Can I Get Together Once In A While With The Other Person Even Though The Affair Ended?

By: Katie Lersch: Being the faithful spouse who was deeply hurt by an affair, this is going to be difficult for me to admit. But, sometimes, it’s obvious that the people who contact me and want to talk about the aftermath of their affair have real feelings toward the other person. Most of them know that the affair had to end anyway. Most of them are committed to making sure that what is in the past stays in the past. But, many of them worry about what’s going to happen to the other person now.

So for instance, I might hear a comment like: “I deeply regret having an affair. I love my husband. I never wanted to get a divorce. And I would never break up my family. It is not like me to do something this heinous and wrong. The only excuse that I have is that the other man really needed someone. I met the other man at my work. I work at a community center and I noticed that the other man was always alone. One day we got to talking and he mentioned his wife’s passing away. So my intention when striking up a friendship was just to be a source of support to him. I never intended for it to go any further than that. He was so lost and so broken that I just could not turn my back on him. Of course, my husband wants for me to break off all contact. In order to ensure that this happens, I am going to have to leave my job. I am prepared to do that, but if I am being honest, I still worry about the other guy. I still see him as my friend. I know that I can’t see him regularly. But would it be OK for me to check in on him every once in a while? I know that I would have to keep this from my husband because he would not understand. But I am committed that nothing inappropriate would happen. I just want to make sure that he is OK. He really doesn’t have any other support system.”

I get some variation on this question a lot. And before I give you my opinion, I want to make it clear that I was the faithful spouse. So that is the perspective from which I am looking at it. I also know how fragile your marriage can be after an affair. I know how insecure that you can be when your spouse cheats on you. I know how much you worry that they are going behind your back and seeing the other person.

For all of these reasons and more, I can not advocate ever keeping in touch with the other person. I know that this may sound harsh. But that is my honest opinion. Imagine how your husband would feel if he knew that you were “checking in” with the other man. He would likely feel betrayed all over again. He would think that the well being of the other man is more important to you than your marriage.

I don’t mean to come off as unfeeling. The other man’s situation is a sad one. But frankly, it probably isn’t doing him any good to hang onto a relationship that can’t go anywhere with a married woman. He is better off finding a support system that can remain in his life and not be in hiding. You can certainly point him in the direction of professional help if you think that this is necessary. But you have decide if you want for your marriage to be your primary priority and responsibility or if you want to give that place to a third party.

I’d like to make one final point. Many people tell themselves that they will just “check in” every once in a blue moon. But it doesn’t always turn out that way. The more you are in touch, the harder it is to let go. And that is what you must do if you want to save your marriage. You must let go. I know that it isn’t easy. And I know that you feel a certain amount of responsibility. But, your responsibility is to your family. You might consider arranging for additional support, but once that is done, then you have to do the right thing. And it’s frankly more beneficial for the other man to develop a new support system that can become a permanent part of his life.

Again, I see this from a different point of view because my husband cheated on me and healing was very difficult. If my husband had “checked in” on the other woman regardless of the circumstances, it probably would have made it impossible to save our family.  If it helps, you can read more about own experience on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

So What Do I Do Now That I Know For Sure My Husband Is Cheating On Me?

By: Katie Lersch:  Many people assume that when you get confirmation that your spouse has been cheating, you spring into action.  They assume that this news is so disturbing and explosive that very dramatic actions are going to immediately follow. These assumptions are understandable, and sometimes, the drama does follow – exactly as expected.  But not every spouse knows exactly what to do when this discovery takes place.

A wife might say: “I have suspected my husband of cheating for about three weeks.  I even confronted him about it.  But he continued to deny it and he made it seem like I was paranoid, which is the thing that drives me the most crazy right now.  I didn’t really believe him, so I have continued to snoop.  Last night, he got a phone call that he said he was going to take in our bedroom.  I knew that something was up so I walked very quietly down the hall and I stood at our bedroom door.  He obviously didn’t know that I was there because he proceeded to talk to the other woman.  And then it was obvious that he was having an affair.  I quietly opened the door, our eyes met, and he told the other woman he had to end the call.  I said to him: “so I guess I’m not so paranoid after all.’  He had no response and he has not said one word to me since.  He’s made no effort to leave.  I slept in the spare bedroom last night but beyond this no one has taken any action.  Now that I have my confirmation, I just don’t know what to do.  I am not going to leave my home.  That much I do know.  Part of me wants to kick my husband out.  But I feel like if I do that, the pain that I am feeling will be intensified because I will be alone.  I don’t even know if he wants to stay.  I have a million questions but I almost feel that I am not ready to hear the answers yet. But I feel like I need to be doing something.  I wanted this confirmation so badly.  But now that I have it, I am stuck.  I know that I should be doing things and making decisions and yet I can’t seem to. What are you supposed to do when you finally find out your spouse has been cheating?”

