Is He Staying With Me After The Affair Only Out Of Loyalty?

By: Katie Lersch: Many wives struggle with multiple doubts after their husband cheats or has an affair. This is especially true if their husband abruptly decides to end the affair in order to stay with them. Even the most confident wife often can not help wondering why he did this. She wants to know what would motivate him to leave a relationship that was so alluring that he would risk his marriage for it in order to go back to the woman he rejected by cheating in the first place. Many wives wonder if he is only staying with them out of a sense of loyalty or familiarity.

I might hear a wife say: “my husband had an affair with a younger woman from his job. He had a work function to attend right after I found out about the affair so of course I insisted on going with him. He was fine with this because he insists that the affair is over and that he is only motivated by his wish to save our marriage. At the party, there was a large mirror behind the buffet table. I was in the buffet line while the other woman was about six people behind me. When I looked up into that mirror I could see us from the same point of reference. And what I saw was not flattering to me. I keep myself in good shape. I am good looking for my age. But she is younger, thinner, and a bit prettier simply because gravity hasn’t taken hold yet. If I am being honest, when I looked at us and compared us, I have no idea why my husband would stay with me. I wonder if he is only staying with me out of a sense of loyalty. I have stood by him through some very hard times. I have supported him early on in our marriage when he was trying to better himself. I have always had his back and I wonder if that is why he is not walking away now. While I’m glad that he chose me, I’m not sure if I want him if he’s only with me because of loyalty. I want a husband who wants only me and thinks that he is lucky to have me. How can I find out why he is staying? I don’t want to ask him in the event that he hasn’t even thought of the loyalty angle. I don’t want to put that in his head if it isn’t already there.”

I don’t want to discourage you from asking your husband about his motivations, but before you do that, I’d like to give you a few things to consider.

First of all, what you are feeling is completely normal. And this is true even of the most confident women who know that they are attractive and capable. It’s normal to question why your husband would suddenly change his motivations so dramatically.  I’m not a cheating man, but I do hear from many of them. I have my theories as to why they stay. I can’t tell you that none of them stay out of a sense of loyalty or familiarity. I suppose both of these things could factor into the equation. However, even if they did, I’m not sure why this would be an entirely bad thing. Because a history is something that you absolutely have on your side and it is something that she absolutely can not take away. He knows what he is getting with you and he must find some comfort in that. Or he would not want to stay.

I’d like to make another point. It’s my belief that if I man absolutely did not want to stay with his wife, he wouldn’t. I don’t believe that a man would force himself to do something that is distasteful to him for the rest of his life even if he had the most loyalty in the world.

The truth is, most men who dialogue about this will tell you that they went back to their wives because they realized that they made a huge mistake. They realized that they risked a perfectly good thing for something that was fleeting and was more about their own insecurities than about their wife and their marriage. Once they realize this, they often hope that they are not too late with this realization. Sure, they may feel loyalty to you, but this usually is not their primary motivation. Their main motivation is usually trying to fix the mistake that they are now fully aware that they have made.

I understand the doubts. I struggled with them for a long time. But I eventually decided that the doubts provided more of a threat to my marriage than the affair, which was over. And the reason for this is that I was letting the doubts impact and damage my marriage over and over again.

And that is why I strongly encourage you to do whatever is necessary to increase your confidence and decrease the doubts. Now, time will help with this. But it’s often not enough. You often have to be very proactive. If something bothers you about yourself and erodes your confidence, fix that thing as soon as you can. Look for ways to show and tell yourself that you are unique and outstanding.

Honestly, if your husband didn’t think so, he wouldn’t be there. Us wives will often tell ourselves any number of things about his motivations, often at the expense of ourselves. It often never occurs to us that he is there because he decided that he wanted to be. But in my opinion, this is often the reality.

Do whatever you can to convince yourself that he is lucky to have you because you are worthwhile, brilliant, and beautiful.  Everyone has trouble believing this about themselves, especially after an affair.  But I feel, from my own experience, that you almost have to make it your job to convince yourself of your own worth.   You can read about my own process 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 Husband’s Affair Has Made Me Realize How Stupid He Really Is

By: Katie Lersch: It’s very common for the faithful spouse to lose respect for the cheating spouse. Often, the cheating is seen as an indication that there is a serious lack of integrity and impulse control.  Sometimes though, the faithful spouse sees the affair as a lack of intelligence.

