I Know My Husband Had Very Strong Feelings For The Other Woman But He Won’t Admit It. What Can I Do?

By: Katie Lersch:  It is every faithful spouse’s worst fear – that her husband is actually and truly in love with the other woman. Some husbands are quite honest about this and they proclaim their love very matter of factly.  Others try to deny it – either because they believe what they are saying or they are trying to not to hurt their wives.

Some wives suspect that their husband has strong feelings for the other woman regardless of what he claims.  Some wives do their own detective work and come to this conclusion and others have the other woman telling all about the relationship.  Many worry about what these feelings are going to mean for their marriage.  And this is even more difficult when your husband denies the feelings because you wonder how you are going to deal with this if he won’t even admit the truth.

A wife might have this issue: “the other woman told me about the affair.  If she had not come forward, I might sill not know about it.  My husband tried to deny it at first, but the other woman gave me letters in my husband’s handwriting that were obvious proof, so he finally had to admit it. The problem I have now is that my husband is trying to claim that he really didn’t care for the other woman and he’s perfectly fine with ending the relationship now.  I know that this isn’t true because I have those letters.  Plus, he is moping around here like he lost a limb.  He’s clearly miserable without her.  He says he was only saying what he thought she wanted to hear in the letters and he is moping around because he’s so ashamed of himself.  I asked the other woman about his claims and she says that he is in denial.  She says that he told her that he loved her all of the time. So I feel pretty sure that my husband was and is in love with this woman. But he firmly denies it and he gets mad when I mention it.  Both my husband and the other woman say that the relationship is over.  But I just can not move on until he admits the truth to me.”

Understand That The Husband And Other Woman Have Very Different Motivations: I understand wanting and needing the truth.  But please allow me to point out some things that you may be missing because you are so close to the situation.  The other woman may have her own agenda for painting a picture of love that may be only based on her own point of view.  I am not denying that your husband may have had feelings for her, but he may have seen his feelings very differently than she did.

What “other woman” doesn’t want to believe that the man she is cheating with truly loves her and thinks she is special?  This makes it easier to justify her cheating and of course, it strokes her ego.  So, naturally, she wants to believe that they were deeply in love.

And your husband has his reasons for wanting to downplay those feelings.  He knows that it is over.  And he’s said that he wants to be with you.  What good is it to dwell on the feelings which may or may not have been there?

I understand that you want and deserve the truth. But it is going to be much easier for him to tell you the truth once a little bit of time has passed and things calm down.

Where You Place Your Attention Is Very Important: Right now, it is possible you are devoting too much attention to his feelings for HER when you should be devoting his attention to his feelings for YOU.  It would be different if he wasn’t willing to give her up or the relationship was ongoing.  But even the other woman admits that it is over.  So now, assuming that you are open to saving your marriage, the attention should turn to the feelings between you and your husband.  There should no longer be any place in your lives for the other woman.

If you like, you can explore those feelings once healing has truly begun but right now, things are too fresh and your husband is invested in continuing with his version of things.  He may even completely believe he’s telling you the truth and so he isn’t likely to suddenly change his version of what he believes is the truth because you want him to.

Right now, what matters is what the two of you decide going forward and not what happened in the past.  At least for right now. Because if you consistently focus on the past, then you are more likely to stay there. But if you want to put this behind you and move toward the future, then that is where you must place your focus.

I understand needing to know the truth, but your husband may believe that he has already given you the truth as he knows it. And you may more success getting this through counseling.  Professionals are usually pretty skilled at cutting to the heart of the matter but they can also help you both to deal with it once it comes out.

For now though, I’d place my focus on the two of you and what you want.  As long as the relationship is over, dwelling on the past doesn’t propel you forward. I understand where your head is though.  I used to drive myself crazy wondering about the dynamic between my husband and the other woman.  But it did no good.  And I eventually taught myself to stop.   You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

I Want To Be Confident And Mysterious After My Husband’s Affair. How Can I Do This?

By: Katie Lersch: Although there can be a lot of pain and self doubt after an affair, this time period can also be a time of reinvention. If I’m being honest, I can’t tell you that my husband’s affair was worth the “new me.” But I can honestly say that some positive changes came out of it. I was able to look closely at how I was living my life and take inventory of what was working for me and what was not. Many women are aware of this possibility and they would like to experience the same, but they just aren’t sure how. And it can be really hard to turn the corner when you are in this type of pain.

Someone may express a concern like this: “I am really struggling after my husband had an affair. I feel like I don’t know who I am anymore. I feel like I am less than I thought I was. But something has stayed with me and I keep thinking about it. When I first started my job, a male coworker with whom I became close had an affair with another coworker. We were strictly friends and I wasn’t remotely attracted to him – which I suppose made it easier to share our feelings. Anyway, when he had the affair, he wasn’t sure if he wanted his marriage anymore. But his wife reacted in a different way than he assumed that she would. Instead of allowing it to discourage her and make her feel badly about herself, she focused her attention away from him. She went out with friends and kick started her career. Of course, my male coworker then wanted her back. He dropped the coworker immediately and went out of his way to avoid her.  And when I asked him why he had this sudden and dramatic change of heart, he said that his wife suddenly had all this confidence and she had a new mystery about her. He actually used the phrase ‘joie de vivre.’ I so want to do this with my own life. I want my husband to look at me and think that I am confident and mysterious. But lately, it is very hard for me to even fake a smile. How does one do this?”

