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/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trying To Get Your Husband To End His Affair Or Choose You Over The Other Woman? These Tips Might Help

In a perfect world, as soon as you found out about your husband’s affair, he would fall over himself apologizing and outlining how he was going to banish the other woman from his life. He would make promises to make this up to you, regain your trust, and ultimately to save your marriage.

This isn’t the reality for some women though. Sometimes, the husband isn’t sure if he wants to end the affair. For whatever reason, he sometimes isn’t sure if wants to let the other person go. Sometimes he is honest and forthcoming about this and sometimes he isn’t. Some men will tell you that they are ending the affair when they really aren’t. It won’t be until later that you find out that they’ve continued to carry on with the other woman as though nothing has changed.

Many wives, quite understandably, become very frustrated with this situation because they feel a huge lack of control. Many want to save their marriages (despite their husband’s behavior) but they aren’t sure how this is going to be possible when he refuses to end the affair. Many ask me how they can force his hand so to speak and get him to let her go once and for all.

I often hear comments like “how can I get my husband to end the affair? The other woman works with him and he sees her every day. He just doesn’t seem willing to let her go, even though he says he still loves me and isn’t ready to end our marriage. She seems to have some pull over him that I can not figure out and over come. But I’m not sure how to play this. Part of me wants to give him an ultimatum, but I’m afraid that if I did this, he’d simply walk away. Is there anything that I should be doing or that I shouldn’t do?”

In the following article, I’ll discuss what I consider to be the things that you shouldn’t do (and want to avoid) when you’re trying to get your husband to end the affair, come back to you, and save the marriage.

Why You Don’t Want To Give Your Husband Either / Or Ultimatums: I know that this is usually the first card that the wife will want to play. This is very tempting because if you tell your husband that it’s her or you, then the idea is that he will HAVE to make a decision – and hopefully he will make this decision very quickly. Many wives want to sit him down and tell him that he has a set deadline to decide if he’s going to go with the other woman or stay with the wife. The wife will usually stress that once this decision is made, there is no going back. She’ll tell him that he has to decide and he has to decide right now.

Believe me when I say that I understand the logic behind this strategy. You are trying to force him to come to a decision and you’re hoping that your history with him (and the decency inside of him) will mean that he chooses you. However, this isn’t always what ends up happening. Sometimes, rather than allowing himself to be forced or rushed into making a decision, the husband will just tell the wife that if this is the line she’s drawn in the sand, then he’ll have to bow out. Often, he just isn’t sure what he wants and being forced into making up his mind seems like a worse alternative than indecision.

I often hear from men in this situation who say things like “my wife demanded that I chose between her or the other woman. At the time, my head was messed up, I was confused, and I just didn’t know what I wanted and so I chose the other woman simply because my wife wouldn’t give me any more time. We aren’t together anymore. I wish I had chosen my wife but she wouldn’t give me any leeway. Perhaps if she had been a little more patient, we would still be married today. But the ultimatum actually made things worse.”

Now, by saying this I certainly don’t mean that you should allow your husband to have a relationship with both you and the other woman. This isn’t acceptable either. But the compromise for that would be to tell your husband that you can’t have an intimate relationship with him while he still has a relationship with the other woman. This just isn’t acceptable to you. While he is having a relationship with her, then your relationship will certainly not be an intimate one. However, when he comes to a decision and hopefully decides that he wants to be with you and only you, then those circumstances might change.

Resist Trying To Elicit Negative Feelings In Your Husband (Like Guilt, Shame, Or Embarrassment:) As a wife who was cheated on, I suspect I know what you’re feeling right now. I know that you find your husband’s behavior absolutely deplorable. I know that you think he should be ashamed by and guilty for his actions. And I also know that it’s very tempting to point this out to him, especially when you’re trying to convince him to give her up.

Many women will try phrases like “how could you do this to our family?” Or “look at you carrying on like an insecure old man in the middle of a mid life crisis. When are you going to return to reality and realize that you’re betraying someone who has always been there for you and has loved you for more years than you care to admit? You are jeopardizing everything we have worked for because of some passing phase with some low quality tramp.”

