Should I Give In And Spend Thanksgiving With The Husband Who Cheated?

By: Katie Lersch:  Dealing with an affair in your marriage is difficult during any time of the year.  But it can be particularly difficult during the winter holidays, especially if you have children.  This is the time of the year when families are expected to get together and when everyone is expected to be happy and full of cheer.  Many people are not comfortable sharing information about their marriage – even to family.  And yet, it may be obvious to many that you are not feeling the winter cheer this year.  And you can wonder if it’s best to just skip at least some celebrations (that include your husband) or to pretend for the sake of your family, despite the affair.

Someone might say: “my husband’s affair is still really fresh. I only found out three weeks ago.  I am still really struggling. Sometimes I feel as if I am every bit as upset as I was when this first happened.  And here we are at Thanksgiving. We always alternative between going to my parents’ at lunch and his parents’ at dinner.  I am fine with going to my parents for lunch, but I have no desire to see his parents.  No one else knows about this yet, but even if his parents did know, they think that their son can do no wrong. I have told my husband that I don’t want to go, but he insists that we will make it a short trip and he insists that it will upset our kids to not go.  He says that we don’t need to announce that anything has changed and that we can get through anything for a short period of time for the sake of our kids.  He keeps telling me that he hopes that next year, everything will be back to normal with our family.  Of course he hopes for this – as it lets him off the hook.  This is all so easy for him to say. He is not the one who is so hurt.  He is not the one who has to try to pick up the pieces.  I honestly don’t know if I can sit through the dinner with his parents.  But I don’t want to disrupt my kids’ day and I feel like the winter holidays are an important part of childhood.  I love my kids and I want things to be as normal for them as they can possibly be.  Should I just force myself to go?”

Considerations Worth Thinking About: I think the answer to this depends on a few things.  I think that the most important to thing to ask yourself is if you think that you can get through the day and act relatively normally without paying a high price.  Because quite honestly, if you go and are visibly upset and have to explain your behavior to the kids, then this may be more disruptive to them than if you just came up with a plausible excuse not to go at all.  Not only that, but if you go and are upset or things are awkward and people notice, then there may be more explaining to do than if you just came down with a headache or the flu and had to stay home.

If, on the other hand, you feel that you can just sort of coast through the day without anyone being the wiser, then that might be doable.  It really does depend on your ability to compartmentalize and carry on when you are deep down upset.

Some couples are able to put on a happy face when things aren’t great and others are not.  Your situation is a little more tricky and difficult because it is still so fresh.  I don’t think it would be a crime to send the kids off with their dad and claim to have a headache if you truly don’t think you want to do this or feel that you just can’t do it.  The kids still get to enjoy the holiday with extended family and no one needs to know that anything is amiss.  People miss holidays due to illness or emergencies all of the time.  And if you truly can’t or don’t want to do it, then it’s better to bow out than to have an unfortunate, awkward experience during the holidays.

If you think you can swing it and just want to get it over with, then that’s valid too.  But I think that you have every right to make your own choice and to not be pressured by anyone else’s expectations.

If you choose not to go, you might try: “I know that you want to just carry on as usual this year, but I don’t feel that I can do that.  I’m going to just beg off as not feeling well.  You can take the kids so they won’t miss anything.  Like you, I hope that things are back to normal next year, but I am just not able to pretend that everything is fine when it isn’t.  It’s too fresh this year.”

If you decide to stick it out, you might try: “I’m going to do this for the kids, but I don’t want to stay as long as normal. I want to give myself a break, make an appearance, and then come home and spend time with the kids.  I think that this is a fair compromise, considering how fresh everything is. I hope that next year is different, but for this year, I feel like we need to make concessions.”

No one can decide which route you want to take but you, but don’t let anyone tell you that either path isn’t valid.  You should have the luxury to be guided by your own feelings and wishes.  You aren’t trying to keep the kids from family.  But you have every right to consider your own well being as well.  Sometimes, we go and we find that it’s not as bad as we had feared.  And other times, we just don’t have it in us to find out.  Either way is valid.

I certainly did beg off of some traditions and get-togethers after my husband’s affair.  And some traditions were important to me personally so I kept them going.  It really depends on how you feel about each individual thing.  And your wishes and feelings matter as much as anyone else’s.  You can read more about my own struggles during a similar time on my blog at

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

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

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

Often, A Husband’s Affair Doesn’t Have Anything Whatsoever To Do With His Love For His Wife: There are many types of affairs. We all know of or have even heard from the husband who will claim he cheated or had an affair because his wife just didn’t understand or appreciate him. Or, he’ll say that his wife had let herself go or had changed, so as a result, he fell out of love with her and had an affair with someone else.

