Is An Affair Ever Really Over?

Sometimes, I hear from wives (and occasionally husbands too) who tell me that, no matter what, they don’t feel as if the betrayal from the affair will ever be over.  Both the person who cheated and the person who was cheated on can come to think the affair is never really going to be over because it’s going to follow you around endlessly.

I often hear comments (from cheating husbands) like: “I’m starting to think that the affair is never over – not really.  I have nothing to do with the other woman anymore and I’ve moved on within my own heart and mind.  However, my wife can not seem to move on.  I don’t think she ever will.   In a sense, the affair is never going to be over for her no matter what I do.”

This is one side of the equation, but here’s another side.  Sometimes I hear from the wife on the other side of this and she’ll say something like: “He says the affair is completely over.  He swears he won’t have any contact with the other woman.  I am not sure if I believe him or not.  But what I do know is that even if he doesn’t see the other woman anymore, she has to be in his mind.  He’s scattered.  He’s distracted.  He’s just not the same as he was.  Sometimes I look at him and I think that he’s thinking about her at that very moment.  So, he can say whatever he wants about it being over, but I just don’t think I buy it.  How can I stop thinking this way?”

In this case, both husband and wife had valid points and both deeply believed what they were saying.   And both had view points that were completely understandable.  Even so, reading these comments saddened me.  And the reason is that both of them could potentially be very wrong in their assumptions.

In my view and experience, the affair is over if you both decide if it is and conduct your life in the same way.   I will discuss this more in the following article.

If Your Spouse Is Telling You That The Affair Is Really Over And You See No Indications To The Contrary, Then Continuing To Question This Is Counter Productive:  Please don’t get angry at me when I make this observation.  I am making this because I really want to help and I can tell you that I did the same thing and made the same assumptions.

I was constantly watching my husband like a hawk and examining each and every thing that he said.  Anytime I was puzzled or worried about what I was seeing, I would start to think that he really wasn’t over this and didn’t really want to be with me.

And you know what happened, this just kept the cycle going.  Because when he saw me have these doubts, then he started to think that no matter what he did, I was always going to hold onto this.  So in this way we were both assuming things that didn’t need to be true.  But because we believed them to be true we kept the negative cycle going for much longer than it had to be.

Sometimes, our worries, our fears, our “what ifs,” and our speculations keep us from really moving forward.  We sometimes worry about things that never need to happen and never would if we didn’t push our spouse away because we are full of doubt.

I can’t guarantee you that the affair is really over.  But I can tell you that if your husband is saying it is and he’s not giving you any reason to doubt him, your continuing to insist that it isn’t over is potentially going to do so much more harm than good.

Why I Believe That Affairs CAN Really Be Completely And Totally Over For Good:   I have seen countless marriages recover from affairs.  Mine included.  I have seen countless men never repeat the infidelity more than the first mistake.  That’s not to say there aren’t serial cheaters out there, because there are.  But there are also remorseful men who learn from their mistakes and who never repeat it.

So sometimes it really can be a mistake to assume that the affair is never really over when it truly is.  With that said, you can certainly place some safeguards in place.

Making Sure The Affair Is Really And Truly Over And Then Moving On:  It’s normal to not be sure if you can trust your spouse when he tells you the affair is over.  You’re going to doubt him because he has betrayed you about this before.  There’s nothing wrong with watching him closely.

There’s nothing wrong with telling him that you expect him to be accountable.  There’s nothing wrong with asking him to be very open honest and free with whatever information or reassurance that you ask for.  But once he’s given you this, you have to make a decision as to whether you really do want to move on or not.

Sometimes you have to make a decision to do your best to trust until he gives you another reason not to.  Because those doubts and fears really do impede your process if they are constant.  My stance on this has always been that I chose to trust him until he makes that a stupid decision.

And that did work for me.  Time has shown me that the affair is really over.  Had I assumed that it wasn’t and acted accordingly, I might have a much different outcome than I have right now.

I know that these worries are very difficult, but try to stay the course.  This was just one issue I had to deal with when my own husband had an affair. Like all of the other issues, we worked through it. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger than ever after my husband’s affair. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is pretty 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

Staying Together After Infidelity: When Does It Get Easier?

By: Katie Lersch:  I often hear from people who have made the very difficult decision not to walk away from their marriage after an affair.  Many have committed to this decision because they really do feel that it is the best thing for themselves, their family, or their marriage.  But despite their determination or best intentions, there’s no question that this is a very difficult process that moves on its own slow timeline.

Since it’s no fun to go through, people will often want to speed it up, or at least know when it might feel easier.  Someone might ask: “when is my marriage going to feel easier after my husband’s affair?  I agreed to try to make our marriage work.  And it took me a long time to get to that place.  In the first couple of weeks, it made me feel ill to even have him in my presence.  But eventually, I decided that splitting up would be so hard on my kids.  And my husband did seem genuinely remorseful and was begging me to give him a chance.  So I told him that I’d give him three months to show me that he was serious.  I can tell that he is trying. But things just feel so darn awkward between us.  When he hugs or tries to kiss me, I recoil and I am always suspicious of his motivations.  I wonder if he really feels this affection toward me or he is just trying to make me feel better.  I keep telling myself that tomorrow is going to be better.  But it never feels all that much better.  My husband alternates between being tentative and resentful.  I alternate between being distrustful, angry, and sad.  I was willing to give this a try.  But if it always going to feel this awful, I don’t know if I have it in me to stick it out.  When does it get better?”

