How Do You Find Happiness After Your Husband’s Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who wonder if they are ever going to feel truly happy again after their husband cheated or had an affair.  Understandably so, finding out about the affair has been almost life changing and has changed their outlook on life.

Common comments are things like: “will I ever feel happy again after my husband had an affair?  And if so, how?  Because every morning I wake up and feel as if life as I knew it has come to an end.  The marriage that I thought was actually good is a lie.  I doubt my ability to judge people.  I doubt my own attractiveness.  I am scared to be on my own.  I feel awkward and unsure about my husband.  In short, I am miserable and scared.  And I don’t see this ever changing.  Is it possible to feel true happiness again after infidelity?  And if so, what can I do to help myself be happy again?”

I firmly believe (and know from my own experience) that it’s completely possible to feel authentic and unbridled happiness and joy after infidelity.   I won’t tell you it’s a fast process.  I won’t tell you that it’s an easy process.  But I will tell you that it is absolutely possible.  And in the following article, I’ll offer some tips on how to reclaim the happiness that you deserve after your spouse’s infidelity.

Separate Your Personal Identity From Your Spouse’s Actions:  Before you can begin to heal and to reclaim your happiness, you must accept that none of this is your fault.  Your husband made his own decisions and acted as the result of his own free will.  Even if your marriage wasn’t perfect and even if you contributed to this imperfection, you are in no way to blame for someone else’s actions.  You shouldn’t own a responsibility that is not yours to  own.

And along that same line of thinking, you should not judge yourself based on the things that someone else has done.  You are not less or a person because of your spouse’s decisions.  You do not have less value because your spouse chose to be unfaithful.  His cheating says something about him, but it should not say something about you.  Know that you are every bit as attractive, funny, smart, and valuable as you were on the day before you learned of your spouse’s affair.  So, your opinion of yourself should not waiver or be negatively affected by your spouse’s mistake.

Fall Back On Those Things (Outside Of Your Marriage) That Have Always Made You Happy: Stop for a second and think about what has made you happy in the last year.  Not everything should be related to your marriage.  It’s a safe bet that you have a family, friends, and hobbies that do not include your husband or your marriage.  That’s not to say that you can’t or won’t save your marriage.  But in the initial days when you are just beginning to heal or are determining what you want to happen with your marriage, it’s a very good idea to seek happiness outside of your marriage.  There are likely people, places, and things in your life that have brought you joy, happiness, and peace.  Now is the time to draw on those things.  In the days immediately after the affair, you may have to draw on the small joys in life – the sunrise, the fact that you woke up and you still have choices, the sound of birds singing or children laughing.  Whatever it is that brings you joy, find ways to feel more of it and to spend more time doing it.

Many wives will admit that they didn’t cultivate a life outside of their marriage and so they feel particularly lost when their marriage is in question.  If this is the case with you, then now is the time to start finding yourself outside of your marriage.  And this is true even if you want to save your marriage.  I was always clear on the fact that I didn’t want to give up on my marriage, but it was also very clear to me that I had lost some of myself within my marriage.  And frankly, if both you and your husband are happy and whole individuals outside of your marriage, then you will have a stronger marriage as a result.

Know That Whatever Happens, Brighter Days Are Ahead: Some wives admit to me that they are worried that they must save their marriage or walk away from it to truly be happy once again.  It’s my experience and observation that women can return to a happy life  in either situation.   Sometimes, I hear from wives whose marriages were affected by an affair years earlier.  Some have saved their marriages and some have not.  But most tell me that life is back to normal and most feel that things worked out for the best.  Wives who saved their marriages will often say that their marriages have improved.  People who ended their marriages  often feel that it ended up being for the best.  The human spirit has a very unique and fortunate ability to bounce back under challenges, even when the person who owns that spirit has their doubts.

So yes, it is completely possible to be happy again after infidelity.  The keys are understanding that none of this is your fault and that your value and your worth has not changed.  It’s also important to take responsibility for your own recovery and happiness.  Give yourself what you need to heal and don’t apologize or feel selfish about the same.

There was a time that I worried that I would never regain my original happiness after my husband’s affair.  I felt sorry for myself for what seemed like a long time but I realized I had to be at my best for my children and for myself.  Honestly, the affair forced me to make many long overdue changes that actually improved my life.  If it helps, you can read about my entire transformation on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

 

Our Relationship Is So Different After My Husband’s Affair. Will It Ever Be The Same Again?

By: Katie Lersch: Wives can feel as if they have lost many things after their husband’s affair.  Often you feel as if you’ve lost a little bit of your self esteem, your confidence in your marriage and your husband, and your belief that you are perceptive enough to know what’s going on.  Another loss that many wives describe is predictability in their relationship.  Many describe a marriage that “is just different” than the one that existed before the affair.