In fact, that is so common an excuse that many people will just assume that a cheating husband no longer loves his wife. This is most certainly not true in every case. A good number of cheating men actually love, adore, and lust after their wives. Men who have good and active sex lives cheat. Men who could not ever imagine their lives without their wives still cheat. Men who look their wives right in the face and truthfully declare their undying love cheat on those same wives. Why? Because sometimes the cheating and the love have nothing to do with one another.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Do I Feel So Guilty For Cheating On A Spouse Who Deserves It?

By: Katie Lersch: There is an assumption that people who cheat don’t feel all that guilty about it. After all, if there was any guilt, they probably wouldn’t cheat in the first place. If it helps, I can clarify that I hear from some of these folks and I can tell you that many of them feel so guilty that they are looking for tips on how to manage the feelings – which are negatively affecting their lives. Many of them wonder why they feel so guilty. Because some of them feel at least somewhat justified in cheating. They feel that their spouse wasn’t holding up their end of the bargain or was acting in such a way that he (or she) deserved the betrayal.

A wife might say: “quite honestly, for the last five years, my husband has been horrible to me. He is not supportive. When I lost my job, instead of comforting me and telling me that he would pick up the slack, he encouraged me to take any job that paid right away. As a result, I’m very unhappy in my dead end job but he never seems to care. After I lost a pregnancy, I caught him chatting with people online rather than supporting me. His excuse is that he was only flirting with these people, but that he would never meet them face to face. He doesn’t show me the compassion and care that most people show for their spouse. I often feel ignored. So yes, I did cheat with a man at my dead end job. I honestly think that this was a coping mechanism. And I didn’t expect to feel guilty about it because my husband is so awful, that I don’t see how he could ever expect my loyalty. The thing is, I do feel guilty. Awfully guilty. Every time I lie to my husband or every time I come home late from being with the other guy and he is sitting at home where he should be, I feel just horrible about it. And I do not understand why this is. He deserves any bad behavior that comes his way after the way that he has treated me. So why do I feel so badly about it?”

I can only speculate, but I certainly have a theory. After my own husband’s affair, I was so awful to him. I never cheated in retaliation. Frankly, I didn’t want anything to do with the opposite sex whatsoever at that point. But I was extremely sarcastic and critical. I had no problem calling him awful names and attacking him personally. And I would sometimes get finished berating him and I would go in my room and cry.

I didn’t understand why “getting it all out” didn’t make me feel better and instead made me feel worse. This went on for a while until it dawned on me why I was feeling so badly. I was conducting myself in a way that was not in alignment with the type of person that I considered myself to be. I was stooping to a level that I never wanted to visit.

Did my husband deserve my unkindness? Absolutely. But honestly, that did not make my behavior right. I had a recent experience that further proves my point. My family was on vacation and this sour, nasty, mean woman actually butted my child in line. She literally pushed him out of her way and said something that I can’t even repeat here. I tried to approach the situation calmly, asking her what the problem seemed to be. Well, the only way I can accurately describe her response is to say that she went off – screaming and yelling obscenities. I wish I could tell you that I took the high road. But I did not. I was so shocked and angry that she would act this way at a family outing with children around that I yelled right back. One look at my family’s shocked faces stopped me, and I eventually muttered “clearly, you have bigger problems than this family outing.” And I walked away in a huff.

But I found myself crying after that incident, too. And I believe the reason is that I knew that I had stooped to her level and this is not the kind of person I want to be. I was matching her very bad behavior with behavior that is very bad for me. I want to be in control of my actions. I do not want to model this kind of behavior to my family. I let myself down. Even though I was justified.

I suspect you are going through the same thing. You know that your husband’s behavior makes your cheating somewhat understandable. But, you still know that it is wrong. You still know that you have broken a promise to yourself and to your spouse. Because quite honestly, there really isn’t justification for cheating.  So, you know that, in a way, you’ve let yourself down because this is not the kind of person you want to be.

With all of this said, what is done is done. You can’t change it. You can only make it right at this point. And ultimately, what you decide to do with your marriage is up to you. But I suggest that you deal with your marriage rather than retaliate because of it – even if your husband’s behavior is so bad that you would be justified if you didn’t.

Why? Because if you conduct yourself in a way that is different from your own life standards and ideals, you know it in your gut. And you will take that regret and that sorrow into your next relationship or into your marriage if you choose to save it. And life is too short for that, especially when you are having such strong feelings of guilt.

After a while of being deplorable to my husband after his affair, I realized that in order to really heal, I needed to act like the mature adult that I knew myself to be.  This required me to take the high road, but I always felt at peace with that.  I always felt worse when I conducted myself badly and better when I conducted myself well. You can read more on my blog at

I’m Always Pushing My Husband Away After His Affair. And I Can’t Seem To Stop

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s normal to have conflicting emotions after you find out about your husband’s affair.  You may go from not wanting him in your line of sight to fantasizing about saving your marriage over the course of only a few hours.

