I Found Out That My Husband Has Cheated On Me For Our Entire Marriage

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from women who feel as if they have been dealt a double blow. Just as they are trying to process the fact that their husband has been cheating, they have found out that this isn’t the first time that he has cheated. Even worse, it is clear that their husband has been cheating throughout the entire length of their marriage.

I might hear a comment like: “I found out that my husband had been cheating on me with someone who he went to high school with and with whom he has recently reconnected. I demanded that we go to counseling immediately and my husband has complied with this. The counselor suggested that we both go to counseling individually also. My husband hated this idea, but he agreed because he knew that he didn’t have any choice. We have been sticking to this schedule for about five weeks. The other day we had our couple counseling session right after his individual session. The counselor told me that something had come out during that session that my husband now wanted to share with me. At that point, my husband proceeded to tell me that this was not his first affair. I braced myself thinking he was going to tell me that there was another woman before this one. But it was so much worse than that. Instead, he told me that he has cheated off and on during our whole marriage. This means for ten years, he has cheated with multiple women who he has met on business trips and at the gym or at the dentist or wherever he goes. He said that none of these affairs lasted very long and that none meant anything to him. Although the counselor asked me not to make any immediate decisions, this matters a great deal to me. It tells me that my husband has a serious problem that is going to be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. And I feel like the betrayal level has just gone up dramatically. I thought that he cheated with this other woman because she was special to him when he was young. But that’s not true at all. Because he will cheat with anyone who is breathing, apparently. This makes me feel as if our entire marriage has been a lie. I can not even fathom staying now. The counselor is urging me to give him a chance to get treatment, but can this really work?”

Before I try to answer, please know that I am not a mental health counselor. I can tell you my opinion from experience and research, but it’s just an opinion. I’d certainly think that your counselor is more qualified to advise you. With that said, I tend to agree with your assessment that this kind of repeat cheating does show an issue that is obviously one that has never gone away for this husband. Some people will actually tell you that this is good news because once you are able to address and solve this issue, then you can move on.  And they think it is positive that it is not an issue with our marriage but rather, an issue with him. Some wives would actually rather have this type of situation than one in which the husband has fallen in love with someone else and who is hesitant to let the other woman go. The thinking behind this is that it is good news that none of these women really mattered to him.

I am not sure which train of thought that I agree most with. I do know that I have heard of marriages in which repeat cheaters were rehabilitated very successfully. However, it can’t be an easy process. You need to have a husband who is extremely committed to figuring out what is wrong and then who is willing to work for a long time in fixing it. You also need a wife who is both willing and able to stand by him as he is going through this rehabilitation. Not every one can or is willing to do this. And I can not make that decision for you. I ultimately did chose to stay with my husband after his affair and I have never regretted that decision. But, there was only one infidelity. I am not sure what I would have decided if there had been repeat infidelities.  I suspect that the process of recovery would have been similar, but it likely would have spanned and a longer period of time and required more intense professional help. If my husband had been willing to seek that help, then I might have been willing to consider just waiting to see what would happen without making any guarantees or promises. But that is just my own opinion for my own situation. I know that this is very painful. And that is why I’m very glad that you are in the good hands of a counselor.

Regardless of what you decide, I would encourage you to keep seeing a counselor of your own choosing. Regardless of what you end up doing with your marriage, a good counselor can support you through the process and help you navigate each step. And this is true even if you decide not to save your marriage after all. I can’t make that decision for you. I can only say that I have seen marriages return to healthy and happy places in this situation. And I have also seen people end their marriages over this but then, with help, go onto to live their lives in a good and happy place. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here. I just think the question is what is the right answer for you.  And that might not be immediately obvious.  Which is why I agree with the counselor and think that it is a good idea not to make rash decisions.  I always took the “wait and see” approach during my own recovery.  I told my husband that I wasn’t making him any promises but that I was willing to be open the process.   I have never regretted this.  But every one must chose the right course for themselves. If it helps, you can read more about my healing process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Is Full Of Himself After Having An Affair. He Thinks He’s Hot Stuff

By: Katie Lersch:  Many women see their husbands very differently after he cheats or has an affair.  This often involves perceptions of what is on the inside – which is something that you can’t see.  Sometimes though, there is a change of perception about what you see on the outside.  And this change can come from the man himself.  He can see himself differently (and more positively) because he internalizes the approval that he thinks he is getting from the other woman.

