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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How And Why Do Affairs Usually End?

by: katie lersch: I often have two different sets of people asking me this question.  Sometimes, people whose spouses are having an affair want to know why and how affairs end so that they can attempt to make the affair end sooner.  Other times, I hear from the people involved in the affair.  They don’t want it to end so they are looking for common pitfalls in the hopes that they can avoid them.  Much of the time, one party is hoping that the affair ends (and is looking for a way to help this process happen more quickly)  while the other is hoping that it never ends.  In the following article, I’ll tell you some of the most common reasons that I see affairs end.

The Affair Will Commonly Fizzle Out As The “Newness” And Excitement Wears Off: There’s no question that, to many,  part of the appeal of the affair is the fact that it’s taboo and forbidden.  There can be an excitement that comes with a new and secret relationship.  But as the early days give way to old ones, this sense of newness quickly wears off and gives way to the familiar.  And when this happens, a lot of that excitement goes with it.  When this happens, the affair / relationship will often just die a natural death or fizzle out.  Because it’s often not real or genuine feelings and emotions that are holding these two together. It’s a facade that fades.

Sometimes, The Guilt Becomes So Overwhelming That One Party Chooses To End The Affair: It’s also not uncommon for one person to end the affair out of guilt.  There’s a stereotype that people who have affairs are unfeeling and don’t care about their spouse anymore.  This isn’t always the case.  Many do feel guilt and some even end the affair because of those same guilt feelings.  Although the person on the other side of the affair will often hope or think that the person who they are cheating with has distanced himself from his family or is no longer as invested as he once was, this sometimes proves to be not the case.

Sometimes The Faithful Spouse Finds Out About The Affair And A Choice Must Be Made: It’s not at all uncommon for the faithful spouse to learn about the affair (and sometimes the unfaithful spouse will confess to this themselves.)  When this happens, the faithful spouse will often issue an ultimatum and demand that a choice be made.  And it’s not at all uncommon for the cheating spouse to end the affair in a response to that ultimatum because they decide that their spouse is more important to them than the other person.

An Affair Can End Because One Or Both People Involved In It Realize That The Relationship Just Isn’t Working Anymore Or Was Built Upon Misconceptions: It’s also not uncommon for one or both people in the relationship to evaluate it and decide that it isn’t working anymore or just isn’t what they thought or hoped it would be.  Often in the beginning, they can build the other person up to be something who he or she is not.  After all, if you’re going to risk your marriage and your family to participate in infidelity, that other person must be awful special.  But, after a while, it becomes easier to see them for who they really are or aren’t.  And when this happens, you can realize that the other person (or the relationship) just isn’t worth the risk or the personal costs.

When Reality Sets In, The Rose Colored Glasses Can Come Off: In the beginning of an affair, both people are usually on their best behavior and are working very hard to make each encounter exciting and memorable.  Usually at least one person is investing a lot into the relationship.  But this can only last or be maintained for so long.  Eventually, she might see or have to pick up his dirty socks.   Her lack of character might start to annoy him and the list goes on and on.  The point is, eventually, the relationship behind the affair becomes like any other relationship – warts and all.  And it can become fairly obvious that if the affair is going to have all of the usual problems of a marriage or other long term relationship, then what’s the point?

The End To An Affair Can Come Very Abruptly Or Quite Gradually: Sometimes when people think of an affair ending, they picture a very dramatic breakdown.  I’ve had people tell me that they sat on the phone while their spouse called the other person and instantly ended the affair.  I’ve heard of nasty face to face confrontations and threats to never ever have any contact again.  But an affair doesn’t always end with a bang.  It can also end with a gradual whimper where one person quietly breaks it off or the interactions or meetings just become less and less frequent until they eventually end altogether.

No matter how and why affairs end, most do end eventually.  Statistics show that very few relationships that start as an affair end up in marriage – much less a marriage that actually lasts.  There’s an exception to every rule, of course.  But for the most part, an affair does not have a high chance of working out or ending well.  That’s why it can be advisable to never start one in the first place.

