Why Didn’t He Just Leave Me When He Wanted To Cheat?

Sometimes, wives are at a loss as to why their husband cheated while still married to them. They are adamant that if he was unhappy and wanted to be with someone else, they would have given him a divorce. That way, he wouldn’t have needed to lie and to be so deceitful. Of course, this thinking assumes that the husband actually WANTED a divorce. Not all men who cheat have any intention whatsoever of ending their marriage. Actually, many do not. This is what many wives (myself included) have trouble understanding what they are dealing with.

One might say: “now that I have caught my husband cheating on me, I’ve been doing some snooping. This woman was coming onto my husband two years ago. I have an email between them where my husband admits that he ‘is flattered’ by ‘her offer,’ but he insists that while he is married, he can not have another relationship. He insists that this ‘is just not who he is.’ He basically wished the other woman well and told it might be different if he were not married, but he insisted that he WAS married. I suppose that this should theoretically make me feel better, but it doesn’t. Because two years later, she somehow wore him down. The thing is, though, he did not leave me. He did not end his marriage, which is what he insisted that would have to happen. In fact, I honestly do not see a huge difference in our marriage two years ago and now. We were happy then and I thought that we were happy now. We were still having regular and good sex. He was still being sweet and thoughtful to me. But I found a hotel receipt and then an email from her saying she’d been fantasizing about being with him for years and now it had FINALLY come true. According to my husband, it only happened once and it just started. He swears that he WASN’T going to leave me, that he still loved me, and that he just made a mistake after having too much to drink. I don’t buy it. He’s been spending more and more time at the office lately, so I think he’s probably been circling her and trying to get up his nerve. I actually think that he probably made the decision for it to happen (or suspected that it might happen) far sooner than it actually did. I don’t buy that it was just an impulsive, one-time thing that was never going to happen again. So I find myself wondering why my husband didn’t just show the integrity I know him to have and then tell me he wanted a divorce before starting a relationship with her. Why not leave me? Of course, now he’s begging me not to leave HIM. But it’s sort of falling on deaf ears. I certainly would rather not lose my marriage, but I feel the same way that my husband claimed to feel – that if you are married, that’s it. You don’t have other relationships. If you want to have one, then you end the marriage and THEN you have the relationship. My husband swears he doesn’t want a relationship with this woman. He only wants a relationship with me. It just doesn’t make sense.”

I totally get your confusion. Your husband’s behavior does not fit with his words and his character. Unfortunately, I know first hand that men who are otherwise good, upstanding human beings can make colossal mistakes such as this one. In fact, the mistake is so catastrophic that we just can not fathom how he’d risk the very marriage he claims that he wants. I can’t pretend to understand the thought process of a man who cheats. I’m a wife who dealt with this. But I can share what I hear from men in this type of situation.

Some of them will tell you with what sounds like complete sincerity that they love their wife and are desperate to save their marriage. They will cut off the affair immediately and not talk to the other woman ever again. Instead, they will spend their time pursuing the wife that they betrayed. Or they will divorce (because the wife insists upon it,) but they will spend a good bit of time regretting their mistake. I truly believe that there ARE some men who cheat who still love their wife and who never intended to end their marriage. Are they attempting to have their cake and eat it too? Yes. Does this excuse them? No. But they fully believe that they love their wives and they typically beg her not to leave.

I know that it doesn’t make sense. And only your husband can tell you what changed in two years (although he himself may not totally understand this.) He may claim that nothing changed when it comes to his feelings for you. Men will often tell you that they cheated at a time in their life when they were off in some way. This might have to do with their jobs. Or with their aging parents. Or with their health. Or with what they perceive as their fading looks or vitality. But many will absolutely insist that it had nothing to do with their wife.

That’s not to say that some cheating men don’t lie to the wives who have caught them. This must be considered also. Your husband’s behaviors going forward will tell you alot about his intentions. However, I’d suggest that some men are telling the truth when they claim they never planned to leave you OR the marriage. This might not be enough and no one could blame you for that. But many men have affairs or one night stands and still very much believe that they love their wife and are invested in their marriage.  I know that this is a huge, unfair contradiction.  But men can often separate the affair and their marriage in a way that some women never could (myself included.)

Counseling might help him to uncover what motivated him to cheat while in a loving marriage and after already rejecting the other woman once.  That would indicate that he had every intention of doing the right thing, until something went wrong.  And that would bolster his claim that he doesn’t want a divorce.   Of course, you get to decide whether the same is true for you.  Recovery after an affair is possible, but not easy.  You can read about some ways that I ultimately accomplished it on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Infidelity And Narcissism: Is There A Connection? Can It Be Overcome?

By: Katie Lersch: Some of the wives that I hear from who are dealing with cheating husbands will also tell you that their husband is a narcissist. They’ll tell you that he cares about his own needs more than anything else and that he feels entitled to get what he wants at the expense of others. Despite this, some of them want to save their marriage and they wonder if a narcissist has it in him to be faithful.