I don’t think there are any set of rules about this.  People react in different ways.  Some take swift action and ask their spouse to leave or they leave themselves.  Some immediately know that they’d like to seek counseling so they go about researching that option and setting it up.  Still others aren’t ready to take swift action, so they tell their spouse that they are going to need some time before they make decisions.  They give themselves the luxury of being still and just taking their time to process what is happening.  This is very heavy news.  Not every one can just get the big picture and understand their wishes immediately.  It takes time for some.  And that is perfectly fine.

When I found out about my own husband’s affair, I didn’t make any sudden decisions because of my family.  I didn’t want him in my immediate sight, so I did ask him to stay with friends for a while.  But I was very open about the fact that it was going to take me a while to decide what I wanted.  Even through counseling I was not sure.  I was determined not to make a snap decision based on pain and emotion.  And I’ve never regretted taking a slower pace.

If you still need time, there is nothing wrong with saying so.  You get to decide where you want to go from here and if you don’t have any answers yet, that is perfectly OK.  If you want to explain this, but you aren’t yet ready to do anything, you might try something like: “obviously at some point soon, we are going to have to have a difficult and honest conversation.  I have a lot of questions that I want answered.  But right now, I just want and need some time.  I will let you know when I’m ready to talk.  I may not be making any immediate decisions but eventually, these decisions will need to be made.  For right now, I’m asking you to give me some time and some privacy so that I can process this.”

In time, you will be ready to ask questions.  The answers to those questions may give you more information about what you might want moving forward. Honestly, I feel like people tend to rush in making these decisions because the emotions and the pain is so high.  I am not sure there is any advantage to taking so fast a pace.  None of this is easy.  And you are taking in so many things at once.  You don’t have to do anything immediately if you are not ready.  You can ask for time and you can take in information as it comes.  Once this happens, then you will be better equipped to make a decision.  But there is nothing wrong with giving yourself a little time.

I think that part of the reason I took a slow pace was because I knew there might be a chance that we could save our marriage in time.  But in the beginning, I didn’t even want to think about that.  I knew that any healing was going to be gradual.  And I wanted to watch and wait for a little while before I even opened myself up to anything more.  So, I worked on only myself initially and I have not regretted that.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Do Men Cry When They Confess To An Affair?

By: Katie Lerch: I sometimes hear from wives who are dealing with a confession of an affair and are wondering  what their husband’s reaction really means. Because let me be clear. Not all men react in the same way. Some men are quite indignant. Some are defensive. Some are cruel. Some are in denial. And others are sad, ashamed and remorseful. Some even cry. And all of these actions can leave the wife wondering what to make of his behavior.

Imagine hearing from the wife who says: “my husband approached me the other night very upset. He took a deep breath and he told me that he had something to talk to me about. I sat down. Then he started sobbing and he confessed to a short term affair with one of his clients. He told me that words can not express the shame that he feels and he assured me that it would never happen again. His tears did nothing for me at the time. In fact, they just made me angry. Why the crocodile tears after he ruined our marriage? But after I had several days to think about this, I figured that maybe his crying was a good sign because it meant that he cared deeply. But when I discussed this with my mother, she said that he was just sorry that he was caught. She said his tears are just a way to manipulate me. I know what she is saying, but when I think back on that time, I believe that his tears were real. He didn’t look like he faked it to me. Why would a man cry when confessing to or talking about his affair?”

This can be hard to pin down. I can and will give you my theories. But, the only way to really know the truth about this is to have the man tell you WHILE you are sure that he has a firm handle on his feelings. This is a tall order. Because honest men will often admit that they don’t know why they are crying.

I understand why people believe that a cheating husband is crying during the confession because he is caught. There is probably a lot of validity to this. But, being caught implies that they were trying to hide this from you and were not successful. This wasn’t the case here. The husband initiated the confession. He did not have to do this. His wife wasn’t even suspicious. He just decided to tell her the truth and to face the consequences.

I am only guessing of course, but I believe that it’s likely that he was overcome with emotions and was crying because he was having to face the consequences of his actions. And, he was having to face the fact that he himself was causing this type of shock and pain to someone who hadn’t done anything wrong and who hadn’t done anything to deserve it. I have never been in this situation as I was the faithful spouse. But many have told me that it is excruciatingly heartbreaking to have to look at the person you love and then explain how you betrayed them as you see the shock and pain on their face. This hurts. Especially when you know that you are to blame. So, you may just cry when the reality of this hits you.