Having gone through this, I can tell you that time does help.  But time alone typically not completely ideal.  I’ve thought long and hard about this and I believe that I can identify the happenings that made things easier for me.  I know that everyone’s experience is going to be different.  But maybe sharing this will offer someone a little reassurance.

It Helps When You Notice Your Husband Showing Sincerity And Integrity Over Time:  In the beginning, all you really have are his words and his promises.  You want to believe him.  But he’s proven some dishonesty.  So understandably, you worry that he’s not trustworthy.  In order for him to prove that he is in fact trustworthy, some time is going to have to pass.  And you are going to need to see that, over and over again, he is doing exactly what he has promised.  You need to see him having integrity and being sincere even when he thinks that you are not looking. You need to see him doing the right thing even when it’s not easy to do so.  Once this has been happening again and again, you can start to relax about his sincerity.

It’s Extremely Helpful When You Obtain A Plan Or Some Guidance: One of the biggest problems I see is that people proclaim that they are going to stay in their marriage, but then they don’t make any change or try to implement any rehabilitation.  As a result, every one lives in fear of the cheating happening again.  No one can relax. There’s no progress because there’s no plan.  It’s vital to have a roadmap to get yourself out of this.  A counselor can mean that you don’t have to work as hard or feel as lost because they can create the road map for you.  But if you don’t want to go the counseling route, there are many self help resources that can allow you to do this for yourself.

It’s Beneficial When You Begin To Understand That With Determination, This Isn’t Going To Beat You:  I know first hand that there is a real tendency to beat yourself up after infidelity.  Even when you are not the one who cheated, you can feel like you did something wrong.  You can feel like you’re being punished again and again.  I found it helpful to get out of the victim mentality.  It also helped immensely when I worked on building my self esteem.  Once I gained confidence, I realized that no matter what happened, I would be OK.  I realized that I did not need to define my life and my happiness through someone else.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I want my marriage.  I want my husband.  But I also know that if either of these things were taken away, I’d be OK.  Because I am always going to have myself.  Knowing that you are going to be OK regardless is very freeing.  And it helps to remove the intense pressure and the paralyzing anger.  When you realize that you are responsible for your own happiness and your own experience, you feel so much more in control.

And frankly, a lack of control is one of the things that makes an affair so devastating.  One way to take back that control is to strengthen yourself so that you know that someone else’s whims and mistakes are not going to define you.

No one expects all of the above to happen immediately or simultaneously.  But when they do happen, you feel relief.  It does get better.

I remember when I was in the same place that you are now.  I was afraid that every day was going to be the same miserable experience.  Very slowly, as I acted with deliberation and kept track of my progress, I began to see some improvement.  I learned that things moved more slowly when I waited for improvement rather than actively trying to get it.  You can read more about that process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Married Men And Affairs: Who’s To Blame?

By: Katie Lersch: Blame after a husband’s affair is a very common topic on my surviving infidelity blog.  Sometimes, the faithful wife will blame the other woman more than she blames her husband.  (An example is something like: “We were happy, but that woman sees a happily married man as a challenge. She was determined to have him and she wouldn’t stop until she got him.  She didn’t care if my family was destroyed in the process.  I loathe her for what she did to us.”

With that said, there’s no shortage of wives who place a good deal of blame onto their husband’s.  It’s not unusual for me to hear comments like: “my husband should be so embarrassed by his idiotic behavior.  Here’s a middle aged man chasing after someone who isn’t his wife.  Doesn’t he see that none of it is real? I’m the one who has always stood by him but I guess that doesn’t matter to him. What a jerk.”

The other woman who is cheating with a married man will often blame the wife for not giving the husband what he needed to stay faithful. (An example is something like: “it wasn’t my intention to become involved with a married man.  I didn’t purse him and I tried to avoid it.  But, he was so unhappy in his marriage.  His wife didn’t appreciate him and we just just connected and formed a bond.  I didn’t mean to hurt anyone and I’m sorry if I did, but if she had appreciated what was right in front of her, he wouldn’t have sought me out.”

Who the cheating husband blames often more varied.  Sometimes, he will blame himself, especially if he has the time or personal insight to reflect on his actions.  It’s not unusual for me to hear comments like: “I was so stupid.  I had the most wonderful life and family and I jeopardized it over someone that I really didn’t know and still don’t.  I don’t know how I couldn’t been so dumb.”

Some husbands don’t have this insight though.  There are some who will place the blame on the women involved.  Cheating husbands will sometimes paint themselves as the innocent party.  An example is something like “the other woman literally threw herself at me on countless occasions.  I always stressed that I was married and not interested.    And then one night, I got drunk and gave in.  I will regret that for the rest of my life but I want my wife to understand that I did not pursue her.  She pursued me and I resisted for a very long time before anything happened.”

When a husband blames his wife for an affair, you’ll often hear things like: “I didn’t wake up that morning intending to have an affair.  Over time, it just happened.  Things weren’t all that great at home.  We hardly ever had sex anymore.   She never made the time to really listen to me and when I would approach her for sex, she would make me feel like it was a chore or that I was something to be scheduled or squeezed into her busy schedule.  I’m not trying to defend my cheating, but I want to make it clear that if our marriage had been better, I wouldn’t have had a need to go outside of it.”

What’s interesting is that all of the people in the above examples usually absolutely believe that they are speaking the truth at the time.  They don’t see their statements as ones that are meant to shift or assign the blame.  They just see their assertions as their truth. So, who is really to blame when a married man has an affair?  Here’s my take.

