By: Katie Lersch: It’s very common for the faithful spouse to lose respect for the cheating spouse. Often, the cheating is seen as an indication that there is a serious lack of integrity and impulse control. Sometimes though, the faithful spouse sees the affair as a lack of intelligence.
A wife may explain it this way: “if I’m being honest, I have to say that there is a difference between the intelligence levels of my husband and myself. I have advanced degrees and he barely graduated fromhigh school. When we got together, my parents expressed grave concerns because we were so different. I knew we were different, but I didn’t care. Our differences created great chemistry between us. I have intellectual conversations at work and with my professional colleagues. It has never bothered me not to have these types of conversations with my husband. This has allowed me to feel free with him and to be able to be myself without sounding uninformed. He never judges me. So I was ok with the differences in our intellect – until he cheated on me. And ever since then, I have noticed every unintelligent thing my husband does or says. Frankly, he was so stupid in attempting to cover up his tracks. He drove two hours out of the way to meet her at a hotel and then he left the receipts in his car. He deleted his text messages but not his photos. His thought process was so flawed and so stupid. I’m very bothered that he cheated on me. But I’m just as bothered that he showed such stupidity doing it.”
I will admit that I get a lot of correspondence from people who say that they can not believe their spouse’s stupidity when cheating. Honestly, I really don’t have any decent reply to this except for to say that when men are cheating, they normally aren’t thinking properly because they are caught up in it and they don’t stop to think it through.
Here is another consideration that you may not have considered. Some men actually, whether consciously or not, want to get caught. They feel guilty. They know they are wrong. The stress of keeping secrets can be almost debilitating. So as much as they don’t want to deal with the fall out and as much as they know that it is going to hurt you, many of them admit that they almost feel relieved to be caught because they can let down the heavy weight that they have been carrying.
I can’t say for sure if this was the case here. Perhaps the husband didn’t want to get caught but he was being very careless or he didn’t think things through. I am not sure there is ever going to be a well to tell and I’m not even sure that it matters.
I think that the real question here is if the wife wants to move on from this with her marriage in tact And, if she does, will she be able to overcome the negative thoughts that she has developed about her husband’s intelligence? Frankly, there is probably no one that can speculate on this with any accuracy except for the wife herself. And it may take her a while to come up with an answer.
I don’t think that any one needs to decide this right away. I know from experience that it can take a little while to process this. Your feelings toward your husband in three months may be a little different than they are today.
Honestly, many people are able to have marriages that survive and even thrive despite their differences. Shy spouses are enhanced by their outgoing partner. The creative book warm is very happily married to the scientist who has a completely different world view. And an intellectual can and often is happy with person who is more laid back when it comes to academics, as was the case with this couple before the affair.
But, when we are angry and disappointed in our spouses, we will often take that difference and use it as a weapon against them. And we will often find that when and if this disappointment fades, we are once again able to overlook our differences.
I’d suspect that if this couple were able to heal their marriage, their differences would fade to the background once again. However, their differences might also create their own sets of challenges in the healing process. I’d highly suggest that you consider counseling to help you through this or at the very least very good self help resources.
Because I’d suspect that if your husband picks up on your new assessment of his intelligence and how it affects your marriage, he’s going to be quite hurt and defensive which could in turn hurt your chances of saving your marriage, assuming that this is what you want.
None of this means your situation is impossible. I don’t think that it is. It just means that there is more to work through. And I don’t know a faithful spouse alive that doesn’t see the cheating spouse’s flaws more clearly when the affair is fresh. This is absolutely normal. But it is also one more thing that will need to be addressed. Don’t get discouraged though. Take things one step at a time.
I think that the first step in the healing process is to not focus so much on your spouse. Go inward. Get quiet. Make it about yourself. Give yourself the time and the luxury to determine what you really want. Once that is done, there will be time to worry about your spouse. But this process is so much easier when you are clear on yourself. You can read about my own healing on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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