One morning you may be considering kicking him out and by night time, you’re thinking about your children not living with their father and so you’re researching counseling options. This can make you feel as if there is something wrong with you or that you are being too wishy-washy, but it is normal.  Swinging from one emotion and one course of action to another happens to nearly every one at some point.  And even when you make the decision to try to work things out, you can still find yourself rebelling in a way.  You might still have long days of doubt where you find yourself pushing your spouse away.

Someone might explain: “after about a month of waffling about what I wanted to do with my marriage after my husband’s affair, I finally decided that I would be open to seeing what happened between us.  I told my husband that I was not going to ask him to leave and that, should he do what I asked and be willing to go to counseling and be rehabilitated, then I would be committed to trying to work things out.  He agreed.  And honestly, he has done most of what I’ve asked. He does go to counseling and even though I know he hates it, he sits there without complaint.  He stays home every single night.  He is trying to be attentive to me.  The problem isn’t totally with him.  It’s also with me.  He tries to be sweet to me, but I find myself pushing him away.  I find myself almost picking fights with him and being deliberately mean.  I get angry at myself afterward, but of course by then the damage is done.  I’m very frustrated with myself about this.  And I feel like its going to mean that I lose my marriage regardless of how hard we are trying.  Why am I pushing him away like this?  And how can I stop?  It makes me feel like a mean-spirited person and I am not normally like this.”

You are not a mean person.  What you are going through is absolutely normal.  I dealt with it and I don’t know many who have escaped it, especially in the beginning.  Below, I will go over some reasons that might be contributing to his issue and I will discuss how you might handle it.

An Unconscious Desire For Him To Prove His Love And Commitment:  I can only speak for myself here, but I honestly believe that the biggest reason that I pushed my husband away was because I wanted to see if he would hang around, despite my treatment.  I guess in my mind, I thought that if he stuck around even when I was being mean to him, then he must really love me and be committed to me.  I know that this was twisted thinking that was destined to breed resentment.  But early on, I do believe that I was operating under that principal.  Luckily, I gained confidence that he truly wanted to be there as time went on and I was able to stop, which leads me to my next point.

Sometimes, You Are Reacting To The Doubts And You’re Trying To Protect Yourself:  Frankly, there were times during my recovery process where I was a little short and mean to every one – not just my husband.  I was always plagued with fears and doubts.  I was resentful that my life had come to this when I had done nothing wrong, so I was likely to lash out at any one who happened to be there at the time. But of course, it was a little worse for my husband, because we both knew that he was the cause.

You May Be Trying To Protect Yourself With Emotional Walls: There’s sometimes a subconscious desire to not let him get too close to you emotionally. This is meant to protect you from getting hurt again. You might think that if you can keep him at arm’s length, you might not get burned.  Of course, keeping him at a distance also means that you sacrifice the intimacy.  Now that you see that it’s pretty normal to feel the way that you do, let’s talk about how to put a lid on it.

How To Stop Pushing Him Away:  Right now, you have emotional walls built around yourself meant to protect you.  It’s normal and natural.  But, it’s common sense that in order to get the intimacy back (which we all want,) you have to let the walls down.

The first step is being aware of when and how it is happening.  Often, there are some triggers that happen just before you lash out or pull away.  I want you to be aware because if you know when this is coming, you can pause and stop yourself before you act.  Train yourself to always pause and think before you talk or take any action.  Train yourself to step back (mentally – not physically) when your husband makes physical overtures, so that you are not as likely to just pull away without pausing or thinking about it first.

Finally, ask yourself if you’re pulling away because there is something that you are particularly angry about or are finding unresolved.  If that is the cause, then get it out there.  Leaving it between you is obviously causing a rift.  You don’t have to be ugly about it, but sometimes shining a light on the elephant in the room can turn down the anger, which in turn will lower the amount of times you pull away.

This can naturally get better in time once you begin to see regular progress.  That’s why it’s key to not shut down and to keep working toward progress and improvement.  Confidence allows you to feel safe in allowing him to get close to you.

Don’t beat yourself up too much about this.  It is normal.  Try to be aware and move forward anyway.  If you can do these things, the issue really should take care of itself in time.  At least that was my experience.   There’s more on my blog at

My Husband Says He’s So Confused After His Affair. What Does This Mean? What Can I Do About It?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who are so frustrated by their husband’s “confusion” after he has been caught cheating or having an affair. Often, the wives expect or hope that he is going to apologize profusely and immediately begin to attempt to make amends. But this isn’t always what happens. Sometimes, the husband doesn’t act because he isn’t sure what he wants in terms of his feelings or his wishes.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband admitted to me that he has been cheating and having an affair with my daughter’s gymnastics coach. Since I really had no suspicions and he had no reason to tell me, I expected that this  meant that he would immediately break it off and make every attempt to save our marriage. Instead, he is telling me that he doesn’t know if he’s going to end his relationship with her. When I ask him if this means our marriage is over, he says he doesn’t know. He insists that he is “so confused” because he has feelings for both of us. He claims that while he ultimately wants to save our marriage, he is not sure if he is ready to let her go because he has genuine feelings for her too. That’s just wonderful for him, but where does it leave me? Do I have to just sit around and wait for him to decide who or what he wants? Am I just supposed to patiently wait for his confusion to fade?  And what is there to be confused about? He made wedding vows to me, not her.” I will try to address these concerns in the following article.