A wife might say: “honestly, five years ago, I would not have told you that my husband was a narcissist. Until recently, I did not know what a narcissist was. After I found out about my husband’s affair, I started to do some psychological research and I came upon information about narcissistic personalities. I am now convinced that this fits my husband to a T. Honestly, throughout our relationship, it has mostly been about him. That is not to say that I didn’t feel loved or he couldn’t be sweet. I did and he could. But my husband fully expects his needs to be met before anyone else’s – including our children. If I spend too much time with our kids and he feels slighted, he will let me know, even though our kids are small and he is a grown man. He constantly brags about himself and his accomplishments around others. Success and how people perceive him are very important to him. He also seems to feel that the rules do not seem to apply to him. I was talking about this with one of my friends and she agreed that my husband has narcissistic tendencies, but said that this dooms my marriage because people with this personality never change. Is she right? Do narcissists cheat more often and can they learn to stop?”

I have seen studies which have indicated that partners with a narcissistic personality are more likely to be unfaithful. This is especially true if they feel a sexual sense of entitlement. However, it’s incredibly important to note that true narcissism is a personality disorder and a clinical diagnosis. There’s a huge difference between this type of disorder and just common selfishness. I’m not a therapist, but I would urge you not to try and diagnose your husband yourself unless you’re a professional mental health counselor. Because it is true that it can be much harder to save your marriage (and affair – proof it later) when you’re dealing with a true narcissist. Why? Because they lack two important things that are needed to both recover from an affair and to remain faithful:

1. The person committing the affair needs to be accountable and to take responsibility for their actions and;

2. The person committing the affair needs to understand and have empathy for their spouse’s pain.

Both of these things are very unlikely for a true narcissist.  They think that normal societal rules don’t apply to them and they have trouble with empathy, (especially if they feel that their behavior is justified.) That said, many, many wives will tell you that their husband is trying to downplay the affair and doesn’t truly appreciate her pain. However, this can be very different from the behavior of husbands who have a true personality disorder. Many husbands try to downplay the affair because they know that their wives are angry at them. And their lack of sympathy can be in part posturing because again, they’re hoping to limit the fall out of what they have done. I guess the point that I’m trying to make it that some wives think that their husband has a personality disorder after his affair when he’s just a typical guy in a very bad way (which lead to the affair in the first place.) Because of this, he’s in a state of denial and he’s posturing. This is very different from a narcissist with a true personality disorder.

Because of the difficulties stated above, the ideal is to take your spouse to counseling and have that person diagnose him (or hopefully rule out a diagnosis.) However, sometimes people in this category think that the rules don’t apply to them and they are therefore resistant to counseling. If you are truly dealing with a diagnosable type of this personality, then it could be difficult to save your marriage or to prevent a repeat of this behavior without counseling. I have read about instances where it was successfully done, but the person in counseling had to want it so much that he overcame his initial reservations and sense of being “above it.”

In short, the narcissist has to believe that he has this disorder and has to also want to change. He has to humble himself enough to get help and to admit that he has made a grave mistake.  Then, he has to take responsibility for that mistake and feel empathy for it. All of these things do not come naturally for a person with this type of personality. They need help in order for these things to happen.  So yes, dealing with an affair with a narcissist can be difficult, but not impossible. With that said, many husbands exhibit this type of cold and distant behavior after an affair because they are trying to justify or downplay their behavior. They don’t have a personality disorder. They just find themselves in an unfortunate situation of their own making and they are trying to get out of it.

I definitely found my husband’s behavior to be selfish, immature, and deplorable during and (at times) after his affair.  But I do not believe my husband has any type of personality disorder. He can be empathetic, kind, loving, selfless, diplomatic, and quite fair in every day life.  He was just trying to justify his behavior at the time.  We did recover, but not until he figured out that he needed to take full responsibility with no back tracking.  There’s more 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/

How Can A Man Who Loves His Wife Have An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who are really struggling with the reality that their husband has had an affair. Often, the hardest part for them is not the betrayal itself, but the circumstances that preceded the betrayal. Many of these wives are so confused because they had good marriages and loving husbands. In fact, many believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that these same loving husbands would never cheat. And, many of these wives will admit that they suspect that their husband still loves them, even after his cheating. That’s why his cheating can be so horribly confusing.

I heard from a wife who said: “there is no doubt in my mind that my husband loved me during his affair and I fully believe that he loves me now. That’s why I simply can’t wrap my brain around why he would cheat on me. I admit that our lives were stressful when I was undergoing treatment for severe medical issues. But my husband was so loving and supportive during that time that I never would have suspected that he was caring for me in the evenings and then having an affair with his coworker during the day. How could he know that I was home sick and still carry out what he did? How could he love and worry about me and then sleep with someone else? How can a man who truly loves his wife cheat on her?”  I will try to answer these questions in the following article.