A wife may explain it this way: “if I’m being honest, I have to say that there is a difference between the intelligence levels of my husband and myself. I have advanced degrees and he barely graduated fromhigh school. When we got together, my parents expressed grave concerns because we were so different. I knew we were different, but I didn’t care. Our differences created great chemistry between us. I have intellectual conversations at work and with my professional colleagues. It has never bothered me not to have these types of conversations with my husband. This has allowed me to feel free with him and to be able to be myself without sounding uninformed. He never judges me. So I was ok with the differences in our intellect – until he cheated on me. And ever since then, I have noticed every unintelligent thing my husband does or says. Frankly, he was so stupid in attempting to cover up his tracks. He drove two hours out of the way to meet her at a hotel and then he left the receipts in his car. He deleted his text messages but not his photos. His thought process was so flawed and so stupid. I’m very bothered that he cheated on me. But I’m just as bothered that he showed such stupidity doing it.”

I will admit that I get a lot of correspondence from people who say that they can not believe their spouse’s stupidity when cheating. Honestly, I really don’t have any decent reply to this except for to say that when men are cheating, they normally aren’t thinking properly because they are caught up in it and they don’t stop to think it through.

Here is another consideration that you may not have considered. Some men actually, whether consciously or not, want to get caught. They feel guilty. They know they are wrong. The stress of keeping secrets can be almost debilitating. So as much as they don’t want to deal with the fall out and as much as they know that it is going to hurt you, many of them admit that they almost feel relieved to be caught because they can let down the heavy weight that they have been carrying.

I can’t say for sure if this was the case here. Perhaps the husband didn’t want to get caught but he was being very careless or he didn’t think things through. I am not sure there is ever going to be a well to tell and I’m not even sure that it matters.

I think that the real question here is if the wife wants to move on from this with her marriage in tact And, if she does, will she be able to overcome the negative thoughts that she has developed about her husband’s intelligence? Frankly, there is probably no one that can speculate on this with any accuracy except for the wife herself.  And it may take her a while to come up with an answer.

I don’t think that any one needs to decide this right away. I know from experience that it can take a little while to process this. Your feelings toward your husband in three months may be a little different than they are today.

Honestly, many people are able to have marriages that survive and even thrive despite their differences. Shy spouses are enhanced by their outgoing partner. The creative book warm is very happily married to the scientist who has a completely different world view. And an intellectual can and often is happy with person who is more laid back when it comes to academics, as was the case with this couple before the affair.

But, when we are angry and disappointed in our spouses, we will often take that difference and use it as a weapon against them. And we will often find that when and if this disappointment fades, we are once again able to overlook our differences.

I’d suspect that if this couple were able to heal their marriage, their differences would fade to the background once again. However, their differences might also create their own sets of challenges in the healing process. I’d highly suggest that you consider counseling to help you through this or at the very least very good self help resources.

Because I’d suspect that if your husband picks up on your new assessment of his intelligence and how it affects your marriage, he’s going to be quite hurt and defensive which could in turn hurt your chances of saving your marriage, assuming that this is what you want.

None of this means your situation is impossible. I don’t think that it is. It just means that there is more to work through. And I don’t know a faithful spouse alive that doesn’t see the cheating spouse’s flaws more clearly when the affair is fresh. This is absolutely normal. But it is also one more thing that will need to be addressed. Don’t get discouraged though.  Take things one step at a time.

I think that the first step in the healing process is to not focus so much on your spouse.  Go inward.  Get quiet.  Make it about yourself.  Give yourself the time and the luxury to determine what you really want.  Once that is done, there will be time to worry about your spouse.  But this process is so much easier when you are clear on yourself.   You can read about my own healing on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Spouse Says He Cheated Because Of My Manipulation Of Him

By: Katie Lersch: It’s not uncommon for a person caught cheating on their spouse to place the blame on any one but themselves. Very few people actually stand up tall and proclaim: “every single bit of this is my fault. You were a wonderful spouse to me and I blew it because of no reason other than my own stupidity. None of this is your fault. I was the idiot here and I did this of my own accord.”

