Do Men Feel Used When Having An Affair With A Married Woman?

By: Katie Lersch:  There is a real perception that people who have an affair want to eventually end up together.  If both people in the affair are married, there’s an assumption that one day, they will leave their perspective spouses so that they will end up married themselves.

This is not always the case though.  Many people are clear that they will NEVER leave their spouse. For whatever reason, the affair meets some need for them and their marriage also meets a need.  There is a great deal of curiosity about how this arrangement makes each participant feel.

For example, a wife might say: “I was devastated when I found out about my husband’s affair.  I automatically assumed that they would end up married and myself and the other woman’s husband would end up alone.  So I very foolishly called her.  I was going to beg her to break things off and not to have a serious relationship with my husband.  She laughed and assured me that she had NO intention of being serious with my husband.  She told me that she loved her own husband and would never leave him.  When I told my husband this, he just shrugged.  He said that he didn’t plan to leave me either.  He said that the affair was just a distraction and that it did not mean a thing to him, as he is sure that it did not mean anything to her.  I asked him whether he felt used.  Because if I had been in this situation, I would certainly feel used. I would feel like the other person was only using me for sex and then throwing me away.  But my husband swears that he doesn’t feel this way.  Is he lying because he is embarrassed?”

 Guessing How He Feels: It’s possible that he is embarrassed.  But quite honestly, I hear from a lot of folks who are having an affair and many of them are quite clear on the fact that they truly don’t want anything lasting or emotional from the relationship.  As the other woman said, sometimes the person cheating thinks that the affair meets a fleeting need outside of their marriage.  And they honestly try to keep their marriage and the affair completely separate.  They often assume that the affair will shortly end and their life / marriage doesn’t need to change.  Many like this arrangement because they do not want to become emotionally involved.

From all I have read and heard, it’s very possible for an affair to have no emotional expectations. I think that your husband would probably feel used IF he expected something emotionally or long-term from the other woman.  In other words, if he had fantasies of her leaving her husband to be with him, then yes, he may feel used if he later found out she never intended for that to happen.

But, if your husband never wanted a long term relationship himself or if the other woman encouraged him to have NO expectations, then I think he would be less likely to feel used.   Because both people were clear on their expectations.

Why You’re Trying To Gauge His Feelings: I think it’s possible that you want to know how your husband feels because you want to know just how invested he was in this relationship.  You may sort of buy that the other woman truly didn’t want anything from him, but you may be less sure as to whether he wanted anything from her.

Honestly, the only real way to know this is with time.  Because he can tell you that he wants nothing or doesn’t feel used, while pining for her or trying to continue to contact her.  But if what he is saying is true, then you should see behaviors that back this up.  You should see him coming straight home, being invested in your recovery, and not contacting or interacting with her in any way.

If he’s showing all of the signs that he’s putting his time and energy in you and in your marriage, then that’s a pretty good indicator that he truly has no interest in pursuing the relationship anymore because he wasn’t looking for anything lasting.

Of course, this is just the first step.  In order to truly have confidence that he won’t cheat again, you need to understand what need he was trying to meet and then fix the void.

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.  Right now, his actions are truly a better indicator of his intentions than what he claims or says he feels or doesn’t feel.  People caught cheating can and do use all sorts of words and phrases in the aftermath.  But it is their actions that are truly telling.

If he felt used, you might see him getting angry at her or trying to continuously reach out to her.  If you are not seeing these signs, then I think it’s better to place you attention on yourself and your own marriage and to get her out of your life.  By talking to her and wondering about her, you’re giving her power over you.  And believe me, it feels much better once you take your power back.  At least this was my experience.  You can read more about that on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Do Most People Sleep In Separate Bedrooms After One Of Them Cheats Or Has An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch:  Many of the questions that I get from wives who have been cheated on pertain to sex.  People worry that their sex life wasn’t “normal” either before or after the affair.  They are often looking for reassurance that their feelings, or their experience, is valid.

An example is the couple whose marriage has just been severely altered because the husband has cheated.  Quite understandably, the wife will often want to pause their sex life while she tries to figure out how she wants to proceed.  Sometimes, the husband is not happy with this arrangement and he will try to make her feel as if she is wrong to even suggest it.

