By: Katie Lersch: Being the faithful spouse who was deeply hurt by an affair, this is going to be difficult for me to admit. But, sometimes, it’s obvious that the people who contact me and want to talk about the aftermath of their affair have real feelings toward the other person. Most of them know that the affair had to end anyway. Most of them are committed to making sure that what is in the past stays in the past. But, many of them worry about what’s going to happen to the other person now.
So for instance, I might hear a comment like: “I deeply regret having an affair. I love my husband. I never wanted to get a divorce. And I would never break up my family. It is not like me to do something this heinous and wrong. The only excuse that I have is that the other man really needed someone. I met the other man at my work. I work at a community center and I noticed that the other man was always alone. One day we got to talking and he mentioned his wife’s passing away. So my intention when striking up a friendship was just to be a source of support to him. I never intended for it to go any further than that. He was so lost and so broken that I just could not turn my back on him. Of course, my husband wants for me to break off all contact. In order to ensure that this happens, I am going to have to leave my job. I am prepared to do that, but if I am being honest, I still worry about the other guy. I still see him as my friend. I know that I can’t see him regularly. But would it be OK for me to check in on him every once in a while? I know that I would have to keep this from my husband because he would not understand. But I am committed that nothing inappropriate would happen. I just want to make sure that he is OK. He really doesn’t have any other support system.”
I get some variation on this question a lot. And before I give you my opinion, I want to make it clear that I was the faithful spouse. So that is the perspective from which I am looking at it. I also know how fragile your marriage can be after an affair. I know how insecure that you can be when your spouse cheats on you. I know how much you worry that they are going behind your back and seeing the other person.
For all of these reasons and more, I can not advocate ever keeping in touch with the other person. I know that this may sound harsh. But that is my honest opinion. Imagine how your husband would feel if he knew that you were “checking in” with the other man. He would likely feel betrayed all over again. He would think that the well being of the other man is more important to you than your marriage.
I don’t mean to come off as unfeeling. The other man’s situation is a sad one. But frankly, it probably isn’t doing him any good to hang onto a relationship that can’t go anywhere with a married woman. He is better off finding a support system that can remain in his life and not be in hiding. You can certainly point him in the direction of professional help if you think that this is necessary. But you have decide if you want for your marriage to be your primary priority and responsibility or if you want to give that place to a third party.
I’d like to make one final point. Many people tell themselves that they will just “check in” every once in a blue moon. But it doesn’t always turn out that way. The more you are in touch, the harder it is to let go. And that is what you must do if you want to save your marriage. You must let go. I know that it isn’t easy. And I know that you feel a certain amount of responsibility. But, your responsibility is to your family. You might consider arranging for additional support, but once that is done, then you have to do the right thing. And it’s frankly more beneficial for the other man to develop a new support system that can become a permanent part of his life.
Again, I see this from a different point of view because my husband cheated on me and healing was very difficult. If my husband had “checked in” on the other woman regardless of the circumstances, it probably would have made it impossible to save our family. If it helps, you can read more about own experience on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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