A Man’s Confusion Is Often At Its Highest Right After The Affair, But It Will Eventually Wane Once He Walks Away For Good. The Longer The Affair Continues, The More Confusion There Is: I can’t tell how often men attempt to play the confusion card. And quite often, they aren’t completely lying to you. They do feel confused. Because the truth is, if they wanted to end their marriage or they wanted you out of their life, they would have divorced you while they were cheating or before they started being unfaithful. They cheat in secret because they want both relationships. They usually don’t have any intention of ending their marriage, especially in the beginning. But usually the other woman begins applying the pressure to make their relationship more official and lasting. And the intensity of the deception can be mistaken for intense and real feelings. So many men are genuinely confused because they have two women to whom they feel responsible and for whom they have feelings.

But here’s something that they usually do not understand. The more they continue to see or contact this other woman, the longer they are going to be confused. As soon as they truly end it and focus their attention on their wife and their marriage, whatever feelings they think they may have had will usually become clear for what they really are – part of an unrealistic fantasy. He has to convince himself that he feels very strong and real feelings for her. Because if he didn’t, how stupid would he be to risk his marriage for someone he didn’t really know or feel anything for? He may not believe that his feelings will change. But they will. If he is not seeing her and giving the relationship any momentum to keep it going, it will die a natural death.

How To Handle It When Your Husband Is Confused After Cheating Or Having An Affair: Many wives are tempted to offer ultimatums and tell the husband that he must decide between her and the other woman immediately. This is a very tempting ultimatum. But the risk with this is that he will either chose her or he will chose you and be resentful because of it. Or he will mope around thinking that he misses her. Some women will become fed up and tell the husband that the other woman can have him. Some of these women later regret acting so hastily.

To me, the best compromise is to tell your husband that you are willing to work with him after he makes a decision as to who or what he wants, but until then you can’t participate in a marriage that includes three people. When you back off from your marriage, this will often give him an incentive to make the right decision. He may wavier a little bit initially, but once he decides, you will both know that he made his own decision alone without any pressure from you.

You should also know that many men will lose their feelings for the other woman as time goes on. Because now they you know about the affair, that exciting level of secrecy because of a forbidden relationship is gone. So a very important component of their relationship has been taken away. This is sometimes the beginning of the end and it helps the true nature of the relationship to become more clear – that he risked everything for someone who was essentially little more than a stranger.

Once this happens, you will likely find his confusion beginning to wane.  I have to admit that it was me who had most of the confusion in my own marriage.  I just didn’t know if I wanted to put in all the work to rehabilitate a man and a marriage that had been so damaged by infidelity.  In the end, I couldn’t walk away and now I am glad for that because our marriage is actually stronger.  If it helps you can read the whole emotional story on my blog at

Tips For Maintaining A Positive Self Image After Your Husband Has An Affair

By: Katie Lersch: Honestly, it isn’t fair that the person who seems to struggle the most after someone is unfaithful is the very person who should suffer the least – the faithful spouse. Often, the faithful spouse took no unfortunate action. They did nothing wrong. And yet, after they learn about the affair, it is them who feels badly about themselves.

I can tell you first hand that even if you are normally a confident person who knows that you are reasonably attractive, observant, and intelligent, you may begin to doubt these things about yourself the second you find out that your spouse has been cheating on you. Frankly, you could be unquestionably beautiful and accomplished and still feel that you weren’t quite good enough to hold your spouse’s attention and keep him faithful.

I often hear from wonderful women who say things like: “I feel so hideously ugly, fat, old, and stupid after finding out that my husband has been cheating on me. The woman is younger and she clearly is only interested in his money. But I am less worried about her motivations and more worried about my husband’s. Honestly, I may not even want him anymore. But I worry that no one is going to want me now. I feel like I’m losing my looks and I wonder how I could have been so stupid as to have not seen the signs. I feel like I’m losing a step and my self esteem is plummeting. This is a vicious cycle because it makes me angry at myself and it makes me feel weak. How can I maintain my self image? I used to be so confident and I actually liked myself. But I can feel this slipping away from me. I am as angry at myself as I am at my husband.”

I know that this is hard. But you have to be very vigilant about taking care of yourself right now. Because this process is hard enough on you without you beating yourself up. If you get nothing else from this article, please get this. This is not your fault and it very likely has nothing to do with your shortcomings. It has to do with your husband’s shortcomings. It is not where you come up short. It is where your husband comes up short. If you think about it, nothing about you has changed. You look the same as you did before you found out the affair. You are every bit as intelligent as you were. Nothing at all has changed, really, except for your knowledge of the affair.