I often hear comments on my “surviving the affair” blog like: “we used to have such an easy rapport and relationship but now things are so strained and awkward.”  Or “our marriage used to be filled with laughter and endless conversation but now you could hear a pin drop when we’re together.  The laughter has died and in it’s place is pain and silence.”  One more example is “we used to be very affectionate to one another.  We were always touching or holding hands.  Now, we rarely touch one another anymore.  It seems like we’re both afraid of doing the wrong thing or of facing rejection.   Our marriage right now after his affair is so foreign to me.  It’s so different than the one we had before.  Will things ever be the same again?  Because I want my old life back.  I don’t like this new one at all.”  I’ll try to address these concerns in the following article.

Your Marriage May Not Be Exactly The Same After An Affair.  But, If You Rebuild, Your Marriage Can Still Be Happy, Fulfilling And Sometimes, Even Better: In my experience in dealing with my own husband’s affair, it can be unrealistic to think that you can carry on as if nothing happened or that you can turn back time to reveal the exact same marriage as before.  Despite your best efforts of your intentions, you often can’t ignore what happened.  And, this knowledge will understandably make you a bit cautious and doubtful because you’ve been hurt before.

But many marriages use these doubts and fears as motivation to make positive changes rather than to give in to the negativity that has settled in.  Yes, it’s absolutely normal to be angry or even furious that the marriage you thought you knew (or were even happy in) was not exactly what you thought it to be.  But one mistake does not mean that your entire marriage was a farce.  It doesn’t mean that you and your husband never loved one another, didn’t have a good marriage, or weren’t happy.  It simply means that, for whatever reason, you were momentarily vulnerable and unfortunately, one of the spouses acted due to that vulnerability.

Often, the real key to getting your marriage to place where it feels “normal” or similar to what you’ve experienced before is to identify that vulnerability and then to remove it.  Because if you can do this, then you can usually also begin to remove some of those doubts.  The reason for this is that you’ll then know that the reason for the affair is removed so that you don’t have to constantly worry anymore.  And, not only can this be very freeing and such a relief, but often the work that you do to remove those vulnerabilities will actually improve your marriage.

Couples often find that they are forced to be truly honest, open, and forthcoming.  They are no longer reluctant to discuss any worrisome issues with or to reach out to their spouse because they now know the danger of doing so.  Also, often an affair will show both people just how close they have come to losing their marriage or their spouse.  This is often a wake up call that isn’t other wise possible.  By no means am I saying that an affair can be a positive thing.  But, I do believe that it can bring about positive changes for your marriage if you use it to motivate you rather than allowing it to weaken your marriage to the point of no return.

Identify What You Most Miss About Your Spouse Or Your Marriage And Be Very Proactive About Getting It Back: If you’re in a situation where you’re mourning what you have lost, you don’t have to just accept that the life that you knew is gone forever or that you will never get it back.  For example, the wife in the above scenario missed the easy rapport and the continuous physical affection that she and her husband shared. Being able to identify and then to focus on these things are the first steps toward getting them back.

But rather than merely mourning this loss, be very proactive about rebuilding these aspects of your relationship.  This is hard for many people because reaching out again to someone who has betrayed or disappointed you can make you feel very vulnerable and even a little foolish.  But, unless you want to continue to live in a marriage that is missing something, you will sometimes have to step outside of your comfort zone and take a chance.  I know that sometimes when you do this, you have the sinking feeling that you’re going to be hurt again.  But if you don’t take that chance, you will never know what your marriage could have been.

Countless couples are able to create an even stronger and more open marriage after an affair because they come to learn the vulnerabilities and lacking that were present.  Addressing your issues is sometimes uncomfortable but it is often worth it because it makes you not only stronger, but more aware of your spouse’s wants and needs and just how badly it feels when you face the threat of loosing them.

I sometimes hear women say that their husband’s affair was the best thing that ever happened to them or their marriage.  I wouldn’t take it that fair.  If I had the choice, I wish my husband’s affair had never happened to us. But, at the same time, I can look back at it now and see where the work we did really did improve our marriage and make it even better in some ways than it was before.  So while our marriage isn’t technically the same, it’s actually improved in some areas and we’re pretty darn happy. My answer to the posed question would be that, although it’s unlikely that your marriage will be exactly the same, you can return it to a happy and fulfilling place.

If you would’ve told me two years ago that I would have a happy marriage again today, I would have never believed you.  My marriage went through some very dark days and there were times when I thought we would never get through it, but we did and we’re actually better off in some ways for it.  If it helps, you can read more of  my story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

Do Men Forget Their Affair Partners?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who spend a lot of time thinking about how their husband is going to feel about the other woman in the days to come. They also worry about how much (or if) he is still going to be thinking of her. Sometimes, the husband is telling the wife that, in time, he is going to forget all about this other woman. But understandably, the wife has a very hard time buying this.