I know that you are concerned about whether he is sincere or not. I can tell you that his actions are so much more important than his words anyway. He can say anything. He can do anything. He can fake a tear or sob. But at the end of the day, what he can not fake is how he is going to make this right and what type of husband he is going to be to you from here on. What matters more than his tears is how he rehabilitates himself, rebuilds the trust, and helps you to heal starting today.

My opinion is that his tears can mean any number of things. But it is far better to see tears than indigence, excuses, or justification. Rather than showing an attempt to justify his cheating or to blame you, he is showing sorrow. And to me, this is a good sign. But it is not my opinion that matters. It is the wife’s.

I did eventually see some real emotion from my husband after his affair.  And this did matter to me.  He did make good on his promises so in my case, my theory was correct. If it helps, you can read more about own experience on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

I Cheated On My Spouse And Reverse Psychology Isn’t Working

By: Katie Lersch:  People sometimes reach out to me when they have cheated on their spouse and are looking for some strategy that is going to allow them to get their spouse back or to help convince their spouse not to end the marriage.  Many believe that they have tried any number of different strategies which seem to make no difference to their spouse.

A wife might say: “I know that my husband doesn’t really want to end our marriage but his anger toward my cheating on him is more important to him than what he truly wants.  I get why he is angry with me.  I deserve his anger.  I would be furious with me too.  I have been very remorseful and I begged him not to break up our family.  This almost seems to make him more angry.  He says that I should not be begging and carrying on now.  He says that it is too late for that.  So recently, I have decided to try another strategy with him.  I know from experience that my husband doesn’t respond well to any strategy meant to elicit pity. His mother often tries this with him and it makes him angry at his mother.  So I tried to take the opposite tact and I addressed him directly and in a matter of fact way.  I told him that I had repeatedly told him I was sorry and that I was not sure what else to do.  I told him that everyone makes mistakes and that he has not been perfect in our marriage either.  I told him that he needed to move on because if he ends our family because of one mistake then he is just as guilty in this as I am.  I told him that I wasn’t going to keep begging him to give me another chance forever. I hoped that this reverse psychology strategy would change things, but it didn’t.  He basically said I could phrase it any way I wanted but he was not going to forgive me for cheating.  The thing is, this reverse psychology has worked with him in other aspects of our marriage.  So I am not sure what to do now.  I am starting to think that this is hopeless.”

Well I’m not sure that anything is hopeless but I might have some insights for you as to why your strategy isn’t well received.  As a spouse who has been cheated on, I can tell you that if my husband had tried “tough love” or “reverse psychology” on me, this would have made me very angry.  And this certainly would have made me less likely to want to listen to what he had to say – much less to forgive him.

I understand why you feel that you’re almost forced to try different things.  You want to make some progress.  You want to see him positively respond to something.  So, you’re willing to try several different things to see if one of those things might give you a positive reaction.  I understand why you are doing this.

But what you have to understand is that your spouse is hurting.  Your spouse is struggling.  And then you coming along with an attitude that insinuates that they just need to get over it isn’t going to endear them to you.  It doesn’t insinuate that you are really sorry for you did.  It insinuates that you are sorry that they are not getting over this more quickly.  It insinuates that you care more about the time frame than you care about their healing.

If you really want to get back into your spouse’s good graces, in my opinion, this is not the way to do it.  I can tell you that what finally won me over with my husband was seeing his repeated sincerity.  He was willing to go to counseling.  He was willing to take responsibility for his actions.  He didn’t blame any of it onto me.  He was endlessly patient. His concern was more for my ability to heal than for his ability to be forgiven.

To put it bluntly, your concern needs to be your spouse.  Not how quickly things can get back to normal.  Not how quickly you can make your spouse do what you want them to do.  But how you can help them to heal.

Your spouse knows the difference.  Your spouse can feel when your concern is for them or when your concern is for yourself.  I am not saying this to be harsh.   I am trying to give you information that is going to be beneficial for every one.  When you try to pressure your spouse into moving forward before they are ready, you are not doing any one any favors.  Your marriage will not have any strong foundation if you try to just gloss over this quickly.

The better strategy is to show your spouse that you are in this for life.  And that you know that they deserve to have a strong marriage built on trust and respect.  You’re not showing respect for them if you try to force or pressure them with reverse psychology. Showing respect means that you don’t worry about the time line or yourself.  You worry about them.  Because they will know if you don’t.