Often, A Husband’s Affair Doesn’t Have Anything Whatsoever To Do With His Love For His Wife: There are many types of affairs. We all know of or have even heard from the husband who will claim he cheated or had an affair because his wife just didn’t understand or appreciate him. Or, he’ll say that his wife had let herself go or had changed, so as a result, he fell out of love with her and had an affair with someone else.  In fact, that is so common an excuse that many people will just assume that a cheating husband no longer loves his wife. This is most certainly not true in every case. A good number of cheating men actually love, adore, and lust after their wives. Men who have good and active sex lives cheat. Men who could not ever imagine their lives without their wives still cheat. Men who look their wives right in the face and truthfully declare their undying love cheat on those same wives. Why? Because sometimes the cheating and the love have nothing to do with one another.

If Men Don’t Cheat Because They No Longer Love Their Wives, Then Why Do They Cheat?: There isn’t one answer to this question. But, if I had to simplify it, my answer would be to provide a diversion or relief from some problem or issue that is usually completely separate from their marriage. Sometimes, they cheat in times of stress during which they feel powerless. In the above scenario, the wife’s health issues had been very stressful on both she and her husband. By no means am I using this to defend her husband’s actions. But, for whatever reason, it is very common for men to cheat during times when they under a high amount of stress like an illness, a job loss, or a period of feeling helpless. During such times, the cheating is in response to the stress and is an attempt to make the man feel less helpless or worthless. It doesn’t have anything to do with his love for his wife, which is still very much in tact. In fact, sometimes part of the frustration comes with loving your wife and with feeling powerless to help her like with the above situation.

Another thing you’ll often hear is the husband say is that he didn’t feel that he was “good enough” or “worthy” of someone like his wife so he sabotaged his relationship because, again he was struggling with those feelings of being worthless.

If Your Loving Husband Cheated Or Had An Affair, Where Does That Leave You?: Most likely, you will have a choice to make. There are times when wives in this situation will begin to doubt their husband’s love for them, even when there is that little voice in the back of their head that says things like: “but remember that time when he stayed up with you all night when you couldn’t sleep?” Or “remember how he looks at you? How can he fake that?”

It’s very difficult to juggle the knowledge that he has done very loving things and acted in loving ways and yet he has committed an act that betrays that love. And yet, among all the confusion, there’s still a choice to make. You’ll ultimately need to decide if that same love is enough. You’ll need to ask yourself if the remaining love is enough for you to try to rehabilitate your marriage and work through whatever personal issues may have lead up to his cheating.

That is not a decision that anyone can make but you. Some women will look at both the man and the marriage over the course of many years and decide that the good things that he has done outweigh that one bad decision. And others will decide that no matter how much they love their husband or he loves them, cheating is just not something that they will ever overcome.

I know it is a difficult decision, but I hope this article has shed a little light on how it’s possible for a man who loves his wife to make a very huge mistake and to cheat.

I actually never doubted my husband’s love for me after his affair.  I knew he loved me before, during and after it.  The question really was if that love was enough to pull us through.  In the end, it took more than love.  It took a lot of work, determination and skill.  But we made it.  If it helps, you can read all about it on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Is My Spouse Being So Mean To Me After Cheating?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from spouses who are so upset that their cheating spouse is not only not showing remorse and guilt, they are being downright hateful and mean. This can leave the faithful spouse wondering what they have done to deserve this kind of treatment, especially since they weren’t the one who cheated.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband cheated on me with a coworker. He only admitted it because I caught him. When I confronted him, he acted as if I did something wrong. He acted like I was the most deplorable person imaginable for spying on him, even though all the signs of cheating were there. He hasn’t left me. I think he is scared that if he leaves, I won’t give him access to the kids and it is going to cost him a lot of money. But he is so very rude and mean to me. You would think that a man who cheated would be falling all over himself to be sweet in order to inspire some forgiveness. But he is actually just the opposite. He’s distant. He make nasty comments about me being a snoop under his breath. He insinuates that he cheated on me because my own behavior drove him to it. Sometimes, I feel like replying that if I’m such a horrible person, what is he doing still married to me. But then I become afraid that I don’t want to know the answer to that question. I don’t understand why he’s acting so nasty. I haven’t done anything wrong. I think I’m a good wife. Yes, I spied on him. But he deserved it. Why is he acting this way?”

There can be many reasons that cheating spouses will act less than kind to their spouse after they have been caught cheating. Most of the reasons are the result of some sort of defense mechanism or an attempt to justify the cheating. I will discuss this more in the following article.

If Your Spouse Admitted (Even To Themselves) That You Are In No Way At Fault, They Would Feel That Much More Guilty: Very few cheating spouses want to admit to your innocence (even to themselves.) But very few people can cheat and not be almost overcome with guilt. Even when you know that your spouse isn’t perfect or there is no doubt that your marriage is seriously lacking, deep in your heart, you know that cheating is wrong. People who cheat often hear little voices in the back of their heads that make them feel such shame because the voice asks how they could do this to someone who loves and trusts them.

One way to quiet that voice is to attempt to make your spouse out to be the bad guy. Because if you admit that your spouse is a decent person who is loyal and loving, then you really must be jerk to betray them in this way.  So sometimes when he is mean to you, this is his way of distancing himself. He wants to paint you as less than perfect. He wants to be angry at you. Because this makes it so much easier for him to carry on his cheating.