A common comment in this scenario is: “I have read countless texts, letters, and emails between my husband and his affair partner. These documents are extremely hard for me to read but I force myself to do so because I truly want to know what I am up against. I truly want to know how my husband felt about this woman. My husband is begging me to take him back. He has ended the affair. He even got a new job so that I don’t have to worry about him seeing her. This is significant. Because he worked for many years to obtain the skills for his old job. I know how much it meant to him. And I know what it must have cost my husband to give this up. And these things do matter to me. But one thing that I absolutely can not move past is how my husband obviously feels about this woman and just how much effort and feeling he obviously poured into this relationship. I have been honest with my husband about this concern. And his response to me is that in time, he will forget all about her. He says that as we improve our marriage, he won’t think about her any more. I don’t buy this. Is it even possible for a man to forget about his affair partner?”

I will answer this question from who I am – which is a wife who has gone through infidelity. I can tell you that I sure wish it was possible for a cheating husband to forget all about the other woman. And yet, I don’t. And here is why. I realize that this is merely my own experience and my own perceptions. But frankly, I can remember the names of most people in my second grade class. I remember the apartment manager at my college apartment. I remember the office supervisor at my first job. I remember all of my coworkers also.

The point is, it is human nature to remember most of the people with whom you come in contact over your life time. And, the more intimate the relationship was that you had with the person, the more that you are likely to remember it. I am no longer in love with my junior high boyfriend, but I can still remember many aspects of his personality and appearance. And I don’t think that I could forget these things even if I wanted to. And this probably doesn’t even matter. But I am trying to make a point. Generally, you don’t just forget another human being who meant even a tiny bit to you. That’s not to say that your memories are meaningful, which leads me to my next point.

His Memories Of Her Do Not Mean That He Still Wants Her: I personally believe that it’s highly unlikely for any husband to “forget all about” the other woman as though he has amnesia. But, I do understand why he may want for you to believe this. What he’s really trying to say to you is that memories don’t matter. Actions do. I find it highly likely that, for time to time, he may think of her. But if your marriage has been rehabilitated, then he’s likely to think about it in terms of how big of a mistake it was and to wonder what he saw in her.

It’s probably a mistake to assume that every memory that he has of her is going to be favorable or full of longing. He may remember her and feel quite uncomfortable and full or remorse. And frankly, if your marriage has returned to a happy and healthy place, then memories of her don’t necessarily need to threaten you. The key is to be healed so that you no longer need to worry so much about it.

Sure, no wife wants for her husband to remember any other woman. But in truth, your husband likely remembers his 6th grade next door neighbor. And his first love. And a woman who may have impacted his professional career. That is just human nature.

So to answer the question posed, I believe that he probably will remember her from time to time. But I don’t think that memories need to threaten your marriage. It is behaviors and actions in real time that do that.

As you can probably tell, I firmly believe that healing counters most worries that follow the affair.  If it helps, you can read more about my own healing process 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

My Husband’s Affair Made Him Stuck On Unrealistic Infatuation

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s normal to look at your spouse differently after you find out that they have cheated and had an affair.  You may even come to believe that they have changed dramatically (both in their personality and in their outlook.)  What you may not expect is that your spouse may actually acknowledge and celebrate this change.

One example of this is someone’s outlook on romantic love and infatuation.  Often, the cheating spouse will almost put the other person – and the relationship – on a pedestal, especially at first.  They do this for a few reasons, but the main one is that building up the relationship makes it easier to justify and carry out.  The cheating relationship must be awful “special” or “rare” in order to justify taking so huge of a risk for it.

So yes, cheating spouses can almost have an unrealistic infatuation about the relationship and about the other person. Unfortunately, this does not always completely end once the affair does.  You might find yourself with a spouse who has a new outlook on relationships and love in general.  For example, a wife might say: “honestly, even when we were dating, I would never have called my husband a romantic.  Certainly, he could be sweet when he wanted to.  But my husband is a very practical person.  He will buy gifts and show appreciation on special occasions, but he pretty much figures love is implied between married people.  Well, ever since he had an affair, he has totally changed in this regard.  From all of my snooping, I know that he constantly bought the other woman thoughtful gifts and did nice things for her.  And that really hurts and angers me.  I also know that he was considerate in ways that he hasn’t been for me in a very long time.  However, I am 100% sure that the affair is over.  I am confident that I don’t have to worry about her anymore.  Still, when I turn my attention to my marriage, I notice that my husband still has his romantic idealism going.  He has starting buying me gifts and attempting to show his ‘appreciation’ for me.  I know that I should be grateful, but it kind of annoys me.  Where was all of this consideration before?  It takes another woman and an affair to show my husband that I am worthy of his affection?  He’s like a man who suddenly learned how to be infatuated from another woman and it really annoys me. I’m not saying that I want my grumpy husband back – the one who never showed any appreciation.  But he’s acting like a silly old fool with stars in his eyes.  Middle aged people don’t need to place all of their focus on being in love like they did when they were 18.  Don’t get me wrong. I want a happy marriage.  But my husband is just acting foolish.  How do I get him to stop this without insulting him?”

