What Do People Learn After Having An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: We all want to believe that difficult times, and huge mistakes ultimately end up being lessons that teach us how to be a better person. It’s often said that failure is the only way that you learn. But what happens when you fail at your marriage by being unfaithful? What do you learn then? This question can be particularly important to the faithful spouse, who really wants to believe that the spouse claiming to “learn his lesson” has in fact done just that.

In this situation, you might hear from a wife who says: “my husband is always talking about what having an affair and almost losing his marriage has taught him. I realize that he is most likely doing this because he wants for me to think that there is something valuable and redeemable about this whole situation but I am just not buying it. What has he really learned? How to betray me and cover up his tracks? How I look when I’m furious? How I’m almost ready to walk out on him because of his carelessness? But when I argue with him about this, he continues to insist that he has learned things that are going to help us with our marriage. He says if I give him the chance to prove it, then I will see for myself. What in the world does he mean by this? ”

I can’t read this husbands mind. And I am not a man who has cheated. But I hear from many of them. And some do claim that they have learned a lot about life, their marriage, their spouse and themselves after having an affair. Because of this, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on their thought process. Here is some of what they will tell you that they learned.

Many Of Them Learn That Their Inability To Deal With This Problems When They Are Happening Leaves Them Vulnerable: Honestly, I strongly believe that many bouts of infidelity could have been avoided if a man wasn’t trying to deny or run away from his feelings or problems. To me, many men fall into an affair as a way to feel better, more secure, or more in control. Often, they end up getting the exact opposite – at least once the affair has run its course and is over. But worse than that, they have done tons of damage and their situation is even worse than what they started with. So many realize (a bit too late) that they are better off dealing with problems, stress, and insecurities, as these things come up. Otherwise, things are only going to be worse later.

They Learn That Their Actions Can Deeply Hurt The People Who They Love: To be honest, I do not think that many cheaters think too much about getting caught when they start the affair. Many don’t plan it – and they do not plan for it to be a reoccurring thing. When it does go on for longer than that, then they tell themselves that they will be very careful and that if you don’t know, then you can’t be hurt. Very few of them actually let their mind think about your being as hurt as you eventually are.

When they do see the consequences of their actions and they see you devastated, they realize, first hand, just how much devastation they have caused. And this is enough for some men to never want to cheat again. They never planned for this day. And when they have to face you and look into the pain in your eyes, it hurts them too. I know that it is hard for you to believe this. I am not defending people who cheat.  But many men in this situation tell me that it is so painful to know how badly they have hurt their wife. They wish they could take her pain onto themselves and yet, there is not really anything that they can do to undo the damage.

They Learn To Stop Their Risky Behaviors: Many men end up cheating when this was never their intention. There might be the business trip where they drink too much. Or the class reunion. Or the bachelor party. Or the late night sessions with their female coworker. In short, there are certain situations that make a man more vulnerable to cheating even when he has no intention of doing so. Men who have fallen into this trap often learn not to put themselves in these type of risky situations any longer. Many become fully aware that it is just not worth it.

They Learn To Appreciate Their Wives And To No Longer Take Her For Granted: It’s not uncommon for cheating husbands to tell their wives that they have never loved or wanted her more. She usually thinks that this is just him trying to get back into her good graces or him talking nonsense. But, many men are sincere when they say this. Because where they had taken you for granted before, they are now at risk of losing you and this isn’t a good feeling for them. So yes, they cling to you and they realize how much they love you and what a big mistake they have made to put your marriage at risk. This new appreciation means that they are less likely to take you for granted.

I do believe that my husband learned some important lessons and changed for the better after his affair.  Of course, these lessons came at a high cost.  And I wish the affair hadn’t happened.  But I do admit that many of the changes in him (and how he views and treats me) are positive. You’re welcome to read more about my experience on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

What Range Of Emotions Do People Feel When Having An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch:  One common theme that I see over and over again in the correspondence that I get comes from faithful spouses who are desperately trying to understand the cheating spouse’s thought process while being unfaithful.

Many faithful spouses have never cheated on someone.  So they just can not understand what types of feelings would lead someone to do this.  People often want to know exactly what their spouse was thinking and feeling while carrying out the betrayal.

Their concern might sound something like this: “I desperately want to understand what my husband was thinking and feeling while he was cheating on me.  We had a good marriage.  We have small children.  Our life is enviable by many people’s standards. And my stupid husband risked everything for some low class woman who isn’t even pretty.  I just do not understand.  I have repeatedly asked him what he was thinking and feeling, but he can not give me any answer that even remotely makes sense.  He doesn’t seem to understand it either.  He insists that the other woman meant nothing to him and he did not have any feelings for her.  He insists that he wasn’t angry or disconnected with me.  He also insists that he still wanted and valued his family.  So I am a loss to understand all of this. What are people feeling when they are having affairs?  Because the euphoria must be a real high to risk everything.”