Think about it this way. How can you feel stupid if it was your husband who made the mistake? Maybe you didn’t see it, but that is because you expected the best out of the person you loved the most. How can you really fault yourself for that?

Let The Appropriate Person Take The Responsibility: After an affair, you have no choice but to eventually deal with the issues that come up. Eventually, you will decide what you want to do with your marriage. There will be practical matters to attend to. But you don’t have to personalize this process.

Make no mistake.  Women have a tendency to take the blame in MANY situations. If our child misbehaves or does something wrong, we believe that we weren’t a good enough mother. If our boss falls short in some way, we think that we were not a good enough employee.

You have to train yourself to reject this type of thinking. We do not need to take on every one else’s mistakes as our own. Sometimes, their mistake is exactly that. Theirs.

It can be appropriate to learn and evolve from any situation. But none of aftermath of the affair is your responsibility. It is your husband’s. Don’t take on his mistake as your own.

Shelter Yourself From This Storm: Right now, there is no such thing as being overly gentle and caring when dealing with yourself. If your sister was going through this, could you love her enough, reassure her enough, and build her up enough? No, you’d do everything in your power to tell her that she is beautiful, talented, and brilliant. Right now, you have to treat yourself exactly as you would if this were some girlfriend or family member who you love and are protective of.

Get An Additional Perspective And Cheerleader If You Need It: Sometimes, we are so close to this situation that it is very difficult for us to remain objective. If we tell ourselves that we are beautiful, we feel vain or as if we are lying or in denial. We can’t quiet those thoughts that say “well if you were truly beautiful inside and out, why did your husband cheat on you?” Never mind that he probably cheated because it was HIM and not us that he didn’t think was so beautiful.

Because it is so hard to see this objectively, there is nothing wrong with enlisting a third party to keep you on track. Sometimes, this will be a therapist or other times it will be a best friend or family member. Now, I think you have to be careful about choosing this person. If you think you may want to save your marriage eventually, you don’t want to choose someone who is going to give you their opinion on this every time you turn around. You want to choose someone who can separate themselves from the outcome and who can just focus on supporting YOU.

I think that in order to keep your self worth in tact, you have to make that a very high priority and goal. You always have to watch your self talk and check in with yourself. But honestly, you did nothing wrong. And there is no reason to let your opinion of yourself change because of someone else’s actions that have to do with their faults and not with yours.

Also, give yourself permission to do what you need to do to feel good.  I did embark on a self improvement kick after my husband’s affair.  But I did these things for me.  I addressed things that would give me confidence and I have never regretted it.  You can read more about my journey on my blog at

When A Man Is Cheating On His Affair Partner With His Wife Should The Wife Tell?

By: Katie Lersch: When there is an affair and another person within your marriage, the relationship that is being prioritized (or which relationship is the most important) can get muddled. Often, the other woman assumes that the husband is no longer intimate with his wife. In order to carry out the affair, it is often easier for her if she thinks that the marriage is so broken that no sex is taking place. This is often very far from the truth. She usually assumes that the only intercourse is coming from her. And the wife wonders if she should enlighten the other woman and tell her the truth.

Someone might say: “I know for a fact that my husband’s affair partner thinks that she is the only one in his life. I read their emails. And she believes that he hates me and that we sleep in separate beds. We absolutely do not. In fact, we have sex regularly. And he most definitely does not hate me. She believes that he is only biding his time until he can divorce me and be OK financially. And yet, we have sex all of the time and he is always talking about the future with me. He’s clearly selling her a ton of lies. And I’d like to set her straight. Should I tell her that he is cheating on her with me? That he is cheating on both of us?”

I can certainly see the issue here. You often hope that if she knows that he is lying to her and sleeping with both of you, then she will break off the affair because it’s all been happening under false pretenses. I know how attractive this must seem.

But I have to tell you that I often suggest not allowing the other woman into your life – which means not confronting her or talking to her.  I know you feel like you have a good reason to contact her, but I nearly never see this scenario working out in anything but a very negative way. She often is not receptive to what you have to say simply because you are the one saying it. And she is often very invested in believing her own version of the truth.  Sometimes, she may even believe that your husband is having sex with you, but she does not care because she still believes that it doesn’t matter.

Since it’s not healthy or advisable to have a relationship with her, my suggestion would be to take this up with the person you do have a relationship with – your husband. Because quite frankly, this triangle is every bit as unhealthy for you as it is for her. I know you want to point out that your husband is “selling her a ton of lies.” And yet, I’m going to say this as gently as I can.  But, he is doing the same with you. I believe that it is going to be very difficult to make any headway on your marriage when he is involved in two relationships.