He Might Be Being Mean Because He Wants To Keep You At A Distance As A Defense Mechanism: As hard as it is to listen to that little voice in your head when you’re cheating, it’s also awful to have to look your spouse in the eye and face them once the ugly truth has come out.

Often, they don’t know what to do or say. And the sight of you in such pain and with so much disappointment written all over your face is almost impossible to bear. The look in your eyes reminds them of what they have done all over again. So to spare themselves pain, they want for you to keep your distance. One way to ensure you keep your distance is for them to be mean to you. They are hoping that as a result, you won’t ask for all the details or won’t make demands.

How To Handle It When Your Spouse Is Being Distant Or Mean After They Cheated: Even if you’ve begun to understand why your spouse might be acting the way that they are, none of this makes their behavior right. And I sometimes if you don’t call them on this behavior, they may try to continue it. I believe it’s best to comment on it rather than continuing to allow it to happen.

So the next time he makes one of those snide comments, you might consider stopping him and saying something like: “do you think I don’t hear that? Your comments are hurtful and I can’t pretend otherwise. You act as if I have done something wrong or that I have done something to hurt you when you know that neither is the case. I can’t continue to allow you to treat me this way. You say that you are staying and that you want to save our marriage. But we can’t do that if you continue to treat me this way. If I’ve done something to make you angry or to inspire your comments, then let’s discuss it right now. Otherwise, I don’t want to hear it anymore. Nothing that I have done justifies your cheating on me. That is the issue that we need to work through. So when you are ready to talk about that, I’m willing to listen. Until then, I won’t listen to you belittle or criticize me when I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Sometimes, this will be enough and he will realize you are not going to let him get away with this. It is important that you don’t just pretend as if you don’t care or allow him to continue on. Because if you don’t counter him, then he has no reason to stop. And you really can’t rebuild a healthy marriage if he can’t respect you enough to stop the rude or mean comments.

My husband did try to posture in the days and weeks after my learning about the affair.  But I wasn’t going to allow certain things and I quickly made him aware of this.  He backed down, but not without a lot of resentment in the beginning.   Still, it really helped to set those boundaries because we both knew what to expect.  If it helps, you can read my story of recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Is My Husband So Defensive After His Affair? What Can I Do About It?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who are having trouble figuring out their husband’s odd or troublesome behavior after his affair. One common example of this is defensiveness. Many wives notice their husband acting particularly defensive to any question, comment, or remark.

I recently heard from a wife who said “no matter what I say to my husband, I get a very defensive remark back. I’m not always accusing him or even talking about the affair half of the time, but I still get the same response. It’s as if he’s constantly expecting me to attack or criticize him. I won’t deny that I am angry at and disappointed in him. But what does he expect? He cheated on me and he had an affair. Of course I’m going to have questions and some angry words. I feel that I deserve that. But it’s not as if I’m constantly harping on him about it. This doesn’t matter though. No matter what I say, how I say it, or what we are talking about, I’m going to get a defensive response. Why is this? And what can I do it about it?”

I will try to discuss these questions and concerns in the following article.

Reasons That Husbands Are Defensive After An Affair: As you might imagine, there are many reasons that men might feel or act defensive after an affair. He likely knows very well that you are disappointed and angry at him, so the defensive attitude and stance that you are seeing right now is almost a preemptive strike against that. He sometimes will feel that if he can strike first with the wall he’s built around himself, he won’t feel your disappointment, hurt and anger quite so deeply.

Another reason you might feel or see him being defensive is that he feels as if he needs to justify his behavior, even to himself. So he’s always waiting and ready to tell himself (or you) that he had his reasons for acting as he did. Sometimes, this is a reaction to his feeling guilty and ashamed for what he has done so he tries to counter this with his defensiveness.

Finally, I do sometimes have men contact me on my surviving the affair blog and tell me that they constantly feel attacked by their wives about the affair. Whether this is true or not, sometimes when men feel attacked, they strike back themselves in their own way, and this is often with those defenses that they have been rehearsing in their own head. In short, this is a way for them to feel better about themselves when they know that they truly have hurt you and have made a grave mistake.

What You Can Do When Your Husband Is Being Too Defensive After He Cheats Or Has An Affair: First, you have to understand that it’s human nature to want to defend yourself when you think you’re being made out to be the sole bad guy in a situation. With that said, I certainly don’t want to imply that you are anyway at fault because you are not. Your husband is the one who made the decision to cheat. However, if his attitude is hurting or frustrating you even more, then perhaps it’s time to have an open or honest discussion about this.

Here’s just one example. The next time you notice that your husband’s defensive behavior is driving more of a wedge between you or is making the situation worse, you may want to consider saying something like: “l can’t help but notice that your responses and reaction to me are very defensive lately. I understand that you may be feeling like you want to defend or explain yourself. But, your continuing to constantly be defensive and refusing to open up isn’t really doing us any good or making our marriage better. I can’t help having questions and being disappointed or angry, but I will try to make my comments sound less like personal attacks and more like legitimate concerns. If you do end up feeling attacked, please bring it to my attention so that I can be aware of it and stop. In the same way, I will bring it to your attention when you’re being too defensive so that we can both back up and start over. Because we’re both going to have to work together and bring down our defenses, accusations, and hurtful interactions if we can save our marriage and move on. And, whether you believe it or not, that truly is what I want to do. I want for us to heal and move on, but in order to do that, I need to be able to understand what lead up to this, how you feel right now, and what can do to keep this from happening in the future. Along those lines, I need you to be open and honest with me instead of being defensive. So can we agree to both approach this differently from now on?”