Which Person Is Most To Blame When A Married Man Has An Affair?: I have to admit that now that I’ve had years to reflect what lead up to my own husband’s affair, there was a varied amount of blame to go around in my situation.   But, even after all of my research and the help that I received, it’s still my opinion (and yours may of course be different) that the real blame belongs with the people who took the action to cheat or to have an affair.

Yes, the marriage may have been faltering or even toxic. Your needs may not have been met.  You may have been going through extremely difficult personal struggles. But none of this is justification for cheating.  There are plenty of people who have a multitude of problems who deal with them in ways other than cheating.  There is always a different path.  Counseling, reaching out to your spouse, working through your problems, a separation, or even a divorce are, in my view, options that are preferable to cheating.

As for the other woman, yes, I believe there’s some blame for her as well.  And, while she often doesn’t have accurate information available to her (as husbands will and do tell her things that just aren’t true) knowing that a man is married should be enough information.  Whether a man is happy or understood in his marriage or not, the very fact that he is married should be enough.

Finally, I do believe that there is always lessons to be learned for the faithful wife.  There is usually places where, in hindsight, you can see where your marriage was vulnerable and what you part you played in the same.  With that said though, I don’t believe that any of these vulnerabilities justify cheating.  But, I do believe that it’s important to take a long, hard look at them just the same and remove them so that they don’t continue to cause you issues and pain (and they can come into play in the future whether you save your marriage or not.)

So my own answer to the posed question is that I think there’s plenty of blame to go around when a married man cheats.  But, I think that, of the three people involved, the man himself is the most culpable because he himself intimately knows the circumstances in the marriage, he is the one who is married, and he chooses to act anyway. That’s not to say that the other woman is innocent.  She certainly is not.  But she isn’t as legally or morally bound the faithful wife in the way that the husband is.   And she is not the one who has to face the faithful wife and begin to heal the marriage. This is only my opinion that was formed through my own experience and through interactions on my blog.  Your experiences and opinions certainly might differ.

And, frankly, who is to blame doesn’t matter nearly as much as who is going to take responsibility for the healing.  The fact that a husband shares some of the blame doesn’t mean that he can never be rehabilitated or that he’ll never be a good and faithful husband in the future.  It can mean that he should be an active participant in healing as his actions set this whole thing into motion.

I know that deciding who is to blame for the affair might be very important to you right now.  But, in truth, the blame is often not as important as the healing.  And focusing on the blame for so long that you delay your healing can cause continued pain that could be avoided.  It took me way too long to realize this, but once I did, it made quite a lot of difference.  If it helps, you can read more of that story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

How Can I Get Over My Husband’s Affair Once And For All?

