Why Do Men Cheat With Less Attractive Women? Why Have An Affair With An Ugly Woman When A Pretty One Is At Home?

By: Katie Lersch:  I hear from a decent amount of wives who do not understand their husband’s choice of an affair partner.  There is a perception that the “other woman” is always going to be younger and prettier.  After all, if a man is going to risk his marriage or family to make a trade, isn’t he going to trade up?

This perception isn’t always correct though.  Some men seem to trade down.  What I mean by this is that some men have an affair with a woman that most will tell you is much less attractive than his wife.  At that point, there can be a question as to what, truly, is the point?  Why would a man risk all of this for a woman who isn’t even pretty?

A wife might put it into these types of words: “I am going to sound vain, but here goes.  I am attractive.  Every one tells me this.  Men still turn these heads to look at me several times per day.  I keep my body very toned.  I am careful about how I dress.  Since the day that we were married, people have said that my husband is very lucky to have me.  My husband says this also.  That is why it is so confusing to find out that my husband has been cheating on me with a chubby old woman with a face like a horse.  I am not kidding.  This woman is borderline hideous.  And I really do not get it.  How can he even stand to look at her, much less have sex with her?  How could he possibly rather have sex with her than with me?”

What I am about to list here are only my theories.  So please take them for what they are worth. These theories have been developed from my research and from the correspondence that I get on this blog.

The Pay Off Is Not Always The Sex: While it’s assumed that affairs are just about the sex that you aren’t getting at home, I’ve come to believe that this most certainly isn’t always the case.  Many people have affairs when their at-home sex life is pretty hot.  Why? Because the pay off is not the sex.

When I tell people this, I often get confused looks and blank stares.  If not sex, they seem to be saying, then what?  I find  most often, they are looking for a connection or a place to unburden themselves.  Sometimes when I explain this, the person that I am explaining it to assumes that this is true only for women who cheat.  After all, we’ve all known a wife who says her husband just doesn’t listen to her or doesn’t support her emotionally.  So when a man comes and listens to her and tells her she is special, well, we all know what happens next.

With more and more frequency, I see this happen with men. In a survey, 48 percent of men said that the primary reason that they cheated was emotional.  And get this: Only 12 percent of all of the men in the survey said that the other woman was more attractive than their wife.  I find these statistics so very telling.

It’s All About How She Makes Him Feel: It’s often not what the other woman looks like or what she does in the bedroom that allows her to get her claws into your husband. It’s the way that she makes him feel.  She often makes him feel important and heard.  She makes him feel worthwhile.  He may even know that she’s not that attractive – but her looks are not what is attracting him.  It is the way that he feels better about himself when he is with her.

He May Feel Unworthy Of You: Along those same lines, sometimes a man who knows that he’s not as attractive as his wife will actually feel a little more comfortable when he “trades down” so to speak.  He’s usually well aware that people say how lucky he is and this can create some insecurity on his part.  So when a less attractive woman makes him feel attractive by comparison, this can feel like a relief to him.  Because his self esteem has taken a hit before and now it has taken a boost.

By no means does having an affair with a less attractive woman make it hurt less.  It hurts just as much and it is just as damaging.  But it’s usually not that there is anything wrong with his eyes or his perceptions.  It’s just that he’s not evaluating the other woman on her looks.  He’s getting another pay off that has more to do with him than it has to do with her.

Since so many men are resistant to counseling or talking about their problems with their male friends, sometimes they find another woman who isn’t their wife (and who doesn’t seem to judge them or think less of them) appealing.  It may not even start out as an affair, but as he becomes more and more dependent on her emotionally, then it turns into something else.

I know that this is confusing and frustrating.  But don’t allow his mistake to change the way that you feel about yourself.  You are every bit as wonderful today as you were yesterday.  What you do regarding your marriage is up to you, but I found that keeping my self esteem intact was vital to making it through this. You can read about my journey on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Dealing With Insecurities After Infidelity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Know I Should Leave My Cheating Spouse, But I Love His Family And Don’t Want To Let Them Go

By: Katie Lersch:  I think it can be a mistake to assume that an affair only affects the husband and wife involved.  No, it can have very far-reaching implications.  Even if you choose to keep the infidelity to yourself (which is never a bad idea) it can still have implications on your relationship with extended family and friends – especially if your marriage may change as a result.  In fact, sometimes, these changes factor into whether or not you want to save your marriage at all.