I understand your frustration.  It might have been nice if he had shown a little more affection on his own, but now that this is coming after the affair, it is as if she has “awakened” something in him.  And of course, quite understandably, you find that distasteful and a little insulting.

But the situation is a tricky one.  If you want to save your marriage, you will eventually need to be the recipient of his affection.  So it’s not like shutting him completely down is what you want.  I think that what you truly want is both the affection (eventually) and the belief in its sincerity.

Right now, understandably, it’s hard to believe that this newfound affection is completely sincere.  You might suspect that since he can’t have her anymore, he is projecting his feelings toward her onto you. And that makes you feel defensive.  And like you might want to push him away.   It’s a catch 22 because once you push him away, then you worry that he’ll cheat again.

I would suggest not coming right out and blatantly or harshly asking him to stop.  But if you need to, you might insinuate that he may want to tone it down in the short term.   The next time he goes over the top with the infatuation behaviors, you might try something like: “although I’m flattered that you are making such an effort, I have to be honest with you right now.  Because I believe that we need honesty like never before.  Sometimes, this is a little overwhelming.  It’s very different than how you were before and it’s happening right after the affair, so sometimes it makes me question things, partly because it’s so dramatic.  For the time being, can we tone it down just a little?  Don’t misunderstand me.  I am receptive to the affection, but I don’t want us to feel that we have to try so hard.”

Hopefully, he will take this in the right way and will tone it down.  I’d like to point out that many people have affairs as a way to face the idea of their own mortality.  They are aging and they realize that “you only live once.”  The whole idea of infatuation and romantic love can be an extension of that.  They can decide that this type of love is very important to them and they want to make sure to invite it into their life and enjoy it.  Frankly, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as they do it inside the confines of your marriage and you are both comfortable with it.

I suspect that as you heal and you begin to feel that his overtures are more genuine, you may become a bit more comfortable.  And by that time, he may have just naturally toned it down.  He may be also trying to overcompensate because of his guilt.  Healing helps with those feelings, too.  You can read more about my own healing on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com.

Why Does My Husband Continue To Lie When The Affair Is Already Out? I Already Know About It

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are completely perplexed as to why their spouse would continue to try to deny aspects of his affair when, for the most part, the truth is already in the open. Often, the faithful spouse doesn’t understand the need to keep lying when the farce is essentially up.

I might hear a comment like: “I caught my husband in an affair. I found his texts to one of his coworkers and I called the other woman. She had plenty to tell me and she confirmed the affair and even gave me some details. I confronted my husband and the look on his face was confirmation enough. After I repeatedly demanded more information, he confirmed that their relationship was inappropriate and sexual, but he is stopping short of calling it a full blown affair. That’s certainly not the impression that the other woman gave me. After I talked to my husband, I called the other woman back to get even more details. And every time I confront my husband about these details, there’s usually at least some of them that he continues to try to lie about or deny. I just do not understand this. Why would he need to continue to lie when I already know there was an affair and I can go to the other woman to get more details if I need to? is this man just incapable of telling me the truth?”

I obviously can’t answer this question from personal experience because I’m not a man who has cheated. I am a wife who have been cheated on. And I do hear from a lot of cheating husbands on my blog. So I have a definite theory on why a man would continue to lie about an affair when some of the truth has already come out. I will give more details about this below.

Sometimes, He Continues To Lie Because He Doesn’t Want To Face The Truth: It’s just human nature to try to minimize grief and pain, especially when you are the one responsible for it. If your husband still cares for you, then he’s going to know that the details of the affair are going to hurt you and cause you pain. So in his own mind, he may be lying (or at least omitting some details) in order to spare you some pain. Also, there is a chance that he could be in denial. Often, the idea of having to own up to his actions are overwhelming to him, so he may have some motivation to continue to deny or lessen the blow until that just isn’t possible anymore.

Sometimes, Lying Has Become An Addicting Habit: When people cheat on their spouses, they have to almost make lying common place, at least where the affair is concerned. It’s almost as if they build up an alternate reality in order to function in both worlds. And this becomes a habit that can be hard to shake. So, he may not be consciously lying just for the practice of it.  He’s just acting out of habit. He may not even realize that he is doing it because it has become a habit that he is going to have to very consciously try to break.