Any time I felt pressure and frustration from my husband, I felt less invested in our marriage.  I leaned toward ending things.  But when he was patient and accountable, I felt the opposite way.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

I Still Feel Like My Husband Is Lying About The Affair. I Don’t Fully Trust What He’s Telling Me

By: Katie Lersch: One of the biggest obstacles that you have to overcome when trying to evaluate or even save your marriage after your spouse has an affair is determining if you can believe his claims. Often, you truly want to believe him, but you can’t help but doubt some of what he is telling you. After all, he very easily and effortlessly lied to you while he was cheating, so what is to ensure that he is telling you the truth now?

An example of this type of concern is something like: “I only caught my husband cheating because I left my lunch at home and I swung by to get it. My husband has been unemployed for four months and he has been having an affair with one of my neighbors. This woman was at our house and when I walked in and as soon as I saw her, I knew that something was up. A quick check on his phone and facebook account showed me that I was right. Because my husband has lost his job, we can’t afford to move and the other woman has lived in our neighborhood for twenty years. My husband swears that he hasn’t seen the other woman and that he won’t see her. He says he will only take our dogs for walks when I can be with him. He says that he doesn’t go outside or have any visits from her while I am at work. He hasn’t given me any specific reason not to believe him. But since I’m not home and I can only call him, I have my doubts. What is to stop him from sneaking her in there and just answering the phone like he is alone? I’d like to save my marriage, but I have my doubts as to whether or not it is possible. I just don’t have the trust. And since there is no way for him to prove that he is telling me the truth, I’m not sure how to restore it either.”

I am sure that you already suspect this, but most women in your situation have the same doubts. Unless you are with your husband twenty four hours per day (which isn’t possible or desirable for most of us) then there is always going to be some mystery as to exactly what he is doing. And it is only normal to suspect him of wrong doing when he has just recently cheated on you. In a sense, as the faithful spouse, you can get a little paranoid.

I can only speak for myself, but after my own husband’s affair, if he was even five minutes late or he didn’t call me when I thought he would, my mind would automatically go to places where he was doing something wrong or even being unfaithful again. These assumptions weren’t correct. And they only eroded our trust that much more. But you can only do so much to avoid this. In time, as the trust is rebuild and as you begin to see that, time and time again, your spouse comes through and ends up doing exactly what he has said, then you begin to back away with these assumptions.

But until then, you can try to work it out so that the circumstances allow you to trust as much as is possible at the time. For example, perhaps it would make you feel better if you dropped by unannounced a time or two just to reassure yourself that she isn’t there. Or, you could arrange for him to meet you for lunch regularly. Alternatively, you could arrange for him to do something very regularly outside of the house like networking, training, or something that would lessen the tension and give him confidence with his job search.

Frankly, people can become quite depressed and hopeless when they are unemployed, and this could well have contributed to his cheating. That’s why I believe it’s vital to aggressively pursue anything to do with improving his employability to keep his self esteem high.

That’s why I also don’t think that counseling is a bad idea here. A man who is willing to go with you to counseling gives you just one more indication that he is serious about making his marriage work. And if this is true, you have to ask yourself if he would jeopardize that same marriage by continuing on with the same thing that almost ended it in the first place.

I know that you feel like you are being asked to just blindly trust him.  That is why I would check in at times and why I would try to keep him extremely busy in his job search.  But, at the end of the day, you can’t be with him all of the time.  And there comes a point where you have to decide if you’re going to assume that he is being truthful until he gives you a reason to think otherwise.

This was my strategy.  I told myself that I would give my husband the benefit of the doubt until he gave me a reason to stop doing this.  He never gave me a reason. He made good on all of his promises. You can read more about my experience on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Ever Since I Found Out About My Spouse’s Affair, He’s Been Snooping Through My Emails Trying To Catch Me Doing Something Wrong

By: Katie Lersch: It’s somewhat normal for a spouse who has just been caught cheating to try to divert the attention away from their actions by any means possible. They will try in vain to justify their behavior in any number of ways, like trying to make excuses, trying to point out the flaws in their marriage, and trying to find evidence of wrongdoing by the faithful spouse.