Here’s what I mean.  A wife might say: “I kicked my husband out of our bedroom after I caught him cheating.  It was hard for me to even look at him, much less to have him sleeping next to me or even thinking that we might have sex.  I don’t want him even touching me, much less putting any sexual moves on me. I did not tell him to leave our home because of our children.  And also because I want to reserve the right to take my time in deciding what I really want. I don’t feel that this is too much to ask.  In fact, one of my best friends went through this and she said that she and her husband didn’t share a bed until about six months post-affair.  But my husband acts as if I am being unreasonable.  He says that he too has friends who have dealt with infidelity and that his male friends are telling him that they still shared a bedroom after the affair.  He admits that not all of them were having sex right away, but he insists that the men were not kicked out of their bedrooms. Who is right?”

I believe that both people can be right.  But it doesn’t really matter what other couples decide to do.  What matters is what works for YOU.  The arrangement that couples have as far as their bedroom goes varies greatly. One couple may be comfortable still being in the same room while the another may not be.  I don’t think that you need to feel bad if you want to sleep in separate bedrooms for a while.

I did this also and I felt that it was a better compromise than having my husband leave our home permanently.  I just couldn’t deal with the close proximity of sharing a bedroom when I was so angry and hurt. He respected this because I believe he realized that the situation was his fault and he understood why I wouldn’t want to share a bed with him at that time.

I did not want to feel pressured about having sex.  I needed time on my own.  I wanted private, quiet nights where I could just be alone with my thoughts and not constantly be questioned.  We did interact during the early days for the sake of our family.  But at night, we went our separate ways, although sometimes I asked him to talk or watch TV with me, but we did that in the living room, not the bedroom.

This went on for a little while as we were attempting to work through the issues and heal.  But it did not go on forever.  I will admit that we started resuming sex a little while before my husband officially moved back into our bedroom.  I suppose we wanted to test the waters and move gradually.  I didn’t stress too much about that.  I just used how I was feeling as a guide.  As I felt more close to my husband again and we began to restore the trust, I started to feel more desire toward him and so our sex life and sharing a bedroom naturally resumed.

But I did not allow myself to feel pressured about this.  And it would have been impossible for me to feel that desire in the early days.  I was too angry and hurt and therefore, my emotions were shut down.  Every one is different, but in order for me to feel physical desire, I have to feel an emotional connection.  And that wasn’t possible when the affair was still fresh.

I think that another consideration here is that not every one is going to be honest about their bedroom habits.  And that is fine because frankly, it is no one else’s business. But it is possible that your husband’s friends who claim that they never left their bedroom aren’t being completely truthful.  They may not want to appear like they weren’t in control of their own marriage so they aren’t admitting that they spent some time outside of their own bedroom.  Again, it is their business.  But I don’t want for you to just blindly believe this and feel that there is something wrong with you because you didn’t make the same choice.

I firmly believe that you have every right to decide what works for you.  If it doesn’t feel right to share a bedroom right now, I don’t see any benefit in forcing yourself to do so.  If you think it would help to talk about this, a suggestion might be something like: “I hear what you are saying.  But it doesn’t matter to me what our friends have done.  Because this is about us and what is right for our situation.  Right now, I just want some time to myself.  I am not saying that it will always be this way. But for now, I feel like I want to be alone at night.  I am asking you to respect that.”

I think that one reason husbands push to stay in their bedroom is not necessarily because of sex.  It is because they are afraid if that if they leave it even for a little while, they may never be invited back in your bedroom.  This often turns out to be untrue. And sometimes it helps if you tell them that as you begin to heal, you may change your mind about this eventually.

There’s more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Says I Should Not Take His Affair Personally

By: Katie Lersch:  Sometimes, I hear from wives who are dealing with husbands doing their best to minimize an affair.  The husband will usually tell the wife that this has very little to do with her.  He will tell her that a man’s needs and a man’s duties as husband are often at odds with one another.  Some will go so far as to tell a wife that she “should not take this personally.”

Needless to say, this is very confusing.  Not take it personally?  How is that possible?  And how dare he suggest this?  A wife might say: “I am struggling right now even though it has been four months after my husband’s affair.  My husband and I have had countless conversations about the motivations for his affair. I have asked him to be brutally honest with me.  I have even been open to taking responsibility for any contributions that I may have made.  But my husband insists that I am not to blame in any way.  He will only say that I can’t possibly understand the urges that men have, which have nothing whatsoever to do with love or marriage.  He says that he will never love another woman in the way that he loves me.  He says that he has no desire to be married to anyone else. He says that the affair is not at all about anything that I did or did not do.  He says that it has nothing to do with a lack of attraction to me because he insists that he is very attracted to me.  His bottom line is to repeat that I should not take this personally because it has nothing to do with me.  And I just do not understand this. How can I not take it personally? It affects every area of my life.  He cheated on ME.  He rejected ME.  So how am I supposed to step back and pretend that this is just something outside of our marriage that I should not concern myself with?”