Actually, many people who describe affairs to me don’t describe it in terms of euphoria, although there can be a good bit of excitement thrown into the mix – at least at first  Now, know that I am not a husband who has cheated, so this is not first hand knowledge.  I do not personally know what it feels like to cheat on someone, but I do hear from many people who describe the feeling, and below I’m listing the feelings and emotions that are most often described to me.

Desperation:  I don’t mean this in terms of: “I am desperate to have sex with someone other than my spouse.”  It’s not that type of desperation.  It is the desperation that comes when you are struggling in another area (or areas) of your life.  If you look at statistics of affairs, you will find that they usually come at a crisis point in someone’s life.  The person having the affair is trying to feel better.  And often, the person doesn’t really know why they are feeling so badly and so they also feel helpless to fix it.  So they are walking around in a vulnerable state that makes them more likely to cheat when, in regular times, they would not dream of it.

Confusion Mixed With Frustration:  This sort of ties into what I mentioned before.  People who cheat are not usually very self aware at the time.  If there were, then they might not cheat in the first place.  They may connect the dots and realize that they are depressed because they just lost their job.  Instead, they are sort of walking around in a fog and they aren’t sure why.  They are looking for something to fix this, but they do not realize it.  That’s why sometimes, one of the first things a faithful spouse might notice with a cheating spouse is agitation and a short fuse.  They are sometimes angry and frustrated, but they aren’t sure why.

Excitement:  Do you remember when you were a kid and you were forbidden to do something but did it anyway?  You knew that you might be caught and punished, which is why it was so exhilarating when you did it and got away with it.  This is the feeling that sometimes drives people when they are cheating.  They know what they are doing is wrong.  They may even know that this has the potential to end badly.  But they get a rush during it which helps to quiet whatever crisis that are having at the time.  And sometimes, for just a short period of time, they feel exhilaration because of this.  Many report feeling “alive.” Yes, it will all crash down around them eventually and they will realize that this tiny bit of exhilaration wasn’t worth it.  But they feel it just the same.

Guilt:  I believe that most people underestimate the guilt that people feel while cheating.  Yes, they try very hard to push the guilt down and to not feel anything.  Some even become quite good at it.  They will often try very hard to create some justification for what they are doing: “no one will find out.”  Or “I will end this tomorrow.”  But deep down, they know that what they are doing is very wrong.  This is another place where the faithful spouse will often notice a change in personality.  It’s hard to function normally and to concentrate on day to day life when the guilt is eating you up.  Many people end the affair because they can no longer handle the guilt.  It is also why many people confess even when their spouse doesn’t suspect that anything is wrong. They want an escape for the guilt.

A Sense Of Dread:  Even when people are obsessively careful to cover their cheating, many have a slight sense of dread.  Many are fully aware that they have no intention of ending their marriages.  And sometimes, the “other woman” starts to make demands or to talk about the future.  This is when the realization hits that there may be no way to exit this situation without anyone being hurt or without any one finding out.  There can be a sense that it is inevitable that there may be a bad outcome.

I hope this article has shown you that very few people go through an affair with feelings of euphoria or excitement.  Many people will admit that, other than very short periods of novelty and relief, most of the affair had them feeling guilty, confused, frustrated and resigned to an eventual bad outcome.  It’s not fun juggling all these feelings and trying to cover your tracks all of the time.  It’s not fun to look at your spouse and to know that you’re doing something which you know is wrong.

Many people describe the time they were having an affair as sort of a train wreck in their lives.  I think that many people assume that the cheating spouse was having the time of his life, but that’s not often the case.  Often, they are struggling greatly.  I believe that this was true in my cases and in many cases. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Is Affair Sex Always Good?

By: Katie Lersch: Much of the time, when people mention affair sex, they assume that it is so good that it is almost mind blowing. They assume that it has to be this good in order to make it worth the risk. Many spouses who have someone cheat on them also make this assumption, even if their spouse does everything in his power to insist that this isn’t true.

For example, you might hear a conversation like this: “my husband is trying to claim that his affair wasn’t about sex. In fact, he’s insisting that the sex wasn’t even good. He says that sex is better with me and that the other woman didn’t really know what he likes. But he says that the point of the affair was never about the sex. He was supposedly attracted to her because she listened to and supported him, or so he claims. I think that he is just saying this because he doesn’t want for me to have hang ups about sex if we stay together. Every one knows that affair sex is good, don’t they?”

Well, everyone assumes this. But I’ve had people comment that their affair was most definitely not about sex, just like this husband. Many of them say that the affair was more about excitement, emotional attachment and support, and having someone who seems to appreciate them without expectations.