By: katie lersch: If you’re Googling and researching phrases like “how to survive an affair,” “how to forgive my husband’s affair,” “how to get past an affair,” etc., then I can certainly identify and empathize with you and hope that I can help. My husband had an affair several years ago and at that time, I thought my world was ending and could not see past it for a long time.  But, although I never would have believed it at the time, not only did I survive it, it actually made our marriage stronger. No, it wasn’t easy and it took a lot of patience and work, but in the end, the affair brought certain issues into the light that were hiding in the dark, issues that I never knew existed, but which were laying in wait, ready to sabotage my marriage. The affair also gave rise to self esteem issues that I had been battling for a long time, but finally overcame. However, first things first. This article will give you some tools to help you survive or get over your husband’s affair.
Don’t Obsess Over The Issues That Won’t Help Your Healing, Like Details About The Other Woman Or Who Knew About The Affair: I know that this may sound impossible to you now, but trust me when I tell you that obsessing over the other woman or what she has that you don’t, (who she is, how they met, what she looks like, etc.) will not help you heal. All it is going to do is contribute to a destructive cycle that feeds upon itself and only makes the situation and your mental state worse. It’s perfectly normal to wonder about this, but it just isn’t worth it. It will only put destructive images in your head that will be hard to banish.
There’s a well known infidelity study which polled married men who had cheated. Only 12% of them said “the other woman” was prettier than their wife.  So put that worry to rest. There’s nothing special about her. Another common place where we get tripped up is that we want to know ALL the ways that we were betrayed. We want to know who else knew and how this whole charade was pulled off. So, if one of our neighbors or friends knew, then we will then turn our rage towards them too. The problem is that now we will begin to feel that the whole world has conspired against us, when really, this isn’t true. Feeling like a black cloud is hanging over you is only going to delay in your healing. No good is going to come of it.  For me, people I trusted (my husband) deceived me, but others (neighbors) were trying to protect me. Understand that there are really only two people to place direct blame upon here – your husband and her. Of those two, your husband is the only one that you want to have contact with – this should be the only relationship with which you concern yourself.
When You Are Ready, Understand Why The Affair Happened: It may be a while before you are ready to hear and understand the full details of the affair, (you may never want to hear it all) and you may need help understanding what your husband is really saying. Men are sometimes horrible at effectively communicating their feelings. They will give you vague, silly explanations like “it was just a mistake,” “it didn’t mean anything,” or “it’s not me, it’s you.” These things can sometimes sound like lies your husband is either telling himself or telling you.
However, you may be surprised to know that according to much research and counseling I have participated in, these phrases are often rooted in the truth.  Many men cheat simply because they’ve lost important feeling about themselves. I’ll explain. When a man is young and in love, he feels virile, alive, attractive, worthy, and competent. This is often because the woman he loves is lavishing a lot of attention, appreciation, and affection his way (often when you are first dating). Eventually though, married couples have to focus on other obligations like your job, your kids, your aging parents, etc. Many wives assume that their husband sees their struggle to juggle it all, knows that you love him, and would give him more time and attention if you could.
This assumption is partly wrong. Men feel guilty to want and need so much of your attention. So, instead of saying “hey honey, you know all those good feelings we were generating? Well, I want to get them back. Can I have more of your time?,” they will go and try to generate these feelings somewhere else. (Of course, this is messed up logic, but they don’t see it at the time.) Often, they don’t mean to hurt you, it really doesn’t mean a whole to them, and they never think you will find out. So, they assume they will just take care of this problem themselves and then everything will carry on. (This is unbelievably wrong, but they don’t understand this.)
In the infidelity study I mentioned earlier, over 77% of the men surveyed said they were “deeply sorry,” about the affair. And the vast majority said they cheated for EMOTIONAL not  PHYSICAL reasons. Many people assume that affairs are all about sex. They aren’t and it’s a huge mistake to think so. Knowing this then, should at least give you a foot hold on how to proceed. You absolutely need for your husband to understand the devastation of his actions. He is certainly not blameless. But likewise, you need to understand the factors that contributed to the affair so that you can address them if you want to save your marriage, if you want to.
Turn The Focus Away From Him (At Least Initially) And Turn It Towards Healing Yourself And Boosting Your Self Esteem:  Obviously, especially at first, the affair is going to encompass a huge chunk of your life. However, don’t let yourself get lost in the mix. Don’t put yourself on the back burner. So often, a woman whose husband has cheated will have a huge blow dealt to her self esteem. She will feel old, ugly, and not sexually alluring. Please understand that although these feelings are natural and understandable, they will eat you alive.  And, this self doubt is a marriage killer.  Your husband may be very sincere when he tells you that he still finds you extremely attractive, but self doubt or low self esteem will ensure that you don’t believe him.
It’s a vicious cycle. Take great pains to focus on your own self care and your own self worth. Get a complete make over. Take up a new hobby. Get out and see friends. Do whatever you need to do to put a genuine smile on your face. This will send a distinct message to your husband and to your own self conscience. In order to really “get over an affair,” you need to fully understand that it wasn’t your fault and that there is nothing at all wrong with you or something that some other woman had that you don’t or didn’t. This was a horrible, unfortunate decision your husband made that has less to do with you then you might think. But, you can heal from it – and so can your marriage, if that is what you want. Yes, it may take a bit of work, but in the end, I know from experience that you, and your marriage, can emerge stronger as a result.
Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger than ever after my husband’s affair. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry that my husband will cheat again. You can read my story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Can I Get My Spouse To Talk About His Cheating?

By: Katie Lersch: It’s maddening when you want all possible information about your husband’s infidelity, but he just clams up. It’s pretty easy to figure out WHY he’s being quiet – he’s afraid that if he attempts to explain or to give you more information, you are just going to get more angry or use his own words against him. And it’s also easy to understand why you want the information – knowledge is power. The more you know about what happened and why it happened, the more you can make an informed decision – and, if you choose to save your marriage, information can ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

This lack of information makes many wives try to force the information out of their husbands – but this often backfires. He will either become angry or defensive and he will clam up that much more. So, not only are you further away from getting what you want, but you are dealing with a spouse who is even less willing to offer information than when you started.

Someone might ask: “how in the world do I get my husband to talk about his cheating and his affair?” He basically told me the basics about it because I caught him. If I had never caught him, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have NEVER admitted to it. And even now that I have caught him, he says as little as is possible. He will tell me the basics – who the other woman was, where it happened, and how many times it happened. But that is it. When I try to get specifics or I ask him why he would do this, he basically shrugs and says something very generic like: ‘honestly I do not have many answers for you. I don’t know why I did this. I don’t plan to do it again and that is pretty much all I can tell you. Insisting on more information is a dead end because I don’t have it.’ Why would he be so elusive about this? His clamming up makes me think that there is even worse information that he doesn’t want me to know – which makes me determined to find out all that I can. How do I get him talking about his cheating?”

That is definitely a challenge that many of us have faced. He has a legitimate reason to fear giving the information and you have a vested interest in wanting it. Many of us have resorted to picking fights in the hopes that he will spew it out just to hurt us – because at least then we would have the information. But honestly, this does not always give you truthful information. You’re just getting information meant to get a reaction. And that’s not exactly valid.

I know of two good ways to get him talking about the affair. The first is counseling. The second is self help. Counseling allows someone else to pry the information out of him. The counselor will need to know the details and will likely ask him for specifics pretty early on, at least in my experience. It will be much more difficult for him to refuse to answer the counselor because it will be made clear that the information is necessary. It is often easier for him to ‘confess’ to someone who isn’t you. And offering up the information in the counselor’s office allows a professional to help both of you process and take in the information when it comes out. Personally, I think that this is the best option for finding out what you need to know because you strengthen your relationship rather than continuing to damage it in this way. But I know that some husbands won’t go to counseling.

In that case, try self help. Many professional books and videos give you checklists and questions. Assuming your spouse agrees to the self help, it is common sense that he is going to have to answer / address whatever topic comes up in the self help. The upside with this is that even husbands who won’t do counseling might participate. The downside is that once you get the information, you don’t have a physical person there to help you with it. However, sometimes the self help does help to walk you through what might come up.