I have to say that I agree with you.  As a wife who has been there, it’s my experience that it nearly impossible not to personalize this. However, I can tell you with absolutely certainty that many men will make the exact same claims that your husband is making right now.  Many men say the exact same thing – that the affair has very little to do with their wives and that it has nothing to do with their love for their wife – which has not changed.

From having these conversations, here is what I think that he may be trying to tell you. He may be trying to let you know that none of this is your fault.  He may be trying to free you from any culpability.  He knows that he is the one who took action.  He knows that he is the one who made a mistake.  He knows that you were a good spouse to him who more than fulfilled your part of the bargain.  He knows that it is him who fell short.  So he is trying to make you understand that you should not blame yourself.  I don’t think that he believes that you can step away from the affair and not personalize it, as that would be impossible.  But in his own confusing way, he’s trying to free you from a thought process where you will blame yourself.

I know that you might be thinking that this is all fine and good, but you are getting tired of hearing him say this.  Well, know that you can always tell him what you are feeling and try to open the door to a new path of communication.

You might try: “listen, I hear what you are saying.  And I suspect you are trying to get me not to blame myself. But I have to tell you that your insisting that I don’t take this personally is just not feasible.  This is my marriage and my life that we are talking about.  My marriage is very personal to me.  Knowing that you broke our vows feels extremely personal.  I get that you are trying to communicate that your actions have nothing to do with me, but regardless, it affects me.  You can’t just make this claim and think that I am no longer going to be devastated, regardless of your motivations.  You can’t just say these things and expect that we can just move on.  We are going to need a lot of help and a lot of work to move on.  Because I do take this personally and this is something that we are going to have to work on. Regardless of what motivated you, we are both going to need to understand your thought process so that we can change it.  Because I never want to go through this again.  The bottom line is that you can say what you want, but I am going to take it personally because it is my marriage.  And I hope that you don’t take my reaction personally.  Can you understand that?”

Hopefully, this conversation will at least help him to understand your point of view.  It is reassuring that he doesn’t want for you to blame yourself.  But he has to understand that regardless, there is much healing to do.

To his credit, my husband did not want for me to blame myself.  And frankly, I didn’t.  Was I a perfect wife? Absolutely not.  We had our issues and we have worked through them.  But it was he who made the decision to cheat and it was he who had to take the lead toward our healing.  I was willing to do the work and make changes, but I expected him to take the initiative. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

What Percentage Of People Stay Married After One Of Them Has An Affair?

by: katie lersch: I often hear from people who are trying to determine how badly the odds are stacked against them and their marriage after their spouse has had an affair.   And, this is a concern that both husbands and wives share.  Anyone can be on the wrong end of their spouse’s affair and yet be still trying to save their marriage in the aftermath of it.  And many want to know just what they are up against and if they are fighting a losing battle.

I recently heard from a wife who said: “I really do want to stay married even though I just recently found out about my husband’s affair.  But every day, I feel anger and rage that feels so foreign to me.  Every day, the awkwardness and the coldness in our marriage becomes more and more evident.  I have friends who are still married five years after the husband’s infidelity and they seem reasonably content.  But I wonder if they beat the odds because this affair has brought up so many resentments and doubts in me.  I don’t know if I will be able to overcome these things.  What’s the percentage of couples who stay married after one of them cheats and has an affair?  And how can I make sure that I beat the odds?”  I’ll address these things in the following article.

The Percentage Of  Couples Remaining Married After An Affair Might Be Higher Than You Think: The woman in the above scenario confessed that she assumed that the majority of couples who face infidelity end up divorced. Statistics show that this just isn’t the case.  Although the numbers vary, most studies and surveys indicate that the percentage of people who stay married after an affair is around 75 – 80 percent (with around 20 – 25 percent of couples eventually divorcing because they just couldn’t over come the affair.) I suspect that there are many factors that go into which couples make it and which don’t such as the length of the affair, the determination and commitment of the people involved, and the tools or help that the married couple had access to.

Although you might find these numbers surprising or even encouraging, I would argue that these statistics don’t tell you everything.  There are many reasons that people stay together after an affair.  Sometimes, it is because they still love and are committed to their spouse. But, other times, it’s out a sense of obligation, due to finances, or because the marriage has just become a comfortable habit that feels familiar.  Honestly, I think there’s another question here that is equally important – which leads me to my next point.

