A Letter To The Husband Who Cheated And Had An Affair: What Should It Say?

by: katie lersch: I often hear from women who are struggling to work through their husband’s cheating or affair.  Many ask me about writing a letter to put their struggles into words.  Some have even asked me for a sample letter or requested for me to write one for them.  I honestly think it’s advisable to be careful and deliberate about any letter that you are going to give your husband.   Because this can often set the tone for recovery. And often, such a letter leads to a lot of hurt feelings or misunderstandings.  Plus, it’s also important to remember that your feelings are likely to change a great deal in the coming days, months, or even years.

But I do understand the allure of a letter.  It’s often very challenging to put the difficult things that we feel into verbal words. And so often, we choke up, get emotional, or break down when we try.  So we feel like written communication or a letter is going to be easier and more effective.  Although I certainly can’t write such a letter for you, I can give you some guidelines on what it might say which I’ll do below.

A Letter Can Be Used To Release Your Feelings About The Affair. (In Fact, Sometimes A Letter That You Never Give Your Husband Can Be Beneficial:)  Many women are looking to write such a letter because they feel that doing so is going to allow them to release some very painful and closed off feelings.  I highly encourage writing such a letter.  In fact, even if you do want to craft a letter for your husband, I suggest writing one just for yourself that no one else will see.

Because this is where you can really let your feelings out without having to edit yourself or worry how your words are going to be perceived.  Many women chose to burn the letter (or at least hide it) once it’s written because these words are for no one else but you.  Since you are the only one who is going to read this letter, there’s no need to  hold back.  Just let it all out and then either dispose of it or put it somewhere where only you can find it.  Because it’s just meant to release your feelings, there really is no need to keep it around or to share it.  Now, let’s move on to the letter that you might be considering writing for your husband’s benefit or view.

Carefully Consider What You Want Your Husband To Take Away From The Letter Before You Write It Or Give It To Him: I strongly suggest that before you write any letter, you examine what you hope to accomplish with it.  I have to be honest. Many women admit to me that they write the letter because they want their husband to feel guilty or remorseful about the affair.  They want to show him how badly he’s hurt them.  They want to give him a glimpse into their battered soul so he can see just how deep the damage that he caused goes.

I completely understand this as I had the same intentions.  And that’s why it’s advisable to examine why you’re really writing the letter.  Although many don’t admit this even to themselves, many of us want to write the letter because we want to improve our situations.  We’re hoping that if our husband sees how we really feel and how deeply he’s really hurt us, he’ll be so remorseful that he will not cheat again and will move heaven and earth to make this up to us.

And yet, often the letter has the reverse affect.  Yes, it makes the husband feel very bad and guilty.  But many husbands tell me that they just see the letter as just more of the same.  I’ve actually had men tell me things like “she’s not saying anything in the letter that I don’t already know or she hasn’t already said.  I already get that I’m a bad husband who did a very bad thing so why do we need to keep repeating the same thing over and over?  I’ve already told her that I was sorry and want to save the marriage.  So how is this going to change because the words are written rather than spoken?  To me, this is just one more way for her to express how disappointed she is in me and how much I’ve let her down.  But, I already know this.  I don’t need for her to keep repeating it.”

This is why it’s so important to clearly define your objections for the letter before and while you’re writing it and to ask yourself how your husband might receive or interpret it before you give it to him.

What I Think A Letter To A Husband Who Cheated Or Had An Affair Should Include: I actually think that a well crafted letter can help a marriage after an affair.  But, you have to be very careful. Because some letters actually harm the marriage or set it back for months.  The real power that I think the right letter holds is that it can clear up any misconceptions or understandings and it can underscore your intentions and your plans moving forward.  It truly can set the tone for the days and months ahead.

For example, rather than just continuing to stress how much the affair has hurt you, you might also mention what you’d like to happen moving forward, what you need for these things to happen, and what your intentions truly are.  In my mind, such a letter could include three parts – current feelings, current needs, and future intentions.  I realize that it’s not realistic to think that you aren’t going to include how the affair or cheating has hurt you or made you feel, but I’d suggest not making this the sole content of the letter because your husband likely already knows this and if you go on and on, he’s likely not going to take away what you were hoping for.