Well, it is not an easy process. And it is not a quick process. I can’t tell you that I fell into my whole self improvement period immediately. In fact, I wallowed in my own sorrow for a while. I felt sorry for myself for a while. But then that whole process got old. You know how you hear people say they got “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Well, I knew what they meant at that point in my life. I got very weary of feeling sad and lacking in energy all of the time.

So I made a very conscious decision to make myself a priority. I decided that I was going to think long and hard about doing things I didn’t enjoy. And I was very deliberate in filling my days with those things that brought my joy. I traveled some. I decided to go back to school. I kept very busy. And I welcomed people who were nurturing into my life and steered clear of those who were negative and judgmental.

I no longer measured my day based on how things went with my husband or with my marriage. Yes, I wanted things to work for us, but I accepted that the process might be long and I realized that there was much more to my life than just that aspect of it. I did not want to let one area of my life ruin all of the others. I started to pay attention to the health of my body which meant that I exercised and ate better, which improved my appearance and gave my more confidence. As I physically felt better, I started to mentally feel better.

I am not sure how to address the “mysterious” part of the question. I would suspect that being busy and not sitting around waiting to see what is going to happen with your marriage is going to contribute to this. And perhaps not sharing every single aspect of your day with your husband. I think that it is natural for him to see the new smile on your face and wonder why it is there and where it is coming from. And this sense of mystery might make you more attractive to him. But I don’t think the goal is to get your husband to act in a certain way or to see you in a specific way.

I think that the real goal is to feel better about yourself. I think that so long as you are always asking yourself what you want, how you feel, and what is going to help you move forward, the sense of confidence and mystery are just going to naturally happen without your needing to worry about. I think that your real worry is to make yourself your highest priority right now. That small shift is often quite profound and quite noticeable.

Just take this one day at a time.  Start by doing one kind thing for for yourself and one activity that is just for your enjoyment.  Try to do this every single day.  This one shift can start you on a very different path.  You can read more about my journey on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How To Beat The Other Woman At Her Own Game. Can It Be Done?

By: Katie Lersch:  Not all wives who find out that their husband has been cheating on them want to make things work.  Some know immediately that they can’t move past this.  Others believe that initially, but later decide that not only do they want to maintain their marriage, but they want to get their husband’s undivided attention and fidelity.  In short, they want their husband’s attention away from the other woman and back on them.

This can be easier said than done, however.  Not all husbands immediately agree to end the extramarital relationship.  Or the husband may claim that it is over and the wife might sense that this might not be completely accurate.  To that end, many wives want to know how they can get the other woman out of the husband’s mind once and for all.  They might wonder if it’s possible to use her own strategy against her or to “beat her at her own game.”

A wife might ask a question like this one: “unfortunately, I know the woman who my husband has been cheating on me with very well.  We’re not close friends or anything, but she has lived in our neighborhood for a very long time. And she’s very obvious in the way that she wears revealing clothing and is very flirtatious to every man who shows her the slightest bit of attention.  I am angry at my husband, but I do not want to give up on a marriage in which I invested countless years and effort.  One of my girlfriends told me that I should turn the tables on this hag and ‘beat her at her own game.’  I like the idea of turning the tables on her and I’d love to see her face if this were to happen.  But the problem is that it is not really in my personality to act all fake and promiscuous.  My husband would probably know what I was doing and frankly, if I did this and he rejected me, I would feel just awful about it.  Plus, she does have one advantage in that she has no kids.  It’s easy for her to be carefree when I have the obligation of my children.  How do you compete with that and still beat her at her own game?”

I think that there is a way to turn the tables on the other woman, but you have to be very careful when trying to do this because there are some very common pitfalls just waiting for you to step into them. Below, I’ll talk about avoiding the common mistakes and using the advantages that you have to turn the tables.

Understand That You Have To Be Very Careful Of Making Your Plan Obvious:  This wife already intuitively knew that if she went over the top in trying to change her personality, her husband was going to know that something was up.  This is where this plan often goes wrong.  When a wife who has always been shy and introverted suddenly tries to take on a new persona and act like her perception of the other woman, a husband will usually notice and put two and two together.

I am not saying that you can’t try to be the best version of who you already are or that you can’t be more playful and aggressive.  You can. But you want to do it within the confines of what is going to be genuine to you.  It’s vital that anything that you try can be pulled off with confidence.  If you can’t pull it off, it’s best to wait.  And that’s why it’s best not to stray too far from who you really are.  You can certainly improve your genuine self and put yourself out there.  But don’t pretend or you do yourself a disservice. Because you are wonderful just the way you are.  You don’t need to pretend to be anyone else.

Understand The Mistakes That The Other Woman Is Likely Going To Make:  You’ve already hit on one very obvious advantage that many other women think that they have.  Since they are not your husband’s wife, it is so much easier for them to take the “this relationship is all about fun” approach.  And this can be attractive.  But, it’s going to be hard for her to keep this up indefinitely.  Most people are going to eventually get tired of having to be available for whatever time the husband has left over.  Most other women eventually want more and eventually start to make demands. So this advantage doesn’t last forever – which is why it doesn’t make sense to pretend otherwise.  Your husband knows that you care deeply about your children and he should care deeply also.  So while you may feel that you have to compete here, it’s often not as dire as you think.  Eventually, the other woman will usually make demands. And the ruse of “no strings attached” goes right out the window.