For example, a husband might say: “when people see the other woman, they always assume that I was only in it for the sex. I wasn’t. I won’t say that we didn’t have sex because we did. But that was never the draw for me. I have been friends with the other woman for a long time. I made some bad investments that meant that I had to cut back on my spending. This made me wife treat me differently. She was always mad and she was always making sarcastic comments about me. The other woman isn’t like that. She’s happy to just go and have a picnic lunch and talk. She doesn’t expect me to buy her things and she doesn’t want to be taken care of. She’s content with just me. This is such a huge relief when contrasted with the expectations of my wife.”

I hear these sorts of comments a lot. And I hear them from people who have no reason to lie to me. I don’t know their spouses so I can’t possibly put in a good word for them. They just want to unload their feelings onto someone, which is often why they had an affair in the first place.

And I am not saying that this excuses them. There are no excuses.  But, I think affairs based on emotions are just as dangerous, if not more so, than affairs that are based on sex. Anytime your spouse gets their marital needs met by someone else, that’s a problem.

But many therapists and professions will tell you that an affair is so much more than just sex. I’m not a professional, but I certainly do believe this. Sex is only one aspect of the relationship, but it is certainly not the only aspect.

Many people can’t possibly believe that a man would risk his marriage or his family for bad sex. The thing is, sex is not his payoff. His payoff is getting his emotional needs met. His payoff is the fact that the other woman doesn’t make him feel pressured.  She makes him feel relevant again.

Now, is this reality? Most definitely not. If the affair continued on, it’s very likely that the other woman would develop expectations over time. People love to think that their affair partner doesn’t want anything from them or doesn’t have expectations or demands. But it isn’t realistic to expect that things are always going to be this way. The more serious and long term the relationship, the more expectations there are going to be.

And then this happens, the husband will often lose interest because he can get the expectations at home without much trouble at all.

Of course, the original question was about sex so let’s go back to that. Many people will tell you that affair sex is wonderful and some of them truly believe that. But most people will tell you that sex with the same person over time (like your spouse) is also good sex because that person knows you. They know what you like and what you don’t like. You’ve likely fine tuned your physical connection over the long term.

The person in the affair can’t say this. The relationship is often just beginning. Sure, there’s a bit of novelty but even that wears off quickly. Sometimes the sex starts off being perceived as good or even great, but once it’s no longer new, it’s nothing special.

I can’t possibly tell you or guess at what the sex was like with your husband and the other woman. But I can tell you that not everyone says that the affair sex was always good. Many will tell you that it was nothing special, but that was fine with them because the intercourse wasn’t the draw. The way the other person managed to make them feel was the draw. Or the relief they felt from some stressor or short coming was the draw.

Regardless of whether the affair was based on sex or something else, the healing is the same.  Recovery is necessary for both sexual and emotional betrayals. You can read more about my own process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Has Finally Admitted That He Might Doubt His Commitment To Me After His Affair

By: Katie Lersch: Sometimes, when a person is first confronted about an affair, their immediate reaction is to swear that they never wanted to end their marriage. They will swear that their first commitment is to their spouse, no matter what they might have done or said concerning the other person.

And often, this is what everyone wants to hear. But as time passes, this claim can be questioned, especially if the cheating spouse is not acting in a way that the faithful spouse had hoped.

A faithful wife might say: “after I caught my husband cheating, he promised that he was going to make this up to me. But I immediately noticed that he looked nervous and shifty. I intuitively knew that he wasn’t giving me the whole story. In the beginning, he said that he would see the other woman only one more time in order to break off their relationship. After that, it was always that she was calling and making threats, so he had to see her again and again. I never believed this rouse and I told him so. After I confronted him repeatedly, I finally got him to admit that he still had unresolved feelings for her and was having a hard time letting her go. Still, no sooner was that admission out of his mouth that he was swearing that he was committed to me and our children and that he was going to resolve this very quickly. So I asked him to go to counseling and he said that he would. However, each time an appointment would come up, he would stall or have some excuse. He was working late. He had researched the counselor that I had suggested and he wanted to find his own. There were various excuses, but there was always an excuse. Finally, I got fed up with this and I told my husband that it was very obvious that he wasn’t fully committed to me. Because if he was, he’d be at counseling no matter what. And he would drop the other woman no matter what. At first, he denied this and he just asked me over and over again to please be patient with him. Eventually though, he finally blurted out that I was right and that his commitment to me is questionable. He says that he can not deny his feelings for the other woman. He says that if he had been fully committed to our marriage, he probably wouldn’t have cheated in the first place. He keeps saying that he is very sorry and that he doesn’t know where to go from here. Where does that leave me? I want my marriage, despite my anger. But how can I have a marriage with a man who might not be committed to me?”

Before I try to address these questions, I want to tell you that I understand your disappointment, having been there myself. What you are feeling is absolutely normal. And you are not wrong to expect and want your spouse’s full commitment. I can’t speak for anyone else. And I fully support every one’s right to decide their own course of action for their own marriage. But, speaking for myself, my husband’s complete commitment was non negotiable.