A More Important Statistic Might Be How Many People Remain Married After An Affair And Are Truly Happy.  How Many Are Able To Restore The Happiness And Fulfillment In Their Marriage?: The wife in this scenario was most concerned about remaining married.  But frankly, this is only half the battle.  We all know couples who stuck it out after an affair but who were never truly happy again because they just weren’t able to recover.  Many of us know the couple who insist on staying together but who also remain miserable and bitter.  To me, staying married but remaining unhappy isn’t really a victory at all.  It’s my opinion that it only makes sense to fight for your marriage after an affair if you can ensure that they same marriage is rebuilt so that it’s a marriage that’s actually worth fighting for.

I know for certain this is possible because of my own experience.  But many people worry more about staying married at all costs while not worrying nearly as much if they are staying in and rebuilding a happy marriage.  I think that many people do not realize just how bad things can be when you are stuck in a marriage where it’s clear that neither spouse is particularly happy to be there.  I have a friend who will openly admit that her marriage is this way and the tension and negative feelings between she and her husband are extremely obvious and uncomfortable to anyone who spends time with them.   It’s as if she can’t stop punishing him and he seems to feels so guilty that he thinks that this is his lot in life.  Neither of them seem to believe that things could ever possibly be better.  And neither of them are willing to be the one to initiate or ask for a change.  So it’s quite possible that they will continue to go through life married but unhappy.

Ensuring That You Rebuild A Marriage That Is Worth Staying In After The Affair: So now that we’ve established that it’s not all that rare to stay married, let’s talk about how to make sure you’re not staying in an unhappy marriage.  Many people assume that staying means that you’re accepting a damaged marriage that is destined to just limp along.  But it truly is possible to rebuild a different and sometimes stronger and better marriage.  Yes, this requires you to do some in depth work on both yourself and your marriage.  But what you put into it will often be worth it in the long run. It’s better than remaining unhappy.   Your spouse’s affair should not be something that you have to deal with for the rest of your married life.  You can work through it.

Staying married after an affair should be something that you want to do not because you feel obligated or stuck but because of your love for your spouse and the fact that you are able to return your marriage to something that is a source and happiness and fulfillment for both of you. If you’re having trouble rebuilding after the affair, I highly recommend the free “Break Free From the Affair” ecourse on the side of this blog.  I know that trying to stay married after an affair can very challenging and painful, but it can truly be worth it. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, I did eventually truly get over the affair. My marriage is stronger than ever. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

I Can’t Decide If I Want To Stay With My Cheating Spouse. I Keep Changing My Mind

By: Katie Lersch:  Things can feel very heightened and immediate when you find out about your spouse’s affair.  Because this is so painful, it’s normal to want a quick resolution.  You don’t want to feel this bad forever, so you can feel a little bit of pressure to make a swift decision in order to begin healing.  And yet, making this decision isn’t as easy as some believe.  Many of us change our minds, wonder if we are reacting off of emotion, and worry that whatever decision we make is going to be wrong.

A wife might say: “as soon as I found out my husband has been having an affair, the first words out of his mouth were: ‘you can’t leave me.  You can’t take my family away from me.’  And my first thought and reaction was: ‘you’d better believe that I can leave you.  If you didn’t want me to leave, you should have thought about that before you cheated.’  I had always thought that the first sign of infidelity meant that I was going to be out the door.  I never thought I was going to be the woman who stood by a cheater.  I thought I was going to be like Sandra Bullock with Jesse James.  I wasn’t even going to think about it.  I was just going to get rid of the cheater immediately.  But now that I am in this situation, I realize now that it is not as cut and dry as all that.  I have my kids to think about.  But when this thought comes to my head, I immediately counter this thought with the knowledge that my husband wasn’t thinking about our kids all that much when he was sleeping with someone else.  Some days I will think that we can get through this if we try.  And other days, I will think that I do not want to get through this.  I don’t want to save a marriage to a cheater.  But then the next day I am on the verge of changing my mind again.  My husband is constantly asking me what I have decided in regards to our marriage.  And I never know what I should tell him because I haven’t really come to a decision because I am always changing my mind. What is wrong with me?”

What You’re Feeling Is So Normal And Understandable: Absolutely nothing is wrong with you.  I changed my mind constantly also.  I believe that many people do.  If you weren’t, that would mean that you possibly weren’t taking an honest and accurate look at the circumstances.  It would be very naive to think that you could just block out your doubts.  Some days you will naturally think that you can over come these doubts.  But the next day, they might be back and they have brought anger also.  It is a lot to deal with.  And all of the swirling information and emotions causes uncertainty, which is completely understandable.