Sometimes, He Needs To Realize That The Lying Will Have To Stop If He Wants To Move Forward: Some men lie because they figure they will attempt to see just what you are going to accept from them or allow them to get away with. So, sometimes it is in your best interest to set the boundaries early on so that he knows he needs to become friends with the truth immediately.

A suggested script might be something like: “I hear what you are saying, but I have to tell you that I already have information that is contrary to this. The other woman has given me information that indicates exactly the opposite of what you are saying. I have to tell you that in order to heal and determine what I want moving forward, I am going to need the truth. If you refuse to give that to me, then I don’t see how our marriage has a chance. I won’t continue to be lied to. That is not acceptable to me. If you need time to think about this, that’s fine. But the next time we talk about this, I am going to expect nothing but the truth from you. And if I suspect that you aren’t telling me the truth, then I am going to work tirelessly to make sure that I have completely accurate information. And if I don’t feel as if I am getting it from you, then I’m going to have no choice but to look elsewhere. You can save us a lot of time, delay, and aggravation by just telling me the truth. I believe that I deserve that. And if our marriage is important to you, I’d hope that you respect me enough to look me in the eye and tell me the truth.”

I’d love to tell you that this speech is going to make your husband fall all over himself to tell you the absolute truth, but I can’t promise that. However, what I can tell you is that at least you will have made it clear about what you expect. And if he continues to lie, then at least you will have made that clear before you determine how to proceed.  Sometimes, once he truly believes that you are not going to allow him to continue to lie, he will have no choice but to tell the truth.

I’m sure my husband tried to posture in a similar way after his affair.  But I was very clear early on that this was not going to be acceptable.  If it helps, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Never Initiates Sex Anymore After He Cheated

By: Katie Lersch: It’s common sense that your sex life might be affected or might take a definite hit after your spouse cheats or has an affair. However, one common misconception is that this is because the faithful spouse has basically shut down the sex, or that, because of their anger, they understandably have no interest in sexual intimacy. Of course, it would be understandable to not want to have sex until the trust, intimacy, and health of the marriage has returned.

Still, this is not always the reason for the change in sex life. Sometimes, it is the cheating spouse themselves who back off on the sex. Needless to say, this often has the faithful spouse more than a little concerned and questioning the possible reasons behind this. Someone might say: “my husband cheated on me about seven weeks ago. There was never any question of whether I would leave or not. I really don’t have any room to talk because early in our marriage, I was unfaithful. However, that was over ten years ago and we have repaired our marriage since then. Still, my husband stuck by me then and I feel compelled to stick by him now. I know that we can repair our marriage because we have done it once before. The main problem that I am having right now is that I feel very rejected sexually. I can’t think of a single time that he has initiated sex since I found out about the affair. Actually, we’ve had sex very little. But every time we do, I am the one who has to make the first move. And even then, my husband seems a little reluctant – although he doesn’t turn me down. It hurts me and makes me think that he is not attracted to me – although deep down, I know that this isn’t the case.  Prior to the affair, my husband would always tell me how pretty I am. I take very good of myself and most people consider me quite attractive. So I don’t think it’s likely that my husband suddenly finds me sexually unattractive – but you never know. When I was the one who cheated, he didn’t shut down sexually in this way. So it worries me that he is shutting down now after his own affair. Why would he do this?”

There are a few possible reasons. One very common one is guilt and shame. People who have affairs can understandably feel very badly about themselves. I’ve heard men who cheat on their wives refer to themselves as “the scum of the earth” and “the lowest of the low.” Most people who cheat are very ashamed of it, even if they don’t readily admit it out loud all of the time.

Understanding The Confidence That Is Required:  Think about it this way.  Initiating sex requires a certain degree of confidence. Most people who initiate sex do so because they are fairly certain that their spouse is going to be receptive and that they are not going to be turned down. However, when you have cheated on your spouse, you can’t always have this degree of certainty. You know that your spouse is angry at you and disappointed with you – at best. At worst, you suspect that your spouse hates you and finds you somewhat pathetic and disgusting. So, as a result, you are going to struggle with the confidence to initiate sex. Which means that you may not follow through with it at all. None of this means that you don’t love your spouse, aren’t attracted to her, or don’t want to have sex with her. But it can mean that you are plain afraid to approach her, are afraid of rejection, or simply don’t feel as though you are worthy to have sex with her – at least right now – because of your actions.

Moving Past This: So where does that leave you, as the faithful spouse? Well, as I see it, there are a couple of choices and what you decide really depends upon what you most want and need going forward. Because a marriage after an affair can be a little fragile, you could simply choose not to rock the boat too much and you can continue on as you are, with you being the one to initiate sex. If you do this, you will obviously just hope that as your marriage starts to heal, your husband will regain his confidence and self esteem so that he eventually feels comfortable initiating sex again.