After you briefly touch on your feelings, you then may consider focusing or explaining what you need from him in the days and weeks ahead.  If you want him to give you more reassurance, affection, and accountability, then use the letter to your advantage and ask for it.  Many of us find it easier to put these difficult requests into writing.  And the additional advantage is, for future reference, you’ve spelled out what you need to move forward.

Finally, it’s helpful to include your intentions moving forward.  I can’t tell you how many couples aren’t sure what their spouse really wants in the aftermath of the affair.  If you truly want to save your marriage even though this affair shook you to your core, now is the time to write that and to tell your husband what you need and how you intend to get there.

My initial attempt at writing a letter after my husband’s affair turned out quite badly because I gave him a letter that should have been meant only for my own eyes.  Later, I changed course with my tone and intention and this made a huge difference.  Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, I did eventually truly get over the affair. My marriage is stronger than ever. It took a lot of work beyond the letter, but it was worth it.  If it helps, you can read more of that very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

Should I Write A Letter To The Woman My Husband Cheated With?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from women who feel as if they just need to contact the woman who cheated with their husband. Some of these wives want to confront the other woman face to face. They want to try to read her eyes and evaluate her truthfulness. And they feel as if there is no other way to do this except for looking her right in the eyes. Others suspect that a face to face meeting would be too difficult or that it wouldn’t really settle anything. So, they decide that maybe writing the other woman a letter or sending her an email might be viable or preferable option.

And most of the time, I agree that avoiding a face to face confrontation is the way to go. Of all of the people who contact me about this issue, I can only think of a few instances where a face to face meeting with the other woman turned out to be a positive or good thing. You often go into it thinking that having your say or facing her is going to give you closure when in fact, often times, it does the exact opposite. Often it leaves you with more questions because she won’t give you straight answers or she gives answers that are meant to hurt you or to make herself feel and look better.

Things To Think About When You’re Considering Writing A Letter To The Other Woman: While I think that avoiding a personal meeting can be a good idea, you can fall into the same pitfalls with a letter if you are not careful. I absolutely understand wanting to release your feelings. And I encourage you to do that. In fact, I encourage you to write a letter detailing every feeling, question, and frustration that you have for her. But, I don’t always recommend that you mail, email, or give her the letter. Because sometimes, just releasing your feelings will be enough to give you some relief and to help you begin to move on.

If you must actually mail the letter or send the email, think about what you want to accomplish from it. Do you just want to let her know how you feel? Are you hoping she provides some answers for you? Or you trying to corroborate your husband’s story? All of these considerations help dictate the tone and content of the letter.

Additionally, you have to think about what type of response you are hoping for from the other woman. If you’re hoping that she sympathizes with you and agrees to give you answers, then you’ll want to keep a check on your tone. If you hope that she will be sorry and apologetic, then the letter shouldn’t be overly accusatory so that she will be inclined to defend herself and not make apologies or excuses.

One other thing to think about is that once you reach out to or contact her, you are almost giving her the green light to approach you or to enter your life. And much of the time, I don’t really think that this is the best idea. After all, the real goal of moving past an affair is leaving this woman and the relationship very far behind. So be careful that you don’t invite her back in or offer her an open invitation to hang around. Because quite often, she will take any excuse to make you out to be the bad guy or to contact your husband to tell him about or show him the letter.

I understand needing to get answers, but I also know that often, the best place to get those answers is from your husband, especially since she often has no incentive whatsoever to tell you the truth. So if you’re going to open the door by sending her a letter, make sure that you are prepared for what that might bring.

I can’t and won’t tell you that you shouldn’t send the letter if you truly feel deep in your heart that it’s something that you need to do. But I also feel that I need to tell you that it often won’t totally provide you with the answers and the closure that you are hoping for and it might create even larger problems, that you have left a written trial of. That’s why I think it’s great idea to write a letter, as long as you give it a few days before you send it and then read it again and reevaluate. Think about what you are truly hoping the accomplish and ask yourself if the content and tone of the letter is in line with your wishes.

