When The Mistress or Other Man Wants To Talk To The Wife / Husband

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from people who have been cheating on their spouse and who are in a bit of a panic.  And there can be a couple of reasons for this.  First, they are beginning to realize the full brunt of their mistake.  They are realizing that their fantasy or hope of “no one getting hurt” just wasn’t realistic after all.

Often, they are dealing with pressure from both their spouse and from the other person in the affair.  Ideally, it would be great if the other person would be willing to bow out gracefully.  The ideal is that the other person accepts that the affair is over and moves on without causing any additional damage.  This is not always what happens, though.  Many times, the other person in the affair wants to “talk” to all parties involved.  They want to explain.  They want a face-to-face meeting where everyone (including the faithful spouse) is present.  And when you are hoping that you might salvage your marriage, this can be difficult.  Sometimes people in this situation ask me if there can be any upside to this.

The comment might go something like this: “the other woman wants to sit down and talk to my wife.  I have told both of them that the affair is over.  But the other woman feels the need to ‘say her peace.’  I will admit that my wife has been bad-mouthing the other lady all over town.  And so the other woman believes that if they can both sit down as human beings, she can explain that she didn’t think that I was married initially and that now that she understands that, she is willing to walk away.  She wants to stress that she’s not a bad person and never intended to hurt anymore.  Frankly, I never hid my marriage from her and I’m not sure that I believe what she is saying.  But she says that this is for my wife’s benefit, not for mine.  And she seems to strongly feel the need for this meeting.  I do not think that my wife would be opposed to such a meeting, if for no other reason than she would relish the opportunity to ‘tell off’ the other woman.  Is this ever a good idea?  Because no one seems to be willing to drop it?”

This article will be discussing a face-to-face meeting between two women.  But, this dynamic can also happen with men who feel the need to “hash it out – man to man” after an affair.  Either way, it almost never goes well.  People only need to “hash things out” or “have a meeting of the minds” when they are going to work together in the future.  If the affair is truly over, there is really no reason for this to need to happen.  Once it’s over, by definition, the other person is officially out of your lives.  This does not include meetings with third parties.  Having meetings is not moving forward.  It is not letting go.  There is no good reason for it other than to heighten the drama or to hang on.

I know that the other woman can talk a good game about needing closure or about getting things off of her chest.  But guess what?  When you are an adult, not all conflict concludes wrapped in a neat and tiny bow.  Sometimes things get left unresolved and so you have to make a conscious choice to let go of the guilt on your own.  This may not be ideal.  But this is real life for well-adjusted adults.

If you truly want to save your marriage, your first priority is your family.  It is not getting the other woman or the other man closure.  It is not allowing the other woman or the other man to have the last word.  It is not forcing your spouse to listen to what they have to say.  Very little good ever comes out of these meetings.  All these face-to-face meetings do is enflame and hurt.

So no, I would not encourage you to pursue this.  I would instead tell the other woman that moving on means just that.  Insist that your wife can make up her own mind about what happened and  that she doesn’t need to hear it hashed out over and over again by a stranger.   Tell her that from now on, your focus is on the future and not on the past.  It’s your job to protect your spouse from future injury from the affair.  And if you subject your spouse to this “meeting,” then you wouldn’t be doing that job very well.

After an affair, every one has to take responsibility for their own healing.  The other woman can go to counseling or find other ways to ease her guilt.  She doesn’t need to talk to your wife in order to do that.

As the faithful spouse in my own marriage, I am admittedly biased.  But I would not have appreciated it if my husband had encouraged ANY type of meeting. I would have not only refused, but I would have questioned his motivations.  If your marriage is at all important to you, then you must prioritize your spouse.  Healing is possible.  But you have to have your priorities in the right order.  You can read more about my own healing on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

When Is It Too Soon To Have Sex After An Affair?

by: katie lersch: Sex after an affair is a recurrent theme in some of the correspondence that I get. Many people are looking for guidance as to what is a healthy or advisable time frame. I recently heard from a wife who was grappling with this very issue. It had only been three weeks since her husband had confessed to an affair and had assured her that it was over and that he wanted to save his marriage.   Within the last week, she had started having sex with her husband again.  Her friends were telling her that this time frame was “too soon” and that having sex now was the same as telling her husband that she already forgave him.

She said, in part: “I know that I might be having sex a little too soon after my husband’s affair.  But I’m very committed to the marriage and I just want to feel connected to him again. My friends are telling me that I’m making a huge mistake because having sex with him implies that I have forgiven him and that he’s back in my good graces or that he deserves to be intimate with me again.  I haven’t completely forgiven my husband and we still have a lot of work to do.  So does having sex when things still aren’t perfect and we’re still healing send mixed signals to him?  Is this a mistake on my part?  Should I stop having sex with him and follow some sort of time frame to make sure that he’s truly sorry and won’t cheat again?”  I will try to address these concerns in the following article.

