Why Does My Cheating Husband Succeed In Making Me Feel Remorseful. How Does This Work?

By: Katie Lersch:  When you first find out that your spouse has been cheating, you probably expect for HIM to be the one who is sorry.  Unfortunately, many wives are very surprised to find that their husband also expects for them to be sorry.  If this isn’t disappointing and confusing enough, many find themselves shocked to feel genuine remorse – even when they are not the spouse who has done the cheating.

Here’s what I mean.  Someone might say: “let’s get one thing straight.  My husband is the one who cheated.  I have never been unfaithful to him and I never would be.  I take my commitments seriously. But after I caught him cheating, he tried to paint me as a terrible wife.  He said that he always felt like I was judgmental and critical of him.  He said that I never built him up.  He said that being married to me was like being married to an abuser. He recounted specific fights where I said mean things to him and he says that I have done nothing to keep our sex life exciting and frequent.  He told me that over the last two months, we’ve only had sex three times.  And he says he knows this because he has counted.  He told me that I have no idea what it is like being married to me.  At first I was very angry that he would say these things to me.  But as I calm down, I realize that some of what he says has a tiny bit of truth in it.  And then I started to remember back to some of the incidents he talked about and I felt guilty.  And then I started to feel like a bad person.  And now I feel so completely remorseful that I almost see how he was justified in cheating.  How did he do that?  How did he turn the blame away from himself and make me the bad guy instead of him?  How did it turn the tables like that?”

This Behavior Is Extremely Common And Predictable: What your husband has done is a very common tactic that most people try when they are caught cheating – even if they do not realize that they are doing it.  Because it is just human nature to want to defend yourself when you have done something for which you should feel an overwhelming amount of guilt.  Every one is going to want to minimize what they have done even if they know it is their fault.

Taking responsibility for something as hurtful and heinous as cheating on your spouse is painful all the way around.  It’s natural to want to minimize the hurtful feelings that come with this.  And one way to do that is to look for someone else to at least share the blame.

Drawing The Line About How Much Responsibility You’re Willing To Take: Let’s be clear.  No one has the perfect marriage.  Every one does things in their marriage that they regret.  I’m sure that some of the criticisms that your husband has are accurate in his eyes.  Some of the things that he is saying might end up being constructive criticism that motivates you to make some positive changes, even if you chose not stay married.  And there is nothing wrong with this.

But if you allow him to place the blame on you, then he’s not taking responsibility for his own actions and this may slow or even thwart your healing.

Further, remorse is an emotion that is useful only if you use it to make change. So while I don’t think you deserve all of the remorse you’re feeling, one way to ensure that this all isn’t a waste is to calmly examine each one of his claims to see which are valid and which are not.

If you think it’s worthwhile, you can certainly work on those areas that are relevant.  But you don’t have to just accept every criticism that he makes if the criticism is not valid.  You have to keep in mind that he is in panic mode and that is he is trying to save himself.  So he’s going to spew a lot of things at you and hope that some stick.

To set the tone, you might have a conversation like this one: “in the days to come, I’m going to sit down and examine what you have said to see if I want to make any changes based on this.  But for now, this is about your actions.  I don’t claim that our marriage was perfect.  We both know it was not.  But no marriage is perfect.  And ideally, in an imperfect marriage, the unhappy spouse approaches the other as an adult to work out their problems.  They don’t use cheating and lying as a solution, while placing the blame on someone else.  In order for us to move forward, you are going to need to take responsibility for the choice you made.  Sure, I wasn’t perfect.  But I did not cheat.  I’ll be looking at my behaviors that may have contributed to this, but I expect for you to do that also.”

You don’t need to be harsh about this, but in my experience, you do need to be calm and firm.  He needs to know that you are not going to accept the blame, although remorse in understandable.  Because sometimes, the remorse you feel is more for what has been lost than for your own behaviors.  If it makes you feel better, you can take an honest look and then make some changes.  But the actual cheating is the responsibility of the person who cheated.  Because there were many other options available to your husband.  But he did chose to cheat.  And he should own that.

At least that is the way that I see it.  But it’s only an opinion.  I was culpable in some of the things that lead to the affair, but I do not consider it my fault.  I do not take responsibility for the fact that my husband chose to cheat, although I did make some changes as a result.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Spouse Says He Cheated Because He Didn’t Feel Good About Himself. Is This Believable?