I might hear a comment like: “I caught my husband cheating on me with a woman that we both went to high school with. Their communications behind my back started on facebook. I knew that he was in touch with her. I was in touch with her also. But I had no idea that it had crossed the line until the other woman called me and indicated that she had developed serious feelings for my husband. I was absolutely stunned and I confronted him. At first, he tried to make light of the situation and to say that they were just harmlessly flirting with one another. But then I started asking him about times when he met with her without my knowing and the truth started to come out. He finally admitted to cheating and said that he will defriend her and that he will end all contact. Of course, I’m not happy with the situation, but it is a start. I figured that soon, we would begin the process of counseling and trying to rebuild. Well, I got home from work and found my husband on my computer and reading my emails. He said that he logged into my facebook account and saw that I was emailing another male classmate without my telling him. This is true. I didn’t mention that to him. But that’s because there was nothing to tell him. It was not inappropriate. It was run of the mill conversations about both of our families and careers. Now, my husband is snooping through my phone, emails and personal effects trying to find evidence of wrong doing. This infuriates me. None of this is about me. It is about him. I am not the cheater. He is. I have done nothing at all wrong. And if he thinks I’m going to accept him spying on me because of his behavior, then he is wrong.”

I completely understand how you feel. And I believe that you are absolutely right. But I have to tell you that what you are experiencing is very common. Cheating husbands start snooping for a couple of reasons. First, as you suspected, they are trying to see if they can find any questionable behavior perhaps in order to alleviate their own guilt. Or, he may be wanting to see if you are telling any of your friends or loved ones about his affair and what you are saying about it. This is his way of gaging your feelings instead of asking you outright. Finally, he may be trying to see if you are going to cheat on him in retaliation.

None of this makes his behavior right or justified. And you have every right to have a conversation with him about this. I believe that it’s better to try to handle this calmly and right in the beginning rather than allowing it to become a bigger issue than it needs to be – especially when you are already dealing with so much.

You might try something like: “you are not going to find anything inappropriate in any of my accounts or on my phone. And I am not OK with your going through my things – especially when we are dealing with an issue that is about you and not about me. If you have any questions for me about any of the people that I correspond with, then ask away. But I do not have anything to hide from you. And I am not going to allow you to try to flip this into being about me when what we are truly dealing with is your affair. None of this is going to divert my attention and interest away from that. In fact, all you are doing is adding more tension to an already difficult situation. So please do not do that again and let’s get back to the matter at hand. Now, let’s talk about scheduling counseling.”

Notice that after you’ve stated your objection, I’ve suggested that you immediately bring the conversation back to something else to focus on – the counseling. Because you don’t need to make this a big argument that derails you from the healing that you have already planned for. Just let him know that this isn’t acceptable to you, make sure it is clear that you want him to stop, and then try to divert right back to dealing with his affair – which is where the attention should be.

By telling you that this is common, I am not trying to defend him. He needs to understand that you aren’t going to allow this. But, he is certainly not the first man who has tried this strategy or suddenly felt paranoid enough to start checking for retaliation.

As annoying and infuriating as it is, it’s not uncommon for cheating husbands to become paranoid that their wife is plotting something against them.  They will often drop this when it becomes clear that they are just wasting their time and delaying your healing – which is the most important thing. You can read more about my experience on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Do I Prevent A Revenge Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from people on both side’s of the affair who are trying to prevent “a revenge affair” from their spouse. You might hear from the faithful spouse (who is now tempted to cheat themselves in order to show their spouse how it feels to be betrayed in this way.) Or, you might here from the spouse who cheated and who now feels sure that their spouse will cheat to get back at them and is looking for a way to prevent this by any means necessary.

So, from the faithful spouse, you might hear a comment like: “I will admit that I still feel a lot of resentment toward my husband for cheating on me. Even though we have tried to make it work and in some ways we are succeeding, I still feel so much anger some days. There are times when I am not sure that staying with my husband was the right decision. I have to admit that sometimes, I wish I had chosen the man I was dating before my husband. He would never have cheated on me. I had more chemistry with my husband. But now I realize that was stupid. Because chemistry obviously fades. I see that other man all of the time. And honestly, I could start a relationship with him anytime that I wanted to. How do I keep myself from cheating? How do I tell myself it’s so wrong when my husband has already done it to me?”

From The Perspective Of The Faithful Spouse: I am going to address one concern at a time in this article. I will get to concerns that come from the cheating spouse in a moment. But for now, let’s address the situation from the point of view of the faithful spouse. I know that it’s hard not to want to retaliate. I have been there. Often, you doubt your own attractiveness after your husband has cheated on you. So when someone shows interest and an attraction to you, this understandably feels quite good. It’s just human nature to gravitate toward that. And it’s also human nature to be tempted to justify your behavior with the knowledge that he has already done the same to you.