Removing Some Of The Pressure: It doesn’t help matters that your husband is always asking you what you have decided.  This makes you feel pressure at a time when pressure is the last thing that you need.  So you might try a response like this: “the only decision that I have made is that I am not going to rush to make a decision.  There are a lot of considerations here and there is a lot at stake. Plus, my feelings are constantly changing.  I need to take some time to have confidence that my feelings and perceptions are more stable.  And I need time to process this. I know that you feel as if you are in limbo.  And I know you want me to make a decision so you know what the future holds.  But I just can’t make a sound decision right now.  I am going to need to take a wait and see approach.  I know that is hard for you, but it is necessary for me.”

Your husband may not like this answer, but he should understand it.  Because it was his actions that made all of this necessary.  I am sure that my husband would have loved it if I would have told him immediately that we could try to make it work.  But there was no way I could say that with any sincerity.  I did not know what I wanted.  And I didn’t know if counseling was going to help us or even how I would feel if it did.  And I knew that I was going to need time to watch his behaviors in order to evaluate if I could one day trust him again.  So I told my husband that there wouldn’t be any quick decisions and that I was going to wait and see how our rehabilitation work went.  He knew that I could change my mind at any time and I am sure this wasn’t fun for him.  But it certainly wasn’t fun for me either.   Recovery takes a lot of time.  And you can’t really be sure that you’ve made the right decision until you’ve had time to evaluate your recovery efforts.

There were days when I just wanted to make any decision and stick with it.  But I knew that if I did, I would always have to deal with the doubts that came with this rushed decision.  It wasn’t always easy to just wait and see.  It was a harder path to watch and evaluate.  But I’m glad I did that.  Because I have full confidence that I ultimately made the right decision.  You can read more about the outcome on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Says If He Really Wanted To Be With The Other Woman, He Would. I Don’t Know If This Should Make Me Feel Better Or Worse

By: Katie Lersch:  Sometimes, when we are having yet another conversation with our husband about his affair, what we are really looking for is reassurance.  We don’t always come right out and ask for this reassurance though. Instead, we ask more questions about the affair, hoping that our husband’s answers are going to indicate that he really wants to be with us and that he doesn’t think about or want the other woman anymore.

Sometimes, he intends to give reassuring responses, but he ends up doing just the opposite.  Here’s an example.  You might be having the same old conversation about restoring the trust.  You may have noticed your husband was just a little late returning home and so you feel paranoid and worried.  You ask him about this and he tells you that traffic was particularly bad.   He becomes a little annoyed and asks if you are always going to worry about every little thing.  You tell him that you are just always wondering if he’s continuing to talk to the other woman.  He responds that if he wanted to see her, he would.  Understandably, this makes you feel even worse instead of being reassured.

A wife might say: “my husband said I should stop worrying about the other woman.  He says the affair is completely over and that if he wanted to be with her, he would.  He said he wouldn’t go behind my back, he would just tell me that he wanted to be with her.  But since that hasn’t happened, I shouldn’t worry so much.  I do not know how to take this.  Is he putting me on warning that she will take him back, so I had better watch my step?  This statement seems very arrogant to me.”

What He Could Possibly Mean By This: I don’t know your husband, so it is hard for me to speculate.  But I think that perhaps this was his attempt to reassure you and unfortunately, his words came out wrong.  He is probably trying to say that if he wanted to pick back up the affair, he would not need to participate in trickery and an elaborate plan to carry it out.  He’s could be telling you what you’re seeing doesn’t mean that he is cheating again and that you don’t have to examine everything so closely.  Yes, he could have said this more clearly and used a little more tact.  But I’m not sure that his inability to say what he really means was meant to put you on edge or to show his arrogance.

We all know that many times, women are better able to choose their words more carefully than men.  Because in your husband’s place, I would have said something like: “honey, I promise you, it was only bad traffic.  You don’t have to worry.  I told you that the affair was over and it is over.  Next time, I will call you from the car so that you don’t worry.  Would that be OK?”

Of course, it is easy for me to say this because I am a woman who has been through infidelity.  So I know EXACTLY what a wife in this situation would want to hear.  As a woman myself, it is easier for me.