I did write a letter to the other woman, but thankfully, I did not mail it. From the correspondence I get about this, I know that the letter idea so often ends badly. And what I really wanted was to get my life and my marriage back, which I did, without ever needing to reach out to or confront her. If it helps, you can read the whole story about how our marriage recovered after the affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Threatens To Leave When I Get Mad About His Affair

There is often an element of “punishment” that comes after the discovery of the affair.  The two people within the marriage can become angry, can withdraw, and can therefore “punish” their partner for different reasons.  For example, the faithful spouse can have understandable anger and resentment toward the cheating spouse and it can come out in all sorts of ways.  The cheating spouse may be trying to do what is right, but is discouraged that no matter what they do, they are going to be met with poor treatment and a withholding of affection.  So, they too react with frustration and anger.  This can feel present itself as “punishment” to the faithful spouse, who feels that they have every right to be angry.

For example, a wife might say: “I am furious with my husband for having an affair and I make absolutely no apologies for that. He lied to me.  He cheated on me.  He lied to the other woman also.  He made her believe that there was a future for them. But when I found out about the affair, he abruptly broke it off with her and never looked back.  I’m not her biggest fan and she knew what she was getting into, but my husband gave her very little respect and consideration at the end.  He handled this whole thing horribly; and frankly, it makes me think much less of him as a person.  So yes, I’m very angry and I am treating him accordingly.  But when he really feels my wrath, he gets angry right back at me and he will say things like, ‘well, if this how I’m going to be treated for the rest of my life, then maybe I should leave and we should split up.’  Or he respond with something like, ‘We are never going to make it if we treat each other this way and are angry all of the time.  Maybe we should just bow out now before we hurt one another even more and just waste our time.’  So when he says things like this, I almost feel as though it is blackmail.  It is just meant to shut me up. I have a right to be angry.  But he knows that I don’t want to divorce.  I feel like he’s going to try and get me to just be quiet and to not express my anger anymore.”

You definitely could be right.  Husbands don’t like thinking that you’re never going to let your anger go and so they will try to do things to get you to tone it down.  It’s just human nature.  You definitely have a right to your anger, but I can share something that might be helpful. I experienced constant anger very similar to yours after my husband’s affair.  And at times, I was downright cruel to my spouse because of this.  I was spiteful, sarcastic, and bitter.  I deliberately tried to hurt him.  It got to where he did not want to even be in the same room as me when I got in one of my mean moods.  As I had committed to trying to save my marriage, this was not constructive.

Understanding The Difference Between Anger And Punishment: A counselor pointed out to me that there is a difference between punishing your spouse with behavior just meant to get a reaction and behavior meant to express your anger about a SPECIFIC thing.  The intention between the two is different and, hopefully, the reaction by the husband will be different also.  The counselor basically asked me to try to take a few seconds before I made my sarcastic or bitter statements to ask myself if I was expressing a specific anger or if I was just trying to make my spouse feel the pain that I was feeling.  That is the big difference.  If you are just trying to spread the pain around, that isn’t constructive and it is just going to prolong the pain on both ends, serving no one.

Make no mistake.  You have every right to ask your spouse details about the affair and then to be angry or frustrated with the responses.  You have every right to express the frustration that you feel about the pain that this has caused.  But in my experience, where you get into trouble is when you are lashing out and then ruminating and punishing.  It can be difficult to tell the difference sometimes, which is why it helps to think about your intentions before you speak, if you can.

Also, it may help to have a frank discussion about this with your spouse.  The next time your husband says that perhaps he should leave, you might reply with something like, “Listen, we are not getting anywhere with this.  I recognize that I sometimes lash out.  I will work on that.  I do need to make you aware of my frustration sometimes, but I will be more aware of when I’m just lashing out.  I will try to do better with that, but you should try to do better about threatening to leave every time I express my anger.  There is going to be some anger and we need to learn how to deal with it effectively instead of letting it make things worse.  Perhaps we should try counseling so that there’s a safe and productive place to deal with our anger.  We can’t keep on trying to hurt or threaten each other in this way.  Can we agree that I will try to not lash out and punish while you will not threaten to leave at the first sign of anger?”

Hopefully, he will agree to this compromise.  If both of you try to pull back a little bit, you should see some improvement.  Counseling can be a good way to handle this because once you know that you have a regular place to release your anger and then get your spouse’s response to it, you are less likely to lash out at home.