Or, if you really hate being the only one to initiate sex right now and you feel that it is harming your marriage, then you can certainly speak up about it, but you want to be careful that you don’t sound as if you are being overly critical (because your husband may already be struggling with self esteem and making it worse could actually mean he would be even less likely to initiate sex.)

You might try: “I can’t help but notice that you seem reluctant to initiate sex lately. I can only guess as to the reason why. I know that you probably feel uneasy and afraid. I understand that. I feel these things, too. But I also want you to know that when you pull back this way, it makes me feel unloved and undesired.”

At this point, I would leave it at that. It should then be clear what you’d like for your husband to do. The rest will be up to him. You’ve cleared the air, which is really all you can do, as he is the one who will be doing to initiating. But as I’ve alluded to, healing can go a long way toward easing sexual issues, too. Your healing may be a bit more tricky as this is the second infidelity, but it is certainly not impossible. You just want to make sure the infidelity stops here – once and for all.

People understandably put a lot of emphasis on sex after the affair.  And rightly so. If it’s going badly, it makes things seem worse.  If it’s going well, then it helps to ease some of the strain and tension.  At the same time, putting pressure on your marriage because of sex will often result in a worsening situation.  For now, I would focus on the fact that you’re having sex – regardless of who is initiating it.  And I would try to make it as exciting as possible to entice your husband to initiate it sooner rather than later. You can read more about how I regained some of my sexuality after infidelity on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

What Are The Long Term Effects Of An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: Sometimes, when your spouse is having an affair, it’s very difficult to think beyond tomorrow – much less well into the future. But once the shock wears off and the dust settles, many faithful spouses realize that this is exactly what they have to do. Because, in order to make a sound decision about the course of your marriage, it makes sense to consider what your marriage might look (and feel like) into the future. But this is often difficult to gage and it’s a topic that you know is so important that you don’t want to just guess at it.

I might hear from a wife who says: “my husband is begging me not to leave him because of his affair. I have agreed to wait a couple of months before I make a decision. But sometimes, I regret making this promise. I truly would like to save my marriage, but I’m not going to be naive about it either. My husband likes to pretend that we can just pick up our marriage like the affair never happened. I know that this is very short sighted. I know that this isn’t reality. I have had friends who have dealt with the reality of an affair and it seems to me that almost all of them continue to struggle, long after the affair is over. I’m just wanting to understand what are the long term effects of an affair on a marriage? What does our long term future look like?”

This is a very difficult question to answer. Because honestly, the answers depend upon several variables like the depth of the deception, the length of the affair, the state of the couple’s marriage after the affair, and the amount of work done during recovery.

The Long Terms Effects Of An Affair Can Be Both Positive And Negative.  But The Marriage Is Rarely Completely Unchanged: While the truth is that it’s very likely that you are not going to have the same marriage after the affair, what is often up in the air is whether this will weaken or strengthen your marriage. To be fair, I’m going to list common negative and positive long term effects after an affair because I feel like both are completely possible. Honestly, the course that you end up on is, at least in some ways, up to you and your spouse and how much work and effort you’re willing to undertake.

Some people don’t believe their spouse deserves their efforts and this is a fair argument. I understand it. I’m not trying to tell you what you should do. I’d just like to give you a glimpse into possible outcomes, keeping in mind that all couples are different.

Negative Long Term Effects Of An Affair: I would say that most every couple knows those neighbors or mutual friends who have a marriage that is rocked by an affair but who never truly recovers. Although this couple stays together, it’s often clear that they are doing so reluctantly and that there is still a good deal of anger present. There can also be resentment by both parties. The faithful spouse has resentment for obvious reasons. She has been wronged. But the cheating spouse can feel resentful too. Because he can feel as if he’s going to have to pay for this mistake forever. And he can feel as if his spouse wants to make him grovel for the rest of his life, no matter how remorseful he is and no matter how much he tries to make amends.

In short, this couple is beaten down. Both of the are well aware that this isn’t a great marriage and that neither one is happy or at peace. But, they just accept this as their lot in life. Often, they really do not want to live this way. They would like for things to be better. But they just do not know how to cross over toward healing. And so they feel stuck, frustrated, and a little bit angry most of the time. At the same time, they don’t want to let their spouse off of the hook by just walking away.

Positive Long Term Effects Of An Affair: I hope that the above couple of paragraphs weren’t too depressing. There is some good news. First, couples like the ones described above don’t have to live this way forever. You can always chose a new way. You can always begin to heal even when you think it has been way too long.