Someone might explain: “I found out that my husband had an affair.  He swears it’s over and will never happen again. He is begging me not to destroy all that we have built.  But I made the rules of the game very clear to him when we got married.  There was no ambiguity about how I felt about infidelity.  It is what ended my first marriage and I have no patience for it.  So my immediate inclination is to kick him out and then file for divorce.  But after my mind goes to that, then I can’t help thinking about what that is going to mean for my step-daughter and mother-in-law, both of whom I love desperately.  I feel like my husband’s daughter is also my own child, in a way.  I am closer to my mother-in-law than to my own mother.  I don’t want either of them out of my life.  And yet, I can not imagine my husband in it.  My mother-in-law can tell that there is something wrong with my marriage.  I haven’t told her exactly what.  But she told me that whatever her son has done, he loves me deeply and will make it right if given a chance.  She says that in marriage, we have to just ride the tides and hold on sometimes until better days come.  I wonder if she would think the same way if she knew what her son did.  Anyway, I know that I should end this marriage, but part of me wants to stay in it, not for my husband necessarily, but because I adore his family. Is that crazy?”

I don’t think it’s crazy at all.  It means that you are fully aware that your decisions are going to affect people other than yourself.  However, only you can decide if your marriage can be rehabilitated to where it is a healthy situation for you.

I believe that marriages harmed by infidelity can be saved and rebuilt because I have done it, but I am fully aware that not everyone wants to do it or is successful at it.  Sometimes, marriages do end.  But, I don’t think that this needs to mean that your relationship with extended family also ends.

My father recently divorced a woman with whom I’d become very close.  But I have decided that although my dad divorced her, I did not.  I still proceed with her as I always have.  We still have lunch. We still go shopping.  I still call her.  She is as important to my life as she has always been.  Yes, we change our topics of conversations a bit.  We don’t discuss my father because that is none of my business.  But our relationship is based on much more than their marriage.  And my father respects that my relationship with her is about the two of us – not about the two of them.

I suspect that you would find it is the same in your situation.  Your mother-in-law may not stop loving you.  She may be able to separate the relationship between the two of you with the relationship you have with her son.  And, assuming you have a good relationship with your step-daughter’s mother or you maintain a cordial relationship with your husband, there really is no reason that you can’t remain a special person in your step-daughter’s life.  Yes, it would mean more work. But I believe it could be accomplished, so long as most people keep in mind what is best for her.  How is it not great for her to have as many loving adults in her life as is possible?

I’d like to make one final point.  I know that because everything is fresh, you might not even consider waiting to make a decision about your marriage.  But maybe you might consider that.  Because many people change their minds in time or open themselves up to at least trying counseling.  Even if you don’t want to save your marriage, the delay might allow you to maintain civility with your husband which might in turn make maintaining those extended family relationships much easier.

In short, I don’t think your relationship with extended family needs to influence your decisions with regard to your marriage. I think that you can give it time.  And I think that if you ultimately do end or pause your marriage, you can maintain those relationships if you work at it.  I think you can have both or you can pick and chose which you want to maintain if you handle this with integrity and love.

I don’t think you ever go wrong when you turn toward love.  And I do think that, more than any other time in history, people really do try to consider what is best for children today when they alter their own relationships.  Nothing says that you can’t proceed in the most healthy way possible, even after an affair.  That’s what I tried to do in my own situation, even though I ultimately saved my marriage.  You can read about the details my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Do I Get My Husband To Want To Go To Counseling After The Affair? He Doesn’t See The Point

By: Katie Lersch: Many people intuitively know that probably the fastest and most effective way to save their marriage after an affair is counseling. (Well, I should probably preface that last sentence and say that most women intuitively know this.) For whatever reason, I find that overwhelmingly, women are more likely to be open to counseling than men. This is only my opinion and I am not relying on any scientific data to back it up. I’m not a therapist, but this is my perception of it. Men may well go to counseling, but they often are only there because they have to be.  Or because they know that they need to.  But some men refuse to go or are incredibly resistant.