I think that it would be extremely challenging to save a marriage where one spouse wasn’t sure that he was in it for the long haul and who wasn’t very sincere when he claimed that there was no one else.  Also, I think it’s important that there is no other woman to resort back to should the marriage not work. After all, if he knows that he has the other woman waiting, how can he be one hundred percent committed to making it work.

With this said, just because he questions his commitment now, this doesn’t mean that he will not ultimately decide that he wants the marriage.  This happens all of the time.  Once the newness of the other relationship wears off and they get to know the real people involved and not just the fantasy of the other person, it’s typical for the cheating spouse to see very clearly that he was extremely stupid to risk his marriage.  But, you often can not force this realization or his commitment. I know that it is very tempting to shame him, to threaten him, or to offer up ultimatums. But ultimately, these things may bump up the pressure on him, but you will both know that any decision he came to was not his own decision. Therefore, you might both doubt that he really meant it. And sometimes, when you try to force a husband to give up the other woman, she becomes just that much more attractive to him and he holds onto her even more tightly.  It’s so much more effective to allow him to see this for himself.

I know that this might make you feel as if you are left out in the cold, but I don’t think that it has to be this way. I think that if you work on healing yourself and defining what you want while he continues on with his struggles, you will be in a better position to handle whatever conclusion he comes to. And when he comes to that decision, you will have the confidence that it is all his. Plus, either way, you will be in a position of strength.

I will tell you something that I’ve noticed over and over again. When a wife turns her attention to herself, her husband often wonders why. This in turn sometimes diverts his interest from the other woman to his wife. I certainly can not tell you that this always happens. But it is certainly not unusual when it does.

I also think that when you make it clear that you are going to continue to live your best life regardless of where his head and his heart is, you show him that you have self respect and this will often contribute him to respecting you more, which means he’s less likely to keep playing games.

Of course, I can’t predict the future.  But I can tell you that today’s reality is certainly not always tomorrow’s reality.  The husband may change his mind tomorrow or the next day.  Sometimes, you just have to focus on yourself and wait and see.  To me, self care is never wrong, at least in my experience. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

An Anniversary Letter To The Spouse Who Cheated: Should You Even Mention The Affair Or Infidelity Or Just Move On?

By: Katie Lersch: It would be wonderful if you could recover from your spouse’s affair without real life cutting into the mix. What I mean by this is that it’s hard enough to know what to feel or how to proceed when you’re able to clear your calendar and to avoid obligations that make things so confusing and difficult.

That would be the ideal. But it isn’t reality. Recovery after an affair takes the passage of time. Of course, during this time there will be birthdays and anniversaries and special occasions that you are not sure how you should handle. Probably the holiday that I get the most questions about are anniversaries. People aren’t sure how to acknowledge this occasion because this is the time where you are supposed to honor your commitment to each other. It is the time where many couples want to celebrate and reaffirm their love for one another. But if the affair has placed that love and that commitment in jeopardy, how do you acknowledge or celebrate the occasion?

A wife might ask this type of question: “honestly, I am unsure about how I feel about my husband right now. I found out about eight months ago that he had a two month affair. He admitted it and he was willing to break it off and go to counseling. We have made strides. Things sometimes feel as if they are getting a little better. But as a result of him breaching my trust, I am still angry sometimes and I am insecure a lot of the time. I feel like we both want to stay married, but I am not sure if we will be able to have the good and loving marriage that we both want. I need to make it clear that I do not believe that my husband is still cheating on me. I do believe that it is over. But I can’t honestly say that I believe he will never cheat again. I can’t honestly say that I believe that in ten years from now, we will still be married and still be happy. I guess deep down, I worry about what this infidelity is going to mean for our long term future. In two weeks, we have our wedding anniversary. It is a big one because we have been married for a long time. If the affair had not happened, we probably would have had a big party and perhaps taken a trip, but I don’t feel like that now. We agree that we want to celebrate. I bought a gift I know my husband will like, but I am trying to write in his card and I am stuck. I have thought about just signing the card, but I have always written a very detailed note with the card throughout our marriage. And I feel it would be weird not to do that now. But I honestly do not know what to say. I would normally tell him how much I love him and that I know we have a wonderful future. But it feels weird to say that now. I don’t want to mention the affair in my anniversary card, but just ignoring it doesn’t feel right either. What do people say or do on their anniversaries when trying to recover from an affair?”

I’m not an expert by any means, but it’s my experience that people’s celebrations vary. Some will just agree that for one day only, they are going to put the affair aside. Others try to be very authentic and to look on the bright side during that day, while also continuing to be realistic.

I do remember that this issue came up for me during my own recovery. I can share with you how I handled it, but I want to stress that what was right for me may not be right for you. Every one is different. And I believe that we all have to do what feels right for our individual situation.