I do understand exactly how you feel.  I learned to journal about my anger instead of just letting it run overboard around my family and that helped.  You should always feel free to share what you are feeling with your spouse, anger and all.  But, you don’t want to get into the habit of ALWAYS being angry and bitter because that just prolongs your pain and makes you miserable.  There is a balance and I found that as I started to heal, I just didn’t feel as much anger.  So things naturally improved.  You can read more about that process on my blog at  http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Changed After His Affair

I often hear from wives who are trying very hard to come to grips with their husband’s cheating or having an affair.  One theme that I hear quite often from these women is how much their husband has changed from before the affair or cheating, after it, or both.

I often hear comments like: “My husband has changed so much since I found about his cheating and having an affair.  I almost don’t recognize him anymore.  He used to be a man of honor.  He used to be caring and thoughtful.  He used to want nothing more than to spend time with our kids doing simple things.  Now, he cares about stupid things like what he looks like, what kind of car he drives, how much fun he’s having, and how successful he is.  And I can’t talk to him the way that I used to.  He’s distracted and hurried.  I want to save my marriage more than anything.  But I’m just not sure how to relate to him anymore when he’s not even the same person.”

I hear these types of comments a lot.  As if dealing with an affair or cheating isn’t frustrating enough, now you’re having to deal with your ever changing husband – which can feel like dealing with a stranger.

Often times, these changes are not lasting.  Your husband is usually trying on different personas while he’s trying to work through something that’s going on with his life.  An affair or cheating is just one more symptom of that.  Often, he does this as almost a defense mechanism and he typically doesn’t even realize he’s doing it and will deny it when you say anything.

In the following article, I’m going to offer some tips on how to handle the changes you might be seeing in your husband after he cheated or had an affair.  By no means am I an expert, but these are the things I see on my blog and in my own experience.

Don’t Focus On Or Worry Too Much About His Changes In Personality.  They’ll Likely Go Away Once He Wakes Up:  I know there’s a real tendency to be completely disgusted by what you are seeing and to want to call him on how stupid he is being.  But it’s very unlikely that you will have to deal with this forever.  Him returning to his regular self will usually be part of the recovery process after the affair.

I know that seeing him act this way can be maddening.  But if you keep drawing his (and your) attention to what is wrong, it really does only make things worse and it can bring you further away from healing.

Why Husbands Can Appear To Change After They Cheat Or Have An Affair:  The mid life crisis is such a cliche.  But seeing an older or settled man suddenly try to act young, “embrace life” or “live again” is not an uncommon occurrence.  And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to have some fun or feel alive.  But what he needs to realize is that all of these things are possible for a married family man.

And men do eventually come to realize this.  When they do, many are quite embarrassed by how they acted. Unfortunately, many don’t come to this realization any earlier if you call them on it or bring their attention to the changes you are seeing in them.  In fact, doing so will often only make them defensive and only reinforce their behavior.

So it’s hard as it might be, you’ll often be better off if you bide your time and know that this is temporary thing that’s often a defense mechanism or an attempt to deal with their shortcomings, disappointments, or personal issues.

Dealing With The Changes In Your Husband After The Affair Or The Cheating:  I know it may sound crazy when I say this, but I think the best thing to do is to ignore this until it passes.  If you keep bringing it up, he keeps getting defensive.  But if you just deal with him if you normally would, you reinforce his old self  – – and you are putting yourself in the best position.

You really should not change who you are, what you stand for, or how you handle your issues because he’s decided to suddenly act in stupid and embarrassing ways.  Don’t allow for this to make you change what you know is the right way to behave even if he doesn’t right now.

This was just one issue I had to deal with when my own husband had an affair.  Like all of the other issues, we worked through it.  Our marriage is actually very solid now and I don’t worry that he will cheat again.  If you like, you can read that very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Infidelity Early In A Marriage: Why Does It Happen? Can It Be Overcome?

There is a stereotype of the middle aged man in a long term marriage who cheats with a much younger woman.  We’ve all been conditioned to believe that the younger woman wants money and status while the middle aged man wants sex.  This is certainly sometimes the case.  But you can also see young, newly married men cheating with women of the same age or even with older women.  Wives in this situation are often extremely confused.  They believe that they were in the “honeymoon phase” or that their relationship was in the early stages of wedded bliss.  They haven’t aged or gained weight.  Their marriage hasn’t gone through tons of stressors yet, but their young husband has been caught cheating.  Understandably, they can struggle to understand why.