There’s Really No Time Table For Sex After An Affair.  But It’s Advisable To Have Sex For The Right Reasons And Within Clear Boundaries: I don’t think it would fair or advantageous to place any set deadline or time frame on when you should have sex after an affair.  Every one is different.  Some women are not comfortable physically expressing themselves until they are comfortable emotionally.  Some couples wait for quite a long time for this very reason.  They don’t want to use sex as the glue that binds them until they know that the relationship has healed enough to make this authentic and comfortable.

But some people are able to separate their sexual relationship from their martial issues.  And many people just want to feel connected to and desired by their spouse even if they are well aware that they still have work to do in their marriage.  This is completely understandable.  And it’s not my place to tell someone that they are wrong for doing this.  Many couples report that this actually helps the process because they feel closer to one another and it’s therefore it’s a bit easier to work through the infidelity issues.

So while I can’t tell anyone if they’re having sex too soon after an affair, I can offer some suggestions to help you handle this.  Because I see several issues that come up in this situation.   Sometimes, wives feel a lot of pressure to have sex because they worry that if they don’t, the other woman will.  They can almost feel as if they in competition because they want to make sure that their husband stays at home.   So they will tell themselves that this is necessary even if their heart isn’t in it because they are coming from a place of fear.

Another issue that I see is that there’s a lot of misunderstandings about what sex really means.  Sometimes the wife just wants to connect physically but in her mind, nothing has really changed.  She’s still angry at and disappointed with her husband and she still needs to see a lot of remorse and rehabilitation before she trusts him again.  But when she brings these issues up after being intimate, the husband will feel that she is sending him mixed signals.  He might ask why she’s having sex with him if she hasn’t forgiven him yet.  But to many, forgiveness and sex can be two separate issues.

And this is why it’s so important to be very open and honest about this issue.  If you feel any reservations or need to clarify things, then by all means speak up.  It’s better to muddle through an awkward situation for a few minutes than to go through weeks or possibly months of misunderstandings or the resentments that might follow.  So I couldn’t really tell the wife if it was “too soon” to be having sex with her husband.  For some couples, a few weeks might not be too soon as long as they continue to work through the infidelity.  And for other couples, six months later is too soon because the healing just hasn’t even begun or one of them just isn’t comfortable.

The time frame needs to be up to the couple themselves.  To me, the real concerns are whether the couple are having sex for the right reasons and whether the wife is feeling pressure or whether the husband feels he is getting mixed feelings.  Being intimate for the wrong reasons can cause additional problems.  Still, I believe that it’s possible and even sometimes healthy to be intimate after an affair was long as both people are comfortable about the choices that are being made and completely understand them.  Sex most certainly can’t fix all of the problems that the affair causes (and it sometimes creates additional problems) but it can be a way to connect and feel desired again which can be reassuring when you know that there’s a lot of healing ahead of you.

Restoring my own sex life after my husband’s affair was a big hurtle to overcome.  But our sex life now is actually better than it was before.  So much so that I no longer worry that he will cheat again.  If it helps, you can read about how I recovered on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Spouse Says That Our Marriage Is Probably Over Because He Doesn’t Deserve Me After He Cheated

By: Katie Lersch: Many people understand that the time period after learning of your spouse’s affair is a volatile one. Often, it’s impossible to think clearly and objectively. And for these reasons, many people understand that, most of the time, it’s not in your best interest to make any important and lasting decisions until you are able to calm down and think rationally. But not every one has this luxury because sometimes, your spouse is the one who will make rash decisions.

A wife might say: “much to my great shock, I did not immediately leave or kick my husband out after his affair. I was kind of numb and I knew that I wasn’t thinking clearly. So while I asked for some time before we really talked this through, I did not do anything drastic. I truly don’t have any clue if we can save our marriage. But I would like the opportunity to explore that. However, I might not get that opportunity. Because my husband announced last night that he thinks our marriage might be over because he feels that he doesn’t deserve me and he thinks that he will never be able to get over these feelings of inadequacy. Frankly, this makes me angry. He is the one who cheated and now he gets to call the shots? What if I don’t care if he doesn’t deserve me?”

This isn’t that all uncommon. Sometimes, the cheating spouse is being absolutely truthful when they make this claim. They fully believe that their actions have made them unlovable and unredeemable. And they feel that you might ultimately be better off without someone as flawed as them.

But other spouses pull the pity card to try to get you to say something like: “you’re wrong. You do deserve me. You are a good person who made a mistake. Let’s start over.” What cheating spouse would not want this easy, fast way out? It helps to be aware that, if you allow them to take this quick out, then you may be cheating yourself out of rehabilitation and healing.