A wife might describe this situation: “my husband has always been a decent looking guy. But he has never been vain.  That is one thing that I always loved about him.  I always thought he was gorgeous, but he never seemed to think this about himself.  He could look good without even trying.  He has no self awareness and he would wear clothing he picked out in about two seconds and wouldn’t take any care with his appearance.  Outward looks really never meant much to my husband and that was a big appeal to me.  Well, since he had an affair, suddenly how his looks matter a great deal to him.  That was actually one reason that I suspected that he was having an affair.  Suddenly, he started going to a stylist instead of his usual barber.  Instead of ordering his old standby clothes from a catalog, he began shopping at the store where my son shops which caters to a much younger crowd.  He traded in his SUV and got a sports car that is much too small for our family.  I catch him primping in the mirror all of the time.  He almost struts when he walks.  It’s as if he thinks he’s a male model instead of a middle aged father.  Honestly, I had thought I wanted to save my marriage, but his preoccupation with his looks is now a huge turn off for me.  I’ve never been into men who are conceited and full of themselves and that is just how my husband is acting – like he thinks he’s hot stuff.  He’s good looking.  But Brad Pitt has nothing to worry about.  My husband is still a middle aged man.  And he doesn’t seem to get that.”

I know how frustrating this can be.  He “doesn’t seem to get” that he’s a middle aged man because he simply doesn’t want to – at least for right now.  In fact, much of the time, this is what the affair is all about.  It doesn’t have much to do with the other woman.  But it has everything to do with him desperately attempting to prove to himself that he is still worthwhile and he is still in the game.  Many men have affairs at a time when they are seriously doubting their own attractiveness. So when the other woman tells him how good looking he is, (or at least says this with her actions) it’s sometimes just exactly what he was wanting to hear.

Many of us don’t appreciate that men have doubts about their looks in the same way that women do.  And many of us women will feel that a man who worries about his looks is pathetic and vain. I understand this and I had the same thoughts.  But one day I was in the bathroom and applying heavy moisturizer and feeling a little down about it. And I realized that this was actually the same thing that my husband was probably going through.  Many things about aging are wonderful.  We often realize life truths that have long eluded us.  We are often settled and more confident in some areas.  But we all look in the mirror and know full well that our looks are changing.  Men are no different.

I am not trying to defend your husband.  But I am trying to offer you reassurance that this doesn’t always last forever.  This will often end about the same time that the affair does – particularly if your husband is the one who broke it off.  I know very few men who are still acting this way years after the fact.  This is one way that they externalize what they are feeling inside.  Once the novelty wears off on the inside, you usually see it change on the outside.

One way to help you to have a little patience with this (and not to be as turned off) is to try to see him for what he truly is – a middle aged man who is struggling with insecurity.  It might look like conceit on the outside, but it is really insecurity.  And we all have insecurities as we age.  And many of us will try different skin care regimens or hair styles or ways of dress in a way to counter this and make ourselves feel better.

Yes, your husband has taken it way too far.  But I suspect that it won’t last. I know that you may be tempted to tell him how stupid he looks, but this may make him feel even more insecure and actually reinforce the behavior.  You might seem him primping more instead of less. I think it’s better to try to see him as someone who is struggling and know that it is probably going to pass.  It’s more important to decide where you want to go from here than to focus on his primping.

Unfortunately, emotions tied into how we look become magnified under the scope of infidelity.  I experienced this also.  And for a while, I did focus on improving my appearance because his affair hit my self esteem.  This did make me feel better at the time and improved my confidence.  Feel free to read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Immediately After I Caught Him Cheating, He Said He Didn’t Love Me Anymore. Now He’s Supposedly Changed His Mind Since The Other Woman Doesn’t Want Him

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who are dealing with a husband’s very abrupt change of heart in the after math of his affair. This makes the roller coaster ride that you are already on that much worse. And it makes you wonder when your husband was actually telling the truth – during his initial claim or once he changed his mind.

A faithful spouse might explain: “when I first confronted my husband about his affair, he didn’t even hesitate to tell me that he was in love with her and that he was not going to even consider breaking it off. He made it clear that he believed that he had a future with her. He started posting pictures of them all over facebook and he seemed not to care that my family and friends were going to see it. At that time, it was pretty clear to be that he considered my marriage over. In fact, he told me that he didn’t love me like a spouse anymore and that he loved me like a family member. He insisted that he now felt love for her. I did not want to accept this. It was too much to process. But I had no choice than to start moving on. About two months after this, he texted me and told me that their relationship had ended. He said that he had made a horrible mistake. I told him I appreciated him keeping me updated, but that it didn’t really matter because the damage was done. He didn’t listen. He started showing up to my church and other places where he knew that I was going to be. I run every night at the same place and he often just shows up and says he will take whatever time I can give him. I am sort of flattered that he came to his senses, but I don’t really believe what he’s saying now. A mere two months ago, he was telling me that he was in love with someone else. And now suddenly, because it didn’t work out with the other woman, he loves me again? The problem is, he’s trying to get my kids to help him get me back. They want him back home. There are days when I fantasize about this too, but then I come back to reality. Are there any circumstances under which I should believe him?”

I certainly understand your concern. I would be skeptical also, as I’m sure many women in this situation would be. I can tell you that some men do come back to their wives only after the affair does not work out.  Basically, they see their wife as the consolation prize.  But this is not the case every time. Because some men will swear that it took a little time for them to see their mistake clearly.  But they insist that now that they have seen their error, their love for their spouse returns because they realize that what they felt for the other woman was anything but love. So, it is not impossible for them to have these types of realizations, but the doubt that you have as a result is understandable.