And he may well deserve to hear this. These phrases could and probably are true. But, the thing is, he doesn’t want to hear this when he is so unsure about himself. He likely hears this in his own head coming from his own voice. He may not show the guilt and shame he’s feeling, but deep down, it is very likely there. But if you keep trying to make him feel even more badly about himself, he is likely to associate this negativity with you and it could affect his decision as to whether to end the affair.

With All These Don’ts, What Can I Safely Do To Get Him To End The Affair?: Admittedly, you can not control his feelings and his actions right now, but you can control your own. You can take the high road and work on your own well being and recovery right now. And you can take a look at the statistics about affairs lasting (the odds aren’t very good) and know that if you bide your time and paint yourself in the most flattering and dignified light, you will often win this battle.

But sometimes, you have to give it a little time and you have to allow him to come to these realizations himself. Many men do come to realize that they acted in stupid and embarrassing ways and they are sorry. But if you try to force these realizations on him before he comes to these conclusions himself, he may resent or even distance himself from you when this isn’t what you want.

I know that getting your husband to end the affair is probably just one difficult issue you are dealing with. But hang in there. Healing is eventually possible and it’s worth 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

Why Didn’t He Just Leave Me When He Wanted To Cheat?

Sometimes, wives are at a loss as to why their husband cheated while still married to them. They are adamant that if he was unhappy and wanted to be with someone else, they would have given him a divorce. That way, he wouldn’t have needed to lie and to be so deceitful. Of course, this thinking assumes that the husband actually WANTED a divorce. Not all men who cheat have any intention whatsoever of ending their marriage. Actually, many do not. This is what many wives (myself included) have trouble understanding what they are dealing with.

One might say: “now that I have caught my husband cheating on me, I’ve been doing some snooping. This woman was coming onto my husband two years ago. I have an email between them where my husband admits that he ‘is flattered’ by ‘her offer,’ but he insists that while he is married, he can not have another relationship. He insists that this ‘is just not who he is.’ He basically wished the other woman well and told it might be different if he were not married, but he insisted that he WAS married. I suppose that this should theoretically make me feel better, but it doesn’t. Because two years later, she somehow wore him down. The thing is, though, he did not leave me. He did not end his marriage, which is what he insisted that would have to happen. In fact, I honestly do not see a huge difference in our marriage two years ago and now. We were happy then and I thought that we were happy now. We were still having regular and good sex. He was still being sweet and thoughtful to me. But I found a hotel receipt and then an email from her saying she’d been fantasizing about being with him for years and now it had FINALLY come true. According to my husband, it only happened once and it just started. He swears that he WASN’T going to leave me, that he still loved me, and that he just made a mistake after having too much to drink. I don’t buy it. He’s been spending more and more time at the office lately, so I think he’s probably been circling her and trying to get up his nerve. I actually think that he probably made the decision for it to happen (or suspected that it might happen) far sooner than it actually did. I don’t buy that it was just an impulsive, one-time thing that was never going to happen again. So I find myself wondering why my husband didn’t just show the integrity I know him to have and then tell me he wanted a divorce before starting a relationship with her. Why not leave me? Of course, now he’s begging me not to leave HIM. But it’s sort of falling on deaf ears. I certainly would rather not lose my marriage, but I feel the same way that my husband claimed to feel – that if you are married, that’s it. You don’t have other relationships. If you want to have one, then you end the marriage and THEN you have the relationship. My husband swears he doesn’t want a relationship with this woman. He only wants a relationship with me. It just doesn’t make sense.”

I totally get your confusion. Your husband’s behavior does not fit with his words and his character. Unfortunately, I know first hand that men who are otherwise good, upstanding human beings can make colossal mistakes such as this one. In fact, the mistake is so catastrophic that we just can not fathom how he’d risk the very marriage he claims that he wants. I can’t pretend to understand the thought process of a man who cheats. I’m a wife who dealt with this. But I can share what I hear from men in this type of situation.