Know too that with the passage of time, people often become more willing to talk. He will usually see that you are not going to stop asking for this information, so he may as well give it. Honestly, withholding the information doesn’t lessen a wife’s anger. If you refuse to give her the information, she is just going to fill in the blanks. And sometimes, she will fill in with scenarios that are worse and more harmful than what actually happened. The faithful spouse deserves to have their questions answered. Most cheating spouses do come to that conclusion eventually.

Early on, there were some things that my husband was reluctant to come clean about.  But I kept at it at different times and in different ways until I learned what I needed to know.  Getting the information is just the beginning, though.  The key is what you do with the information.  You can read more about how I handled issues like this on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com.

My Husband Will Not Leave His Job After His Affair

by: Katie Lersch: It’s no secret that a decent percentage of affairs happen at the work place or at a person’s job.  After all, most of us spend as much time at our desks or at our jobs than we do at home with our spouse.  And, in today’s economy under the pressure to perform well and to get a long with others, people can become very close with and attached to their coworkers.  It’s not at all uncommon to hear people describe their coworkers “like family” even though they’re anything but related.

This can become a real problem when your husband has an affair (emotional or physical) with one of those coworkers and then has so much time and status invested in his job (where that same woman works) that he doesn’t want to leave or quit the job once the affair is discovered.

I recently heard from a wife who could not understand why (and was furious that) her husband would not leave his job after he had an affair with a coworker.  She said, in part: “I knew something was up with my husband and his colleague when I saw them together at an office party. I confronted him when we got home, he confessed everything, and begged my forgiveness.  Part of me does want to save my marriage and move past this. And he’s shown that he’s willing to work with me to rebuild with the exception of one thing.  He won’t leave his job.  Although he says he understands that I’m uncomfortable with him continuing to work with a woman that he cheated on me with, he insists that leaving his job would devastate us financially and would force him to turn his back on a career that he’s worked his whole life to achieve.  I told him that I don’t care about the money and would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the rest of our lives if it meant getting this woman away from us.  I simply can’t stand the thought of him laying his eyes on her every day or eating lunch with her or even interacting with her in a business setting.  It just turns my stomach to even think about it.  I’ve considered giving him an ultimatum or leaving him until he quits his job, but then I worry that these things are the same as giving up.  What are my options because at this point I’m fresh out of ideas.”

Understanding A Husband’s Reluctance To Leave His Job After An Affair: Before I go any further, I want to stress that in no way am I defending or even sympathizing with husbands who have affairs.  I’ve dealt with an affair in my own marriage, so I would never defend this behavior.  However, I also occasionally dialog with men on this topic and I think it’s important that you at least partially understand their thought process.

Wives often believe that their husbands won’t leave his job after the affair because he wants to secretly keep seeing the other woman or can’t bear to be apart from her.  I can’t say that this is never the case, because it sometimes is.  But, there are many other valid reasons for him to be reluctant to leave his job.

One well known contributing factor to a man having an affair is low self esteem.  Often, a man who cheats or has an affair is greatly struggling with this issue.  It’s important to understand that a man’s self esteem can be greatly tied into his job or into his professional accomplishments.  So, asking him to walk away from the same job that is often tied intimately with his own identity may seem like quite a lot to ask at the time.

Many men will become upset that you don’t trust them enough to allow them to keep their job, but this is only part of the story.  Many are embarrassed at their behavior and fear further embarrassment for having to alter their lives and their career paths due to the whims and the wishes of someone else.  This can be seen as behavior that is not very masculine (although it really should not matter what anyone else thinks.)

Finally, many men are being honest when they tell you that they are worried about the financial implications of quitting their job.  In today’s economy, being unemployed (even if you chose this path yourself) is an extremely scary and risky place to be.  It’s not always easy (or even possible) to find a comparable job with a comparable salary.  Many men in this situation will tell you that they have already lost so much because of the affair so that they don’t want to lose one important constant in their lives right now.  They don’t want to add financial problems on top the considerable problems that they already have.

Finding Some Compromise Until Your Husband Can Leave Or Adjust His Job: Sometimes, when it’s clear that he’s unwilling to leave his job for right now and it’s also clear that this is exactly what you need from him, it’s advisable to look for compromises so that both people feel like they’re at least getting part of their needs met and are being heard, at least until a resolution is reached.

Because it’s important that you know that your husband’s contact with the other woman is stopped completely (or at least drastically cut back,) your husband might ask for a transfer, request a new partner, or adjust his duties.  He might encourage you to have lunch with him every day so that you don’t have to worry about them being together outside of work hours.  He might call you frequently to check in so that you know that you’re still on his mind.  And, the two of you might work together to set a deadline for him to find another job while you both actively pursue resumes to other companies.

It’s important to feel as though you are working together to find a resolution and that, although you may not have the exact resolution that you want at the time that you want it, at least you are willing to meet each other half way so that you both feel validated.

In order to begin to heal from affair, both people have to feel as if their spouse is willing to work with them to give them what they want and need.  The wife needed to know that her husband took her feelings and concerns seriously enough to make some adjustments and to take some action, while the husband needed to know that his wife wasn’t determined to see that he lost everything because he had an affair.

