By: Katie Lersch: There is a real perception that people who have an affair want to eventually end up together. If both people in the affair are married, there’s an assumption that one day, they will leave their perspective spouses so that they will end up married themselves.
This is not always the case though. Many people are clear that they will NEVER leave their spouse. For whatever reason, the affair meets some need for them and their marriage also meets a need. There is a great deal of curiosity about how this arrangement makes each participant feel.
For example, a wife might say: “I was devastated when I found out about my husband’s affair. I automatically assumed that they would end up married and myself and the other woman’s husband would end up alone. So I very foolishly called her. I was going to beg her to break things off and not to have a serious relationship with my husband. She laughed and assured me that she had NO intention of being serious with my husband. She told me that she loved her own husband and would never leave him. When I told my husband this, he just shrugged. He said that he didn’t plan to leave me either. He said that the affair was just a distraction and that it did not mean a thing to him, as he is sure that it did not mean anything to her. I asked him whether he felt used. Because if I had been in this situation, I would certainly feel used. I would feel like the other person was only using me for sex and then throwing me away. But my husband swears that he doesn’t feel this way. Is he lying because he is embarrassed?”
Guessing How He Feels: It’s possible that he is embarrassed. But quite honestly, I hear from a lot of folks who are having an affair and many of them are quite clear on the fact that they truly don’t want anything lasting or emotional from the relationship. As the other woman said, sometimes the person cheating thinks that the affair meets a fleeting need outside of their marriage. And they honestly try to keep their marriage and the affair completely separate. They often assume that the affair will shortly end and their life / marriage doesn’t need to change. Many like this arrangement because they do not want to become emotionally involved.
From all I have read and heard, it’s very possible for an affair to have no emotional expectations. I think that your husband would probably feel used IF he expected something emotionally or long-term from the other woman. In other words, if he had fantasies of her leaving her husband to be with him, then yes, he may feel used if he later found out she never intended for that to happen.
But, if your husband never wanted a long term relationship himself or if the other woman encouraged him to have NO expectations, then I think he would be less likely to feel used. Because both people were clear on their expectations.
Why You’re Trying To Gauge His Feelings: I think it’s possible that you want to know how your husband feels because you want to know just how invested he was in this relationship. You may sort of buy that the other woman truly didn’t want anything from him, but you may be less sure as to whether he wanted anything from her.
Honestly, the only real way to know this is with time. Because he can tell you that he wants nothing or doesn’t feel used, while pining for her or trying to continue to contact her. But if what he is saying is true, then you should see behaviors that back this up. You should see him coming straight home, being invested in your recovery, and not contacting or interacting with her in any way.
If he’s showing all of the signs that he’s putting his time and energy in you and in your marriage, then that’s a pretty good indicator that he truly has no interest in pursuing the relationship anymore because he wasn’t looking for anything lasting.
Of course, this is just the first step. In order to truly have confidence that he won’t cheat again, you need to understand what need he was trying to meet and then fix the void.
But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Right now, his actions are truly a better indicator of his intentions than what he claims or says he feels or doesn’t feel. People caught cheating can and do use all sorts of words and phrases in the aftermath. But it is their actions that are truly telling.
If he felt used, you might see him getting angry at her or trying to continuously reach out to her. If you are not seeing these signs, then I think it’s better to place you attention on yourself and your own marriage and to get her out of your life. By talking to her and wondering about her, you’re giving her power over you. And believe me, it feels much better once you take your power back. At least this was my experience. You can read more about that on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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