Some of them will tell you with what sounds like complete sincerity that they love their wife and are desperate to save their marriage. They will cut off the affair immediately and not talk to the other woman ever again. Instead, they will spend their time pursuing the wife that they betrayed. Or they will divorce (because the wife insists upon it,) but they will spend a good bit of time regretting their mistake. I truly believe that there ARE some men who cheat who still love their wife and who never intended to end their marriage. Are they attempting to have their cake and eat it too? Yes. Does this excuse them? No. But they fully believe that they love their wives and they typically beg her not to leave.

I know that it doesn’t make sense. And only your husband can tell you what changed in two years (although he himself may not totally understand this.) He may claim that nothing changed when it comes to his feelings for you. Men will often tell you that they cheated at a time in their life when they were off in some way. This might have to do with their jobs. Or with their aging parents. Or with their health. Or with what they perceive as their fading looks or vitality. But many will absolutely insist that it had nothing to do with their wife.

That’s not to say that some cheating men don’t lie to the wives who have caught them. This must be considered also. Your husband’s behaviors going forward will tell you alot about his intentions. However, I’d suggest that some men are telling the truth when they claim they never planned to leave you OR the marriage. This might not be enough and no one could blame you for that. But many men have affairs or one night stands and still very much believe that they love their wife and are invested in their marriage.  I know that this is a huge, unfair contradiction.  But men can often separate the affair and their marriage in a way that some women never could (myself included.)

Counseling might help him to uncover what motivated him to cheat while in a loving marriage and after already rejecting the other woman once.  That would indicate that he had every intention of doing the right thing, until something went wrong.  And that would bolster his claim that he doesn’t want a divorce.   Of course, you get to decide whether the same is true for you.  Recovery after an affair is possible, but not easy.  You can read about some ways that I ultimately accomplished it on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Infidelity And Narcissism: Is There A Connection? Can It Be Overcome?

By: Katie Lersch: Some of the wives that I hear from who are dealing with cheating husbands will also tell you that their husband is a narcissist. They’ll tell you that he cares about his own needs more than anything else and that he feels entitled to get what he wants at the expense of others. Despite this, some of them want to save their marriage and they wonder if a narcissist has it in him to be faithful.

A wife might say: “honestly, five years ago, I would not have told you that my husband was a narcissist. Until recently, I did not know what a narcissist was. After I found out about my husband’s affair, I started to do some psychological research and I came upon information about narcissistic personalities. I am now convinced that this fits my husband to a T. Honestly, throughout our relationship, it has mostly been about him. That is not to say that I didn’t feel loved or he couldn’t be sweet. I did and he could. But my husband fully expects his needs to be met before anyone else’s – including our children. If I spend too much time with our kids and he feels slighted, he will let me know, even though our kids are small and he is a grown man. He constantly brags about himself and his accomplishments around others. Success and how people perceive him are very important to him. He also seems to feel that the rules do not seem to apply to him. I was talking about this with one of my friends and she agreed that my husband has narcissistic tendencies, but said that this dooms my marriage because people with this personality never change. Is she right? Do narcissists cheat more often and can they learn to stop?”

I have seen studies which have indicated that partners with a narcissistic personality are more likely to be unfaithful. This is especially true if they feel a sexual sense of entitlement. However, it’s incredibly important to note that true narcissism is a personality disorder and a clinical diagnosis. There’s a huge difference between this type of disorder and just common selfishness. I’m not a therapist, but I would urge you not to try and diagnose your husband yourself unless you’re a professional mental health counselor. Because it is true that it can be much harder to save your marriage (and affair – proof it later) when you’re dealing with a true narcissist. Why? Because they lack two important things that are needed to both recover from an affair and to remain faithful:

1. The person committing the affair needs to be accountable and to take responsibility for their actions and;

2. The person committing the affair needs to understand and have empathy for their spouse’s pain.

Both of these things are very unlikely for a true narcissist.  They think that normal societal rules don’t apply to them and they have trouble with empathy, (especially if they feel that their behavior is justified.) That said, many, many wives will tell you that their husband is trying to downplay the affair and doesn’t truly appreciate her pain. However, this can be very different from the behavior of husbands who have a true personality disorder. Many husbands try to downplay the affair because they know that their wives are angry at them. And their lack of sympathy can be in part posturing because again, they’re hoping to limit the fall out of what they have done. I guess the point that I’m trying to make it that some wives think that their husband has a personality disorder after his affair when he’s just a typical guy in a very bad way (which lead to the affair in the first place.) Because of this, he’s in a state of denial and he’s posturing. This is very different from a narcissist with a true personality disorder.