That doesn’t mean that you just have to accept what he is saying without having a conversation about this. You can certainly tell him your opinion by offering something like: “all of the research that I’m doing says that you shouldn’t just make drastic decisions about ending or saving your marriage until you’ve taken the time to evaluate things calmly. It is too soon for us to do that. So I think that it is too soon for us to declare that our marriage is over. We might need to explore counseling or having meaningful conversations before we are at a place where we can make a decision about our marriage. But I think it’s very premature to make a marriage-ending decision before we even attempt to sort this out. We may be able to heal and there may be a time in the future when we both feel deserving of the other. We won’t know that unless we take the first steps toward exploring how we feel and seeing what we can salvage. But to just declare that our marriage is probably over because of any initial feelings, that’s just rushing. Can we just wait to see what happens in the days to come before we make any huge, life-changing decisions?”

His answer may give you some clues as to whether he really believes in the whole “I don’t deserve you” claim or if he’s posturing just a little bit. Because you’re not telling him that he DOES deserve you right this second. You are just saying that you are willing to wait and see what tomorrow brings.

He may frankly believe what he’s telling you. But the most effective way for him to eventually believe that he is deserving in the future is to become rehabilitated, to do the work, and to eventually become the best husband that he can be.

He obviously can not do that if he bails at the first sign at trouble. And part of taking responsibility is hanging in there regardless of whether or not there are any guarantees. Sometimes, he is looking for reassurance from you. But no one can give him reassurance before the work has been done.

So I think that the best strategy is to try to convince him that this type of decision is premature. Then, you do the work. Honestly, if he is willing to do all of this, then it only makes sense that the both of you are much more likely to think that he is deserving in the future.

My husband made this claim also.  But because we have done the work, I don’t really think that’s a concern for him anymore.  He has certainly done everything asked of him.  And over the years, he has proven to be a good, loving, and loyal spouse.  He most definitely has proven himself worthy, although there’s no question that at one point, he made a horrible mistake.  There’s more to read on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How To Get Your Husband Back When He Thinks He’s In Love With His Mistress?

Sometimes, I hear from wives who very much want to save their marriage and get their husband back after his affair – but there’s a problem.  Their husband thinks or believes that he’s “in love” with the other woman or mistress so, at least at this time, he’s not receptive to saving the marriage or coming back to the wife.

I get a lot of heartbreaking emails about this.  I often read comments like “My husband thinks the other woman walks on water.  He thinks she does no wrong.  He thinks she makes him feel “alive” and “whole” again.  He doesn’t care that she’s a low class person or is probably only after him for his money.  He just thinks she’s the most wonderful person in the world and that she’s his soul mate.  How in the world can I compete with that?  How in the world can I save my marriage and get my husband home to his kids when he thinks he’s found what he’s always been looking for in this woman?”

This is a very difficult situation.  Because when the husband is walking around in this fog of infatuation, there’s very little that you can do until he starts to come down to reality – but that can and does usually happen. And, there are things that you can do to move it along so that it happens more quickly.  I will discuss this more in the following article.

As Tempting As It Is, If You Point Out The Other Woman’s Flaws, You’ll Likely Only Make Him Defensive And Have Him Defending Her:  I know that it’s very tempting to point out how stupid your husband is being and what a deplorable tramp he’s carrying on with.  But if you do that now, you’re only alienating him from you and only making him take up for her – which brings them closer together.

I know it’s so hard to bite your tongue and to keep from pointing out how stupid he’s acting and what a huge mistake he is making.   But if you do this, you are likely make your situation worse.  And since it’s a safe bet you want him back, this isn’t what you want to do.

I’ve seen this situation play out time and time again.  And most of the time, if you wait, lurk in the shadows, and bide your time, you will be in the best position in the end.  Which leads me to my next point.

Know That Once The Affair Runs It’s Course, He Will Realize That Doesn’t Even Know This Women – Much Less Love Her:  I’ve never had an affair (although my husband did,) and I dialog with many men who have on my blog.   And here’s what they tell me about affairs.  In the beginning, they get so caught up in the excitement and the “newness” of it, that they aren’t really thinking.  They aren’t looking at it objectively or intellectually.

Eventually though, this “new” phase passes.  It’s inevitable.  And when it does, this is often when your husband takes a long, hard look at this other woman and realizes that he doesn’t really know her at all.  If this is true, how can he really love her?

Here’s another important point.  A relationship that is build on deception, lies, and dishonestly doesn’t really have much of a chance in the end.   She will eventually show her true colors and he will realize what a fool her has been.  When this happens, you want to have positioned yourself in the best way possible, which is why it’s important that you take the high road, even when it’s very difficult.

Putting Yourself In The Best Position Possible To Get Your Husband Back From The Mistress:  I know it’s very difficult to wait for all of her allure to wear off.  But it almost always does.  And if you are patient and build yourself up while you are waiting, you will be in the best position possible once their relationship starts to crumble.

So how do you handle yourself until then?  This is a delicate dance.  It really does depend on your husband’s attitude at the time, but I think it’s always a good idea to handle yourself with dignity and respect.  It should be clear that you aren’t going to compete with her or be involved in any love triangle.  When he decides who or what he wants, you will be willing to reconsider then -but not until then.