It would be wonderful if the cheating spouse would take responsibility in this way. But few do. Most will try to offer up some excuses or justification. Or, they will try to at least share their mindset and their motivations with you.

Some will offer very specific examples of their spouses’ behavior that drove them to cheat. I might hear from a wife who says: “of all things, my husband is actually telling me that he cheated because of my manipulation. He says that I am always trying to get him to do what I want him to do. He says I am always pressuring him and then pouting when I don’t get my way. He says that when he doesn’t do what I want, I look at him with disapproval. He says that I can convey my dissatisfaction of him without saying a word. And he feels the constant weight of this manipulation every single day. And he admitted that the lack of manipulation was what was so attractive about the other woman. According to my husband, she doesn’t care what he does. She has no expectations of him. She just wants to spend time with him and enjoy herself. He says he feels free with her. And that if I want to blame anyone for the affair, I should blame my own manipulative nature. What do I make of this? I admit that I am sometimes hard on my husband. But that is because if I am not, he makes very poor decisions that I often have to fix. I’m not going to take responsibility for his affair. He’s crazy if he thinks that I am going to buy this.”

I agree with you in that no matter what happened in your marriage, there is never an excuse to cheat. A person who is unhappy in their marriage has the choice to express their unhappiness, try to work with their spouse to solve the problem, or to leave their marriage. All of these things are options that can be pursued instead of cheating. That is why I don’t accept the various excuses a person will give.

With this said, if it is possible that you may want to save your marriage in the future, I think that there is a way to communicate your refusal to take on the blame with your willingness to consider that you may have both have had some culpability in the state of your marriage.

I’d suggest something like: “I hear your excuse for cheating on me but even assuming that everything that you said were true, there is never an excuse to cheat. I wish that you had come to me and tried to work through this issue before you damaged our marriage in this way. We could have avoided all the damage that we face today. I regret that you felt that you weren’t free to be yourself with me. And in time, perhaps we can talk more about that or even work through it. But that is not going to be possible until you take responsibility for your own actions and your own choices. You can’t pin it on me. I am not the one who cheated on my spouse. I will take responsibility for being a bit overbearing at times and that is something that I will work on. But I’m not willing to take your actions onto my own shoulders.”

I can’t tell you that he will suddenly see the truth and suddenly take immediate responsibility. But I do know that if he sees that you aren’t going to let him place the blame on you, he is more likely to stop trying.

And time has a way of showing a person who is cheating that they weren’t right in all of their assumptions. Sure, the other woman seems laid back and without any demands now, but this rarely lasts. Often, the other woman gets tired of having an “anything goes” attitude without expecting something in return. And when she starts having expectations, her attitude toward him changes. Her behavior often follows the same tract eventually. And this is when she becomes much less attractive and may seem a little manipulative herself.

And while there’s a chance that he may one day see that none of this is your fault, if there is a place in your life or in your marriage that needs work, now is the perfect time to take a long, hard look and craft the life you want by being the person you want to be. I made many changes to myself after my husband’s affair. It wasn’t for him. It was for me. There were things that bothered me and things that I knew had to change in order for us to have the marriage that we both wanted. For his part, my husband made his share of changes also.  If it helps, you can read about my own process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

When Confronting The Other Woman Or Mistress Backfires

By: Katie Lersch: I get an awful lot of emails from wives who are considering confronting the woman with whom their husband had (or is having) an affair. There are many motivations for this. Sometimes, the wife is reacting most to anger. Sometimes, the most persuasive emotion is curiosity. Other times, she wants for the other woman to know that she’s no longer in the dark. Or, she wants to tell the other woman to stay away. Some wives actually want information from the other woman. And sometimes, the wife wants to threaten the other woman to leave her husband and her family alone.

Whatever the reason is for the wife wanting a confrontation, I admit that I rarely encourage or condone this. Instead, I encourage the wife to not go there. I believe from experience and from other wives who I hear from that this confrontation rarely goes well and it almost never provides you with what you are hoping for. Quite honestly, much of the time, it only makes you feel worse, feel more insecure, and question things even more. Nonetheless, I know that not every wife is going to be able to let it go and that some are going to have the confrontation anyway. Sometimes, this backfires horribly and you have to clean up the mess. And there’s nothing to do at that point but just to accept that things haven’t went well and to vow that now is the time to turn that around.