I know that having to still think about and deal with this other woman is unfair.  But over time, it should become clear to you that your husband is serious about addressing your concerns, even if it’s not always possible for him to take immediate and dramatic action.  Gradual healing truly is possible and generally more lasting anyway.  Although it took my husband and I a while to heal, eventually our marriage recovered and is now better than ever.  It it helps, you can read about the things that helped me heal after the affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

I Still Have Sex With My Cheating Spouse And I’m Ashamed Of That

By: Katie Lersch:  There is often an assumption that as soon as a spouse finds out that the other is cheating, all sexual and romantic contact stops for a very long time.   This DOES sometimes happen.  But it is not the case for every couple.  For some, it is difficult to halt every aspect of your marriage, (especially if you are not sure about the fate of  it going forward.)  However, just because you’re still being intimate, this doesn’t always mean that you feel great about it.  I sometimes hear from people who are a bit embarrassed and ashamed that they are still having sex with a spouse who was unfaithful.

Someone might say: “I’m ashamed to even be saying this out loud, but I am still having sex with the husband who cheated on me.  He claims that he broke off the affair and that he is being faithful now, but I have no way to know if this is one hundred percent true.   Honestly, sometimes I want to have sex with him because I want to feel as if everything is going to be okay.  And when he’s apologizing and we both get so upset, I want for us to both feel better.  However, afterward, I’m a little embarrassed about it and I would never tell my friends.  They assume that we are no longer sleeping together and won’t until we have saved our marriage and until my husband has made this up to me.  The thing is, we haven’t done much to heal our marriage yet.  We’ve been researching counselors, but we have not gone.  My husband has repeatedly apologized, but other than that, not much has changed.  So I know that I probably should not be having sex with him.  I know that theoretically, he deserves to be punished.  And I would be really ashamed if anyone were to know that we were still having sex.  But at this point, I would feel bad to stop since I didn’t stop right away.”

You always have the right to change your mind when it comes to sex and your own body. You are under no obligation to anyone.  It is your body.  And your choice.  Whether or not to have sex (or when) after an affair can be tricky.  My thoughts on it were always that if you can do it with an open heart, can feel good about it, and both people are perfectly willing, then it is probably not hurting anything UNLESS you are using it as a substitute for healing. So often, people will assume that if they are successfully able to resume their sex life, then their marriage is hanging in there, so they can forego important things like counseling and / or self help.  In my experience and observation, this can be a huge mistake.  Glossing over the issues means that one day, they may come back to haunt you and provide stress or trouble.

If you don’t feel good about the sex or if you aren’t 100% sure that your husband is faithful, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking sex off of the table for now, regardless of what you have done in the past.  You have every right to keep yourself healthy and safe.  And sleeping with someone who could be sleeping with someone else is risky.  So there is nothing wrong with holding off or hitting the pause button until you have complete confidence that he is no longer cheating and that your marriage has healed so that you don’t worry that he will one day cheat again.

These things do take time, which means that some couples do pause their sex life for a while.  Is this ideal?  No, but neither is infidelity.  And it can be confusing and painful to have sex when there is so much doubt and anger.  My rule of thumb was to wait until I was completely comfortable and very much wanted to resume sex because my mind was clear and without doubts.  This did not happen right away.  But I was glad that I did not rush it.  I felt that it was better to wait than to rush and have a bad experience or discomfort that would damage our marriage even more.

If you are ashamed and embarrassed, then this might be a good indication that you might need to reevaluate or at the very least have a very candid conversation with your husband about this to increase your comfort level. I understand being reluctant to have this conversation, as you likely don’t want to disappoint your husband or to experience any awkwardness.  But, I think it’s better to get it out in the open than to continue to experience the shame.  Your husband would likely rather you be honest than continue to feel conflicted about this.  The truth is, in my experience, you can’t continue to have decent sex physically if everything is not okay emotionally.  You need both in order to be able to give and to receive freely.  A spouse who truly cares about your well being would want to know about this and to make any necessary changes so that you can be comfortable and feel good about your joint decisions.  Continuing on without saying anything or making any adjustments is just unnecessary and may cause further damage and resentment.

Resuming my comfort with sex after the affair was a gradual process.  But I’m glad I didn’t push myself.  Because when I was sure, everything really did fall into place and some things even improved.  There’s more about that on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com.

My Husband Doesn’t Want To Hear About My Feelings Regarding His Infidelity

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are frustrated because they want their husband to sit down, face them, and then attentively listen as they share their feelings about his infidelity, cheating, or affair. They want to release these feelings and they know that he is the most logical person who should listen. They also hope that his understanding of their feelings will help them to heal their marriage and may also help him avoid cheating again.

Unfortunately, husbands don’t always see this issue in the same way. I heard from a wife who said: “I really want my husband to listen to me when I express my feelings about his affair. I have a lot of anger that he is going to need to address. But I have even more pain. And I want him to hear me out so that he will understand just how much this has hurt me. But if I even start to talk about my feelings, he will try to change the subject. Sometimes, if that doesn’t work he will abruptly get up and leave and make a comment like ‘I don’t want to talk about this anymore.’ And he just leaves me sitting there as if I’m the one who has done something wrong. I am so close to leaving him. If he doesn’t respect me enough to listen to my feelings, then I don’t know how I can even stay married to him. How can I get him to listen to me?”

This is such a common concern. Because what wives want more than just about anything after infidelity is to feel heard. They want to know that their husband understands how deeply his infidelity has wounded them and they want to know that because of this understanding, he is more likely to be remorseful and less likely to cheat again. But if he won’t even listen to the message, then this whole process can be much more difficult than it needs to be. In the following article, I’ll try to offer some tips on how to talk about your feelings so that your husband will listen.