Women often ask me if they should attempt to have sex with their husband while he’s still with the mistress.  In other words, they want to know if they should try to lure him back or to get the husband to actually cheat on the mistress with the wife.  This can be a tough call too.

And I understand both lines of thinking on this.  You can feel that if you can get him intimate with you again, you will have a chance to get him back.  But if you allow him to have a relationship with both of you, then he really has no incentive to end the relationship with the mistress.

Now, if he’s beginning to come around and it’s clear he’s considering ending the relationship with the other woman, then you might have an argument.  But it’s ideally best to wait until it’s clear that he’s again committed to you and completely cutting off contact with her – although I know that this is easier said than done.

Throughout this process, I recommend doing everything in your power to restore your self esteem.  You never want to be in a position where you believe that’s she’s better than you in any way or has something that you do not.  Do whatever you need to do to feel confident, beautiful, and good about yourself because this really does matter.

The image that you project becomes the image that every one else believes.  If you feel badly about yourself, this will likely affect the way every one around you feels and views you.  If you are worried about your sexual confidence, there’s an ebook on the side of this blog that is quite good for that.

If it helps, you are welcome to read about how I got over my own husband’s affair.  It was a long hard journey, but frankly our marriage is better than ever now – and I don’t worry he will cheat again.  You can read that story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

The Other Woman Claims My Husband Loves Her In A Way He Doesn’t Love Me. She Says I Can Never Have That Kind Of Love With Him

By: Katie Lersch: Many wives who seek out or talk to the other woman know deep in their hearts that no good can come of it. Many later admit that there was a little voice in their head telling them to end the communication at once and to never look back. But, for whatever reason, they ignored that little voice and allowed their curiosity and their need for information to get the better of them. They met with her and then she told them something incredibly hurtful.

An example is the other woman who does her very best to paint the affair as a love story that will never end. She’ll try to paint herself and the husband as soul mates who are destined to be together forever and who share a love to which all others just can not compare. This leaves the wife wondering what this means for her. A wife might say: “I did not reach out to the other woman. She called me. And she said that she needed to tell me something very important that might change everything for me. My first inclination was to hang up and to tell her to never call back. But I knew that if I did that, I was going to go crazy wondering what the information was, so I reluctantly agreed to go. Turns out, her ‘important information’ was the declaration that she and my husband are deeply in love and that they are so close that they share a bond that can never be broken no matter how hard I try. She says my husband has repeatedly told her that he’s never felt anything like what he feels with her and that he never had that feeling with me – even when we were dating. She says that my husband told her that he married me only out of a sense of obligation. She informed me that she felt like she just had to be honest with me and tell me that I am wasting my time trying to save a marriage that was never right in the first place. I am so upset by this. I try to put it out of my head, but I can’t. My brain keeps echoing with her claims. Tonight, my husband tried to be sweet to me, but I was cold to him because in my mind he was just faking it because he can’t possibly feel for me what he felt for her.”

Ask Yourself About Her Motives: I know that this must be painful. But I think it might be a mistake to just assume that what she told you is the truth. Think about it for a minute. Does she have any motive to paint the affair as different than it really was? Of course she does. If she can make you think that your marriage doesn’t stand a chance, then perhaps you will back off, reluctantly end your marriage, and leave your husband to her. Or, if she can make you think that your marriage can not compete with their relationship, then again, you might just give up and feel that you can’t and shouldn’t compete – which will completely clear the way for her.

And here’s something else that you may not have considered. People who have affairs have a vested interest in trying to magnify the relationship. This makes it easier to justify their behavior. It’s easier to think to yourself something like: “I’m not normally the type of person who would cheat. But this relationship was so special and so right that I just had to make an exception. How can I be expected to pass up my soul mate?”

It’s better for most people to think about themselves in that way than to admit that they willingly cheated with someone they knew was married and threw all of their integrity out of the window.

Look At What Is Real And Not At Someone Else’s Reality: If their relationship was so special and enduring, you will learn that soon enough. But if that were true, why is your husband making an effort to be sweet to you in an attempt to save the marriage? I just think it’s important to realize that she has her reasons to tell you what is less than the truth.  And if, because of her, you distance yourself from your husband who was truly making an effort, she will get exactly what she wants.  She will have accomplished exactly what she set out to do.

Nothing says that you have to believe her and nothing says you have to meet with her or listen to her again. Many wives want to meet with her again to show her that she hasn’t won. But frankly, the most effective way to show her your victory is to move on with your life and to secure your marriage so that she is no longer in the middle of it – even if she wants to be.

Reality Changes: And, even if she believes that what she is saying is true, plenty of couples save their marriage under these circumstances. People sometimes do believe that they are in love with their affair. But the longer that it is over and the longer that they are no longer participating it in, the more likely it is that they come to realize that they were wrong.