A wife might describe this situation. “I believe that the only chance that we have to make our marriage work after my husband’s affair is working with a good counselor. I already know of such a person. One of my coworkers used a therapist with fabulous results. But my husband is all but refusing to go. He says that therapists always make the cheater out to be the flawed, bad guy. He says it is going to cost tons of money. He says he doesn’t want to sit there and hear what an awful person he is while I gloat about it. He told me that he will share his feelings and his motivations with me alone and that this should be good enough. He says that between the two of us, we are smart enough to get through this without bringing outsiders into our marriage. So I have tried it his way. But when he makes these revelations, I don’t know how to respond to them or follow up – which is why I feel we need some help. Honestly, I do not think that I will be satisfied without the counseling.”

I understand your line of thinking. I believe that counseling can be extremely effective. And I also believe that if you feel that you need it, then you deserve to get it. However, I do hear from a lot of husbands who feel exactly the way that your husband does. Many of them are highly resistant, which means that your husband’s feelings are not uncommon. So, it can be a huge challenge to get him to willingly participate. Below are a few things that you may want to try, as I have seen them to be effective.

Carefully Chose The Right Counselor: I know that this may sound like a lengthy waste of time. But frankly, some counselors have a way with reluctant men. People often assume that men want a male counselor. I do not always find this to be true. There are counselors of either gender that just have a way of putting every one at ease while being objective and fair to both people. And I believe that this is what men are looking for – someone who will at least listen to their side of things. Your husband might perceive that the counselor you already want is not going to be sympathetic to him. So it might be necessary to tell him that you are willing to interview several people in order to find one you both agree on. I know this seems tedious, but if that is what it takes to get him to go, then it’s probably worth it.

Allow Him To Start Out By Just Attending Your Own Sessions To Support You: I have seen this work more than once. If you truly feel that you want to start counseling, go on your own. Start individual work. You can ask your therapist to allow your husband to sit in on a session when the time becomes appropriate. And she (or he) can usually work in some issues where your husband can contribute to the session. Some men are willing to go if the session is about you instead of being about them or the marriage. And much of the time, they will see that it is not as bad as they feared. And they will see that the counselor is just trying to help and is not out to get them.

This allows your husband to see behind the curtain and to dispel their assumptions. And that can be an effective way to ease them into the counseling.

Allow Him To See What Is In It For Him: The next time your husband begins to list the reasons why he doesn’t want to go to counseling, you might try something like this: “well, I’ve said that you can help me choose a counselor that you are comfortable with and I stand by that. But I also think that you are not considering what is in this for you. If we have a counseling session once per week, then you might get some relief at home. I won’t always be peppering you with questions and accusations every day because I will know that I will get these things addressed at counseling. This will help me with my frustration and anger and eventually, things may be a lot nicer at home and between us. I can’t promise you that every minute of counseling will be a joy, but it should make life at home better and it should help us to make progress so that we don’t have to live this way for much longer. Don’t you think that is worth it? To put in some time once a week so that for the whole entire week after it, we’ll have some relief? I certainly think that this is worth it. Please take some time to think about it. I think if you go just once, you might see that it isn’t as bad as you think and is really helpful.”

Try to think of it this way. You usually only have to get him to go once in order for him to see that it is not as bad as he thinks and it isn’t based on someone just telling him how awful he is. Because once you can get past these fears and assumptions, you will usually find him to be more willing.

I do believe that ultimately, counseling is helpful.  It is not always fun.  But it often helps you see the things that you are not objective enough to see. Often, we are just too close to things because our feelings are too raw. However, I don’t think counseling is always the ONLY way to heal. But it certainly helps.  You can read more at http://surviving-the-affair.com

A Letter To The Husband Who Cheated And Had An Affair: What Should It Say?

by: katie lersch: I often hear from women who are struggling to work through their husband’s cheating or affair.  Many ask me about writing a letter to put their struggles into words.  Some have even asked me for a sample letter or requested for me to write one for them.  I honestly think it’s advisable to be careful and deliberate about any letter that you are going to give your husband.   Because this can often set the tone for recovery. And often, such a letter leads to a lot of hurt feelings or misunderstandings.  Plus, it’s also important to remember that your feelings are likely to change a great deal in the coming days, months, or even years.

But I do understand the allure of a letter.  It’s often very challenging to put the difficult things that we feel into verbal words. And so often, we choke up, get emotional, or break down when we try.  So we feel like written communication or a letter is going to be easier and more effective.  Although I certainly can’t write such a letter for you, I can give you some guidelines on what it might say which I’ll do below.