Because of the difficulties stated above, the ideal is to take your spouse to counseling and have that person diagnose him (or hopefully rule out a diagnosis.) However, sometimes people in this category think that the rules don’t apply to them and they are therefore resistant to counseling. If you are truly dealing with a diagnosable type of this personality, then it could be difficult to save your marriage or to prevent a repeat of this behavior without counseling. I have read about instances where it was successfully done, but the person in counseling had to want it so much that he overcame his initial reservations and sense of being “above it.”

In short, the narcissist has to believe that he has this disorder and has to also want to change. He has to humble himself enough to get help and to admit that he has made a grave mistake.  Then, he has to take responsibility for that mistake and feel empathy for it. All of these things do not come naturally for a person with this type of personality. They need help in order for these things to happen.  So yes, dealing with an affair with a narcissist can be difficult, but not impossible. With that said, many husbands exhibit this type of cold and distant behavior after an affair because they are trying to justify or downplay their behavior. They don’t have a personality disorder. They just find themselves in an unfortunate situation of their own making and they are trying to get out of it.

I definitely found my husband’s behavior to be selfish, immature, and deplorable during and (at times) after his affair.  But I do not believe my husband has any type of personality disorder. He can be empathetic, kind, loving, selfless, diplomatic, and quite fair in every day life.  He was just trying to justify his behavior at the time.  We did recover, but not until he figured out that he needed to take full responsibility with no back tracking.  There’s more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Do I Love My Husband Again After He Cheated And Had An Affair?

by: katie lersch: I often hear from wives who are having a hard time believing that they are ever going to feel the same way about their husband and their marriages again. Even though that many of these wives really do want to save their marriages, some doubt that this is going to be possible for them.  They just can’t foresee ever feeling love for their husband again after he cheated on them.

I recently heard from a wife who was experiencing this first hand.  She said, in part: “How do you love your husband again after he cheats or has an affair?  Because I can’t imagine that this is ever going to be possible for me.  And I can’t be married to a man that I don’t love.  But his infidelity changed my love for him.   Because when I look at him now, I see a completely different man.  He’s no longer the loyal, attentive, and rock solid man I married.  I now see him as dishonest, sneaky, and manipulative.  I don’t want to end my marriage, but I can’t see any way around it when I no longer feel love for this man.  And I feel that love and marriage go hand in hand.  Would it ever be possible for me to love him again?  Or am I just wasting my time?”

These weren’t questions that I could answer for this wife.  But I could tell her that many wives are able to love their husbands again after cheating, an affair, or infidelity.  This often isn’t an immediate or fast process, but it is quite possible.  I will discuss this more in the follow article.

Loving Your Husband Again After Cheating Or An Affair Isn’t Something That You Should Expect To Happen Immediately: I can’t help but notice that many of the wives who ask about loving their husband again after his infidelity are relatively new to this situation.  Of course, when you are newly struggling, you want to know how long you can expect for the struggles to last.  It’s natural to want to feel better and to want to get your life back to normal as soon as you possibly can.

But love is a very deep and complex emotion.  It isn’t something that can be forced or just decided upon.  It takes time for it to grow. And it takes time for it to be rebuilt once it has been tested.  In order to love someone, you must respect, admire, and genuinely like them.  You often will need to believe that they bring something to the table and add something to your life that you can not (and do not want) to get from any one else.  But, when your husband has disappointed you in this way, it can be difficult to feel this these things for him.