Understand That What You Think Works Against You May Really Be An Advantage:  Many wives think that the length of time that they’ve been with their husbands is a disadvantage.  They feel as if he’s gotten tired of his old marriage.  And while both of you may intuitively realize that some aspects could be spruced up, never underestimate your history.  It means that you know your husband better than most anyone.  It means you know how he thinks and what he needs.  The other woman can’t possibly know him in the way you do because she hasn’t stood beside him for all of these years.  She has barely scratched the surface.  Never forget this.

Controlling What You Can:  Many wives feel that they have to compete with the other woman sexually and they will theorize that they must hang from the chandeliers.  While it never hurts to spice up your sex life, trying to take it too far or doing things that you are not comfortable with means you may have a bad experience which will do more harm than good.

What you want is to establish a deep emotional connection which in turn will give way to physical intimacy.  Because this is what every one is looking for.  People who have affairs often desperately want to think that the other person understands and appreciates them.  Of course, this is built on a stack of cards.  Because the relationship is so new, this really can not exist.

But you can show your spouse that you do understand and appreciate them.  You can listen.  You can be there.  You can be attentive.  But you have to understand that people often have affairs when they feel badly about themselves.  And the only person who can make your husband truly feel better about himself is your husband.

You can, however, set up an atmosphere that facilitates this.  You can try to encourage counseling.  You can listen.  You can offer support as best as you can since you are probably struggling too.  And you can take care of and prioritize yourself.

If your husband sees you having enough respect for yourself to make yourself a priority, then you are sending a very important message.  That you are worthy.  That you count too. Confidence is the most sexy asset a woman has.  I learned this the hard way but I firmly believe it.

Frankly, the best way to beat the other woman at her own game is to strengthen your marriage so that he doesn’t need or want to interact with her.  Focusing on her gives her more power.  But focusing on yourself and on your marriage takes that power away.

There were some things that I did to reestablish my personal and sexual confidence.  But ultimately, I came to realize that in order to truly be confident, I had to be myself.  Pretending to be someone else rarely works.  I had to give the best of myself to me first and then I was able to offer it my husband once we healed. There’s more of the story blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Doesn’t Understand How His Affair Affected Me

by: katie lersch: I often hear from wives who are struggling to make their husbands understand just how devastating and far reaching his affair truly was. Many wives struggle with making their husband understand that moving on or getting over the affair is going to take far longer (and much more work) than the husband may have realized.

I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “my husband’s affair has been over for about three months.  It’s becoming obvious that he feels like my time to grieve and process this is up.  He wonders aloud when I’m going to recover and for how much longer I’m going to “dwell on” the affair or on the past.  He often makes comments like ‘the past is in the past.  Now it’s time to move on and start again.  We can’t life our lives always dwelling on the past or dredging up the pain from yesterday.’   It’s as if he thinks that I should just turn off my feelings or quiet my doubts because he’s tired of having to deal with my pain.  He doesn’t seem to understand how his affair affected me and continues to affect me.  It floored me.  It hurt me deeply.  It made me question my judgment, my marriage, and my ability to trust and to love.  I no longer feel like the same person in the same marriage.  I am trying to improve and move forward, but I certainly don’t like feeling rushed or being made to feel as if I’m not making progress fast enough.  I don’t think that any of this is fair.  How is it right that he gets to hurt me this way and then get impatient as I try to recover?  How can I make him understand how his affair affected me so that he has more patience during my recovery? Because every time I try to explain this to him, he says I’m dwelling on the past or holding onto the pain.”  I’ll address these concerns in the following article.

Actions That Probably Won’t Make Your Husband Understand How His Affair Affected You: Before I get into some things that might help with this situation, I’d like to go over some very common reactions and strategies, that, although understandable, often don’t work all that well.  Many wives will wonder if having their own affair will “force” their husband to see just how it feels to be cheated on.  So, many will consider cheating (or at least making their husband think that they are.)  I so rarely see this work or even not turn out to be a disaster. The husband is often so angry that he’s not in any position to feel any empathy for or try to understand the wife any better.  And the wife will often have even more baggage to carry and even more feelings and struggles to deal with.

Another thing to wives are often tempted to try in this situation is to attempt to communicate in a very dramatic way so that their husband has no choice but to listen or pay attention.  A wife will often tell me that she finally explodes and begins yelling things like: “do you have any idea how this feels?  Do you have any idea what it’s like to know that your spouse who was supposed to love, honor and cherish you slept with someone else?  Do you any idea what this does to your self esteem and your ability to trust?”  Although these are all valid questions which often might cause your husband to slow down and think, we often say them in such a way that he feels defensive rather than sympathetic.

Understand Why Your Husband Probably Doesn’t Completely Want To Know Or Understand Just How Deeply His Affair Affected You: Here’s something else I’d like for you to consider.  Even if your husband doesn’t realize this,  he often has a vested interested in downplaying just how devastating his affair has been to you.  He usually already feels a lot of guilt and remorse about his actions.  And he really wants to believe that you and will recover because this helps to alleviate some of his guilt.

So if he has to face the difficult truth that you are still hurting, still struggling, and not yet recovered from actions that he set into motion, then he still has to feel those negative feelings of guilt, shame and remorse all over again.  Often, the husband who cheated wants to feel better and wants to recover in the same way that his wife does.  But part of his being able to feel better about himself means that you feel better too.  So he’s often reluctant to admit or acknowledge when this isn’t happening.  But you can sometimes use this knowledge to your advantage.