Understand How It Sounds To His Ears: Please understand that I am not defending your husband or any man who cheats. However, I do suspect that I know why many men don’t want to listen to your feelings right now. I know this because many of them comment on my blog and offer various reasons why they tune their wives out or refuse to even talk about their infidelity.

First off, think about it this way. Let’s say you make the worst, most shameful mistake imaginable and the thought of your actions brought you a lot of pain and embarrassment. You’d probably want to move on as soon as possible and try not to think about it excessively since every time you did, you’d have to admit your actions to yourself once again and this would bring you fresh pain.

Now imagine that your spouse wanted to bring up your mistake often. And that your spouse wants you to listen as you recount how much your mistake has cost them. Even though you may well know that your spouse was justified in wanting explanations and your undivided attention as they released their feelings, you may not be very enthusiastic about this because rehashing your actions is so painful or embarrassing to you.

I’m sure you see where I’m going here. I am not trying to justify your husband tuning you out. I’m just telling you that often husbands “don’t want to hear it” when you bring up your feelings about their infidelity because hearing about your pain causes them additional pain. And frankly, pain avoidance is a contributing factor to a man cheating in the first place.

Men often tell me that seeing their wife’s pain is the worst fall out that they can imagine. They would rather you scream and yell at them than to see the quiet disappointment in your eyes. And this is sometimes why they want to avoid those serious discussions about your feelings. Does this mean that you shouldn’t push him to listen? Absolutely not. But you can use this knowledge to frame your message so that it is more likely to be heard.

Try To Get Him To Accept A Mediator: Frankly, I know that when I bring up counseling, many husbands are going to tune me out. But if you can get him to go to even one session, then you will likely give him no choice but to listen to what you have to say. (And you will have to do the same for him.) This makes you look less like the bad guy and can make the process a bit easier.

If He Won’t Go To Counseling, Choose Your Words Carefully: Many men are as excited about counseling as they are in listening to your feelings. Sometimes, you have to ease into this so they can see that you’re not out of punish them on a daily basis. So, when you are trying to lead up to this conversation, try to be careful about the words and the tone that you use.

The next time this wife’s husband shut her down or told her that he didn’t want to talk about his infidelity, she might respond with something like: “OK, I get that you don’t want to talk about it right now. Let’s agree on a time where we can talk about it. I’m going to need about twenty minutes of your time. I need to get some things off my chest and I need for you to understand how I feel. It’s not my intention to insult, belittle, or punish you. But I really need to feel heard in order for us to begin to heal our marriage. Not only that, but if you really listen to me, and I feel heard, I won’t have to keep repeating myself and you may feel less attacked as the result. I think if you would agree to hear me out, you might be pleasantly surprised at the results. So, when is good for you?”

I know that you might be thinking this dialog has a lot of restraint, and you’d be right. But sometimes, you have to use restraint if you are going to get him to really listen. And that really is the goal, right? To have him sit down and give you his undivided attention when you have your say? Usually, if you phrase it correctly, he will agree. And when he does, you have to do your part and express your feelings without attacking or insulting him. Because if he feels attacked, he won’t be nearly as willing to listen again. But if it goes well, you will find that he’s not nearly as afraid because the outcome is not only about causing him more pain and shame.

I had a hard time getting my husband to listen to me immediately after his affair.  The process just took time.  But when he began to believe that I wasn’t going to attack him during every conversation, things improved and we eventually saved our marriage.  If it helps, you can read about our recovery process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Doesn’t My Husband Just Leave Since He’s Having An Affair

By: Katie Lersch:  I sometimes hear from wives who have full knowledge of their husband’s affair and they do not understand why he is still living with them as a married man. Often, they fully expect for him to leave and they are extremely confused when he doesn’t.  I heard from a wife who said: “I know for a fact that my husband is having an affair.  I found out from his phone but I have also driven by the other woman’s house and have seen his car.  Once, I followed them and saw them kissing at stop lights.  So there is no doubt in my mind that he is cheating on me. But what I truly don’t understand is why he doesn’t just leave me.  He’s obviously totally infatuated with this other woman.  He goes out of his way to constantly spend time with her.  Why doesn’t he go live with her and leave me?”  I’ll try to answer this question in the following article.

Many people assume that men who cheat on their wives no longer love that same wife.  They often assume that he is no longer interested in the marriage or in living with her.  Believe it or not, this isn’t usually the case.  Regardless of what men promise to the other woman, many of them don’t have any intention of their wife every finding out.  More than that, they often don’t ever intend to leave their wife or end their marriage.  People often ask me how this is possible.  I’ll try to explain this in more detail below.

He May Be Trying To Work Out An Issue That Has Nothing To Do With You Or Your Marriage:  I know that the previous statement might sound crazy to you, but please hear me out.  When I dialog with men about this topic on my blog, it becomes very clear that most of them are not cheating because of a lack of love for or commitment to their wife.  Most of them are cheating as a means of escape.  Most of them are going through some sort of personal crisis.  Many go through this during mid life or after some sort of loss.  They are looking to improve their self esteem or to find their place.  They aren’t only thinking of the present time, not about the future or about what their actions might cause.  So, many of them aren’t thinking about leaving their wives.  They aren’t even thinking about next week.  They are just living in the moment and trying to address their identity crisis in order to feel momentarily better.