I might hear from a wife who says: “I honestly thought that confronting the other woman was going to make things better. I intended to go and tell her to leave my husband alone and that I didn’t want her in our lives anymore. I’m a very quiet, introverted person by nature and this confrontation was very hard for me. But I was so mad that I was more than motivated to do it. I really wanted to tell her to stay away from my husband. So I did it. I very calmly told her that I didn’t want to hear any more about her. I told her that I did not want her to come near my family again. I told her that she should not tell my husband about our conversation. Instead, she was supposed to break it off and go on with her own life. Well, no later than an hour after our meeting, my husband called me and he was furious. She had obviously ran straight to him and tattled on everything we talked about. My husband instructed me that I was not to ‘harass’ her any longer. He told me to stay away from her and then he actually sounded like he was defending her. I was so angry about this. And now it seems that he is more interested in her than ever. He is now taking the attitude that it is them against me. I regret having the confrontation so much. It backfired as horribly as it possibly could have. What can I do now?”

Unfortunately, there is no way to take this back. You can’t erase it. You can only deal with the aftermath of what has happened. I’d suspect that it’s tempting to react in a very dramatic way and either defend yourself, become angry and indignant, or to go to the other extreme and actually apologize. I would not encourage any of these reactions.

Instead, I would simply state that you felt it was your right to see who you are dealing with, stress that you were not the one who brought this person into your lives and into your marriage, and then let it go at that. Sure, they may think that they are even closer now that they have a common enemy, but I will tell you what I tell wives in this situation before a confrontation even takes place.

Honestly, much of the time, you don’t need to do anything in order for the relationship to end. When you fight against it, you sometimes strengthen it. But when you focus on yourself and you back away, knowing that you have control on no one but yourself, the affair will often burn itself out.

It’s simply not as exciting when it is no longer a secret and relationships based on dishonesty have a very low success rate anyway. Frankly, you often don’t need to confront her in order for this to happen. And you paint yourself as the negative aggressor when you do.

You can’t take this back, but you don’t have to make it worse. You can still focus on yourself and let them worry about themselves. It’s my opinion and experience that the best thing that you can do is to conduct yourself with respect and act with the same integrity that you always have.

Do not allow them to change who you are and what you stand for. Sure, the situation has momentarily backfired. But that doesn’t change that they are the ones who put this very difficult thing into motion. You merely reacted to it. You don’t have to keep reacting to it.  From now on, make sure that your actions are above reproach.

I know that it is hard to feel as if you are doing nothing. But often, when you do something it makes things worse and it makes it appear as if you are the one with the negative behavior. And you don’t want or need either of these things.

I never did have a confrontation with the other woman.  I didn’t want to give her that power over me.  Instead, I willed her out of my life and I made it about me and what I wanted.  This worked well.  I understand the curiosity about her.  But I didn’t want to give her another second of my time. You can’t take back what has happened, but you can vow not to give her one more moment of your time.  If it helps, you can read about my own process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

The Psychology Of The Other Woman: How Does She Really Feel? What Motivates Her?

By: Katie Lersch: One of the most common topics of the emails that I get are on the subject of the other woman. Wives often want to know how she feels and what could drive her to want to destroy another woman’s family.

Wives often just can not get how anyone would set their sights on a married man, especially if he has a family. I understand this. Because I am one of those wives. And I know that it is really easy to think of her as evil. You want to believe that she is without a conscience and that she is someone with no redeeming qualities.

Why We’d Like To Be Able To Stereotype Her (And Why We Can Not) Many people would like to believe that the other woman is easy to classify. This would be convenient if it were true. Because then we would always know what (and who) we are dealing with. But, I get a lot of emails from “the other woman” and I firmly believe that it’s impossible to classify or stereotype her. Just like wives all have different personalities, the same holds true here.

Every situation is different. Many of these women have very unique motivations. Some weren’t even told that the husband was married. They thought that they were getting involved with someone available. They thought they were investing in a relationship that stood a chance. And then they learn that he is married. They know that they should walk away but they can’t.

Some know that he is married and this bothers them greatly. The only way that they can continue on is to compartmentalize it. They try really hard to not think about the wife and the family. They tell themselves that his marriage is not their business. Sometimes, they are successful with this, at least for a while.

