My Husband Was Honest About His Unfaithfulness But Lies About The Details

By: Katie Lersch:  One would think that husbands who were caught cheating would already know that the jig is up.  You already know the worst of it – that he has been unfaithful to you and that this may mean that your marriage is in serious trouble.  So, what is the point of being so secretive after this comes out?  What can be worse than cheating?  And why add fuel to the fire by not coming clean about everything?

A wife may have this unfortunate scenario to deal with: “my husband admitted to cheating before I caught him.  I had some vague suspicions, but I do not even know if I would have followed up on them.  I was sort of telling myself that I was overreacting and being paranoid.  So I am not sure what might have happened if he hadn’t admitted to it.  So far, what he has told me is that he had a three-and-a-half-week affair with a woman from his work.  He said there were basically three encounters and that is it. Needless to say, I really want more information than this.  These basic details just do not cut it.  I try to ask him how old she is, what she looked like, what started the affair, etc.  But he will shut me down and tell me that all of this doesn’t matter because it was over and it wasn’t anything meaningful to begin with. This isn’t good enough for me.  But no matter what I say, he won’t budge.  So I started digging around on my own.  And I found proof that the affair was going on for longer than 3-and-a-half weeks.  That makes me wonder what else he might have been lying about.  Why would a man confess to cheating but then lie when it comes to the details?  Because at this point, the cat is already out of the bag.”

Why He May Have Confessed: There are many potential reasons and I will try to list some of them here.  First of all, let’s talk about why he may have confessed when he didn’t appear to need to.  Sometimes, the other person in the affair is threatening to tell.  Sometimes, he believes that you know or suspect more than you do.  Or, it may be as straightforward as the fact that he feels guilty and he wants to do the right thing.  And sometimes when people are cheating, all of a sudden it hits them that they have put their marriage at risk and they feel deep regret about this.  They suddenly want to save their marriages.  And they know that in order to do that, they have to have enough respect and care for you to be truthful. So confessing is the first step toward that.

Why He May Not Be As Forthcoming With The Details: As to why he may be lying about some of the details, I think that the most likely reason for this (and one that happens very regularly) is that he doesn’t want to hurt you or trouble you more than he already has.  He’s going to make the affair seem as short, as meaningless, and as casual as he possibly can.  In short, he’s going to downplay it as much as is feasible because he thinks that it is going to hurt you less and make things easier for him.

Now, we both know that he is technically lying.  But often, husbands do not see it that way.  In their minds, they honestly believe that they are protecting you from getting hurt. So you have to decide how important you find each piece of information.  I do believe that you need the information in order to piece together what has truly happened and why.  But sometimes, we become obsessed with wanting to know EVERYTHING and all this does is feed our obsession and slows our healing.

If you are going to counseling, your counselor will likely lead your husband to disclosing vital information.  If not, then it helps to define what you most want to know and then firmly asking him for this information.  You might say: “I know that you are trying to keep from hurting me, but I need to know more than just the basics. I can’t heal if I don’t know exactly what I am dealing with.  It’s not fair to keep me in the dark but expect me to move on.  I am not asking for every detail.  But I need to know more than just a shell of the whole story.  So that it’s not too overwhelming, we can deal with a little at a time.  Why don’t we start with the true duration.  Because I know that it was longer with three-and-a-half weeks.  Let’s start by telling the truth about when it actually started and when it actually ended.

Then listen to what he has to say.  He may balk or try to stall.  If he does, tell him that he is only delaying your healing.  Having a counselor on your side can help or even showing him self-help that discusses how much you need to know so that he can see that this isn’t just coming from you – it is coming from the experts who are trying to help you both through this.

My husband tried to keep some things close to the vest to ‘protect’ me.  But I made it clear that this did not work for me.  He eventually saw that this wasn’t helping his cause.  There’s more to the story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Is My Spouse Being So Possessive Of Me When He’s The One Who Had The Affair?

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s considered normal when your spouse has an affair and afterward you become extremely observant of your spouse’s comings and goings.  It’s understandable to want to know what he’s doing and who he is with.

Even if you would not normally be this suspicious, vigilance can feel necessary because no one wants to find their spouse cheating a second time.  What can be less expected is when the cheating spouse becomes super vigilant of the faithful spouse.  You then have a situation where the cheating spouse becomes possessive and suspicious of someone who HASN’T cheated and in fact is the victim in the matter.