So I might suggest something like this: “I know that you’ve told the other woman that we have no kind of relationship and that we are not having sex. Clearly, you are leading her to believe something that isn’t true. This isn’t fair to anyone. And I can only assume that you are lying to her because you know that she would end the affair if she knew the truth. This tells me that you really don’t have any intention of ending it with her and that you are willing to lie in order to keep it going. I can’t participate in our marriage under those circumstances. We don’t have a good chance of repairing anything if you can’t focus on one relationship. She deserves to know the truth. And I deserve your fidelity. You are relating to both of us under false pretenses and it is not fair.”

You didn’t threaten your husband that you would tell the other woman the truth in this conversation, but he might logically come to this conclusion and either chose to tell her himself or to end the relationship. I understand that you don’t want to have this conversation because there is risk in it. The fear is that he will choose her.

But here is another perspective. By allowing this to go on, you’re allowing him to choose her anyway. He’s choosing you both and he’s choosing to operate both relationships under complete dishonesty. Perhaps you can’t control how he conducts his relationship with her. But you can control how he conducts it with you. And you can make it clear that you won’t tolerate the lies and the betrayal in your own relationship. You can choose to pause things until he comes to a decision.

He may need time to come to a decision about which direction he really wants to take. This can seem unbearable, but it’s my belief that it’s better than continuing on with this very unhealthy cycle. It has to be very painful to know that he is continuing on in the way that he is. And his current path doesn’t offer any sort of resolution for anyone. It is just continuing on with the lies with two relationships that can’t possibly be healthy. Because one can’t thrive while the other exists.

But I don’t think that there is any benefit to your being the one to break the bad news to her. Likely, she will figure this out for herself. And when she does, at least you didn’t allow her into your life any more than she already is.

I admit that I was tempted to confront the other woman.  But ultimately, I decided that doing this would give her more power.  And my whole aim was to lessen the power she had over me. You can read more on my blog at

I Don’t Know How The Trust Can Ever Return When My Spouse Shows No Remorse?

By: Katie Lersch:  Without any doubt, I firmly believe that if someone surveyed wives with cheating husbands and asked them what behavior they were most looking for, the answer would be remorse.

This makes sense.  Because most of us believe that if someone feels true sorrow for their actions then they will be much less likely to repeat those actions.  It is why we scold children who have done something wrong.  We believe that if they understand why their behavior was wrong, we are less likely to have to revisit the issue.

Along those same lines, wives who don’t see remorse often feel that they will never be able to trust their husband.  They believe that since he doesn’t see why he is wrong, he is much more likely to repeat the behavior, which by definition, makes him untrustworthy.  It can be very difficult to rebuild your marriage when you think that you can not (and will never be able to) trust your husband.

A wife may describe the issue this way: “when pressed, my husband will mumble a short and insincere apology for cheating on me, but he so clearly does not mean it.  And he is so clearly angry at even having to explain himself or to have to answer for his actions.  And when we talk about the reasons that he cheated, he is so full of justifications — as though he truly believes that he had legitimate reasons to cheat on me. He says that he wants to make our marriage work. And deep down, I want that too.  But I just do not know how this will ever be possible.  I do not see how I will ever be able to trust him.  Especially when he doesn’t seem to feel that he did anything wrong and he seemingly feels no remorse.”

I am sorry that you are going through this. It may help (just a little bit) to know that what you are feeling is almost universal.  Very few of us see or get the remorse that we were hoping for and feel that we absolutely need and must have (especially at first.)

Why He May Be Keeping His Remorse Under Wraps: Very often, our husband feels that it is in his best interest to keep his remorse very tightly under lock and key.  The fear is that if we sense his sorrow and his guilt, we will pounce on that in order to make him feel even worse.  In short, he is posturing because he is trying to make things easier on himself.  But what he doesn’t get is that if he would just allow himself a little vulnerability and allow you to see the remorse, you could both move on more quickly without needing to dwell on this.

Why It’s Not In Your Best Interest To Try To Force Remorse: We all tend to dwell and then, when we don’t see the behavior that we are looking for, we try to exhibit force.  If he’s not sorry, then by golly, we are going to force that sorrow out of him.  We are going to tell him just how much he has wronged us.  But although we are justified in this, frankly most of the time, this only makes him more defensive and this only makes him feel more justified.

Getting The Right Kind Of Help To Nudge Him Forward: I would like to share with you a story I was recently told about a couple’s counseling session.  I’m going to paraphrase and I’m not going to identify those involved.  But I hope that very shortly, you will see how this story relates to the topic at hand.

A couple were struggling with this exact same issue – the husband was denying guilt and the wife felt that, because of this, she could not trust him.  They had several sessions under their belts so they both respected and listened to their counselor. The wife said that she did not feel that she could trust her husband because of his lack of remorse and the counselor said: ‘you are absolutely right.  You can not trust him. It is too soon and he is going to have to earn your trust over time.  But not being able to completely trust him does not mean that you can’t move forward and hope for the best anyway.  Of course, you will keep your eyes open, but you will hopefully move forward cautiously anyway.’