Someone might say: “my husband and I were deeply in love on our wedding day.  I know that this is not just my own imagination.  Everyone could see this. We also dated for years before we got married, so it is not as if my husband did not know what he was getting with me.  Also, I can’t look back and see any snags in our marriage.  We were happy.  We both had jobs.  We didn’t have serious money issues.  Sure, we were just starting out, but we both had hope for the future.  Our sex life was really good.  But 18 months into our marriage, I found out that my husband had an affair with an older woman who was supposed to be mentoring him at work.  When I found out, he told me that it meant nothing.  He swore that he didn’t want a divorce and that he would do whatever he needed to do to make things work with me.  I’m just confused about this.  We are nowhere close to the 7 year itch.  Our marriage was good and we were happy, so I don’t want to let go of my marriage.  At the same time, if this man would cheat on me so early when I am young and beautiful, what does our future hold?  Will he cheat again when the going really gets rough?  And why would he cheat with an aging woman who is not nearly as attractive as I am?  This has hurt me more than I can express.  I don’t want to throw away my marriage, but I am not sure that I can ever recover from this.”

I understand your shock and pain.  Most people assume that infidelity rarely happens in young marriages.  However, the statistics show us something else entirely.  Clinical studies have shown that infidelity is on the rise in couples under 35.  Some experts believe that part of this trend is due to a couple of things that are happening in our society.  First, we have become sort of an “anything goes” society.  We see celebrities, politicians, sports stars, and other public figures cheat on their spouses with very little consequences.  So it can begin to feel as if “everyone is doing it” or that it is a socially acceptable and an almost expected thing to do.  Second, technology has made it so much easier to cheat.  Unfortunately, apps and sites that encourage cheating are just a click away on your smart phone.   Finally, employers expect so much out of their employees these days that many people spend more time with their coworkers than with their spouse.  That may be part of the reason for the rise in workplace affairs.   Also, many young people who cheat will tell you that they suddenly felt the reality of being an adult.  They were suddenly in a position where someone else was depending on them and this caused stress.

I believe that people grossly underestimate the role that stress plays in infidelity.  People often assume that it is all about sex or power.  But often, it is just about wanting to feel a release from stress.  It’s no coincidence that people cheat when they’ve suddenly faced a life struggle – unemployment, aging, the loss of a parent, or have taken on a large responsibility like parenting or marriage.  I do not tell you this to excuse your husband.  He still made a choice.  I mention this to show you that you are by no means alone and that your husband is more a statistic than you might have thought.  People assume that it is rare for young or newly-marriaged people to cheat.  It isn’t.

I believe that healing is always possible.  Regardless of whether your husband is very young or very old, vulnerabilities need to be identified and removed.  Your husband must learn to recognize when he is vulnerable and then learn to remove himself from that situation so that he will not cheat again.  You will both have to work to restore the intimacy and trust.  I can tell you that your marriage can recover, at least that was true in my case.  You can be happy again.  But it is not easy. It hurts for quite a while.  Many people ultimately believe that it is worth the effort, once they are successful.  But others just are not willing to even try to get past the cheating.  Some just feel that it is a deal breaker and it’s better to get out while you can.  Ultimately, you will have to make that decision for yourself.  I have never regretted saving my marriage and my husband never cheated for a second time.  (There’s more about that here: http://surviving-the-affair.com.) But everyone’s situation is different.  If you do decide to save your marriage, I’d strongly recommend counseling or self help. Having professional guidance increases the chances that you will heal and not have to deal with this again.

How Long Does It Take For Your Marriage To Get Back To Normal After An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch:  I often hear from people who are wondering for how long things are going to feel so tense and awful after their spouse has cheated and had an affair.  I often hear from these folks weeks or months after the affair has been discovered and many of them had hoped that things would have improved more than they actually have.  I heard from a wife who said: “I found out about five months ago that my husband had an affair with a coworker.  He did tell me the truth about it and he has worked with me to save our marriage.  We are both trying really hard but things are just so awkward.  He tells me he feels as if he is constantly walking on egg shells around me and I fully admit that I very often feel angry and hurt.  In short, things are just not the same.  They are not even close to the same.  Things feel forced, weird, and just off between us.  How long does it take for your life and your marriage to get back to normal after the affair?  Because I’m getting very tired of waiting.  And if this is the way my marriage is going to be for the rest of my life then I’m not sure if it’s worth it to save my marriage.”