Do you see that I tried to keep things positive and direct? It’s important to stress what you really and truly want. Because if you can both keep your focus on saving the marriage and moving forward, you can hopefully take the focus away from the negative things that are going on like the defensiveness and accusations.

My own husband’s defensiveness after his affair was probably at least somewhat due to my constantly attacking and questioning him. However, at the time, I wanted and needed those answers. Eventually, once we changed our focus, this cycle drastically improved and we were able to save our marriage. If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Can I Get Over My Husband’s Affair Once And For All?

By: katie lersch: If you’re Googling and researching phrases like “how to survive an affair,” “how to forgive my husband’s affair,” “how to get past an affair,” etc., then I can certainly identify and empathize with you and hope that I can help. My husband had an affair several years ago and at that time, I thought my world was ending and could not see past it for a long time.  But, although I never would have believed it at the time, not only did I survive it, it actually made our marriage stronger. No, it wasn’t easy and it took a lot of patience and work, but in the end, the affair brought certain issues into the light that were hiding in the dark, issues that I never knew existed, but which were laying in wait, ready to sabotage my marriage. The affair also gave rise to self esteem issues that I had been battling for a long time, but finally overcame. However, first things first. This article will give you some tools to help you survive or get over your husband’s affair.
Don’t Obsess Over The Issues That Won’t Help Your Healing, Like Details About The Other Woman Or Who Knew About The Affair: I know that this may sound impossible to you now, but trust me when I tell you that obsessing over the other woman or what she has that you don’t, (who she is, how they met, what she looks like, etc.) will not help you heal. All it is going to do is contribute to a destructive cycle that feeds upon itself and only makes the situation and your mental state worse. It’s perfectly normal to wonder about this, but it just isn’t worth it. It will only put destructive images in your head that will be hard to banish.
There’s a well known infidelity study which polled married men who had cheated. Only 12% of them said “the other woman” was prettier than their wife.  So put that worry to rest. There’s nothing special about her. Another common place where we get tripped up is that we want to know ALL the ways that we were betrayed. We want to know who else knew and how this whole charade was pulled off. So, if one of our neighbors or friends knew, then we will then turn our rage towards them too. The problem is that now we will begin to feel that the whole world has conspired against us, when really, this isn’t true. Feeling like a black cloud is hanging over you is only going to delay in your healing. No good is going to come of it.  For me, people I trusted (my husband) deceived me, but others (neighbors) were trying to protect me. Understand that there are really only two people to place direct blame upon here – your husband and her. Of those two, your husband is the only one that you want to have contact with – this should be the only relationship with which you concern yourself.
When You Are Ready, Understand Why The Affair Happened: It may be a while before you are ready to hear and understand the full details of the affair, (you may never want to hear it all) and you may need help understanding what your husband is really saying. Men are sometimes horrible at effectively communicating their feelings. They will give you vague, silly explanations like “it was just a mistake,” “it didn’t mean anything,” or “it’s not me, it’s you.” These things can sometimes sound like lies your husband is either telling himself or telling you.
However, you may be surprised to know that according to much research and counseling I have participated in, these phrases are often rooted in the truth.  Many men cheat simply because they’ve lost important feeling about themselves. I’ll explain. When a man is young and in love, he feels virile, alive, attractive, worthy, and competent. This is often because the woman he loves is lavishing a lot of attention, appreciation, and affection his way (often when you are first dating). Eventually though, married couples have to focus on other obligations like your job, your kids, your aging parents, etc. Many wives assume that their husband sees their struggle to juggle it all, knows that you love him, and would give him more time and attention if you could.
This assumption is partly wrong. Men feel guilty to want and need so much of your attention. So, instead of saying “hey honey, you know all those good feelings we were generating? Well, I want to get them back. Can I have more of your time?,” they will go and try to generate these feelings somewhere else. (Of course, this is messed up logic, but they don’t see it at the time.) Often, they don’t mean to hurt you, it really doesn’t mean a whole to them, and they never think you will find out. So, they assume they will just take care of this problem themselves and then everything will carry on. (This is unbelievably wrong, but they don’t understand this.)
In the infidelity study I mentioned earlier, over 77% of the men surveyed said they were “deeply sorry,” about the affair. And the vast majority said they cheated for EMOTIONAL not  PHYSICAL reasons. Many people assume that affairs are all about sex. They aren’t and it’s a huge mistake to think so. Knowing this then, should at least give you a foot hold on how to proceed. You absolutely need for your husband to understand the devastation of his actions. He is certainly not blameless. But likewise, you need to understand the factors that contributed to the affair so that you can address them if you want to save your marriage, if you want to.
Turn The Focus Away From Him (At Least Initially) And Turn It Towards Healing Yourself And Boosting Your Self Esteem:  Obviously, especially at first, the affair is going to encompass a huge chunk of your life. However, don’t let yourself get lost in the mix. Don’t put yourself on the back burner. So often, a woman whose husband has cheated will have a huge blow dealt to her self esteem. She will feel old, ugly, and not sexually alluring. Please understand that although these feelings are natural and understandable, they will eat you alive.  And, this self doubt is a marriage killer.  Your husband may be very sincere when he tells you that he still finds you extremely attractive, but self doubt or low self esteem will ensure that you don’t believe him.
It’s a vicious cycle. Take great pains to focus on your own self care and your own self worth. Get a complete make over. Take up a new hobby. Get out and see friends. Do whatever you need to do to put a genuine smile on your face. This will send a distinct message to your husband and to your own self conscience. In order to really “get over an affair,” you need to fully understand that it wasn’t your fault and that there is nothing at all wrong with you or something that some other woman had that you don’t or didn’t. This was a horrible, unfortunate decision your husband made that has less to do with you then you might think. But, you can heal from it – and so can your marriage, if that is what you want. Yes, it may take a bit of work, but in the end, I know from experience that you, and your marriage, can emerge stronger as a result.
Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger than ever after my husband’s affair. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry that my husband will cheat again. You can read my story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Would My Cheating Husband Want To Stay With Me?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who doubt the sincerity of what their husband is saying after he cheated or had an affair. This can especially be true when the husband is insisting that he wants to stay in or save the marriage when his previous actions have completely contradicted his claims. The wife can wonder if he is really sincere or has an ulterior motive.