Then the husband piped in with the fact that although he did feel some remorse, he also felt plenty of justification.  The counselor let the husband go on and on.  The wife got frustrated and felt that the counselor was almost siding with the husband.  Until the counselor blurted out: ‘you can say whatever you want, but in the end, people cheat because they have made a decision to do what feels good at the time, regardless of their commitments or who it might hurt.  When you cheat, you are basically saying that you value what feels good to you over what is best for your family. And that is very selfish and immature regardless of your excuses.  We can fix this with a lot of effort.  But we can not fix it until you admit to your wrongdoing.’

At that point, the husband started to cry and all of the remorse came pouring out like a river.  I tell this story because I want for you to see that sometimes, it takes someone else to bring the remorse out of your husband.  Your husband is much less likely to respond to your requests for remorse because he knows that you have a vested interest in wanting it. But, if someone he respects requests it, he is much more likely to respond.

It’s Common To Expect Trust Too Early:   I also tell you this story because I want to stress that I feel that often, people expect the trust too early.  In the weeks following the discovery of the affair, many wives are already saying they don’t feel or foresee the trust.

Of course you don’t.  You can’t possibly.  I can tell you first hand that you don’t begin to feel that trust until time has passed and you can see that your husband did not cheat again and that he carried out his promises.  I don’t think there is any way to skip over this.  Because there is no way to see if he’s going to do what he says until time passes.

The two main points I want to leave you with are these.  Sometimes, the remorse is there but it has to be coaxed out of your husband by someone he respects.  And, the trust won’t be there in the beginning regardless of whether you see the remorse or not.  In my experience, the trust must be earned over time.  And the remorse is usually there, but he has some interest in not allowing you to see it – whether that is because of posturing or pride.

There were times when my husband postured about a lack of guilt.  But this was just to get me to back off.  As time passed and we addressed this, the posturing fell away.  It didn’t serve either of us.  There’s more on my blog at

Having Sex Again After Your Husband’s Affair: Tips For Making It Less Awkward And More Enjoyable

Of all the topics that come up after one spouse has cheated or had an affair, one of the most problematic is sex.  After all, it’s sex with someone else that caused the affair in the first place.  And, there may have been sexual issues in your marriage before the infidelity.  So, needless to say, this is a potentially problematic and sensitive issue that both people can hesitate to talk about or address.

The thing is, sex after an affair can either help to bring the married couple back together, or it can be one other thing that rips them further apart.  And unfortunately, there are so many misunderstandings and wrong assumptions surrounding it.  I will discuss this more in the following article.

Try Not To Make False Assumptions About How Your Spouse Feels About Sex Right Now: Here’s one of the biggest issues that I see. The spouse who was cheated on is filled with self doubt and self esteem questions.  They will worry that their spouse cheated because they weren’t satisfied with marital sex or no longer found their spouse sexy or desirable.  So the cheated on spouse can feel ugly, insecure, and clumsy even when none of these things are true.

These assumptions can put a huge damper on what happens in your bedroom when you’re trying to save the marriage and heal.  Because all these doubts and insecurities follow you and bring awkwardness and more issues into an already difficult situation.

Likewise, the spouse who cheated can feel like a huge creep if they even think about initiating sex.  And, they are well aware that once either party even thinks about sex, then suddenly the issue of the sexual content of the affair comes into question.  There’s no way around either spouse thinking or wondering about sex with the other person.  It just can’t be helped.

And even if the cheating spouse is 100% sincere in their love and commitment to their spouse and to saving their marriage, they will also usually worry that they shouldn’t make advances or initiate physical contact because their spouse could well be repulsed by the thought of even a hug or touch right now, much less sex.

But of course, the faithful spouse will take this to mean that he or she is just not interested because he doesn’t find them desirable or a turn on.  So what you have are all these incorrect assumptions and insecurities coming into play which often make the situation worse.

That’s why it’s so important to make every attempt to be open and honest, even if it makes you feel very vulnerable.  It’s really the only way to gauge what’s truly going on.  Because the truth is, you may well  be wrong about what your spouse is thinking and feeling.  And being wrong could just make the situation worse or downright unbearable.

It’s Important Not To Put Too Much Pressure On Your Sex Life After The Affair:  I often advise couples to wait until they are absolutely sure that they are ready and want to have sex again.  It’s so much better to wait and have no doubt in your mind that this is the right time than to rush yourself and just sort of go through the motions or be numb, or worse, to have a bad experience.

Sometimes, when the sex is not that good or great after the affair, both people will make assumptions that the marriage can’t be saved, that there’s too much damage, or that the spark is gone.  And sometimes, this is the first step toward them giving up on their marriage.  This is so unfortunate and such a shame because usually, it’s not that the spark or chemistry was gone, it’s that the couple moved too soon or rushed things a bit before some outstanding issues were worked through.