A wife might say: “about three months ago, I found out that my husband had been cheating on me.  For a few weeks, I stayed in an apartment that my boss has by our office.  I honestly did not know if I would stay married.  Recently though, I have decided to move back in to see if it was remotely possible to pick up the pieces.  My husband has never done anything like this before.  He is a good man.  And he seems desperately remorseful. We have had some good talks and for a while there, I was feeling a bit hopeful.  The problem is that my husband – who isn’t the jealous type at all – has suddenly become possessive of me.  He acts like my boss is trying to pursue me, which is completely untrue.  And if a man so much as looks at me in passing, my husband gets very weird and jealous.  Why is he acting like this?  It’s annoying and it’s not very attractive.  I did nothing wrong.  What gives him the right to be so possessive?”

Understanding How His Fears Lead To Possessiveness: In truth, he really doesn’t have the right to be so possessive, at least in my opinion.  But this is a very common behavior. And it is motivated by fear.  He’s likely afraid that you will retaliate or that you will lose interest in him.  He’s afraid that you will cheat to get back at him.  He’s afraid that you’re not really thrilled with him right now and that you question your marriage.  Therefore, by his reasoning, you might be more susceptible to having your own affair.  Or you may look around and decide that you would be better off without him.

He’s likely afraid that he would not compare favorably to another man.  What if a kind man at work started showing you attention?  Your husband might fear that you might be tempted since your spouse has betrayed you.  So he figures if he can keep a close eye on you, he can lessen the chance of this happening.

I’m not defending him.  His behavior is destructive.  But I want you to understand his thought process.  It is not that he thinks that you aren’t trustworthy.  It’s that he is afraid that his mistake is going to have consequences.  Frankly, he fears losing you.  So he is holding on as tightly as he possibly can.

A Suggestion: Of course, that doesn’t mean that you just have to accept it.  You can certainly have a conversation about this.  It would be understandable to get angry and defensive and to demand that he back off.  But I think a more calm approach might have better results.

I’d try something like: “I can’t help but notice that you are constantly checking up on me and acting overly possessive.  I do not understand this behavior.  I have never cheated on you, nor do I intend to.  No matter how angry I get at you, cheating would not be my solution.  Cheating is what got us in this mess to begin with. I know that you might be worried about retaliation.  But this possessiveness is not the way to keep that from happening.  Your keeping tabs on me like this only frustrates me and damages our marriage.  I have never given you a reason not to trust me.  I don’t intend to start.  Your suspicions are misplaced.  Please stop being so possessive.  It is doing more harm than good.  Being possessive is not going to stop me from making my own decisions.  It’s not going to change my feelings.  If anything, it is more likely to contribute to negative feelings over positive ones.  The more effective way to help our situation would be to communicate and to start healing.  Can we agree on that?”

Hopefully, he will readily agree, but know that you may have to remind him again later.  Sometimes when we are operating based on fear, we simply act out of emotion without taking the time to think.  So while he might intellectually realize that being possessive is wrong and silly, he may resort back to doing it when he becomes fearful that you will leave him or retaliate.  That doesn’t mean that you have to accept it.  But you might have to remind him if you see him doing it again.

I know that realizing that this behavior is fear – based doesn’t make it acceptable.  It isn’t.  But sometimes if you can understand why he is acting a certain way, you can more effectively stop it.  And once he sees that it is hurting and not helping, he may be more mindful of his behaviors.  If you’re in counseling, I would definitely mention this so that the counselor can drive the point home.

Possessiveness is one of those things a cheating spouse will do when he’s desperately afraid that he has gone too far.  But there are times when you can’t let these behaviors continue without saying anything because it just makes the situation worse.  Sometimes conversations like this one can actually lead to a dialog that releases both spouses feelings and fears. And this is actually helpful, at least it was in my case.  There’s more about this on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband’s Affair Made Me Gain Weight. And Now I Feel Even Worse About Myself

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s very normal to scrutinize your appearance after your spouse cheats or has an affair.  We wonder if we are not pretty enough, thin enough, alluring enough, or playful enough.  We wonder if the other woman looks better than we do and, as a result, we can be very hard on ourselves.

Worse, in the days after the affair, we often just don’t have the energy to worry about or focus on our appearance.  We barely have the energy to function, much less worry about things that are non-essential.  And so, we can “let ourselves go” a little at a time when we are overly conscious of the way that we look.