A Letter Can Be Used To Release Your Feelings About The Affair. (In Fact, Sometimes A Letter That You Never Give Your Husband Can Be Beneficial:)  Many women are looking to write such a letter because they feel that doing so is going to allow them to release some very painful and closed off feelings.  I highly encourage writing such a letter.  In fact, even if you do want to craft a letter for your husband, I suggest writing one just for yourself that no one else will see.

Because this is where you can really let your feelings out without having to edit yourself or worry how your words are going to be perceived.  Many women chose to burn the letter (or at least hide it) once it’s written because these words are for no one else but you.  Since you are the only one who is going to read this letter, there’s no need to  hold back.  Just let it all out and then either dispose of it or put it somewhere where only you can find it.  Because it’s just meant to release your feelings, there really is no need to keep it around or to share it.  Now, let’s move on to the letter that you might be considering writing for your husband’s benefit or view.

Carefully Consider What You Want Your Husband To Take Away From The Letter Before You Write It Or Give It To Him: I strongly suggest that before you write any letter, you examine what you hope to accomplish with it.  I have to be honest. Many women admit to me that they write the letter because they want their husband to feel guilty or remorseful about the affair.  They want to show him how badly he’s hurt them.  They want to give him a glimpse into their battered soul so he can see just how deep the damage that he caused goes.

I completely understand this as I had the same intentions.  And that’s why it’s advisable to examine why you’re really writing the letter.  Although many don’t admit this even to themselves, many of us want to write the letter because we want to improve our situations.  We’re hoping that if our husband sees how we really feel and how deeply he’s really hurt us, he’ll be so remorseful that he will not cheat again and will move heaven and earth to make this up to us.

And yet, often the letter has the reverse affect.  Yes, it makes the husband feel very bad and guilty.  But many husbands tell me that they just see the letter as just more of the same.  I’ve actually had men tell me things like “she’s not saying anything in the letter that I don’t already know or she hasn’t already said.  I already get that I’m a bad husband who did a very bad thing so why do we need to keep repeating the same thing over and over?  I’ve already told her that I was sorry and want to save the marriage.  So how is this going to change because the words are written rather than spoken?  To me, this is just one more way for her to express how disappointed she is in me and how much I’ve let her down.  But, I already know this.  I don’t need for her to keep repeating it.”

This is why it’s so important to clearly define your objections for the letter before and while you’re writing it and to ask yourself how your husband might receive or interpret it before you give it to him.

What I Think A Letter To A Husband Who Cheated Or Had An Affair Should Include: I actually think that a well crafted letter can help a marriage after an affair.  But, you have to be very careful. Because some letters actually harm the marriage or set it back for months.  The real power that I think the right letter holds is that it can clear up any misconceptions or understandings and it can underscore your intentions and your plans moving forward.  It truly can set the tone for the days and months ahead.

For example, rather than just continuing to stress how much the affair has hurt you, you might also mention what you’d like to happen moving forward, what you need for these things to happen, and what your intentions truly are.  In my mind, such a letter could include three parts – current feelings, current needs, and future intentions.  I realize that it’s not realistic to think that you aren’t going to include how the affair or cheating has hurt you or made you feel, but I’d suggest not making this the sole content of the letter because your husband likely already knows this and if you go on and on, he’s likely not going to take away what you were hoping for.

After you briefly touch on your feelings, you then may consider focusing or explaining what you need from him in the days and weeks ahead.  If you want him to give you more reassurance, affection, and accountability, then use the letter to your advantage and ask for it.  Many of us find it easier to put these difficult requests into writing.  And the additional advantage is, for future reference, you’ve spelled out what you need to move forward.

Finally, it’s helpful to include your intentions moving forward.  I can’t tell you how many couples aren’t sure what their spouse really wants in the aftermath of the affair.  If you truly want to save your marriage even though this affair shook you to your core, now is the time to write that and to tell your husband what you need and how you intend to get there.

My initial attempt at writing a letter after my husband’s affair turned out quite badly because I gave him a letter that should have been meant only for my own eyes.  Later, I changed course with my tone and intention and this made a huge difference.  Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, I did eventually truly get over the affair. My marriage is stronger than ever. It took a lot of work beyond the letter, but it was worth it.  If it helps, you can read more of that very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

Right After I Caught My Husband Cheating, I called Him An Idiot, Stupid, And An @ss. And Now He Won’t Forgive Me And Says I Was Verbally Abusive

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s no surprise that many wives let out a few profanities when they discover that their husband has been cheating.  As someone who has gone through this, I can tell you that you truly are not even thinking rationally at the time.  Words fly out of your mouth that you may not even remember or that you didn’t even really intend.  You may be shocked to hear yourself; and yet, you can not stop.