A Suggested Conversation To Clear The Air: Your husband doesn’t have the advantage of knowing how women think. He’s a man and he probably doesn’t have the same thought process as you do. So, he may need help to articulate what you need so that this doesn’t get any worse.  You might try: “I know that you meant for that to be reassuring to me.  But somehow, that isn’t how I am taking it. I worry that your words mean that you know the other woman is still available to you.  I know that you probably meant that I don’t always need to read something into your being late, but unfortunately, that is not what I heard.  Maybe it would help if the next time you’re stuck in traffic, you give me a quick phone call telling me so? That way, I won’t worry and we aren’t as likely to have misunderstandings.  Can you do that?”

This conversation is better than suddenly accusing him of keeping the other woman on the back burner when this may not have been what he meant.  Sure, it makes sense to watch him closely.  But sometimes, we over analyze things after the affair because understandably, we are watching very closely.   It’s normal to do this, but you have to be careful that you aren’t accusing him of something that just isn’t true.  And you don’t want to come off as so paranoid that you are going to ensure that you are both miserable because of it.

If you have issue with (or questions about) what he has said, you have right to address it.   If something worries you, then you have every right to speak up so that your worries don’t fester.  But know that sometimes, the responses won’t be exactly what you are looking for and it’s common to see something that isn’t there.  That’s why it helps to calmly ask for clarification or to set it up so that next time, what you are getting is reassurance instead of confusion.

I used to pick apart everything that my husband said after his affair.  He could have been saying something totally innocent and I would flip it around.  It was a vicious cycle that I had to learn to break.  There’s more about this on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Cheated On Me With His First Wife Or His Ex. What Does It Mean?

By: Katie Lersch:  I sometimes hear from people who are absolutely shocked at the identity of the “other woman” in their husband’s affair. One reason for their shock is that they already know this woman.  Because she is the husband’s first wife.  And she is a woman that they never thought they would have to worry about ever again.  In fact, in some cases, the husband chose the current wife over the first one.  So there has already been a sense of victory as far as the first wife was concerned.  But that victory is completely in question once the affair with the ex has been discovered.

A wife might say: “I just can not understand why this is happening.  You can’t really say that I cheated with current my husband when he was married to his first wife.  From what I understand, they were already on the brink of separating when we met.  I do know that she tried very hard to get him to come back to her, but it failed.  Once we met, he was in love with me.  It always made me a little uncomfortable when they met up to talk about their kids.  But I didn’t want my husband to resent me if I got jealous when he was trying to be a good parent, so I tolerated this.  I didn’t worry too much about her.  I am younger and prettier.  My husband seemed very happy in our marriage. And now I find out that he has been cheating on me with her.  I don’t understand.  She is not all that attractive and if their marriage was so great, why did he divorce her?  Why would he cheat with his ex wife?”

Unfinished Business: This is more common than you might think.  I believe that there a number of reasons that people cheat with ex spouses.  But one of the most common reasons is that they have unfinished business with that person.  Many people get divorces before they attempt to explore both what is wrong and whether it can be fixed. At the first sign of trouble, they bail out without truly determining if the marriage may stand a chance.  This can be particularly true if there is an affair or another relationship.  Later, there is a temptation to pick up the relationship in the first marriage because it was never really resolved or there was never closure.  As I said, the unfinished business can leave people vulnerable to trying to pick it back up and see where it leads.

The Husband Isn’t Good At Being Faithful.  He Always Thinks That The Grass Is Greener Somewhere Else: Another reason that a man might cheat with his ex wife is that he has never learned how to be faithful.  He may have poor impulse control or he may not have learned how to remove himself from a situation where he is going to do something that he regrets.

And frankly, the first wife is usually close to him and is accessible.  They may find themselves together a lot and, when he has poor impulse control, she is available since they are so close.

Young Love With A History is Hard To Shake: The third reason that he may be cheating with his ex is that he still has a connection with his first wife that is hard to shake, especially if it was a long term marriage that began when he was young.  People sometimes have problems letting go of their first love.  After all, there is so much history and the ex spouse probably knows your husband very well. That is why it can be so tempting to pursue that relationship again when things get tough.  It is like putting on a comfortable robe or having a warm cup of tea.  It feels good because it feels so familiar.

Deciding How You Want To Proceed: The next thing to consider is where you want to go from here.  And the answer to that is probably going to depend on what you want and how willing your husband is to be rehabilitated.  Because he will need to be rehabilitated in order for you both to have confidence that this is not going to happen again.