People tend to use a couple of approaches if they have any interest in their marriage. Many go to counseling in order to have someone neutral and qualified to help them sort through this. Going through this process will allow you to see what your spouse is really thinking and feeling and, with time, it will give you more confidence that you can trust him. Others will decide that they will wait and see if their spouse will prove his love over a certain period of time. And others will combine both methods for maximum results.

The truth is, only time is going to tell you if he is sincere. And it is up to you as to whether or not you want to allow him that time. You do not have to make a quick decision on this. You can watch his behaviors over time and see if they are consistent with his claims. Or you can go to counseling with the understanding that you will only continue if you feel that progress is being made. It is ultimately up to you if the effort is worth it. Some women do not want to even think of giving him another chance after being hurt in this way. And others, though doubtful, will decide that they have nothing to lose by waiting to see how this will all turn it. Truly, it is your decision to make and you don’t need to allow yourself to be pressured to make it immediately.

If he is only posturing or is receptive to you simply because he’s let down the other relationship ended, that will become apparent soon enough. If he’s not sincere about his love, then the way he treats you and interacts with you is not going to be indicative of that over time. Most people can fake this for just a little while, but once the novelty wears off, those who aren’t sincere will let down their guard and their lies will be pretty obvious. I know that this isn’t the immediate answer that you may have been hoping for. But honestly, his true feelings often take time to reveal themselves. And yours might also.

You may not be sure where you want to go from here.  And that is fine.  You can tell him that you are still sorting it out and if he is sincere about his love, he will wait, go to counseling, or do whatever else you need for him to do.  I did not feel guilty requiring this of my own husband.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

The Other Woman Keeps Contacting My Wife And Telling Her More And More About The Affair

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from panicked spouses who don’t know what to do now that their “other woman” and their wife are comparing notes. This often happens because, for whatever reason, the other woman feels compelled to spill the beans. And although the cheating spouse will often do everything in his power to stop the communication, the other woman refuses to stop the communication and the two women are now speaking regularly. And as a result, both women are seeing that the husband was telling them two different stories and, in a sense, lying to them both.

You might hear the husband say something like: “I know that cheating was wrong and I never intended for the affair to become a long term thing. But I developed feelings for the other woman. And she is someone who is very honorable. She didn’t want to have a relationship with me because I was married. So I told her that my marriage was in trouble. This wasn’t exactly true. My wife and I had gone through a rough patch. I never intended to end my marriage. But I didn’t tell the other woman that. This was awful of me. I know that now. I realize that I strung the other woman along. Well, the other woman got tired of that. So she called me wife and told her everything. At first my wife, hung up on her. But she called again the next day. And the next. And now they are talking regularly. They have almost become friendly. And they talk about me. At this point, they both act like they hate me. They both refuse to talk to me. I understand that, in a way. And quite frankly, even though I have feelings for other woman, I don’t care as much as to how she feels about me. Because I never intended for that relationship to last.  And I would let it go in an instant to get my wife back.   I care very much about my marriage with my wife. And I want it back more than anything. But my wife would rather talk to the other woman than to me. I asked the other woman not to call anymore but she said I can’t control what she does and that my wife actually wants to talk to her. What can I do?”

Well, the strategy that is going to be effective is going to depend upon whether or not its true if your wife is willingly communicating with the other woman. Because if the other woman was forcing communication with your wife, then you could change your phone number and take other steps toward stopping the communication.

But, if your wife is a willing participant, then there is not much that you can do other than to stress to your wife that you’d like to save your marriage and that you can not do that until the other woman is out of both of your lives.

Don’t be surprised though if she isn’t receptive to this at first. As a wife who has dealt with infidelity, I can offer some information as to why she could be receptive to the other woman right now.  From my own experience, I’d suspect that she is trying to gather information. She wants to know what she is up against. And she knows that you have an interest in slanting the story for your own benefit. In her own mind, she is trying to get to the truth. She likely intends to hear everything that the other woman has to say and she may eventually hear what you have to say with the intention of comparing the two stories and seeing what rings true to her.

There isn’t much that you can do to prevent this process. She’s bound to be naturally curious and she has every right to attempt to get the whole story. You could try promising her that you are going to tell her the entire, complete, and truthful story so that she doesn’t have to get it from someone else. But she may not take you up on that.

I’d suggest trying to be open, honest, and forthcoming and then having patience and allowing your wife to come to you. Pressuring her or forbidding her to speak to someone are not going to help your cause and they may contribute to her pulling away from you even more.