And then some “other women” actually prefer a married man because they do not want a committed relationship. Or, they may already be in one because they are married themselves. They aren’t looking for a relationship that is going to require anything emotional from them. They don’t want to make the other man their own.  They like having no strings attached.

Finally, there are some other women who truly think that they are in love with the other man and their ultimate goal is to eventually be his wife. They often will not tell him this in the beginning. They pretend that they are OK with the secret arrangements. But deep down, they have a plan. And that plan is to break up his marriage to make room for their own marriage to him. She believes that the two of them belong together. She may be really sorry that his first marriage must end for them to be together. She may feel horribly guilty about this. But, she is going to attempt to do whatever is necessary in order to get him for herself.

Should You Attempt To Know Who Are Dealing With?: Having read all of this, many wives will want to know how they can figure out what type of other woman they are dealing with, since there are so many. They want to know what motivated her and how she is feeling right now. I completely understand why you want this information.

But if you get anything from this article at all, I hope that it is this. The more you learn about her, the more you want to know. It doesn’t do you any good to “go there.” In terms of your marriage and your own well being, it often doesn’t benefit you to learn more. Why? Because we are so often not satisfied with what we learn. Because it only leads to more questions. And we only dig ourselves into a deeper hole.

She may be perfectly nice or she may be ultimately evil. It doesn’t or shouldn’t affect your bottom line either way. Because the gold standard for you is to leave her behind and to work on your marriage or your own life. The quicker you can leave thoughts of her behind you, the better off you will be. She has no place in your life. And even if she’s the nicest person on earth or you feel genuine sorrow for her, she has other friends, other support systems, and other places to turn.

Or, if you feel the opposite and hate her and want revenge, then the best thing for you to do is to trust that karma is going to take care of everything. You may think that this is easy for me to say, but it’s not.

I know the itching need to know everything. I know the need to intimately know the perceived enemy. But I also know that even when you have all of these things, you still feel empty. This knowledge actually makes things worse, in my opinion.

There are many people affected by an affair.  Some are hurt.  Some are angry.  All have their reasons.  But the only one that you should worry about in the equation is yourself and those who are part of your family.

Why It’s Nearly Impossible To Know The Truth:  The truth is, it’s very unlikely that you are going to get an honest portrayal of her. In order to do that, you’d have to be able to see into her heart. Your husband can tell you about her, but this is only his perception. And he has only seen what she has wanted him to see. She can tell you things, but again, she is slanting the information to her own gain.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter, as long as the affair is truly over. What is in the past should be left there. She may or may not have wanted to hurt anyone. But what remains hurt is more up to you than up to her. You have the ability to heal regardless of her own psychology.

I did have a lot of curiosity about the other woman.  But I made a very conscious decision to turn my attention to myself.  It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  If it helps, you can read about my own process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Spouse Says He Will Only Come Home After His Affair If I Agree Not To Talk About It

By: Katie Lersch: Sometimes when your husband leaves the home after the discovery of an affair, it is difficult to determine if you want him to come home or not, especially in the beginning. But after a while, it sometimes becomes clear that nothing is really going to get resolved until he does come home. That’s why it’s extremely frustrating when he tries to put conditions or restrictions on any return home.

I might hear a wife say: “when I found out about my husband having an affair, I kicked him out of the house. I threw his clothing on the yard. I know that is a cliche. But I did not want him in my house. He told me that I needed to think very carefully about throwing him out because he may not be willing to come back. I didn’t need to think about it. I wanted him out. For several weeks, I would not take his calls. I didn’t want to talk to him at all. After a couple of months, I did talk to him because of our children. We started talking on the phone regularly. The conversations began to flow pretty well. After a while, there started to be talk of him coming back home. I was very clear on the fact that I could not offer him any guarantees. But he still seemed willing to come home. Well, yesterday we were talking about him coming home and he announced that he had some reservations. He said that I said some awful things to him the last time he was home and that he doesn’t want to go through this again. So, he’s saying that he will only come home if I don’t ‘harp on the affair.’ In essence, he’s saying that he doesn’t want me to talk about it. That is ridiculous. How are we ever going to make our marriage work if we can’t talk about it? I basically told him that I would not make that deal. His reply was that he won’t come home then. How in the world am I supposed to handle this? I want him to come home. But I don’t feel that it is fair that he attempt to dictate what I can or can not talk about. And I feel that he is limiting the very thing that we need to talk about the most.”