By: Katie Lersch:  Faithful spouses can hear many excuses meant to justify the cheating.  Sometimes, the excuse will try to shift the blame elsewhere. For example, a cheating husband will accuse his wife of being inattentive and cold.  Or a cheating wife will say her husband never appreciated her.  Sometimes though, the cheating spouse is willing to take all of the blame.  But the reason that he gives makes the faithful spouse question his sincerity.  Because his excuse is that he felt badly about himself.

In this scenario, a common comment would be: “for weeks, I have tried to get my husband to be honest with me about why he cheated on me with one of his coworkers.  He wouldn’t really say anything about it.  Until I got really angry and forceful with him.  And then he blurted out that he thought he cheated because he felt bad about himself at this point in his life.  I told him that this was crazy talk because my husband is one of the most confident people that I know.  He is very successful and he is very well liked, so it is hard for me to buy this.  He said that he really feels his age and he feels that people only like him because of his success. He says that deep down, he feels like a fraud. He felt that the other woman saw the real him and liked him anyway.  I suppose I should appreciate his attempt at honestly, but I just do not buy it.  Is this a common excuse?”

It is not an uncommon excuse, but it is MUCH less common than the cheating spouse trying to blame the other spouse or to make lame excuses that point the finger at anywhere but himself.  It is much more common for a cheating husband to try to tell his wife that she was too demanding or not there for him than for him to own up to his own shortcomings. So, as far as excuses go, I honestly prefer this one to some others because at least he is taking responsibility.

And frankly, I often write about my theory that an affair often happens after a personal crisis or a time of self doubt.  I just see this over and over again.  So yes, I do buy this line of thinking very much.  I understand that the husband appeared to radiate confidence but quite honestly sometimes the people who seem the most confident can be the most insecure.  They can feel that they need to live up to some expectation or they can feel like at any time, people cane find out that they aren’t as great as they would appear at first glance.  They often feel as if they have to be careful not to let anyone see their “true self.”

Also, people who were full of confidence in their youth can start to question if they are still worthy or if they still have all of their attributes as they age.  And, if your husband felt that he was slipping a little at work or if for some reason business had changed, this would be yet another challenge to his self esteem.

I can’t possibly know if all of things were true in this particular situation.  But I can tell you that I do sometimes hear from men who have had affairs who have recounted the exact same thing – that the affair was a pitiful attempt to feel better about himself at a time when he felt very vulnerable.

Honestly, it’s my opinion that the affair is often an attempted escape from these feelings of inadequacy – even when the person cheating can’t see this clearly.  And the great irony of all of this is that once the affair is found out, not only are these vulnerabilities exposed and must be dealt with, but now everything is compounded because he has an angry wife and a marriage whose future is uncertain. And this makes him feel doubly bad about himself.

Let me be clear though.  Feeling bad about yourself isn’t an excuse to cheat.  It can be a contributing factor and ut’s a common reason to cheat, but there is never an excuse that makes it OK.  So while I think that your husband could be telling his absolute truth, that doesn’t mean that he gets to side step the damage that he has done.  That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have to work long and hard to make this right again, while also addressing those vulnerabilities that lead up to this in the first place.

In short, he’s got a lot of work to do and a lot of his plate at a time when he is already struggling.  And it’s entirely up to you if you want to give him a chance to address things or try to save your marriage.  But as far as whether people cheat because they feel badly or insecure about themselves, yes, I buy it.  In fact, I believe that it is one of the most common reasons for cheating.

I can look back now and see where my husband was struggling, although I didn’t buy it at the time.  Still, his struggles (which weren’t his fault) didn’t negate the damage that the affair did to us.  And the responsibility for fixing that lied with him.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Much Personal Responsibility Does The Faithful Spouse Have To Take For The Affair When They Are Not The Ones Who Cheated?

By: Katie Lersch: Sometimes, when we are reeling from the discovery of a spouse’s affair, we also have to deal with questions about what role we, as the faithful spouse might have played in all of this. Sometimes, even our friends or loved ones ask pointed questions about ourselves and our about our marriage – almost insinuating that we did something wrong, that maybe we didn’t keep our husbands happy or didn’t maintain a nice home life – all of which might have lead him to stray. It can begin to feel as if society can put at least some of the blame on the faithful spouse, which can lead you to wonder if you have to take any responsibility for someone else’s actions.