You may consider trying a conversation like: “I know that you think the other woman is trying to offer you something. I know you think that you are getting information from her. But I’d like for you to consider that she is giving you information meant to hurt me and meant to make me lose my marriage.  The truth is, she is motivated by anger. I understand that what happens with our marriage is completely up to you. I understand that you may need time or that you may never want to forgive me. But before you make any decisions, I hope you will hear me out. I am so very remorseful for this. I am so very over the other woman. What I want more than anything in the world is to make this up to you and to retain my family. I know that my own actions have put that in jeopardy. But I hope that one day you will give me the chance.”

Notice that this conversation did not ask her not to see the other woman. That is over stepping at this point and that makes it look like all you care about is stopping her from getting information. You want to instead show her that what you care about most is your marriage and her well being.  And you must be sincere about this.

Focus first on trying to establish communication with your wife. The hope is that this will make her more interested in the idea of saving your marriage which will naturally make her less interested in talking to the other woman.

Once she has lost interest in conversing with the other woman, the real work begins.  You will need to be attending, patient, and understanding.  And you will have to show your wife that your highest priority is her.  You can read more about my own recovery after my husband’s affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Does Our Couples Counselor Want To See My Husband Individually?

By: Katie Lersch: I think that most people would agree that the gold standard of recovery after an affair is finding a marriage counselor who can help guide you through a healthy recovery. After all, many of us have the will to move on and to save our marriage. But many of us don’t have the knowledge of what we need to do next. Most of us aren’t able to identify where we are getting stuck. Counseling or targeted self help can aid us with this.

So most of us are pretty certain that we are doing the right thing when we require that our spouse accompany us to counseling. But sometimes, the counselor says or does things that we do not agree with. And it makes us question our decision. One such example is a counselor who wants to do individual counseling in addition to the couples’ counseling.

You might hear a spouse say: “I can’t deny that going to marriage counseling has helped us after my husband’s affair. When we first started going to counseling, we would erupt into fighting the second that we were alone together. Now, we can communicate for longer periods of time before things go south. And we have to work together in order to do our weekly assignments. It has helped us. I can’t deny that. But last week, the counselor told us that he would like to see my husband individually. She did not really explain why she wants to do this and it makes me feel uncomfortable. Is she only trying to pad her bill now? I know that this is silly, but I’m starting to look back on some of our therapy sessions and I find myself thinking that she may have been flirting with my husband at times. I know that this is paranoid thinking on my part. But I don’t want my husband spending intimate alone time with another woman. Considering what I’ve gone through with his cheating, I think that this is understandable. My husband says he will do whatever I want. He says if I don’t want him to go, he won’t. I am confused about this. Why would she want to see him individually? Should I be concerned?”

I do understand your thought process. It’s normal to be suspicious all of the time when you’ve recently had to deal with this type of betrayal.  I am not a counselor. But I do know that it is very common for a couple to do both couple and individual therapy after an affair. The couples therapy is so that the issues in the marriage can be worked through. And the individuals counseling is so that the counselor can help the individual identify and work through their individual behaviors that could have contributed to the affair or that might now be keeping them from healing in the present time.  It also allows both people to be open and to say things that they may not have wanted to say in front of their spouse.  This makes healing possible when it may have been stalled before.

Many therapists see both types of counseling as necessary. Because it is difficult to completely fix your marriage if the individuals involved are going to keep participating in behaviors that are destructive to the marriage. Often, the counselor will suggest individual therapy to both spouses. I can’t speculate as to why the therapist in the above scenario just asked the husband. This is only speculation on my part, but it could be that she thinks that his issues are the most immediate and that she will evaluate the wife individually later.

I’m not going to tell you that couple’s counseling can’t be successful if you don’t also do individual counseling along side of it. The wife herself said she’d seen improvement. But I don’t think there’s any question that individual counseling would likely improve or enhance your results and make it less likely that your husband would cheat again.

If you are uncomfortable with him going to a woman individually, then you could explore having him see another male counselor for his individual sessions. I think that this is probably a better option than him not going at all.

It is ultimately your decision, and it is promising that your husband has no problem going along with your wishes. But it is not at all uncommon for the therapist to want to focus on individuals as well as couples. I don’t know the parties involved, but I certainly wouldn’t suspect that the suggestion was inappropriate. I’d suspect that the therapist was just trying to do the best job that she could and she saw that the husband could benefit from some individual work as well.

But the decision, of course, is yours. Because obviously, the goal of counseling is to make things better for you, not worse. It’s important that you speak up when you have questions or something makes you uncomfortable. Because your counselor can’t fully help you if she doesn’t know what is troubling you.

I have to admit that counseling wasn’t always seamless after my husband’s affair.  It took some time before I found one that I liked.  And I also used self help outside of the counseling, which helped me a great deal also.  You can read more about how I navigated life after my husband’s affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Is So Matter Of Fact When Recounting The Details Of His Affair. What Does This Mean?