However, you probably already know in your heart that cheating and adding yet another affair for your marriage to overcome is just making the situation worse and just making all of this more difficult to deal with. Not only that, but you have to ask yourself if doing what you truly know is wrong is going to make you feel much worse and heap on even more pain. I firmly believe that no matter what the circumstances, you never want to pursue a relationship outside of your marriage until that same marriage is legally and completely over. If you do, this tends to follow you around mentally and emotionally and it also can haunt that additional relationship.

If you are having trouble avoiding temptation, then examine your behaviors. If you don’t trust yourself to see the other man and remain in control, then it’s a good idea to not see or talk to him for a while. There is no good reason to put your fidelity in jeopardy. Also, I can say for certain that healing yourself and your marriage is the best deterrent to hurting one another in the future. Because frankly, when you are connecting with your spouse and successfully rebuilding the intimacy, then you have no desire to cheat or do anything to jeopardize the progress that you have made.  You are feeling empathy for them, so you wouldn’t want to hurt them on purpose. So the short answer is that if you truly do not want to strike up a revenge affair, then turn your attention away from temptations and put it on your marriage.

From The Perspective Of The Cheating Spouse: Now, let’s focus on it from another perspective. I might hear from a husband who says: “I am so paranoid that my wife is going to cheat on me to get back at me for having an affair. My wife is a beautiful woman and a number of men chase her. She has always resisted because she loves me and is committed to our marriage. Now that I have ruined everything, this may no longer be the case. How do I make sure that she doesn’t cheat on me to get revenge?”

Well, there’s nothing that you can (or should) do to try to force any behavior on your spouse. She has free will, after all. But, as I said before, the very best detractor of any kind of infidelity is to have a strong marriage while at the same time you remove the temptations. If you are showing your wife that you are serious about your marriage by going to counseling and by spending as much loving time with her as possible, then she isn’t as likely to have the time or the inclination to attempt revenge through cheat. She needs to truly believe that you are sorry and she needs to believe that your marriage is going to heal. You need to do everything in your power to make sure that you are moving toward this and you need to make it your business to spend as much quality time with her as possible so that she doesn’t have the desire or the opportunity to cheat.

I will admit that I enjoyed the attention of other men after my husband’s affair.  But I was never tempted to revenge cheat.  I knew how much pain the infidelity had caused.  And I was never going to willingly bring on more of it through actions that I had criticized in him.  However, I knew from the beginning that healing was my primary goal. You’re welcome to read more about my experience on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Are People Who Have Affairs Ashamed Or Embarrassed By Their Behavior?

By: Katie Lersch: It’s just human nature to doubt the claims of someone who has already lied to or cheated on you. So, the spouse who had an affair can claim that he is beyond remorseful, ashamed, embarrassed and even mortified by his behavior. But his wife can’t help wondering why he wasn’t feeling any of these emotions when he was carrying on the affair. So many people wonder how “real” these claims truly are.

You might hear from someone who says something like: “here’s what I want to know. Are cheaters truly embarrassed or ashamed by their behavior? Here’s why I am asking. Over the last two months, two of my very good friends found out that their husband’s were cheating. Coincidentally enough, my husband and I were attending a sporting event that was popular and drew a very large crowd. We actually saw one of these men out with the other woman. Rather than ducking away and trying to hide from us (which is what I would have done) this guy literally puffed out his chest like he was proud to be seen with this much younger woman. He gave my husband a look like my husband should be envious. This guy acted like he was ecstatic that he was out with a woman young enough to be his daughter while his family was at home and heartbroken. And yet, the wife had told me that he was begging her not to leave him all the while telling her how ashamed he was. Well, he sure didn’t look ashamed to me. Meanwhile, one of my best friends is riddled with guilt because her old boyfriend looked her up on facebook and she didn’t tell her husband immediately. Nothing happened. She gave the guy a quick response back telling him how happily married she was. This wasn’t cheating. And yet my friend is very ashamed, as if she did something wrong. I’ve heard people on TV say that cheaters are ashamed but I don’t believe it. It seems to me that people who stop short of cheating are embarrassed or ashamed while the real and blatant cheaters are not.”

I can understand why it would seem this way. And I would probably assume the same in a similar situation. In fact, I often doubted my own husband’s alleged shame because I figured that most of that shame was happening simply because he got caught. But, once I started writing articles about this topic and started getting responses, I have to say that I heard from a lot of people who deeply regretted cheated on their spouses and who felt very deep shame. Granted, I very rarely hear from the indignant cheater who feels little or no remorse, but I know that there are people out there who feel this way. So I can’t say with any accuracy which percentage of people who cheat feel shame.