I chose my own anniversary card very carefully. I do remember that the theme of it was something to the affect of – we’ve had our ups and downs, but I would not want to go through life’s challenges and triumphs with anyone but you. When I signed the card, I told my husband that I loved him and I deeply valued our marriage. But I did not pretend that there wasn’t a thing in the world wrong. I didn’t mention the affair in the card, but I did acknowledge that I knew we had challenges ahead but that I hoped we would continue to meet them head on as we had in the past.  All of this was absolutely truthful.

In short, I told what was my truth at the time. I did not use the occasion of my anniversary to rehash the issues with the affair. I wanted my focus to be on my marriage and not on the affair. At the same time, I was not going to pretend that it did not exist. This is what felt authentic and appropriate to me at the time. I was not going to be pressured into pretending that the issues were not there. But I wasn’t going to dwell on the issues so that our history was negated. You may have different feelings about this.  But I could not just erase all of the years that we were loving, good partners.

Interestingly, my husband took the same approach. He acknowledged the challenges and told me that he intended to spend the rest of his life being the husband that I deserved. And so far, he has.

I think that it’s important to try to honor your marriage because that is what anniversaries are for. And if you are still celebrating one, that means you still have a marriage and that is cause for celebration even if that same marriage is struggling. No one wants to lie or deny reality, but frankly for most people, reality means that you will face struggles over the course of your marriage. We all do. But if we endure, we will have more anniversaries to come. And hopefully, those will be a little better.

Yes, that first anniversary was hard, but every anniversary since has been better and better.  Hang in there.  If you do, you will continue to rewrite your history and you may find that next year’s anniversary isn’t as confusing. You can read more about my own challenges on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

What Can I Say Or Do To Hurt My Spouse After His Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: Understandably, it is a common desire to want to share the hurt that you feel when your spouse cheats or has an affair. After all, how is it fair that you are the one going through all of the pain? Of course you want for the person who caused all of this in the first place to feel a fraction of the pain that you are feeling. And this is where the idea of trying to emotionally hurt your spouse can come in.

A wife might say: “it is bad enough that my husband had an affair. But he had it with a woman who was my friend. I loved both of them. And I feel like they are both laughing at me. I want him to feel my pain. I have said all sorts of mean and nasty things to him and none of them have seemed to hit their mark. I have told him that he is fat and bald and not a great lover. I have told him that he is not that bright. He just blinks at me, seemingly unfeeling about the whole thing. What can I say or do to really make him feel emotional pain? I wouldn’t physically hurt him of course, but I want to hurt his feelings badly. I want for him to feel unsure about himself. I want for him to be very sorry for what he has done. So what should I do or say?”

I understand this feeling and I’m not going to tell you that you are wrong to feel it. I felt it too and I suspect most wives have felt this. But here is what I know to be true. The more you fling about the bad feelings and try to hurt, the more the hurt just comes back to you. And the more you experience the painful feelings that you are trying to make go away.

Am I trying to tell you that your husband doesn’t deserve every bad and remorseful feeling that comes his way? Nope, I’d never attempt to do that because I generally do not have much sympathy for cheating husbands, considering my own experience with that.

But, much of the time, when you say or do things meant to “pay him back” or wound him, he is only going to build up his defenses against you so that your efforts affect him less and less. The result is that you feel a ton of frustration in addition to your pain. It’s just an entire loss with no upside.

So what do I suggest you do? Well quite frankly, your husband likely already feels pretty badly, even if he isn’t showing it to you. Deep down, people who cheat know that they are letting every one down. They know that they aren’t acting with integrity.  They know that they are stooping to deplorable levels.

When you continue to drive the obvious point home, they actually become defensive. And this actually makes them feel somewhat justified, which means that they can feel less badly than they originally did. Honestly, your husband is more likely to feel hurt and remorse when he can feel empathy for you. And he is much more likely to feel empathy for you when you aren’t actively trying to hurt him.

I know that this all seems very counter to what your first inclinations are telling you. But a man is much more likely to regret cheating on a woman who has done nothing to deserve it and who is conducting herself with respect than a woman who is trying to hurt him. He’s likely going to eventually feel that the hurtful woman actually deserves it.

You have to remember what you really want. Ultimately, you want to feel better as soon as you can. And you want for him to be sorry for what he did to you. Taking the high road is the fastest, safest, and best way to get both objectives while not allowing him the luxury of thinking that your behavior now means that you deserved his actions.
This probably isn’t what you want to hear. But to answer the original question, the best words to say to get a reaction out of him are no words at all. Once you’ve said your peace, stop. He already knows how you feel. He knows what he has done. Don’t allow him to justify his actions. Don’t feed into the negative process.