A wife might ask: “is it just expected or assumed that a wife who has never been unfaithful still has to stand up and take responsibility when her husband has an affair? My family, my friends, and even my therapist make little comments that clearly indicate that I played some role in the decline of my marriage and therefore I should not be surprised to learn that my husband has been cheating on me. I sort of take exception to this. No, my marriage wasn’t perfect. But I have always been faithful and loyal, which is more than I can say for my husband. To me, this feels like a double kick in the teeth. First, I must deal with my husband cheating on me and then I am told that it is partially my fault. How much responsibility does the faithful spouse have to take? And how is this fair?”

I agree with you that it is not fair. I struggled with this also. And I can only tell you my opinion.  You may or may not agree, but I believe that it is up to you as to how you want to evaluate yourself and your marriage in this puzzle. There are no rules. That said, I believe that in some cases, it is beneficial for you to examine any behaviors and tendencies.  But that is very different from taking responsibility for someone else’s actions. I do not think that there is ever justification for cheating. I believe that the blame lies with the cheater.

Admittedly though, I do think that something can be gained by looking at all of the factors that lead up to the cheating, including the roles that both spouse’s played in the marriage. And this is not to shift the blame or to offer up excuses and justifications. This is simply to help you in making sure that the affair doesn’t happen again.

In a sense, you are doing a little detective work to determine what caused the perfect, destructive storm that lead up to the affair. You are looking at all of the pieces of the puzzle. This is necessary so that you can avoid this happening to you again – even if you don’t save your marriage.  Regardless, you are going to have to deal relationships for your entire life.

And here’s something that people rarely talk about. I think it’s somewhat helpful to look at your behaviors because you may be repeating these patterns in other areas of your life or in other relationships. I will use myself as an example. One reason that my husband gave for his affair was that he felt that I pressured him to earn a certain kind of living – which required travel and loneliness. I rejected this. He was the one who pursued his career and although I certainly wanted my family to be safe and well cared for, I didn’t have specific requirements.

In this ongoing conversation, my husband brought up my somewhat controlling nature and used my tendency to over parent and be overprotective of our family as an example. I rejected this too, but because it was brought up to me, I started to watch my behaviors more closely. And I found that my husband had a valid point. I actually asked my family about this and it was confirmed that I have a tendency to be controlling. I worked on this and my family life has improved dramatically.

Does my tendency to control justify the affair? Absolutely not. But it was helpful for me to see this and to address it. My relationships are much better and I feel less stress because I’ve let go of trying to control everything. So while I certainly did not excuse my husband’s behavior because of this contribution, I am glad that the affair brought my attention to this.  Because it has improved my life.  It is a relief that let that behavior go.

Again, this is only my opinion. But I don’t feel that you need to take on any of the affair onto your own shoulders. Adults who have relationship problems should work out that same problem with the other adult instead of cheating on them.

But if there were things about yourself or about your marriage that contributed to your spouse’s mindset and you can use this information to make things better, then I really do not see the harm in that, as long as its clear that none of this means that your spouse’s own responsibility is diminished.

I can look back now and see that my marriage was vulnerable.  And I’ve tried to end those vulnerabilities by changing some behaviors.  But, none of this excused my husband and I made sure that he understood that. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Are There Any Advantages of Staying With A Husband After His Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are fluctuating on their decision as to whether or not to stay in the home after they have caught their husband cheating. Many are trying to weigh the pros and cons of this and are having trouble coming up with any pros or advantages.

The thought process goes something like this: “it’s only been a couple of days since I found out about my husband’s affair. He is all but begging me to stay put and to try to work it out with him. He is telling me that I will never know how sorry he is, etc. Some of my friends are urging me to move out and to stay with them for a while. I am tempted to do this, but I am concerned as to what might happen to my marriage if I leave. I am also concerned my husband will go back to the other woman in this scenario. Granted, I am not even saying I want my marriage because I don’t know if I do. Are there any advantages to staying put for now?”

I think that there are advantages and disadvantages for every option. And what is right for one wife or one couple may not be right for another. Plus, sometimes the situation or the decision changes and that is OK too. In this article, I will discuss some advantages to staying where you are.