But I do honestly believe that some do. And my theory on this is that the higher the quality of the person and the stronger their character, the more likely it is going to be that they feel shame. Because let’s face it. A cheating husband who never does the right thing who cheats on his taxes, is stingy with his emotions, and who is cruel to others isn’t going to feel much shame when he cheats because this the norm for him. It is in his character to act in a way that most of us would find distasteful.

But people who are known to be good, decent and caring people in every other area of their life and who make a mistake generally do feel real remorse and true shame. Now, I’m not going to tell you that these good people do not compartmentalize or try to come up with justification for their behavior. If they couldn’t do this, then they might not be able to carry out their cheating. I am also not going to tell you that good people don’t try to posture and pretend that they feel that their had their reasons even if they know in their hearts that they did not.

But usually, when good people see the pain in their spouses eyes and they take the time to look an honest look at what they have done and who they have hurt, then yes, they are ashamed and they are often very embarrassed. This is only my opinion from the things that I’ve seen and from the stories that I hear. But I do believe that there is often regret and remorse, even if it is repressed.  But I also believe that it depends upon the character of the person who you are talking about.

I do believe that my husband felt genuine shame and embarrassment because of his affair.  In fact, I believe that these emotions were so deep that he would be incredibly reluctant to repeat the behavior for that and many other reasons.   I also believe that you can generally tell when your spouse is being sincere, since you know him so well.  If you’re dealing with a good person and your gut is telling you that he’s telling the truth, then it’s a fair assumption that he feels the shame he is claiming. You’re welcome to read more about my experience on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

What Do People Learn After Having An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: We all want to believe that difficult times, and huge mistakes ultimately end up being lessons that teach us how to be a better person. It’s often said that failure is the only way that you learn. But what happens when you fail at your marriage by being unfaithful? What do you learn then? This question can be particularly important to the faithful spouse, who really wants to believe that the spouse claiming to “learn his lesson” has in fact done just that.

In this situation, you might hear from a wife who says: “my husband is always talking about what having an affair and almost losing his marriage has taught him. I realize that he is most likely doing this because he wants for me to think that there is something valuable and redeemable about this whole situation but I am just not buying it. What has he really learned? How to betray me and cover up his tracks? How I look when I’m furious? How I’m almost ready to walk out on him because of his carelessness? But when I argue with him about this, he continues to insist that he has learned things that are going to help us with our marriage. He says if I give him the chance to prove it, then I will see for myself. What in the world does he mean by this? ”

I can’t read this husbands mind. And I am not a man who has cheated. But I hear from many of them. And some do claim that they have learned a lot about life, their marriage, their spouse and themselves after having an affair. Because of this, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on their thought process. Here is some of what they will tell you that they learned.

Many Of Them Learn That Their Inability To Deal With This Problems When They Are Happening Leaves Them Vulnerable: Honestly, I strongly believe that many bouts of infidelity could have been avoided if a man wasn’t trying to deny or run away from his feelings or problems. To me, many men fall into an affair as a way to feel better, more secure, or more in control. Often, they end up getting the exact opposite – at least once the affair has run its course and is over. But worse than that, they have done tons of damage and their situation is even worse than what they started with. So many realize (a bit too late) that they are better off dealing with problems, stress, and insecurities, as these things come up. Otherwise, things are only going to be worse later.

They Learn That Their Actions Can Deeply Hurt The People Who They Love: To be honest, I do not think that many cheaters think too much about getting caught when they start the affair. Many don’t plan it – and they do not plan for it to be a reoccurring thing. When it does go on for longer than that, then they tell themselves that they will be very careful and that if you don’t know, then you can’t be hurt. Very few of them actually let their mind think about your being as hurt as you eventually are.

When they do see the consequences of their actions and they see you devastated, they realize, first hand, just how much devastation they have caused. And this is enough for some men to never want to cheat again. They never planned for this day. And when they have to face you and look into the pain in your eyes, it hurts them too. I know that it is hard for you to believe this. I am not defending people who cheat.  But many men in this situation tell me that it is so painful to know how badly they have hurt their wife. They wish they could take her pain onto themselves and yet, there is not really anything that they can do to undo the damage.

They Learn To Stop Their Risky Behaviors: Many men end up cheating when this was never their intention. There might be the business trip where they drink too much. Or the class reunion. Or the bachelor party. Or the late night sessions with their female coworker. In short, there are certain situations that make a man more vulnerable to cheating even when he has no intention of doing so. Men who have fallen into this trap often learn not to put themselves in these type of risky situations any longer. Many become fully aware that it is just not worth it.