I am not going to tell you that I never said hurtful things to my husband.  I most definitely did. But I eventually realized that I was only keeping the hurt churning.  So I stopped and this helped me turn the corner. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Would A Husband Tell His Wife To Leave While Arguing About An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: There’s no denying that the time period after learning about a spouse’s affair can be extremely volatile. People say things that they later regret. They mutter things that are only meant to hurt. They spew things that they would never say during moments of calm.

And once things calm down, both parties will typically try and dissect the argument or conversation in the hopes of figuring out what their spouse might have meant by his venomous words.

A wife might say: “when I found out about my husband’s affair, I called him home. I didn’t tell him why. And I may have lead him to believe that there was an issue with one of the kids just to get him home so I could confront him. But I feel that this was justified. Because I wanted to be able to read his expressions. When I finally got to confront him, he was furious. In fact, things got so heated that he told me to get out. He told me that I should just leave. This is particularly interesting because we both own the house. It was his house when we married but he added me to the deed. So he can’t force me to leave. But I’m not so interested in the legalities of things. I’m interested in why he wanted me to leave. Does he care so little about me and our marriage that he wants me out of his sight? Does he think our marriage is a lost cause? Has he developed real feelings for the other woman and he wants to be with her?”

I’m sorry that I can’t possibly accurately answer these questions. All of us can speculate. And I can and will offer some reassurance about typical behavior after an affair confrontation. But, you usually aren’t able to get to the truth so quickly after the affair is discovered. It usually takes a while for things to calm down before the truth is revealed.

People Often Exhibit Extreme Emotions After The Affair Is Discovered: Many people posture when they’ve had an affair. They act outraged. They try to blame their spouse. They can play the victim. Do they really believe all of the things that they are trying to sell to their spouse? I doubt it.

I think that it is more likely that they are shocked and ashamed and embarrassed and are trying to dig themselves out of a hole or at the very least they are trying to come up with air. We’ve all that horrible feeling when something unexpected and awful happens and we become flustered and act in ways that we are anything but proud of. If we’re lucky, we can put it behind us before anyone notices or finds out.

But that can’t be the case when your spouse is right in front of you, trying to get a reaction and not willing to back down until you they get one. When that happens and there is no escape what do you think your spouse is going to do to make it stop?

They are going to make a stink. They are going to show anger or outrage. They are going to try to turn the attention away from themselves. And one way to do this is to ask you to leave.

Did he mean that he actually and truly wanted you to leave. I have no way of knowing that. But I’d suspect that he was trying to back you up a little bit just so he could have a moment to think and plan some sort of strategy. The whole: “you should leave thing” could have been a quick ploy to get you to say that you didn’t want to leave and were hoping to save the marriage. Sometimes, anger or nastiness is a way to try and call your bluff.

Again, you often can’t possibly know in the beginning. But you can try to diffuse the situation if you think that he’s just posturing by saying something like: “I have no intention of leaving because this is my home too in every way that matters. If I was going to leave, I would have done it before you ever got home and avoided this entire confrontation.”

With that said, I never advocate escalating the situation or getting into something where either person might lose control of themselves. If you see or feel it escalating to that level, the best thing to do at the point is to remove yourself from that situation, even if it means just talking a walk or doing something else.

You can always revisit things later when both people calm down. If it doesn’t appear that calm is going to return, then sometimes the best route to start is to use a counselor to facilitate working through it in a more calm and meaningful way. Because often, just exchanging insults doesn’t solve anything. And it makes a situation that is already very painful just that much worse.

My husband and I said all sorts of nasty things to one another after his affair.   We didn’t sleep under the same roof for a bit.  But we eventually realized that the nastiness wasn’t helping anyone.  So we changed the way we interacted with an eye toward relating in a healthier way.  And this lead to us eventually saving our marriage. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Can My Husband Really Change His Personality After An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who have made the decision to stay with their husband after he has had an affair. Many of these wives  have doubts as to whether or not this is a sound decision. They worry if their spouse is worth their trust in him. They worry that although he’s claiming that he is going to change, he won’t be able to actually do this.

A wife might explain it this way: “my husband has never cheated on me for all of our thirty year marriage. However, last month, I found out that he has been cheating on me with a woman who works at a bar he has started going to. The thing is, my husband is a huge flirt. He is a touchy feely type of person. And this has never really gotten him into trouble before because quite frankly, women were never all that interested in him. But recently, my husband came into some money and every one in town knows about this. So now of course, women are more likely to have an interest in him. The thing is, my husband has been this way all of his life – even as a child. His mother and brothers act exactly the same way. They are just outgoing people who love connecting with others.  They expect the best of people.  They are somewhat naive, I suppose.  Of course, people can take this the wrong way and think there is an interest when really, my husband is just being polite. I’m afraid that women are going to start approaching him because of his personality. I’m not saying that my husband has any bad intention with his personality, especially since this is the way he has always been. But, I think that women looking for money might use his personality to approach him. And I have told my husband as much. I have some hesitation of trying to save our marriage when I am worried we are going to keep going through this again and again. My husband says he can and will change. He says that he won’t be as friendly anymore. He says he won’t approach people that he doesn’t know well and he will be on his guard with every one. I really want to believe this. But that would require my husband to change who he is. That would require for him to change his entire personality, at least when it relates to people. Is this even possible? Can a person change his personality to keep from cheating again?”