Repeat cheaters can sometimes change.  But it takes a lot of continued work on their part.  They have to be incredibly motivated to admit their flaws and change them.  And you have to be willing to believe that he can change and that you want to allow him the chance.  I am not going to lie to you and tell you that this process is easy.  You are likely to doubt him and to struggle every time he sees his first wife, at least until healing is complete.

Since there are children, he will have to see her and communicate with her.  And that is going to be challenging for all involved.  I would highly recommend counseling in this situation because there are so many variables that need to be addressed.  And it’s not just a regular affair we are talking about.  It is an affair that is going to greatly affect a family.  When there are children and a family involved, extra care must be taken. You are right to worry that he will resent you if his being married to you affects his relationship with his children.  So you want to make sure he still has access to his kids while setting firm boundaries with his ex wife, assuming that you want to save your marriage and that he is committed to the same.

I know that this hurts.  But it is possible to heal a marriage after an affair.  Admittedly, I am my husband’s first and only wife. But I do believe that the healing process would be the same. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Doesn’t Want To Have Sex With Me After He Has Ended His Affair. Why?

By: Katie Lersch: Sex after an affair is one of the most common topics that is brought up by people who read my blog.   There can be a lot of awkwardness, confusion, and questions about resuming your sex life after one spouse has been unfaithful.  And, there’s a lot at stake here because when sex goes wrong after infidelity, often one or both people read a lot into this and become very discouraged.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband had a 3 month affair a couple of months ago.  When I found out, I gave him a choice.  End it immediately and do whatever I needed to save our marriage or keep it up and lose me.  He said that he didn’t want to lose our family so he broke it off.  However, although I can tell that he’s trying to work on our marriage, he doesn’t want to have sex with me.  He doesn’t come right out and say this but he’s made no sexual advances toward me since I found out about the affair.  And when I make advances toward him, he rebuffs me or tells me that it’s ‘too soon.’  This hurts me deeply because I worry that he doesn’t find me desirable or that I no longer turn him on.  I also worry that he doesn’t want me because he’s still thinking about her.  Why would a husband not want to have sex with his wife after an affair?”  There are actually many possible reasons for this, which I will discuss below.

He May Not Want To Have Sex Because He’s Worried That It Will Be Awkward:  Sometimes, men back off of having sex because they worry that when you are in the act, you are going to be thinking about or worrying about the other woman.  They worry that you will get upset during this and will be emotionally hurt.  Also, they often intuitively know that if sex doesn’t go well, this might make one or both of you worry that the spark is gone or that the affair has damaged your marriage and your chemistry so much, that it might not ever recover.

He Might Worry That You Will Be Turned Off Or Upset During The Act:  Some men worry that once sex actually takes place, you will become upset or overwhelmed.  It’s one thing to kiss and cuddle, it’s quite another when you are actually having intercourse after infidelity.  Sometimes, it is quite emotional and your husband might be trying to avoid this until you have healed or recovered more.

His Guilt May Be Telling Him That He Doesn’t Deserve It: Another possibility is that your husband feels very guilty and feels as if he doesn’t deserve your willingness to have sex with him.  He may feel as if he needs to earn back your trust before he even thinks about deserving to be intimate with you again.

His Emotions May Be All Over The Place:  There’s an assumption that men are willing to have sex anywhere and anytime no matter what the circumstances.  There is also a perception that while a woman needs an emotional connection or to feel emotionally healthy before she can have sex, a man doesn’t need any emotional connection whatsoever.  This isn’t the case for all men.  Some have issues being intimate when they are struggling emotionally.  And, believe it or not, men can be emotionally torn after an affair.  They can have some confusion and a large sense of regret. And this can bring about emotions that just make sex at that time feel wrong.

He May Be Posturing:  I’ll mention one final possibility, although this one is less common.  Sometimes, his holding off on having sex is part of a strategy.  Sometimes, he knows that you have the power in the marriage right now because of his affair.  And sometimes, he will try to regain some of this power by holding off sexually.  He figures if he can make you pursue him, he won’t have as much making up to do. And you have to decide if you’re going to want to allow him to do this.

How To Respond When He Doesn’t Want To Have Sex After Infidelity:  I know that this is probably not what you want to hear.  But honestly, I feel that it is best not to push if you are encountering resistance. There is plenty of time to resume your sex life and you are so much better off waiting until things are right between you.  I believe that it’s important for the sex to be good after the affair.  And it probably won’t be very good if one or both of you aren’t sure or feel uncomfortable.