Surviving The Affair is a blog I put together to share my story in the hopes that it helps someone else. I know that this is a very difficult time, and that forgiveness can be elusive, but working through it can truly be worth the effort. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, better times were ahead. My marriage eventually recovered and is stronger than ever. Our bond and intimacy is much stronger and because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem remained in tact. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read that very personal story at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

Dealing With Insecurities After Infidelity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Long Does It Take For Your Marriage To Get Back To Normal After An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch:  I often hear from people who are wondering for how long things are going to feel so tense and awful after their spouse has cheated and had an affair.  I often hear from these folks weeks or months after the affair has been discovered and many of them had hoped that things would have improved more than they actually have.  I heard from a wife who said: “I found out about five months ago that my husband had an affair with a coworker.  He did tell me the truth about it and he has worked with me to save our marriage.  We are both trying really hard but things are just so awkward.  He tells me he feels as if he is constantly walking on egg shells around me and I fully admit that I very often feel angry and hurt.  In short, things are just not the same.  They are not even close to the same.  Things feel forced, weird, and just off between us.  How long does it take for your life and your marriage to get back to normal after the affair?  Because I’m getting very tired of waiting.  And if this is the way my marriage is going to be for the rest of my life then I’m not sure if it’s worth it to save my marriage.”

I understood how this wife felt because I have felt the exact same feelings.  After your spouse has an affair, it can feel as if someone as stolen your normal life and replaced it with something that is completely foreign and undesirable.  And when time goes by so slowly with no real improvement, it can begin to feel as if this is how your life, and your marriage, is always going to be.  It’s very easy to make these types of assumptions, but I can tell you that they are often wrong.  It’s my experience that things do get better and that life does eventually return to normal.  How quickly this happens often depends on how hard you are working to heal.  Often, if you don’t fully address and fix the underlying issues, then they will remain.  And when they remain, that’s when the awkward and unnatural feelings continue to hang around.  I will discuss this more below.

The Sooner You Work Through The Issues And Restore The Trust, The Sooner Things Will Feel More Normal:  As I alluded to,  often is a lot of time has passed and things still feel weird between you, then you need to look at your healing process.  You can’t expect for your marriage to heal if you don’t examine where it might have been vulnerable and where you need to now fix it.  And even when this process is complete, you will need to restore the trust until you can both feel at ease once again.  If you try to skip over either of these steps, then you’re bound to have that feeling of unease that we’ve been talking about.  You feel a little out of sorts and paranoid because you’re wondering if he’s going to cheat again.  Or, you find that you’re still angry over little things because you still aren’t satisfied with his answers or you still haven’t fully resolved the issues.

Having these feelings doesn’t mean that things won’t get better or that you won’t even feel normal.  It just means that there is more work to do.  I know that it can be frustrating, but the upside to this is that if you give the issues the attention they deserve and you are then able to restore the trust, your reward is piece of mind.  And believe me when I say that after you have been through something like this, the normal, boring and ordinary days will seem so very precious by comparison.  You will value your marriage and your husband that much more when they are restored.  And also, you aren’t as apt to take your marriage and your family for granted because it becomes obvious that things can change in the blink of an eye.

So to answer the question posed, how long it takes to feel normal again varies depending on many factors.  It really helps if both people are very committed to fully addressing and solving any problems.  And it helps if the cheating spouse is very motivated to take responsibility for restoring the trust.  If these things don’t happen immediately, it certainly doesn’t mean that they will never happen.  It just means that you may have to be more proactive and you may have to ask for what you need.  Because your spouse likely feels that things aren’t right also and, even though he is the reason for the unease, he probably wants to get things back to normal as badly as you do.

I know how frustrated you feel.  I would say that it probably took us around a year to begin to regain what had been lost.  Part of this was I could not let go of my anger.  Once I began to heal, things picked up.  Now, I rarely think about the affair anymore.  I have just moved on and our marriage is actually better.  If it helps, you can read my story of recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Men Lie About The Affair When They’re Trying To Repair Their Marriage

by: katie lersch: Many women who are dealing with a husband’s affair will tell you that the lying is one of the biggest issues to overcome. Processing the lies that he told you while the affair was going on can be extremely difficult. But dealing with his continued lies when the affair is out in the open can be even worse. I recently heard from a wife who was struggling with this issue.

