no need in prolonging things just to prove a point.  But, if you are having to make this decision because you’re feeling relentless pressure despite your doubts, then you may want to give yourself permission to take your time.  If your husband is sincere, he will wait.

Make Sure That You Aren’t Making Decisions That Run Counter To Your Own Wishes Or Feelings Just To Test Your Husband Or Make A Point: With the above said, sometimes it’s relatively clear that the wife in question misses her husband, doesn’t want the separation any longer, and would like for her husband to come home, but she feels that she needs to hold out just a little longer to test her husband or to prove a point.

She figures the longer that she can make him sweat it out and the more desperate she can make him to come home, the better her position and the more he will be invested in saving the marriage.  While this is completely understandable, sometimes it backfires.  The husband can either lose patience or becomes resentful.  And honestly, do you really want to start over in your marriage with game playing and being dishonest?

So When Is The Right Time To End The Separation And Allow Your Husband To Come Back Home After An Affair Or Cheating?: There really is no right or wrong answer to this question.  Most people have a feeling in their gut or in their heart that tells them that the time may have come. I suggest listening to that voice as long as you know that: the other person is out of the picture; the cheating has stopped; you are both committed to repairing and saving the marriage; and not only are you are both willing to do the work necessary to make these things happen, but you have a plan in place to accomplish this.

If all of these things aren’t present, then it’s generally beneficial for you to wait until they are.  But if you believe in your heart that your husband is remorseful and ready to be rehabilitated and you want him home, then there’s probably no reason to play games.  But if any of these things are in question or you are reluctant or unsure, then remember that this decision is yours alone.

My husband didn’t move out of our house, but we were very separated emotionally.  It took a while before I was ready to trust again to move forward to end this separation.  I can’t tell you exactly what it was that told me the time was right, but I noticed that I had begun to feel differently and I decided to act on this.  I can say today that I never have regretted this decision.  Our marriage did recover and we’re pretty happy today.  If it helps, you can read more about this process on my blog at

How And Why Do Affairs Usually End?

by: katie lersch: I often have two different sets of people asking me this question.  Sometimes, people whose spouses are having an affair want to know why and how affairs end so that they can attempt to make the affair end sooner.  Other times, I hear from the people involved in the affair.  They don’t want it to end so they are looking for common pitfalls in the hopes that they can avoid them.  Much of the time, one party is hoping that the affair ends (and is looking for a way to help this process happen more quickly)  while the other is hoping that it never ends.  In the following article, I’ll tell you some of the most common reasons that I see affairs end.

The Affair Will Commonly Fizzle Out As The “Newness” And Excitement Wears Off: There’s no question that, to many,  part of the appeal of the affair is the fact that it’s taboo and forbidden.  There can be an excitement that comes with a new and secret relationship.  But as the early days give way to old ones, this sense of newness quickly wears off and gives way to the familiar.  And when this happens, a lot of that excitement goes with it.  When this happens, the affair / relationship will often just die a natural death or fizzle out.  Because it’s often not real or genuine feelings and emotions that are holding these two together. It’s a facade that fades.

Sometimes, The Guilt Becomes So Overwhelming That One Party Chooses To End The Affair: It’s also not uncommon for one person to end the affair out of guilt.  There’s a stereotype that people who have affairs are unfeeling and don’t care about their spouse anymore.  This isn’t always the case.  Many do feel guilt and some even end the affair because of those same guilt feelings.  Although the person on the other side of the affair will often hope or think that the person who they are cheating with has distanced himself from his family or is no longer as invested as he once was, this sometimes proves to be not the case.

Sometimes The Faithful Spouse Finds Out About The Affair And A Choice Must Be Made: It’s not at all uncommon for the faithful spouse to learn about the affair (and sometimes the unfaithful spouse will confess to this themselves.)  When this happens, the faithful spouse will often issue an ultimatum and demand that a choice be made.  And it’s not at all uncommon for the cheating spouse to end the affair in a response to that ultimatum because they decide that their spouse is more important to them than the other person.

An Affair Can End Because One Or Both People Involved In It Realize That The Relationship Just Isn’t Working Anymore Or Was Built Upon Misconceptions: It’s also not uncommon for one or both people in the relationship to evaluate it and decide that it isn’t working anymore or just isn’t what they thought or hoped it would be.  Often in the beginning, they can build the other person up to be something who he or she is not.  After all, if you’re going to risk your marriage and your family to participate in infidelity, that other person must be awful special.  But, after a while, it becomes easier to see them for who they really are or aren’t.  And when this happens, you can realize that the other person (or the relationship) just isn’t worth the risk or the personal costs.