And, some couples actually find themselves in better marriages than before the affair. I know that this is hard to believe. When a therapist told me this, I thought she was only trying to sell her services to us, at one of the most awful times in our marriage. But, with time, I can tell you that this is true. I’ve seen it in my own life and in the life of others. It is not easy. It is not automatic. And it’s also not constant. There are ups and downs. I’m not going to tell you that every day in my marriage is rosy and that I never think about the affair because that wouldn’t be true.

But I can tell you that bad days are mostly rare. In fact, our communication today is actually stronger than it ever was. We speak up if there is something wrong because we know what can happen when we become complacent. I have also made big changes in myself and in the way that I look at marriage and all relationships.  My relationship with my husband is something I chose. It is not something that I depend on to define myself. Never again will I depend on someone else for my own happiness and self esteem. I trust my husband. I do not believe that he will cheat again. But if he does, it’s not going to make me think less of myself. I spent a lot of time building myself up and becoming the type of person that I want to be. In part because of the affair, I have learned that all I can really control is myself and the way that I live my life. This has changed my outlook on control. I used to want to control my husband, keep him on a short leash, and make him feel guilty if he disappointed me. Now, I realize that this is manipulation based on fear. And it’s not the way that I want to live my life. I can be responsible for my own happiness. And in turn, this has opened up our relationship so that we feel much less pressure. We know that we are both here because we want to be. And this really has transformed our relationship.

I hope this article has shown you that there are almost always long term consequences of an affair. Your marriage is rarely unchanged. But those changes can be positive and negative.If it helps, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Is Hot And Cold After He Cheated And Had An Affair. Why Is He Acting This Way?

By: Katie Lersch:  I often hear from wives who are very upset with their husband’s changing behaviors after his affair.  Often, he will be affectionate and sweet one day, only to be cold and distant the next.   I heard from a wife who said: “after my husband admitted to an affair, he started sobbing and told me that his biggest fear was losing me and the kids.  He begged me to give him a chance to make this up to me.  I was hesitant but I don’t want to lose my family either.  So I told him we would see what happened.  He agreed to go to counseling and we have been going weekly.  It helps a little but our biggest problem is that he is hot and then he’s cold.  One day he can’t show me enough  affection and attention and the next day, he is distant.  And when he is distant, this makes me wonder if he is thinking about the other woman or having doubts about me and our marriage.  When I ask him why he acts this way, he tells me that he is doing the best he can and that sometimes he gets down about his actions and what he has done to us but this doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me.  After I bring this to his attention, he will be attentive and loving again for a couple of days and then he’ll start creating distance and isolating himself again.  I’m just so discouraged by this because I don’t want to live the rest of my life with a husband who isn’t sure how he feels about me or our marriage.  Is this going to last forever?”

It often does not last forever.  And the reason for it doesn’t always mean that your husband lacks feelings for you.  I’ll discuss this more below.

Why Husbands Can Be Hot And Cold After The Infidelity:  Just for a second, I want for you to stop and take inventory of your feelings for the last couple of weeks.  Having been through this myself, I can tell you that I suspect there have been days when you’ve felt a little better and then there have likely been days where you have felt just horrible about your situation.  The same can be true for your husband.  He likely feels a good bit of guilt and shame for his actions.  This can cause him to isolate himself and brood.

And then perhaps something or someone (likely you) will lift his spirits a little bit and his negative feelings abate for a while.  And this is when you will see him being affectionate or “hot” toward you.   And then a little bit of self doubt will begin to creep in and thus you will see him begin to back off and go through his “cold” phase.  As frustrating as this can be, it can be normal.  But that doesn’t mean that it’s conducive to your recovery, which is why communication is so important, which leads me to my next point.

How To Handle It When Your Husband Has Swinging Emotions After An Affair:  There’s no reason to suffer in silence.  You can address this without being critical and without making things worse.  Don’t be surprised, however, if your husband responds that you too change your emotions quite often.  The next time you notice him cooling off, you might say something like: “I can’t help but notice that your behavior today is different than yesterday when you were very affectionate.  It makes me feel reassured when you show me affection because it tells me that you are still attracted and committed to me.  It makes me feel as if our marriage is worth fighting for.  But then you cool off and you seem as if you don’t want anything to do with me.  This makes me wonder if you are having second thoughts about us and that really hurts.  It would help if you could communicate how you feel when you isolate yourself.  I understand that we both have bad days when we’re trying to get through this.  But there are bad days, I still need your reassurance because if I begin to think that you aren’t really attracted or committed to me, then we’re going to struggle. Can I ask you to just stay connected when you feel the need to go inward?”