She said, in part: “I’ve made it very clear to my husband that I won’t accept one more lie from him.  I have repeatedly told him that he needs to tell me the whole truth about the affair from this moment forward if he’s ever going to have the slightest chance of me ever trusting or believing in him again.   But I have found out that he is continuing to lie to me.  He’s leaving things out and he’s trying to make things sound more innocent than they actually were.  Why is he doing this?  Does he not intend to tell me the truth? Does he think I’m stupid? Does he think I’m not serious about demanding nothing but complete honesty from this day forward?  My sister says he’s just trying to tell me what I want to hear, but this isn’t what I want from him.  I want brutal honesty and I can’t understand why he won’t give this to me.  Why do men lie about the affair when they’re trying to repair their marriage?  Don’t they know that lying is what got them into this mess in the first place?”

Reasons Men Continue To Lie After An Affair: These are all extremely good questions.  I’m not a man who has had an affair so my answers will be based on my own experience with this topic, on research and on the interactions that I have with men on my infidelity blog.   Very often,  these men will tell you that they aren’t lying to be malicious.  In their own minds, they think that they are sparing you some pain and they are trying to set things up so that repairing the marriage becomes more likely.  They worry that you’re just saying that you want to know every thing and that the second they give you what you supposedly want,  you’re going to use this information against them or will become even more angry.  In short, they are reluctant to make things worse.  Many men will tell the truth on the issues that they thing are the least damaging.  And they will stretch the truth or lie on the things that are likely to get you the most upset or hurt you the most.

I’m not defending these men or insinuating that they have legitimate reasons for their lies.  I’m telling you this to give you some perspective on why they might still be unwilling to tell you the whole truth.  Sometimes, you have to understand the context in which the lies are told.  In their minds, when they lied during the affair, they were deceiving you, but when they are lying now, they are trying to protect you.

What Should You Do When Your Husband Continues To Lie About The Affair When You’re Trying To Save Your Marriage?: Many women in this situation don’t really care why their husband continues to lie.  They just want him to tell the truth.  And they want to know how to accomplish this when he’s apparently too scared or too unwilling to start telling the whole truth.  As tempting and as deserved as it may be, sometimes the worst thing that you can do is to become angry, lose control, or make threats.

This is likely to make your husband defensive.  And your anger may well reinforce his fear that no matter what he does, you’re going to remain angry so it’s better to just keep quiet.   So one thing that you must overcome is his belief that he just can’t win.  It can help to ask yourself what you absolutely have to know and to then focus on those things in the beginning.  Sometimes, you will get better results if you allow him to tell you things gradually so that things don’t get too overwhelming for either of you.

And as he begins to see that it’s “safe” to tell you the truth and believes that you are being truthful when you say that things will be better for him when he’s brutally honest, then he will be more likely to do just that.  (When you’re insisting that your husband be totally honest, make sure that you are prepared  to hear this truth.  It’s very common for us wives to say that we want to know everything, only to become enraged or resistant when we do hear the very thing we’ve asked for.)  I’m not saying that he doesn’t deserve your anger.  But I am saying that you have to understand that your anger is the last thing that he wants when he’s trying to repair your marriage. And you’re asking him to do something that he knows is going to further jeopardize his marriage.

So, my suggestion is always to start small and gradually.  Sometimes this means delaying the things that you know are going to cause the biggest problems.  You might start by requesting the truth about the smaller issues.  And once he complies, you then try your best to respond to them as best as you can so that eventually he will feel safe being honest about the bigger things.   Because his knowing that transparency is what you really want and need will go a long way towards his being willing to do what you have asked.

He has to understand that his honesty is one of the components necessary to repair his marriage.  That way, if he truly is serious about saving the marriage, he will eventually begin to lie less and less.  And when you catch him lying, rather than blowing up or making threats, you might reply with something like: “we both know that you are not telling me the truth.  I have to stress to you that I need complete honesty in order to feel safe repairing our marriage.  Trust is a big issue for us right now and honesty is necessary for this trust.  Can you rethink your response?  I understand that you don’t want to make things worse, but I’d rather deal with the difficult issues than continue to wonder if I can believe or trust you.”

He may not immediately come forward with the whole truth.  But hopefully gradually as he begins to believe that it’s safe to begin to tell you things about which he was unsure, you should see some improvements in his level of honesty.

I hope you don’t think I’m defending husband who have affairs.  I’m not.  I have gone through this myself and I know how difficult it is.  But I also know that it’s possible to get through it.  My marriage is actually better today after my husband’s affair.  It took a lot of work and we had to work a lot on honesty.  But it was worth it in the end.  If it helps, you can read more about how was able to move on at my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

When A Husband Who Has Been Caught Cheating Says ‘What Do You Want From Me?’ What Does That Mean?