By: Katie Lersch: Much of the time, I hear from people who are trying very hard to pull the details about the affair out of their cheating spouse. Often, this is very challenging. Because once the affair is found out, much of the time, the cheating spouse will clam up, either in an attempt to keep from hurting their spouse or in an attempt to lessen the impact of the affair. It’s pretty obvious as to why this happens.

Occasionally though, I hear from someone who has the opposite problem. Their spouse is blurting out details in a matter of fact, detached tone that has them quite confused.

An example is the wife who says: “it may be quite naive of me, but I never suspected that my husband was cheating on me. I did notice that he went to a certain bar all of the time, but I honestly thought he liked the food. Turns out, he was cheating on me with a waitress there. I have told him that I want all of the details. I expected him to balk at this. I expected that he would honestly be embarrassed to spill everything. But no, it has been just the opposite. He takes a deep breath and he just starts talking in this monotone voice. He talks as though he is talking about someone else and as though he is describing a scene in a novel or something. And then he recounts every details, from conversations to sexual encounters. He doesn’t show any emotions. He just says all of this in a very matter of fact way. What does this mean? Does this mean that he doesn’t care about hurting me? Does he not care how I receive this information? Is he proud of his exploits? I ask because when my best friend’s husband had an affair, it took him months and months to finally tell her everything. He didn’t want to hurt her and he didn’t want her to react to this hurt by divorcing her. ”

I know that this must be painful and confusing. But any answer that I give you is only going to be a theory. Only your husband knows his reasoning, but I think that a few things are possible here. I’ll go over some of them below to see if anything strikes a cord with you.

He May Just Want To Get The Details Over With. And The Matter Of Fact Delivery Is A Way To Mask His Emotion: Your husband may know that there is no around telling you the truth. He may know you well enough to know that you are going to accept nothing less than every detail, so he may have resigned himself to the fact that he may as well just get it over with.

And part of getting it over with is just coming out with it. But that is very difficult. Imagine just for a second if you were the one having to give all of the details. It is not easy. It’s common to become overly emotional because this is very embarrassing and shameful information. One way to get through it is to emotionally shut down. That is why you see the flat tone of voice and the matter of fact delivery.

Does this mean that he doesn’t care? Not necessarily. In fact, it could mean just the opposite. He may know that what he says is going to make you very emotional so he is holding his own emotions back for the fear of making things worse. Of course, I don’t know this for sure, but I think it could be possible.

Actions Are More Important Than His Verbal Delivery: Honestly, you and I could speculate all day. You probably aren’t going to know more about your husband’s intentions until a little time goes by. Quite honestly, you will often learn more about his motivations as you watch his behaviors. Words can easily be lies. But it’s very hard for him to lie with his behaviors .

A man who doesn’t want to hurt his wife ends the affair and then does what he needs to do in order to help her to move on in a healthy way. A man more concerned about himself becomes defensive, continues to be secretive, and pulls away from his wife when she needs his support the most.  It is pretty easy to tell the difference between the two by observing.

His delivery and the words that he uses aren’t as important as how he acts and what he does. His matter of fact tone is likely meant to just help him get through what he has to say. But the real deal will come when you see how he acts moving forward.

I know that his monotone words are hard to hear.  But there is some positive news here.  Many wives have to wait months and months to get to the truth.  You’ve already gotten that out of the way.  Now, you can start observing and healing.   You can read more about how I navigated life after my husband’s affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Long Do Most Men Stay Excited About The Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: When you know that your husband is having an affair and you see him acting like a child at Christmas time, it can be very painful. You know that his sense of excitement and anticipation has everything to do with the other woman. You worry greatly about this, but you have no idea what to do about it. Many times, you will hear that you need to be patient and that this will pass. But you wonder for just how long you are going to have to wait.

A wife might say: “I knew that my husband was having an affair as soon as it started. He’s never cheated before and I never thought that he would. But it was obvious. There was an actual spring in his step. When he would leave the house to go to work, I would actually watch him walk out the front door and go to his car and it almost looked as if he were skipping. Clearly, he was excited to be going to work, which was very unusual. So I started snooping around and I found out that, sure enough, he had been cheating. I was talking about this to one of our mutual friends who actually knows the other woman. She said that I should just wait it out. She feels strongly that this sense of excitement will wear out. And when it does, she feels that the affair will just naturally end of its own. I will admit, this idea does sound more attractive than having a big confrontation. But quite honestly, he’s been acting this way for months. I’m not sure that I can wait even more months for the excitement to fade. How long does it take?”

There is no set answer to this because every situation is different. However, I hear from a lot of couples in the middle of trying to muddle through one partner’s affair. In my view, the husband’s excitement will begin to wane due to a couple of possibilities.

First, it can wane because he seems to suddenly “wake up” and realize his mistake. Many men are not living in reality when they are carrying out the affair. They are able to compartmentalize their marriage and their affair quite effectively. In their minds, they will juggle this situation to the best of their ability while they hope that no one gets hurt.