Tips On How To Make Your Husband Understand The Multiple Ways That His Affair Has Affected You: I understand that you are extremely motivated to get your husband to understand the way that you feel and why you’re struggling.  But  you are more likely to get the result that you want if you can deliver the message with calm, measured words so that it’s clear that you’re not trying to hurt him, but are merely trying to make him understand you better.

So, at time when emotions aren’t boiling over and you are as calm as is possible, you might consider saying (or writing) something like:  “I know that both of us just want to feel better and want to move on.  I want that too.  But I want for you to understand why I’m struggling because of how deeply this affair has affected me.  I’m not telling you this to make you feel worse or continue to pin point blame.  My intention is for you to understand what I’m feeling so that hopefully you can help me to move forward so that we can both feel some relief eventually. But please understand that your affair has made me reluctant to trust you and my own perceptions.  I do want to move on and to trust again, but this is a struggle for me because when I did those things before, I was betrayed.  And I’m reluctant to offer my trust again because I never want to feel this type of pain again in the future.  This has made my doubt myself, my own desirability, and our ability to put our marriage first before we make decisions that might destroy it.  I’m not telling you this to paint a negative picture or to insinuate that we can’t or will never recover.  I just want for you to know how and why I’m struggling so that you will have patience with me and help me to move past this.  I’m asking you to imagine that it was you who were the one who was betrayed before you’re critical of my progress or lose your patience with me.”

I know that making him understand you and your struggles is difficult.  But sometimes, you just have to keep moving forward while continuing to have patience with yourself and demanding that you be given the time and space to heal.  Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, after a long struggle, I did eventually truly get over the affair. It didn’t happen overnight, but I know longer worry my husband will cheat again. If it helps, you can read more of that story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

I Regret Accusing My Husband Of Cheating. But He Has Cheated Before

By: Katie Lersch: It’s normal to watch your spouse very closely when they have already cheated on you once. It would be silly not to watch and to just assume that everything is fine. Unfortunately, many of us become hyper-vigilant – so much so that many of us see cheating where none exists. And sometimes, this leads you to accuse your spouse of cheating when in fact he isn’t.

A wife might say: “the pain that I felt over my husband’s affair is indescribable. Honestly, I really considered divorcing my husband over his affair. I just didn’t know that I could ever trust him again.  I doubted if I would ever want to.  But he begged me to give him a chance to prove to me that we could make it work. He agreed to counseling and we did go for a while, but once I felt we made progress, we eventually stopped. I found the counseling painful. But I am glad we did it. For a while, I felt that we would make it. We had overcome so much. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed my husband talking on the phone in the bedroom with the door closed. Of course, this immediately worried me. I was sure that he was cheating again. I didn’t say anything at first because I hoped that it was an isolated incident and innocent. But it went on and on. Once I couldn’t take it anymore, I barged in and started yelling at him. He told the person on the phone that he would call them back. Then he frustratingly told me that he was on the phone with his boss and that I could check his call logs. He said they’ve been dealing with a difficult issue at work. Well, I did check his call log and I googled the number and that number is indeed listed for his boss. Now, I feel awful that I doubted him and that I didn’t just ask in the beginning instead of barging in. Plus, I’m embarrassed at the thought of ever facing his boss again. Is is always going to be like this?”

You Don’t Have To Apologize For Feelings That Are Normal And Understandable: It doesn’t have to always be that way. As you said, you can vow to ask when things bother you. And you can be careful of your tone when you ask. But quite frankly, I don’t think there is any reason to be so hard on yourself. Your suspicions are normal. I think that most wives go through this during recovery. And your husband should almost expect it. Because it’s just the cost of having an affair.

Now, as time goes by and your husband proves himself trustworthy, I would suspect that your suspicions are going to wane and you are not going to have nearly as many – if any – dramatic reactions like this. But, things are still fresh.

Offering Clarification: If it’s bothering you, then you can certainly address it with him by trying something like: “I’m sorry I barged into your conversation with your boss. I wish you would have explained who were talking to in the beginning. Because you have to understand that when it appears that you are doing something in secret, I’m going to be concerned. It’s just normal for me to not want to be shocked and hurt like I was the last time. Yes, I should have asked you if I had concerns. But it would make things easier if you didn’t have closed door conversations or, if you need to have them, then explain what they are so that I don’t have to worry. This is just going to need to be part of the process until we completely restore the trust.”

A man who is accountable and who is taking responsibility for his affair will ultimately understand this, even if he is understandably frustrated with how this has turned out. Because it was his actions that contributed to your thought process.

I know this is a discouraging situation. But things like this can sometimes happen and the way to move past it is to explain, come to a resolution, and then move on in such a way that hopefully it doesn’t happen again. Every time these things come up and you and your spouse are able to come to a healthy resolution, you get stronger.

The key is to communicate and don’t just allow the anger, the lack of trust, and the misunderstanding to stop your progress. Keep talking. Keep explaining and negotiating so that you are both comfortable. You can’t expect for the recovery process to always be smooth sailing. But navigating the choppy waters strengthens you.

Eventually, you might come to a place where you decide that you will trust your husband until he gives you a reason not to. But, if you are not at this place yet, there is no need to apologize for that. Just explain why he got the reaction that he did, make a better plan for the future, and move on. As you get stronger and stronger, these incidents will become less.