However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t ever feel love for him again.  Many wives do, in time.  But usually, a lot of things need to happen between today and the day that you begin to feel loving toward him again.  You will need time to observe him making good on his promises and conducting himself in a way that you can respect, respond to, and admire again.  As I’m sure you might imagine, this is a gradual process.  There may be days when you can’t imagine feeling love again for your husband because you are so angry at him.  And you may not believe that there will be a day when this anger lessens, even a little bit.  But time can be more healing than you can imagine.  And your husband can and sometimes will rise to the occasion in ways that you might not have previously imagined or hoped for.

The Burden Of Loving Your Husband Again Lies At Least Somewhat With Him: Many wives that I dialogue with give me the impression that they think that loving their husband again is an obstacle that they must overcome alone.  It’s almost as if they think they have to make a decision or declaration about loving their husband again no matter what circumstances or struggles are happening around them.  It’s just not that easy. You can’t turn your feelings on and off at will. And you can’t love someone who isn’t proving to deserving of your love.

It’s my opinion that while you have the responsibility to decide if you want to be open to the idea of loving him again, he has the responsibility to show himself to be worthy of your love.  He can’t expect you to feel very loving toward him if he’s not doing everything in his power to prove to you that it’s safe to do so.

I sometimes have men contact me on my infidelity blog and tell me that they are devastated because their wives have decided not to love them anymore.  I often respond by asking them what they have done to earn their wife’s love all over again.  In other words, what have they done to show themselves to be truth worthy, rehabilitated, and remorseful?  I have to tell you that it’s obvious that some men just don’t have a clue that your loving them is completely connected to their actions and behaviors after the affair.

And I do believe that this doesn’t mean that they’re stupid or that they just don’t care.  It just often means that men can be lost about what they should be doing after they cheated.  Many will look to their wife for clues as to how they should behave.  Unfortunately, often their wife is waiting for them to make the first move.  As a result, sometimes no one makes any move and both people wonder why nothing positive is happening to move the marriage and the feelings forward.

If your husband hasn’t done enough to inspire your loving feelings for him again, I would recommend speaking up and requesting what you need.  Because sometimes, men just don’t know what you expect or they don’t understand what would be their best course of action.  Many wives resist having to “spell out” what they need. They think that their husband should know what to do or should immediately begin making things right because he is sincere.  The truth is, many sincere men are just at a loss.  They aren’t sure if you want for them to back off and leave you or alone or if you want them to take action.

Frankly, sometimes asking for the behaviors that you need to see provides the best possible outcome.  Seeing your husband work tirelessly to regain your trust, to show his love, and to make things right can eventually bring about those loving feelings that we’ve been taking about.  So to answer the question posed, yes, it is possible for you to love your husband again after he cheated or had an affair.  But often, it takes time and it takes very measured efforts.  You often don’t get the best results if both of you just sort of sit back with a “wait and see” attitude while waiting on the other to make the first move.

I can tell you that today, years after my husband’s affair, I love him completely.  This is in direct contrast to how I felt about him in the weeks following the affair.  It took time but the love did eventually return and it remains today.  If it helps you can read about what worked for me and more of that story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

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

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

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

Often, A Husband’s Affair Doesn’t Have Anything Whatsoever To Do With His Love For His Wife: There are many types of affairs. We all know of or have even heard from the husband who will claim he cheated or had an affair because his wife just didn’t understand or appreciate him. Or, he’ll say that his wife had let herself go or had changed, so as a result, he fell out of love with her and had an affair with someone else.  In fact, that is so common an excuse that many people will just assume that a cheating husband no longer loves his wife. This is most certainly not true in every case. A good number of cheating men actually love, adore, and lust after their wives. Men who have good and active sex lives cheat. Men who could not ever imagine their lives without their wives still cheat. Men who look their wives right in the face and truthfully declare their undying love cheat on those same wives. Why? Because sometimes the cheating and the love have nothing to do with one another.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Is My Spouse Being So Mean To Me After Cheating?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from spouses who are so upset that their cheating spouse is not only not showing remorse and guilt, they are being downright hateful and mean. This can leave the faithful spouse wondering what they have done to deserve this kind of treatment, especially since they weren’t the one who cheated.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband cheated on me with a coworker. He only admitted it because I caught him. When I confronted him, he acted as if I did something wrong. He acted like I was the most deplorable person imaginable for spying on him, even though all the signs of cheating were there. He hasn’t left me. I think he is scared that if he leaves, I won’t give him access to the kids and it is going to cost him a lot of money. But he is so very rude and mean to me. You would think that a man who cheated would be falling all over himself to be sweet in order to inspire some forgiveness. But he is actually just the opposite. He’s distant. He make nasty comments about me being a snoop under his breath. He insinuates that he cheated on me because my own behavior drove him to it. Sometimes, I feel like replying that if I’m such a horrible person, what is he doing still married to me. But then I become afraid that I don’t want to know the answer to that question. I don’t understand why he’s acting so nasty. I haven’t done anything wrong. I think I’m a good wife. Yes, I spied on him. But he deserved it. Why is he acting this way?”