But this rarely happens. Usually, the wife finds out about the affair and it’s quite obvious that someone has in fact gotten hurt. It’s quite obvious that there is a family at stake. And that can be when reality comes crashing down. And that can take the excitement right out of the situation. Because suddenly, it is not fun and games anymore.

Another possibility is that the excitement can begin to wane when the other woman begins to change her behavior. Very often, the affair starts out as a light endeavor with no strings attached. It’s all about having fun without any pressure involved. This works for a little while when the other woman begins to ask herself what is in it for her. She realizes that he’s leaning on her for escape but he isn’t really offering her much in return. This is about the time when she can start making demands.

And once this happens, the husband realizes that the reality he hoped for isn’t realistic. She’s going to start making demands on him, having expectations and disappointments, and then acting, well, more wife like. When it’s not longer and escape, it’s no longer as exciting.

Finally, nothing stays new forever. It just can’t. Once something becomes familiar, it usually isn’t exciting anymore.

Some wives will wait for the excitement to wear down. And others will confront him because they can’t stand to live the lie anymore. I can’t tell you that one tactic is better than the other. I have seen both work and I have seen both fail, depending on the circumstances.

I believe that the outcome has more to do with the commitment level of each person and with what both spouses decide in terms of their marriage. It can be very hard to make it work until he decides that he is done with the affair and with the other woman and he actually makes good on this by staying away.

At the same time, the end of the affair is only the beginning. There is much work left to do. The good news is that much of the time, the work means that your marriage is usually a much stronger one than you started with.

I know that you were likely looking for a concrete answer. You likely wanted me to say that the excitement lasts for a certain number of weeks or months. I’m sorry that I can’t give you this. Sometimes, reality hits earlier and sometimes it comes later. But most of the time, it comes eventually. The only question is often when.

I know that it is very hard to just sit and watch him act like this.  But I believe the best strategy is to focus on yourself and to tell yourself that your experience is not dependent on another person.  His mistake is not your mistake.  This is his mess to clean up.  Working on yourself is, in my view, never a waste of time.  Once I understood this, I was able to detach for a bit.  And that made all the difference. You can read more about how I navigated life after my husband’s affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

I Am Not Sure That My Husband Will Be Satisfied With Our Marriage And Our Lives After His Affair

By: Katie Lersch: One of the biggest struggles that many wives have when trying to recover from a husband’s affair is believing that their husband really and truly wants them and their marriage. Sure, he may swear that he now realizes what a mistake he made and wants nothing more than to have his family back. And he may be doing his absolute best to make you feel desirable. But, even so, many of us still have those nagging doubts. We wonder if his life with her was more exciting and enticing simply because it was new and fresh. We wonder if our lives and our marriage looks very dull and flat by comparison.

You might hear a wife say: “my husband cheated on me with a younger woman. Even so, he has a lot in common with her because he was her mentor at work. So, they got to travel to another country together and take in all sorts of new experiences. He got to teach her things and they shared a common goal that I am sure bonded them. The other woman actually told me about the affair. She was all triumphant about it and I believe that she thought that once she told me, I was going to force my husband to make a choice and he was going to chose her. This is almost what happened, but not quite. I think that, much to everyone’s surprise, my husband chose me. He actually didn’t chose me immediately. He went away by himself and later, he told me that he saw a family out to dinner and he just wept. He said that right then and there he realized what an idiot he had been. He decided that his family was more important than this other woman. So he transferred to another office so that he won’t have to see the other woman. We are in counseling. Things have been getting better all of the time. We still struggle. I still worry. I am unsure of myself a lot of the time. He tries his best to make me feel desired and loved and I do realize that part of our success depends on me believing what he tells me. But part of me just can not move past worrying about the excitement that I know he had with her. When he was with her, he actually seemed happy to me. Of course, I didn’t know about the affair at the time, but I did notice that he seemed excited about life again. I worry that he doesn’t have that with me. We are the same age so there’s not much for him to teach me. We don’t travel to foreign countries together. There isn’t the newness in our sex life that they had. How can a housewife and mother compete with that? And how could he find that exciting after experiencing what he had with her?”

I understand these concerns because I had them. I’m not going to tell you that you are being silly or that you are seeing problems where none exist. It’s only natural to wonder how your comfortable, enduring marriage would compare to something that was obviously, new, exciting, and forbidden. Not having this concern would be turning away from reality. However, that is precisely what I am going to recommend that you do.

Why? Because your husband has made an obvious choice. He has put his intentions behind this choice by transferring jobs. In today’s economy, this likely came with a career or financial cost to him. But he did it any way. And he said that he was motivated by his understanding that family was what really mattered to him. That is something that the young woman can not offer.

In other words, he has decided that the trips and the mentoring and the novelty of something new isn’t what he wants. What he wants is his family. Does this mean that you shouldn’t keep a close eye on him and on your marriage? No, it absolutely doesn’t. Of course, you should keep your eyes out and be realistic.