I whole heartedly agree. It’s actually quite common for a man caught cheating to try to control the conversations about his cheating. He’s embarrassed. He feels exposed. And every time you want to talk about it, he feels as if he’s being criticized and examined all over again. Considering this, it’s almost possible to understand why he would attempt to limit the conversation.

But, the wife is right in that it is going to be very difficult to heal the marriage if you can’t have this conversation. As I see it, you have three options here. You can try to convince him that his suggestion just isn’t going to work and then try to get him agree to a more workable plan. You can offer a compromise. Or you can tell him that the deal is off because there is no way that you would consider taking the conversation off of the table.

If you want to try to convince him that he’s wrong, you might try a conversation like: “look, I’m going to be up front with you because I want for us to be honest with one another. Not talking about the affair is just not going to work for me. And I wouldn’t think it would work for you either. By not talking it, then we’re just agreeing that we are going to have an elephant in the room for the rest of our marriage. Sure, you avoid the discomfort of talking about it, but you take on the discomfort of knowing that our marriage will never be fixed. I don’t plan to berate or insult you when we talk. But I do need some answers. I do need some information. If that is not acceptable to you, then we can talk about limiting our conversations at home but having regular conversations about the affair in counseling. That way, our home is a safe haven but we are still regularly having the conversations that we absolutely need to have.”

Notice that I put the possibility of a compromise into the conversation. I think this is important because it shows that healing is more important to you than being able to criticize your husband. Because I believe that this is probably his biggest reservation – the fear that once he comes home, you are going to feel free to belittle him, embarrass him, and constantly criticize him. I think that once he sees that this isn’t going to happen, he may be more open to the idea of coming home without the limitations. Because make no mistake about it, it’s going to be nearly impossible to move past the affair if you can not talk about it.

To be honest, when my husband’s affair was fresh, I didn’t particularly want to talk about it at first.  It was too painful.  But I knew that it was something that had to be done.  And I don’t for a second believe that we could have saved our marriage if we weren’t able to talk openly. If it helps, you can read about my own recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

What If The Other Woman Just Can’t Move On?

By: Katie Lersch: It’s my opinion that the best case scenario after an affair is for the two people in the relationship to go their separate ways. If it is the husband who cheated, then I believe that it’s best to cut off all contact with the other woman so that no person has any idea how the other is faring. This isn’t always what happens though. Sometimes, the other person in the affair has a hard time letting go. And this makes it difficult for every one involved. And, it’s not always the husband who keeps tabs on the other woman. Sometimes it is the wife.

I might hear from a faithful wife who says: “I know that it is mostly a mistake to begin a relationship with the woman who cheated with your husband. This was never my intention to be honest. Initially, I just wanted to talk to her to get closure. But she wasn’t the ogre that I thought she would be. She had real feelings for my husband. And she actually is a nice person who is going through a hard time. The problem is that it appears that she can not let go. I know that it’s weird, but she confides in me. She says that she pulls out photos of my husband and that she has memories. She says that she knows she needs to turn the corner, but she can not. She says that she doesn’t even want to end her relationship with me, as silly as this might sound. I know that this isn’t the ideal thing, but I feel like I want to help her move on, but how can I do this when I have my own problems?”

In contrast, you might hear a husband say: “when I broke things off with the other woman, I was as clear as I could possibly be. I told her that I didn’t want any contact as I needed to make my wife my priority. She can not seem to accept this. She says she knows that the affair is wrong but that she just can not turn away from me. She will send me texts and say that she knows that I’m not going to write back, but she just needed for me to know that she is thinking about me. She sends me emails to tell me how much she misses me. I feel badly about this, but my wife said no contact. How do I make her let go?”

My answer to both husband and wife in this situation would be the same. You can’t “make” her do anything, especially when it comes to her emotions, over which she doesn’t have control. She will likely let go once she has worked through the issues and once enough time has passed. It is the same for anyone who has been deeply involved in a relationship that ends. Sometimes, it is difficult. Sometimes, we are slow to let go. But eventually, we do because we must move on with our lives. Or, we meet someone else. Or we get tired of feeling so badly all of the time.