By: Katie Lersch: Once the cat is out of the bag and someone is caught cheating, there is often a period of shock and outrage.  In terms of fixing the damage, sometimes not much happens during this period.  Much of the time, very little can get accomplished because emotions run so high that all both people can really do at the time is to be reactive. No one is thinking clearly or acting rationally. So sometimes, the best that you can do is to just hang on, know that this time frame will eventually pass, and wait for the time when progress can actually be made – once things calm down.

However, once you’re no longer reactive, it can be a challenge to come up with a plan about how to fix this. Because although you may be at a place where you can think and act a little more rationally, you’re still angry. And you want your old life and your old marriage back. So you may say or do things that are in alignment with this. You may express vague complaints directed at your husband that aren’t directives. These little phrases or comments don’t tell him exactly what you want or expect – only that you want SOMETHING.

A very common reaction to these vague and sometimes heated exchanges is an exasperated husband who exclaims: “well, what do you want me to do?!” Many wives aren’t quite sure how to answer this. They generally know that they want him to fix it. They want for him to make it so that affair never happened. But since these things aren’t going to happen any time soon, they aren’t sure what, exactly and specifically, they want him to do.

Someone might say: “about two and a half weeks ago, I caught my husband cheating on me. At first, he was incredibly apologetic. He followed me around everywhere – begging me not to kick him out. I was sure tempted to throw his clothes on the lawn and tell him to just go. But I did not want for my kids (or the neighbors) to see that. However, I have not really spoken to him much since that time. I basically give him the cold shoulder and an evil stare. He will try to talk to me and I will just leave the room. I’m not much interested in interacting with him just now. Last night, over dinner, we smiled and laughed because my child brought home a wonderful report card and we were very happy for her. My child left the table and went to her room and I guess my husband assumed that we could continue on with the happy talk. I was not interested in this. I shut my husband right down. Then he blurted out ‘what do you want me to do? I try to talk to you. I try to apologize, but you just brush me off. I am trying here, but you won’t let me do anything.’ I admit this made me pause. I was not sure how to respond and I was stunned. So I just sort of shrugged and I left. How should I have responded? I am not sure how to communicate what I want from him.”

How To Buy A Little Time: Well, I can certainly offer some suggestions. However, it has only been a couple of weeks. You may not have any idea what you want from him right now. And that’s okay. But it may help to have a brief conversation with him to clear the air. This may help to keep him from continuing to bug you until you are ready to talk. You might try: “I know that we will need to communicate eventually. And I know that it will help for me to spell out what I want and need. But right now, I’m just not quite ready to do that. Things are too raw. I haven’t had enough time to collect myself and sort out my needs. When I am able to do that, you will be the first to know. And I will lay out what I want and need from you then. I know that we’re both trying, but I am just not ready to define anything yet.”

Spelling It Out Very Clearly: Give yourself some time to think and to sort things out. Once you’ve gotten to the point where you have have some inkling as to what you want, don’t be shy about telling him. As much as might both like it if he could, he can’t read your mind. And I can tell you from experience that you are much more likely to get what you want and need if you very directly spell it out for him. It will feel weird to say these things, but it makes it more likely that you are going to get them.

I know that it’s asking a lot to ask you to deliver a line like: “I have decided that I want us to go to counseling at least once a week. And I want you to come straight home from work. I’d also like for us to go on date nights like we used to. And I want for you to be patient with me. I’m really trying. But this is a struggle. Finally, I want for you to try not to be so defensive and indignant. Because sometimes it feels as if you think that I am doing something wrong when that’s not true. As we go along, more expectations might come up for both of us. Let’s agree to communicate them as we go along.”

I know that this is a mouthful that might feel awkward when you say it, but from experience, defining expectations is almost half the battle when it comes to getting your expectations met. We would love for our husband to “just know” what we want and need, but he doesn’t. Not only that, but he is walking on eggshells and is afraid of doing the wrong thing. So sometimes, he does nothing instead – which isn’t what you want. So in order to get what you want, you’ll have to spell it out. Which is basically what your husband is trying to tell you.  When he says, ‘What do you want me to do?’, he literally wants for you to tell him what do to do. When you’re ready, that’s exactly what I would do – spell it out very clearly.