At the same time, always having doubt and refusing to believe that you are enough can put strain on a marriage that has already been affected by the affair. If you project that your life is boring and not good enough, and if you present it as if you have something to apologize for, then you may change the way he views you or the marriage.

At this point, I would take him at his word. I would make every attempt to believe that you are providing the family life that he says he wants. And I would work tirelessly on my own self esteem and self worth. Nothing is exciting or as sexy as confidence.

Here’s another thing to consider. I know that you feel a little insecure about the travel and the excitement. Who is to say that you can’t travel with your husband – not for business, but for pleasure? Who is to say that you can not seek out marital excitement? Nothing says that you can’t combine the stability of married life with the excitement of dating your spouse and making it a point to experience new things together.

I totally understand what you are feeling.  But I’d strongly encourage you to give yourself permission to elevate yourself.  Do whatever you need to do to love yourself and to know that you are enough.  Once I understand this, my recovery process completely changed. You can read more about how I navigated life after my husband’s affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Is Having An Affair And Says That He is Leaving

By: Katie Lersch: Many wives will agree that little is worse than finding out that your husband is having an affair. However, unfortunately some wives know that there is something worse – having that same cheating husband announce that not only is he having an affair – but he plans to leave his wife in order to be with the other woman. This leaves the wife with two horrible events to process and to deal with.

I might hear a wife describe it this way. “I honestly don’t think that I would have ever caught my husband in his affair.  I never suspected a thing. He met this woman volunteering. Here I was thinking that he was doing something good for the community and I was encouraging him to get out there and get involved. And the whole time, I was encouraging him to see her. Last week, he announced the affair and he told me that he was in love with her. He said that he was very sorry, but that he was leaving me to be with her. He said he felt such remorse for hurting me, but that if he stayed with me, he wouldn’t be happy and that he would make us both miserable. He said that part of him still loves me, but he knows that I deserve more. Well, what if I don’t want him to leave? I don’t want to end my marriage. Despite the affair, I still love my husband. Oh, I’m very furious with him, all right. But, I don’t want him to leave. I want him to stay so that we can work things out. I’m afraid that if he leaves, he’ll never come back and we will end up divorced. How can I keep him from leaving me?”

Be Careful That He Doesn’t Believe He Needs To Escape From You In Order To Be Happy: I know that it is tempting to just block the door or to try to manipulate or restrain him in any number of ways. But deep in your heart, you have to know that this isn’t the best option. When a man believes that he is in love with someone else, he is always going to see the person who attempts to keep him away from her as the person who he must escape.

And frankly, the more you try to keep him from her, the more that he is going to want her. This is just simple psychology. The thing that is forbidden is just that much more attractive. Think about when you were a teenager and your parents told you that you couldn’t see a boy that they thought was a bad influence or beneath you. How much did you want to be with him then? Probably so much that you were willing to sneak out to see him, right? And didn’t the sneaking make it more delicious?

Well, the same logic applies here. If you stress that she is off limits and you try to stop him from seeing her, then he is suddenly so much more attracted to her and your job is even more difficult.

I know that the last thing that you want to do is to just watch him ride off into the sunset with her, but that’s not what I am implying. Of course you want to tell him that you don’t want for him to go. But you have to be careful about how you say it. You don’t want to come off as the person who is trying to stop his chance for happiness.

So you might say: “I know that there is nothing that I can do to stop you from leaving, but I’d like for you to reconsider. I think that before you pursue a relationship with any one else, you need to evaluate the state of your marriage. And I’m not sure how you are going to be able to do that when you aren’t living here. Of course, I can’t control what you do. Nor am I going to try. But I’d hope that you would consider the many years we’ve had together before you just decide to discard a relationship that has been built over a life time together. Of course, it is ultimately up to you. I have plenty to do in regards to my own healing and well being. And that is what I’ll be doing in the meantime.”

I can’t promise you that this is going to keep him from leaving, but it might give him pause. And when the affair ends, which most do, he will remember your actions right now. And that will likely matter.  Sometimes, it’s better to let him see that the grass isn’t greener than to let him think that you’re scared that he will find out that it is.

Compare this option with what will happen if you lose your cool and you absolutely forbid him to leave and he leaves anyway? Now, he’s left and he’s in a position where he must cling to the other woman because of how he left things with you. This scenario actually pushes them together and makes it more likely that he needs to make every attempt to make things work with her.

But if you make it clear that although you feel that this is all a huge mistake, but that, regardless of his choices, you will be working on yourself, then the scenario is very different once the affair ends.

Of course, at that time, you get to decide how you want to proceed. It’s important to remember that you have choices too and you are not just dependent on his whims when it comes to his affair.