Honestly, I firmly believe that you are better off getting information from your husband. There’s no guarantee that he will tell you the complete truth either.  But at least he’s someone who you still want in your life.  And he is invested in not hurting you, when that may be her goal.  Determining where to place your focus is so very important. There’s more to read about my own recovery after the affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

What Prompts An Affair To End Suddenly?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who have tried to prepare themselves for a long and painful wait. Their husband has made it clear that he is not sure if he is ready to end his affair. And so the wife very begrudgingly tells herself that she is just going to have to stand by and see what happens. After all, what else can she do? Sometimes, she figures if she has any chance of saving her marriage, it is better to wait for him to decide and still have the possibility of fixing things than to demand a quick decision and then be heartbroken when he chooses the other woman.

That’s why it can be so surprising when, out of the blue and right away, the husband announces that he has ended the affair with no warning at all. The wife is usually quite happy and relieved by this. But then the doubt sets in. She wonders if he is lying about the whole thing or if perhaps he and other woman had a fight or misunderstanding.

A wife might ask: “what would make a husband end his affair suddenly? When I first confronted my husband about his affair, he told me that he was going to need time. He admitted that he had come to need the other woman. He admitted very deep feelings for her. And although he reassured me that he did not want to lose me, he was clear that he did not want to lose her, either. My first inclination was to tell him that I was not going to wait around. In fact, I started thinking hard about looking for another place to live. But as I did that, it made me realize that I did not want to leave my home. And I did not want to just leave him for the other woman to win. So I decided that I would wait, but I would try to distance myself from the whole process and keep busy. That’s why I was so surprised when he came home on the third day and announced that the affair was over. He refused to give any explanation. He just said that he had decided it was best for every one to end it. I am relieved. I’m not stupid. It’s better for me if she’s not in the picture. But I don’t understand. All of a sudden he’s willing to end it when he was very clear that he wasn’t willing to do just that? Did she dump him? Is he lying? Why do affairs end suddenly?”

There are many possibilities here. And I would only be guessing. Hopefully, in the near future, he will be honest and give you more information. But until then, here are some reasons that affairs typically end quickly.

One Of The Parties Decides It’s Not Right Or Is Affected By Too Much Guilt: Frankly, many people who are willing to be honest about the affair will admit that they have been struggling the whole time. They have known that it was wrong and they have often thought about ending it but, for whatever reason, they haven’t yet. However, when they see – for the first time – how their actions have hurt others, these feelings of guilt are magnified. And even if they try to continue on with the affair, it feels altered somehow, since it’s no longer a secret. The people cheating know that they are now consciously continuing to carry on as their spouse is struggling with the pain. This is too much for many people to bear. Even if they initially try to carry on with the affair, many find that they just can’t do it. So they will end it.

The Other Person Ends It When They See The Indecision: Sometimes, the husband will come back to the other woman and it’s obvious that something has changed. He will confess that his wife knows about the affair and that he is upset about it. The other woman might be upset and confused about this. Because obviously, if he is affected by his wife’s knowledge and reaction, then he still cares about her. This may anger the other woman and she might break it off in the hopes that the husband will beg her to reconsider and promise that he will leave his wife. But if your husband came home to you and announced that it was over, then it’s likely that she did not get what she wanted.

It’s All A Fake Out: This is what many wives fear – that he’s telling you that it’s over just to get you to let your guard down so that he can continue cheating. I can’t tell you that this never happens. It does. But it’s generally pretty obvious. And if this is the case, you can typically tell that his heart isn’t in the marriage and then he’s gone too much to be putting in an effort. A man who has ended the affair and chosen his wife comes home when he’s not working. He gives his wife his attention and his effort and it’s clear that she is where his priority is.

I suspect that in time, you’ll get more information about what ended the affair. But for now, take it one step at a time. See how attentive and sincere he is. And see if he does what he says he’s going to do. This attention to detail will often give you a little more information. You don’t have to blindly believe him, especially so soon. But if there’s a chance that he’s ended the relationship, then that is a legitimate reason for relief.

I did question that the affair was really over.  But after a while, it was obvious that if the affair was continuing, it was doing so without them spending any time together.  My husband was at home when he wasn’t working.  And when he was working, he checked in and asked me to meet him for lunch on most days.  He simply didn’t have time for another relationship. There’s more to read on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Believing That Your Spouse Is Still Sexually Attracted To Your After His Affair: Tips That Might Help

By: Katie Lersch: It’s no great mystery as to why women whose husbands have cheated can lose sexual confidence. To put it bluntly, your husband has had sex with someone else. So it’s perfectly natural to wonder if this action was at least partly motivated by the fact that he doesn’t find sex with you enjoyable or fulfilling enough. And this is true from women from all walks of life. Even beautiful and confident women have these worries.