I recently heard from a wife who said: “my husband accidentally left his email open a couple of weeks ago and I read some emails that made it obvious that he had been cheating on me. When I confronted him, he immediately admitted it and then said that he was going to break it off on his own. But, a couple of weeks later, I logged on again and there were more emails showing that he had lied and was continuing on with his cheating. Of course, I confronted him again and he was overcome with emotion and begged me to go to counseling with him because he said he could not stand to lose me. At this point I do not know how to respond. What is the point? Why would my cheating husband even want to stay with me and stay married? I mean, if he’s so unhappy that he is going behind my back and cheating, then what kind of marriage do we have anyway? He obviously doesn’t love me or he would not have cheated. He clearly doesn’t value our marriage or have the personality to be truthful and faithful, so why even bother with all of this pretense. Part of me wants to try the counseling but the other part of me wonders why a man would even want to stay with a wife that he needs to cheat on anyway.”

I can certainly understand this wife’s reservations. She had caught him cheating twice now so his actions and his words were definitely contradictory. But this wife was operating under the assumptions that many wives embrace. They think that a husband who loves his wife and values his marriage does not cheat. And along these same lines, they think that a man who cheats no longer wants his wife or his marriage. I can tell you from all of the emails that I get on my blog from married men who regret cheating that this is not always the case. I will explain this more below.

Many Husbands Who Cheat Can Still Love Their Wives And Want To Stay Married: I understand why many people think that cheating husbands have already drawn a line in the sand and have chosen to leave their marriage. The men that I hear from contradict this assumption on almost every level though.  Many of them still love their wives very much. In fact, many will put all of the blame on themselves and will tell you that the problem lies with them and not with their marriage or with their wife.  And because of this, they reason, there is no need to abandon the marriage because of their poor judgment.

Countless marriage survive cheating and affairs. And frankly if those same couples were not completely committed to their marriage, they probably would not make it. The process of healing after an affair is often not at all pleasant. In fact it can be downright painful. People who don’t truly love their spouses are not as likely to stick it out. The fact that your husband is willing to stick it out may well say something about him and about his feelings for you.

Some Reasons That Cheating Husbands Want To Stay With Their Wives And Remain In Their Marriages: The biggest reason is that they realize that they have made a mistake and they are hoping that they can find a way to ensure that the mistake is not a permanent one. Once they are faced with the risk of loosing their wife and their family, they realize how awful this would be. They become more protective of and appreciative toward their marriage and their wife. I completely understand the wife having doubts. You would worry about her if she didn’t.

And, I always advocate that wives watch their husbands very carefully while he is trying to prove his love for and his commitment to them and the marriage after he cheated. But to just assume that the cheating means he doesn’t love or want his wife can be the wrong call too.

Many Wives Think Their Cheating Husband Wants To Stay With Them For These Reasons: Many wives who doubt that their husband really wants to stay married will tell you that he’s probably staying out of loyalty or because he doesn’t want to lose money or financial possessions thorough a divorce. And many wives will tell you that he is afraid of losing his children or of what society will think of him. These are all valid concerns. But I have to tell you that I rarely hear men admit to these reasons. That might be because my articles are focused on rehabilitation and saving your marriage, but I rarely have a cheating husband tell me “I don’t really want to stay married and I’m only staying out of a sense of obligation.”