You may later feel some regret because this display just isn’t like you, but most of us are able to forgive ourselves because of the awful circumstances.  The problem happens when our husband takes this opportunity to hold our reaction against us.  Here’s what I mean.  You may hear a wife explain: “I totally admit it. I called my husband awful things – ‘stupid’, ‘idiot,’ ‘@ssh@le.’  I mean, I really let the curse words fly.  And I never swear during normal times.  I am very soft spoken.  But I was enraged.  I just heard these things come flying out of my mouth.  At the time, I did not even regret them.  This is truly how I felt about my husband. But now he is trying to use this against me.  He is saying that one reason he cheated was that I always say disrespectful things about him and call him names.  And he says on the day that I caught him cheating, I was ‘verbally abusive.’  Now this is just absolute nonsense.  There have been times when we have fought when I told my husband that he was ‘stupid’ or ‘idiotic,’ but I did not call him those things.  And he has has said the same or even worse to me.  The ‘verbally abusive’ line is absolutely laughable. He says it with such conviction that he almost seems to believe it himself, but I don’t see how he could.  That is not a phrase that I would ever use to describe myself.  I think he’s just looking for a way to put the blame onto me.  How do I address this?”

Well, I think that how you address it depends upon the validity of the argument.  It does not sound very valid, but if it were, you’d probably respond differently than you might when there is no validity whatsoever.

Understand His Objectives: It’s also important to keep in mind what your husband is trying to accomplish and I think that you’ve partially hit the nail on the head.  He’s trying to posture to put you on the defensive so that some of the attention is taken away from him and from his mistake. He’s trying to feel at least some justification for his actions.  And, by calling you out when you verbally react, he’s trying to lessen your verbal reaction in the future, which is likely going to make things easier on him.

Understand What Works And What Doesn’t: If you’ve gone over this in your head and you’re sure that what he’s saying has no validity and you have no intention of holding back in the future, then you’ll perhaps want to draw a line in the sand. But I’d like to make one point.  I totally understand your thoughts and actions.  I too said horrible things to my husband after I found out about his cheating. But over time, I learned that the harsh conversations truly had no pay off.  All the harsh language did was to make him defensive and to make me angry.  So while it’s understandable to lash out momentarily, it truly accomplishes nothing in the long run. I got to a point where I journaled the nasty words and harsh language and took to being calm but cold when we discussed things in person.  I found that to be more effective in helping me to accomplish my objectives. But it did take time and practice to get to this point.

I’d suggest something like: “let’s not kid ourselves. You know that this type of language is not typical of me.  And it came only because of the circumstances.  I wonder what type of language you would use if the roles were reversed.  ‘Verbally abusive’ is not a phrase that anyone would use to describe me overall.  We both know that.  In the future, I will try to be more calm when we discuss this.  But don’t call me verbally abusive or act as if I am the one at fault.  We both know that neither of these things are true.  We both know that my reaction was understandable under the circumstances.  I’m not going to accept being called verbally abusive because it just isn’t true.  I know that tensions are high and we might both be just reacting to this horrible situation.  But calling me names that aren’t true isn’t going to help us. So let’s back off of this.  I won’t accept it and it won’t help you.”

It’s very common for cheating husbands to posture in this way.  They’re trying to position themselves in the best way possible to ensure that the fall-out is lessened.  This usually doesn’t work and it is not fair to you, but that doesn’t stop them from trying. It’s a normal reaction based on self preservation.  And they usually need reminding that you aren’t going to accept it in order to stop.

Believe me, I had to remind my husband over and over.  Once he came to understand that the posturing hurt him instead of helped him, he tapered off.  But I did have to keep reminding and redirecting for a while.  You can read more about how I eventually regained my footing on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Do I Love My Husband Again After He Cheated And Had An Affair?

by: katie lersch: I often hear from wives who are having a hard time believing that they are ever going to feel the same way about their husband and their marriages again. Even though that many of these wives really do want to save their marriages, some doubt that this is going to be possible for them.  They just can’t foresee ever feeling love for their husband again after he cheated on them.