A wife might lament: “I found out that my husband had been cheating on me about four months ago.  I asked him to leave.  I did not want to see him.  Lately, we have been talking but not living together.  And this time period has been very lonely and difficult for me.  I often walk my dogs in the morning and just think about things.  Because I don’t want to go to an empty house, I usually stop at a coffee shop and grab a coffee and danish.  I also haven’t made it to the gym in a while because I just do not feel like being around people.  As a result, I’ve put on a noticeable amount of weight.  This makes me feel even worse about myself.  The other day, my husband came over unannounced.  I answered the door in no make up and ratty clothing.  My husband made small talk with me, but then left shortly afterward.  His facial expressions made it pretty clear to me that he was shocked by my appearance.  And now this whole thing makes me feel as if I have taken a huge step back. As if it isn’t bad enough that my husband has cheated on me, now I feel like a fat pig with nothing to offer.”

I want to suggest that you be more gentle with yourself.  As anyone who has had a husband cheat well knows, this is pain unlike any other.  This is not a time where you are expected to be at your best.  And struggling is absolutely understandable.  More than any other time, it is important to be supportive of yourself. Calling yourself a fat pig is not in alignment with this and it is probably not accurate either.

It is also very normal to go on a search for flaws in our appearance and our personality in the hopes that this will tell us everything that we need to know about why our husband cheated on us.  Here is what you need to understand about that.  The answers don’t lie within us.  They lie within him.  And nothing in our appearance or personality may have lead to this at all.  Men with beautiful, sweet, and supportive wives cheat.  And this has nothing to do with the wife.

So if you are looking for a reason, look at him. Not at you.  Now, if improving your appearance will make you feel better, than I encourage you to do it.  Getting more fit was actually very empowering to me during my recovery.  And I have maintained this change in lifestyle because after the boost in my self confidence, I just noticed a huge benefit in stress reduction and a general sense of well being.  I feel much worse physically and mentally if I do not work out.  I want to keep those benefits going and this doesn’t have much to do with my marriage, but it has a lot to do with me.

And it doesn’t have to be huge changes or efforts that you make at first. You don’t have to take on anything that feels overwhelming.  Maybe you just have coffee with skim milk and you skip the danish.  Maybe you power walk home from the coffee shop or you extend your walk by a little.  I found Yoga and Pilates extremely comforting during my recovery.  During that time, I tended to hold so much stress in my shoulders.  And I found myself literally stooping and slouching.  Yoga and Pilates fixed this problem and strengthened my core so that I had a flat belly for the first time in many years and the stress reduction benefits were enormous.  This made a huge difference in how I looked and felt. And I never felt that I was exhausting myself or punishing myself.  It felt like a treat for my body, actually. Learning how to lean into my breath and breathe into my pain just released so much tension and let my body relax at a time when it drastically needed this.

But if you are going to make any changes or improvements, do it for you – and for your own self esteem.  Do it out of love for yourself, but not out of a desire to change yourself because you think that you are not good enough or quite up to snuff.  Because you absolutely are.  If you think you could use some improvement in your fitness level, by all means pursue that because there are benefits to this other than just the way you look.  But do not beat yourself up or tear yourself down. None of this is your fault.

I always encourage people to do whatever they need to do to feel their best.  But make sure that it is for you only – not for anyone else.  Because if it is for someone else, it will not feel like it should.  But if it is for you, it will feel like delicious freedom and wonderful self care.  If it helps, you can read more about own experience on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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/

Do Men Feel Used When Having An Affair With A Married Woman?

By: Katie Lersch:  There is a real perception that people who have an affair want to eventually end up together.  If both people in the affair are married, there’s an assumption that one day, they will leave their perspective spouses so that they will end up married themselves.

This is not always the case though.  Many people are clear that they will NEVER leave their spouse. For whatever reason, the affair meets some need for them and their marriage also meets a need.  There is a great deal of curiosity about how this arrangement makes each participant feel.

For example, a wife might say: “I was devastated when I found out about my husband’s affair.  I automatically assumed that they would end up married and myself and the other woman’s husband would end up alone.  So I very foolishly called her.  I was going to beg her to break things off and not to have a serious relationship with my husband.  She laughed and assured me that she had NO intention of being serious with my husband.  She told me that she loved her own husband and would never leave him.  When I told my husband this, he just shrugged.  He said that he didn’t plan to leave me either.  He said that the affair was just a distraction and that it did not mean a thing to him, as he is sure that it did not mean anything to her.  I asked him whether he felt used.  Because if I had been in this situation, I would certainly feel used. I would feel like the other person was only using me for sex and then throwing me away.  But my husband swears that he doesn’t feel this way.  Is he lying because he is embarrassed?”