Most of us move on at our own pace and when we are ready. You can not hurry this process for the other woman, but that does not mean that you have to be involved in it. Frankly, the longer you encourage any relationship, the harder it is going to be to let go.

The wife could try a conversation with the other woman like: “you know that you aren’t at all what I expected. I truly do wish you well and I’m very sorry that this happened to all of us. But I need to focus on my marriage. And I can’t fully do that while we are still in contact. You need to place your focus on yourself and start moving away from this relationship. You can’t fully do that while we are still in touch. I wish you well but I can’t continue on this way.”

Hopefully, this will make it clear to her and she will do exactly as you have asked. If she doesn’t, you may need to block her from your email and phone until it’s very clear to her.

I know that this is a hard situation. And I know that it’s painful for all parties.  Of course you don’t wish for anyone to feel pain.  But you have to focus on yourself also.  And, her moving on is not something that you should worry about more than you worry about your own issues. You have enough on your plate right now and your focus should be on your own life.

I would suspect that in time, every one will move on. But the process is cleaner and quicker if both parties cease the contact. Yes, this means that you won’t know if she has moved on or not. But that really is how it should be. Keeping in contact just makes it more difficult on every one involved.

And quite frankly, from all of the correspondence that I get, I’ve never had an “other woman” tell me that years after the fact, she still hasn’t moved on.  Most people pick up the pieces eventually. Most people move on eventually simply because they must. I know that it doesn’t seem this way right now. But focus on yourself and on your own marriage. And let her worry about herself. People are resilient and she will eventually realize there’s nothing in the relationship to keep her there.

It is admirable to care about others.  But in times like these, you have to place the focus on what is most important – and that is you.  Especially when focusing on her may impede your ability to save your marriage.  If it helps, you can read about my own recovery after the affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Is Texting The Other Person After An Affair Still Cheating?

By: Katie Lersch: Typically, the faithful spouse in an affair is very clear on what the term “no contact” means when it comes to the affair. The faithful spouse will typically require that the cheating spouse cut off every bit of verbal and non verbal contact with the other person.

One would think that this would be somewhat self explanatory, but it would seem that it isn’t. Because I do get emails from cheating spouse asking if “innocent texting” after an affair is OK.

An example is: “I do feel awful for cheating on my husband. I know that I was one hundred percent wrong. The thing is, I am the best friend that the other man has. We came together during a time when he was dealing with a sick sibling. I was very close to that same sibling and we formed a bond. I really never intended for anything inappropriate to happen. And I certainly never intended to leave my husband. But there was a time when I went to comfort him and one thing lead to another. Then, he started leaning on me for support. When my husband found out about the affair, he kicked me out. I accepted this because I knew that I deserved it. One day I went back to see my kids and one of my children grabbed my leg when I went to leave and started bawling. My husband asked me to stay because of my son. So we are trying to make it work because we don’t want to torment our children. I am committed to this. The problem is that the other man will text me and want to talk about his sick sibling. I can’t stand to ignore him so we have been texting back and forth. There is nothing inappropriate. I will not cheat again. But I find myself unable to just ignore his texts. He still needs my support and I don’t find it a big deal to just text him some encouraging words. My question is, am I still cheating?”

I guess you could debate if this were cheating. But it is most certainly, at least in my opinion, a dishonest betrayal done in secret. Admittedly, I’m biased toward the faithful spouse because this was my role in my own life. But, I can almost guarantee you that this wife’s husband would feel very betrayed and hurt if he knew that she was continuing to text the other man.

The thing is, even if nothing inappropriate is happening, you are still crossing the line. When your spouse says that they need for you to stay away from the other person and to not have contact, then this is exactly what they mean. Quite understandably, they are feeling unsure about your loyalty to them. So one way to make them feel better about this is to end all communication with the other person and to place your focus on your spouse and on your marriage.

And the truth is, if you are giving all of this emotional support to the other man, then you don’t have everything to give to your husband, which is what your husband needs and expects right now.

I do understand that you feel a certain obligation to the other man. But, your obligation has to be to your husband, to your children, and to your marriage. The best thing that you can do, for everyone involved, is to tell the other man that because you are focusing on your marriage, the best that you can do is to send good thoughts his way, wish him well, and let him go. At the end of the day, the hope is that he finds another, more appropriate, support system.