You Will Be Able To Keep An Eye On Him To Have More Reassurance That He Isn’t Still Cheating: In a perfect world, we could all believe our husband’s reassurances that he isn’t currently cheating or that he won’t cheat again. We could have absolute confidence about this and would never doubt it. But this isn’t reality for most of us. Even though we would like to believe that repeat cheating is not something that we will have to worry about, most of us worry about it quite a bit, at least until healing is complete.

At least if you are still living under the same roof, you will have an idea as to where he is and what he is doing. When you are not living together, it is very easy to assume he is still cheating, even if he isn’t.

Because You Are In Close Proximity To Him, You Will Have An Idea As To How You Are Feeling Since There Will Be Interaction: It’s very easy to write your spouse off after you catch them cheating. Some of us immediately want to wash our hands of them and assume that we will never feel loving toward them again.

I defend every one’s right to make their own choices and decisions. And for some, cheating truly is a deal breaker for which they would never back down from their beliefs.

That said, I think that some couples bow out very early – and before they even take a little time to just step back and watch and wait. I almost did this. And I cringe when I think about it now.  I believe that it can take some time to truly evaluate how you feel and what you want. If you’re still having to interact with your husband, this gives you a little more information about how you might be feeling about him and the status of your relationship.

But if you walk away, you have less of an opportunity to gage your feelings. Since you’re not interacting with him and seeing his reactions and behaviors, you’re only able to speculate.

You’re Better Able To See If His Claims Are True: When people are caught cheating, they will often make all sorts of promises. They tell you that they will change. That they will come right home. That they will straighten up their lifestyle so that they are not participating in behaviors that put them at risk for cheating. Words are a start. But words are cheap. They only mean something when someone backs them up.

If you aren’t regularly interacting with your husband, then you have no way to know if he is going to back up his claims. But if you live with him, then you are able to watch him very closely to gage his sincerity and level of truthfulness.

Many Healing Exercises Require Frequent Access: If you are going to try to save your marriage, you will often find that this requires a lot of communication and one on one time. Whether you go to a counselor or try some self help work, you’re often asked to spend a lot of time with your spouse doing the work that you need to do. This is more difficult if you aren’t living together, although it is not impossible.

It’s not my intention to imply that staying under the same roof after an affair is the only way to approach this. I just don’t think that this is the case for everyone. My husband and I spent a short amount of time apart, even though we never officially lived separately. I just needed some time to process my thoughts. But, the ideal situation is going to vary from couple to couple. You can read more about the challenges and how I handled them 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 Does Infidelity Hurt So Much?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from people who are greatly struggling with their spouse’s infidelity. Many are surprised that they are struggling this way because they consider themselves to be resilient people who can mostly cope with challenges quite well. They do not understand why they can’t just lean on their resolve and carry on like they always have.

You might hear someone who says: “it has been months since my husband had an affair. And yet, I am still hurting so much. I know that my husband isn’t cheating anymore. I know that he wants to work things out. And I know that I need to move forward. And yet I can’t. I am so focused on the hurt. The pain won’t go away and so I can’t focus on much else. The thing is, I’m no stranger to pain in my marriage. Early on, we lost all of our money on a poor investment. We lost our home. I had a serious illness and for a while, we didn’t know if I was going to make it. There have been a lot of hardships in our marriage and we have overcome them all and even though they were painful, I was able to put them behind me. I just do not understand why this is so different. Why does infidelity hurt so much? Why is it so different?”

I can and will give you my theory. By no means am I an expert, but I have been through this. I know the pain. And I believe that one reason that it hurts so much is because you feel rejected at a time when you allowed yourself to be vulnerable.

And for all of the other obstacles we face in our marriages – illness, money problems, disagreements, these things do not feel like a personal rejection. We generally will become angry with our spouse. We may feel fear and anxiety. But in the end, we band together because we are in it together. And we don’t necessarily doubt our spouse’s love for us during it. We know that we are in a tight spot, but, for better or worse, we are in it together.

However, when infidelity is involved, we don’t know if we are in it together. Because we don’t know if our spouse wants us anymore. We don’t know if our spouse considers us attractive anymore. We loved our spouse and we let them in. We allowed them to see us the true us, the real us, the one who is without pretense. And, in the end and because of the infidelity, we worry that we weren’t good enough because, even if only for a little while, they chose to be with someone else.