 Guessing How He Feels: It’s possible that he is embarrassed.  But quite honestly, I hear from a lot of folks who are having an affair and many of them are quite clear on the fact that they truly don’t want anything lasting or emotional from the relationship.  As the other woman said, sometimes the person cheating thinks that the affair meets a fleeting need outside of their marriage.  And they honestly try to keep their marriage and the affair completely separate.  They often assume that the affair will shortly end and their life / marriage doesn’t need to change.  Many like this arrangement because they do not want to become emotionally involved.

From all I have read and heard, it’s very possible for an affair to have no emotional expectations. I think that your husband would probably feel used IF he expected something emotionally or long-term from the other woman.  In other words, if he had fantasies of her leaving her husband to be with him, then yes, he may feel used if he later found out she never intended for that to happen.

But, if your husband never wanted a long term relationship himself or if the other woman encouraged him to have NO expectations, then I think he would be less likely to feel used.   Because both people were clear on their expectations.

Why You’re Trying To Gauge His Feelings: I think it’s possible that you want to know how your husband feels because you want to know just how invested he was in this relationship.  You may sort of buy that the other woman truly didn’t want anything from him, but you may be less sure as to whether he wanted anything from her.

Honestly, the only real way to know this is with time.  Because he can tell you that he wants nothing or doesn’t feel used, while pining for her or trying to continue to contact her.  But if what he is saying is true, then you should see behaviors that back this up.  You should see him coming straight home, being invested in your recovery, and not contacting or interacting with her in any way.

If he’s showing all of the signs that he’s putting his time and energy in you and in your marriage, then that’s a pretty good indicator that he truly has no interest in pursuing the relationship anymore because he wasn’t looking for anything lasting.

Of course, this is just the first step.  In order to truly have confidence that he won’t cheat again, you need to understand what need he was trying to meet and then fix the void.

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.  Right now, his actions are truly a better indicator of his intentions than what he claims or says he feels or doesn’t feel.  People caught cheating can and do use all sorts of words and phrases in the aftermath.  But it is their actions that are truly telling.

If he felt used, you might see him getting angry at her or trying to continuously reach out to her.  If you are not seeing these signs, then I think it’s better to place you attention on yourself and your own marriage and to get her out of your life.  By talking to her and wondering about her, you’re giving her power over you.  And believe me, it feels much better once you take your power back.  At least this was my experience.  You can read more about that on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Do Most People Sleep In Separate Bedrooms After One Of Them Cheats Or Has An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch:  Many of the questions that I get from wives who have been cheated on pertain to sex.  People worry that their sex life wasn’t “normal” either before or after the affair.  They are often looking for reassurance that their feelings, or their experience, is valid.

An example is the couple whose marriage has just been severely altered because the husband has cheated.  Quite understandably, the wife will often want to pause their sex life while she tries to figure out how she wants to proceed.  Sometimes, the husband is not happy with this arrangement and he will try to make her feel as if she is wrong to even suggest it.

Here’s what I mean.  A wife might say: “I kicked my husband out of our bedroom after I caught him cheating.  It was hard for me to even look at him, much less to have him sleeping next to me or even thinking that we might have sex.  I don’t want him even touching me, much less putting any sexual moves on me. I did not tell him to leave our home because of our children.  And also because I want to reserve the right to take my time in deciding what I really want. I don’t feel that this is too much to ask.  In fact, one of my best friends went through this and she said that she and her husband didn’t share a bed until about six months post-affair.  But my husband acts as if I am being unreasonable.  He says that he too has friends who have dealt with infidelity and that his male friends are telling him that they still shared a bedroom after the affair.  He admits that not all of them were having sex right away, but he insists that the men were not kicked out of their bedrooms. Who is right?”

I believe that both people can be right.  But it doesn’t really matter what other couples decide to do.  What matters is what works for YOU.  The arrangement that couples have as far as their bedroom goes varies greatly. One couple may be comfortable still being in the same room while the another may not be.  I don’t think that you need to feel bad if you want to sleep in separate bedrooms for a while.

I did this also and I felt that it was a better compromise than having my husband leave our home permanently.  I just couldn’t deal with the close proximity of sharing a bedroom when I was so angry and hurt. He respected this because I believe he realized that the situation was his fault and he understood why I wouldn’t want to share a bed with him at that time.

I did not want to feel pressured about having sex.  I needed time on my own.  I wanted private, quiet nights where I could just be alone with my thoughts and not constantly be questioned.  We did interact during the early days for the sake of our family.  But at night, we went our separate ways, although sometimes I asked him to talk or watch TV with me, but we did that in the living room, not the bedroom.