Should You Force Him To Get Out?:  Many wives are annoyed that he doesn’t just move out.  Some ask me if they should kick him out.  I felt that this question was a bit premature with this wife because she hadn’t even confronted him about having the affair.  It can be helpful to see his reaction and his level of remorse.  And sometimes, you need time to evaluate what you want to happen.  Some wives are very clear that they want nothing further to do with him.  And sometimes, because of an extensive shared history or because of children, some wives don’t want to make rushed or snap decisions.

It is quite possible that he has no intention of ending your marriage unless you force him to do so.  And, you probably aren’t going to know what his intentions are unless you confront him about the affair and ask him.   It’s not at all uncommon for a man to suddenly change his feelings about the other woman once his marriage is on the line.  Sometimes, once he realizes that he has placed his marriage in jeopardy, suddenly the fantasy is over and reality comes crashing down.  When this happens, then it is up to you how you want to respond.  It really depends on how you view him and the marriage and how likely you think rehabilitation is going to be.

So to answer the question posed, man often doesn’t leave his wife when he’s having an affair because he is only living for the moment.  Most men don’t have any intention of leaving their wives in the short or even in the long term.  Frankly, he is often so confused at this point that he has no idea what he wants.  But he isn’t likely to be making long term plans at a time when his life is in flux or when he is grappling with his own identity.  Many women feel that he’s not leaving because he wants a relationship with both women or because it’s too expensive or painful to get a divorce.  These aren’t the only possibilities.  Others are that he is still invested in his marriage or he’s confused and unsure about what he wants for the future to hold for him.

My husband didn’t leave me while he was having an affair.  I’m sure in his own mind, he thought I wouldn’t find out.  But of course, I did find out.  In the end, although we did spend some time apart, we didn’t separate or divorce.  My children and my family were just too important to me.  And he was willing to do what I needed for him to do in order to help me heal.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

When An Affair Ends, Does It Start Again?

By: Katie Lersch:  Many wives who find out that their husband is still actively cheating often lists “getting him to stop” as the most important goal.  This is true even if the wife has no idea if she wants to save her marriage.  Very few people are going to discover cheating and then look the other way or allow the cheating to continue.  Most people want the cheating to stop immediately – even if the future of the marriage isn’t clear. So the wife or faithful spouse may go on a crusade to demand that the affair end.  And when that finally happens, the wife might feel a tiny sliver of success – until she starts thinking about it too much – and worrying that the cheating might eventually start up again, especially given the uncertain fate of her marriage.

She might say: “for two weeks, I threatened my husband that if he did not end his affair immediately, I would not allow him to see his children.  He tried to delay and he begged for more time.  I would not budge.  I told him that there was no time to spare.  And I suspect he was begging for time because he was trying to delay, since he thinks that he has real feelings for this bimbo – which is laughable.  They have only known one another for a few months. He told me last weekend that he had broken it off.  I don’t interact with him much lately, so it’s not like I have watched his behavior.  I’m just too mad.  But last night I got up for a glass of water and he was down in the kitchen texting.  He said it was a text from his college-aged son.  But his face looked guilty.  And now I worry that since I’m giving him the cold shoulder, he is or will start up the affair again.  How often does someone stop the affair, only to start it back up again?”

That’s really hard to answer.  You might already know this, but if you do research on this topic, you can find information indicating that anywhere from as few as 22 percent of people repeat cheat or as many as 55 percent.  Statistics seem to vary on this topic.  But depending on which you believe, you’re looking at anywhere from one in four men to up to one in two.  Now, these statistics don’t tell us if the person cheated again with the original affair partner.  They only tell us if he cheated more than once.  That’s why I’d suspect that the numbers of people who are cheating with the same person more than once are on the lower range of that scale, but I can’t be sure.

As someone who has dealt with cheating, I completely understand why you want this information and why you want to know how likely it is that he will cheat again.  But I don’t think that you need to base your decision about your marriage on this information.  Many wives feel pressured to resume the marital relationship too soon simply because they fear that if they don’t, their spouse will simply go back to the other person because it is so easy.  I understand why this is tempting, but rushing in this way isn’t ideal, either.  You haven’t given yourself enough time to watch, to wait, and to process what is happening.  And frankly, if your husband does go back to the other woman, this gives you a great deal of free information about his motivations and about his commitment to your marriage – at least at that moment in time.  Jumping right back into the affair (or never stopping it in the first place) tells you a lot about his thought process.  If he can’t endure some much-deserved cold shoulder, then I’m not sure if he is going to act any differently no matter what you do or how much you walk on eggshells.  A man who is serious about saving his marriage will end the affair no matter what because it is the right thing to do.  Not all men make this decision immediately, however.  Some get caught up in the drama of the affair, only to come back to reality later, after the reality wears off.

There are no real guarantees in life or in marriage.  It’s impossible to have an iron-glad guarantee that your spouse will absolutely never cheat again.  In my experience, the best that you can do is to decide if you want to save your marriage and then work tirelessly to do exactly that.  Finally, you want a better marriage than you began with because this will give you the confidence that you can believe in your marriage again.  But none of these things can happen unless and until you figure out what your spouse was trying to achieve from having an affair and then figuring out a way to keep that process from happening again.

However, that is something that is usually decided in time.  There is no reason that you need to rush simply because you are afraid of him cheating again.  That doesn’t mean that you should not watch him closely and get every piece of important information that you can.  But if he is serious about making this right, he won’t start up the affair again.  Because it is common sense that doing so would mean that you might not give him a second chance.

I did decide to give my own husband a second chance and thankfully, he has never made me regret it.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com.

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