A wife might explain: “I don’t want my sex life to wither and die even though my husband had an affair. I worry if I don’t have sex with him, he’s just going to be tempted to go right back out and cheat again even though he swears that the affair was not about sex at all. So, I do it and I do it fairly regularly. But, I am in emotional pain all through out it. Sometimes, I look at my husband and he appears to be into it and he looks like he enjoys himself. And I know that this should make me feel better. But then I start to think well maybe my husband would enjoy it with anyone at all. Maybe he just needs a warm body to be happy and to get a release and that is all. And maybe he is even thinking of someone else while we are having sex. The other woman, perhaps? Or maybe all along he has been fantasizing about other women – beautiful women who look better than me. If I’m being honest, I’m no slouch in the looks department. I mean, I am pretty for my age. People tell me this all of the time. I keep myself fit. I take care of my skin. I have a nice smile. And my husband has never complained about sex with me and has always seemed enthusiastic about it. But I just can’t have sex with him without thinking that he is turned on only because he is tuned out and thinking of someone else or putting himself someplace else with his thoughts. I don’t dare ask him about this because if he were to confirm my suspicions, it would devastate me and I don’t know how I could get over it.”

I feel this deeply. I understand your feelings. They are very common. But they are possibly incorrect. Because you are likely projecting your fears onto the situation. You may be completely wrong about what your husband is feeling. He may be completely into it and enjoying himself immensely, but you don’t see that because you’re afraid and not feeling so good about yourself.

He Is Likely Worried Too: It may make you feel better to know that I hear from a lot of men in this situation and many of them tell me that they are every bit as worried about the sex as you are. They are not worried about themselves  and their enjoyment level – because they are enjoying it. But they are worried about whether you are enjoying it. And they are worried if you are doing it freely because you want to or because you just feel pressured. And they sometimes hold back on their enthusiasm because of this. They are afraid you will see them really getting into it and you will think that – like you said – they could basically have sex with anyone, with any type of woman or any body type and get what they need out of it. This isn’t true, but they are worried that this is what you are thinking.

You May Be Completely Wrong And He Could Be Enjoying Every Precious Second: I tell you this because I want for you to see that your assumptions aren’t always correct and I want for you to see that he could be every bit as worried about this as you are. Because frankly, a lot of the time, a remorseful husband is actually more into sex. And the reason is because now there is the threat of losing you. Now he knows exactly what he has and is he is aware that the risk he’s put on his marriage.

Don’t Drag Your Baggage Into Your Bedroom: Here’s one more thing to consider. You could very well be taking your fears with you into the bedroom. Do you know what men find sexier than anything else? A woman is who isn’t afraid to take what she wants and enjoy herself. A woman who is an active participant in sex. If your fears are keeping you from this, you should know that it’s not your appearance, your body, or your sexiness level that might be holding you back. It is your inability to engage because you are afraid.

That is why I strongly encourage you to give yourself permission to do any and everything to raise your self esteem and to give you to groove back. This means different things to different women. Some of us focus on our appearance. Some focus on our body image. Some really seek out those things that make us feel good about ourselves. And some focus on our marriage knowing that our healthy body image will eventually return once our marriage gets on track. You can do any combination of these things or anything that appeals to you as long as you actively work on restoring your confidence.

Please remember that nothing about you has changed. You are every bit as beautiful and sexy as you were the day before you were aware of this. What has changed is how you connect your self image to the affair. And that is what you should focus on changing right now.

I struggled with this too – for quite a while in fact.  But then I realized that sex is vital to a pleasurable life and a sound marriage.  And I realized that I deserved this in my life.  So I educated myself on intimacy and I gave myself permission to participate in self care that would restore my confidence.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Which Spouse Needs To Make The Most Effort After An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: As you are struggling to navigate the days after you find out about your spouse’s affair, it can become clear that, in order to ever move past this, both you and your spouse are going to have to put forth a great deal of effort. Recovery doesn’t happen on its own, but those couples who don’t recover can continue to struggle in a marriage that makes them both miserable.

It can feel unfair to the faithful spouse that they have to put up a considerable amount of effort. After all, they didn’t cheat. They did nothing wrong. So why are they now faced with this huge obstacle that is going to require all of this work?

Because of the inequality of it all, it can become very tempting to keep score and to insist that your spouse is the one who should be mostly responsible for the recovery. A wife might say: “it took me quite a while to convince my husband to be honest about his affair. I would ask him what made him do this and he would always tell me that he didn’t know why he did what he did. Finally though, after I would not accept that answer, he admitted that I was concerned more with the kids than with him. He said that I’d let our sex life slide and I was no longer that playful woman who he loved to be with more than anyone else. He told me that in order for him to truly be happy in our marriage, I would have to put more emphasis on the physical side of it. I told him that I could do that, but that I do not want to be physical with him when he doesn’t compliment me and treat me nice in the way that he used to. He agreed that he would make an effort in that department. I told him that I also needed for him to be accountable about spending more time at home. Well, weeks have gone by since that conversation and he hasn’t made good on his promises. He told me that I haven’t made the effort either. He says we’ve only had sex a couple of times. He said that it’s up to me to make the effort first. I think that this is ridiculous. The person who cheated has to make the most effort. Isn’t this true?”

I do agree with you that most people assume that the biggestt initiative must come from the spouse who cheated. They are the ones who caused the damage and so they are the ones who are mostly responsible.