There can be many reasons that cheating spouses will act less than kind to their spouse after they have been caught cheating. Most of the reasons are the result of some sort of defense mechanism or an attempt to justify the cheating. I will discuss this more in the following article.

If Your Spouse Admitted (Even To Themselves) That You Are In No Way At Fault, They Would Feel That Much More Guilty: Very few cheating spouses want to admit to your innocence (even to themselves.) But very few people can cheat and not be almost overcome with guilt. Even when you know that your spouse isn’t perfect or there is no doubt that your marriage is seriously lacking, deep in your heart, you know that cheating is wrong. People who cheat often hear little voices in the back of their heads that make them feel such shame because the voice asks how they could do this to someone who loves and trusts them.

One way to quiet that voice is to attempt to make your spouse out to be the bad guy. Because if you admit that your spouse is a decent person who is loyal and loving, then you really must be jerk to betray them in this way.  So sometimes when he is mean to you, this is his way of distancing himself. He wants to paint you as less than perfect. He wants to be angry at you. Because this makes it so much easier for him to carry on his cheating.

He Might Be Being Mean Because He Wants To Keep You At A Distance As A Defense Mechanism: As hard as it is to listen to that little voice in your head when you’re cheating, it’s also awful to have to look your spouse in the eye and face them once the ugly truth has come out.

Often, they don’t know what to do or say. And the sight of you in such pain and with so much disappointment written all over your face is almost impossible to bear. The look in your eyes reminds them of what they have done all over again. So to spare themselves pain, they want for you to keep your distance. One way to ensure you keep your distance is for them to be mean to you. They are hoping that as a result, you won’t ask for all the details or won’t make demands.

How To Handle It When Your Spouse Is Being Distant Or Mean After They Cheated: Even if you’ve begun to understand why your spouse might be acting the way that they are, none of this makes their behavior right. And I sometimes if you don’t call them on this behavior, they may try to continue it. I believe it’s best to comment on it rather than continuing to allow it to happen.

So the next time he makes one of those snide comments, you might consider stopping him and saying something like: “do you think I don’t hear that? Your comments are hurtful and I can’t pretend otherwise. You act as if I have done something wrong or that I have done something to hurt you when you know that neither is the case. I can’t continue to allow you to treat me this way. You say that you are staying and that you want to save our marriage. But we can’t do that if you continue to treat me this way. If I’ve done something to make you angry or to inspire your comments, then let’s discuss it right now. Otherwise, I don’t want to hear it anymore. Nothing that I have done justifies your cheating on me. That is the issue that we need to work through. So when you are ready to talk about that, I’m willing to listen. Until then, I won’t listen to you belittle or criticize me when I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Sometimes, this will be enough and he will realize you are not going to let him get away with this. It is important that you don’t just pretend as if you don’t care or allow him to continue on. Because if you don’t counter him, then he has no reason to stop. And you really can’t rebuild a healthy marriage if he can’t respect you enough to stop the rude or mean comments.