I totally get that you want for the affair to end immediately.  But, you can not force this.  Otherwise, he will want her more.  You have to back away, focus on yourself, and ultimately allow that to be his decision.  Statistically, relationships that start as affairs have a very low chance of success.  So when it fails, you will be in a much better position than you are now.  You will be in a position of strength at that time.  So don’t jeopardize that with your actions now. You can read more about how I navigated life after my husband’s affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Questions Not To Ask About The Affair: Should Anything Be Off Limits?

By: Katie Lersch: I get a decent amount of correspondence from folks asking what questions are important to ask and have answered concerning the affair. Occasionally though, I’ll have someone ask me the atypical question, but the one that is equally as important – what questions should you not ask.

An example is the person who says: “I will admit that lately, much of my days have been spent wondering about my spouse’s affair. And I have asked him many questions. But even though he has been patiently trying to answer everything, there are always more questions that pop up. I want the answers, but I honestly feel like most every conversation that we have lately centered on my wanting to understand the affair. And yet, the more he tries to explain it, the less I feel I understand it. And so I feel like we are going round in circles with no real resolution. And I feel like I’m almost harming the process with my endless list of questions. So I’ve started thinking that maybe I am approaching this in the wrong way. Are there any questions that I should not be asking? Are any questions off limits or harmful?”

I am not sure that there’s any one question that is off limits.  I think it really depends upon the couple and your own healing process that works for you. I recently read that Tori Spelling refused to ask Dean McDermont if this affair had been the only one because she felt that she could endure it if the answer to the question was yes. I understand the fear and the hesitation. But, for me,  the answer would be an important one.  But it is not my marriage that we are talking about and it is not for me to say. Everyone is different. And considering they appear to have a good therapist, I assume that she is guiding them on which questions to focus upon. (And it could be that she is just not ready yet, which I’ll mention again a little later.)

I’m not a therapist, but my opinion on this is that there are certain lines of questioning that are somewhat pointless or harmful. I’ll explain my reasoning behind this below. Again, this is just one person’s opinion and I am not an expert on this topic.

Questions That Have Repeatedly Been Asked And Answered: I think that getting in a rut as far as your conversations go is very common, but very harmful. Like you explained, often he will answer you as best as he can. He will think that he’s trying to be honest. But his explanation doesn’t give you the clarity that you hoped for. You still don’t quite understand. And so you will keep asking the same question – but in different ways. You will come at it differently, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t know he’s heard this all before. Eventually, you may assume he isn’t being honest and he will assume that you don’t care what he answers because you just want to interrogate him.

The point is, because you might never fully understand his thought process (which is very hard, since you weren’t the one with the thoughts,) there is no sense in continuing to pick at the scab, so to speak. Don’t keep revisiting the same old questions, when you are already know how he is going to answer. If you think you aren’t getting the truth, then I’d suggest having your counselor broach it. But there’s no point in going round and round when you both know how this is going to go.

The Questions That Are Personal Attacks In Disguise: Be careful that your line of questioning isn’t really asking anything at all. An example are things like: “so for how long did you keep your filthy lies going?” Or “so when did you take the plunge to become an adulterer?” Or “when did you decide that your children didn’t matter to you?”

These aren’t really questions. They are insults in disguise. I understand why these are so tempting because I uttered them myself. But they serve no real purpose and they only fuel the fire and make both of you angry.

Questions To Which You Are Not Ready To Hear The Answer: I know the feeling of having a million questions and feeling the dire need to have them answered. This need feels immediate – like you’re just going to burst if you don’t know. But, often we blurt these things out and then we are deeply hurt when they are answered. We deeply struggle and we can’t un ring the bell.

That’s why I’d suggest making a list of questions that pop into your head. As more come, write them down. And then ask yourself which ones are really constructive and which ones truly do not matter. For example, of course you need to know the basic Ws and the H (who, what, when where and why.)  But before you ask, think about whether you really want to go there just yet.  You want to take the time to process each answer.  Make sure that you’re ready before you ask.   Sometimes, it is better to stagger the information so that you are not overwhelmed.

And maybe you don’t need to know the silly, arbitrary facts that are going to drive you crazy, like the fact that her favorite color was red or the insight jokes that they shared. These small details are the ones that you are going to revisit and the ones that are going to be the most difficult to banish.

I honestly found it helpful to pace myself as far as the questions went. Because you can only successfully and productively process so much at one time. And it gets tiring – going through the questions every day. So I would make the list and we would save the questions until one agreed upon time. This meant he had more patience because he knew that my questions weren’t going to be a daily occurrence. And it also meant that I put a lot of thought into which questions were most important to me.

I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t ask something that you really want to know. But I am suggesting that often, we ask the same things over and over. And other times, we aren’t asking questions at all. We are just trying to punish or insult him with our questions. And this really does nothing to help the situation.

What worked well for me was to be deliberate about what I asked and when I asked it. Of course this only came after we had a couple of disastrous question and answer sessions.  It took a while for me to learn that if I was more deliberate, I’d get more complete, and honest, responses. You can read more at http://surviving-the-affair.com