I understood how this wife felt because I have felt the exact same feelings.  After your spouse has an affair, it can feel as if someone as stolen your normal life and replaced it with something that is completely foreign and undesirable.  And when time goes by so slowly with no real improvement, it can begin to feel as if this is how your life, and your marriage, is always going to be.  It’s very easy to make these types of assumptions, but I can tell you that they are often wrong.  It’s my experience that things do get better and that life does eventually return to normal.  How quickly this happens often depends on how hard you are working to heal.  Often, if you don’t fully address and fix the underlying issues, then they will remain.  And when they remain, that’s when the awkward and unnatural feelings continue to hang around.  I will discuss this more below.

The Sooner You Work Through The Issues And Restore The Trust, The Sooner Things Will Feel More Normal:  As I alluded to,  often is a lot of time has passed and things still feel weird between you, then you need to look at your healing process.  You can’t expect for your marriage to heal if you don’t examine where it might have been vulnerable and where you need to now fix it.  And even when this process is complete, you will need to restore the trust until you can both feel at ease once again.  If you try to skip over either of these steps, then you’re bound to have that feeling of unease that we’ve been talking about.  You feel a little out of sorts and paranoid because you’re wondering if he’s going to cheat again.  Or, you find that you’re still angry over little things because you still aren’t satisfied with his answers or you still haven’t fully resolved the issues.

Having these feelings doesn’t mean that things won’t get better or that you won’t even feel normal.  It just means that there is more work to do.  I know that it can be frustrating, but the upside to this is that if you give the issues the attention they deserve and you are then able to restore the trust, your reward is piece of mind.  And believe me when I say that after you have been through something like this, the normal, boring and ordinary days will seem so very precious by comparison.  You will value your marriage and your husband that much more when they are restored.  And also, you aren’t as apt to take your marriage and your family for granted because it becomes obvious that things can change in the blink of an eye.

So to answer the question posed, how long it takes to feel normal again varies depending on many factors.  It really helps if both people are very committed to fully addressing and solving any problems.  And it helps if the cheating spouse is very motivated to take responsibility for restoring the trust.  If these things don’t happen immediately, it certainly doesn’t mean that they will never happen.  It just means that you may have to be more proactive and you may have to ask for what you need.  Because your spouse likely feels that things aren’t right also and, even though he is the reason for the unease, he probably wants to get things back to normal as badly as you do.

I know how frustrated you feel.  I would say that it probably took us around a year to begin to regain what had been lost.  Part of this was I could not let go of my anger.  Once I began to heal, things picked up.  Now, I rarely think about the affair anymore.  I have just moved on and our marriage is actually better.  If it helps, you can read my story of recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Doesn’t Understand How His Affair Affected Me

by: katie lersch: I often hear from wives who are struggling to make their husbands understand just how devastating and far reaching his affair truly was. Many wives struggle with making their husband understand that moving on or getting over the affair is going to take far longer (and much more work) than the husband may have realized.

I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “my husband’s affair has been over for about three months.  It’s becoming obvious that he feels like my time to grieve and process this is up.  He wonders aloud when I’m going to recover and for how much longer I’m going to “dwell on” the affair or on the past.  He often makes comments like ‘the past is in the past.  Now it’s time to move on and start again.  We can’t life our lives always dwelling on the past or dredging up the pain from yesterday.’   It’s as if he thinks that I should just turn off my feelings or quiet my doubts because he’s tired of having to deal with my pain.  He doesn’t seem to understand how his affair affected me and continues to affect me.  It floored me.  It hurt me deeply.  It made me question my judgment, my marriage, and my ability to trust and to love.  I no longer feel like the same person in the same marriage.  I am trying to improve and move forward, but I certainly don’t like feeling rushed or being made to feel as if I’m not making progress fast enough.  I don’t think that any of this is fair.  How is it right that he gets to hurt me this way and then get impatient as I try to recover?  How can I make him understand how his affair affected me so that he has more patience during my recovery? Because every time I try to explain this to him, he says I’m dwelling on the past or holding onto the pain.”  I’ll address these concerns in the following article.