I recently heard from a wife who was experiencing this first hand.  She said, in part: “How do you love your husband again after he cheats or has an affair?  Because I can’t imagine that this is ever going to be possible for me.  And I can’t be married to a man that I don’t love.  But his infidelity changed my love for him.   Because when I look at him now, I see a completely different man.  He’s no longer the loyal, attentive, and rock solid man I married.  I now see him as dishonest, sneaky, and manipulative.  I don’t want to end my marriage, but I can’t see any way around it when I no longer feel love for this man.  And I feel that love and marriage go hand in hand.  Would it ever be possible for me to love him again?  Or am I just wasting my time?”

These weren’t questions that I could answer for this wife.  But I could tell her that many wives are able to love their husbands again after cheating, an affair, or infidelity.  This often isn’t an immediate or fast process, but it is quite possible.  I will discuss this more in the follow article.

Loving Your Husband Again After Cheating Or An Affair Isn’t Something That You Should Expect To Happen Immediately: I can’t help but notice that many of the wives who ask about loving their husband again after his infidelity are relatively new to this situation.  Of course, when you are newly struggling, you want to know how long you can expect for the struggles to last.  It’s natural to want to feel better and to want to get your life back to normal as soon as you possibly can.

But love is a very deep and complex emotion.  It isn’t something that can be forced or just decided upon.  It takes time for it to grow. And it takes time for it to be rebuilt once it has been tested.  In order to love someone, you must respect, admire, and genuinely like them.  You often will need to believe that they bring something to the table and add something to your life that you can not (and do not want) to get from any one else.  But, when your husband has disappointed you in this way, it can be difficult to feel this these things for him.

However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t ever feel love for him again.  Many wives do, in time.  But usually, a lot of things need to happen between today and the day that you begin to feel loving toward him again.  You will need time to observe him making good on his promises and conducting himself in a way that you can respect, respond to, and admire again.  As I’m sure you might imagine, this is a gradual process.  There may be days when you can’t imagine feeling love again for your husband because you are so angry at him.  And you may not believe that there will be a day when this anger lessens, even a little bit.  But time can be more healing than you can imagine.  And your husband can and sometimes will rise to the occasion in ways that you might not have previously imagined or hoped for.

The Burden Of Loving Your Husband Again Lies At Least Somewhat With Him: Many wives that I dialogue with give me the impression that they think that loving their husband again is an obstacle that they must overcome alone.  It’s almost as if they think they have to make a decision or declaration about loving their husband again no matter what circumstances or struggles are happening around them.  It’s just not that easy. You can’t turn your feelings on and off at will. And you can’t love someone who isn’t proving to deserving of your love.

It’s my opinion that while you have the responsibility to decide if you want to be open to the idea of loving him again, he has the responsibility to show himself to be worthy of your love.  He can’t expect you to feel very loving toward him if he’s not doing everything in his power to prove to you that it’s safe to do so.

I sometimes have men contact me on my infidelity blog and tell me that they are devastated because their wives have decided not to love them anymore.  I often respond by asking them what they have done to earn their wife’s love all over again.  In other words, what have they done to show themselves to be truth worthy, rehabilitated, and remorseful?  I have to tell you that it’s obvious that some men just don’t have a clue that your loving them is completely connected to their actions and behaviors after the affair.

And I do believe that this doesn’t mean that they’re stupid or that they just don’t care.  It just often means that men can be lost about what they should be doing after they cheated.  Many will look to their wife for clues as to how they should behave.  Unfortunately, often their wife is waiting for them to make the first move.  As a result, sometimes no one makes any move and both people wonder why nothing positive is happening to move the marriage and the feelings forward.

If your husband hasn’t done enough to inspire your loving feelings for him again, I would recommend speaking up and requesting what you need.  Because sometimes, men just don’t know what you expect or they don’t understand what would be their best course of action.  Many wives resist having to “spell out” what they need. They think that their husband should know what to do or should immediately begin making things right because he is sincere.  The truth is, many sincere men are just at a loss.  They aren’t sure if you want for them to back off and leave you or alone or if you want them to take action.

Frankly, sometimes asking for the behaviors that you need to see provides the best possible outcome.  Seeing your husband work tirelessly to regain your trust, to show his love, and to make things right can eventually bring about those loving feelings that we’ve been taking about.  So to answer the question posed, yes, it is possible for you to love your husband again after he cheated or had an affair.  But often, it takes time and it takes very measured efforts.  You often don’t get the best results if both of you just sort of sit back with a “wait and see” attitude while waiting on the other to make the first move.