Hopefully, you can see that this script encourages you to ask for what you want and need, but it’s careful not be judgmental or accusatory.  You’re trying to find some common ground and you’re admitting that you’re having your own struggles so you understand that there are going to be some difficult days.  However, communicating and continuing to check in and attempt to connect with one another even when those doubts set in can make all of the difference.  Simply saying “honey, I’m having a hard time today.  Can we maybe go for a walk to just wind down before dinner?” can make a huge difference with how you perceive things.  Because if you can just touch base during the difficult days, misunderstandings are much less likely to happen and you will then be able to pick up when you’re both feeling a little better.  Over time, as you begin to heal, there should be many more “hot” days and many less “cold” days.

My husband and I both went through our emotional ups and downs when we were trying to recover from his affair.  Sometimes, when one of us would retreat the other would make assumptions that just weren’t true.  That’s why it’s so important to keep communicating.  Over time, as healing became more complete, the ups and downs diminished.  Today, there are many ups and very few downs.  If it helps you can read the story of our recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

I’m Not Sure If I Still Love Him After His Affair

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are not only unsure about how they feel about their marriage after their husband’s affair, they are unsure about how they feel about their husband himself.  I heard from a wife who said: “my husband cheated on me with our accountant.  I have known this woman for many years and I trusted her.  At the same time, I have been married to my husband for half of my adult life.  No one knows me better.  No one else has been through life’s up and downs with me in the way that he has.  He’s begging me to give him another chance and has promised intense counseling of my choosing.  My problem is that I’m not sure if I love him anymore.  I understand that I am angry with him.  But it’s more than that.  I need to respect someone to love them.  I do not respect what he did.  I am not attracted to someone with a lack of character and I feel that he doesn’t have the character that I thought that he did.  He says he will prove to me that the good parts of his character are still there.  And there have been moments that I will look at him and still feel some simmering of love, but then I think back to how he betrayed me and whatever I’m feeling is extinguished almost instantly. How do I know if I still love him? And what should I do in the meantime?”  I’ll try to answer these questions in the following article.

Why I Think It’s Best Not To Try To Sort Out Love Until You’ve Had Enough Time To Reflect:  The wife was probably right in her assumption that her anger and shock was clouding her feelings.  Because right now, all that she was able to see was how his character was lacking.  This is completely understandable and no one can blame her for this.  However, when all you can see are the bad parts of his character, you aren’t likely to see any of the good parts.  Which means that you aren’t looking at this even remotely objectively.  Any decision about your marriage is an important decision.  Give yourself the time to make the right one for you.  I know first hand that in the initial time period after the affair, your anger clouds almost every feeling that you have.  It’s nearly impossible to truly determine deep emotions like love or even hate in that emotional state.

Try This Exercise: Some women tell me that they know for sure that they hate their husband and no longer feel a shred of love for him.  They won’t even consider that their anger is clouding their feelings.  They are completely sure that every ounce of love that they ever felt for him is long gone.  So here’s an exercise to test that.  I’m not bringing this up to be cruel or to try to hurt you more.  I’m not even trying to prove you wrong. I’m just trying to give you some perspective.

Imagine that it’s five years from now and you’ve saved your marriage.  Imagine that you took your husband up on that offer for counseling and this actually improved your marriage to the point where you renewed your wedding vows. Imagine the dress and the look on your face when you say your vows all over again.  Can you imagine this scene without any strong emotions? (Positive or negative emotions count.)

Now imagine that it’s those same five years later but you went the other way.  Let’s say you determined that you didn’t love your husband because of his cheating and you divorced him.  So let’s say that he and the other woman picked up where they left off and that, because he couldn’t have you, they eventually married.  What if you ran into them one day and made small talk?  What is your reaction to this scene?  Anger? Sadness?  Something else?  Are you have a strong reaction at all? My point is, if you have strong reactions to either scene that I’ve just described, you’re still responding very strongly to your raw emotions.  Determining the outcome of your marriage (or even your feelings for your husband) when emotions are running this high can be the wrong call.

Why You Can Hate What He Did And Still Love The Person:  I think there’s an important distinction that many people miss here.  You can loathe with everything you have what your husband did.  You can be so angry that you feel as if you will explode.  But you can still deep down love the person even if this frustrates you.  It is totally possible to hate the act and still love the person.

And the reason for this is that one act, or one character flaw does not negate all of the kind, loving things this person has done or all of the positive character that they still have.  Nor does it negate your history. So to address some of the questions that this wife posed, I don’t think it’s possible to totally define any feelings of love or hate after the affair until you have given yourself plenty of time to process this.  And trying to rush the process could lead you to decisions that you might regret.

I will freely admit that I doubted my love for my husband after his affair. But, after I had time to reflect, I realized that I hated the act, but still loved the person and we eventually saved (and improved) our marriage. If it helps, you can read my story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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