My husband did try to posture in the days and weeks after my learning about the affair.  But I wasn’t going to allow certain things and I quickly made him aware of this.  He backed down, but not without a lot of resentment in the beginning.   Still, it really helped to set those boundaries because we both knew what to expect.  If it helps, you can read my story of recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Is My Husband So Defensive After His Affair? What Can I Do About It?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who are having trouble figuring out their husband’s odd or troublesome behavior after his affair. One common example of this is defensiveness. Many wives notice their husband acting particularly defensive to any question, comment, or remark.

I recently heard from a wife who said “no matter what I say to my husband, I get a very defensive remark back. I’m not always accusing him or even talking about the affair half of the time, but I still get the same response. It’s as if he’s constantly expecting me to attack or criticize him. I won’t deny that I am angry at and disappointed in him. But what does he expect? He cheated on me and he had an affair. Of course I’m going to have questions and some angry words. I feel that I deserve that. But it’s not as if I’m constantly harping on him about it. This doesn’t matter though. No matter what I say, how I say it, or what we are talking about, I’m going to get a defensive response. Why is this? And what can I do it about it?”

I will try to discuss these questions and concerns in the following article.

Reasons That Husbands Are Defensive After An Affair: As you might imagine, there are many reasons that men might feel or act defensive after an affair. He likely knows very well that you are disappointed and angry at him, so the defensive attitude and stance that you are seeing right now is almost a preemptive strike against that. He sometimes will feel that if he can strike first with the wall he’s built around himself, he won’t feel your disappointment, hurt and anger quite so deeply.

Another reason you might feel or see him being defensive is that he feels as if he needs to justify his behavior, even to himself. So he’s always waiting and ready to tell himself (or you) that he had his reasons for acting as he did. Sometimes, this is a reaction to his feeling guilty and ashamed for what he has done so he tries to counter this with his defensiveness.

Finally, I do sometimes have men contact me on my surviving the affair blog and tell me that they constantly feel attacked by their wives about the affair. Whether this is true or not, sometimes when men feel attacked, they strike back themselves in their own way, and this is often with those defenses that they have been rehearsing in their own head. In short, this is a way for them to feel better about themselves when they know that they truly have hurt you and have made a grave mistake.

What You Can Do When Your Husband Is Being Too Defensive After He Cheats Or Has An Affair: First, you have to understand that it’s human nature to want to defend yourself when you think you’re being made out to be the sole bad guy in a situation. With that said, I certainly don’t want to imply that you are anyway at fault because you are not. Your husband is the one who made the decision to cheat. However, if his attitude is hurting or frustrating you even more, then perhaps it’s time to have an open or honest discussion about this.

Here’s just one example. The next time you notice that your husband’s defensive behavior is driving more of a wedge between you or is making the situation worse, you may want to consider saying something like: “l can’t help but notice that your responses and reaction to me are very defensive lately. I understand that you may be feeling like you want to defend or explain yourself. But, your continuing to constantly be defensive and refusing to open up isn’t really doing us any good or making our marriage better. I can’t help having questions and being disappointed or angry, but I will try to make my comments sound less like personal attacks and more like legitimate concerns. If you do end up feeling attacked, please bring it to my attention so that I can be aware of it and stop. In the same way, I will bring it to your attention when you’re being too defensive so that we can both back up and start over. Because we’re both going to have to work together and bring down our defenses, accusations, and hurtful interactions if we can save our marriage and move on. And, whether you believe it or not, that truly is what I want to do. I want for us to heal and move on, but in order to do that, I need to be able to understand what lead up to this, how you feel right now, and what can do to keep this from happening in the future. Along those lines, I need you to be open and honest with me instead of being defensive. So can we agree to both approach this differently from now on?”

Do you see that I tried to keep things positive and direct? It’s important to stress what you really and truly want. Because if you can both keep your focus on saving the marriage and moving forward, you can hopefully take the focus away from the negative things that are going on like the defensiveness and accusations.

My own husband’s defensiveness after his affair was probably at least somewhat due to my constantly attacking and questioning him. However, at the time, I wanted and needed those answers. Eventually, once we changed our focus, this cycle drastically improved and we were able to save our marriage. If it helps, you can read the whole 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
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