I had these type of incidents in my recovery also.  But you just have to move past them, know that there may be more in the future, and learn. Each time we were able to recover, we had more confidence the next time.  It got easier and easier over time. You can read more about my own recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Cheating Husband Says He Loves The Other Woman But Is Staying With Me Because Of The Kids

By: Katie Lersch: Whether or not to stay together after your husband has an affair is a decision that almost no one takes lightly. Knowing that your spouse has cheated on you makes you doubt the very foundation of your marriage. It makes you doubt that you will ever be happy with and confident in your marriage again. And for some, this is all the information needed in order to determine that they probably want to walk away from their marriage. But this decision is not so easy when there are children. Because if you are childless, then your decisions only affects yourself. Often, you are prepared to live with whatever decision you make. But when you have children, you know that they too are going to have to live with your decisions. And it is a very difficult decision when you have to decide whether or not you want to take your children’s full time nuclear family away from them. And that is why many people will entertain the thought of staying in their marriage even after cheating and even if the other person is still involved. The kids change everything.

A wife might explain it this way: “my husband is very honest about how he feels about the other woman. He doesn’t even try to hide this from me. When my best friend’s husband cheated, he tried to downplay his feelings for the other woman, saying it meant nothing to him. Well, my husband is just the opposite. It is quite clear that this woman means absolutely everything to him. He hasn’t even alluded to the fact that he would give her up. In fact, I’m quite sure that he has no intention whatsoever of giving her up. However, he announced that he was going to stay with me because of the kids. We both agree that we never want our children to grow up in a single parent household. He knows this. He knows that I would do just about anything to ensure that my children do not grow up without their father in the way that I did. So while I’m relieved that my kids will have their family, I still feel like I’m getting an unfair deal. Because he’s asking me to accept a marriage where he keeps the other woman. I am not sure that I will be able to do this.”

I am not sure that I would be able to be at peace with this arrangement either. I’m pretty certain that most women would feel exactly the same way that you are feeling. He’s asking you to accept much less than you deserve. And he’s assuming that you don’t have a choice in this matter because of the kids.

I absolutely agree with you that having a two parent household is the gold standard for children. In fact, my own kids was one of the deciding factors in my decision to stay with my own husband. I applaud both of you for making this a priority as not all parents even consider the children when making this decision.

But I am not sure that growing up in a household where there is openly infidelity is a great for the kids either. It’s pretty safe to assume that if the arrangement continues on, your marriage is going to be negatively affected. There is going to be awkwardness and resentment and no real union. Your kids are likely to pick up on this. So, I would think that it would be important for your husband to understand that he’s fooling himself if he thinks he can continue on with the affair and have it not affect his children, as long as he doesn’t leave the home and remains married to their mother.

And I would suggest trying to make him understand this. I’d try a conversation like: “I am relieved to hear that you are putting the kids first. I agree that it is very important for their well being to weigh heavily into any decision we make. But, limping along in a marriage that isn’t committed because one parent is with someone else isn’t the ideal situation either. It isn’t fair to me and it isn’t fair to them. I can’t commit to a marriage in which my spouse isn’t fully faithful. I just can’t. It’s clear that you are not ready to give up the other woman. Until that time comes, I don’t think that we can really do anything with our marriage. I can’t work on it in good faith until I know that there isn’t any one else. When that time comes, please let me know. Otherwise, I suppose we will just continue on because of the kids. But please don’t think that this is a marriage. Because it’s not. I may reevaluate what I want in time because I don’t know if I’ll want to remain in a marriage where my husband won’t commit to being faithful. I’d be more than willing to go to counseling in order to work through this and I hope that you would be also.”

I’d like to bring up one final point. No one has thought about the possibility that the other woman isn’t going to be satisfied being with a married man indefinitely. It seems that the husband thinks that he will just stay married and continue on with the affair. It would be rare for the other woman to accept this arrangement for the long term. Most of the time, she is hoping that the husband is going to leave his wife and be with her. If he has no intention of doing this, then she may solve at least one of your problems by being the one to end the affair.

Try to remember that you do have choices. You don’t have to just accept what he offers you without negotiating it. And I’d suspect that if you go to counseling, the counselor will make it clear to him that the arrangement that he has in mind just isn’t fair or feasible.

I know that you probably feel like you have very little control right now.  You may feel that you just have to watch and wait to see what will happen with their relationship.  But you can control yourself.  You can control the environment that your children live in, at least as far as you are concerned.   When I felt like I was stuck or in flux because of my husband’s affair, I tried to turn the attention back to myself.  And this helped a great deal.    You can read about my own healing on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Spouse Broke Off The Affair Before I Could Confront Him. Should I Still Confront Him?

By: Katie Lersch: Many people assume that as soon as someone finds out that their spouse is cheating, they will immediately seek out their spouse for a nasty confrontation.  After all, isn’t an affair bad news that just can’t wait?

Believe it or not, some people chose to bide their time and wait for a confrontation.  One reason for this is that they want to gather more information.  And another reason is that they don’t want to have a huge argument with their spouse just yet.  They are still watching and waiting, trying to gauge what they might expect when the confrontation finally does happen.

Sometimes though, when they are gathering this information, the affair ends on its own.  At that point, it can be unclear as to what to do when your whole intention in the beginning was to stop the affair.  Do you still proceed to confront him or is there not any point?