So the next time that he resists, you may want to say something like: “I can see that you’re not completely comfortable.  I think that it’s better for us to wait and make sure that we are both ready rather than to push it.  I am confident that we will both know when the time is right.  And I’m also confident it will be worth the wait.”  Then, just get on with your healing.  Many men will see you backing up and then they will start pursuing you, at which point you’ll need to make another decision about how best to proceed.

I know that this is difficult.  But I strongly advocate waiting until you know, without any doubt whatsoever, that the time is right.  You don’t want to have sexual issues in addition to the infidelity issues.  A good sex life can help with the healing.  And an awkward one can delay your progress.  I have to admit that I held off for a while after my husband’s affair.  It just felt necessary and, since we did save our marriage and are happy today, I feel that it was the right call.  If it helps, you can read about my recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Said His Affair Gave Him Confidence

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s very common for a cheating husband to justify the cheating by telling himself (or his spouse) that the cheating made him better or enhanced his life in some way.  This can be very hard for the faithful spouse to take because it can be obvious to them that these enhancements are all in his head.  One example of this is a husband who is claiming that the affair made him more “confident.”

A wife might say: “my husband is reluctant to end the affair and I am at a loss as to how to force this on him.  He is telling me that he thinks he still wants our marriage. But, at the same time, he admits that the affair made his life better.  He says that it gave him a confidence that he hasn’t had for years.  He said that before the affair he felt like an old man who wasn’t relevant or worthwhile anymore.  But the affair made him feel like he was still in the game and that he still had something to offer.  I am at a loss as to how to deal with this.  She wanted him because he has money, so I’m not sure this had anything to do with ‘still being in the game.’  It has to do with an opportunist setting her signs on him and nothing more.  But I am not dumb enough to tell him this because if I did, I know that this would just escalate his insecurities which is what got us here is the first place. But this whole things scares me.  Is he going to cheat on me every time he feels insecure about himself?  I’m aging too and there’s a lot that I don’t like about it.  But you don’t see me going out and cheating just to make myself feel better.”

I know that this must be frustrating.  And it’s very common for a man to cheat because it somehow makes him feel better about himself or about his life.  Frankly, many men do not admit this.  And many men don’t even see this dynamic at play.

So it’s encouraging that he has admitted this.  But the admission doesn’t fix it.  In order to fix it, he needs to do some self-work in order to obtain confidence separate from external confirmations that aren’t real anyway.  True confidence comes from inside.  It is not the result of what you have, or who you are with, or the sum of other people’s perceptions of you.  It is the result of knowing that you are a good person who contributes your unique gifts to the world.

Some people are able to make this realization on their own and others come to understand and accept this through counseling.  The fact that he not only sees this – but admits it – is an encouraging sign.  But he may need help with the next step, which is learning to stop looking for confidence outside of himself.

His reasoning is not at all uncommon.  I believe that most people who have affairs are doing so in order to feel better about their lives and themselves.  It often doesn’t have as much to do with their marriage or with their spouse as people tend the think.  Instead, it has everything to do with them and their own insecurities.  And this reasoning is, at least in my opinion, actually more fixable than other issues like sex addition or a lack of impulse control.

A lack of confidence being a common reason for an affair doesn’t necessarily make it a valid reasoning.  Although every one can understand wanting to feel like you are attractive, charming, and worthwhile, not all of us cheat.  Wanting self confidence is no reason to cheat on your spouse.  There are much healthier ways to develop confidence.

Healing from this will often will come down to your spouse’s commitment to the marriage and his willingness to see this through and to seek rehabilitation.  Not every man is willing to admit his shortcomings and then try to fix them.  So the fact that he has the self awareness to see this dynamic at play is very encouraging.  The next step would be for him to learn to cultivate confidence in the appropriate places.

Many of us struggle with our confidence when we go through the aging process because we are witnessing changes in our bodies and ourselves that are not always encouraging.  However, you can learn to look at these changes differently.  And frankly, although the affair can appear to offer some relief in the area of confidence, this is often only temporary.

When the affair is found out or the other woman gets a better offer and moves on, then the newfound confidence can take a huge hit.  He’ll not only feel like an older man, but he will feel like a silly older man who has been fooled and taken for a ride and who now has a marriage in jeopardy and a hurt and angry wife.

So while the lack of confidence excuse is common and fixable, it doesn’t give him a pass. But if he’s willing to get help to address it, then it’s my opinion that it’s treatable. My own husband definitely had struggles and stressors before he cheated.  This had to be dealt with, but it didn’t excuse his behavior or bypass the need for healing. You’re welcome to read about my own journey 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