The bottom line to me is that your husband may well give you every reason under the sun as to why he wants to save your marriage. You may be very tempted to discount each and every one of them as lies. But before you do, consider watching his actions for a while before you make a decision. He can say whatever he wants and make all types of claims. But it is his actions that will tell you the truth. In this case, the wife should look for follow through and transparency. The husband should offer open access to his email and he should follow through on counseling and show with his behaviors that his wife is his top priority. If he did these things for long enough, then perhaps the wife would be justified in believing that he was sincere in wanting to stay with her and in the marriage after his cheating.

It took me a long time to believe that my husband really wanted to stay with me after his cheating.  But not only did our marriage survive, it eventually thrived.  But it took a lot of work.  If it helps, you can read that very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Gets Mad When I Laugh About His Affair

People often assume that the wife on the other side of the affair feels only painful emotions like sadness, fear, and anger.  Would it surprise you to know that some women actually laugh sometimes after the affair has been found out?  It seems odd, I know.  But some wives just can’t help but laugh at the irony of it.  Or they will laugh because it forces them to see their husband in a unflattering (and somewhat humorous) light. Needless to say, the husband isn’t always a good sport about this humor, which can make it difficult to salvage the marriage.

Someone might say: “I know that this is going to sound weird, but I often find myself laughing in my husband’s face about his affair.  Yes, I am doing it to be mean, at least somewhat.  But also, there are parts of it that are genuinely funny.  Like, for instance, my husband met this other woman in an airport bar.  She is ridiculously young.  I can just picture my awkward, aging husband trying to stammer out charming, hip words to her.  I can’t get that imagine in my head without laughing.  Then I picture her all wide-eyed and trying to act like she is genuinely interested in him and genuinely cares.   That too, is funny.  Of course, as soon as I found out and I was tightening my grip on the finances and such, she broke it off with my husband because what good is a sugar daddy who can’t support you?  That made me laugh, too.  My husband says he wants to save our marriage.  Sometimes I want that too.  Other times, my anger gets the best of me and I think that maybe I will just leave him.  The thing is, I put a lot into this relationship and I worked a long time to be in a stable home.  I hesitate to throw this all away only to have to start over again. But then when my husband and I are trying to just communicate about our marriage and the affair, I will ask him questions again about how things went down and of course I will laugh again because I get this mental image of this old man in the airport.  He gets angry and says I portray him like an idiot.  I don’t want to state the obvious –  but he DID act like an idiot so why can’t he just stand up to it now?  I don’t know how to shut down my laughter.”

I do understand your dilemma.  But I think you need to ask yourself what you really want.  If you are no longer invested in your marriage, then there’s no harm in letting your feelings, and your humor, show.  However, if it could be remotely possible that one day you might want to repair your marriage and want your husband to remain faithful (and not cheat again,) then you have to be careful of how you phrase things.  Why? Because your husband likely cheated EXACTLY for the reasons that you’ve stated – he’s an aging man who is awkward.  So when this young woman (even though she was faking) pretended to be interested in him, it made him feel relevant and competent.  He responded BECAUSE he felt exactly how you see him – aging and unsure. When you highlight these insecurities, you just reinforce what made him cheat in the first place.  Does this mean that you have to build him up when you’re furious with him?  No, it doesn’t.  But I would let your counselor bring out these types of details so that you don’t have to.  That way, there is less of a risk of your laughing.

In truth, your husband likely knows deep down that what you say is true.  He knows that its a cliche that young women prey on older men for money.  He knows deep down that she probably did not think that he looked like a movie star or that he was as funny as a comedian. Yes, he WANTED to feel like it was all true.  He maybe even enjoyed pretending that it was true.  But deep down, he likely knew that it wasn’t reality.

I do get why it feels good to laugh at him.  I know how it feels.  You WANT him to feel embarrassed and ashamed so that he will think twice about cheating again.  However, those feelings of inadequacy are contributing factors to an affair. You don’t have the responsibility to build him up and it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to, but I’d strongly encourage him to do individual counseling or self work so that’s he not continuously vulnerable.

I do understand why some of this is humorous.  I really do.  But if you do decide to save your marriage, that inclination to laugh will hopefully start to wane because you’ll have more important things to worry about.  In time, you may even begin to see that in a way, it’s as sad as it is funny.  It’s painful to feel old, irrelevant, and vulnerable.  Yes, he tried to ease these feelings in the worst way possible.  And one could see that as pathetic.  But one could also see that as sad.  Now he’s not only sad and aging, but he’s a sad and aging man whose wife is laughing at him for this.  I’m not trying to make you feel bad.  I laughed at my husband too at times.  But at some point, you have to be able to feel some empathy if you chose to save your marriage. I understand that none of this is easy and that it’s important to laugh if you can.  Saving a marriage after an affair is not for the weak at heart.   You can read more about how I managed to do it on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Long Should It Take To Let Go Of An Affair? Why Can’t My Spouse Let Go?

The time frame for letting go of an affair is a concern that I hear from people on both sides of the issue. For example, I sometimes hear from the spouse who was cheated on. Sometimes, they can’t help but notice that the spouse who cheated appears not to have totally “let go” of the other person. Sure, they may be saying that the affair is over and they want to save their marriage, but it can be pretty obvious that they are still sort of moping around. The faithful spouse may assume that this means that the cheating spouse misses the person they had the affair with or are sad that it’s over.