This went on for a little while as we were attempting to work through the issues and heal.  But it did not go on forever.  I will admit that we started resuming sex a little while before my husband officially moved back into our bedroom.  I suppose we wanted to test the waters and move gradually.  I didn’t stress too much about that.  I just used how I was feeling as a guide.  As I felt more close to my husband again and we began to restore the trust, I started to feel more desire toward him and so our sex life and sharing a bedroom naturally resumed.

But I did not allow myself to feel pressured about this.  And it would have been impossible for me to feel that desire in the early days.  I was too angry and hurt and therefore, my emotions were shut down.  Every one is different, but in order for me to feel physical desire, I have to feel an emotional connection.  And that wasn’t possible when the affair was still fresh.

I think that another consideration here is that not every one is going to be honest about their bedroom habits.  And that is fine because frankly, it is no one else’s business. But it is possible that your husband’s friends who claim that they never left their bedroom aren’t being completely truthful.  They may not want to appear like they weren’t in control of their own marriage so they aren’t admitting that they spent some time outside of their own bedroom.  Again, it is their business.  But I don’t want for you to just blindly believe this and feel that there is something wrong with you because you didn’t make the same choice.

I firmly believe that you have every right to decide what works for you.  If it doesn’t feel right to share a bedroom right now, I don’t see any benefit in forcing yourself to do so.  If you think it would help to talk about this, a suggestion might be something like: “I hear what you are saying.  But it doesn’t matter to me what our friends have done.  Because this is about us and what is right for our situation.  Right now, I just want some time to myself.  I am not saying that it will always be this way. But for now, I feel like I want to be alone at night.  I am asking you to respect that.”

I think that one reason husbands push to stay in their bedroom is not necessarily because of sex.  It is because they are afraid if that if they leave it even for a little while, they may never be invited back in your bedroom.  This often turns out to be untrue. And sometimes it helps if you tell them that as you begin to heal, you may change your mind about this eventually.

There’s more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Says I Should Not Take His Affair Personally

By: Katie Lersch:  Sometimes, I hear from wives who are dealing with husbands doing their best to minimize an affair.  The husband will usually tell the wife that this has very little to do with her.  He will tell her that a man’s needs and a man’s duties as husband are often at odds with one another.  Some will go so far as to tell a wife that she “should not take this personally.”

Needless to say, this is very confusing.  Not take it personally?  How is that possible?  And how dare he suggest this?  A wife might say: “I am struggling right now even though it has been four months after my husband’s affair.  My husband and I have had countless conversations about the motivations for his affair. I have asked him to be brutally honest with me.  I have even been open to taking responsibility for any contributions that I may have made.  But my husband insists that I am not to blame in any way.  He will only say that I can’t possibly understand the urges that men have, which have nothing whatsoever to do with love or marriage.  He says that he will never love another woman in the way that he loves me.  He says that he has no desire to be married to anyone else. He says that the affair is not at all about anything that I did or did not do.  He says that it has nothing to do with a lack of attraction to me because he insists that he is very attracted to me.  His bottom line is to repeat that I should not take this personally because it has nothing to do with me.  And I just do not understand this. How can I not take it personally? It affects every area of my life.  He cheated on ME.  He rejected ME.  So how am I supposed to step back and pretend that this is just something outside of our marriage that I should not concern myself with?”

I have to say that I agree with you.  As a wife who has been there, it’s my experience that it nearly impossible not to personalize this. However, I can tell you with absolutely certainty that many men will make the exact same claims that your husband is making right now.  Many men say the exact same thing – that the affair has very little to do with their wives and that it has nothing to do with their love for their wife – which has not changed.

From having these conversations, here is what I think that he may be trying to tell you. He may be trying to let you know that none of this is your fault.  He may be trying to free you from any culpability.  He knows that he is the one who took action.  He knows that he is the one who made a mistake.  He knows that you were a good spouse to him who more than fulfilled your part of the bargain.  He knows that it is him who fell short.  So he is trying to make you understand that you should not blame yourself.  I don’t think that he believes that you can step away from the affair and not personalize it, as that would be impossible.  But in his own confusing way, he’s trying to free you from a thought process where you will blame yourself.

I know that you might be thinking that this is all fine and good, but you are getting tired of hearing him say this.  Well, know that you can always tell him what you are feeling and try to open the door to a new path of communication.