There were times when I resented having to spell things out for my husband.  But I learned that it was the quickest and most efficient way to get what I needed.  Much to my surprise, my husband preferred it to guessing.  I’ve come to believe that in this instance, men actually want us to give them a road map.  We feel like we’re being bossy to ask, but they would rather us tell them than to have to guess. You can read more about my own attempt at this at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Has To See The Woman He Cheated With At A Conference

By: Katie Lersch:  Although spouses can and do meet the people who they cheat with anywhere and at any time, many of them meet the “other person” at work.  After all, most of us spend at least eight hours every day with co-workers or people who are not our family.  It makes sense then, then many people who have affairs at work do so at least in part due to the proximity of the other person.

However, once the affair is over, this proximity can become a problem.  It’s more difficult to heal your marriage and to restore your spouse’s trust when your spouse knows that you will be in regular (if not daily) contact with the person that you were cheating with.  That is why some people who have affairs actually transfer or change jobs altogether.  They decide that their marriage is the most important thing and they just can’t risk seeing the other person every day.

However, not everyone has this luxury. Sometimes, even after the affair, it just does not make sense to change jobs.  Often, the consideration is merely a financial one.  Many people put years into their job to get the type of security that they now enjoy.  If they changed jobs, they would have to start all over – sometimes at a considerable pay cut.  When you have a family depending on that income, changing jobs is not so easy.

That’s why some couples choose to stick it out with the job, even though they don’t like it and they know that it is going to pose an unfortunate challenge.  To be fair, most spouses who cheated do attempt to go out of their way to avoid the other person – but sometimes the two of them have no choice but to interact.  And this can cause serious problems with your marriage. An example is when the two of them have to work closely together on a presentation or conference.

A faithful spouse might explain: “my husband cheated with a coworker.  I feel awful just typing that because it is such a cliche.  But that is what happened.  Anyway, her husband found out first and he told me.  She was very serious about saving her marriage and she actually asked for a transfer.  I was very relieved about that.  And since that time, my husband and I have worked very hard on our marriage.  Most of the time, we are doing okay.  But I’m still very insecure sometimes. I know she’s out of the picture simply because she lives far away now.  But next month, my husband is required to attend a seminar in another state with his company.  There is no getting out of this. And although the other woman transferred, she is still with this same company. So she will be there.  I’m very upset about this.  I dread it.  I worry that they will reconnect while there and my husband won’t tell me about it.  Or I worry that nothing will happen, but I will think that it did anyway and I will accuse my husband when he didn’t do anything wrong. Then he’ll get angry with me and we’ll regress on our progress.  I know that this is just bringing out all of my insecurities and I should not let it, but I can’t seem to help it.”

I definitely understand. Even though it has been a long time since my husband’s affair and I can say that we’ve recovered, I still would not like it (AT ALL) if I knew that my husband was going to see or interact with the other woman – even if I knew that this wasn’t his choice or that he never initiated anything.  Even with complete recovery, there is always going to be that vulnerability if it is thrown back in your face.

At the same time, I believe that there are things that you can do to minimize the impact of this. If you are in counseling, please discuss this with your counselor.  She will probably have very specific things that she wants you to do.  I’m certainly not a counselor, but my suggestion would be to accompany your husband to this event.  Yes, I realize that this might be inconvenient and you may have to take off of work or make some special arrangements.  But I think that this is one of those things that are so important to your marital recovery that you may need to try to make this happen.

Why?  Because if you attend, then you don’t have to worry nearly as much.  If you go, then you don’t have to wonder.  You will KNOW that nothing happened and that your husband was with you the whole time.  Plus the other woman will see you together – as a united front.  And, frankly, the other woman’s spouse might be there as well.

Now, I know that some might say that by going along, you aren’t showing good faith or trust.  I can see that argument.  But since the marriage is improving and going well, it should not be unreasonable for the couple to want to be together anyway.  Other than a few instances of walking by or seeing the other woman, it actually might be a nice weekend where the couple might enjoy themselves.  Plus, why invite the wife to invent ominous scenarios that can cause problems in her marriage when she can easily attend and see for herself?  I believe that this alternative is better than trusting your spouse but then being a nervous wreck the whole time and possibly assuming the worst.

When you’re in recovery, you have to protect your marriage.  And sometimes that means minimizing the stress that you put on it.  Both people attending the conference will help to minimize the stress.

