By: Katie Lersch: Some wives literally catch their husbands carrying out an affair. They catch him right in the act. But many are actually by themselves when they put two and two together or have indisputable proof. Many have their suspicions before they actually get confirmation. But once they have it, then they have to decide how, and when, they are going to confront him.
Part of answering these questions is anticipating how he is going to respond when he is confronted and presented with evidence. And many wives just aren’t sure about what to expect. This is not the weather that you’re going to be talking about. You’re not going to be confronting him about him forgetting to take out the trash. In fact, this is probably going to be one of the most painful confrontations in your marriage, if not in your life.
A wife might ask: “what might I expect when I confront my husband about cheating? I’ve not come right out and accused him before. But I have certainly hinted about it or asked him why he was out late. He always had a ready excuse. And he acted like I was a paranoid, crazy person for even asking. Well, now I have found emails that leave absolutely no doubt. I have actually known about this for a week. I intended to confront him, but I guess I just can’t bring myself to do it. I have a lot of hesitation about it. I guess I am just not sure how it is going to go. My husband is not one to get angry, but of course he’s going to be mad that I’ve been snooping through his personal things. However, it’s not like I don’t have a good reason. In the emails, he seems pretty serious about the other woman, so I guess a part of me might be afraid that he’s going to tell me that he wants to be with her once all of this is out in the open. At the same time, that doesn’t exactly make sense because this morning, he was totally affectionate to me and he was asking me where I wanted to go on vacation. Would he really be making plans with me if he thought that we wouldn’t be together because of her? I am seriously considering confronting him tonight and getting it over with. But I need to know how he is going to react. I am wondering if I should have my kids stay with friends. He doesn’t have a bad temper, but I’m so angry that, really, he needs to worry about me and not the other way around. Still, I am dreading it. How do men react when they are caught cheating? What can a wife expect?”
This is really hard to predict because there are so many factors that go into this. Some of it depends on how the wife delivers the message. If she is calm, he is more likely to be calm. But that’s a very tall order. And even when things start out calm, they can get emotional quite quickly on the part of either party.
Some men are not that surprised to be caught, while others are. Some men are immediately apologetic and proactive and others are immediately defensive. It really depends on many, many factors. Some men will act one way initially and then change their tune once they see how you react to them.
I certainly think it is a good idea to have the kids stay with friends, since this isn’t something that they should hear, (and even if everyone remains calm, they may sense that something is different.) If you are truly concerned about his reaction, you could always send him an email on that same account. That way, there is no question that the delivery would remain calm because you would not be speaking and there would not be interruptions.
I’m sorry that I can’t make a prediction. But there are so many variables. This is rarely a fun conversation. But most feel it is one that has to happen. It’s very difficult to have this knowledge and not to act on it. At least once it’s out in the open, a dialogue can begin and you can start a path toward a resolution. You get to decide what that resolution is going to be. You may not know the answer to that right now, and much may rest on your husband’s reaction.
But always remember that YOUR reaction – and your wishes and feelings – are every bit as important as his. I think we sometimes lose sight of that. We are so worried about what he is going to feel, act, or do, that forget that we have equal say in this. Never lose sight of that and keep asking yourself how you feel and you what you want. The answers to these questions may change as you go along. But keep asking.
I know that the confrontation is a difficult first step. But it’s very hard to pretend that you don’t know. Once it’s out in the open, that hurdle has been crossed. It’s best to remain as calm as is possible and try not to say something that you can’t take back. I know that’s easier said than done. But I also know that things change during recovery, so it helps to be careful not to do, or say, things that are irrevocable. If it helps, you can read more about some of the things that helped me during a similar time on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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