Actions That Probably Won’t Make Your Husband Understand How His Affair Affected You: Before I get into some things that might help with this situation, I’d like to go over some very common reactions and strategies, that, although understandable, often don’t work all that well.  Many wives will wonder if having their own affair will “force” their husband to see just how it feels to be cheated on.  So, many will consider cheating (or at least making their husband think that they are.)  I so rarely see this work or even not turn out to be a disaster. The husband is often so angry that he’s not in any position to feel any empathy for or try to understand the wife any better.  And the wife will often have even more baggage to carry and even more feelings and struggles to deal with.

Another thing to wives are often tempted to try in this situation is to attempt to communicate in a very dramatic way so that their husband has no choice but to listen or pay attention.  A wife will often tell me that she finally explodes and begins yelling things like: “do you have any idea how this feels?  Do you have any idea what it’s like to know that your spouse who was supposed to love, honor and cherish you slept with someone else?  Do you any idea what this does to your self esteem and your ability to trust?”  Although these are all valid questions which often might cause your husband to slow down and think, we often say them in such a way that he feels defensive rather than sympathetic.

Understand Why Your Husband Probably Doesn’t Completely Want To Know Or Understand Just How Deeply His Affair Affected You: Here’s something else I’d like for you to consider.  Even if your husband doesn’t realize this,  he often has a vested interested in downplaying just how devastating his affair has been to you.  He usually already feels a lot of guilt and remorse about his actions.  And he really wants to believe that you and will recover because this helps to alleviate some of his guilt.

So if he has to face the difficult truth that you are still hurting, still struggling, and not yet recovered from actions that he set into motion, then he still has to feel those negative feelings of guilt, shame and remorse all over again.  Often, the husband who cheated wants to feel better and wants to recover in the same way that his wife does.  But part of his being able to feel better about himself means that you feel better too.  So he’s often reluctant to admit or acknowledge when this isn’t happening.  But you can sometimes use this knowledge to your advantage.

Tips On How To Make Your Husband Understand The Multiple Ways That His Affair Has Affected You: I understand that you are extremely motivated to get your husband to understand the way that you feel and why you’re struggling.  But  you are more likely to get the result that you want if you can deliver the message with calm, measured words so that it’s clear that you’re not trying to hurt him, but are merely trying to make him understand you better.

So, at time when emotions aren’t boiling over and you are as calm as is possible, you might consider saying (or writing) something like:  “I know that both of us just want to feel better and want to move on.  I want that too.  But I want for you to understand why I’m struggling because of how deeply this affair has affected me.  I’m not telling you this to make you feel worse or continue to pin point blame.  My intention is for you to understand what I’m feeling so that hopefully you can help me to move forward so that we can both feel some relief eventually. But please understand that your affair has made me reluctant to trust you and my own perceptions.  I do want to move on and to trust again, but this is a struggle for me because when I did those things before, I was betrayed.  And I’m reluctant to offer my trust again because I never want to feel this type of pain again in the future.  This has made my doubt myself, my own desirability, and our ability to put our marriage first before we make decisions that might destroy it.  I’m not telling you this to paint a negative picture or to insinuate that we can’t or will never recover.  I just want for you to know how and why I’m struggling so that you will have patience with me and help me to move past this.  I’m asking you to imagine that it was you who were the one who was betrayed before you’re critical of my progress or lose your patience with me.”

I know that making him understand you and your struggles is difficult.  But sometimes, you just have to keep moving forward while continuing to have patience with yourself and demanding that you be given the time and space to heal.  Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, after a long struggle, I did eventually truly get over the affair. It didn’t happen overnight, but I know longer worry my husband will cheat again. If it helps, you can read more of that story 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

Why Would My Cheating Husband Want To Stay With Me?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who doubt the sincerity of what their husband is saying after he cheated or had an affair. This can especially be true when the husband is insisting that he wants to stay in or save the marriage when his previous actions have completely contradicted his claims. The wife can wonder if he is really sincere or has an ulterior motive.