I often hear comments like: “my husband says the affair is over and that he is committed to me, our children, and our marriage. However, he’s doesn’t seem truly invested in any of these things. He mopes around. He doesn’t really participate in family life. He doesn’t seem particularly excited by me or our marriage. When I mention this to him, he says that he just needs some time. When I tell him that it appears to me that he’s not let go of the affair, he will again repeat that he needs some time. But it’s been about 4 months now. How much time does he really need? I’m starting to think that he’s never going to really get over it and our marriage is over. How much time should I give him before I just give up?”

Here’s another example but it comes from the cheating spouse. I recently heard from a husband who said that he’d had an affair about a year and a half ago. He had worked very hard to make things right with his wife. He had ended the affair and they had been faithfully attending counseling. He had done everything in his power to show his wife that he loved her and would not cheat again. However, the wife didn’t seem able to let it go. He said, in part: “We’re going on two years now and my wife still seems to unable to let my infidelity go. I have done everything in my power to make amends. I give her everything that she asks me for. But no matter what, she finds a way to bring up my affair, throw it in my face, and remain angry. I’m starting to think that she’s never going to get over this and frankly, I can’t live this way for the rest of my life. How much time should you give someone in this situation before you just decide the marriage was too damaged by the affair?”

I think that many of the people who ask me questions such as this are hoping that I will give them a set time line. I think that some of them are actually considering giving their spouse a deadline. Unfortunately, I can’t offer such a time line. Every person and situation is different. However, in the following article, I’ll offer you some tips and some things to consider in this situation.

Even Though There’s No Set Time Frame For Letting The Affair Go, You Want To See Some Progress. If You Don’t, You Want To Explore Why: Many faithful spouses can’t understand the need for closure from the spouse who cheated. After all, they decided to end the affair and walk away, so why is it hard for them to do just that? I’ve never cheated on my spouse. But I can share some of the sentiments from those that have on my blog. Some people in this situation tell me that it’s hard to have a relationship one day and then be just expected to turn your back on it the next. Additionally, many of them are responding to their guilt and shame for their actions. They know that they have let down both people. They know that you are angry and distrustful as a result of their actions. Therefore, it’s not that easy to act as if everything is back to normal or that nothing has changed.

I don’t tell you this to make excuses. I tell you this in the hopes to shed some light on this. However, even if your spouse is having trouble adjusting to life after their affair, they should cut off all contact with the other person and place their focus on you and your own family. You may not see them back to their old selves immediately, but the idea is that they do a little better each day while the both of you are trying to reconnect, rebuild, and heal.

If you are not seeing this, then you’ll want to have a very frank discussion to determine why. It’s normal for there to be an adjustment period, but you should also be seeing things gradually getting better.

On the flip side, if you are the spouse who cheated and you’re not seeing much improvement in your spouse’s ability to let your infidelity go, take a look at what you’ve done to help them heal. Because they need to believe without any doubt that you’re truly sorry, that you won’t cheat again, and that your marriage can and will recover.

What If I’m Not Seeing Any Progress Despite My Best Efforts? Do I Give My Spouse A Deadline To Let The Affair Go?: Sometimes when I tell spouses who have cheated this, they’ll respond with something like “but that’s just it. My wife doesn’t believe we can get through this, even though I know we can. How can I make her see that it’s safe to let this go? And if she can’t do I give her a deadline?”

Or, if I’m speaking with a faithful spouse I’ll hear things like “It’s as if the other woman still has a hold over my husband even though the affair is over. I’m doing everything in my power to restore my marriage, but he doesn’t seem interested in me.”

I know that both of these are two very separate issues, but usually the underlying problem is the same. In these situations, it’s my opinion that there are still some issues that haven’t been addressed or haven’t been solved enough that they aren’t still coming up. When I tell people this, they often insist that they have been through absolutely everything and they are tired of rehashing it all of the time. I understand this. But if you don’t settle all of the issues once and for all, they are only going to keep coming up and “letting go” of the affair becomes even more unlikely.

I know that it can be painful and awkward to revisit the past but you have to make sure that you have covered all of the bases and been willing to “go there” with your spouse to show them that you are willing to do whatever is needed to help them to move on.

Admittedly, they are some people who will eventually realize that they just can’t let the affair or the infidelity go and this will end their marriage. But I also think that there are people who think that this is the case with them, when in reality, they just haven’t yet gotten what they needed. And, once they do, they are able to put this past them. Because the truth is, no one enjoys struggling with themselves or their marriage after an affair. The vast majority of people truly do want to move on and let go, but they don’t always have the tools to do so.

That’s why I never think it’s a good idea to give your spouse an ultimatum or a deadline. If YOU make the choice to move on without your spouse, then this is your prerogative (although I’d recommend trying some of the tips in this article first.) But I don’t think you can or should attempt to force them to make theirs.

There was a time when I thought I would never be able to let go of my husband’s affair, but this is in the past. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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