And this feels personal. It feels like they saw deep inside us and they rejected the core of who we are. And so we have to wonder if this crisis is going to pass. Because we don’t have the knowledge that we are in this awful thing together. What if we let our guard down and they cheat again? What if our marriage becomes one of those bitter unions where the husband can’t stand the wife and she only stays so she can punish them? Who wants to live in a house without laughter and love?

Infidelity hurts so much because it can make you believe that your world will never be the same again and that the past you thought so wonderful was actually a lie all along.

I’ve painted a very bleak picture, haven’t I? Honestly though, I don’t think anyone can deny that infidelity hurts with a pain that rivals few other types of hurt.

But as intense as it can be, for many of us, it fades with time. I mean, I don’t think about my husband’s infidelity on a constant basis anymore. But if I were to conjure it up right this second and focus on those memories, of course I would hurt.

But it’s not that intense pain that I fear will never end anymore. It’s that sore of dull ache of wishing I could change it but knowing that I can’t. But I do have to say that with that dull ache comes a sort of triumph because it turns out that my husband and I were in that together.

We did band together. And we did overcome that obstacle like many others. And we learned and we reconnected to make sure that our hurt wasn’t in vain. So yes, infidelity hurts because it is the worst of all betrayals by the person who you love the most. But, thankfully, it is a hurt that generally fades with time. And the more you heal, the less it hurts.

Yes, some of this just takes time. But one thing that you can do, right now, is to tell yourself that you are absolutely good enough. I believe that much of the hurt from infidelity comes from the fear that you weren’t quite up to the task of being the best wife and the best person that you could be. You worry that someone else was prettier, sexier, younger. You worry that someone else took what was yours because she was in some way better.

To really begin to fade the hurt, you have to reject these thoughts. You are absolutely good enough.  Being the best wife and the best person in the world doesn’t prevent infidelity.  Because the flaw is in the cheater.  Not in the cheated on.

And once you believe that, the healing can begin. You can read more about my own recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How To Stop Wanting Revenge After The Affair

By: Katie Lersch: It’s not at all uncommon for me to hear from people who fantasize about taking revenge on their spouse or the other person after an affair. And this is certainly understandable. When your spouse and one other dishonorable person make a mockery of your marriage vows and betray you in the worst way possible, it’s normal and understandable to feel that they should pay or that they should feel the pain and hurt that you are feeling. Unfortunately, these sort of feelings about and wish for revenge rarely make you feel better. I’ve had people tell me that revenge has made them momentarily feel better, but the feeling is often fleeting and it will sometimes cause you more pain than it relieves. The reason for this is that when you focus on revenge, you also focus on the wrong done to you and your pain. But, in order to feel better you should be focusing on moving forward. Many people do realize this and they wish they could stop focusing on revenge. But every time they try, their feelings come back.

I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “I’m sort of obsessed on getting revenge on the other woman and my husband. I know that this type of behavior is beneath me. And when I did switch my husband’s sugar bowl for his coffee with salt, when I canceled his sports channel, and when I gave his golf clubs to goodwill, these things didn’t really make me feel the relief or the joy that I would have hoped. I know that I shouldn’t be thinking about these things but I can’t seem to help myself. I fantasize about them cheating on each other or the relationship going sour. I want them both to fail and feel pain. And if I can do anything to facilitate that, I am tempted to do it. I know two wrongs don’t make a right. So how can I stop feeling this way. And when will I stop being so focused on revenge?”

I can tell you from experience that it’s absolutely normal to be tempted to want or take revenge. But many wives know that this so rarely makes you feel the closure that you are hoping for. Instead, it seeks to transfer your pain onto them. But you know what? Until you heal and place your focus on moving forward, you’re going to keep right on feeling that pain, whether you get revenge or not.

Focus On Improving Your Situation And Yourself And You Will Find That Your Obsession With Revenge Will Wane: I’m going to borrow a phrase from Ivanna Trump and tell you that “the best revenge is living well.” I know and believe this to be true. When you return to a place of happiness and peace in your own life, you no longer have a need to hurt anyone else or make them pay. Because you know that the universe has taken care of you and will do the same for them. In other words, it may offer you some relief to believe that they will get what is coming to them without your needing to take or seek revenge or to stoop down to their level. So, your efforts are better spent on your own self care or recovery.