I can say with certainty that if I were in this situation, I would attend the conference.  I would bring the kids if I had to, but I would not sit at home and worry when I could easily attend.  My thought process would be that I worked too hard on recovery to put that at risk by allowing something like this to be outside of my control.  This situation is easily controlled by simply going along.  At least that is my opinion. You can read more about my own recovery at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Staying Together After Infidelity: When Does It Get Easier?

By: Katie Lersch:  I often hear from people who have made the very difficult decision not to walk away from their marriage after an affair.  Many have committed to this decision because they really do feel that it is the best thing for themselves, their family, or their marriage.  But despite their determination or best intentions, there’s no question that this is a very difficult process that moves on its own slow timeline.

Since it’s no fun to go through, people will often want to speed it up, or at least know when it might feel easier.  Someone might ask: “when is my marriage going to feel easier after my husband’s affair?  I agreed to try to make our marriage work.  And it took me a long time to get to that place.  In the first couple of weeks, it made me feel ill to even have him in my presence.  But eventually, I decided that splitting up would be so hard on my kids.  And my husband did seem genuinely remorseful and was begging me to give him a chance.  So I told him that I’d give him three months to show me that he was serious.  I can tell that he is trying. But things just feel so darn awkward between us.  When he hugs or tries to kiss me, I recoil and I am always suspicious of his motivations.  I wonder if he really feels this affection toward me or he is just trying to make me feel better.  I keep telling myself that tomorrow is going to be better.  But it never feels all that much better.  My husband alternates between being tentative and resentful.  I alternate between being distrustful, angry, and sad.  I was willing to give this a try.  But if it always going to feel this awful, I don’t know if I have it in me to stick it out.  When does it get better?”

Having gone through this, I can tell you that time does help.  But time alone typically not completely ideal.  I’ve thought long and hard about this and I believe that I can identify the happenings that made things easier for me.  I know that everyone’s experience is going to be different.  But maybe sharing this will offer someone a little reassurance.

It Helps When You Notice Your Husband Showing Sincerity And Integrity Over Time:  In the beginning, all you really have are his words and his promises.  You want to believe him.  But he’s proven some dishonesty.  So understandably, you worry that he’s not trustworthy.  In order for him to prove that he is in fact trustworthy, some time is going to have to pass.  And you are going to need to see that, over and over again, he is doing exactly what he has promised.  You need to see him having integrity and being sincere even when he thinks that you are not looking. You need to see him doing the right thing even when it’s not easy to do so.  Once this has been happening again and again, you can start to relax about his sincerity.

It’s Extremely Helpful When You Obtain A Plan Or Some Guidance: One of the biggest problems I see is that people proclaim that they are going to stay in their marriage, but then they don’t make any change or try to implement any rehabilitation.  As a result, every one lives in fear of the cheating happening again.  No one can relax. There’s no progress because there’s no plan.  It’s vital to have a roadmap to get yourself out of this.  A counselor can mean that you don’t have to work as hard or feel as lost because they can create the road map for you.  But if you don’t want to go the counseling route, there are many self help resources that can allow you to do this for yourself.

It’s Beneficial When You Begin To Understand That With Determination, This Isn’t Going To Beat You:  I know first hand that there is a real tendency to beat yourself up after infidelity.  Even when you are not the one who cheated, you can feel like you did something wrong.  You can feel like you’re being punished again and again.  I found it helpful to get out of the victim mentality.  It also helped immensely when I worked on building my self esteem.  Once I gained confidence, I realized that no matter what happened, I would be OK.  I realized that I did not need to define my life and my happiness through someone else.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I want my marriage.  I want my husband.  But I also know that if either of these things were taken away, I’d be OK.  Because I am always going to have myself.  Knowing that you are going to be OK regardless is very freeing.  And it helps to remove the intense pressure and the paralyzing anger.  When you realize that you are responsible for your own happiness and your own experience, you feel so much more in control.

And frankly, a lack of control is one of the things that makes an affair so devastating.  One way to take back that control is to strengthen yourself so that you know that someone else’s whims and mistakes are not going to define you.

No one expects all of the above to happen immediately or simultaneously.  But when they do happen, you feel relief.  It does get better.