However, in reality, it often takes effort by both parties to make things right again. If the cheating spouse is the only one making any changes, then he can feel resentful. If the faithful spouse doesn’t see any changes, they can feel distrust and suspicion. And, if either party continues to be unhappy in the marriage, then you are vulnerable to future cheating or unhappiness.

Overcoming all of this is difficult and it takes work from everyone. I know that it is just human nature to keep score when someone hurts you. But, you have to be practical. You have to decide if it is more important to keep score or if it is more important to you to have a sound, recovered, and healthy marriage which makes you happy.

Because if you want that, then there’s just no way around putting in the work. It doesn’t magically happen. And it’s not going to happen if both people do not feel that they are getting what you need out of your marriage. Expressing what it is going to take to make your marriage fulfilling is a very good first step that you’ve already taken. Not every one is willing to do this.

So you have a good start. Now it is time for you both to show you’re serious about making those efforts and those changes. Sometimes, both spouses are waiting for the other to act first. No one wants to be the one who is trying so hard while the other does nothing. This is understandable. No ones wants to feel like they are the only one who cares. The problem is that while you’re both waiting, no progress is being made. Someone has to be the first to make the good faith effort. Someone has to decide that recovery is more important than waiting and watching.

Think about it for a second. What is it that you want the most? Most of us just want to be happy and to have peace and faith in our lives again. It’s very difficult to have this if no one is trying. And it’s silly when he’s not trying because you’re both keeping score. Sometimes you have to be the bigger person. Because I’d suspect that if you make an effort, you will see him making one too. It basically feeds on itself and forms a cycle. You give a little and then he does. You get a little and then he does. You’re encouraged by his effort and so you put in more of your own effort and he reciprocates.

So while I think in theory that it’s the cheating spouse who should take more initiative, I often know that this isn’t always reality. It often takes effort on the part of both spouses and a willingness to stop keeping score.  Sometimes, I was resentful of all of the counseling and soul searching after my husband’s affair.  But now I can look back and see that it was more than worth it.  Because if we hadn’t made that effort, we might still be very unhappy.  And life is really too short to be unhappy. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Does My Spouse Really Want To Hear About My Feelings After His Infidelity? He Seems More Annoyed Than Interested

By: Katie Lersch: It is normal to want to talk at length after you find out your spouse has been cheating. You often have a lot of emotions that you need to release. And you want your spouse to understand what you are feeling. Although many spouse’s seem willing to listen right after the affair is discovered, it’s not uncommon to see their willingness to listen waning quickly.

A wife might explain: “when I first found out about my husband’s affair, he stuck to me like glue. He seemed to be so scared that I was going to leave him. I knew that I wasn’t going to leave, but I didn’t share this with him. Because I thought that it wouldn’t be a bad thing if he was worried. I wanted him to be scared so that he would think twice about cheating again. Early on, he told me that he wanted to know everything that I was thinking and feeling. He sat there patiently while I talked. He listened and seemed empathetic. But this quickly passed. Now when I want to talk, I look at his face and it’s all scrunched up. He will sigh heavily. He sits and he does listen, but it’s clear he’d rather be anywhere else. Last night, we were talking and I said: ‘when this first happened, you told me that you wanted to hear my feelings. Is that not true anymore? Are you not interested in this anymore?’ His response was that he was still interested, but it seems like I’m saying the same thing every time. Maybe I am, but it’s a lot to take. Are men really interested in your feelings after their affair? Or are they just pretending to placate you?”

I think that they are interested. But what you are saying can be hurtful to them because they know that they are the cause of it. This is normal. In their hearts, they want to know what you’re feeling and they want for you to share your thought process. But every time they hear your words, it just drives home the point that they have done tons of damage to their marriage and they have hurt someone that they love. This isn’t always easy to hear.

And, your husband isn’t alone in saying that your message is somewhat repetitive. I do hear from a lot of husbands who say the same thing – that they want to help their spouse heal after their cheating but that after a while, it can feel as if you are not making progress because you’re hashing out the same old things every time.

Of course, you have every right to repeat yourself. This is a hard thing to deal with. No one can expect you to need to say or discuss something only once. We are not talking about something simple like him forgetting to do something he’s promised that is mostly benign and innocent. We are talking about cheating. That is whole different level of a mistake.

However, in order to make real progress and to feel some relief, sometimes you have to be deliberate in how you are handling this. You don’t want to say something so much that it loses its effectiveness. A counselor (or just you being very deliberate) can help you with this. It helps to try to have most of your difficult discussions in your counselor’s office (or at a set time at home.) Because she can help to keep you on track. And she can get to the heart of what you are really wanting to communicate.  Sometimes, we think we are saying what we mean, but we aren’t being crystal clear.

If you are not in counseling, then one way to improve this is to try to have very specific, non negotiable times to talk about your feelings. If you just blurt out everything that comes into your head exactly when you experience it, your husband feels as if he’s always on his guard and he can honestly start to tune you out. But if you limit these conversations to a set time (with it ending after a certain period of time,) he is more likely to give you his undivided attention and you are much more likely to feel that you are being heard.