It might be expressed this way: “I’ve known for the past four weeks that my husband was having an affair.  I was able to guess his email password.  So I’ve been reading tons of emails between them.  I was basically just reading this stuff like a novel.  So many times, I wanted to confront my husband.  But I stopped myself.  And I think that the reason is that I wanted to see how it would just naturally play out.   Well, a couple of days ago, I was reading the email and his words indicated that he was breaking off the affair.  He said in the email that he just feels too guilty and that he knows that he was wrong. He told her that he still loves me and that he is going to make his marriage work.  Well, now I am at a loss.  This is the best that I could hope for.  What I wanted all along was him to break it off and save our marriage.  And now he’s saying that he is going to do that.  So now I don’t know if I should still confront him.”

I know that this is very confusing.  But I can’t imagine that it would be easy to pretend that you are in the dark when you are not.  Sure, you may be able to pull it off for a little while.  But I would suspect that it would heavily grate at you after a while.

And while having your husband break it off on his own is a very good development, it doesn’t give you everything that you need.  Although the affair is over, if you don’t discuss this with him, you will still have a missing piece of the puzzle.  You won’t have addressed what might have lead to his affair so that you can fix it. A man rarely has an affair just for the heck of it.  He is trying to fill a void.  And sometimes, this doesn’t even have anything to do with his marriage.  But it has everything to do with him.  If he doesn’t address that vulnerability, then he is much more likely to cheat again.  And no one wants that.

I can understand waiting for the right time to have the conversation.  I can even understand delaying it, but I would think that you would want to have the conversation.  Because if you don’t, it’s just going to fester and grow a distance between you.  It becomes the huge elephant in the room that keeps getting bigger and bigger while your relationship keeps getting smaller and smaller.

You might start by asking him if he has anything to tell you so that you both can avoid a very awkward and unpleasant conversation that you’ll have to initiate  Frankly, this might be all that is needed. He may know exactly what you mean and come clean. If he declines to do that, you might tell him that this is his last chance and that he will avoid a lot of unpleasantness by telling the truth.

If he still won’t do the right thing, you may have to try something like: “I felt that something was going on.  I noticed some changes I couldn’t ignore. So I looked on your email.  I know about the affair. I am glad that you broke it off on your own and I give you credit for that.  I am glad you want to save our marriage because I want that too. But, in order to do that, we are going to have to deal with the fact that you cheated on me.  We need to understand why this happened and we have to make it that it won’t happen again.”

Your tone can be important here.  If you don’t want a huge, escalating argument, then keep your tone matter of fact and don’t raise your voice.  Chose your words to make sure you are focusing on where you want to go from here rather than dwelling in the past.  Make it clear that you are bringing this up so that the healing can begin.

This is just my own opinion, but I think that not bringing it up ensures that your husband really doesn’t have to deal with his actions.  He should deal with his actions so that he doesn’t repeat them.  If you want or need to, you can do it in such a way as to lesson the impact, but I can’t imagine that it would be healthy not to have the conversation.

People often assume confrontations had to be nasty conversations that explode between you.  This doesn’t always have to be the case.  You can remain calm and focus more on the future than the past.  You’re welcome to read more about my own recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

I Believe My Husband Is Punishing Himself For Having An Affair

By: Katie Lersch: It’s normal for the faithful spouse to watch the cheating spouse’s behavior very closely as the couple struggles to pick up the pieces after an affair. Very often, the faithful spouse wants to see a good deal of remorse. They want to know, without any doubt, that their spouse is sorry for what they have done. So sorry in fact, that they aren’t going to do it again.

Sometimes though, this can be taken just a bit too far. Sometimes, it seems as though the cheating spouse goes beyond remorse and is in fact punishing themselves for their behavior. A wife might explain it this way. “I am not going to say that my husband should not be sorry for cheating on me. He should. He cheated on me when I was ill and therefore vulnerable. I wasn’t observant at that time because I had my own problems to deal with. But this didn’t give him a pass to go out and cheat. When I caught him, he was very sorry and suddenly he became the husband who never wanted to leave my side. At first this was reassuring. But lately, his behavior has become a little troubling. He never wants to leave me alone. I’m sure he thinks that if he leaves the house, I am going to suspect him of cheating again. But it gets a little oppressive after a while. My husband is someone who doesn’t like to sit still. He’s the kind of guy who always wants to be doing something. He used to golf regularly. He used to hit the gym. He doesn’t do anything now. He wants to stay home with me and watch TV. And frankly, he seems miserable doing this. He’s anxious and he seems down. And I think part of it is not having his outlets anymore. Of course, I want to know where he is and I want him to check in. But I don’t expect him to be chained to me as long as he is acting trustworthy. And quite frankly, it’s sort of a turnoff when he hovers. The other day, I suggested we go out to our favorite restaurant and my husband replied that he did not deserve that kind of meal. It seems to me that he’s punishing himself for his affair. Don’t get me wrong. I want him to feel badly about it. But I don’t want for him to feel that he can’t get any enjoyment out of life. Because that would mean that I wouldn’t have as much enjoyment out of life.”

I think that you are right to be concerned about this. I’d like to mention something that you might not have considered. Do you think that your husband could be depressed? I can’t possibly know if he is. You would be in a better position to evaluate this and a therapist would be in the best position of all.

But, not wanting to partake in enjoyable activities is a sign of depression. And, it’s my experience and opinion that sometimes, people who are depressed have affairs when this is behavior that isn’t otherwise typical of them. It is just something to think about. I mention it because if it is true, then you can try any number of things, but if he is still depressed and not getting help for it, then you are really limited to what you’re going to be able to do.