When Reality Sets In, The Rose Colored Glasses Can Come Off: In the beginning of an affair, both people are usually on their best behavior and are working very hard to make each encounter exciting and memorable.  Usually at least one person is investing a lot into the relationship.  But this can only last or be maintained for so long.  Eventually, she might see or have to pick up his dirty socks.   Her lack of character might start to annoy him and the list goes on and on.  The point is, eventually, the relationship behind the affair becomes like any other relationship – warts and all.  And it can become fairly obvious that if the affair is going to have all of the usual problems of a marriage or other long term relationship, then what’s the point?

The End To An Affair Can Come Very Abruptly Or Quite Gradually: Sometimes when people think of an affair ending, they picture a very dramatic breakdown.  I’ve had people tell me that they sat on the phone while their spouse called the other person and instantly ended the affair.  I’ve heard of nasty face to face confrontations and threats to never ever have any contact again.  But an affair doesn’t always end with a bang.  It can also end with a gradual whimper where one person quietly breaks it off or the interactions or meetings just become less and less frequent until they eventually end altogether.

No matter how and why affairs end, most do end eventually.  Statistics show that very few relationships that start as an affair end up in marriage – much less a marriage that actually lasts.  There’s an exception to every rule, of course.  But for the most part, an affair does not have a high chance of working out or ending well.  That’s why it can be advisable to never start one in the first place.

Surviving The Affair is a blog I put together to share my story in the hopes that it helps someone else. I know that this is a very difficult time, and that forgiveness can be elusive, but working through it can truly be worth the effort. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, better times were ahead. My marriage eventually recovered and is stronger than ever. Our bond and intimacy is much stronger and because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem remained in tact. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read that very personal story at

Dealing With Insecurities After Infidelity

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from people who are struggling to restore their confidence or self esteem after their spouse has cheated or had an affair. Often, they will tell me that they are a completely different person after the affair.   And many intuitively know that in order for their marriage to survive, they are going to need to effectively deal with these insecurities.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband cheated on me with a much younger, much prettier woman. When I found out, he said he would break things off and it appears that he did. We have been working on our marriage and I feel like we’re making a little bit of progress. But I do have problems with being very insecure. This wasn’t an issue for me before he cheated. Yes, I’m older, but so is he. I take relatively good care of myself and I feel like I’m relatively decent looking. But I can’t compare with someone who is much younger, prettier and skinnier than me. My husband says the affair wasn’t about her looks. He says it was about his own desire to be young and desirable again. But what does that mean for me? I can’t change my age. So I can’t make him feel young around me. And now every time we’re out and there’s a young, pretty girl, I feel insecure. I worry that my husband is staring at younger women and I find this a little disturbing and pathetic. And then and I look in the mirror and I see an aging, miserable woman. The sad thing is that before he cheated, I actually liked what I saw in the mirror. I would never want to be young again because I am so much wiser than I used to be. At the same time though, my husband has proven to me that he likes eye candy and he will pursue a younger woman. He tells me that he loves and is still attracted to me, but how am I supposed to believe this when he’s proven otherwise?” I will try to address these concerns in the following article.

His Infidelity Doesn’t Change Anything About You Or Your Physical Appearance: I know that you might think that this is easy for me to say, but it really isn’t. I was in the same situation that you are. And I too looked in the mirror and worried if I was pretty and sexy enough. But here’s something that I didn’t realize at the time and you may not either. Your attractiveness and sex appeal before and after the affair have not changed at all. Your looks aren’t going to change in a few months time. But your perception of those looks can change. Because your confidence has taken a hit. It’s so important to understand that nothing about you has changed except for your circumstances and your perceptions.  And, the good news is that you have control of both.

Ways To Erase Or Deal With Your Insecurities After Your Spouse Cheated Or Had An Affair: I’m not silly enough to think that this is a “mind over matter” issue or that if you just give yourself a big enough pep talk, this issue will be over for you. I know from experience that just relying on positive thinking doesn’t work. I also know from my own life that in order to believe that your husband loves and finds you attractive, then you yourself must absolutely believe this yourself. Because if you believe that you aren’t good enough, or pretty enough, or alluring enough, then it truly doesn’t matter what your husband says or how sincerely he says it. You are not going to believe him anyway.

That’s why whatever you try must include self work. If you had confidence before the affair and only find your confidence shaken because of the infidelity, your job will be a little more easy. As your marriage heals and time shows you that your husband is sticking around because he wants to, then you will begin to get a little of you swagger back. Because in truth, very few people are going to stay with someone to whom they are not attracted, especially for the long term. So time has a way of restoring your confidence because you know that he won’t and can’t fake it forever.

In the meantime, you can help this process by being very kind to yourself. If there are issues about your appearance that bother you, there is nothing wrong with addressing them. However, never use this as an excuse to beat yourself up. Surround yourself with kind, loving, and supportive people, including yourself.