Here’s what this looks like in real life. In my own experience, every time I would feel the anger building within me or felt that need for revenge, I would try to divert myself back to me by doing something nice or beneficial for myself. I might take a walk around the block, study for those classes I finally had the courage to take, or plan out my future.

Another thing that often helps is really being honest with yourself. Ask yourself what it is that you really want. Because, if you can try to meet your own desires, you will have less of a need to worry with anyone else. In my own case, I really wanted to feel some respect for myself and I wanted my own success. So I went back to school and started a new career. This kept me so busy that I no longer needed to dwell on other people.

Does this mean that you don’t give a silent “hooray” when they break up or when misfortune comes their way or they end up cheating on each other? Not necessarily. There’s nothing wrong with being glad that the universe is working in the way that it should. But placing your focus on someone else isn’t usually the healthiest call for you. And that is what you need right now – to focus on your own health and happiness.

When I continued to be honest with myself, I discovered that I didn’t necessarily want revenge, I just wanted my husband to be sorry for what he did. And behind this, I wanted him to be sorry for what I did because I hoped he still loved me. This was very hard to admit at the time, but it lead to me saving my marriage and I think this is better than any revenge could ever be.

Our marriage today is very solid, although we had grave struggles in our recovery. But the affair did push me to do some things that I always wanted and needed to do and it actually made me a stronger, more confident person. If it helps, you can read the whole story about my recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Mom Says The Other Woman Never Wins. Is This True?

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s very normal for a wife to have a lot of questions about the other woman.  In fact, some of us get almost fixated on her, thinking that she has some miraculous and magical qualities that we don’t have.  People can tell us that any woman who would accept a relationship with a married man must have something wrong with her, but we can have our doubts about this.

A wife might explain: “the woman who my husband had an affair with is prettier than me.  I’m not trying to put myself down.  I am just being realistic. She also has a high paying job with my husband’s company.  When I found out about the affair, I expected for my husband to be full of apologies.  He wasn’t. He casually said that he would move out.  He says that he’s not going to move in with the other woman, but that certainly doesn’t mean that he is not going to see more of her now that he has his freedom.  I feel like the other woman has won everything that is important to me.  And now she sits with my husband, a good job and a seemingly charmed life.  My mother says that I am wrong about this.  She says that in the end, the other woman never really wins.  And then she told me something that shocked me.  She said that when she was a young woman, she was actually the other woman. And she says that it has always haunted her – not because the relationship didn’t work out.  But because she knows that she unleashed a lot of pain on an innocent person and this had made her ashamed and affected her whole life. She said that she never thinks about the other man anymore.  But she thinks about the wife and the family that she hurt all of the time. I understand that my mother is telling me the truth as she sees it.  But my mother is a very caring individual.  And there’s no guarantee that the other woman has as much integrity as my mom.   She may be sitting on her high horse and not caring about the pain that she has caused.  Could this be true?  Is my mom right?  Is it true that the other woman never really wins?”

Well, I honestly think that it is a matter of perspective.  I do sometimes hear from the “other woman.” Many of these women do express remorse – especially once the affair is over (and statistically, the chances are good that it will be eventually.)  And many of them have regret and sorrow.  Many of them say they wish that things had been different and that they had met the man before he was married.  Many of them do have the sense that this scenario can not possibly end well.

And frankly, she will always know how she met this man.  She will always know that he betrayed a woman that he was committed to in order to be with her. Therefore, she is always going to be worried that he will do the same to her one day.  And, if she is being honest, she may think less of herself and of the other man because of it.  She may wonder why, of all of the single men in the world, she has to choose the one who is already married.  She has to wonder why she couldn’t walk away when she knew that he was taken.  And this may weight heavily on her.

I understand why you are concerned about this.  The mental image of her being all smug and superior while you are hurting this way can be more to bear.  But I can tell you that the mental picture that you have in your head isn’t always the truth.  She could just as easily be hurting also.

However, as much as I understand why you have serious concerns about what she is feeling and how she may ultimately end up, I truly do want to stress that your real concern should be with yourself.  As wives struggling with infidelity, we so often worry more about the other woman than about ourselves – and the result of this often is that we don’t recover as soon as we otherwise could have.