With all of this said, you can try to address this issue. You might try something like: “I can’t help but notice that you are denying yourself enjoyable activities like golfing and eating out at your favorite places. I don’t want for you to feel like you have to do this. It doesn’t make me feel better to see you feeling bad. Yes, I want you to feel remorse. And yes, I don’t want you to be having the time or your life while I am hurting. And I do want to know that you are where you are supposed to be. But part of our recovery is going to be enjoying things together that we can share. If you are punishing yourself, that almost means that you are punishing me. And I don’t want that. I want to be able to go to our favorite restaurants and enjoy that. Perhaps I am reading this all wrong and if I am, please correct me. I’d like to hear about how you feel about all of this. But it’s not like you to skip the gym and golf.”

Listen to what he has to say. He may tell you that he only wanting to stay close to you for a little while longer in order to give you reassurance. Or he may be relieved that you are OK with him resuming his activities. If this discussion doesn’t help, I don’t think it’s out of line to explore the depression angle. Of course, none of this excuses cheating. But having two emotionally healthy spouses makes recovery so much easier.

I think that you are absolutely right to observe him closely during recovery.  Additional issues often pop up when people are feeling most vulnerable.  You can read more about my own recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Long Should It Take To Let Go Of An Affair? Why Can’t My Spouse Let Go?

The time frame for letting go of an affair is a concern that I hear from people on both sides of the issue. For example, I sometimes hear from the spouse who was cheated on. Sometimes, they can’t help but notice that the spouse who cheated appears not to have totally “let go” of the other person. Sure, they may be saying that the affair is over and they want to save their marriage, but it can be pretty obvious that they are still sort of moping around. The faithful spouse may assume that this means that the cheating spouse misses the person they had the affair with or are sad that it’s over.

I often hear comments like: “my husband says the affair is over and that he is committed to me, our children, and our marriage. However, he’s doesn’t seem truly invested in any of these things. He mopes around. He doesn’t really participate in family life. He doesn’t seem particularly excited by me or our marriage. When I mention this to him, he says that he just needs some time. When I tell him that it appears to me that he’s not let go of the affair, he will again repeat that he needs some time. But it’s been about 4 months now. How much time does he really need? I’m starting to think that he’s never going to really get over it and our marriage is over. How much time should I give him before I just give up?”

Here’s another example but it comes from the cheating spouse. I recently heard from a husband who said that he’d had an affair about a year and a half ago. He had worked very hard to make things right with his wife. He had ended the affair and they had been faithfully attending counseling. He had done everything in his power to show his wife that he loved her and would not cheat again. However, the wife didn’t seem able to let it go. He said, in part: “We’re going on two years now and my wife still seems to unable to let my infidelity go. I have done everything in my power to make amends. I give her everything that she asks me for. But no matter what, she finds a way to bring up my affair, throw it in my face, and remain angry. I’m starting to think that she’s never going to get over this and frankly, I can’t live this way for the rest of my life. How much time should you give someone in this situation before you just decide the marriage was too damaged by the affair?”

I think that many of the people who ask me questions such as this are hoping that I will give them a set time line. I think that some of them are actually considering giving their spouse a deadline. Unfortunately, I can’t offer such a time line. Every person and situation is different. However, in the following article, I’ll offer you some tips and some things to consider in this situation.

Even Though There’s No Set Time Frame For Letting The Affair Go, You Want To See Some Progress. If You Don’t, You Want To Explore Why: Many faithful spouses can’t understand the need for closure from the spouse who cheated. After all, they decided to end the affair and walk away, so why is it hard for them to do just that? I’ve never cheated on my spouse. But I can share some of the sentiments from those that have on my blog. Some people in this situation tell me that it’s hard to have a relationship one day and then be just expected to turn your back on it the next. Additionally, many of them are responding to their guilt and shame for their actions. They know that they have let down both people. They know that you are angry and distrustful as a result of their actions. Therefore, it’s not that easy to act as if everything is back to normal or that nothing has changed.

I don’t tell you this to make excuses. I tell you this in the hopes to shed some light on this. However, even if your spouse is having trouble adjusting to life after their affair, they should cut off all contact with the other person and place their focus on you and your own family. You may not see them back to their old selves immediately, but the idea is that they do a little better each day while the both of you are trying to reconnect, rebuild, and heal.

If you are not seeing this, then you’ll want to have a very frank discussion to determine why. It’s normal for there to be an adjustment period, but you should also be seeing things gradually getting better.

On the flip side, if you are the spouse who cheated and you’re not seeing much improvement in your spouse’s ability to let your infidelity go, take a look at what you’ve done to help them heal. Because they need to believe without any doubt that you’re truly sorry, that you won’t cheat again, and that your marriage can and will recover.

What If I’m Not Seeing Any Progress Despite My Best Efforts? Do I Give My Spouse A Deadline To Let The Affair Go?: Sometimes when I tell spouses who have cheated this, they’ll respond with something like “but that’s just it. My wife doesn’t believe we can get through this, even though I know we can. How can I make her see that it’s safe to let this go? And if she can’t do I give her a deadline?”

Or, if I’m speaking with a faithful spouse I’ll hear things like “It’s as if the other woman still has a hold over my husband even though the affair is over. I’m doing everything in my power to restore my marriage, but he doesn’t seem interested in me.”