I can tell you that today, years after my husband’s affair, I love him completely.  This is in direct contrast to how I felt about him in the weeks following the affair.  It took time but the love did eventually return and it remains today.  If it helps you can read about what worked for me and more of that story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Want To Say I’m Sorry To The Woman Whose Husband I Slept With. How?

By: Katie Lersch:  Most of the time, when I get correspondence relating to this blog, it is from someone who is dealing with infidelity, but who is trying to maintain their marriage.  It’s rare for me to hear from someone who has no part in the marriage, but it does sometimes happen.  I do occasionally hear from “the other woman” who is feeling some sorrow or remorse.  Some of the time, she stops short of wanting to reach out to the wife.  She is just wanting someone to listen and she has no need for that person to be the wife.

There are times though when the other woman claims to feel this overwhelming need to communicate directly with the wife to give some sort of apology.  Here is what you might hear: “I can’t say that I had an affair with a married man.  I do not consider it an affair.  I had sex with a colleague when we were away at a conference.  It happened twice over the course of a weekend and never happened again.  I feel strongly that if we hadn’t been together in such close quarters with drinking involved, it would have never happened.  I’m not even attracted to the guy.  And I avoid him at work.  I am married also.  So I know how devastating this would be if it were my spouse who cheated.  I feel so awful about this that it is sometimes all I can think about.  I’ve met the other man’s wife briefly at work get-togethers and she is very sweet.  I can’t stop thinking about her and how sorry I am. I am facebook friends with her, but we are not close friends.  Based on some of her posts, I’m pretty sure that her husband either told her about the fling, or she found out about it from other co-workers. However, I’m happy to see that based on her current posts and photos, it appears that they are trying to work it out.  I yearn to apologize to her, but I am not sure of the best way to go about it.  How should I do it?”

I am going to try to say this in the most gentle way possible.  But as a woman who has been on the other side of this fence when I was trying to rebuild my marriage after cheating, I do not think that you should do it at all.

Why?  Because I can not see it helping the wife at all.  I do not see any up-side for her.  You say that it appears that she is trying to move on.  So what would your suddenly cropping up do for her?  It would bring back bad memories.  It might thwart her progress.  Sure, it might make YOU feel better to get this off your chest.  But your concern is for her, right?

If that is true, and you really and truly want to do what is best for her, my suggestion is to do nothing.  I know that this is not what you wanted to hear.  But I think it is best for her if you step back and to leave her and her husband alone.  If she feels a burning need to talk to you, then she will reach out.  But I think it’s best to respect her privacy and her marriage and to leave this in the past, where it belongs.

I can only speak for myself, but if the “other woman” had suddenly cropped up and expressed that she just wanted to tell me how sorry she was, I would not have welcomed this.  I would have seen no point in it and this intrusion would not have helped me or offered me anything other than frustration or awkwardness.  Of course, every one is different but I so rarely see encounters or interactions between the wife and other woman go well.  I almost never see this scenario accomplish anything positive.

It may make you feel better if you journal about why you are sorry and what you are doing in your own life to make this right.  What you may really be after is to be able to release your feelings.  There is a way to accomplish that without bringing anyone else down or involving anyone else.  Your sorrow is really yours.  And there is nothing wrong with expressing it to yourself.

Because I suspect that what the wife wants is not your pity or your apology.  She likely wants to move on with her life.  And when you suddenly pop up, she’s not allowed to do that.  She suddenly has to stop her momentum and revisit the past.  I can only speak for myself, but this sort of pause wouldn’t be welcome or healthy in my view. I suspect that if she wants to communicate, she will let you know.  Other wise, it is best for both families to try to move on and to deal with the people inside of their own homes.

You’ve said that there is nothing between you and the other man and that there never will be, so why dredge up something that is long over and wasn’t anything to begin with?

I completely understand wanting closure.  But I almost never see an encounter between the other woman and the wife accomplish anything but pain and anger.  Let it go.  She seems to be moving on.  Let her.   And be grateful that the damage didn’t end her marriage.  If you want to do something constructive, do some self work and figure out why you did this and make the necessary changes.  I probably don’t have to tell you that you never want to repeat this process.  You can read more about the healing process of a wife on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Should I Contact The Other Woman For Closure Only?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are really itching to contact the woman with whom their husband cheated or had an affair. Some know that other woman – even if she is only an occasional acquaintance – and others are strangers to her. But most can figure out how to contact her. And some want to actually speak with or write her a letter in the hopes that it will bring them closure and allow them to move on.