I know that it is a challenge, but I’d encourage you to try to turn your attention back to yourself every time you think of her.  Because in the grand scheme of things, how or what she is doing in five years from now won’t affect your life very much.  But how you are doing five years from now means everything.

My preferred strategy with this is to try to trust that the universe is just.  I do believe in karma and I do believe that we reap what we sow.  And if I believe in this, then I must trust that, in the end, she will get what is coming to her without my having to lift a finger or even think about it.  And when I trust in this, then this means that she is no longer my business.  And I don’t mean that in the literal sense.  She inserted herself in my life, which makes her hard to ignore.  But I have a choice. And I can chose to trust that universal laws will take care of what what is just so that I don’t waste my energy on this – freeing me up to focus on myself.

I do understand why you need to believe that she will come to regret her actions.  But what is more important is your own actions and how they bring about your healing.  Because her not winning or feeling regret doesn’t really affect your bottom line.  What affects your bottom line is your moving forward.  You delay  your own healing when your concern is about her instead of about you.

I used to play little mind games with myself when it came to the other woman. Every time I thought about her, I’d try to do something nice for myself.  I might remind myself of my good attributes or even just go for a walk.  This way, I diverted my attention away from negative things and I was making progress, even if the steps were small.  You can read more on my blog at 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

My Husband Says That He Will Break Off The Affair, But He Wants To See Her One More Time When He Does It

By: Katie Lersch: When you find out that your husband is having an affair, the last thing that you want to think about is him continuing to see her – even if this is only one last time. No, you want for him to cut off any and all contact. And many wives have very little patience for any additional request.

A wife might say: “when I found out about my husband’s affair, I told him that he was not to see or talk to her ever again. This was nonnegotiable. I told him if I found out that he did, I would divorce him immediately. He calmly told me that he was going to be very honest with me throughout this whole process. Because of this, he said that could not lie to me and he felt that he needed to let me think that he was not going to continue to have a relationship with her. But, he said that he only needed to see her one last time because he wanted to have enough integrity to look her in the eye and explain things to her when he broke it off. I do not agree with this. What if she makes a big scene and begs him not to break it off? What if the spark is there and they end up having sex? What if he has no intention of breaking it off and he only wants to see her with my blessing? But when I tell my husband these things, he says that I need to trust him and that he really is going to break it off completely. What am I supposed to think about this?”

I can only tell you my opinion and it is based on the perspective of the faithful spouse. This is just my own opinion, but I couldn’t send my husband off for one last visit to the other woman either. And I suppose this husband doesn’t understand that saying “you need to trust me” when you have already caught him lying to and deceiving you is a very tall order.

With this said, this is a very common request. This husband isn’t alone with it. I hear this very often. Many men feel like they “owe it” to the other woman to tell this bad news to her face. Of course, I can’t tell you that there aren’t any men in this scenario who are lying and who only want to see her again, with no real intentions of cutting it off. But I also think that many men sincerely do intend to cut it off but feel that they need to do it in person.

You can certainly try to talk him out of this, because I agree with you that no good can come of it. I’d try something like: “since it’s ending anyway, I really do not understand why a letter, email or phone call won’t suffice. I don’t understand wanting to do this in the most honorable way possible when nothing about this was honorable. She knew that you were married, so she had to know that this might one day happen. This is very important to me. And if you want to save our marriage as much as you say, then I need to be your priority. Me being your priority means that my wishes are more important to you than hers. It’s important to me that you not see her anymore. And this is not an unreasonable request. Imagine that you were in my shoes. Imagine that I was asking you to see the other man again at least once more. Would you want me to? How would you feel when I walked out the door if you knew that I was going to see him.”

Hopefully, this will be enough to make him listen to reason. In my opinion, wanting to see her once more is truly a selfish request. And if his priority is you, then he should see that. To be fair, people aren’t always thinking clearly when they are having an affair and they aren’t usually themselves. That’s why it can be helpful to try to delay this process and ask him to wait awhile before making a decision. Because if you can delay it, then he may come to his senses and realize how silly this request truly is.

We had a lot of misunderstandings and struggles after my husband’s affair, but I was always clear that I didn’t want the other woman in our lives for one more minute.  Of course, we can’t always have what we want.  But we can try to be very clear about it anyway. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com