I know that both of these are two very separate issues, but usually the underlying problem is the same. In these situations, it’s my opinion that there are still some issues that haven’t been addressed or haven’t been solved enough that they aren’t still coming up. When I tell people this, they often insist that they have been through absolutely everything and they are tired of rehashing it all of the time. I understand this. But if you don’t settle all of the issues once and for all, they are only going to keep coming up and “letting go” of the affair becomes even more unlikely.

I know that it can be painful and awkward to revisit the past but you have to make sure that you have covered all of the bases and been willing to “go there” with your spouse to show them that you are willing to do whatever is needed to help them to move on.

Admittedly, they are some people who will eventually realize that they just can’t let the affair or the infidelity go and this will end their marriage. But I also think that there are people who think that this is the case with them, when in reality, they just haven’t yet gotten what they needed. And, once they do, they are able to put this past them. Because the truth is, no one enjoys struggling with themselves or their marriage after an affair. The vast majority of people truly do want to move on and let go, but they don’t always have the tools to do so.

That’s why I never think it’s a good idea to give your spouse an ultimatum or a deadline. If YOU make the choice to move on without your spouse, then this is your prerogative (although I’d recommend trying some of the tips in this article first.) But I don’t think you can or should attempt to force them to make theirs.

There was a time when I thought I would never be able to let go of my husband’s affair, but this is in the past. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger. 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 at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Cheated On Me Twice. I Left. Now He Wants Me Back

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who fear that it is too late to save the marriage wracked more than once by infidelity. Often, this is a difficult situation because their husband is begging the wife to take him back and making all sorts of promises.

A wife might explain: “the first time my husband cheated on me, I truly wanted to believe that it was an isolated incident. He had cheated while traveling and he was drinking. I thought that as long as he changed jobs so that he didn’t travel anymore, we would continue on with our marriage which was otherwise happy. I never expected for him to cheat on me again. But he did. With a woman from his new job. That’s when it dawned on me that the first time was not an isolated incident. And I could not be married to someone like that. So I left. Honestly, I’ve missed my husband. I have wished that things were not as they are. But I can’t deny reality. Last week, I was getting coffee and my husband and I ran into each other. We didn’t say much at the time. But later, he called me and told me how much he missed me and he promised that if I would take him back, he would change. He kept saying that he would prove it to me. I’m kind of ashamed, because just for a while, I started to fantasize about taking him back. But I know that this is crazy. Because I don’t think that I could (or would) ever trust him. But I do miss him. And, in a perfect world, I would want my marriage. Can repeat cheaters ever be rehabilitated if they want to make their marriages work?”

The Common Attributes Which Mean He May Be Able To Be Rehabilitated: This is only my opinion and I’m certainly not a professional counselor, but I believe that in some cases, they can. However, I think that what sets one person about from another is their willingness to get help. I believe that with serial cheaters, it is really not about the other person or the cheating at all. It isn’t about the sex. It isn’t about the secrecy. It’s about trying to fill some void or some emptiness within themselves. That’s why it’s so hard for them to change without help. It’s very difficult to see this truth about yourself, much less to change it without a skilled person helping you and helping you to constantly take your emotional temperature and identify your vulnerabilities.

If your husband is not only willing to go to counseling, but also willing to take the counselor’s advice, even if it is going to be very uncomfortable, then there could certainly be change. But I have to be honest and tell you that it does take some time. And that can be OK because quite frankly, it is likely going to take you a while to be comfortable trusting him.

Know That This Is Your Choice: Of course, nothing says that you have to take him back simply because he wants you to.  You have a choice about this.  You don’t have to say yes.  You might decide that your life is preferable as it is right now.  Or, you might decide that you won’t rule out taking him back if you can prove to you that it is safe to do so.

Slow And Steady Just To Make Sure: I would suggest taking this extremely slowly. In fact, I would suggest taking a very leisurely pace in even making a decision about whether you are open to this. Perhaps you might talk to your husband on the phone for a while just to evaluate how you are feeling and what behaviors you see in him. Watch and evaluate. Are his actions those of a man who is serious about making life changes? If this the answer is yes, watch a little more to make sure that you can trust in what you are seeing.

Only when you are comfortable that the answer is yes should you approach your husband with a willingness to go to counseling. And the understanding should always be that you can change your mind at any time if you see something that makes you doubt his claims.

The counselor will likely help you with this and aid you in seeing where he’s made progress and where he still needs work. I can not stress enough how important it is to continue to move slowly during this entire process. Because you are going to need the time to know that you can trust that true change has taken place and that you might be approaching the time where it’s safe to think about having a real marriage again in which fidelity is a given.  Again, this takes time.  And not every one is willing to wait.

Keep in mind that you always get to decide what you want and what works best for your life. You get to decide if you are happier with him or without him. If the trust just isn’t there for you, then you get decide if you want to keep working at it or whether you declare the cheating a deal breaker from which you can not recover.

So my answer is that yes, repeat cheaters can sometimes change. But it takes a vast amount of work and time. So both spouses need to understand that and be willing to put in both the effort and the time. And the cheating spouse should understand that it is his responsibility to initiate this process and be accountable during it while the faithful spouse can always change her mind if she isn’t comfortable at any point.

I made it very clear during our healing and rehabilitation that I could retreat at any time.  It was always clear that I might change my mind.  My husband was well aware of this.  But he was also willing to do the work.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com