They Learn To Appreciate Their Wives And To No Longer Take Her For Granted: It’s not uncommon for cheating husbands to tell their wives that they have never loved or wanted her more. She usually thinks that this is just him trying to get back into her good graces or him talking nonsense. But, many men are sincere when they say this. Because where they had taken you for granted before, they are now at risk of losing you and this isn’t a good feeling for them. So yes, they cling to you and they realize how much they love you and what a big mistake they have made to put your marriage at risk. This new appreciation means that they are less likely to take you for granted.

I do believe that my husband learned some important lessons and changed for the better after his affair.  Of course, these lessons came at a high cost.  And I wish the affair hadn’t happened.  But I do admit that many of the changes in him (and how he views and treats me) are positive. You’re welcome to read more about my experience on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Cheating Husband Seems To Think That Publicly Declaring His Love For Me Will Make Everything Better

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s very common for husbands who have been caught cheating to try to declare their love for their wife immediately afterward.  Because once it is clear that they might lose her, then they realize how catastrophic their behavior has truly been.  Sometimes, the wife might find this somewhat reassuring, but rarely does it even begin to approach being enough.  Although the words are nice to hear, they don’t make everything OK.  Not by a long shot.

A wife might say: “if you can believe this, my husband cheated on me with a vendor that we hired for our daughter’s wedding.  I am relatively certain that this is the only time my husband has cheated throughout our very long term marriage.  I will admit that planning this wedding has been very stressful.  Apparently the other woman called my husband pretending that she needed to meet to discuss something about the wedding.  I will never understand why my husband didn’t see something fishy about this.  Why would anyone want to meet with him about the wedding and exclude me, the mother of the bride?  Anyway, my husband was very naive and stupid. He admits that.  But honestly, that doesn’t matter to me all that much.  Because his stupidity doesn’t erase my hurt and humiliation.  I believe my husband told me about this because he was afraid that the other woman would make the affair obvious at the wedding.  I hated the thought of her being there, but it could not be avoided and I didn’t want my daughter to suspect anything.  At the wedding, my husband made a toast and instead of talking about my daughter and her new husband, he went on and on about his love for me, our marriage, and how he hoped my daughter could have the kind of life and love that we have had.  I guess he thought I was going to be happy about this because he acted quite proud of himself afterward.  I was appalled.  That was not the time or place. His words touched me, but I didn’t want for them to be put on display.  He said that he wanted for every one to know how much he loved me.  He said that he wanted for me to know it.  He wanted our friends to know it.  And he especially wanted the other woman to know it.  Well, I want him to know something too.  None of this makes any of it OK.  It doesn’t even make a dent in my pain.”

I absolutely understand.  Reassurance is nice.  But it is not healing.  It doesn’t undo what has already been done.  But nothing says that you have to accept this for anything other than it was – an attempt by your husband to reassure you of his love and commitment.  And so that your reaction is clear, there is nothing wrong with explaining.

You might say: “I’m honestly not sure how I feel about what you did.  I appreciate all of those things you said about me, but I don’t think it was the right time or place for it.  And it doesn’t really change anything for us.  Although it tells me that you still love me and you are aware of everything I’ve meant to you, it doesn’t take away that you put all of those things in jeopardy.  It doesn’t change the fact that in order to maintain that marriage which you talked so eloquently about, we have an awful lot of work to do, and even then, I don’t know what the outcome is going to be.  So while I was touched by what you said, I want to make it clear that we are still at the same place where we started – with a very damaged marriage that will need to be repaired.  What you said told me that you are willing to do the work to repair it – and that does matter to me – but we are at the very beginning stages.”

This way, you haven’t insulted him.  And you have acknowledged his effort, but you have also made it very clear that it really changes nothing.  At the same time, I hear from a lot of wives who would give anything for a husband remorseful enough and sincere enough to make a speech like that.  So, I agree with you that it matters.  And it’s very nice starting point.  And there is nothing wrong with using it for that – someplace to start with a good amount of goodwill and motivation.  But it doesn’t begin to make it OK.  And as long as your husband understands this, then there’s probably no harm done.

The folks at the wedding likely thought it was  a touching speech by a proud father and husband – and nothing more.  And the other woman likely got the message loud and clear.  So now it’s time to let that incident go and begin the healing process – provided that is what you want.  Because no matter what words your husband says, it really is your choice.

My own husband made quite a few public displays also.  It was as if he thought he had to prove his love in public.  I am a pretty reserved person and it always made me uncomfortable.  So I asked him to say these things privately.  And this gave him a better result, so he finally clued into the fact that he should keep our marital business just between us. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com