I recently heard from a wife who said: “my husband accidentally left his email open a couple of weeks ago and I read some emails that made it obvious that he had been cheating on me. When I confronted him, he immediately admitted it and then said that he was going to break it off on his own. But, a couple of weeks later, I logged on again and there were more emails showing that he had lied and was continuing on with his cheating. Of course, I confronted him again and he was overcome with emotion and begged me to go to counseling with him because he said he could not stand to lose me. At this point I do not know how to respond. What is the point? Why would my cheating husband even want to stay with me and stay married? I mean, if he’s so unhappy that he is going behind my back and cheating, then what kind of marriage do we have anyway? He obviously doesn’t love me or he would not have cheated. He clearly doesn’t value our marriage or have the personality to be truthful and faithful, so why even bother with all of this pretense. Part of me wants to try the counseling but the other part of me wonders why a man would even want to stay with a wife that he needs to cheat on anyway.”

I can certainly understand this wife’s reservations. She had caught him cheating twice now so his actions and his words were definitely contradictory. But this wife was operating under the assumptions that many wives embrace. They think that a husband who loves his wife and values his marriage does not cheat. And along these same lines, they think that a man who cheats no longer wants his wife or his marriage. I can tell you from all of the emails that I get on my blog from married men who regret cheating that this is not always the case. I will explain this more below.

Many Husbands Who Cheat Can Still Love Their Wives And Want To Stay Married: I understand why many people think that cheating husbands have already drawn a line in the sand and have chosen to leave their marriage. The men that I hear from contradict this assumption on almost every level though.  Many of them still love their wives very much. In fact, many will put all of the blame on themselves and will tell you that the problem lies with them and not with their marriage or with their wife.  And because of this, they reason, there is no need to abandon the marriage because of their poor judgment.

Countless marriage survive cheating and affairs. And frankly if those same couples were not completely committed to their marriage, they probably would not make it. The process of healing after an affair is often not at all pleasant. In fact it can be downright painful. People who don’t truly love their spouses are not as likely to stick it out. The fact that your husband is willing to stick it out may well say something about him and about his feelings for you.

Some Reasons That Cheating Husbands Want To Stay With Their Wives And Remain In Their Marriages: The biggest reason is that they realize that they have made a mistake and they are hoping that they can find a way to ensure that the mistake is not a permanent one. Once they are faced with the risk of loosing their wife and their family, they realize how awful this would be. They become more protective of and appreciative toward their marriage and their wife. I completely understand the wife having doubts. You would worry about her if she didn’t.

And, I always advocate that wives watch their husbands very carefully while he is trying to prove his love for and his commitment to them and the marriage after he cheated. But to just assume that the cheating means he doesn’t love or want his wife can be the wrong call too.

Many Wives Think Their Cheating Husband Wants To Stay With Them For These Reasons: Many wives who doubt that their husband really wants to stay married will tell you that he’s probably staying out of loyalty or because he doesn’t want to lose money or financial possessions thorough a divorce. And many wives will tell you that he is afraid of losing his children or of what society will think of him. These are all valid concerns. But I have to tell you that I rarely hear men admit to these reasons. That might be because my articles are focused on rehabilitation and saving your marriage, but I rarely have a cheating husband tell me “I don’t really want to stay married and I’m only staying out of a sense of obligation.”

The bottom line to me is that your husband may well give you every reason under the sun as to why he wants to save your marriage. You may be very tempted to discount each and every one of them as lies. But before you do, consider watching his actions for a while before you make a decision. He can say whatever he wants and make all types of claims. But it is his actions that will tell you the truth. In this case, the wife should look for follow through and transparency. The husband should offer open access to his email and he should follow through on counseling and show with his behaviors that his wife is his top priority. If he did these things for long enough, then perhaps the wife would be justified in believing that he was sincere in wanting to stay with her and in the marriage after his cheating.

It took me a long time to believe that my husband really wanted to stay with me after his cheating.  But not only did our marriage survive, it eventually thrived.  But it took a lot of work.  If it helps, you can read that very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • RSS Infidelity Articles By Katie Lersch

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Posts