And, if some of your insecurities existed long before your husband acted inappropriately, you will usually have a little more work to do. A very wise counselor once told me that an affair doesn’t have to do with a person’s love for their spouse. It usually is at least partly due to a lack of self esteem on the part of one or both of the spouses. When I first heard this, it confused me and made me a little angry. However, after I thought about it for a while, I realized that my own insecurities had always plagued my marriage. I had long acted out of fear and lack because I didn’t believe that I was a good enough mother, daughter, or wife. And this gravely affected me in many areas of my life.

I would never claim to be grateful or even OK with my husband’s affair, but I am able to look back and admit that some good came out of it. One example is that I was forced to look at my insecurity issues and then not only acknowledge them, but to fix them. It was to my benefit to form my own career and to address things about myself that I didn’t particularly like. Doing this helped with my healing but it also improved my marriage.

And once I made progress, when my husband told me I was lovable, or beautiful, or sexy, I believed him. Because it was the first time that I believed it about myself.  I know that feeling insecure after the infidelity is very painful, but vow to move through it.  Because if you use the insecurities as a catalyst to change what isn’t working, then you’ve flipped this and used to your advantage and your marriage, your happiness level, and your peace of mind will be much higher as the result.  If you’d like to read about how this worked in real life, you’re welcome to check out my blog

How Long Does It Take For Your Marriage To Get Back To Normal After An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch:  I often hear from people who are wondering for how long things are going to feel so tense and awful after their spouse has cheated and had an affair.  I often hear from these folks weeks or months after the affair has been discovered and many of them had hoped that things would have improved more than they actually have.  I heard from a wife who said: “I found out about five months ago that my husband had an affair with a coworker.  He did tell me the truth about it and he has worked with me to save our marriage.  We are both trying really hard but things are just so awkward.  He tells me he feels as if he is constantly walking on egg shells around me and I fully admit that I very often feel angry and hurt.  In short, things are just not the same.  They are not even close to the same.  Things feel forced, weird, and just off between us.  How long does it take for your life and your marriage to get back to normal after the affair?  Because I’m getting very tired of waiting.  And if this is the way my marriage is going to be for the rest of my life then I’m not sure if it’s worth it to save my marriage.”

I understood how this wife felt because I have felt the exact same feelings.  After your spouse has an affair, it can feel as if someone as stolen your normal life and replaced it with something that is completely foreign and undesirable.  And when time goes by so slowly with no real improvement, it can begin to feel as if this is how your life, and your marriage, is always going to be.  It’s very easy to make these types of assumptions, but I can tell you that they are often wrong.  It’s my experience that things do get better and that life does eventually return to normal.  How quickly this happens often depends on how hard you are working to heal.  Often, if you don’t fully address and fix the underlying issues, then they will remain.  And when they remain, that’s when the awkward and unnatural feelings continue to hang around.  I will discuss this more below.

The Sooner You Work Through The Issues And Restore The Trust, The Sooner Things Will Feel More Normal:  As I alluded to,  often is a lot of time has passed and things still feel weird between you, then you need to look at your healing process.  You can’t expect for your marriage to heal if you don’t examine where it might have been vulnerable and where you need to now fix it.  And even when this process is complete, you will need to restore the trust until you can both feel at ease once again.  If you try to skip over either of these steps, then you’re bound to have that feeling of unease that we’ve been talking about.  You feel a little out of sorts and paranoid because you’re wondering if he’s going to cheat again.  Or, you find that you’re still angry over little things because you still aren’t satisfied with his answers or you still haven’t fully resolved the issues.

Having these feelings doesn’t mean that things won’t get better or that you won’t even feel normal.  It just means that there is more work to do.  I know that it can be frustrating, but the upside to this is that if you give the issues the attention they deserve and you are then able to restore the trust, your reward is piece of mind.  And believe me when I say that after you have been through something like this, the normal, boring and ordinary days will seem so very precious by comparison.  You will value your marriage and your husband that much more when they are restored.  And also, you aren’t as apt to take your marriage and your family for granted because it becomes obvious that things can change in the blink of an eye.

So to answer the question posed, how long it takes to feel normal again varies depending on many factors.  It really helps if both people are very committed to fully addressing and solving any problems.  And it helps if the cheating spouse is very motivated to take responsibility for restoring the trust.  If these things don’t happen immediately, it certainly doesn’t mean that they will never happen.  It just means that you may have to be more proactive and you may have to ask for what you need.  Because your spouse likely feels that things aren’t right also and, even though he is the reason for the unease, he probably wants to get things back to normal as badly as you do.

I know how frustrated you feel.  I would say that it probably took us around a year to begin to regain what had been lost.  Part of this was I could not let go of my anger.  Once I began to heal, things picked up.  Now, I rarely think about the affair anymore.  I have just moved on and our marriage is actually better.  If it helps, you can read my story of recovery on my blog at

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