I might hear a comment like: “for the past three months, my husband and I have been trying to begin the healing process after his affair. Very slowly, I feel that we are beginning to make some progress. However, I am still very bothered about thoughts of the other woman. She works with my husband. I have seen her, but I do not know her personally. My son plays baseball with her son also so I also occasionally see her at the ball park. At first, I didn’t want to have anything to do with her. But lately, I have begun to entertain the idea of talking to her, or at least writing her a letter. I want her to have to look me in the eye and tell me just why she thought it was OK to cheat with another woman’s husband. And I want to know what my husband said about me and about our marriage. I want her side of the story. And I want for her to see that I am a real, breathing person with real feelings. I could easily wait outside of her office at the end of the day or I could approach her at the ball park. And if I lost my nerve with that, I could always send her an email or a letter. But I really want to look her in the eye. I am starting to believe that I need to contact her in order to get closure, but my best friend says that no good can come from opening this particular can of worms. Is she right? I feel like if I don’t contact her, then I will never be able to stop thinking about her.”

Why Contacting Her Often Gives You The Opposite Of Closure: Before I tell you my very honest opinion, I will tell you that not every one is going to agree with what I’m going to say. Some have called my stance the coward’s way out. But let me tell you why I have the stance that I do. Many people have approached me or written about this very topic. I always discourage them from contacting the other woman for reasons that I will outline below. Of course, some will still go forward and contact her anyway.  I can honestly say that very few come back and say that it went well. The vast majority and come back and say that it was a big mistake because they are more angry than they have ever been during the entire process. And many find themselves thinking about the other woman EVEN MORE than ever. When the goal is to get closure, I have to tell you that contacting her usually gives you anything but closure. And the reason for this is that she will often tell you things that (whether they are true or not) are upsetting. Sometimes, she wants to hurt you. And other times, she really isn’t trying to hurt you, but she is trying to paint herself in the best possible light and so she will make the husband out to be the aggressor.

Many wives envision this meeting with the other woman as a calm meeting in which she is apologetic and she promises that she will stay away. This so rarely happens. She will sometimes feel the need to explain herself and will get somewhat defensive because of this. And even if she doesn’t mean to, she might lash out and say hurtful things or give you mental images that might never come out of your head. And frankly, so many wives tell me that they replay the meeting with her over and over in their mind. If the whole idea is to move on, do you really need even more things to run through your head and ruminate over?

Alternatives To A Face-To-Face Confrontation: Here is my suggestion. Write a letter. Get everything out. Say everything that you want to say to her and then some. And then leave the letter for a week or so. See if just writing the letter helps to release your emotions. My ultimate suggestion is to burn the letter. Many therapists recommend this for closure in all kinds of situations.

If you absolutely feel as if you must have a say, then I highly recommend that you set it up so that the dialog isn’t endless. Send an email or letter so that you have the last word. If you must look her in the eye, say something incredibly brief and walk away. But honestly, this is not ideal. I have never, not once, gotten an email that said “confronting the other woman was the best thing I ever did. Because I looked her in the eye, I never think of her anymore. I am totally able to put her out of my mind now.”

Instead, I get things like: “what a piece of work that woman is. All she could do was tell me how I should have kept my husband satisfied. And then she had the audacity to tell me that she could get my husband back if she wanted and that she could end my marriage on a whim. She said my husband is only with me because of our kids. I was so angry I couldn’t even form a sentence. And I am still so livid. And now I’m thinking about all of the things that I should have said but was too stunned and upset to say. She’s even sent me a couple of sarcastic emails. What a mistake to let that crazy person into my life. What was I thinking? And now I can’t un-ring that bell.”

I completely understand wanting closure. But I can not stress enough how often this goes wrong. Seeing her and having it go badly can delay your progress by a lot. I believe that the best thing that you can do is to leave her behind as soon as possible. Why invite her into your life when your husband has promised to break it off? Now, you must break it off and that means moving past her. Write down your thoughts and feelings if you’d like but don’t bring her negativity into your life. I know that this might not be what you want to hear, but so often, contacting her brings the exact opposite of closure.  Frankly, I got closure once I realized that a while had gone by and I hadn’t thought about the affair.  But, if I had met with her, I can guarantee that my closure would have been delayed. If it helps, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com