I believe that this is somewhat possible and I will tell you why. To a certain extent, we all know someone who has implemented changes in their life due them seeing a risk in their current habits.  We’ve all seen people change their marriages, their health, and their bad habits when that thing seemed to be at risk.

For example, my mother was a smoker for almost thirty years. For the past decade, her health has been bad. Various doctors have worked with her to help her quit smoking. Nothing worked. She would quit for only a short period of time and then be right back at it, even though she knew this was significantly shortening her life span. My mother has the type of personality where she needs her crutches. Frankly, myself and the rest of my family had given up hope that my mother would ever change.

Well, one winter my mother came down with a severe case of pneumonia. Breathing become very difficult for her and this was made worse because of the shape of her smoker’s lungs. It upset my children to see her that way and to see her struggling for breathe.  In fact, for some time, we didn’t know if she would ever recover.

Well, she did recover. And once she did, she hasn’t had another cigarette – ever. Experiencing the sensation of not being able to breathe and being faced with the possibility of losing her life was the motivation my mother needed to stop a life long bad habit.

Many of us have known people who were horrible eaters and who didn’t exercise who had a health crisis and then completely changed their lifestyle. This isn’t uncommon. In essence, there is a stimulus that “scares them straight.”

I certainly think that is possible in this case. Many people change the way that they approach their marriage after an affair. Once there is the threat that the marriage might be taken away, they take much better care to not take it for granted and to treat it well.

I think it’s completely possible that the fear of losing you and the marriage could be in the back of your husband’s mind as he interacts with others. Granted, he may still have the urge to connect with others. And really, there isn’t anything wrong with this, especially since it has always been his personality. But, what has changed is that he must now become more aware of how his personality might get him into trouble and put him at risk. That is the real difference.

He’s not likely to change who he is. But he might become more aware of the consequences for how he approaches and reacts to other people. And he must become aware of how to back away when he senses that a line might be crossed. Because that truly is the difference. There are plenty of friendly and outgoing men out there (even those who have money) that don’t cheat. And the reason is that they’ve learned how to remove themselves from a situation that they know is inappropriate as soon as it crosses the line.

To me, this is at least as important (if not more so) than a person’s core personality.  I was critical of some aspects of my husband’s personality after his affair.  But after a while, I realized that, ultimately, I loved who my husband was.  And what I really wanted to change was his ability to read a situation before that situation got so far out of hand that it was too late.  You’re welcome to read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

After My Husband’s Affair, He Asked Me If I Could Ever Love Him Like I Used To. What Am I Supposed To Say To This?

By: Katie Lersch: People often ask me if they will ever be able to truly love their spouse again after an affair has rocked their marriage. It is my belief that with a good healing system and a willingness to have an open mind, the love can return to many marriages. This isn’t a good enough answer to many though. Many want to know if they will love their spouses as much or in the same way that they used to.

A wife might express it this way: “when my husband told me about his affair, he said that he assumed that I was going to leave him because he assumed that our marriage could never recover. I told him that many marriages are able to make it and that I thought it was a possibility that our marriage could make it too if we were willing to work hard. My husband’s answer to this was that he doesn’t think that I will ever be able to love him like I used to, before the affair. I don’t know how to answer this question because I fear that he might be right. But I don’t want to discourage and punish him by telling him this. I am willing to stay in my marriage with the knowledge that I won’t love him in the exact same way but I might love him a new way and I am committed enough because of my kids to see it through anyway. But I’m not sure how encouraging it would be to him to hear me say this. How should I respond to him asking him me if I can ever love him in the same way again?”

I’ll try to answer that question in depth in just one second, but before I do, I have to tell you that I am not sure that you can just assume how you are going to feel in the future. Even after our marriage was fully tested by infidelity I can tell you that years later, my love for my husband remains and it is just as strong. Does that mean I don’t ever think about the affair or that the hurt just magically went away? Certainly not. You can’t erase the past. But quite honestly, over the life of any marriage, there are going to be countless things that test your marriage. There might be money issues or job losses. You might have different personalities or one of you might become ill. You may struggle with these things. Some of them may test your marriage or change it for the worse. But none of these things need to erase your love for your spouse in the long term, especially if you pull together out of the commitment that you have for one another based on that same love.

Do you look at your spouse differently after an affair? Yes, you certainly can. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t still love him or love him again eventually and with time and with healing.