Another thing that you can do is to try to be very specific so that it doesn’t sound like you are saying the same thing over and over. Rather than repeating general phrases like “I feel hurt and betrayed,” you want to really try to get to the heart of the matter. Try to really say what you mean. Examples are very specific phrases like: “I worry that I will not trust you. I worry that you are not attracted to me anymore. I worry that we can’t get the intimacy back.” This tells your husband much more about the obstacles that must be overcome and he is more likely to give you thoughtful responses and actions.

I hope I’ve addressed what you wanted to know. Men often are interested. But they will also sometimes try to protect themselves by zoning out or feeling defensive, even if this isn’t their intention and they do not realize that they are doing it. It hurts them to realize what they’ve done. And it’s normal to want to minimize that pain. So, you have to be deliberate so that your message is really heard and addressed.

I experienced this frustrating issue also.  I think that, at times, my husband thought that our talks were just meant to punish him or to rehash things when I was trying to be genuine.  It helped quite a bit to limit the talks to a set time.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Does The No Contact Rule Work After An Affair? If So, How?

By: Katie Lersch:  I sometimes get correspondence asking me about the “no contact rule” after a spouse cheats or has an affair.  People want to know if, and how, it works.  It’s important to note that often, people are talking about two different things when they discuss no contact.

No Contact As It Relates To The Person Who Cheated: First, they could be talking about no contact as it relates to the other person in the affair.  So from a husband who cheated, you might hear: “my wife is saying that I must have absolutely no contact with the other woman.  But we have become legitimate friends.  It does not seem realistic to think that I’m expected to just act as if she never existed.  What if she calls me?  Am I supposed to just slam the door in her face.”

In this case, no contact means exactly what it says. And yes, you are expected to carry it out to the letter.  Think about it this way.  If it were your wife who had done the cheating, would you want her to cut off any and all contact with the other man?  Of course you would.  Would you want her to try to sneak in some contact or to try to justify “keeping in touch” to herself while hiding the same from you?  Of course you wouldn’t.

When your spouse cheats on you and is asking you not to divorce him, then you want to know that he is worth it.  And in order for this to be so, they have to be trustworthy.  Still sneaking around to contact the other person (even when you are not technically still cheating) is not being trustworthy.  It is not putting your spouse first.  It is not having integrity.  And you need all three things to successfully be rehabilitated.

So yes, in this case, there is really no confusion or sleight of hand.  It means just what it says – that you make a clean break, that you communicate (very clearly and quickly) that it is over, and that you avoid interaction after that.  Your priority and your focus is on your marriage now.  You owe that to yourself, to your marriage, and to your spouse.  There is no room for anyone else.

No Contact As It Relates To The Faithful Spouse: The other way that people discuss no contact is when a couple (or a faithful spouse) decides that they are not going to communicate with their spouse for a while because of the high emotions associated with the affair. The thought process is that this break gives both people a chance to calm down and allows the cheating spouse to think while he can’t reach out to the faithful spouse.

Along those lines, someone might ask: “my mother told me that I should kick my cheating husband out of the house.  I reluctantly did that because quite honestly, it was painful to have him around.  My mother also indicated that I should not let him call or come by.  She said that I should let my silence speak for me and that this will make my husband even sorrier than he already is.  I understand the thinking behind this, but I feel that this tactic is a little cruel, especially since my husband is going to want access to his children.  My kids are not going to understand why they can’t see their father.  How far do you take no contact and does it work?”

How far you take it (and whether you want to participate in it) is up to you.  Some people have some success, but many people find that there are some problems with it.  For one thing, it’s common to wonder if he is continuing to cheat when you are not interacting with him. It’s also common for both people to assume the worst about the other – since they can’t possibly know what is going on without being in touch.

“No contact” seems to breed mistrust at a time when you might be trying to rebuild the trust. A couple can also drift further and further apart this way.  But I do see the point about allowing things to calm down, which is why I think a compromise might be in order.

Considering A Compromise: If you think that this is a viable option, why not limit the contact, but not negate it all together?  Perhaps he may call the kids at set times and see them once a week.  At that time, the two of you could touch base and talk if that feels comfortable to you.

If things go well, you could very slowly increase the contact if it feels right to do so.  But I think not having any contact when you share kids might be a bit drastic and quite difficult to carry out.

As you probably can tell, when “no contact” means that the affair is truly over, I am very clear on the fact that this should happen – with no excuses. If the affair is over, then it should be totally over with no interaction.  It’s not that hard to understand.  You must completely end it and then not communicate afterward.

As far as “no contact” between the spouses goes, I think that this one has shades of grey and is harder to carry out, although perhaps a less drastic version of it may work.

My husband and I did live apart for a short time after his affair.  But because of our children and because I wanted to know what he was up to, there was definitely limited and well-defined contact. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com