You might try: “listen, I hear what you are saying.  And I suspect you are trying to get me not to blame myself. But I have to tell you that your insisting that I don’t take this personally is just not feasible.  This is my marriage and my life that we are talking about.  My marriage is very personal to me.  Knowing that you broke our vows feels extremely personal.  I get that you are trying to communicate that your actions have nothing to do with me, but regardless, it affects me.  You can’t just make this claim and think that I am no longer going to be devastated, regardless of your motivations.  You can’t just say these things and expect that we can just move on.  We are going to need a lot of help and a lot of work to move on.  Because I do take this personally and this is something that we are going to have to work on. Regardless of what motivated you, we are both going to need to understand your thought process so that we can change it.  Because I never want to go through this again.  The bottom line is that you can say what you want, but I am going to take it personally because it is my marriage.  And I hope that you don’t take my reaction personally.  Can you understand that?”

Hopefully, this conversation will at least help him to understand your point of view.  It is reassuring that he doesn’t want for you to blame yourself.  But he has to understand that regardless, there is much healing to do.

To his credit, my husband did not want for me to blame myself.  And frankly, I didn’t.  Was I a perfect wife? Absolutely not.  We had our issues and we have worked through them.  But it was he who made the decision to cheat and it was he who had to take the lead toward our healing.  I was willing to do the work and make changes, but I expected him to take the initiative. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

What Percentage Of People Stay Married After One Of Them Has An Affair?

by: katie lersch: I often hear from people who are trying to determine how badly the odds are stacked against them and their marriage after their spouse has had an affair.   And, this is a concern that both husbands and wives share.  Anyone can be on the wrong end of their spouse’s affair and yet be still trying to save their marriage in the aftermath of it.  And many want to know just what they are up against and if they are fighting a losing battle.

I recently heard from a wife who said: “I really do want to stay married even though I just recently found out about my husband’s affair.  But every day, I feel anger and rage that feels so foreign to me.  Every day, the awkwardness and the coldness in our marriage becomes more and more evident.  I have friends who are still married five years after the husband’s infidelity and they seem reasonably content.  But I wonder if they beat the odds because this affair has brought up so many resentments and doubts in me.  I don’t know if I will be able to overcome these things.  What’s the percentage of couples who stay married after one of them cheats and has an affair?  And how can I make sure that I beat the odds?”  I’ll address these things in the following article.

The Percentage Of  Couples Remaining Married After An Affair Might Be Higher Than You Think: The woman in the above scenario confessed that she assumed that the majority of couples who face infidelity end up divorced. Statistics show that this just isn’t the case.  Although the numbers vary, most studies and surveys indicate that the percentage of people who stay married after an affair is around 75 – 80 percent (with around 20 – 25 percent of couples eventually divorcing because they just couldn’t over come the affair.) I suspect that there are many factors that go into which couples make it and which don’t such as the length of the affair, the determination and commitment of the people involved, and the tools or help that the married couple had access to.

Although you might find these numbers surprising or even encouraging, I would argue that these statistics don’t tell you everything.  There are many reasons that people stay together after an affair.  Sometimes, it is because they still love and are committed to their spouse. But, other times, it’s out a sense of obligation, due to finances, or because the marriage has just become a comfortable habit that feels familiar.  Honestly, I think there’s another question here that is equally important – which leads me to my next point.

A More Important Statistic Might Be How Many People Remain Married After An Affair And Are Truly Happy.  How Many Are Able To Restore The Happiness And Fulfillment In Their Marriage?: The wife in this scenario was most concerned about remaining married.  But frankly, this is only half the battle.  We all know couples who stuck it out after an affair but who were never truly happy again because they just weren’t able to recover.  Many of us know the couple who insist on staying together but who also remain miserable and bitter.  To me, staying married but remaining unhappy isn’t really a victory at all.  It’s my opinion that it only makes sense to fight for your marriage after an affair if you can ensure that they same marriage is rebuilt so that it’s a marriage that’s actually worth fighting for.

I know for certain this is possible because of my own experience.  But many people worry more about staying married at all costs while not worrying nearly as much if they are staying in and rebuilding a happy marriage.  I think that many people do not realize just how bad things can be when you are stuck in a marriage where it’s clear that neither spouse is particularly happy to be there.  I have a friend who will openly admit that her marriage is this way and the tension and negative feelings between she and her husband are extremely obvious and uncomfortable to anyone who spends time with them.   It’s as if she can’t stop punishing him and he seems to feels so guilty that he thinks that this is his lot in life.  Neither of them seem to believe that things could ever possibly be better.  And neither of them are willing to be the one to initiate or ask for a change.  So it’s quite possible that they will continue to go through life married but unhappy.