Getting Your Sexual Confidence Back:  Probably one of the most common concerns that I hear from spouses who have been cheated on is that they don’t feel desirable or sexy.  They’re afraid that the second they disrobe or begin having sexual contact, they are going to see the hesitation, pity, or repulsion in their spouse’s eyes.  And unfortunately, this fear often keeps them from reaching their full potential or comfort level as an individual or as part of a couple.

If you are dealing with this and are scared of having sex again after the affair, there is nothing wrong with focusing on rebuilding your confidence.  You have been dealt a nasty blow.  What you’re feeling is absolutely natural.  Give yourself permission to do whatever makes you feel better about yourself.  You can’t worry about how your spouse feels. You need to focus on how you feel.

But here’s something that almost everyone underestimates.  From the people who write to me or comment on my blog, it’s my opinion that both men and women tend to agree on what is sexy or a turn on.  And one thing that both men and women consider sexy is confidence. Countless people have told me that it’s not how you look, or what you do.  It really is your enthusiasm and your ability to participate and give and take with confidence and adventure. If you do not have this as a result of the affair, then it’s possible that you still have work to do or are selling yourself short.

And if you’ve never had this sort of confidence or enthusiasm, there really is no time like the present.  You deserve to be happy. And sometimes an affair is an opportunity to actually make some areas of your life better than they were before.

I know that worrying about sex and intimacy after a spouse’s affair is difficult. But healing is possible, and it can truly be worth the effort. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger even after his affair. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but I’m glad I did. 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

Is A Long Term Affair A Serious Threat To A Marriage?

By: Katie Lersch: We’ve probably all heard of couples who live their whole married lives with one or both of them having someone else “on the side.” Many people don’t understand how such a marriage could survive, but some do. However, when it is your own marriage that you are talking about, your judgements about this can change.

A wife might say: “my husband has been having an affair for almost two years. For the longest time, he denied it. So I couldn’t really deal with it because I didn’t have any real proof. But about six months ago, the other woman called me and she confirmed that they’ve been at it for a while. She tried to reassure me that she didn’t want to take my husband away. She is married also and she says that neither of them have any intention of leaving their families. My husband is now saying that he isn’t going to let her go, but he doesn’t see why it can’t work out for everyone. He says that he doesn’t want to end our marriage. He feels that things can just go along like they have been. He says that our marriage doesn’t need to be negatively affected. I don’t really buy this, but I’m not sure what I can do when he’s refusing to end it. One of my friends says her mother and father both had other people during their entire marriage and yet they were married for fifty years until one of them passed away. She says that a long term affair doesn’t have to be a serious threat to a marriage. Is she right?”

Well, I suppose that this would depend upon the people involved. As I alluded to before, apparently, there are some marriages that manage to survive this arrangement. And as long as every one involved is feeling happy and loved, then who am I to judge?  I know that this arrangement would not work for me personally, but I can’t speak for every one else.

I would think, however, that many women might have a hard time with this.  And it sounded like the wife in this scenario had some serious doubts and concerns about this situation. I would have to think that although a marriage can make it if the married couple agrees to stay together, I can not imagine how it wouldn’t negatively affect your marriage. Because one person is going outside of the marriage, the trust has got to be eroded. And the faithful spouse must feel like she’s not getting her husband’s complete loyalty and commitment.

I would think that the resentments about this (and potentially the avoidance of talking about it) would take a toll on your marriage and would weigh on you personally. But again, I’m only guessing. Everyone is different and I suppose some people manage to not only live in this situation, but also be content.

I guess the real question is what is the happiness level in the marriage. Sure, anyone can stay married by deciding not to get divorced. But what kind of marriage is it? I would think it would be a shell of its former self. I would think that it would be damaged by resentments and betrayals but again, who am I to judge anyone else’s marriage?

That’s not to say that a marriage can’t be healed regardless of what damages it. But I’d imagine it would be hard to heal if the infidelity was ongoing. I would think that you might make some progress – only to see damage as the affair continues to go on.  To me, the real healing can begin once you know that there is no one else and the affair is over, but everyone is different.

And I’ve never been in this wife’s shoes. My own husband ended his affair. I believe that this was necessary in order for us to heal. I would not have been willing to attempt to save my marriage if this weren’t the case.

But if the arrangement works for this couple, then really it is no one’s business but their own. However, the wife’s reaching out could indicate that it’s not really working out for her and that she has concerns about this. If that is the case, I’d encourage her to be honest. Because it’s not fair for her not to have a voice in this. It is her marriage and it is her life. And she doesn’t have to accept what doesn’t work for her without trying to renegotiate.

I felt that my husband’s affair was a serious threat to my marriage and I insisted that it end immediately.  I know that not everyone has that luxury.  But regardless of the choices that your husband makes, no one can stop you from working on and caring for yourself.  To me, that’s the best thing that you could possibly do – since no one can take that away from you. You can read more on my blog at