This is only a suggestion, but in your situation I might try something like: “it’s impossible for me to know how I might feel in the future and before we have even attempted to work on our marriage. But I would suspect that if we work really hard and if we restore the trust, heal, and restore the intimacy, I might love you in the same way or even more. I’ve heard of couples having an even stronger marriage after they worked to get through the affair. I can’t rule that out. But I would think that we would both have to work very hard in order to make this happen. I don’t think that we can expect for it to just magically happen without our working for it and without us doing to the work to heal. I’m certainly willing to work toward that if you are. And I am open to any outcomes. But it’s impossible for me to tell you how I might feel. With this said, I’d expect good feelings to be the product of good healing. And if that’s so, I can’t imagine not loving you, assuming we are successful in our healing. But it is going to require effort from you.”

Notice that you haven’t made any specific promise but you’ve set the groundwork that good efforts on his part might result in good feelings on yours. This isn’t making false promises in my opinion. Because I know first hand that when you are both willing to put in the time and the work, then there is no reason that you won’t have a good result in the end.

As I said, I love my husband today very much.  I can’t tell you that it’s as if the affair never happened.  You can’t erase it.  But the healing process can actually strengthen your marriage in time.  And that strengthening can bring about very strong loving feelings. You’re welcome to read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Does The Other Woman In The Affair Think That She’s Going To Take The Husband Away From His Wife?

By: Katie Lersch: Women whose husbands are having an affair sometimes reach out to me. Some of these women are considering confronting or meeting with “the other woman” and are trying to get a handle on this woman’s thought process. Many wonder if she thinks she is in love with the husband or truly believes that she has a future with him.

I might hear from a wife who says: “I am sure that I will be more furious with my husband when my mind has time to process this, but right now, I am in survival mode. I want to clean up the mess. I want to protect my family. The other woman is barely a woman, at least in my opinion. She’s quite young and it seems to me that she’s very idealistic about my husband. I have found notes to him from her and she literally dots her i’s with hearts. She talks about how she can not wait to be with him. The thing is, this woman knows my family. Her younger brother used to be friends with my son. She has been at our home. She knows that we have younger children. She knows that my husband prioritizes his family. But I guess she forgot all that or she thinks that the rules do not apply to her. When I confronted my husband about the affair, he told me that he would end it immediately but he was reluctant to talk to the woman face to face because he knew that she was going to be upset. So I told him that I would break it off. I am going to have my husband ask her to meet him and then I am going to show up in his place. I’m going to tell her it’s over. But I’m wondering what type of reaction I’m going to get. Does the other woman often think that she’s going to get the husband away from his wife? Because if that’s what she thinks, I want to make it perfectly clear that this is never going to happen.”

I can’t tell you that every “other woman” feels one way or another. It’s true that sometimes, she most definitely wants to be with the other man forever. If this means that she has to take him away from his wife and children, so be it. But, she thinks that she is in love with him and she’s not going to let a little thing like marriage stand in her way. Her ultimate goal is to get him to be married to her eventually. And by default, this means that she must take him away from his wife.  This doesn’t apply to “every one” though.  This is a generality which isn’t always true. Some of these women just want a relationship with no strings attached. Some are married themselves and they don’t want another serious relationship.

Here’s the thing, though. Regardless of which category this woman falls into, she can’t be with him or “take him away” from you, his wife, if your husband ends the relationship. In other words, she can’t take him away without his permission. And if he’s ending it, your biggest concern should be your healing as a couple moving forward. Once the affair ends, the attention should turn away from her, at least in my experience and opinion. Her wishes or intentions no longer matter.

Speaking of ending the affair, I never advocate the wife confronting the other woman and I certainly don’t advocate the wife being the one to end the affair. First of all, the other woman will have her doubts that the husband is sincere or if this is his wishes if he is not the one to tell her. The husband could simply call her and make it very brief if he had concerns about her reaction.

But the wife confronting the other woman is almost always a disaster and it often creates bigger problems than it solves. Many wives think that it is going to give them closure or it is going to allow them to put the other woman in her place. Often, the opposite happens. The other woman is rarely nice about this and she will often try to upset you by telling you imitate details about your husband or upsetting details about the affair. Really, very little good can come out of this. And it’s usually only going to delay your healing and upset you even more.  I’d strongly urge you to reconsider.  I have never seen a scenario like this one go well or give you what you want.

You don’t want for her to have any more contact with your family or any of its members, including yourself. So at least in my opinion, your best bet would be for your husband to end it with a very short conversation, possibly by phone, where your husband directly tells her that he is ending the affair because he is married. Whether her ultimate goal was to take him away doesn’t matter because he’s made that impossible. He has made his choice.

I understand wanting to understand the other woman’s thought process and motivations.  But honestly, if your husband ends the affair and the two of you move forward in healing your marriage, then her motivations won’t affect or concern you.  It’s best to place the focus on yourself at that point.  You’re welcome to read more about my own healing on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com