If you truly want to save your marriage, this is the way that it has to be. Your marriage can’t recover in a healthy way if you have broken pieces of yourself in two. Your family needs all of you. Anything less just isn’t fair and it doesn’t give you the best chance to succeed.
So while it’s my opinion that continuing to text your spouse isn’t overt cheating, it is subtle cheating. It’s likely something you wouldn’t do right in front of your spouse. Because you know it is wrong. Because you know it would cause hurt. And you know that it is dishonest. These things alone should tell you that you shouldn’t be doing it. I know you likely wanted a different answer. But I am just being honest. If my husband had continued texting the other person in his affair, I would definitely have seen it as cheating. And I would have definitely reconsidered placing my trust in him and trying to save my marriage.

I think that the placing your focus on your own marriage is the best option here.  There are ways to gently tell the other man that right now, you can’t participate in the relationship anymore.  If he really cares for you, he will want the best for you and he will understand. If it helps, you can read more about my own marriage after the affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

For How Long Will The Other Woman Wait For My Husband?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who feel as if, no matter what they do, they can’t seem to shake the other woman with whom their husband had an affair. Even though the husband has supposedly told her that it is over and that he is going to try to save his marriage, she has apparently decided to wait for him and to continue to hope that the affair relationship works out.

Here is what you might hear from a wife struggling with this issue: “I will admit that my husband lead the other woman on. When they were having their affair, he told her that he was going to divorce me to be with her. He admits this. But once I found out about the affair, I left him. He says he didn’t anticipate how much he would miss me and how much he’d realize that he didn’t want to lose me. So he sent the other woman an email to break it off. I read the email. He told her that he now realized the affair was a mistake and that he was going to stay with his wife. He asked her not to contact him and to move on with her life. She wrote back that she ‘would wait for him.’ He asked her please not to and insisted there was no longer any chance. She wrote back that she was waiting anyway. That was four months ago. My husband and I are working very hard on our marriage. There have been some improvements but there have also been some set backs. Still, the other day, my husband got another email from her that said: ‘I’m still waiting.’ I told him not to even respond to her. But for how long is she going to wait? It’s hard for me. Because I feel like I can’t move on with my marriage and with my life until she moves on. So for how much longer am I going to have to wait?”

It’s impossible for me to predict for how long the other woman will still cling to hope. I would think that it would depend upon what else is going on in her life and if, hopefully, she meets someone else to whom she can turn her attention.

But, quite frankly, you should not put your life on hold for her. Her moving on is up to her and it shouldn’t affect your bottom line in any way. Ignoring the last email was, at least in my opinion, the right thing to do. I would continue to do the exact same thing. I would continue to work on my marriage and not even allow her to be any part of the equation.

When it becomes clear to her that your husband isn’t including her in his life in any way, she will eventually have to assume that she is just wasting her time. Whether this will matter to her enough so that she stops waiting, well, only she knows that. But as long as no one is giving her any reason to hope for a future with the husband, then what she does with her life in the meantime is her own business. You can’t be responsible or involved with how she spends her time.

The best thing to do is to allow her to leave your mind, to give up all thoughts of her, and to hope that she does the same. Right now, your biggest concern is your marriage. Your husband ended it. He can’t do anymore than that. Since she’s not calling, texting, or attempting to see him in person, then the best thing to do is to continue to ignore her “I’m waiting” emails or to block them if you can.

She’s hoping for a response. If you don’t give her one, she may eventually give up. But whether she does or not isn’t really your problem. It is her life. Hopefully, eventually she will realize that holding on isn’t in her best interest.

But you can’t be responsible for her. You have yourself and your marriage to worry about. I know you feel you can’t move on until you know that she has too. But please reconsider that. She is only in your life if you allow her to be. The more you think of her and worry if she’s still waiting, the more power she has over you and the more you are still allowing her into your life. This is exactly what she wants. Don’t play that game. Focus on your own life and your own marriage and trust that one day soon, she will do the same. But if she doesn’t, it really can’t or shouldn’t affect your bottom line.

In my own situation, I found that the more I took the focus away from the other woman and placed it on myself and on my marriage, the better off I was.  If it helps, you can read more about my healing process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com