I remember when I was in the same place that you are now.  I was afraid that every day was going to be the same miserable experience.  Very slowly, as I acted with deliberation and kept track of my progress, I began to see some improvement.  I learned that things moved more slowly when I waited for improvement rather than actively trying to get it.  You can read more about that process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Spouse Doesn’t Want Sex After I Cheated: Insights That Might Help

By: Katie Lersch:  Sex can be a major conflict between a couple who is dealing with infidelity.  Understandably, having sex after knowing your spouse has cheated on you isn’t always comfortable or appealing.  This is almost to be expected when you are the faithful spouse.  But the spouse who cheated can have some difficulties in being patient and in understanding this because its very existence can bring up feelings of defensiveness.  Getting on the same page sexually can take time, patience, and effort.  And it can be especially complicated when one spouse tries to pressure the other.

The cheating spouse might say: “I’m really at the end of my rope here.  I know that I am the one in the wrong because I am the one who cheated.  But one of the reasons that I cheated in the first place was because my wife wasn’t having sex with me enough.  And now that she has caught me in the affair, she wants to have sex with me even less.  I don’t blame her for being mad at me, but this is a real problem.  I am someone who needs regular sex.  It is going to be hard for me to be happily married if this becomes a repetitive problem.  When I try to talk to my wife about this, she gets mad at me for pressuring her and we both end up very frustrated in more ways than one.  Last night, she sarcastically asked me if I just wanted her to just go through the motions with sex. I didn’t know how to respond to that.  Of course, I want her to be comfortable and happy.  At the same time.  It’s sex.  How bad is it?”

Before we go any further, I want to be fair and want you to know what is ahead in this article.  I am a woman who has also been through an affair.  I will try very hard to be unbiased and reasonable.  But I can not help (at least somewhat) seeing this from the perspective of the wife.  If that doesn’t discourage you and you think that perhaps seeing things from a woman’s perspective can help (which I believe that it definitely can,) please keep reading.  I truly do want to help and I want EVERYONE to be happy here, but I also feel a responsibility to state what I think is very important to understand.

I understand wanting to have your needs met.  But right now, you have to understand your wife’s needs also.  I can tell you from experience that she is hurting quite badly.  Finding out that your husband has cheated on you is extremely painful.  It makes you doubt yourself as a woman.  It makes you feel unattractive.  It shakes your sexual confidence and your view of the world.  So it goes without saying that while you are a faithful spouse struggling with all of this, the last thing that you feel are immediate sexual needs.

From the perspective of the faithful spouse – sure, you know and you hope that one day, your sexual life will be back on track and truly enjoyable.  You want and need that as much as everyone else.  But at the same time, you know that that can’t happen until emotional healing takes place and the trust is restored.

For cheating spouses who feel frustrated about the lack of sex, please see this from your spouse’s point of view.  If your spouse had been the one who cheated and you were struggling, would you want your spouse pointing out how little sex they were getting and complaining about it?  Would that make you feel more sexy and and make you want to have sex with them even more?

Probably not. In fact, it might make you feel like they are more interested in getting their sexual needs met than in the feelings of their spouse. This would likely hurt you and make you even more uneasy about sex.  When you did feel pressured to have it, then it would probably be very awkward and uncomfortable, which would harm your marriage even more.  In the meantime, your spouse might continue to remind you about how unhappy he is about the sex situation and then you may start to worry that he is going to cheat again – so the situation continues to deteriorate over and over again.

I respectfully hope that the point is becoming clear.  By being impatient about sex, you are just making the situation worse.  Listen, I suspect that what you want is a willing and enthusiastic sexual partner, right? Well, I am going to tell you what is going to make that more likely. Most people need to be emotionally connected and to have trust and confidence in order to be confident and enthusiastic sexually.  It is hard to do this after an affair.  The trust is shattered and the confidence is gone.

That doesn’t mean that it will NEVER return.  But it can mean that there is work to be done before it can be restored.  If you want more sex, then you need to become the spouse who makes your spouse want to have sex.  You need to become the spouse who, just for a little while, puts your spouse’s own emotional needs before your physical ones and who builds your spouse up so that she feels comfortable and understood.  You need to become the spouse who is willing to work tirelessly to restore the trust.

Because I promise you that when your wife feels that she can trust you again, when she feels confident again, and when she feels safe again – THAT is when she will feel sexual again.  And that is when she will be a willing and enthusiastic participant – which I’ll bet is what you both want.