Ensuring That You Rebuild A Marriage That Is Worth Staying In After The Affair: So now that we’ve established that it’s not all that rare to stay married, let’s talk about how to make sure you’re not staying in an unhappy marriage.  Many people assume that staying means that you’re accepting a damaged marriage that is destined to just limp along.  But it truly is possible to rebuild a different and sometimes stronger and better marriage.  Yes, this requires you to do some in depth work on both yourself and your marriage.  But what you put into it will often be worth it in the long run. It’s better than remaining unhappy.   Your spouse’s affair should not be something that you have to deal with for the rest of your married life.  You can work through it.

Staying married after an affair should be something that you want to do not because you feel obligated or stuck but because of your love for your spouse and the fact that you are able to return your marriage to something that is a source and happiness and fulfillment for both of you. If you’re having trouble rebuilding after the affair, I highly recommend the free “Break Free From the Affair” ecourse on the side of this blog.  I know that trying to stay married after an affair can very challenging and painful, but it can truly be worth it. 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, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

I Can’t Decide If I Want To Stay With My Cheating Spouse. I Keep Changing My Mind

By: Katie Lersch:  Things can feel very heightened and immediate when you find out about your spouse’s affair.  Because this is so painful, it’s normal to want a quick resolution.  You don’t want to feel this bad forever, so you can feel a little bit of pressure to make a swift decision in order to begin healing.  And yet, making this decision isn’t as easy as some believe.  Many of us change our minds, wonder if we are reacting off of emotion, and worry that whatever decision we make is going to be wrong.

A wife might say: “as soon as I found out my husband has been having an affair, the first words out of his mouth were: ‘you can’t leave me.  You can’t take my family away from me.’  And my first thought and reaction was: ‘you’d better believe that I can leave you.  If you didn’t want me to leave, you should have thought about that before you cheated.’  I had always thought that the first sign of infidelity meant that I was going to be out the door.  I never thought I was going to be the woman who stood by a cheater.  I thought I was going to be like Sandra Bullock with Jesse James.  I wasn’t even going to think about it.  I was just going to get rid of the cheater immediately.  But now that I am in this situation, I realize now that it is not as cut and dry as all that.  I have my kids to think about.  But when this thought comes to my head, I immediately counter this thought with the knowledge that my husband wasn’t thinking about our kids all that much when he was sleeping with someone else.  Some days I will think that we can get through this if we try.  And other days, I will think that I do not want to get through this.  I don’t want to save a marriage to a cheater.  But then the next day I am on the verge of changing my mind again.  My husband is constantly asking me what I have decided in regards to our marriage.  And I never know what I should tell him because I haven’t really come to a decision because I am always changing my mind. What is wrong with me?”

What You’re Feeling Is So Normal And Understandable: Absolutely nothing is wrong with you.  I changed my mind constantly also.  I believe that many people do.  If you weren’t, that would mean that you possibly weren’t taking an honest and accurate look at the circumstances.  It would be very naive to think that you could just block out your doubts.  Some days you will naturally think that you can over come these doubts.  But the next day, they might be back and they have brought anger also.  It is a lot to deal with.  And all of the swirling information and emotions causes uncertainty, which is completely understandable.

Removing Some Of The Pressure: It doesn’t help matters that your husband is always asking you what you have decided.  This makes you feel pressure at a time when pressure is the last thing that you need.  So you might try a response like this: “the only decision that I have made is that I am not going to rush to make a decision.  There are a lot of considerations here and there is a lot at stake. Plus, my feelings are constantly changing.  I need to take some time to have confidence that my feelings and perceptions are more stable.  And I need time to process this. I know that you feel as if you are in limbo.  And I know you want me to make a decision so you know what the future holds.  But I just can’t make a sound decision right now.  I am going to need to take a wait and see approach.  I know that is hard for you, but it is necessary for me.”

Your husband may not like this answer, but he should understand it.  Because it was his actions that made all of this necessary.  I am sure that my husband would have loved it if I would have told him immediately that we could try to make it work.  But there was no way I could say that with any sincerity.  I did not know what I wanted.  And I didn’t know if counseling was going to help us or even how I would feel if it did.  And I knew that I was going to need time to watch his behaviors in order to evaluate if I could one day trust him again.  So I told my husband that there wouldn’t be any quick decisions and that I was going to wait and see how our rehabilitation work went.  He knew that I could change my mind at any time and I am sure this wasn’t fun for him.  But it certainly wasn’t fun for me either.   Recovery takes a lot of time.  And you can’t really be sure that you’ve made the right decision until you’ve had time to evaluate your recovery efforts.

