By: Katie Lersch: Typically, the faithful spouse in an affair is very clear on what the term “no contact” means when it comes to the affair. The faithful spouse will typically require that the cheating spouse cut off every bit of verbal and non verbal contact with the other person.
One would think that this would be somewhat self explanatory, but it would seem that it isn’t. Because I do get emails from cheating spouse asking if “innocent texting” after an affair is OK.
An example is: “I do feel awful for cheating on my husband. I know that I was one hundred percent wrong. The thing is, I am the best friend that the other man has. We came together during a time when he was dealing with a sick sibling. I was very close to that same sibling and we formed a bond. I really never intended for anything inappropriate to happen. And I certainly never intended to leave my husband. But there was a time when I went to comfort him and one thing lead to another. Then, he started leaning on me for support. When my husband found out about the affair, he kicked me out. I accepted this because I knew that I deserved it. One day I went back to see my kids and one of my children grabbed my leg when I went to leave and started bawling. My husband asked me to stay because of my son. So we are trying to make it work because we don’t want to torment our children. I am committed to this. The problem is that the other man will text me and want to talk about his sick sibling. I can’t stand to ignore him so we have been texting back and forth. There is nothing inappropriate. I will not cheat again. But I find myself unable to just ignore his texts. He still needs my support and I don’t find it a big deal to just text him some encouraging words. My question is, am I still cheating?”
I guess you could debate if this were cheating. But it is most certainly, at least in my opinion, a dishonest betrayal done in secret. Admittedly, I’m biased toward the faithful spouse because this was my role in my own life. But, I can almost guarantee you that this wife’s husband would feel very betrayed and hurt if he knew that she was continuing to text the other man.
The thing is, even if nothing inappropriate is happening, you are still crossing the line. When your spouse says that they need for you to stay away from the other person and to not have contact, then this is exactly what they mean. Quite understandably, they are feeling unsure about your loyalty to them. So one way to make them feel better about this is to end all communication with the other person and to place your focus on your spouse and on your marriage.
And the truth is, if you are giving all of this emotional support to the other man, then you don’t have everything to give to your husband, which is what your husband needs and expects right now.
I do understand that you feel a certain obligation to the other man. But, your obligation has to be to your husband, to your children, and to your marriage. The best thing that you can do, for everyone involved, is to tell the other man that because you are focusing on your marriage, the best that you can do is to send good thoughts his way, wish him well, and let him go. At the end of the day, the hope is that he finds another, more appropriate, support system.
If you truly want to save your marriage, this is the way that it has to be. Your marriage can’t recover in a healthy way if you have broken pieces of yourself in two. Your family needs all of you. Anything less just isn’t fair and it doesn’t give you the best chance to succeed.
So while it’s my opinion that continuing to text your spouse isn’t overt cheating, it is subtle cheating. It’s likely something you wouldn’t do right in front of your spouse. Because you know it is wrong. Because you know it would cause hurt. And you know that it is dishonest. These things alone should tell you that you shouldn’t be doing it. I know you likely wanted a different answer. But I am just being honest. If my husband had continued texting the other person in his affair, I would definitely have seen it as cheating. And I would have definitely reconsidered placing my trust in him and trying to save my marriage.
I think that the placing your focus on your own marriage is the best option here. There are ways to gently tell the other man that right now, you can’t participate in the relationship anymore. If he really cares for you, he will want the best for you and he will understand. If it helps, you can read more about my own marriage after the affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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