Between that day and this one, though, she’s going to require patience, love, kindness, and understanding.  Unfortunately, your affair made this all necessary.  So now is the time to step up and to be the spouse that your partner deserves.

I can tell you that my husband is probably very happy that he did the work to make me comfortable, confident and trusting again.  While we had very little sex initially after his affair, we have plenty of it now.  But there was work to be done before this could be possible.  The physical part of our relationship was not going to thrive until the emotional part was fixed.  My enthusiasm for sex came back because our marriage came back.  It’s as simple as that.  You can read more about my own journey at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Does The No Contact Rule Work After An Affair? If So, How?

By: Katie Lersch:  I sometimes get correspondence asking me about the “no contact rule” after a spouse cheats or has an affair.  People want to know if, and how, it works.  It’s important to note that often, people are talking about two different things when they discuss no contact.

No Contact As It Relates To The Person Who Cheated: First, they could be talking about no contact as it relates to the other person in the affair.  So from a husband who cheated, you might hear: “my wife is saying that I must have absolutely no contact with the other woman.  But we have become legitimate friends.  It does not seem realistic to think that I’m expected to just act as if she never existed.  What if she calls me?  Am I supposed to just slam the door in her face.”

In this case, no contact means exactly what it says. And yes, you are expected to carry it out to the letter.  Think about it this way.  If it were your wife who had done the cheating, would you want her to cut off any and all contact with the other man?  Of course you would.  Would you want her to try to sneak in some contact or to try to justify “keeping in touch” to herself while hiding the same from you?  Of course you wouldn’t.

When your spouse cheats on you and is asking you not to divorce him, then you want to know that he is worth it.  And in order for this to be so, they have to be trustworthy.  Still sneaking around to contact the other person (even when you are not technically still cheating) is not being trustworthy.  It is not putting your spouse first.  It is not having integrity.  And you need all three things to successfully be rehabilitated.

So yes, in this case, there is really no confusion or sleight of hand.  It means just what it says – that you make a clean break, that you communicate (very clearly and quickly) that it is over, and that you avoid interaction after that.  Your priority and your focus is on your marriage now.  You owe that to yourself, to your marriage, and to your spouse.  There is no room for anyone else.

No Contact As It Relates To The Faithful Spouse: The other way that people discuss no contact is when a couple (or a faithful spouse) decides that they are not going to communicate with their spouse for a while because of the high emotions associated with the affair. The thought process is that this break gives both people a chance to calm down and allows the cheating spouse to think while he can’t reach out to the faithful spouse.

Along those lines, someone might ask: “my mother told me that I should kick my cheating husband out of the house.  I reluctantly did that because quite honestly, it was painful to have him around.  My mother also indicated that I should not let him call or come by.  She said that I should let my silence speak for me and that this will make my husband even sorrier than he already is.  I understand the thinking behind this, but I feel that this tactic is a little cruel, especially since my husband is going to want access to his children.  My kids are not going to understand why they can’t see their father.  How far do you take no contact and does it work?”

How far you take it (and whether you want to participate in it) is up to you.  Some people have some success, but many people find that there are some problems with it.  For one thing, it’s common to wonder if he is continuing to cheat when you are not interacting with him. It’s also common for both people to assume the worst about the other – since they can’t possibly know what is going on without being in touch.

“No contact” seems to breed mistrust at a time when you might be trying to rebuild the trust. A couple can also drift further and further apart this way.  But I do see the point about allowing things to calm down, which is why I think a compromise might be in order.

Considering A Compromise: If you think that this is a viable option, why not limit the contact, but not negate it all together?  Perhaps he may call the kids at set times and see them once a week.  At that time, the two of you could touch base and talk if that feels comfortable to you.

If things go well, you could very slowly increase the contact if it feels right to do so.  But I think not having any contact when you share kids might be a bit drastic and quite difficult to carry out.

As you probably can tell, when “no contact” means that the affair is truly over, I am very clear on the fact that this should happen – with no excuses. If the affair is over, then it should be totally over with no interaction.  It’s not that hard to understand.  You must completely end it and then not communicate afterward.

As far as “no contact” between the spouses goes, I think that this one has shades of grey and is harder to carry out, although perhaps a less drastic version of it may work.

My husband and I did live apart for a short time after his affair.  But because of our children and because I wanted to know what he was up to, there was definitely limited and well-defined contact. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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