There were days when I just wanted to make any decision and stick with it.  But I knew that if I did, I would always have to deal with the doubts that came with this rushed decision.  It wasn’t always easy to just wait and see.  It was a harder path to watch and evaluate.  But I’m glad I did that.  Because I have full confidence that I ultimately made the right decision.  You can read more about the outcome on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Says If He Really Wanted To Be With The Other Woman, He Would. I Don’t Know If This Should Make Me Feel Better Or Worse

By: Katie Lersch:  Sometimes, when we are having yet another conversation with our husband about his affair, what we are really looking for is reassurance.  We don’t always come right out and ask for this reassurance though. Instead, we ask more questions about the affair, hoping that our husband’s answers are going to indicate that he really wants to be with us and that he doesn’t think about or want the other woman anymore.

Sometimes, he intends to give reassuring responses, but he ends up doing just the opposite.  Here’s an example.  You might be having the same old conversation about restoring the trust.  You may have noticed your husband was just a little late returning home and so you feel paranoid and worried.  You ask him about this and he tells you that traffic was particularly bad.   He becomes a little annoyed and asks if you are always going to worry about every little thing.  You tell him that you are just always wondering if he’s continuing to talk to the other woman.  He responds that if he wanted to see her, he would.  Understandably, this makes you feel even worse instead of being reassured.

A wife might say: “my husband said I should stop worrying about the other woman.  He says the affair is completely over and that if he wanted to be with her, he would.  He said he wouldn’t go behind my back, he would just tell me that he wanted to be with her.  But since that hasn’t happened, I shouldn’t worry so much.  I do not know how to take this.  Is he putting me on warning that she will take him back, so I had better watch my step?  This statement seems very arrogant to me.”

What He Could Possibly Mean By This: I don’t know your husband, so it is hard for me to speculate.  But I think that perhaps this was his attempt to reassure you and unfortunately, his words came out wrong.  He is probably trying to say that if he wanted to pick back up the affair, he would not need to participate in trickery and an elaborate plan to carry it out.  He’s could be telling you what you’re seeing doesn’t mean that he is cheating again and that you don’t have to examine everything so closely.  Yes, he could have said this more clearly and used a little more tact.  But I’m not sure that his inability to say what he really means was meant to put you on edge or to show his arrogance.

We all know that many times, women are better able to choose their words more carefully than men.  Because in your husband’s place, I would have said something like: “honey, I promise you, it was only bad traffic.  You don’t have to worry.  I told you that the affair was over and it is over.  Next time, I will call you from the car so that you don’t worry.  Would that be OK?”

Of course, it is easy for me to say this because I am a woman who has been through infidelity.  So I know EXACTLY what a wife in this situation would want to hear.  As a woman myself, it is easier for me.

A Suggested Conversation To Clear The Air: Your husband doesn’t have the advantage of knowing how women think. He’s a man and he probably doesn’t have the same thought process as you do. So, he may need help to articulate what you need so that this doesn’t get any worse.  You might try: “I know that you meant for that to be reassuring to me.  But somehow, that isn’t how I am taking it. I worry that your words mean that you know the other woman is still available to you.  I know that you probably meant that I don’t always need to read something into your being late, but unfortunately, that is not what I heard.  Maybe it would help if the next time you’re stuck in traffic, you give me a quick phone call telling me so? That way, I won’t worry and we aren’t as likely to have misunderstandings.  Can you do that?”

This conversation is better than suddenly accusing him of keeping the other woman on the back burner when this may not have been what he meant.  Sure, it makes sense to watch him closely.  But sometimes, we over analyze things after the affair because understandably, we are watching very closely.   It’s normal to do this, but you have to be careful that you aren’t accusing him of something that just isn’t true.  And you don’t want to come off as so paranoid that you are going to ensure that you are both miserable because of it.

If you have issue with (or questions about) what he has said, you have right to address it.   If something worries you, then you have every right to speak up so that your worries don’t fester.  But know that sometimes, the responses won’t be exactly what you are looking for and it’s common to see something that isn’t there.  That’s why it helps to calmly ask for clarification or to set it up so that next time, what you are getting is reassurance instead of confusion.

I used to pick apart everything that my husband said after his affair.  He could have been saying something totally innocent and I would flip it around.  It was a vicious cycle that I had to learn to break.  There’s more about this on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com